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Chakras: Energy-collection Centers of the Body

A Buddhist Thangka painting from Nepal, showing the seven main chakras of the body

Chakras are energy-collection centers of the body that are essential for physical and mental health.

In the traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, chakras are centers of energy that correspond to parts of the body. A non-physical life force is said to travel through the body, and each chakra is linked to a part of this force. Chakras exist in the body along a central channel and are connected to vital bodily functions, including consciousness, vision, communication, health, digestion, reproduction, and survival.

In the most common understanding of the system, each chakra is associated with a deity, color, bodily organ or set of organs, and a mantra (a transformative sound or syllable). Bringing the energy of the body in line with the central channel and the chakras is possible through meditation, and this process of alignment plays an important role in achieving fulfillment and enlightenment. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, founder of Sahaja Yoga, said “Kundalini [a corporeal energy] will rise and always cleanse the chakras.”

The idea of chakras is an ancient one and it is found in Sanskrit documents and in oral traditions of both Buddhism and Hinduism. “Breath channels,” for example, appear in the Hindu Vedas, produced in India between c. 1500 and c. 500 BCE. The idea of a hierarchy of the chakras was introduced later, in eighth-century Buddhist teachings. There is no standard interpretation of chakras in either religious tradition, with chakra systems varying from teacher to teacher within the same religious tradition.

Chakras are essential if we are to understand the body as a system of energy. Two of the five major world religions are built on the idea that human beings are capable of making peace within themselves as a result of energy systems within the body. The chakras are key to unlocking this inner power.

The theory of chakras plays a crucial role in two age-old Indian remedial systems (Ayurveda medicine and yoga) that are well-liked today. In recent decades, though, many contemporary actions (like polarity therapy, therapeutic touch, process acupressure, core energetics, and color therapy) have likewise integrated the concept of chakras into their own prophecies of restorative healing. Diverse approaches may be used to “balance” the chakras.

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Zen Koan #24: Parable of Reciting Sutras – Buddhist Teaching on Beginner

Zen Koan #24: Parable of Reciting Sutras - Buddhist Teaching on Beginner's Mind Before enlightenment, people distinguish between a quiescent state, which they call “nirvana,” and a chaotic state, which they call “samsara.” They want to leave samsara behind and enter nirvana. If you take a snapshot with a high quality camera, everything in front of the lens will be imprinted on the film in minute detail. If you can grasp a small spot, you have access to totality. Yet you must visually examine non-subsistence from the perspective of subsistence. The true practitioner is not affected by the environment. They dedicated the remainder of their lives to saving other living beings.

Though some of you have trouble concentrating, it cannot be that during the entire recede there has not been at least once when you could concentrate to some extent. Those who take up the study of Zen Buddhism before their views have expanded are subject to fears and doubts. They may be able to get into that state again, but nonetheless it is an attachment. It is simultaneously the most immensely colossal and the most diminutive.

Each day provides myriad opportunities to continue this practice. That is, they should discard the mentality of relishing and mispricing. Illusory dharma is the dharma of distinctions, of small and large, of positing one thing against another. You follow worldly conventions.

Zen Koan: “Reciting Sutras” Parable

A farmer requested a Tendai priest to recite sutras for his wife, who had died. After the recitation was over the farmer asked: “Do you think my wife will gain merit from this?”

“Not only your wife, but all sentient beings will benefit from the recitation of sutras,” answered the priest.

“If you say all sentient beings will benefit,” said the farmer, “my wife may be very weak and others will take advantage of her, getting the benefit she should have. So please recite sutras just for her.”

The priest explained that it was the desire of a Buddhist to offer blessings and wish merit for every living being.

“That is a fine teaching,” concluded the farmer, “but please make one exception. I have a neighbor who is rough and mean to me. Just exclude him from all those sentient beings.”

Buddhist Insight on Beginner’s Mind

Have you noticed, for many people, when you start to work with the breath, there’s this tendency to hurry it up, or to move it, or to change it, how it takes a little while? If that had happened before you started to teach me, I’m sure, it would have absolutely destroyed me. In Zen Buddhism, so one with a beginner’s mind has decided that spiritual practice is worthwhile for some reason. Shunryu Suzuki, the Japanese-American Zen monk who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, writes in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,

In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind.

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our “original mind” includes everything within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything, In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.

In the beginner’s mind there is no thought, “I have attained something.” All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner’s mind is the mind of compassion, When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.

