Monday, January 31, 2022

Shantideva...



“As long as space abides and as long as the world abides, so long may I abide, destroying the sufferings of the world.”










The beauty and wisdom of a true compassionate and loviing being. How beatiful our nation and planet would be if only all beings in this life shared and practiced these pithy truths.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

An Introduction to Buddhist Wisdom in Less Than 9 Minutes

 


Attachments, Suffering, and Impermanence...

 


Traveling along life's winding path,
attachments we accumulate.

Items of comfort and pleasure we long for,
serve only to increase our torment.

Fear of losing what we've strove to acquire,
we grasp ever more franticly for permanence.

As impermanence is the state of all that is,
perpetual grasping brings perpetual suffering.

Sitting in meditation, as wisdom grows and clarity arises,
liberation from attachments and suffering is realized.

LEC




  

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Awakening To Clarity and Love...

 


Looking into the mind one sees open spaciousness and luminosity's glow,
as it baths the infinite expanses of the cosmos.

Aware of the tender compassion that naturally fills the beating heart,
love flows forth, as it helps relieve the suffering of all sentient beings in samsara.

Realizing that form is emptiness, and emptiness is form,
one awakens to enlightened wisdom, understanding, and bliss all three.

Sitting on the cushion, deep in meditation's relaxed state,
the truth of non-duality arises and manifests in consciousness.

Resting in the awareness of one's own Buddha nature,
equanimity, serenity, and boundless love and compassion flow.

LEC

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Warmth of a New Day...

 


Bathed in the warmth of the morning sun
I awoke, joyful for the birth of a new day.

The blessings awaiting me I could not guess, 
but the excitement was great just the same.

As the flow of my day rolled along, my heart soared,
ever higher, bringing boundless joy and wonderment.

Resting in each moment, neither rushing nor resisting,
great equanimity and awareness arose.

Sitting on my cushion with legs crossed and eyes closed,
the understanding of form and emptiness manifested.

Seeing beyond the self into the true nature of heart/mind,
interconnectedness and interbeing rang true.

LEC




 



The Great Perfection...

 

When such people with stable minds—without being boastful about the mere number of months or years they have spent practicing in retreat—see this entrance and undertake the practice, they will definitely achieve the supreme state of Buddha Vajradhara in this very lifetime. Of this there is no doubt.

— The Vajra Essence, Düdjom Lingpa’s Visions of the Great Perfection, Vol. 3


Rest in your true nature without effort or distraction — Mingyur Rinpoche teaches the renowned practice of Dzogchen.




Lion's RoarYou are already perfect. You are already a buddha. In fact, there’s no difference between your true nature, right now as you sit reading this, and the true nature of the buddha, or any enlightened being for that matter.

That’s the view of Dzogchen, a Tibetan word that means “Great Perfection.” Dzogchen is treasured above all other practices in the Nyingma school of Vajrayana Buddhism because it helps us connect directly with our own enlightened nature.

This Great Perfection is you right now, right here in this moment, not some fully developed you after you do a lot more meditation.

Your essence, and the essence of every living creature, is pure, whole, and complete. There’s nothing missing, and that’s why we call it the Great Perfection. YOU are the Great Perfection. Don’t forget that. Dzogchen is talking about you. This Great Perfection is you right now, right here in this moment, not some fully developed you after you do a lot more meditation.

In Dzogchen, we call this enlightened nature rigpa, or pure awareness. Unlike some approaches in which buddhanature is taught in a more theoretical way, and you need to study and meditate for a long time to figure out what it is, Dzogchen is experiential. You get introduced to pure awareness directly, right on the spot.

A traditional way to describe Dzogchen is in terms of the ground, the path, and the fruition.

The Great Perfection is our true nature, whether we realize it or not. That’s the ground of Dzogchen. It’s the reality of our experience and who we are.

But that doesn’t help if we don’t experience it for ourselves. The way to do that is by having this pure awareness introduced to us, and then getting familiar with it until it becomes stable and enduring. That process is the path.

