Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category
External circumstances are not what draw us into suffering. Suffering is caused and permitted by an untamed mind. The appearance of self-defeating emotions in our minds leads us to faulty actions. The naturally pure mind is covered over by these emotions and troubling conceptions. The force of their deceit pushes us into faulty actions, which leads inevitably to suffering.
We need, with great awareness and care, to extinguish these problematic attitudes, the way gathering clouds dissolve back into the sphere of the sky. When our self-defeating attitudes, emotions, and conceptions cease, so will the harmful actions arising from them.
As the great Tibetan yogi Milarepa says, “When arising, arising within space itself; when dissolving, dissolving back into space.” We need to become familiar with the state of our own minds to understand how to dissolve ill-founded ideas and impulses back into the deeper sphere of reality. The sky was there before the clouds gathered, and it will be after they have gone. It is also present when the clouds seem to cover every inch of the sky we can see.(p.22)
–from How to Expand Love: Widening the Circle of Loving Relationships by H.H. the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins
(Hat Tip to Lama Surya Das for the pointer)
The brilliant lessons I learned
have washed away.
Now there’s room for more.
When you can practice anywhere - that’s the great monastery, retreat center which is with you always.
The only superpower is the power of observation.
Near the place where Zen Master Hakuin lived there happened to be a food store. The owner of the food store had a beautiful unmarried daughter. One day she was found with child. Her parents flew into a rage. They wanted to know the father, but she would not give them the name. After repeated scolding and harassment, she gave up and told them it was the Zen Master. When the child was born they ran to the Zen Master, scolding him with foul tongue, and they left the infant with him. They said to him: “Take care of this child as you’re the father.” The Zen Master said, “Is that so”. That was his only comment.
He accepted the child. He started nourishing and taking care of the child. By this time his reputation had come to an end, and he was an object of mockery. Days ran into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. But there is something called conscience in our human life, and the young girl was tortured by her conscience. She finally disclosed to her parents the name of the child’s real father, a man who worked in a fish market. The parents again flew into a rage. At the same time, sorrow and humiliation tortured the household. They came running to the spiritual Master, begged his pardon, narrated the whole story and then took the child back as they said to him: “You don’t need to take care of this child anymore as you’re not his father.”
His only comment was: “Is that so.”
(Taken, with light editing, from Reps, Paul; Nyogen Senzaki. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings)
Whether you’re tall or short, attractive or not, wealthy or poor, young or old, spiritually mature or otherwise, the following is nevertheless true, at all times:
- At any given moment either you’re present for your life or you’re trying to avoid being present for your life. There really is no other choice.
- Avoiding being present sometimes feels good at first but it often leads to regret, and that’s how we find out that there was no real peace in it. The more we see the effects of avoiding being present, the closer we get to being sick of making those choices all the time.
- On the other hand, being present may not feel good at times, but it helps us recognize a kind of peace that is available to us regardless of the circumstances surrounding our current living. That kind of peace is actually indistinguishable from being present itself, and that is what is meant by the expression “the path is the goal.” This cannot be fully understood, really. Only experienced.
- In some spiritual traditions being present is what is called ‘heaven,’ the promises that come from avoiding being present are called ‘temptation’ and the effects of the avoidance are called ‘hell.’ Ultimately, it does not matter what words are used. What matters is: Are you using the ingredients of your life to fully come alive? The world will thank you and reward you for that choice, in more ways than one.
(In gratitude to my friend Kara Pecson / from whom I learn much / simply by watching her dance.)
“Since everything is but an ‘apparition’,
Perfect in just being ‘What It Is’ ~ as it is.
Having nothing to do with ‘good’ or ‘bad’,
‘acceptance’ or ‘rejection’ –
You might as well just burst out laughing!”
~ Tibetan Dzogchen master Longchenpa, 1308-1369 AD