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Zen Koan #23: Parable of Eshun’s Departure – Buddhist Teaching on Arduous Discipline

Zen Koan #23: Parable of Eshun's Departure - Buddhist Teaching on Arduous Discipline Humility in the Zen tradition additionally involves some kind of frolicsomeness, which is a sense of humor. In most religious Zen traditions, you feel self-effacing for the reason that of trepidation of penalization, pain and sin. In the Shambhala world, you feel full of it. You feel salubrious and good. In fact, you feel proud. Consequently, you feel humility. That’s one of the Shambhala contradictions or, we could verbalize, dichotomies. Authentic humility is genuineness. To be able to conquer your pain and your fear of death requires great determination.

However, you should be cognizant that this kind of interrupted practice is not the ideal approach to Zen. We can bear with greater ease those losses that we know we will inevitably face, for the reason that we identify with the thread of wakefulness that we meet in all of them. We call this retreat a Zen retreat but actually, it is just a suffering or training retreat. After all, if you are not a good practitioner, why are you still here after five days?

Your mind is still limpidly cognizant of kenning certain things but does not endeavor to bring up these recollections as criteria for comparing and judging. Using the method can be likened to pumping air into a tire.

Zen Koan: “Eshun’s Departure” Parable

When Eshun, the Zen nun, was past sixty and about to leave this world, she asked some monks to pile up wood in the yard.

Seating herself firmly in the center of the funeral pyre, she had it set fire around the edges.

“O nun!” shouted one monk, “is it hot in there?”

“Such a matter would concern only a stupid person like yourself,” answered Eshun.

The flames arose, and she passed away.

Buddhist Insight on Arduous Discipline

Conventional truth alone is the teacher of the absolute. Without arduous discipline, nobody can become perfect by merely ceasing to act. In addition, they must sometimes contemplate in their minds the thought that someday they will turn away from the transient things of the world to something better, to something more sure and lasting. I am not particularly trying to be dramatic. The Scottish Episcopal cleric writer Richard Holloway writes in Doubts and Loves: What is Left of Christianity,

The genius of Buddhism is it is a Middle Way that repudiates two extremes, the worthless life of self-indulgence and the equally worthless life of self-torture. The difference between Buddhism and Christianity is that Buddhism is essentially a practice, an arduous discipline that can deliver peace and compassion to its adherents. Christianity also has its spiritual disciplines, but it has never able to divest itself of the belief that doctrines are themselves saving and life-changing. Much of this goes back to the originating genius of Christian theology, Saul of Tarsus who became Paul. The paradox is that what was for Paul a liberating psychological experience was later to be hardened into a formula that radically contradicted his original insight and the experience that prompted it.

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Zen Koan #22: Parable of My Heart Burns Like Fire – Buddhist Teaching on Wakeful Presence

Zen Koan #22: Parable of My Heart Burns Like Fire - Buddhist Teaching on Wakeful Presence Love is the ultimate transgression, bell hooks argues. Its transformative power can shatter the status quo. In Zen Meditation, we develop states of great clarity but we also develop states of cow-like ignorance, bovine ponderousness. The important thing is not to have any resentment against your suffering, or any expectations of happiness. In fact, when some people encounter trouble, it does not reinforce their practice at all.

By grasping what is selfless as a self there is confusion. Since many of you have traveled far, or have worked hard to set aside the time, you have a great deal invested in this retreat. If you can take this attitude, eventually it will go away. The practice just keeps moving like a ball rolling down a hill. Freedom is shown in according one’s life with realities. The wisdom of the Buddha is not difficult to perceive; it can be attained in the instant between two thoughts. Musing requires excruciating motivation. The ones who come have some authentic desire for spiritual, moral, philosophical, or astute uplifting.

Being free to go wherever you wish, you are outside of the cycle of birth and death. If you do not abide in duality, neither having too much nor too little confidence, then what should you do? You have not come here to get enlightened, but to practice.

Zen Koan: “My Heart Burns Like Fire” Parable

Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: “My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.” He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.

In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.

Retire at a regular hour. Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.

Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.

Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.

When an opportunity comes do not let it pass by, yet always think twice before acting.

Do not regret the past. Look to the future.

Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.

Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.

