Thoughts on Buddhism on amazon


On auspicious 25th day of the 12th month of the lunar earth dog year What’s What has gone into 2nd edition, under new title “Thoughts on Buddhism” and it is bigger by about 50 pages as well.



Preface to the second edition

This volume was not planned but came together from various writing here and there, on the blogs and on social media. Then, when I saw that material accumulating is starting to look more and more as if there is enough for a book, the book came about. Initially as What’s What, 1st edition through Createspace Publishing in June of 2016.

thoughts_on_buddhism_on_amazonAs of autumn of 2018 Createspace is merging into Kindle Direct Publishing and it looks appropriate to update What’s What with a few pages in addition for the new, 2nd edition.

So, meanwhile, whole two years came and went, while life presented a very rare opportunity of almost retreat like, very restful time and it does not feel like 2016 was long ago and similarly not really yesterday, not anymore.

Special mention for Orgyen Cho Dzong Sangha of upstate New York, where for first time I was able to join in with Kyabje Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche, family and disciples at the end of summer of 2016. Especially fortunate is that Rinpoche’s son Namgyal Dawa Rinpoche saw it fit to offer a comment on this piece of writing and now I can include it as a review for 1st edition on the back cover.  It is a type of review that I personally like and it goes much a like what my friend Migmar Tsering said to me after reading a copy I gave him during Summer Retreat at Palyul Retreat center: “It is as if you are talking to me”. So, in some way, this is it, mission accomplished! -Simple, personal voice, without any status or authority but with a wish of positivity to increase, for everyone. Then, in a glory of miraculous displays Kyabje Shenphen Dawa Rinpoche displayed passing from this life on April 15th of 2018 and I have written a short obituary that offered me a chance to contemplate on situations like this, how do we feel when our Lama passes away? This short piece of writing is added to this current edition, may it all be virtuous and may our confidence be renewed if it wavers, unfailingly so!

-NY State September 2018

Picture is by Hyunju Lee at Jackson Heights NY,

while attending teachings of Palyul Khenchen Tsewang Gyatso Rinpoche

New in this edition:

Preface to 2nd Edition

Passage of Time

On Seeming separation from the Master

Short Glossary

2016 September 11th is also 7th month, 10th day of lunar calendar

Today is the 9/11 that coincides with the monthly celebration of the Guru Rinpoche day, the 10th day of the 7th month. 1142615015-hr-37


5th Month. Guru Rinpoche is known as Guru Sengye Dradog in Sanskrit Guru Simhananda which means Undefeated Lion.

Guru Rinpoche is in North East India state of Bihar at Nalanda monastery.

When a great gathering of non Buddhist yogis and scholars came to challenge Buddhist monks of Nalanda on the instruction of the Lion Headed Dakini that came in a dream overnight to all monks simultaneously,

They requested Guru Rinpoche presence with the Immutable Seven Line Prayer, which is used ever since as most popular way to invoke mind of the Guru Rinpoche in Tibetan transliteration and English translation:

  1. Hung, Orgyen yul gyi nub jyang tsam

Hung, In the northeast country of Odiyanna,

  1. Pema gesar dongpo la

Born in the pollen heart of a lotus,

  1. Yatsen chog gi ngo drup nye

Endowed with the most marvelous spiritual attainments,

  1. Pema Jung ne she su drag

You are known as the Lotus Born.

  1. Khor du khandro mang po kor

Surrounded by retinue of Dakas and Dakinis,

  1. Khyed khi je su dag drub kyi

Following in your footsteps,

  1. Jyin gyi lab chir sheg su sol

I pray to you, please come forth and grant your blessings!

Abbreviated prayer, paying homage and requesting blessings in a form of short heart mantra:

Guru Pema Siddhi Hung

Commonly used heart mantra:

Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung


Guru Rinpoche arrives and assures that all debate is won and none of the followers of Buddha Dharma have to convert.

6th Month. Guru Rinpoche is known as Guru Pema Jungney.

Guru Rinpoche as prophesized by Buddha Shakyamuni appears on the lotus in the lake Dhanakosha in Odiyanna.

Giving teachings to the Dakinies that surround him.

7th Month. Guru Rinpoche is known as Khading Tsal.

