October 31, 2005
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
October 30, 2005
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
October 29, 2005
The sun in the morning.
Like a protective mother she rises and brings warmth to everything she touches.
Artists try to harness her beauty, scientists study to find her secrets.
Every being feels more alive when she is there sad when she is shrouded by a cloud.
She leaves each day with a promise to return that is never broken.
Ascension is: The goal of our individual evolution, and the collective evolution of humanity... it is each soul's destiny. The highest level of consciousness available to us... permanent union with our Higher Self and the Universal Spirit... oneness with all Life. Becoming our highest possible self....gaining the full use of our creative and spiritual powers. Raising our vibration and shifting our perception from limited physical reality to limitless spiritual reality. Awakening our inner senses and completing construction of our Spiritual Body, aka our Light Body... thus gaining access to higher spiritual worlds. A state of permanent peace, joy, and freedom from limitation and suffering. Becoming an instrument of Universal Light, Love, Wisdom, and Power. Playing a greater role of service in the Great Cosmic Plan. Taking our place among the assembly of Ascended Beings from all cultures who have reached this evolutionary pinnacle. Coming Home.
October 28, 2005
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
October 27, 2005
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Gyeltsen emphasized compassion, love and kindness as the central aspects that Tibetan Buddhism teaching embodies. He stressed that respect for others, and especially respect for one’s parents, is central to the beliefs of the religion.
“Disrespecting parents is not good. It’s not Dharma’s [the path to enlightenment] way. It’s not the teaching’s way,” Gyeltsen said. He condemned selfishness, explaining that all evils are the consequence of this self-cherishment. “Man makes trouble for others and [for him]self through self-cherishment,” Gyeltsen said. “Self-cherishment makes an enemy of us.”
In contrast to self-cherishment, he insisted that “cherishment of others is great — it is the cause of joy.”
This cherishment of others is defined as compassion, while love and kindness, two other vital aspects of Tibetan Buddhism, allow man to quell jealousy of others.
Gyeltsen explained that through cherishing others, people are able to learn from them. The more people learn from their neighbors, he continued, the greater capacity they have for happiness and the greater ability they have for promoting equality.
Gyeltsen related current problems facing the world to these three hallmarks of the religion. The first issue he discussed was world peace, which he said could become a reality through the sharing of ideas.
The talk also covered current damage to the environment, the importance of protection and worrying about the present rather than focusing on the future.
“Today has been already — tomorrow is more important. It really is,” Gyeltsen said.
The final issue that he addressed was human rights for all people. “Dignity of people is very important. Rich or poor, adult or child — it doesn’t matter,” he said.
Additionally, Gyeltsen emphasized that Tibetan Buddhism is only one of many ways to discover enlightenment.
In his lecture, Gyeltsen also discussed the next generation.
“Young people are very important. Young people need the right action for themselves and others,” he said. “The young generation wants to change the world.”
This faith in the next generation was contrasted by some of the youth he encountered when he first came to the United States in 1976. “When I came here, there were the ‘flower people’ [hippies]. They didn’t want to work. They were disrespectful of the government and their parents,” he said.
Despite these attitudes, Gyeltsen was also greeted by many who longed to truly learn about the religion. Therefore, in 1978 he established the Thubten Dhargye Ling center for the study of Buddhism in Los Angeles. Because of the center’s great success, Gyeltsen has since established schools in other states, including Colorado and Texas.
Gyeltsen’s lecture was warmly received by an audience of students, faculty and Ithacans.
“I take any opportunity to hear the Tibetan Buddhist perspectives on life. And it is interesting to hear about people who have left Tibet and are spreading their teachings. The message [of these teachings] is always about humanity, kindness and perspective,” said Elaine Surowick, a resident of Ithaca and student at the Namgyal Monastery.
The lecture also appealed to Cornell students. “I really connected with a lot of the things he [Gyeltsen] said, especially about love, kindness and compassion. And talking about the environment really resonated with me,” said Dan Jerke ’09, an intended natural resources major.