Then, once we’re familiar with our own true nature, once we’ve realized it fully and integrated it into every aspect of our lives, we will fully manifest the enlightened qualities that were there all along. That’s the fruition.

The Ground of Dzogchen

It might be a little unclear what this “true nature” really is, so let me explain a bit more about the ground.

When we use all these fancy terms like “buddhanature” and “pure awareness,” what are we actually talking about? Well, there are three main qualities to look for here. We refer to these as the “empty essence,” “luminous nature,” and “all-pervasive compassion.” That’s the ground, your true nature.

“Empty essence” means that the true nature of mind, the essence of pure awareness, transcends all our ideas, concepts, and beliefs. It is utterly beyond all our suffering and problems. It is completely free. The term for this is “innate purity”—the essence of who we are was, is, and always will be perfect. It’s completely pure, and nothing can change that.

This empty essence is ungraspable, beyond our ordinary way of seeing things, but it’s not nothing. There is also a luminous, knowing presence. This is what we call the “luminous nature.” Sometimes it’s called “self-clarity,” because this clarity is spontaneous and natural. It’s just there, all the time. Even when we’re asleep, distracted, or completely neurotic. It’s there.

The empty essence and clear nature are one and the same. They’re inseparable. This inseparability is the third quality of the ground, which we call “all-pervasive compassion.” This open, spacious clarity manifests as all our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, just like the sun radiates light. These experiences, in fact all of our experiences, are none other than the manifestations or play of pure awareness.

The Path of Dzogchen

But what good does just knowing this do us? Not much. That’s why we need a path. We need to translate this from nice words and ideas to an actual experience.

The Dzogchen path is really quite simple. That’s not to say it’s easy, but it is simple.

The only thing we need to do is to recognize this pure inner nature. We need to experience it for ourselves. That’s it. If we want to make it a little more complicated, we could say that first we need to have pure awareness introduced to us, and then we become familiar with it.

So, how does that happen?

Continue to read BELOW the FOLD.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Lone Cloud In the Cloudless Sky...

 


Today I noticed a lonely little cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky
In that little cloud I beheld a field of clover.

Today I noticed a lonely little cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky
In that cloud I beheld a grove of poplar trees.

Today I noticed a lonely little cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky
In that cloud I beheld a flock of mourning Doves.

Today I noticed a lonely little cloud in an otherwise cloudless sky
In that cloud was a vison of the "self", dissolving. Into open spacious emptiness and luminosity.


Friday, January 21, 2022

Retreat Week...

 


Posting will be paused from January 21st through January 27th as I will be on retreat. Have a blessed week .

Thursday, January 20, 2022

A Buddhist Perspective on Work and Income That Makes Perfect Sense...

 


Universal basic income (UBI), as a universal and unconditional periodic cash payment directly to individuals, has recently become a topic of interest among politicians, scholars, and religious leaders. It aims to serve as a neatly designed policy tool to address widening income disparities. Even though further studies are required, some existing evidence supports that UBI-style programs alleviate poverty, improve health and education outcomes, and do not hinder labor market participation. These programs have drawn more interest and debate during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are temporarily accepted to serve as band-aid and short-term responses to the unprecedented economic dislocation. The pandemic may push the circumstances to extremes: Even some self-righteous defenders of the free market are willing to concede that if rescue packages are required to bail out failing corporations, many others may need help too! When people are restricted from working to protect public health, not because they are not motivated, previous concerns over moral hazards may also seem unwarranted.

The pandemic may also force us to rethink what humans really “need” instead of “want” to be happy. Necessary medicine to maintain good health, proper food and nutrition, safe shelter, and sufficient protective clothing are the four basic human needs in Buddhist teachings. In one instance, the Buddha waited for a poor peasant to be properly rested and fed before commencing his teachings. Those without these four basic needs would be considered to be in poverty. Nonetheless, Buddhist notions of wealth are not only material. The Buddha does not deny material wealth like silver and gold, but these forms of wealth can be taken away (by fire, water, kings, thieves, and displeasing heirs). They are also unreliable because they can deepen our greed, hatred, and delusion. Instead, the Buddha taught about the cultivations of wealth in terms of moral virtues, namely (1) faith; (2) virtuous behavior; (3) learning; (4) generosity; (5) wisdom; (6) moral shame; and (7) moral dread (Anguttara Nikaya [AN] 7.6 and AN 7.7). These seven kinds of wealth are truly worthy because they cannot be taken away, and they lead to the cessation of suffering. The Buddha taught that those without moral temperaments are truly indebted and poor (AN 6.45).

