Posts Tagged ‘enlightenment
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”
Thus, the transformation of sociological and psychological structures must take place initially in our own minds. . . (this is) the blueprint for revolutionary change, first in the individual, then in the community of which he or she is a part. . .if we truly hope to address the root cause of social suffering -Charles Johnson
Rapid technological advances. Increased wealth. Stress. Stable lives and careers come under the pressure of accelerating change. The twenty-first century?
the sixth century B.C.E.—a time of destructive warfare, economic dislocation, and widespread disruption of established patterns of life, just like today.
In conditions similar to ours, the Buddha discovered a path to lasting happiness. His discovery—a step-by-step method of mental training to achieve contentment—is as relevant today as ever.
Putting the Buddha’s discovery into practice is no quick fix. It can take years.
The most important qualification at the beginning is a strong desire to change your life by adopting new habits and learning to see the world anew.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana from “Getting Started ,” Tricycle, Fall 2001
(ahh history just continuously repeats itself ~John – but you don’t have too)
I have been privileged enough to have some great people and opportunities in my life to practice and develop a sense of self kindness. I cannot express more, how I wish that everyone has the chance to practice self compassion. It has made such a difference not only on how I view myself, but also on how I see the the world and treat others. It has been life changing.
I’ve got a ways to go yet in cultivating this stance; however, I am so grateful for what has awakened in me thus far.
Here’s a post from Tricycle on the subject:
Open Yourself to Yourself
When you don’t punish or condemn yourself, when you relax more and appreciate your body and mind, you begin to contact the fundamental notion of basic goodness in yourself. So it is extremely important to be willing to open yourself to yourself. Developing tenderness toward yourself allows you to see both your problems and your potential accurately. You don’t feel that you have to ignore your problems or exaggerate your potential. That kind of gentleness toward yourself and appreciation of yourself is very necessary. It provides the ground for helping yourself and others.
Chögyam Trungpa, The Sanity We Are Born With (Shambhala Publications)
The Challenge of Enlightenment
If the traditional realization of enlightenment is that everything is already perfect and whole, then why should anyone bother trying to improve themselves or the world? In the following excerpt from a classic dialogue between American Buddhist pioneer Roshi Bernie Glassman and EnlightenNext founder Andrew Cohen, these two teachers explore the potential danger of complacency and self-satisfaction on the spiritual path:
|COHEN: The challenge of enlightenment is that on one hand everything is already full and complete and already free and, at the same time, there is an overwhelming amount of suffering that urgently needs to be responded to in every moment.
GLASSMAN: Exactly. Some people experience that first stage and get caught there. They think, “There’s nothing to do.”
COHEN: Yes. And they may even use it as an excuse not to have to do anything. That’s how many people actually squelch the expression of their own conscience, their own humanity. That’s a pretty bad place to be.
GLASSMAN: That’s sort of where I started—trying to encourage people not to remain in that place. There’s a state in Japanese Zen that’s called the “Cave of Satan.” It’s that place where you just stay—because there’s nothing to do. And you can get in that state and it can be an overwhelming experience. But the point is to kick the person out of that cave.
In one his movies, the comedian W.C. Fields walks into a bank and up to the teller’s window. The teller asks, “Can you identify yourself?” Fields says, “Of course. Do you have a mirror?” When presented with one, Fields immediately states, “Yup, that’s me!”It’s meant as a joke, but it carries a ring of truth. Who among us can say they really know themselves, without illusions, beyond the face in the mirror, their name-rank-and-serial-number role in the world, their personas, defense mechanisms, and self-deceptions?
Do we distinguish between when we are being authentic and inauthentic?
Do we know what we really feel about things, what our true values and priorities are, what lies below the surface of consciousness, and what makes us tick?
- Lama Surya Das, from The Big Questions (Rodale)
Here’s to finding out who you really are in the quiet moments.
After a busy and fun holiday weekend, I am in need of some quiet moments – no tv, no internet, no phone, no family and no friends.
I think a walking meditation on the beach is called for tonight, before I even return home from work.
The sound of water & sand, wind, my heartbeat and my breath – Observing my thoughts arise and then watching them fall away, like the water receding and coming to shore again.
Stripped away and back to me.
