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Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Will Not Have That Ice Cream Cone!


I was in a taxicab in Bali. The driver was lost, and needed to stop and ask directions. As we pulled along side a fellow walking down the road, I said, "Just roll down your window and ask him,” He replied, "Oh no, I am shudra caste. I have to get out to speak to him because he is brahman. Balinese society is much more traditional and stylized than western society, or is it?

Your relationship with yourself has become rather stylized over time in a different way. You have developed certain ideas about who you are and what you are capable of and especially what your weaknesses are like shudra or untouchable class believes about them selves. These may not be true weaknesses, but a kind of indoctrinated weakness that has caused you to believe something about yourself that is not true.

Because our intention is healing of wisdom it is important to explore mind/body connections that may be unhealed. There is some relationship between your body and your mind that might have created misunderstanding and damaged your opportunity for higher development. Often the relationship that you have with yourself is in a form of a power struggle.

You want to go to bed early? How many people here want to go to bed early, but don’t? Almost everybody! Even with something as simple as your biological need for sleep it is a struggle. You decide that you are going to retire early, but rarely do, and so you struggle against your natural responses and your need for rest.

You probably also have ideas of what you are capable of accomplishing. Even though you have capabilities, you might decide that you are either not going to use them or that you are not capable of certain things. In other words, you never challenged yourself to your capacity! There are obstacles in the mind that act as barriers to accomplishing important activities just as certainly as iron bars of a prison.

Because you are not doing what you want to be doing you might turn on yourself in anger and frustration. Perhaps you even have devious methods for punishing yourself. You know, personally I think if I was going to punish myself, I should do it with ice cream. I will put my finger on my nose and tell myself, "You have been very bad. Now you must not have an ice cream cone." This actually would work very well with myself.

However, people can develop some pretty serious methods and strategies for punishing themselves for some imagined or real infraction. There could even be a subconscious model forced upon you by dysfunctional family dynamics that trained you against your will. Once internalized and energetically “learned” it arises by itself in response to guilt that you broke a rule. You cease normal operations and cannot be you, the experiencer of your life. Now you have to be the punisher of you!

These kinds of punishments often come in the form of a deadening to life’s experiences that forbid you to feel anything. You literally deny yourself the ability to feel anything as a punishment for something that you may have done. These punishments can become habitual in you. People who are habitual punishers of them selves will also indulge in other harmful dynamics such as shame or denying themselves something that they really want or want to do. This is why I used ice cream as an example. There could be something that you really want to do, that would make you happy but you tell yourself, "No, I’m not going to do it" because you would enjoy it.

This is the brahman and shudra in you engrossed in a power struggle. Not only engrossed but bringing other energies such as meditational merits and practice accomplishments into the struggle. This can actually cause the individual to believe impossibilities such as God or Buddha hates them or their teacher is angry with them.

The subconscious or subtle mind affects the way that you act because it has been programmed to punish. The attempt to get back into a psychological balance or state of well-being is important. The mind is a delicate instrument. It is in the activity of preparation for transformation to the enlightened state that we deliberately reprogram body, speech, mind and subtle minds such as the close inner mind of the subconscious toward higher development.

We never act as the punisher. There are more skillful methods to overcome the obstacles that cause inner anger to be directed at the mind itself.
Tomorrow-we continue this discussion with advice on purification practices.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Real You!

I have been thinking strongly of a method to explain the dynamic between the outside person and the way that they really exist. I will elaborate a bit here so that you understand this dynamic and perhaps even put it into practice.

This discussion is not about ultimate reality. This is not about the oneness of all beings. This is not a discussion of whether the ego causes suffering or what realm what deity resides. This is not even a purely buddhist discussion. All ordinary living beings, whether they are atheists, agnostics or members of any religion are, (or behave like they are, for many of them) confused as to how they are actually alive.

Again and again, I say that you are not the actual one that is here. None of you who could arrive here is actually the real living being. You are a a version of the actual living being that exists in another way of being.