Accordingly, a significant insight from Buddhist teachings to UBI is to properly align its objectives. UBI should aim at supporting human basic needs but not greed, hatred, or delusion. It is supposed to provide the foundation to develop human capacity and moral cultivation. The cash distribution should not be a panacea, and definitely not a band-aid, but perhaps a sustainable and flexible way to kick-start human potential and inspiration without taking away the incentive to work, save, invest, and learn.

Another distinctive Buddhist perspective on UBI is that work should be meaningful by itself. According to Buddhist teachings, work should not be considered merely as a means to satisfy our endless desires. It is an integral part of life, and a skill- and character-building process. Work, if conducted in accordance with the Buddhist concept of right livelihood, is a real life practice of sustainable happiness. As Michael Sandel argues, market power could corrupt and coerce people to make involuntary or immoral choices. UBI should empower people with the basic necessity to freely choose morally sound and inspiring work. The Buddha taught that “whatever occupation he makes his living—whether by farming or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king's man or by any other craft,” he is accomplished in initiative when he is skillful and diligent (AN 8.54). The Buddha guides a layperson to acquire wealth worthy of praise and enjoyment by “energetic striving, strength of his arms, sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained…” (AN 4.61). 

SOURCE - Comtinue reading for more knowledgde and exploration.


An enlightened and noble view. Toss off the capitalist cloak, step into your non-cluttered and inquisitive mind, meditate and who knows. You could become part opf the very need3ed solution.

Core Values of Buddhism...

 


THE BUDDHIST CORE VALUES AND PERSPECTIVES FOR PROTECTION CHALLENGES: FAITH AND PROTECTION 

I. THE BACKGROUND OF BUDDHISM Buddhism, like most of the great religions of the world, is divided into a number of different traditions. However, most traditions share a common set of fundamental beliefs. 

One central belief of Buddhism is often referred to as reincarnation -- the concept that people are reborn after dying. In fact, most individuals go through many cycles of birth, living, death and rebirth. A practicing Buddhist differentiates between the concepts of rebirth and reincarnation.

 In reincarnation, the individual may recur repeatedly. In rebirth, a person does not necessarily return to Earth as the same entity ever again. He compares it to a leaf growing on a tree. When the withering leaf falls off, a new leaf will eventually replace it. It is similar to the old leaf, but it is not identical to the original leaf. 

Buddhism is a philosophy of life expounded by Gautama Buddha ("Buddha" means "enlightened one"), who lived and taught in northern India in the 6th century B.C. The Buddha was not a god and the philosophy of Buddhism does not entail any theistic world view. The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. 

The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: 

• The Three Universal Truths;
• The Four Noble Truths; and
• The Noble Eightfold Path. 

II. THE THREE UNIVERSAL TRUTHS 

1. Nothing is lost in the universe 
2. Everything Changes
3. The Law of Cause and Effect

In Buddhism, the law of karma, says "for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful." Therefore, the law of Karma teaches that the responsibility for unskillful actions is borne by the person who commits them. 

After his enlightenment, the Buddha went to the Deer Park near the holy city of Benares and shared his new understanding with five holy men. They understood immediately and became his disciples. This marked the beginning of the Buddhist community. For the next forty-five years, the Buddha and his disciples went from place to place in India spreading the Dharma, his teachings. Their compassion knew no bounds; they helped everyone along the way, beggars, kings and slave girls. At night, they would sleep where they were; when hungry they would ask for a little food. 