When tirthikas throw Guru Rinpoche into the Ganges Guru Rinpoche reverses flow of the river and dances in the sky above, inspiring devotion in all.

…” -page 93. of the “What’s What” by Sherab Gyatso Alex




Recent email forward:

Dear friends, what a wonderful and hot and sticky summer it is in the Upstate NY!

Now and then it seems there are people that are not on facebook but are possible to reach through e-mail and are on this list.

Here is a shameless self promotion in a way of website: – Please stay in touch.

Here is a contents / navigation of a few topics on there. – All about the recently (June 26th) published book “What’s What”. The hope here is to rely on tradition 100% however see through possibly older language and present something for today’s audience and possibly in the West. – The Begging bowl. Several things are on my mind that I would attempt to raise funds for. Retreat. Offering to Temples. More complex things like anchoring of a community of practitioners. Or writing of another book. – The ideas on anchoring of a spiritual community. If one to read these posts, there are several ideas, a slight range. The goal is to move to semi-rural setting, not far from an existing temple and have low bills to be able not to work but concentrate into the study and practice of Dharma.

Read, comment, share, participate by moving, contributing, buying the book or contemplating on these.

Thank you,

With best regards,


Please contribute

Dear friends,dzong_face

I have a fundraiser on gofundme ( – because it is easiest to send your contribution there.

But in all honesty. If you are able to donate support it does not have to be my fundraiser.

Although it could help me to stay in my imaginary “cave” and devote a bit more time to meditation and write another book rather then do some other things to get by. This is not the point.

If you are a fan of Buddhism, a student of Buddhism a follower of Buddhism it is important to see your own role on this local level where you do not treat things seriously only if they are in Asia or are a translation project of something good and ancient.

The whole reason why Buddhism is effective and we have realized masters take rainbow body generation after generation up to today is because it is not “ancient” but very much living system of spirituality.

So, please look around you with careless abandon, see if there is some positivity there that you can  support in none – judgmental way, here and now, drop your guard and go to the temple, use your pay pal account to become a member somewhere, pass the word, contribute or the best of them all, quit your job and break down in the middle of the living room floor. Possibly even throw your TV out the window (if you are not using it as a computer monitor) because it keeps talking about jobs, and employment rates and jobs and then something called politics of the this total madness and we all know that there is a lot more to life then just this GDP or the job or the presidential candidates of like or dislike.

We all deserve a shot at getting our own mind settled down, calm, clear, observing the movements recognizing it’s self to be free, persisting in that.

What do I myself want?

I want to be on the map as some one that encourages a spiritual community of simple, modest means around the area with access to a temple or several temples.

My area of choice currently is upstate NY.

How do I promote these ideas? -I write on my blog and write longer articles and send it to others with the hope they will like it. Blog:

I have published a book titled “what’s what”

And I am working on a next one.

All with the hope of establishment of an idea of normalcy of spiritual pursuits and support of such, of an actual wider network coming around.

Ways to help, share, comment, contribute – , think, turn your head and listen or relax in the moment, resolve to be open minded….

Thank you for reading, especially if my random rumblings kept you as far as this point.

Your friend,


PS. Yes it is a motivational speech. Yes it encourages you to do nothing. Yes, I know that most people will do nothing. And as before, I am happy even if you just read it to the end. Thank you. May positivity of every kind increase without bounds!

What’s What goes “Upstate”

Summer Retreat 2005

While recently in Palyul Retreat Center I was able to distribute a whole bunch of free copies of my book What’s What, asking people for the reviews. Many took a copy and I am very happy with this, if later on any of you forget to make a review or dislike making a review, this is still just perfectly fine.

A Lama who I bow to the feet of, a master of appearances and realizations when I asked them if it is alright to leave a copy asked me if I have an extra copy to spare…

-Simplicity beyond any idea of simplicity. I just pray to be even a little bit like that and because I seem to have seen a master like this, maybe my life is not completely wasted.

Now several people had surprizing rejection towards taking a fee copy or a copy at all.

Some one said they do not read books.

Some one said they do not know English.

And some one said they object to the idea of a fee copy.