October 26, 2005
Steps of Energy Healing Meditation
1. Sit reasonably straight and close your eyes.
2. Breath slowly, as silently as possible.
3. As you inhale, feel yourself breathing the healing Life Force in through your solar plexus. Picture this Life Force as a very refined, light energy.
4. As you exhale, gently direct this light energy to the afflicted area. If there is not a specific ailing area, disperse this light energy throughout your body as you exhale.
5. Continue until you feel the area has received enough Life Force.
October 25, 2005
“You are the main cause of your own fate,” Master Jiane said.
She spoke for the third time at Oklahoma State University in a series of lectures sponsored by the Buddhist Association of OSU.
About 20 people attended the lecture. A guided meditation that focused on compassion and repenting wrongdoing toward others preceded the speech.
People can understand and practice Buddhism better if they understand good and bad karma, also known as white and black karma, Jiane said.
Karma is often misinterpreted as a consequence, but it is a cause. Karma can be good, bad or neutral, depending on the intention and result of the cause, Jiane said.
“It you benefit someone, if you bring a result of happiness or joy, that is good karma,” she said.
Bad karma involves bringing unhappiness or harming someone, she said.
People who act poorly may not suffer the consequences in this life, but they will eventually because of causality, which is basically cause and effect. People cannot change causality, but they can change their attitude toward it, Jiane said.
She told the story of a man who went to a fortune teller who told him he would die at 47. The man was upset and went to get a second opinion from another fortune teller. The second fortune teller told him the same thing.
The man didn’t believe that was possible, so he began to study fortune telling. He became increasingly unhappy as he came up with the same prediction about his life. The man decided to stop fighting the prediction and instead enjoy the years left. He decided to cherish his time by giving to charities and getting along with his family and friends better.
The man realized as he lived into his 50s that the fortune tellers were not wrong, but his new way of living had given him a better outcome.
“You can change the quality of your own life,” Jiane said. “If you want to be rich, you practice generosity. If you want to be happy, you help others and be kind.”
Jiane said people need to analyze the situations in which they find themselves to understand karma because different conditions give different results.
“You need to know the reason that leads you to pain or suffering,” Jiane said. “If you are very grateful every day, if you are content with what you have, you will live a meaningful life.”
Kiem Ta, an OSU librarian who attended the event, said she considers herself a Buddhist, but she is always learning more about it and practicing what she learns.
“Buddhism is not just listening and learning,” she said. “You have to do it.”
Jiane’s lectures are beneficial because they condense vast and complex Buddhist philosophies into a speech of manageable time, said Asma Ahmed, president of the Buddhist Association of OSU and a chemical engineering graduate student.
Before her speech, Jiane led the crowd in a 30-minute meditation session. She sat cross-legged in a chair with her eyes closed and told the crowd to think about people they know. She told them to divide these people into categories by age and by whether they are friends, foes or strangers.
She instructed attendees to repent their wrongdoings against these people and hope for them to lead happy and strong lives.
“We all have done some wrong before, but this is the time for you to be mindful, for you to be strong, for you to be compassionate,” Jiane said.
The Buddhist Association of OSU will show a video about impermanence Nov. 2, and Jiane will lead another meditation session and speak about applying Buddhist teachings in daily life Nov. 19.
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
October 24, 2005
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
October 23, 2005
~His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
October 22, 2005
Just a little macro photography of a reef invert, colors and textures on creatures like this really help me to think about myself less.
Another definition of Humility is not that we think less of ourselves, but that we think of ourselves less.
October 21, 2005
October 20, 2005
October 19, 2005
October 18, 2005
"Even Muslim leaders cannot stand this. It was an act human beings would not dare to do," Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin stated when asked about yesterday’s attack in the Pattani province, in which militants slit the throat of a 76-year-old monk, and burnt his body, along with two teenagers who were praying at the time.
