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Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Galileo Said Under His Breath

Who was that early scientist - was it Giordano Bruno - who was tortured to death for heresy when he said that the earth went around the sun? Galileo, a contemporary of Giordano Bruno, advocated and taught the same view and was brought by the ruling committee to a prison. He was shown the actual torture chamber, where these same people took Giordano Bruno's life, and the chains that held him.
They showed Galileo very pointedly the various objects of torture and demanded that he reverse his view or die. Galileo stood in the torture chamber and recanted. He officially stated that the earth did not go around the sun. As he turned to depart from the torture chamber, under his breath he said, "but still it does."
We now know that the earth goes around the sun and not the other way but beings still persist in behaving like they are the center of the universe. Let's not let Bruno to have died in vain. ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Red Lotus Buddhist Wisdom .. excerpt

Of the three jewels, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, Buddha means awakened one, or the nature of the awakened mind. The Dharma is the body of teachings of the Buddha and the Path to the awakened state. The Sangha is the community of beings who follow the teachings, rely on the awakening mind, and in turn, become enlightened themselves.
It might seem that the Sangha is not as important, but if the Buddha and the Dharma existed without the Sangha, it would be like attending a school where no one ever graduated! Sangha is our hope for the future, needed to help others become free. The very nature and essence of the Sangha means that somebody did it, and so can we!

The Dharma jewel is beyond value and is always changing as it comes into creative contact with suffering living beings. Since we do not know what kinds of activities living beings will need in the future, the Dharma jewel must be infinitely flexible and responsive, active in highly skillful methods that are alive in the modern world.

Red Lotus Buddhist Wisdom by Domo Geshe Rinpoche will be available before end of July 2009 $18.95 Hermitage Buddhist Publishing --

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Skillful Doubt is Easier than Deluded Doubt

So, we will explore a bit now about a aspect of Lorig; correct and incorrect doubt. A formal definition of doubt is a mental factor that vacillates with respect to its object. When the mind becomes mixed or associated with doubt, the mind itself, along with all other mental factors, such as emotions, motivation, and ability to distinguish between right and wrong, becomes blended with the qualities of doubt. In informal or everyday life, we may experience it’s effects, use it, or look at it, but we do not really analyze doubt itself, isn’t that so?

Because we have to be very firm when practicing dharma to have confidence in the path and goal of our spiritual efforts, our mind must be free of wavering. Certain kinds of analytical meditation train us to observe two or more positions making dispassionate judgment regarding the correct view. That is not the vacillating mind-wavering kind of doubt. When doing correct analytical meditation, we not only observe, but we also enter a stronger connection with the objects under analysis by deliberately dividing our attention between two or more viewpoints.

An example of this might be thinking about karma or cause and effect as having either a positive influence or a negative influence on our behavior. This enjoyable type of meditation requires a great deal of previous inner work creating clarity of mind for best results. This will culminate in higher enthusiasm for dharma and an ability to resolve inner doubt so completely that eventually one becomes awakened in the manner of awakening achieved by Buddha Shakyamuni. Non-deluded doubt meditation practice actively seeks to resolve conflict by structured cogitation using correct logic based on healthy Buddhist principles.

However, improper doubt is a powerful reverse blessing. Deluded doubt not only shakes confidence and faith, but can actually cause one to stop spiritual practice completely should it get to a point where one cannot tolerate it. One can become discouraged by doubt. Without confidence, stamina and understanding needed for practice can cause the meditator to falter. That person’s progress can either stop immediately or return into a tiny seed form. In this fall from being a practitioner, at best they revert to an earlier practice of mild interest but no longer sustain the enthusiasm of a practitioner.

Excerpt from Mystery of Emptiness & Love by DG Rinpoche
2009 Hermitage Buddhist Publishing

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Renunciation and What About Susie?

What could possibly motivate someone to renounce everything for the dharma? I know it has twelve letters, but somehow, renunciation has become a four-letter word for spiritual people. Because of that, teachers coming to the West rarely use the word renunciation anymore.
Why is that? How can the lamas who arrive to teach about enlightenment, read from the old texts, (which is a lot about renunciation) and yet are concerned to mention renunciation? Could there be something about the word ‘renunciation’ that creates the opposite effect of the meanings of the texts to people in the West?
Unskillful renunciation means to renounce what you already possess and now you have to give up. The other unskillful meaning is something you really want that has to be given up even before you get it. Both of these meanings are untrue and renunciation has a bad reputations in the West.
A nameless student, one who was very interested in spiritual development sent me a frantic letter, “
Rinpoche, I’m just so confused because I feel like I want to achieve enlightenment. However, what about Susie?” (Well, I don’t know who Susie is!! What about Susie?”)
“I promised Susie that I would marry her! If I should go for enlightenment then I have to renounce everything and what about Susie? She’s expecting this, and not only that but I was expecting to have children! Now you tell me about all this enlightenment stuff and now I have to renounce all of that? Well, what am I going to tell Susie?”
Maybe it is possible that I could get enlightened, but Susie’s here with me now. She is something that I want and I know I can get her. Whereas this enlightenment, I’m not so sure that I’m going to be able to finish what I start. Right now I’m thinking you asking me to give up everything that I like.” (Rinpoche: not true).”And I don’t know about enlightenment.”
This is also the crux of lay Tibetan community’s inability to deeply delve into practice. Lay Tibetans say, “
If you’re really interested in Dharma then you give up everything, even your house, and you become a monastic. But don’t ask me to give up anything. I will do my cultural Buddhist practice. And later in life when I’ve used up all of the available resources like my body and my years, when that’s almost all used up, then I’m going to think about renouncing because then I’ve had all of my enjoyments.”
I don’t like telling the truth like that. This is why very few strong teachings are given to Tibetan lay people. The teachings are there and laypeople come in the time they can take, as a blessing for their future life when and if they can become a monk. The difference between a practitioner, a non-practitioner and someone who is Buddhist sympathizer is putting the teachings into practice.
Western people exposed to Buddhism are receiving strong practices without the renunciation teachings that are part of the practice. I suppose those giving the practices hope that people will understand eventually and I see that many do. And many don’t.
In the classic texts, “
Come and become a monastic in order to receive the strongest benefit. If you don’t become a monastic, then...” And they don’t cover that part. There are a few few texts that cover that, but so few that we’ll say it’s not taught.
So for the very interested lay practitioner who is not free or capable of life-long committed vows there are transitional stages. It is good to think about the difference between renouncing something completely that you like and bringing that attraction into a careful balance. Ask yourself “
Could I reduce the attractions and the compulsions that consume the best part of my energy and time? Could I apply that energy and time for something even more valuable?” That something else could be the lifesaving techniques described in the buddhadharma. It is possible to have renunciation and still lead a lay life. Just not easy!