Tag Archives: Dharma

“We Are Not the Buddha, but the Bodhi Tree”

In the forest there is an open grove where only one Bodhi tree grows. As a sapling there is plenty of sunshine and the rains in the morning are warm and refreshing. The world is invigorating and the light from above courses through the large green leaves. With each day it seems to grow a […]

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Their Death Should Wake Us Up To Living.

Each day, hundreds of mourners gather together in West Virginia: first in hope, and now in remembrance. The life of the coal miners is a dangerous one, and so some may not find it surprising that such a tragedy could occur, but nonetheless, it should remind us all of the fragility of life. It begs […]

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New Year: Sickness, Aging and Dying

The big holiday season comes at the end of the year. We celebrate the coming of winter, the shortest day of the year, good will towards men, peace on Earth, resolve to be better to ourselves and others. This time,for most in America, is spent with family and loved ones, huddled over dinner tables of potatoes and yams.

As the end of the year came, I had an experience that brought this time of year back to the first realizations of the Buddha. The Buddha Gotoma, who was always sheltered from the world, had made four trips outside his castle and had his eyes opened to the world around him. He saw the sick, the old and the dying that is the condition of all mankind. He also saw the spiritual people of the world who found happiness.

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How to deal with people who bother you

We must recognize that when we harbor negative feelings about someone, that it is not a gift or curse from others, but a choice we have to develop those negative thoughts and hold onto them until they become very unpleasant– and only to us.

Instead, let these feelings go. Remind yourself that you should focus on liberating yourself from negativity and replace the arising of those negative thoughts with something positive.

And if you focusing only on the present situation without developing judgments about it you will find that you will not give power to the negative energy we all so easily hold onto in our lives. This is the poison of aversion and clinging. To avoid and push negative energy away, itself takes energy and develops a sense of validity to negative thoughts, just as clinging to them feeds those negative thoughts as well. We end up carrying rotting potatoes.

Feel the lightness of being when we can put down the burden and move forward in our lives without dealing with such things.

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Buddhism and Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a great time for Buddhist. The act of giving thanks is a way we can develop ourselves. By recognizing all the wonderful gifts we receive in life Buddhists can appreciate the world around us.

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Be Happy Without Wanting

Enlightenment is not born from ecstasy but from the displeasure of discontentment. Stimulated enjoyment is simulated happiness. The arousal of the senses to pleasurable experiences distracts the mind from genuine experience. We know this because when we turn the stimulation off—we are left empty and wanting.

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Lust and the Undeveloped Mind

Coming from an unenlightened place, the Buddha has shown in the story of Nanda, we must motivate ourselves to put for the effort to better ourselves. If the motivation is something as unwholesome as sensual lust or noble as enlightenment, we must remember that these are the motivations from our starting point.

As we progress along the Middle Path, our minds become stronger and wiser. The motivations will become more wholesome. As our mind, like the leaking roof, lets in desires at the beginning; diligent practice and study will shore up and secure the mind from temptations.

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The Sorrow from Ego

Many faiths and spiritual practices define the path to happiness as the destruction of the ego. The assumption then would be that an “enlightened” person would be detached from the universe without suffering, as if the person had an emotional lobotomy. This is NOT the case. The purpose of enlightenment is to become totally conscious of our relationships with the world; and, more importantly, ourselves. Understanding and maintaining awareness of our true relationships with the world, we can appropriately engage with the world around us.

The result is that we become more humble, compassionate, liberated and content.

The appropriate engagement is the key to happiness. There are no small characters in the epic story. Understanding the arising and passing of emotion allows us understanding of when that arising is appropriate or not. Understanding that the ego is a delusion does not diminish the wonder and value of our current existence.

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Buy on Apples, Sell on Cheese

Investigating these qualities in meditation is the first step in understanding how we add context to the world around us: How we “eat apples” when we want to be critical and “eat cheese” when we want the world to seem more pleasant. Never investigating our direct unadulterated experience with the wine (aka “life”), we never educate ourselves to its full experience.

Without removing the context created by our conditioning, we have no true understanding of the world around us. We will forever be avoiding people, judging them 2 dimensionally, lusting for Ms. Wrong,; and making judgments in life based on delusional and ignorant information. It is in this slumbering twilight that most of us live in called samsara. The Buddha (which means “awakened one”) was able to shine the light of clear understanding and wisdom so that we all brush the sleep from our eyes and see that we are the owners of our misery, because we spend more time drinking from life’s cup with opinion rather than compassion.

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Karma and Unintentional Harm

So if we gather some negative (or dark khamma) can we determine what the punishment will be? Can we ever really say that bad things that happen to us can be attributed to a single previous negative khammic act?

Khamma creates conditions. It is not so direct as to say, “push this button and you can be assured that a big shoe will come out and kick you in the pants.” Imagine khamma more like the seasons. As the sun moves farther from the planet, and the Earth’s access shifts from northern and southern hemisphere the weather conditions change and that creates all sort of new challenges and opportunities.

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Happiness is Mind-made

We all experience moments of grief, loss, and regret. It is natural. What is important is that we do not continue to let it fester, like a man who continually pulls at the stitch of a mended wound.

Life is impermanent, and we should embrace the fact that our lives are limited making each moment we have in the world extremely precious. So we must refocus our energy to using our time wisely and putting value where it is most useful to our real happiness.

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