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The Story of the Jewel

There was the most precious of jewels placed in the sea near the shore so that all could see it and marvel at it’s beauty. Over time and the passing of many generations, the climate changed and the large winds began to blow causing swells of great waves, which in turn stirred up the sediment and muddied the water. The result was that the jewel could no longer be seen and in time it’s very existence passed into the realm of legend and myth.

But if you seek the silence,

from time to time the winds will cease,
the waves calm,
and some of the sediment may settle,
so that for those who might still be looking, the jewel may be glimpsed.
Once one has seen the Jewel,

no one can tell you that it is not really there, or that it is not of great value.

So long as the winds of thought continue to disturb the water of our self nature, we cannot distinguish truth from untruth.
It is imperative therefore that these winds be stilled.

Roshi Kapleau

In Zen, there is nothing to explain,
Nothing to teach that will add to your knowledge,
Unless it grows out of yourself,
No knowledge is really of value to you,
A borrowed plumage never grows.

D.T. Suzuki

Posted in Buddhism, Newsletter, Philosophy, Zen Story

Always follow instructions

Posted in Humour, Newsletter

Hanshi’s Note

In zen it is said if you try to grasp movement you are met with stillness; when you attempt to grasp stillness you are met with movement, like a fish under water creating a ripple on the surface…very elusive indeed. Therefore, we counter stillness and movement or pushing and pulling with a simple strategy of pull when they push and push when they pull; this is the way to higher skillfulness. Karate does not just involve physical techniques; in fact if you were to break up Karate into three parts, two of these parts are non-physical. We call this the triad in training with those parts being austere training, protracted meditation and philosophical assimilation. Sharpening the mind’s ability to deal with the myriad of circumstances and situations that life throws at it is a great personal attribute.
It’s actually that space between hard and soft, fast and slow, strong and weak ie: dealing with the changes in the attack or adversity is what the practitioner looks to master. The objective, like the old masters, was to not get stuck at either end but to utilize both stillness AND movement in the end where most appropriate. This skill is the sword edge of the mind and is developed via hard training, deep meditation, along with the philosophical understanding; this obviously takes time but in time using this approach all things will become clear.
This is why they say: Zen, Ken, Ishoa – mind, fist and meditation are one.
Posted in Masters, Newsletter, Note from Hanshi Platt, Philosophy, Uncategorized, Zen Story

A good plan for the day

Posted in Buddhism, Life Strategy, Newsletter, Uncategorized

Tis The Season for Sneezing By E.A. Clark

Fending Off The Flu 101

Yes, it’s that time of year again. With the temperature gauge dropping and the holiday events on the rise, people –and germs- are collecting in close quarters.

This signifies the start of the season for when we give a wide berth to the coworker that’s coughing ominously and we keep a thumb poised over the cap of our mini hand sanitizer bottles clutched in pockets at our sides.

For a few months every year, we all become germaphobes.

The influenza virus is notorious for its habit of rapidly evolving, adapting to our ever-changing environment and making it especially aggressive in its spread. Affecting populations worldwide, it has resulted in three to five million cases of severe illness and upwards of 500,000 deaths. With a track record like that, it’s no wonder we’ve all become a bit suspicious of out-stretched hands and runny noses.

Fortunately, there are many steps one can take in securing a safer passage through this flu season.
The best way of guarding oneself against the flu – and any cold for that matter – is to practice preventative care and take what measures you can to beef up your immune system.

We all know the drill when it comes to prevention: wash your hands with soap as frequently as possible, avoid crowded areas and be on alert for the ‘sneezer.’

As for giving your immune system the attention it deserves and needs, here is a list of the top natural remedies with the most promise at fending off the flu – or at the very least – shortening its duration and the severity of its symptoms:



This herbal extract has been popularized over the years as a cold and flu preventative and more commonly as an aid in reducing the risk of repeated respiratory infections. Although scientific evidence seems all over the place for this plant’s abilities, there is some research to back its respiratory benefits and others to attest for its relief in shortening the duration of the flu and common cold.

Vitamin D

 The ‘sun-supplement’, commonly deficient in populations with a lower exposure to daylight, (*cough* Canadians), has come highly recommend by most physicians. From research suggesting its role in strengthening bones, to its affiliation with some autoimmune disorders, to its knack for increasing your immune system’s ability to fend off viral infections such as HIV and, (yes, you guessed it), influenza, it’s safe to say, you can’t go wrong with this super vitamin.


Oregano Oil/Garlic

Oregano, a herb most culinary professionals and Italian grandmas are deeply familiar with, has sparked debate amongst the scientific and health communities over the past few years. With a history of being used in a time before modern medicine, (Hippocrates was a fan), it’s been believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help zap a cold in its early stages. Not generally recommend as an aid once you’ve already lost the war against a cold or flu, oregano oil has been pushed as a preventative in those delicate hours of a viruses’ onset.