When thinking, moving, planning and accomplishing activities , it is by virtue of the actual you, which is interior to your location in the human realm. Since it actually exists on another level of being it is not something that could be discovered in your physical.

So, the actual one that you are is an energy being. You actually exist as an energy being; not American, not Tibetan, not even Italian! In addition, the actual you, the real you, does not speak English, or any known language in this world-system. It has a unique method of communicating and a unique logical system. It communicates via meaning.

Difficulties arise between the actual being and its emanation; that’s you-- for a number of reasons. Communication between the actual you inside and understanding in the outer mental functions can become quite distorted. Mostly, we get it wrong! It is possible for a wrong idea or confusion to arise because the lines of communication are muddied.

There are a number of issues that pollute; understanding becomes muddied by anger or jealousy, muddied by many different attitudes, traumas and of course the innate view of solidity and separateness. But most of all it the natural clarity of the communication has become muddied because the one on the outside thinks they are the ONE who is alive and they POSSESS an inner part of themselves, an inner spirituality that belongs to them. In reality you do not own it – it owns you!

The outer person is the temporary one and the inner one has a longer duration. One of the classic errors of samsara taught in Buddhism is taking that which is temporary to be permanent, the innate view. You are the outer being sitting in the human realm, the outer process of the actual one! We can prove who is the emanation that produces the other by logic. When the inner one leaves at the time of death, what happens to the outer one? It is inanimate meat, without any value at all. However, when the outer one disappears the inner one does not.

This is an introduction to seeing life as inner based. Oh, one more thing- the actual being is not an enlightened being. It only knows what it knows. That is why you are here, to learn something it needs to continue its journey to perfection. It is the actual student who need the actual practice in its meditations. This is the function of initiation, to present the actual being with the inner transformation preparations. This realm is not its home. It needs to go home. It cannot unless it has finished its preparation here. We need long life to make careful preparations because we are the caretakers- not the owners!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Future Buddha Susvasti is the Wife of a Crabby Man

A husband and wife approached Lord Buddha Shakyamuni as he and his followers rested in a grove. The wife stepped forward bowed low and gently offered the Buddha a small quantity of sweets.
The Buddha looked deeply at her. He was capable of ascertaining her qualities and nature. The highly sophisticated calculation possible at extraordinary levels of awakening combined with the work he performed as a world teacher saw the action that she was performing was something special and pivotal in her process. The Buddha received the sweets from the hands of this devoted woman and stated, “This is good, this is good. As a consequence of this action, you will become Buddha Susvasti in the future."
Now, that’s a pretty big statement, isn’t it? Her husband, surprised, stepped forward to object, “Now now now now now. Hey Buddha,” (laughs) I’m sure he didn’t say, “Hey, Buddha” but I’m going to say that. “Hey, Buddha, it was just a handful of sweets. Isn’t what you’re saying a little extreme?"
The story goes on that Lord Buddha Shakyamuni turned to this man and said, “You cannot even begin to describe which actions will produce which results. Do not think that small actions will not bring grand results in the future."
In that particular moment, that particular woman by deliberate action propelled the ripening of her already extraordinary karma. The consequences of certain previous actions came together into a kind of a nexus, a cluster. The seeming simple activity she performed with her own freewill was produced by myriad preparations and development stages in that life and previous lives. So who stood before the Buddha was a result of preparation up to that point. A prepared individual cannot prevent the fruition of karma, whether that is positive or negative from being experienced.
The meeting and interaction with the Buddha then opened another kind of karmic consequence. And that consequence would lead to that consequence, which would lead to another consequence. The meeting with the Buddha sealed her future as a Buddha herself. In the future, she would become Buddha Susvasti, one of the 1000 buddhas of which Shakyamuni was the fourth. Do not think that small actions will not produce great results
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Smelly Socks and Meditation


Meditators think! “Who am I? Who am I really? Do I have to maintain a solidified form of who I am between the hours of 8AM and 5PM? What does it mean to be alive?...OK mind, enough of that weird thinking and back to reality! I get in the car and I know who I am. I am the one who needs to make a living”

My first time in New Mexico, I saw Saturday Night Live. Have you ever seen the bit with the crabby old man? He said, “In the old days, we walked to school and we didn’t have enough to eat. And we liked it! Because that’s the way it was.” He just made me laugh so hard.