"The culprits will get their just desserts," said Thaksin, urging Buddhists not to take the law into their own hands and seek vengenance in the Muslim-majority region, where over 900 people have died in 21 months of separatist violence.
The violent attacks come during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which reports from last year show an intensity of attacks on civilian and government targets, both Muslim and Buddhist, compared to any other time of year.
Two people have been beheaded so far this year, raising the number of decapitations to at least 12 since the unrest began in January 2004. Police also state four Buddhists and two Muslims had been killed in separate attacks in the southern region over the last 24 hours. More than 30,000 troops have been deployed in attempts to halt the insurgency.
The army and police have made little progress in tracking down those behind the daily attacks, or providing a sense of security for the people.
October 17, 2005
October 16, 2005
October 15, 2005
The torso of Song Sangpetch, 68, was found at a rubber plantation where he kept his cattle in Pattani, one of three southernmost provinces hit by violence which has claimed more than 900 lives since January last year.
The head was missing, but a note left beside the body said: "You kill innocent people, I will kill you."
"It is surely a case to stir fear and unrest," Police Lieutenant Colonel Narat Thepcharoen told Reuters by telephone from the scene.
Although the government has sent 30,000 soldiers and police to the region, where 80 percent of people are Muslim, ethnic Malays, the insurgency appears to be growing.
Booby traps, decoy attacks and ambushes of army and police convoys have become daily occurences in the densely wooded region, suggesting the anti-Bangkok guerrillas are becoming more sophisticated and inventive.
Also on Friday, a 43-year-old Bhuddist employee of the Sungai Kolok city government was shot and killed by a gunman riding pillion on a motorcycle while heading for work, police said.
Troops, police and civil servants are key targets of Muslim militant attacks, who fought a low-key separatist war in the jungle in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many of the assassinations have been carried out by a pair of militants on a motorcycle.
October 14, 2005
October 13, 2005
BLACK ON BLACK ON BUDDHISM: INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE MUMFORD
By William Poy Lee for
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
The Dharma is spreading to the inner city—and given Spirit Rock’s location in one of the most racially diverse metro-areas of America, we are beginning to play a role in that. But who are our Dharma guides and our Dharma teachers who can help us navigate through one of the most painful and defensive non-dialogues in America, our joint legacy of historic racism?
This is the first in a series of interviews featuring people of color. The first three interviews are with Black Buddhist practitioners for whom the Dharma has been central in transforming their lives and empowering them as Black men in the often difficult interracial environment of America. Their lessons can provide insights as we at Spirit Rock start to explore this sharing of the Dharma into the inner city.
All three men are united by their love of the Dharma, its centrality in their chosen profession, and a desire to bring the transforming power of the Dharma to African American communities.
They note that there is special dukkha unique to African Americans. The statistics seem to support that this is not just a victim stance, but an objective conclusion. We are familiar with many of these statistics1 to the point of numbness. It starts with childhood:
· 58.9% of Black families are headed up by women in contrast with 17.9% of White families.
· African American kids are twice as likely to be assigned to the most ineffective teachers.·
· Black men are more likely than white men to go to prison than to college
· 71% of prisoners in California prisons and 81% of incarcerated youth are people of color, predominately men.
· 70% of California’s "3-strikes" sentences are middle-age African American men and mostly for non-violent crimes, like drug addiction or petty economic theft.
Perhaps another way to answer the proposition whether Black men suffer a unique Dukkha is to ask "Which one among us who is not Black would choose to become a Black man in America today?"
Introducing George Mumford
The L.A. Lakers basketball team won the 2000 and 2001 NBA Championships under the leadership of Head Coach Phil Jackson. One of Phil Jackson’s secret weapons is George Mumford, who coached the Lakers (and the Chicago Bulls) on the Inner Game. George is a Vipassana teacher, former Board member of Spirit Rock and IMS, and sports psychologist who teaches retreats nationally.