Wherever the Buddha went, he won the hearts of the people because he dealt with their true feelings. He advised them not to accept his words on blind faith, but to decide for themselves whether his teachings are right or wrong, then follow them. He encouraged everyone to have compassion for each other and develop their own virtue: "You should do your own work, for I can teach only the way."

 Once, the Buddha and his disciple Ananda visited a monastery where a monk was suffering from a contagious disease. The poor man lay in a mess with no one looking after him. The Buddha himself washed the sick monk and placed him on a new bed. Afterwards, he admonished the other monks: "Monks, you have neither mother nor father to look after you. If you do not look after each other, who will look after you? Whoever serves the sick and suffering, serves me."

 After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain  Nirvana. This is a state of liberation and freedom from suffering.

SOURCE - Finish article for continued reading and knowledge..



How Will Life End On This Planet?..

 



Following is a list of the10 greatest threats to sentient beings life on this beautiful and marvelous home of ours. Planet Earth.

Following the list is a link to the full article. Enjoy. Or perhaps, become more aware. Really aware so as to take action personally on those things we (all) can have a positive and healing impact on.



10. Nuclear War
9. Biological Warfare
8. Global Pandemic
7. Climate Change
6. Loss Of Biodiversity
5. Artificial Intelligence
4. Nanotechnology
3. Super Volcanoes
2. Asteroid
1. The Unknown


Note: The top three may be completely beyond our control. Four through ten are certainly within our ability to influence and perhaps eventually control if one through three doesn't happen anytime soon.

Therefore, it just seems like time to get REALLY serious about taking actions to impove our situation and ultimately to reverse the trends human started at the dawn of the industrial age.

8. Global P

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Understanding Emptiness...

 


What Is Emptiness?

Emptiness (in Sanskrit, shunyata) is a foundational doctrine of Mahayana Buddhism. It is also possibly the most misunderstood doctrine in all of Buddhism. Too often, people assume it means that nothing exists. But this is not the case.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said, "The existence of things and events is not in dispute; it is the manner in which they exist that must be clarified." Put another way, things and events have no intrinsic existence and no individual identity except in our thoughts.

The Dalai Lama also teaches that "existence can only be understood in terms of dependent origination." Dependent origination is a teaching that no being or thing exists independently of other beings or things.

In the Four Noble Truths, the Buddha taught that our distresses ultimately spring from thinking ourselves to be independently existing beings with an intrinsic "self." Thoroughly perceiving that this intrinsic self is a delusion liberates us from suffering.

SOURCE


Heart Sutra (Translation by Thich Nhat Hahn)

Avalokiteshvara
while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.

“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.

“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.

“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.

The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.

The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.

Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.

Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.

“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.

“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”



3 Qoutes By the Great Tibetan Master Milarepa...

 





All worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable and inevitable end, which is sorrow; acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births in death. Knowing this, one should, from the very first, renounce acquisitions and storing-up, and building, and meeting; and, faithful to the commands of an eminent Guru, set about realizing the Truth. That alone is the best of religious observances.

Amazing Knowledge With the Click Of a Mouse...

 

The link below takes you to Lotsawa House where lots of great information is available at the click f a mouse. 

I've found the site useful and hope you will too.





Translations of Tibetan Buddhist Texts

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Ain't It So?...

 


Obscurations of the Republican Party...

 















We break from our regular posting content to highlight the rampant spread of Covid 19 among the American people. Those who blindly accept the blatanly obvious lies of the Republican party are the one most responsible for our national crises of confidence. 

Trump (along with his sycophants) merely understood what was bothering the American people and and then proceeded to manipulate the narative so as to skew reality with lies to serve Trump's own narcisistic self interests.

What follows was found at Progressive Eruptions and clearly reminds us of the egregiously sick body that is the Republican Party power base.


I

A well-known conservative activist in Arlington, Texas, who peddled COVID-19 vaccine misinformation has died of complications caused by the virus—just a few weeks after attending a “symposium” against the shots. The Arlington Republican Party confirmed the passing of Kelly Canon on Facebook.


Could all of the above be part of America's increasing difficulties acceptiong reality the past five yars or so? Just curious, just asking.