So, maintaining a fantasy structure with multiple ideas of who you thought you were, deserves to go away! (Laughs) These experiences of not feeling alive could be temporary, because there is an inner identity that deepens. All practitioners should have a great sense of humor about identity. “I identify with my body?” No! The whole world wishes you to identify with your body.

In any case, your sense of identity is often based upon a fantasy with how your body looks. At a certain point, there is a cathartic change, and you might say, “Oh..my…GOD!” (Laughter) “I am not the body.” And then you say to others – and I’m looking at the ceiling here – “How dare you see me as the body? That’s not who I am.” You still don't know who you are. You just recently discovered you weren’t the body.

So there may be some other areas of identification that are just as fantasy[-based] and causing you as much problem as your identification with the body. Who am I? Now step back and say, “I feel like this is me.” Can you do that? Close your eyes and take a half a step back. Do you feel more comfortable with that one there?

OK, now slowly open your eyes. That’s not your body, is it? There’s something other than the basis that you have been using for your identity. For practitioners, you need to develop a flexible sense in order to be able to take full advantage of your evolving sense of depth in identity. In the future, may you be offended by your present demands that your identity be associated with…like that. No matter how evolved that is, and I’m not saying you're not good practitioners. Even to say, “I’m a yoga instructor,” or “I’m a mother of three,” or “I’m a person who thinks for themself,” or “I’m a meditator”. Actually, the meditator identity will follow you. Do you understand what I’m saying?

You cannot simultaneously grasp on to a fantasy position of identity and change. We must keep a very careful sense of balance and a very careful stabilization of energy, so that we can be alive carefully. For meditators it’s like this. You’re feeling, “How can I accommodate my old identity…Dang, this feels uncomfortable!” And finally you say, “Well, this is dumb. Why don't I just be me?” This sense of relief is so powerful that you feel alive again. OK.