About 20 minutes should do it – the rest of the night won’t be the same. The rest of my life won’t be the same.
Yeah, it’s time to prioritize.
With Hands Open and Receptive,
Without commentary by me, more wisdom from Sakyong Mipham from Turning the Mind into an Ally :
“If we think of how many other beings are born here on Earth, it’s amazing that we’re born human.
A traditional Buddhist teaching on the difficulty of obtaining human birth uses the image of a blind tortoise swimming in the ocean that’s as big as the Earth, with an ox’s yoke tossing on the surface. Once every five hundred years the turtle swims up to the surface. The chances of obtaining human birth are said to be as small as the chances of that turtle emerging with its head in the yoke.
. . . we’ve been born in a time and place where we have the luxury of
and putting into action
teachings that awaken us to our enlightened mind”
May you be free from pain,
Just another reason why I breathe.
It’s an ego check.
AKA – a reality check.
Enlightenment is after all about “Keep’n it Real”.
Enjoy the quotes,
“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.” ~ Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality
As Rumi reminds us, “There is no worse sickness for the soul, o you who are proud, than this pretense of perfection.”
When I am out with my camera I am 99.9% of the time in the moment.
The lens helps me to focus, be present and observe my surroundings . What a great way to practice; I have so much to be thankful for. Why do I forget that? Oh yeah, cause I’m a damn human on the path to enlightenment – no more or less an asshole than the rest of the planet.
With my camera, I slow down, my breathing becomes more integrated, I begin to notice the subtleties and I feel more centered. I definitely feel more connected to my surroundings.
The trick is that I don’t go out to photograph anything in particular. I just go for a hike, a walk, a ride in the car, etc. There is no preconceived idea of what needs to be done – there is just an openess to explore the world around me. There is no particular subject matter that is assigned, just an observing mind. No prejudgement regarding the subject, the lighting, the composition. Just a willingness to pay attention and discover.
Here’s a few of today’s results:
Okay, if you don’t have the incense to burn away your accumulated Karma, you might be interested in these definitions. They are some of my favorite and each touch on very different aspects of Karma. Sure, I could post hundreds of aspects or viewpoints on the subject by teachers, musicians, poets . . . Today, I just happen to like these three . . .
With open hands,
Karma is created every time you act out of unconsciousness, ignorance, and selfishness in ways that cause suffering to others. For most of us, karma is a powerful force—the accumulated momentum of literally countless actions. The momentum of karma is what makes the personal world of ego and unenlightenment appear so attractive to us.
The authentic self in each of us is compelled to become enlightened and perpetually evolve, but the ego is driven by the need to always be in control and ever remain the same. And it is the choices that we make in every moment that determine which part of our self will be creating our destiny. Each time we act out of ego, karma is instantly created.
Enlightenment means freedom from karma.
It’s the law of interdependence—that every action produces a reaction, and that when you combine billions of actions with billions of reactions, and they begin to react to one another’s reactions…well that’s why it’s not as simple as if you do good, good things come back to you. Or if you do bad, that bad things will happen to you. Why? Because your karma could, boomeranging back toward you, come into contact with other streams of karma, either good or bad.
But if you want to keep things simple, live by these words:
“If you want to be happy, think of others. If you want to be unhappy, think only of oneself.” It’s the Buddhist version of Christianity’s Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as you would have Others Do Unto You.
~ Waylon Lewis
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The more I take time to sit, the more I make time to do my QiGong, the more I take time to pay attention to the activties in everyday moments – like when I am eating a piece of food and turn my attention to this activity, rather than wander off in my head or in front of the TV as I shovel food in my mouth - the more I relax into who I am beyond my ego.
Slowing down, emptying out and paying attention have some wonderful side effects (lowering blood pressure, destressing, muscles becoming less tense, etc.). An often overlooked benefit however, is a wide-openness in relationship with the self. Sounds great, huh? (ok, now I’m chuckling – or is it snickering?)
You see, I do not subscribe to a romantasized view of enlightment (or love) so at first this openness may not exactly seem like a benefit. Because just as with any relationship we have that grows deeper, the relationship with the self as it opens, brings to the surface all the dark stuff, all the shit, all the obstacles – anxieties, triggers, the raw-ness, the mistrust that comes from being in love and getting closer. It’s honesty – a being honest with who you are in an integrated wholeness. I take me as I am, not just the enlightened stuff, warts and all (or is it “ego” and all?)