Buddhist Insight on Wakeful Presence

According to Buddhism, everything mental and physical ensues in accordance with laws and conditions; and if it were otherwise, chaos and blind chance would reign. Nevertheless, such a thing is intolerable and disproves all laws of thinking. In the wakeful presence of the mind, other kinds of happiness diminish and are exhausted. Most people tend to be locked into a quite dreary round of tasks, and experience little peace or harmony, according to Zen philosophy. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood, who frequently writes about the integration of psychological and spiritual concepts, writes in Ordinary Magic, Everyday Life as Spiritual Path,

Our society would have us believe that inner satisfaction depends on our success and achievement. Yet struggling to “get somewhere” keeps us perpetually busy, stressed-out, and disconnected from that essential inner resource – our ability to be fully present – which could provide a real sense of joy and fulfillment. Our life is unsatisfactory only because we are not living it fully, because instead we are pursuing a happiness that is always somewhere else, other than where we are right now…

Cultivating the capacity to be fully present – awake, attentive, and responsive – in all the different circumstances of life is the essence of spiritual practice and realization. Those with the greatest spiritual realization are those who are “all here,” who relate to life with an expansive awareness that is not limited by any fixation on themselves or their own point of view. They don’t shrink from any aspect of themselves or life as a whole.

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Ira Glass on Christianity and Religion

Ira Glass Ira Glass is an American television and radio personality who was the admired host of a radio program called This American Life.

Glass has stated on This American Life that he is a committed atheist. “It’s not like I don’t feel like I’m a Jew. I feel like I don’t have a choice about being a Jew. Your cultural heritage isn’t like a suitcase you can lose at the airport. I have no choice about it. It is who I am. I can’t choose that. It’s a fact of me … But even when I was 14 or 15, it didn’t make that much sense to me that there was this Big Daddy who created the world and would act so crazy in the Old Testament. That we made up these stories to make ourselves feel good and explain the world seems like a much more reasonable explanation. I’ve tried to believe in God, but I simply don’t.”

Atheism notwithstanding, “some years I have a nostalgic feeling to go into a shul and I’ll go in for a High Holiday service,” discloses Glass, who has fond memories of his childhood rabbi’s beguiling discourses. “Rabbi Seymour Esrog was really funny, a great storyteller. He was so good that even the kids would stay and watch him. He’d tell a funny anecdote, something really moving, and go for a big finish. That’s what the show is,” he competes, recognizing the rabbi’s effect.

In this interview with religious anthropologist Jim Henderson, Glass says he thinks Christians get a genuinely bad rap in the media. The NPR star said the way Christians are often represented in pop-culture is totally different from the way the Christians he knows personally actually are in real life. “The Christians in my life were all incredibly wonderful and thoughtful and had very ambiguous, complicated feelings in their beliefs. And seemed to be totally generous-hearted, and totally open to a lot of different kinds of people in their lives.”

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God Sent Down to His Children with Loveliness

Religion is a Lovely Bridge Between Childhood and Old Age

Religion is a Lovely Bridge “O to keep the loveliness of a child that fades with the years!” Have you ever been moved by that reflection? I was, on looking at the picture of my daughter when she was two years old. She is now fourteen, and graceful and pretty for her age. However, there is a special softness and charm, which only a young infant possesses. In addition, this special charm vanishes as the child grows older.

The loveliness of a tender child is part of its armor of life. It was put there by the Almighty to compensate the father and mother for the arduous care, which the child requires during those early years. A parent would otherwise be less willing to put up with that tedious round of wakeful nights, of struggling to feed and keep clean and sustain in health this totally helpless creature, The Lord made that infant so lovely, with a skin so soft to the touch, with a smile so captivating, that the parents are enchanted, and the labor of caring for that infant is rendered so sweet.

Large-hearted joy is the mental ability to feel happiness for the good circumstances and happiness of others. That infant must grow up, however, and eventually attain independence. He will have to learn to stand on his own feet. The little boy must finally become a man, leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife so that they become one flesh. The transition sets in early. That loveliness, that special endearing charm begins to fade, so that the grief of separation may be more bearable to the parents.

The boy and the girl will then need other charms—charms to attract a mate with a new kind of love. The Lord provides those charms too in due measure and in due time.

There are instances where parents or children act contrary to the Lord’s intentions. Mothers and fathers too, because their own lives are deficient in other fulfillments will occasionally seek to hold their children and refuse to let them go. They will want to keep the grown son or daughter for himself or herself, impeding their emergence into the world of adult existence. Moreover, there are instances of grown sons and daughters remaining so attached to their parents that they are incapable of the new adjustments for which the time has come.

These are instances of infantilism, of immaturity, of failure to grow up. True growth must be emotional as well as physical.