Yes, you read that correctly. Your not-so-garden variety fungi are hitting health shops with a popularity and reputation that surprises most and fuels skeptics everywhere. Although historically used in both Japan and China for hundreds of years, Western society is only now being enlightened to the benefits of such species as Reishi and Chaga. Tough and bitter, Reishi mushrooms aren’t the most appetizing, but have been traditionally used to treat infection and even have some small, clinical human studies to back their claim as an immunity booster. With studies still underway to further delve into the chemical compositions of these mushrooms to better understand how they pull off these feats, there’s no stopping what appears to be a steady claim to fame for these immunity marvels.



 This fruit or flower extract from the Elderberry, (or Sambucus) plant, is a supplement that’s been popular for flu and cold season for years. Some research suggests that if taken within the first 24 to 48 hours of feeling the telltale symptoms of influenza, people have a better chance of getting over the nasty bug quicker. Believed to shorten the duration of most colds and flu viruses, Elderberry is an easy and convenient addition to your immune boosting roster that, for once, doesn’t taste awful.



Remember those chalky lozenges your grandparents forced on you at the first hint of a cold all those years ago? Well, they’re back with a vengeance. Deficiencies in zinc have been attributed to the compromise of the immune system. Research suggests that the mineral stops certain proteins from forming before the virus can use them to reproduce meaning that the quicker you suck up thosezenges, the better chance you have at skirting the cold or at least minimizing the duration of a nasty flu bug.

Written By E.A. Clark



**For more information on these and other supplements and homeopathic remedies, feel free to stop by

The Health Shoppe!

Located just south of St. Clair on Yonge.

Our friendly, educated staff is always happy to share their knowledge and give advice!

Posted in Announcement, Health, Health and Wellness, Newsletter

Zen Meditation Workshop – November 19th

See: https://www.meetup.com/Young-St-T-O-QiGong-Meditation-Zen-Energy-Work-Healing/events/vsgvvmywpbzb/ for full details.

To Register for this event, you will need to create an account on Meetup and RSVP to the event.  Look for the Join and RSVP button at the upper right.

(Workshop) **Price includes exta (Zazen) class. Also includes sharing tea circle at the end of class. We supply use of meditation chairs, mats and blankets. Also very special Tea at the beginning and end of class (please arrive 15 minutes early).

Join Hae Kwang Sunim for The Full Bad Stress Out “‘Inner Peace” Qigong – Don’t Miss It! **THIS IS NOT LIKE ANY OTHER QI-GONG YOU EVER EXPERIENCED** TORONTO Class also Includes full lying down guided Inner Peace Qigong.

People that attend this class also receive an extra class FREE called “Zazen: Learn and become skilled in the art of MEDITATION at a later date (See Bottom of this page for Link and full details on FREE Bonus Class).

Workshop / Investment: Only $20.00

**Benefits of attending this class**

***Soft ‘Inner Peace’ Qigong leads to the deep release of dis–ease / stress and the restoring of ones energy channels and the infusion of fresh Qi and Peace through the body (reconnection to the Universal Qi field).

Workshop **Please Register on this Meetup as early as possible **Register Today** Conveniently located just steps from St.Clair Subway station.

**Includes sharing tea circle at the end of class. We supply use of meditation chairs, and blankets. Also very special Tea at the beginning and end of class. Please arrive 15 minutes early / at 12:15 p.m. (class starts promptly at 12:30 p.m.). 

See: https://www.meetup.com/Young-St-T-O-QiGong-Meditation-Zen-Energy-Work-Healing/events/vsgvvmywpbzb/ for full details.

Posted in Announcement, Events, Newsletter

What is kama and how does it work? 5

Posted in Buddhism, Meditation, Newsletter, Niei Chi, Philosophy

Grading Results – November 1st, 2017

CMAC-Crest-Hi-Res-whitebg - Classical Martial Arts Centre - Toronto Central Region

Karate-Do: Adult

Sacha Campion (E)

5th Kyu
Maria Gorospe

Karate-Do: Youth

Charles Christoff (E)

Ryan Ren
Ian Simons
Sarisha Panday
David Estrada-Flores (S)

Karate-Do: Children

Jethro Waldman (S)

5th Kyu
Ivri Almog (S)
Jordan Vankay (S)


Outstanding Performance

Charles Christoff (E)

We expect through diligent study, training and application, there will be further progress in the future.

Posted in Announcement

Maestro Urban

Posted in Life Strategy, Masters, Newsletter

What is Kama and how does it work ? 4

BY |

Many Westerners have trouble accepting the doctrine of karma. Others say it is not essential. How central is the doctrine of karma to Buddhism? Is it possible to call oneself a Buddhist without believing in karma?

Jeffrey Hopkins: The acceptance of the importance of karma in a former and future lifetime is crucial. Personally, it is quite valuable for my own practice. However, someone might be inspired by stories about the Buddha—or about bodhisattvas or arhats who act with compassion—and seek to help others as a result. If they then call themselves Buddhists, despite not believing in rebirth and that karma carries over from one lifetime to another, I have no problem at all.