Sticking with it – like a committment I’d have with any other love relationship – and being sure to treat myself with kindness, compassion and honesty allows me to be the container that can hold these areas as they arise.
So while we may all believe we need to love ourselves more, I am reminded what real love entails. It means being with the shit. Not ignoring it or reacting to it. This is true with the others I love as well as myself. And lets face it, if that type of development were easy we’d all be in enlightened relationships . . .
So I continue to sit
(and watch the Stuart Davis show on the web – I like how he integrates the shadow and I usually always laugh – especially the show on “The Secret”)
But why do I desire 2 days? *smirk*. If you ever had one day like this I know you get it. I am thankful to every “thing” that has pointed me in this direction. Deep Joy
Better than a hundred years
110. Better than a hundred years lived in vice, without contemplation, is one single day of life lived in virtue and in deep concentration.
111. Better than a hundred years lived in ignorance, without contemplation, is one single day of life lived in wisdom and in deep concentration.
112. Better than a hundred years lived in idleness and in weakness is one single day of life lived with courage and powerful striving.
113. Better than a hundred years not considering how all things rise and pass away is one single day of life if one considers how all things rise and pass away.
114. Better than a hundred years not seeing one’s own immoertality is one single day if one sees one’s own immortality.
115. Better than a hundred years not seeing the Path supreme is one single day of life if one sees the Path supreme.
– The Dhammapada, trans. by Juan Mascaro
A few posts back I wrote about an eloquent saying I had come across:
“Open your hand and let the dead wood drop”
I still love that metaphor. Not chucking the wood, not chopping it up into pieces; just opening my hand and letting it drop to the ground, right where I am standing.
I never have any problem accumulating shit. Building up my ego. I live sparsely compared to most Americans; I live like a king compared to people in underdeveloped countries – it’s a matter of perspective. Most of my accumulations are in my head and heart. I need regular clearings. Spiritual enemas. A washing out of all that accumulated waste that keeps me from taking in what I need in life. I walk around with a clenched fist. Just open your fuck’n hand already, John. Sit down and be still.
I say the above with a smile. My background was/is about perfectionistic German anger (apparently the only emotion that was “natural” for most family members to convey). The reason? Be tough, the world’s a harsh fuck’n place; you need to be tough to survive, to watch your back (although the “hard work” ethic has served me well too). I have to grin; that way of thinking creeps up every now and then, but in another sense it is so foreign.
My “hard work ethic” rears up at times too, it tells me to ”doing something” (like go chop up the dead wood and analyze it *grin*). Damn, it’s dead wood – let it go, John.
I don’t beat myself up anymore and at the same time I am still able to hold myself to standards of development – in a friendlier way ( a bit more compassion towards myself). Sometimes a metaphorical slap upside the head does me well though, other times a metaphorical friendly conversation over a cup of tea does me well. I am more reactive to the former and tend to be far more attentive when the latter is used.
It’s just a reaction to how I was raised. A part of my psychological evolution. Not unfamiliar to many of us. It’s a common way to be raised.
Another part of being raised in my family is to view life as black and white. Fuck colors, there’s hardly any room for grey, haha. This has challenged me to let go even more. Letting go means choices, means possibility.
Who doesn’t love a world with possibilities? To be able to say “I don’t Already know”. To be open.
I came across another “open hand” writing that again gave me yet another choice. Not just one way. It was like a slap upside the head that stopped me in my tracks so I could sit down with a comforting cup of jasmine green tea *smirk*. (It also works well regarding a “clinging” that comes with our financial times right now or a “clinging” to the last 8 years of our political climate)
Tricycle’s Daily Dharma
Sure someone can take the coin, or not. Someone can add to the coin, or not. Willingness. Possibility. Choice. Openness. (and maybe even letting go)
Have a good one and thanks for stopping by.
I stumbled across this music video by Buddhist teacher SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE many of you may already know. Worth posting, yeah?
“If you can’t find the truth right where you are, where else do you think you will find it?”