The Lord has made everything good in its time. That which in its time is good, becomes a tragic absurdity when its time is past.

Let us enjoy the loveliness of a child and when that special childhood loveliness begins to fade, let us not grieve, for our child is then moving to a new career, wonderful in its own way—maturity.

Childhood is Scarcely More Lovely Than Cheerful

Childhood is Scarcely More Lovely Than Cheerful Galilee had no sooner found out these properties in the pendulum, then he turned them to the vantage of philosophy; by those he measured, with some exactitude, his astronomical observations, and the delight thus resulting from their use, in some measure, recompensed the infliction of investigating their properties. While he assures the world of the above fact, he defies the whole world to confute the truth of it. They give a particular strength and fortitude to the mind in the practice of virtuousness; and they promote a cheerful assent in this supremely wise and righteous administration, whatever trials and excruciation may arise. French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wrote in The Complete Essays of Montaigne,

A sage is not afraid of lack of knowledge: he is not afraid of hesitations, or hard work, but he is afraid of only one thing—to pretend to know the things which he does not know.

You should study more to understand that you know little.

This is the case over the whole East. Yet some other study further complicates the issue by proposing three separate dog pedigree. Tragedy aided their crusade. Let me tell you, there was no line out the door to manage him. The monograph constitutes a much complete statement of subsist knowledge of the cerebellum and its functions. All language is based on arbitrary agreements as to the significance of signaling—spoken, written, or made. Megalomania can strike anywhere; I conjecture is the point. We all know it, if we know much of anything.

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The Eightfold Path in Buddhism

Buddha Statue at Borobodur Temple in Indonesia

Having established the reality, cause, and end of suffering, in the final noble truth the Buddha taught his disciples the eight-step path to awakening. Because they represent the actions and comportment of one who lives in accord with the dharma, these eight aspects of Buddhist practice are described as “wise,” “skillful,” “correct,” or simply, “right.”

  • Right View: A true understanding of how reality and suffering are intertwined.
  • Right Resolve: The aspiration to act with correct intention, doing no harm.
  • Right Speech: Abstaining from lying, and divisive or abusive speech.
  • Right Action: Acting in ways that do not cause harm, such as not taking life, not stealing, and not engaging in sexual misconduct.
  • Right Livelihood: Making an ethically sound living, being honest in business dealings.
  • Right Effort: Endeavoring to give rise to skillful thoughts, words, and deeds and renouncing unskillful ones.
  • Right Mindfulness: Being mindful of one’s body, feelings, mind, and mental qualities.
  • Right Concentration: Practicing skillful meditation informed by all of the preceding seven aspects.

'Buddhism in Practice' by Donald S. Lopez Jr. (ISBN 0691129681) This formulation of the Buddhist path to enlightenment appears in what is regarded as the Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment, the “Setting Forth the Wheel of Dharma.”

The Buddha argued that the middle way is the eightfold path, which, like the four truths, he calls “noble.”

These eight steps are considered to be of three types:

  1. right view and right resolve are related to our development of wisdom;
  2. right speech, right action, and right livelihood to ethical conduct;
  3. and right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration to meditation.

The noble eightfold path receives less discussion in Buddhist literature than do the four noble truths (of which they are, after all, a constituent). Indeed, in later formulations, the eight factors are presented not so much as a prescription for behavior but as eight qualities that are present in the mind of a person who has understood nirvana.

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Zen Koan #21: Parable of Sound of One Hand – Buddhist Teaching on Awakening

Zen Koan #21: Parable of Sound of One Hand - Buddhist Teaching on Awakening Meditation teaches us how to relate to life directly, so we can truly experience the present moment, free from conceptual overlay. Whenever you make distinctions, your mind is in opposition. If your mind is free from the environment, not bounded by mental realms, then your next birth will not be dictated by karma but rather by your own decision. Does a given individual’s religion accommodate to break his will, keep him at an infantile level of development, and enable him to evade the solicitousness of liberation and personal responsibility?

On the other hand, does it accommodate him as a substructure of designation, which affirms his dignity and worth, which gives him a substructure for valiant acceptance of his inhibitions and mundane solicitousness, but which avails him develop his potencies, his responsibility, and his capacity to dote his fellow men? The only difference is that there is no obstruction or attachment in their minds. You have to be careful and meticulous. For example, if everybody were male, the label “men” would no longer be paramount, since its only purport is to distinguish men from women. The ordinary person does not know this.