One of the most thrilling sights was the Lakers moving down court as a single organism. Shaq and Kobe’s Superstar egos had simply disappeared. He got ‘natta! For many young African-American males, basketball represents freedom of movement, mastery and money. Yet, it is the Game of Life that most Black men get to play. In this interview, George talks about how mindfulness practice liberated him from drug addiction and the difference the Dharma can make if properly introduced into inner city African-American communities.
How did you come into Buddhism?
I was in suffering and recovering from addiction. I had chronic pain but couldn’t use pain medication because that could play into addiction. Dr. Joan Borysenko, specialist in mind-body response, suggested meditation as an alternative and referred me to an IMS retreat. I read every book on their syllabus of Buddhist books. It took all my energy o purge the drugs and alcohol. My life depended upon meditation practice, residential retreats, Buddhist readings and teachers. That was the first time I felt I had a sense of control in my life.
How could Dharma practice make a difference in inner-city lives?
I think the main benefit to African Americans from meditation is impulse control. The inner city is a pressure cooker, full of tension and anxiety. It’s easy to go off or to reach for something to ease the pain. Meditation helps people understand the operation of their mind and emotions. It teaches us how to detach ourselves from outside provocation and from our habitual patterns of reaction.
Are there practices that are "unattractive" at first blush, to African Americans?
Facing your own dukkha. But that’s probably true for everyone. Folks will keep coming until the dukkha is too strong. Then they leave. The thinking is "If I don’t come, I won’t feel it." It takes awhile to appreciate the insight that the only way out of dukkha is through.
As a sports psychologist who works with sports teams, I often find I want the players to get it more than the players do. But that’s the boundary, they have to want it more than you or anyone else. You just keep the doors open and make the teachings available.
Many Buddhists of Color have stayed away from mainline centers like Spirit Rock or IMS or visit once, never to return. What are the reasons for this?
Part of the reason are teachers. Teachers get use to teaching the same type of folks for years all over the country. Many get comfortable with their pattern, because teachers are still people after all. Teachers are revered and placed on a kind of pedestal. It’s easy for us to inattentively become unavailable.
Suddenly, there are yogis of color, but we don’t adapt our teaching style, our examples or our words. So, we lose them. It starts to seem like Buddhism is for college educated white folks only.
What can we at Spirit Rock do, as sangha members, teachers, staff and Board members to change this?
Pay attention. Be mindful. Communicate.
Take Joseph Goldstein, for example. He’s been teaching People of Color retreats at Vallecitos, New Mexico for years. Yogis of color don’t know who he is and he’s not revered as he usually is by white yogis. Joseph gets questioned at those retreats. He gets confronted. But Joseph sticks with it, listens and comes back. Why? Because Joseph is sensitizing himself. He’s raising his ability as a teacher, to spread the dharma to new audiences.
In other words, Joseph is being a Buddhist. He’s being in the moment, as it is. He’s being sensitive, making adjustments. He’s dropping parameters and getting out of his comfort zones. He’s willing to go into the fire. Jack Kornfield is another teacher like that.
Anyone can learn about African Americans and other communities of color. You can read books and attend plays about people of color. You can volunteer in an inner city center. For teachers, you can find or create opportunities to co-teach before different audiences. Prepare yourself as much as you can.
Many Buddhists of color have family who are drug addicted, in jail or otherwise on the margins. How do we deal more effectively with our survivor’s guilt?
Yeah, that’s a hard one, because you care and you can’t figure out why you’re making it and they’re not, even though you’re from the same place. You’re isolated. You emotionally swing one of two ways: "You don’t deserve what you have" or "You’re all that, but you have to fix it all." Yeah, there are core issues of feeling personal responsibility for everyone.
We have to cultivate non-attachment. Notice I didn’t say detachment, but non-attachment, because you are connected. They’re family. The first step is to clearly face your own helplessness. Control is an illusion. Come to accept that you have no control over their behavior or the consequences, as hard as that is to do. We want it for them more than they do.