All meditators go through it. You are not unique. What you need to do is stop trying to accommodate a view that isn’t you anymore. Like holding on to old laundry – smelly socks (laughter). I don't know if your used socks smell as bad as mine, but I bet they're pretty close. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Stinkige Socken und Meditation
Meditierende, denkt nach! ‚Wer bin ich? Wer bin ich wirklich? Muss ich die verfestigte Form dessen, der ich bin, zwischen 8 und 17 Uhr aufrechterhalten? Was bedeutet es, lebendig zu sein? Ok, Geist, jetzt reicht’s mit dem schrägen Denken, zurück in die Realität! Ich steige ins Auto und weiß, wer ich bin. Ich bin derjenige, der seinen Lebensunterhalt verdienen muss.‘
Als ich zum ersten Mal in Mexiko war habe ich Saturday Night Live gesehen. Habt ihr je die Szene mit dem grummeligen Alten gesehen? Er sagte: ‚Früher mussten wir zur Schule laufen und wir hatten nicht genug zu essen. Und wir mochten das! Weil es eben so war.‘ Ich hab so über ihn gelacht.
So hat es das Aufrechterhalten dieser Fantasiestruktur mit multiplen Ideen davon, wer du zu sein glaubtest, verdient zu gehen! (Lach) Diese Erfahrungen, bei denen man sich nicht lebendig fühlt, könnten vorübergehend sein, weil sich dabei eine innere Identität vertieft. Alle Übenden sollten einen ausgezeichneten Sinn fürs Komische haben was ihre Identität betrifft. ‚Ich identifiziere mich mit meinem Körper?‘ Nein! Die ganze Welt möchte, dass du dich mit deinem Körper identifizierst.
Jedenfalls basiert dein Identitässinn oft auf einer Fantasievorstellung darüber, wie dein Körper aussieht. An einem bestimmten Punkt vollzieht sich eine reinigende Veränderung und du sagst vielleicht: ‚oh..mein..GOTT!‘ (Lach) ‚Ich bin nicht der Körper.‘ Und dann sagst du den anderen – ich schau jetzt zur Decke hoch – ‚Was fällt dir ein, mich als meinen Körper zu betrachten? Das bin ich nicht.‘ Aber noch immer weißt du nicht, wer du bist. Du hast nur vor kurzem entdeckt, dass du nicht der Körper bist.
Vielleicht gibt es auch andere Bereiche der Identifikation, die genauso auf Fantasie basieren und dir genauso viel Probleme bereiten, wie die Identifikation mit dem Körper. Wer bin ich? Trete einen Schritt zurück und sage: ‚Ich fühle, das ich das bin.‘ Kannst du das tun? Schließ die Augen und geh einen halben Schritt zurück. Fühlst du dich mit demjenigen dort wohler?
Ok, nun öffne langsam die Augen. Das ist nicht dein Körper, nicht wahr? Es gibt etwas anderes als die Basis, die du als deine Identität betrachtet hast. Als Übende müsst ihr ein flexibles Gespür entwickeln, um das beste aus eurem sich entwickelnden Sinn für eure tiefe Identität zu machen. In der Zukunft hältst du deine gegenwärtigen Ansprüche auf das Gleichsetzen deiner Identität mit .... vielleicht für beleidigend, so kann das gehen. Egal wie weitentwickelt sie auch ist, und ich will nicht sagen, dass ihr keine guten Übenden seid. Selbst wenn man sagt ‚Ich bin Yogalehrer‘ oder ‚Ich bin Mutter von drei Kindern‘ oder ‚Ich bin ein unabhängiger Denker‘ oder ‚Ich bin ein Meditierender‘. Die Identität des Meditierenden wird euch tatsächlich verfolgen. Versteht ihr, was ich sage?
Du kannst nicht gleichzeitig an der Fantasievorstellung von Identität und an Veränderung festhalten. Wir müssen ein sehr sorgsames ausgeglichenes Gefühl beibehalten und die Energie sehr sorgsam stabilisieren, um auf sorgfältige Weise lebendig zu sein. Für Übende ist das so. Du fühlst: ‚Wie kann ich meine alte Identität hier unterbringen... Mist, das fühlt sich unangenehm an!‘ Und schließlich sagst du: ‚Also, das ist blöd. Warum bin ich nicht einfach ich selbst?‘ Dieses Gefühl der Erleichterung ist so machtvoll, dass du dich wieder lebendig fühlst. Ok.
Das geht allen Meditierenden so. Du bist da nicht der Einzige. Was du tun musst, ist zu versuchen, damit aufzuhören, eine Sichtweise zu integrieren, die nicht mehr Du ist. Als ob man sich an alter Schmutzwäsche festhält – stinkigen Socken (Gelächter). Ich weiß nicht, ob eure Socken so schlecht riechen wie meine, aber ich wette, das ist ziemlich ähnlich.“ – Domo Geshe Rinpoche ---

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Discernmen-tosity!


Continuation of discernment from yesterday -. The definition of discernment is "the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently”. Deeper discernment is important to learn, remember and put into practice. Buddhist logical studies and deeper meditation stimulates the actual practice, the only method to train components of an inner alignment. This learning energetically inside is in the level that touches the boundaries between deep theoretical possibilities of the human mind and the human subtle mind of the next interior level. Controlled discrimination is the method and buddhist logical studies should act as an alerting factor. Inner discrimination and discernment in the ordinary mind, over time or lifetimes become hardened, deadened, and distanced from inner senses.

For those of you who have been to some of my other teachings, or particularly at this past winter retreat, have learned about inner senses. This work that we are doing here together is preparing the actual inner minds that prepare for the actual inner senses. This in will produce a higher-level transformative work. This more advanced work happens in the inner minds and trains inner minds that are presently not activated. What presently appears energetically to your subtle minds to be exactly the same energetic, in reality is completely different things.