Some other person expressed  that was very hard for them to reach an understanding in regards to who wrote the book and why. –I kept saying that I wrote it but do not like the idea of saying that I did “write” it. Rather that I “made” it because it came about in somewhat organic way, is based on talking to people online and in person and does not establish my understanding as anything special, but rather shows off my willingness to write, comment, think out loud and to think of these as serious and not serious in same time, but possibly worthy of a book.

As example of a conversation that I heard, It is based on a quotation passed online. It goes something like this.

In order to understand what this is about one has to know definitions of:

Theism and Atheism, these can be summed up as “Belief in a solid, substantial god or entity “above” reality of this life” and conversely in the case of Atheism rejection of belief in any such entity. So, for example to say “Buddhism is atheist” is fine because it is possible to term Buddhism as religion, philosophy, spirituality, discipline of meditation, anything along these lines. But within this “Buddhist doctrine” (Buddhist as in awakening) we do not teach or learn of any entity like that, it is simply not there in no way similar to the idea of a “god” or creator.

Then to the discussion:

Some one said “Can you imagine, I heard that Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche said that if an Act of Buddhist Refuge is uninformed it is a theistic action!”

-My thoughts on this, within Buddhism we have a very important idea of learning and getting used to new information and new points of view on already available information.

It can be done in a complex way of memorization of whole books or in a simple way of meditating on a single point.

So, it is very likely a possibility that “Act of Buddhist Refuge” is not really explained all that clearly in common, every day language beyond offering of water bowls to the images of awakening or bowing down.

And that is my selfish “claim to fame” I somehow would like to not be a bridge builder but that very bridge that will bring people that are moving towards learning contemplation and meditation on what other much greater scholars and practitioners have already made available in many languages, all conveniently available everywhere, all you need is an interest and an open mind.

So, please support the book by getting a copy, recommending it, reviewing it, and obviously supporting your coffee mug with, as I said earlier, it is of that perfect size to do the job.

Then there is an attempt to write at least one more book, that speaks to the today and here is the fundraiser for that:

Steve makes it out of the crowd and past the horizon

Myself and Steven in front of the Palyul Retreat center temple on the Buddha’s Festival day of Chokor Duchen that selebrates 1st historical teaching given by Buddha Shakyamuni.

A while back I undertook to work non-stop hours, In fact there was a time when I had two jobs that I worked 7 days a week and I think it went on for a stretch of six months at one time, before I took a single day off.

In one job I had to cook a hot steam table of Food Emporium Supermarket that used to be on 68th street and Broadway. That I did two days a week. In my effort to enter into the supermarket experience from my recent cooking experience I also took a deli counter job in Gourmet Garage of West Village and that I did the other five days a week. Coming off five years of cooking in a full service restaurant and having run a kitchen, none of the duties were hard to perform and I actually took these jobs in order to have an easier career.

In the West Village I have often had customers that were regulars and I got to know their names, what they do at work and were they go on vacation, or what books do they read and what TV shows they watch. Crucially, some of the regulars had special requests, as in my sandwich should be made like this and like that, not too much mayo and a one and a half pieces of provolone cheese only. None of these requests ever bothered me and my goal was to in fact try and remember the specifications so that the customers would not have to repeat them selves.

One of the customers, Steve had an interesting personality, he was pretty paranoid about the sandwich that was very exacting and never changed that it was very easy to memorize, but had to just be really made the way he wanted and I was able to win his sandwich trust completely to the point  when he waited for me to make while standing aside. Having taken off the list the “sandwich issue” Steve turned out to be very courteous and intelligent person who is a theater actor with interest in Buddhism, art and literature.

After making Steve’s sandwich for a good number of months we connected on facebook and later on when I moved to run cheese department and moved stores completely I would see that he seems to follow my posts sometimes and that went on for about five years. In 016 he reached out to me and said he really wants to come to the Palyul Retreat Center and as I have written many times that I would be only too happy to help anyone make it there, I just had to do it.

Steve took a lot of pictures, appeared to be extremely happy and for sure had to accumulate a ton of jump-start material on Buddhism.

As back in the day of the deli talk we talked about journey that takes place after death and I suggested to him to get a book popularly known as “Tibetan Book of the Dead” and most commonly available one is a slim volume made available by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche through the Shambhala:

-Copies on amazon for a 0.01 and you only really need to pay the shipping..