Being too good might mean ending up being too bitter. However, this repose is only relative. Do not concern yourself with anything going on around you.

Zen Koan: “Sound of One Hand” Parable

The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege named Toyo who was only twelve years old. Toyo saw the older disciples visit the master’s room each morning and evening to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.

Toyo wished to do sanzen also.

“Wait a while,” said Mokurai. “You are too young.”

But the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.

In the evening little Toyo went at the proper time to the threshold of Mokurai’s sanzen room. He struck the gong to announce his presence, bowed respectfully three times outside the door, and went to sit before the master in respectful silence.

“You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together,” said Mokurai. “Now show me the sound of one hand.”

Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his window he could hear the music of the geishas. “Ah, I have it!” he proclaimed.

The next evening, when his teacher asked him to illustrate the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.

“No, no,” said Mokurai. “That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You’ve not got it at all.”

Thinking that such music might interrupt, Toyo moved his abode to a quiet place. He meditated again. “What can the sound of one hand be?” He happened to hear some water dripping. “I have it,” imagined Toyo.

When he next appeared before his teacher, Toyo imitated dripping water.

“What is that?” asked Mokurai. “That is the sound of dripping water, but not the sound of one hand. Try again.”

In vain Toyo meditated to hear the sound of one hand. He heard the sighing of the wind. But the sound was rejected.

He heard the cry of an owl. This also was refused.

The sound of one hand was not the locusts.

For more than ten times Toyo visited Mokurai with different sounds. All were wrong. For almost a year he pondered what the sound of one hand might be.

At last little Toyo entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more,” he explained later, “so I reached the soundless sound.”

Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.

Buddhist Insight on Awakening

Buddhism teaches the need for clear thinking, awakening, self-control, self-help, and meditation. It’s much better to have that all happen than have it all still, solid and barricaded. The feelings of insecurity and unrest will dissolve and life will be more meaningful, happy, and interesting if there is someone who is willing to share another’s burden. Awakening is the object of abstract kindness in all beings. The American Zen priest Melissa Myozen Blacker wrote in The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen’s Most Important Koan,

The natural ripening of a person on this path may be so gradual as to be unnoticed, or so sudden as to feel like an explosion. Trusting this process of awakening, we begin to taste the experience of oneness, which is frankly indescribable. No matter how hard we try, we can’t communicate this feeling, which is so unlike our previous life, our familiar construction of reality, that we may liken it to dreaming. But we have actually woken up to our true life, and we are struck dumb, wordless, in an experience that can’t be described by the ordinary words we have used all our lives. It feels impossible to talk about this new, freshly felt life of realization, which is so amazing in its simplicity and ordinariness. The subtlety of this part of the path is misleading because it is actually not at all subtle. The profundity of the shift in consciousness, when outer and inner become one, must be lived, not described – but recognized, of course, by others on the same path.

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The Treasures Hidden in the Heavens of Nature are so Rich

Hidden Treasures Waiting to Be Claimed by Man

Hidden Treasures Waiting to Be Claimed by Man The peanut is one of the humble products in the granary of nature. However, in the hands of a scientist such as George Washington Carver, it was revealed infinitely rich in all kinds of possibilities. From peanuts, he made a dozen beverages, mixed pickles, instant and dry coffee, tan remover, wood filler, paper, ink, shaving cream, linoleum, and synthetic rubber. Things are not always what they seem at first. By exploring beneath the surface, we often discover that what we judged of little worth really contains hidden treasures waiting to be claimed by man.

We have often dismissed life as valueless because we did not probe it deeply enough. In our friends, in our children, in ourselves, lie dormant all kinds of strength we little suspect. We need to undertake voyages of discovery to lay bare the hidden continents of life’s possibilities. The recent popularization of such hobbies as painting and sculpture has startled many of us with the revelation of talent among seemingly ungifted people. In emergencies, we have all revealed powers of body and mind of which we were seldom aware. We are all richer than we realize.

Who ever imagined what stupendous energies lay stored up in a single atom of uranium? There are levels of being whose depths we must seek throughout all our lives. He who only lives on the surface enjoys but the outer crust; he who reaches beneath the surface begins to claim his hidden treasures.

Still less ought the common operations of buying and selling to be to interpose with on correspondent evidence. Have you ever rebelled because you thought your life was too drab? Dig more deeply. Seek its potentialities. By the alchemy of your probing, your life will often turn from grey to gold. Happiness and high performance come to you when you prefer to live your life coherent with your highest values and your deep convictions.