It learns how to use discernment in the energetic form to prepare itself for the transformation into another kind of being, and would be literally blind and deaf if it did not have the ability to be able to make these careful distinctions between different kinds of stimuli.

For example, when you were small in school and teacher showed you two words; "where" and "wear," and asked what is the difference you probably answered, "Same, it's the same." The teacher said, "No, there is something about these two words that make them different not only in meaning but also in appearance. Please look again."

In that way, inside, you will be expected, and please understand correctly because it is a important component of inner education, that you become receptive to discernment between two different stimuli that differ in some particular aspect, and train to respond to them differently. That means making the correct energetic choices. In doing practice carefully, there are some things that you know very well, and other things that you have not been able to learn so far.

These trainings need to happen inside with the facilitation of the outer person and guidance. This facilitation is not the actual discrimination or discernment because the outer mind is not built to accommodate the concepts. It is extremely important that you facilitate through mental functions such as cogitation, meditation and logical analysis while allowing inner minds to do careful inner work.

It is possible for the human being to act as a careful caretaker to the one (the activated inner mind directed toward the inner path) who is actually doing the work. I encourage those who have been practicing for some time now to listen to the teaching called Organizing Spirituality Inside. This is another important element to help you understand about this very aspect of energetic discrimination.

This method of using discrimination that I have given you in previous teachings is very simply the act or process of exhibiting keenness of insight and judgment based upon traditional Tibetan Buddhist values; being able to make quality discriminations or choices to gain the path. In the teachings of this series in this teaching cycle, we have discussed either penetration of your own wisdom by analyzing how you have approached your spiritual longings or how to organize your time and efforts.

Continued tomorrow

Monday, February 16, 2009

Discriminaso-phizing!

Let us open a subject that might be either intensely interesting or intensely boring to you: developing discernment on the spiritual path. You already are using a lively mixed bag of discernments in your ordinary life as well as being a product of your well practiced discernments and discriminations. Your decisions that were based on these choices has substantially created you. You have, like everybody else, also changed or recreated your perceptions to accomplish your special day-to-day self- image and the direction of your life by both intellectual or energetic discernment. Let us focus here on discernment although I usually teach how to arise careful discrimination.
In the Tibetan education system, we only use an important word after understanding its various Buddhist meanings and sub meanings. So, there must be some differences between those two words.
The dictionary defines discrimination as "the ability or power to see or make fine distinctions”. In Buddhism, this would be used when learning quality choices by studying tiny differences between logical positions that will lead to different results. Discrimination stimulated in us a new inner resonation that allows us to make correct choices by fine-tuning distinctions of elements.
This definition of discrimination also includes discernment, "a treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit." This could be either negative or positive. Many of the world’s problems come from applying judgment toward groups based on belonging to a particular class. From aboriginal Australians to the Irish in America in the early 1900’s, from gays and lesbians, to blacks in the south; discrimination has become synonymous with hatred.
However, in the positive sense, we have also cultivated nice discriminations about the Buddhas and bodhisattvas as a class. Utilizing discrimination increases our ability to use positive discernment when directed toward bodhisattvas as a class of beings. This is a more sophisticated mental construct; choosing to behave respectfully toward all bodhisattvas, not based upon their individual qualities but characteristics held by all bodhisattvas.
People are still generally aware that enlightened beings exist. That is lucky that our world has not degenerated to the point where they are unaware of such beneficial transcendent beings. Careful discrimination gives a method to notice the distinctions between their own existential situation and the bodhisattva, who is also embodied in this world. We are fortunate that there is not yet a blending of those two kinds of beings due to a false sense of democracy.
According to American declaration of Independence, all beings are created equal under the law. Democracy further demands that there be no exalted beings and no inferior beings. Everyone is the same, and only opportunity and education prevent that from being in actuality.
Oriental people do not have this idea. We feel that if we take great beings such as bodhisattvas and saw off their legs so that they are the same as all others, it does not help train
those who are in preparation for enlightenment by superior example.
Tomorrow continue

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shantideva Did Not Wear a Hoodie!