Then after Steve came through the Upstate Retreat, I had to set him up with my favorite “manual” type of book that does include nearly anything for many interested people to contemplate for years…

Much like choice above copies of this unique book can be had for a penny, and I have obtained a few to give away.

Then there is loose rambling of your’s truly, the misleader of wrong views, no matter how well intentioned, not available for a penny too, but I am happy that I was able to articulate some sort of a book, so it is out there:

So, this is quite a journey that at the outline is pretty magic, to be able to fish out a picky sandwich customer out of a hundreds of customers and put him through facebook posts and with no direct effort into the Tibetan Buddhist Temple to receive teachings and liberating empowerments to rest in the sun on the lawn. To set him up with a bunch of books to take home.

Well, I had very little to do with all this, thanks for coming through on this Steve, I wish that complete non judgmental positivity increases in you life without bounds.

What’s What update

Summer Retreat 2005

Dear friends, I was able to figure out how to get much higher resolution image onto the front cover, how to fix some typos and even how to manipulate the page numbering, so that page numbers do not appear on the title page and are smaller. I am much happier with the appearance of this finalized design. Please do not hesitate, just as before to buy a copy in paper or e-book form, read it, review it, support your coffee mug with it(as it was stated before and it did not change, it is good size for that). Or ignore this whole thing altogether.

Amazon link:

Fundraiser for further writing:

What’s What published on amazon

Summer Retreat 2005
amazon’s kindle cover

Dear friends, I have published What’s What on amazon, (its a kindle eBook)
Here is a link to my author’s page:

Here is a little write up about the book

Purpose of this book is to outline issues that never become less relevant. What is Buddhist practice? And why there can be an effective teacher. Letting these issues to be outlined, allowing reader to arrive as they may. To define, not in a way of dogma but rather inviting anyone interested onto the path that is their own. We all know where the home is and how it feels. Buddhism on the other hand is often complained by Buddhists to be too complex. If we were to make it our home, it would simply reflect our inner situation.
Topics mentioned are: Impermanence, Renunciation, Many lives.
Then Buddhist Refuge with point of view towards practice. Why Guru? Nine Yana classification of practices of Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana as is common to Tibetan Nyingma tradition. Also included towards the end is a short list of books and materials for further reading and research with extensive reviews.

Please consider:

Published a preview for the upcoming paperback of What’s What. Short summary and About the author chapters are included. Take a look if you are curious in the book, OR if you don’t want to bother with the book but may want to know what it is all about (the summary is rather short! half a page). Thank you!

Author’s: What’s What

Summer Retreat 2005

Excerpt from the book to be published this summer under title of What’s What, the book of mish-mash, of far-out ideas, idle talk, gossip and musings on the spiritual path of the search for the truth, from your’s truly, the misleader of the wrong views, Sherab Gyatso Alex.

Few Words of introduction

It is often heard to be said,

Just about any effort:

“To preserve the past and build the future…”

-It is just that mindset turned towards illusory conventionally agreed upon dreamlike reality that causes suffering.


Past is a history and is never now,

Of course,

Future is a mystery and is also never now,


Present is now and is all there is.


Tomorrow is the day that never comes, that day is by definition is always tomorrow.


-These can become a practical mindset that encourages action or non-action, encourages presence in here and now and puts this dream-like that seemingly surrounds us into actually practical perspective.


Than preserving that which can not be preserved because it is gone. Or building that which no matter the effort will be there, but can not really be known in here and now completely, unless one has clairvoyance of a fully actualized Buddha.


Without any stress or sense of urgency it is important to know that the time to act is always now.

Without making plans for the actions of the future, lay down foundation for the future by rather doing what you could plan for this present moment, knowing of cause and effect and possibilities without limit as everything arising depends on causes and everything can act as a cause.

In addition,

It’s such a good idea to be able to evaluate theories from point of view of application and benefit.


Let us find true benefit and when it instantly happens make it so.

Special note on the Now, the present.

There is practical difference to learning, or following a teacher and in a confused, ego driven way “trying to figure things out”.

In the 1st instance there is a possibility of open minded learning, in the second there is a possibility of identification of what one already knows and while there are things to be learned and experienced, chance of that is blocked. Ultimately ideas of past, present and future are there with focus on present but as a gross springboard, a launching pad to affect liberation from all three. And not to be stuck in.

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