The bodily feelings of the infant are obscure, indefinite, and almost ineffable. Why not acquire a standard of work experience that must be met, or, as many employers now do, ask likely employees to answer some questions or solve presented coding problems? We need to control the coyote population, but what few recognize is that coursing hounds are one of our most efficacious methods.

Good Nature is One of the Richest Fruits of Life

Good Nature is One of the Richest Fruits of Life This view of things, recommending itself uniformly to the intelligence activity of thinkers and to the tendency of those significant classes in European society to whose real or conjectural interests democracy is adverse, has had no trouble in establishing itself; and in self-opinionated speculations “the tyranny of the majority” is now broadly speaking included among the evils against which society requires to be on its guard.

Fire increases the bulk of all bodies, cold contracts them; fire tends to disperse their substance, cold condenses them, and strengthens their reciprocal cohesiveness. After the two back surgeries that were alleged to fix it, he was left in agonizing pain. In this way, goodwill protects you from the unskillful excesses of both your ill will and your love—and protects everyone around you as well. The Austrian psychiatrist and holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl wrote in his treatise Man’s Search for Meaning:

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can be fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.

Judges instruct the jury that if a man knows the departure between right and wrong he cannot be considered harebrained. There are no instructions for living lying beside our provenance. Again, to take some other approach, the words that discharge defects are not misleading. What could be more ridiculous than over-intellectualizing ‘happiness’, of all things, anyway? He would return one more time with the same mercurial demeanor and again he left.

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Zen Koan #20: Parable of A Mother’s Advice – Buddhist Teaching on Love and Relationships

Zen Koan #20: Parable of A Mother's Advice - Buddhist Teaching on Love and Relationships Thought and emotion work together in receiving and processing information about the world and in guiding goal-oriented behavior. Emotions incline us toward or away from options, not simply as motivators but as identifiers of these options. They include any doubts about the correctness of your method, or whether your decision to attend this retreat was a right or a wrong one.

We can pursue scientific discovery without knowing what we are looking for, for the reason that the gradient of deepening coherence tells us where to start and which way to turn, and eventually brings us to the point where we may stop and claim a discovery. Practice is the last best hope of living up to that good-heartedness, the only thing that never hurts and customarily avails. In any activity, you have to find just the right way to do it.

Knowing the dimensions of the perception will help you determine the framing that will communicate exactly what you’ve seen. Therefore, we veraciously endeavor the method and then we work with what comes up. I’ll just put the method aside and let my mind wander a little bit. This is a wrong way to practice. There are some who admit they are not enlightened, but nevertheless refuse to recognize accepted rules of behavior.

Zen Koan: “A Mother’s Advice” Parable

Jiun, a Shingon master, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures to his brother students.

His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter:

“Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization.”

Buddhist Insight on Love and Relationships

In love and in relationships, meditation is simply a question of being, of melting, like a piece of butter left in the sun. Here there are the expression of offering and the promise to compose the text. Finally, mindfulness is essential to seeing all the precepts, and one’s constant effort to maintain the precepts in turn issues in an increase in the clarity of mindfulness. The American clinical psychologist John Welwood, who frequently writes about the integration of psychological and spiritual concepts, writes in Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships,

Imagining others to be the source of love condemns us to wander lost in the desert of hurt, abandonment, and betrayal, where human relationships appear to be hopelessly tragic and flawed. As long as we fixate on what our parents didn’t give us, the ways our friends don’t constantly show up for us, or the ways our lover doesn’t understand us, we will never become rooted in ourselves and heal the wound of the heart. To grow beyond the dependency of a child requires sinking our own taproot into the wellspring of great love. This is the only way to know for certain that we are loved unconditionally.

In emphasizing the importance of not looking to others for perfect love, I am not suggesting that you turn away from relationships or belittle their importance. On the contrary, learning to sink your taproot into the source of love allows you to connect with others in a more powerful way – “straight up,” confidently rooted in your own ground, rather than leaning over, always trying to get something from “out there.” The less you demand total fulfillment from relationships, the more you can appreciate them for the beautiful tapestries they are, in which absolute and relative, perfect and imperfect, infinite and finite are marvelously interwoven. You can stop fighting and shifting tides of relative love and learn to ride them instead. And you come to appreciate more fully the simple, ordinary heroism involved in opening to another person and forging real intimacy.

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