Posts Tagged ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

29
Nov
08

I die every night and I live every day

I am not a Buddhist, despite most of these blogs.  The teachings of Buddhism however, have a significant psychological and philosophical influence in my life for which I am most grateful – it is a most auspicious teacher and has been since childhood (In my Christian upbringing I was always attracted to the book of “Job”; he was my favorite old testament character along with “Joseph” and the most meditative Buddhist in Judaism, while Joseph was the most mindful). I posted below 2 excerpts from this weeks Tricycle’s Daily Dharma and a quote from Jack Kornfield’s “Buddha’s Little Instruction Book”.  For me the are about the paradox of embracing in order to “let go” (the latter of which is a theme in my recent blogs).  I hope they offer you as much insight as they have me:

Rebirth
We are in actual fact reborn every moment with new thoughts and feelings, and we bring with us the karma that we made in the past moments. If we were angry a moment ago, we are not going to feel good immediately. If we were loving a moment ago, we would be feeling fine now. Thus we live moment to moment with the results of our karma.

Every morning, particularly, can be seen as a rebirth. The day is young, we are full of energy and have a whole day ahead of us. Every moment we get older and are tired enough in the evening to fall asleep and die a small death. All we can do then is toss and turn in bed, and our whole mind is dreamy and foggy. Everyday can be regarded as a whole lifespan, since we can only live one day at a time; the past is gone and the future may or may not come; only this rebirth, this day, this moment, is important.

–Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies

The mirror of death

According to the wisdom of Buddha, we can actually use our lives to prepare for death. We do not have to wait for the painful death of someone close to us or the shock of terminal illness to force us into looking at our lives. Nor are we condemned to go out empty-handed at death to meet the unknown. We can begin, here and now, to find meaning in our lives. We can make of every moment an opportunity to change and to prepare–wholeheartedly, precisely, and with peace of mind–for death and eternity. In the Buddhist approach, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected.

–Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Each Morning we are born again.
What we do today is what matters most
–Jack Kornfield


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18
Nov
08

Another day, same old mantra, Open your damn hand already

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

An Experiment
Let’s try an experiment. Pick up a coin. Imagine that it represents the object at which you are grasping. Hold it tightly clutched in your fist and extend your arm, with the palm of your hand facing the ground. Now if you let go or relax your grip, you will lose what you are clinging onto. That’s why you hold on.
But there’s another possibility: You can let go and yet keep hold of it. With your arm still outstretched, turn your hand so that it faces the sky. Release your hand and the coin still rests on your open palm. You let go. And the coin is still yours, even with all this space around it.
So there is a way in which we can accept impermanence and still relish life, at one and the same time, without grasping.
-Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

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.




Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
Thanks for stopp'n by and please leave a comment. Poz or Neg, all comments welcome.
"I don't like Spam" (said with a British accent)

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