Fashionable people are very much controlled by what everybody else is wearing, so much so that they don’t really have choices. Clothing designers create what people should be interested in for next year. This work out very well because most people want to look the same as others. They have decreed that we must wear a hoodie or never cover our heads even in cold weather. There is not much room for our own creativity, black, red or blue hoodie – your choice.

We have a quite independent thinking buddhist group gathered here this evening. Still, if you look at each other, aside from the ordained here, you are pretty much dressed alike …T-shirt, T-shirt, T-shirt, sweatshirt, sweatshirt, T-shirt…tie? Well, you're the odd person here (laughter). Perhaps you walked in here with your suit jacket on and took it off thinking “people would criticize me. I need to look more like everyone else”.

I believe all of you are just as controlled by your environment and choices as people in the '30s or the '20s or even people in the 1500’s were who wore white powdered wigs. They were people just like you! The upper class, educated and professional people of that time wearing little, tiny, tight knee pants and little tight jackets. Even the men wore a little bit of rouge and a white powdered wig. The ladies were quite complicated in dress and underwear that laced them in like a turkey about to go in the oven. The hair was carried by what must have been a pretty strong neck! However, they were people of their time just like you are a person of your time!

It gives me a funny feeling, and I'm not sure that I can explain it, but I make strong effort to see people as being just people whether they are from the present or the past. We see portraits painted of people of the past who were the famous movers and shapers of fashion, design of their time. What people thought were important and what was not to be thought of at all was molded by these important people!

It is easy to see the costumes and even understand the history and social values of those old days and overlook seeing them as products of their time and culture. In addition we tend to think of those people from the past as old fashioned, and somehow old fashioned has become less worthy.

A certain lady would flip a cigarette into her mouth at a party, and the next day, many want to emulate and smoke cigarettes so a special feeling of being someone who knew what was “hot and what was not” could arise. As soon as enough people smoked, then other would smoke without deciding whether that was a good idea or not. “Everybody smokes!”

They were exactly the same as the movers and shakers of present society. Somehow, we disrespect the past because we have already use a particular invention such as the telephone. The great excitement, the awe and newness surrounding the introduction and how to use the telephone that those of the past must have experienced would be an embarrassment to us today because it is so ordinary part of our world.

I feel that we are extremely influenced by these cues and clues of how and what we should like and be attracted to that are all around us. It is easy to become part of the wave of what is new coming and dislike what you already think is nice because now it is part of what is passé- a wrongness only because the fad has passed.

In my just before life I decided that I wanted a swan (I think plaster) on the lawn. It would make the lawn look nice and I could look out my window and see it. Ok? Was that so very wrong? My American attendants told me that I could not have it because it was too old fashioned. Ha ha I find a plastic swan in my new life here and put it on the yard. Looks so nice!

Anyway, that not the main point. While writing this I thought about Shantideva who lived around 800 AD. We think of him as a very contemporary writer because his words about arising and development of bodhicitta and bodhisattva behaviors resonate strongly with the modern world. It is as if he is speaking to modern problems.

However, it is possible that the enthusiasm and power of Shantideva came from the whole man, his life and inner and outer experiences channeled into thought and direction that is still alive today in what still exists after so long, his writing. The ball that he rolls toward us and into the future began with an extraordinary ordinary person who lived an exciting life. What would it have been like to meet Shantideva himself? Yes, a product of his time. If we knew every detail of his life would we continue to be inspired by him or would we think he had one or two good ideas and the rest was old fashioned? Could we see him as the product of his life in conjunction with wisdom alive? I would have liked to meet him. I would try not to be infected with ego of contemporary mind. Perhaps in reading some of the old masters of Buddhism we can try harder.