The Beginner's Mind...

 


The Zen of Not Knowing

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”

By Zenkei Blanche Hartman









Beginner’s mind is Zen practice in action. It is the mind that is innocent of preconceptions and expectations, judgments and prejudices. Beginner’s mind is just present to explore and observe and see “things as they are.” I think of beginner’s mind as the mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. “I wonder what this is? I wonder what that is? I wonder what this means?” Without approaching things with a fixed point of view or a prior judgment, just asking “What is it?”

I was having lunch with Indigo, a small child, at City Center [a Soto Zen practice center in San Francisco]. He saw an object on the table and got very interested in it. He picked it up and started fooling with it: looking at it, putting it in his mouth, and banging on the table with it—just engaging with it without any previous idea of what it was. For Indigo, it was just an interesting thing, and it was a delight to him to see what he could do with this thing. You and I would see it and say, “It’s a spoon. It sits there and you use it for soup.” It doesn’t have all the possibilities that he finds in it.

Watching Indigo, you can see the innocence of “What is it?”

Read more BELOW the FOLD.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Explaining Karma...



Although most westerners have heard of karma, there's still a lot of confusion about what it means. For example, many seem to think that karma is only about being rewarded or punished in the next life. And it may be understood that way in other Asian spiritual traditions, but that's not exactly how it is understood in Buddhism. 

To be sure, you can find Buddhist teachers who will tell you that karma (or kamma in Pali) is all about good or bad rebirth. But if you dig deeper, a different picture emerges.

Karma

The Sanskrit word karma means "volitional act" or "deed." The law of karma is a law of cause and effect or an understanding that every deed produces fruit.

In Buddhism, karma is not a cosmic criminal justice system. There is no intelligence behind it that is rewarding or punishing. It's more like a natural law. 

Karma is created by the intentional acts of body, speech, and mind. Only acts pure of greed, hate and delusion do not produce karmic effects. Note that intention may be subconscious.

In most schools of Buddhism, it's understood that the effects of karma begin at once; cause and effect are one. It's also the case that once set in motion, karma tends to continue in many directions, like ripples on a pond. So, whether you believe in rebirth or not, karma is still important. What you do right now impacts the life you are living right now. 

Karma is not mysterious or hidden. Once you understand what it is, you can observe it all around you. For example, let's say a man gets into an argument at work. He drives home in an angry mood, cutting off someone at an intersection. The driver cut off is now angry, and when she gets home she yells at her daughter. This is karma in action - one angry act has touched off many more. If the man who argued had the mental discipline to let go of his anger, the karma would have stopped with him.


Continue reading BELOW the FOLD.

SOURCE


Excerpt fron Lion's Roar - Should one try to convince a Westerner just coming to Buddhism to accept the principles of karma and rebirth fully?

Bhikkhu Bodhi: I wouldn’t begin by trying to impose the full weight of classical Buddhist doctrine on a Westerner who has newly come to Buddhism. Yet I wouldn’t disguise or camouflage the teachings. I would tell someone exactly what the Buddha teaches.

I would say, though, that if one is coming to Buddhism out of the blue, one should begin by examining those principles of the Buddha’s teaching that can be verified within one’s life here and now. One can see, for example, that when one observes ethical conduct, the quality of one’s life improves. One can see that when systematic development in meditation diminishes greed, anger and ignorance, one becomes more mindful, more aware, and gains greater insight into experience. One will see, as a result, that one experiences greater happiness, peace and contentment. On that basis, I would say that one can recognize where these teachings are coming from: they are coming from the Buddha, the Enlightened One.

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.

Once one gains a working confidence in the Buddha—based on what one can validate and confirm in one’s own experience—then one should be willing to place trust in those teachings of the Buddha which lie beyond the scope of one’s immediate experience. Not out of blind submission to the authority of the Buddha, but because one has gained experiential validation of some aspects of his teachings. Therefore, if one wants to follow that teaching to its full extent, one should be ready to accept on trust those teachings that lie beyond one’s present capacity for confirmation.

Additional reading.