Jan Chozen Bays: It confuses me to call it the “doctrine of karma,” because to me that’s like saying the “doctrine of gravity.” It is a fact, not a doctrine. It is a fact that underlies how the universe works. Once you understand that fact and also experience it, it is such a relief. It brings happiness because it relieves your anxiety about how things work.

How central is the “doctrine of karma”? Absolutely central, because it is central to our existence. You may call yourself a Buddhist without accepting karma as a fact, just as you may call yourself anything you want to. In fact, many people call themselves Buddhists having only a vague notion of what Buddhism is about. That’s okay. You could be a beginning geologist and not understand all of geology, but you still call yourself a geologist because you are studying it.

A Buddhist studies their buddhanature, their essential nature, or the essential truth of how the universe works. We could think of ourselves as nursery school Buddhists, who are just beginning to understand and experience the truth of Buddhism. If people want to call themselves Buddhists and say they don’t understand or experience karma, that’s okay. Hopefully, they will simply continue to study it.

Bhikkhu Bodhi: If one sincerely and deeply goes for refuge to the Triple Gem, then one has to investigate what is implied by that act of taking refuge. When I go for refuge in the Buddha, I place confidence in the Buddha as the fully enlightened one. When I investigate his own account of his enlightenment, I find that it includes recollection of previous lives and realization of karmic laws that govern the process of rebirth.

When I take refuge in the dharma and study the doctrine deeply, I see that karma and rebirth are pillars of the teaching. The ideas of karma and rebirth are included in many of the formulations of right view. So if I really accept the dharma, then I should consent to the ideas of karma and rebirth. When I enter the path, I can begin to observe Buddhist ethics, and I could engage in intensive meditation without believing in karma and rebirth. But if my path is really to become part of the Noble Eightfold Path, leading to final liberation, I will find that right view is defined in some contexts as the acceptance of the principles of karma and rebirth.

From the Theravadin point of view, the goal of one’s path is nirvana, the extinction of karma and the release from the round of rebirth. When one takes refuge in the sangha, one understands that the true sangha is the aryan sangha, the community of noble ones. These noble ones are defined precisely by the extent to which they have cut off the root of rebirth.

I would say, then, that the act of taking refuge itself, when it is done sincerely, with clear understanding, will involve consenting to the ideas of karma and rebirth. Some proponents of what I call modernistic Buddhism, or what Stephen Batchelor calls “agnostic Buddhism,” say it is sufficient to base one’s life and practice on the Four Noble Truths, without bringing in ancient Indian metaphysics or the cultural baggage of Asian superstitions. However, if we examine the implications of the Four Noble Truths deeply enough, we will find they are quite inseparable from the ideas of karma and rebirth.

For example, the First Noble Truth of dukkha doesn’t mean simply experiencing sorrow, anguish, greed, worry and anxiety. At the deepest level, it means the continuity of these five clinging aggregates. Without some notion of karmas and rebirth, the very idea of five clinging aggregates at the basis of one’s being becomes incomprehensible. Then from the point of view of the Second Noble Truth, how is craving the origin of suffering? We could look at it psychologically and say that when there is craving, one makes oneself vulnerable to the clinging aggregates. But when one studies the sutras deeply, one finds that craving is the force that brings the renewal of the five aggregates from one life to the next. From this premise, the Third and Fourth Noble Truths follow logically.

The act of taking refuge, then, the act of practicing in accordance with the Four Noble Truths, implies accepting the principles of karma and rebirth.

Jeffrey Hopkins: I think Bhikkhu Bodhi makes many good points. Nevertheless, I think that someone can take refuge in the Three Jewels sincerely and not understand many of the points that I too consider very important. There are simply many levels, and I want to try hard not to be exclusivist. I’m not saying that Bhikkhu Bodhi is exclusivist, because he didn’t indicate that. He has made a very good case about the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the Three Jewels.

It is a huge mistake to take the doctrine of karma as being simply deterministic.

Nevertheless, I think one can call oneself a Buddhist because one is inspired by various and sundry aspects of the Buddhist teachings. At some point, I think that one would nevertheless come to see the cause and effect of actions and would eventually see that there were former and future lifetimes.

We have to consider that people are brought up to think many things. A young person in China and Tibet today is propagandized to think that Tibet is just one of the provinces of China. To a great many people, it becomes unthinkable that it is anything else. Just so, people who go through the educational system in America are propagandized to think that the mind is the brain, a physical phenomenon, or at best an epi-phenomenon of the brain.

We are also faced with the very difficult psychological fact that few of us remember our former lifetimes. That is a great stumbling block to thinking that we are going to have to undergo the future effects of what we are doing now. We just plain don’t remember past lives, so we don’t have a sense of continuity from former lifetimes. But we also don’t have a sense of continuity of many of our dreams from the night before. You could be lying with somebody in bed and the next morning the other person will say, “You really went through it last night,” and you say, “What? I don’t remember anything.”


Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk and scholar. He lives in Sri Lanka.

Posted in Buddhism, Meditation, Newsletter, Niei Chi, Philosophy
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