Create an environment in which they can succeed—once they have had enough of the Dukkha. An inner-city Dharma Center creates an environment, a physical place of refuge and resources. But I mean an attitude of staying open to them, letting them know you may not like certain behaviors and may even get disappointed. But stay available and share the dharma and the practices when they’re ready to hear it.
Drug addiction especially is a tough one. Slipping back into using is such a big part of recovery. But for those of us who have used meditation as a way out of addiction, it works. Meditation takes us to the place of pain, the underlying dukkha that leads us to addictions. Then, it helps us to heal, become free and lead new lives.
You can tell them about me. Tell them my story.
There is planning of an independent Dharma Center in the East Bay, which may have a limited affiliation with Spirit Rock. Oakland, California is the likely location, with a large population of African Americans. What would motivate African Americans to come to the Dharma?
Dukkha. Dukkha will motivate African Americans to come through the doors, when you’re through the denial of dukkha in your life.
Accessibility. Make sure the center is easy to get to . . . and to go home from. People would see it as a resource, a quiet refuge and a place to get in touch with themselves. Eventually, they may be able to see the strong positive impact on their lives.
A lot of folks’ initial motivation is to get an edge—to beat the pain and the stress like myself, or to go pro. But this experience can open the door into a deeper practice. The best pathway for an inner-city Dharma Center is to set the table and invite all to come and sup with us. Keep it simple and make the teachings available.
from The Oprah Winfrey Show
With a weekly income of only $60, 43-year-old Linda says she is not living the life she envisioned for herself. A high school dropout and former drug addict, Linda admits to making some bad choices. "It all had to do with drugs," she says. "Mom was an alcoholic. Daddy was an alcoholic. I smoke and drank at [age] nine."
Linda has been drug-free for three years and works as a Laundromat clerk. She still expresses hope for a better future. "[I'm] just trying to raise up and do the best I can," says Linda. "I still have hope to be able to say I'm going to achieve the goals that I want. Get my GED. Get a good job. Clean up my credit. It's not too late."
October 12, 2005
His HOLINESS TENZIN GYATSO THE FOURTEENTH DALAI LAMA OF TIBET
from The Government of Tibet in Exile
O Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and disciples
of the past, present, and future:
Having remarkable qualities
Immeasurably vast as the ocean,
Who regard all helpless sentient beings
as your only child;
Please consider the truth of my anguished pleas.
Buddha's full teachings dispel the pain of worldly
existence and self-oriented peace;
May they flourish, spreading prosperity and happiness through-
out this spacious world.
O holders of the Dharma: scholars
and realized practitioners;
May your ten fold virtuous practice prevail.
Humble sentient beings, tormented
by sufferings without cease,
Completely suppressed by seemingly endless
and terribly intense, negative deeds,
May all their fears from unbearable war, famine,
and disease be pacified,
To freely breathe an ocean of happiness and well-being.
And particularly the pious people
of the Land of Snows who, through various means,
Are mercilessly destroyed by barbaric hordes
on the side of darkness,
Kindly let the power of your compassion arise,
To quickly stem the flow of blood and tears.
Those unrelentingly cruel ones, objects of compassion,
Maddened by delusion's evils,
wantonly destroy themselves and others;
May they achieve the eye of wisdom,
knowing what must be done and undone,
And abide in the glory of friendship and love.
May this heartfelt wish of total freedom for all Tibet,
Which has been awaited for a long time,
be spontaneously fulfilled;
Please grant soon the good fortune to enjoy
The happy celebration of spiritual with temporal rule.
O protector Chenrezig, compassionately care for
Those who have undergone myriad hardships,
Completely sacrificing their most cherished lives,
bodies, and wealth,
For the sake of the teachings, practitioners,
people, and nation.
Thus, the protector Chenrezig made vast prayers
Before the Buddhas and Bodhisativas
To fully embrace the Land of Snows;
May the good results of these prayers now quickly appear.
