All posts tagged: Avajra John

Floral Notes and Bardo: Find the Others

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Just now, on my way out the door of the lodge to walk up the hill to work, I realized that Seth Godin and Terrence McKenna both say this: FIND THE OTHERS (Later I learned that Timothy Leary may be the source of that phrase.) Anyway, walking up the path, as I was saying to myself over and over FIND THE OTHERS, I see Avajra John coming up another adjoining path.  As we approached each other, we put our palms together at our foreheads.  Then he said: “You know, my take on it is that the transcendent Shambhala is just behind a very thin veil.” He grinned widely.  I thanked him. ~~~ Just before all of this happened, while sitting in the shrine room, I decided that I ought to meditate more in order to tune into what’s going …

Floral Notes and Bardo: A Crazy Thing I Made

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Ghost-pepper sneeze of truth, came out a like a face-fart aspiring to be a sonnet. If you love me, you’ll understand. If you love me, you must be able to accomodate these types of things. If we’re going to really be friends, you must forgive farts of all sorts and be unafraid to cry if pepper dust from my stupid-sneeze hits you in the eye. I’m sorry. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you. A formula for friendship? ~~~ This is Avajra John posing with a crazy thing I made for him. The other night an impromptu gathering in Heather’s room–craft jam. I made a crazy thing for Avajra John, Heather made New Year’s cards for her Vietnameese friends, and Dorian worked on a figure drawing. I’ve been up past my bedtime so much recently. I’ve not been singing in …

Avajra John Presents: The Perfect Rice

By Travis Newbill In order to clarify the confusion of all sentient beings attempting to make rice, we present another installment of Avajra John‘s pithy kitchen wisdom. There are quite a few different approaches to making rice. Each of the different approaches works well. This can be confusing. There are some 40,000 varieties of rice from around the world. Short-grain and long-grain brown rice, basmati rice, jasmine rice, Arborio, and Koshihikari from Japan are some commonly available varieties. In each of these different rice cultures around the world, there are recipes for making perfect rice that is considered a high art within that culture. So let’s simplify this and start at square one: Cook the rice on the stove top or in the oven. Use a pot or pan with a good, tight-fitting cover. Use the proportion of one cup of rice to one and a half cups of water. Use cold water. Put the rice and the water together in the pot or pan and cover tightly. Bring the rice and water to a …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Furry Creatures–Awake

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Guitar around the corner translating confusion –mental jukebox– who keeps pumping those quarters in? I woke up at 4–a bit too early but better than 6:30 so I can sing before breakfast, before meditation. I arrived in the shrine room a minute late and saw that noone had made offerings to the shrine. I was hoping someone else would do that today. I turned around and my pal walked in the door with a full water pitcher and I believed I may get a break. I sat down on the cushion a bit grumpy about having to serve as umdze for the fifth day in a row. I knew it was absurd to be grumpy–sitting in a shrine room, meanwhile war-torn Sudan, etc. Umdze = person who–lights the shrine, rings the bell, leads chants, and keeps an …

Good Tidings (and a Great Recipe) from SMC Chef Avajra John Russell

By Travis Newbill Did you know that Santa’s kooky cousin lives at Shambhala Mountain Center? He is just a jolly as Old St. Nick–though much thinner, and his magical sleigh is pulled by a single garuda. His name is Avajra Claus! His specialty is making tasty things in the kitchen for the SMC community—many healthy meals, and some sweet delights as well. According to folklore, Avajra used to bake cookies for Santa back when they were little elves. Ever since they parted ways, Santa has been searching the world for treats as tasty as the ones Avajra used to make. In exchange for the cookies that the kids leave, Santa brings gifts. Now, Avajra has a gift for you: a classic holiday recipe! He asks that you enjoy it with your loved ones, and also leave some out for his chubby cousin, Santa. From SMC lead chef Avajra John Russell to you and yours: Here we all sing together… We wish you a Merry Christmas We wish you a Merry Christmas We wish you a …

SMC Recipe: Holiday Gingerbread House and Cookies

  As Thanksgiving will officially kick off the holiday season a week from now, it’s not too soon to start imagining how to best bring loved ones together this time of year. Nor is it too soon, nor too late, to reflect on holidays past. Our wonderful chef, Avajra John Russell, recalls how making cookies can be a magical way to celebrate the good fortune of family–of any sort. The SMC Community is a family and John is our beloved, crazy, artistic uncle. We hope you’ll enjoy his recollection of time spent with his childhood family and the cookies (or houses) that can be made with his recipe. The holidays can be a special time of creating warm memories together that can stick with us throughout our lifetime. In my family, we always had some kitchen projects going, in the days leading up to Christmas. We used to stuff dates and my mom would always make crabapple jelly with crabapples from our trees–to give as gifts to friends and family. Occasionally, we would also make …