By the profound interdependence of emptiness
and relative forms,
Together with the force of great compassion
in the Three Jewels and their Words of Truth,
And through the power
of the infallible law of actions and their fruits,
May this truthful prayer be unhindered
and quickly fulfilled.
October 11, 2005
Interesting article from the Associated Press, via The Buddhist Channel
There was no cheering, no chanting and no sign waving. The march organized by Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh brought together 3,000 people to enjoy an unusual state in this city silence.
Activist mom Cindy Sheehan, who garnered national attention this summer with her anti-war vigil outside President Bush's Crawford ranch, was among those who attended the Saturday event at MacArthur Park west of downtown Los Angeles. She and Hanh embraced before the march began, but Hanh was not shy about expressing his view of Sheehan's tactics.
"I don't think shouting angrily at government can help us end the war," he said. "When we are able to change our own thinking, the government will have to change."
Hanh later told the audience: "We don't think shouting in anger can help. If you make people angry and fearful, then you cannot reduce violence and fear.
"When you speak to people, you should speak to them in a language they can understand. By doing that, we can turn our enemies into our friends."
The 79-year-old Vietnamese Zen master was an early opponent of the Vietnam War in the 1960s and was forced into exile in France where he lives at a monastery. He returned to his native country for the first time in April. Martin Luther King Jr., whose own views on the war were influenced by Hanh, nominated the monk for a Nobel Peace Prize.Hanh organized the two-hour silent peace walk as a "gift to the people of Los Angeles."
Michelle Thomas, a former actor from Westminster, said the walk was very different from other rallies she had attended.
"I've been to anti-war rallies where we carry picket signs and march, and it's very aggressive," Thomas said, as she sat on a grassy hill after the stroll. "This wasn't one of those. I was actually able to feel in the present, something I've never been able to feel before. It just makes me feel that good things are possible."
About a dozen counter-demonstrators greeted the marchers, but they too remained silent, merely waving "Down With Thich Nhat Hanh' signs.
October 10, 2005
To cherish each moment as precious:
More sacred than memory
Or the dreams that tomorrow may bring.
Is the milk that sustains us
And in it is a beauty and wonder
That I used to search for,
Imagining it was far yonder.
TodayIs a flower in crescendo,
Vibrant with the full colour
Of all its yesterdays.
Here and now, I am the sum total of all my days.
You have taught me the mindfulness of being
And I honour this, with gratitude and stillness:
The song of you, present in the core of me.
October 09, 2005
An interesting article from The Arizona Republic, via The Buddhist Channel. I thought it was worth sharing...
One past life can lead to any other life, which means a person could come back as a lost dog. That is why Buddhists based in Sedona are now caring for more than 100 dogs at an Arizona ranch. The dogs had been abandoned in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
My gut call is that everyone can relate to this in some way:
"The traditional teaching from the Buddha is that any animal could be somebody you love," said Alana Elgin, a Buddhist nun with the Kunzang Palyul Chöling in Sedona.
October 08, 2005
1. How do we address the widening gap between rich and poor?
2. How do we protect the earth?
3. How do we educate our children?
4. How do we help Tibet and other oppressed countries and peoples of the world?
5. How do we bring spirituality (deep caring for one another) through all disciplines of life?
October 07, 2005
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, is respected worldwide for his message of compassion and tolerance, his promotion of human values, and of inter-religious understanding, and his focus on peace through non-violent conflict resolution, including the issue of Tibet.
He was born on July 6, 1935 in the village of Taktser in the Tibetan area of Amdo (now Qinghai province) and, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Chenresig, who choose to reincarnate to serve the people. Dalai Lama is a combination of Tibetan and Mongolian terms, meaning Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshin Norbu (the Wish-fulfilling Gem) or simply, Kundun, meaning "The Presence".
Compassion is the ultimate and most meaningful embodiment of emotional maturity. It is through compassion that a person achieves the highest peak and deepest reach in his or her search for self-fulfillment. --Arthur Jersild
Compassion is not sentiment but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies. --Matthew Fox
The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. --H.H. the Dalai Lama