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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Lovingly binds us to virtue...Quote

‎"Verbindet uns liebevoll mit der Tugend...Zitat
Gleichmut stellt ein Gleichgewicht zwischen den Befürfnissen des Selbst und der Anderen her und bindet uns dadurch liebevoll an die Tugend.
Die Weisheit des Gleichmuts ist Tugend."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Chemistry of Change part four

How do we perceive the connection between stress and change? Change is by nature stressful because it is dismantling, reshaping, and moving energetic patterns into new configurations. That means that some perceptions that we use often are now placed into a minor role. New perceptions that are unfamiliar are now expected to perform a new role flawlessly, without practice, and that is stressful to new perceptions!

Some people want to be completely certain how they will react to stress before they subject themselves to situations that might be stressful. They want to have assurance that they can endure the feeling of living with the new them, without resorting to old habits and reactivating poor strategies. For example, our dear old cranky cousin Joe had decided to become more loving and more spiritual. However, when Joe encountered “guff” from his family and friends he could not help himself and pushed his new loving method on them in an aggressive way to show them just how spiritual he has become. If they should continue to not appreciate his new attitudes, he just might not show them his spiritual side again.

On the other hand, some people love stress. Like a mountain climber who feels the tingle of excitement while planning the best route to the summit, he or she has transmuted potential stress into a proactive curiosity and challenge that is not stressful at all, but fun! Seeking stress, we enter into many kinds of training from higher education and the challenges of produce good grades to beating through deep woods to get the perfect wildlife photograph. Skateboarding, debating with friends about politics, or even changing jobs all have energetic changes for our body and mind that must be overcome so that we can emerge a winner in our own minds, succeeding and accomplishing what we have not done before!

As we look at stress in a new way, we practice skillfully disrespecting our old perceptions. This allows an open space to position the new perception in the primary position of leading us to excellence and as a byproduct, causes us to feel happy. Now we take that happiness and recycle it in the mind by expanding it in a special increase process that also acts as a healing of old perceptual wounds that prevented us from changing before. This exciting adventure in change includes other elements such as stabilizing new patterns and allows us to experiences self-confidence in our ability to change. The next part will begin to explore stabilizing and integrating new perceptions. To be continued….

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mind of a Pilgrim

During the winter of 2002 and 2003, my students began retreat near the great stupa of Boudhanath in Nepal. For them it was glorious to be able to join the flow, the river of people who were circumnambulating the great stupa.

This is one of the eight original great stupas containing holy relics of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni The devotion and the feeling around the stupa is absolutely marvelous. However this is lost on those arriving with the mind of the tourist who can hardly wait to get some quality photographs of people holding their little prayer beads in their hand or turning a prayer wheel.

It is perhaps also lost on some others with the mind of a shopper taking the shortcut around the stupa counterclockwise to get to the shop to buy something. But for those who have the mind of a pilgrim, who have come from far away and they are there...I watched my students glow with the happiness of actually being there.

In my just before life, the eight Domo Geshe, I did not go to Nepal. However, Geshe Ngawang Kalsang, the seventh Domo Geshe was well known for going to Nepal and had taken groups of his students there and also on to India on pilgrimage. Like that, I was in a place that was visited by my previous, previous. My first time there in this life or my just previous life.

There are always many young monks and itinerant monks that would come and sit at the side of the stupa and do their evening prayers. They would put a little handkerchief down or a little plastic bag and many people would offer them one or two rupees as they passed. This is the tradition. There might also have been some poor monastery in the area where the one in charge would direct monks to go down and collect money for the monastery.

The rising and falling of chanting voices of these many groups - two, four, six in each, spread around the stupa. You could hear the small children with little high-pitched voices chanting. One small boy looked maybe about five or six years old. As I was going to give him some money I leaned down and thought, "What is he saying, what is he saying?" I had to listen carefully because of the sound of chanting prayers and also from a nearby shop the sound of a popular CD --OM MANI PEDME HUM, OM MANI PEDME HUM. Even the tourists with their cameras go (sings tune) so it's very catchy.

I'm leaning closer to this small boy, "What? What are you saying?" He looked up at me and he did not even know the mantra he only making a sing- song sound. But he had such a sweet, innocent little face I gave him the money anyway.

I, myself, had quite an extraordinary experience at the great stupa. I'm standing there at the side, out of the way, people are moving by, the sound of the monks chanting and the quality of the light as the sun is going down caused me to look at the people again. Some people seem directly from Tibet in traditional clothes and burnished cheeks. Many local Tibetans, Newari Buddhists, Nepalis are all circumnambulating the stupa clockwise. And lo and behold, I notice many foreign people. Many Oriental I'm sure, and I also see many Western people moving among them. You know that these people are pilgrims. They are not there just to see a curiosity of Buddhist culture.

It pleased me greatly. I stood there and looked at the great stupa, this pilgrimage place. This is a magnet created for practitioners to come for pilgrimage or retreat. I looked again and suddenly; a larger frame of reference came into my mind from early early early times. The process is not just inside Tibet; the process is alive and vibrant and goes on and on. It was an alive place. It was marvelous.

I felt like the sky move away and unlimited potential for the dharma to continue. Whatever small activities I had done in this present lifetime, in other lifetimes as a teacher guide and other distant eras was connected to a larger whole. I felt connected through the deep transmission process from very early times and still participating. I felt connected to these people, these pilgrims through that authentic Tibetan lineage transmission to the Buddha and felt joyful. I felt like everything was OK, the work still goes on, no doubt. I was transfixed in this for some time. Then it getting time for dinner, students waiting. I turned clockwise so the stupa was on my right side and joined the flow.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet

I was in India some years back. One night I was resting and doing my meditations when I felt the earth move. I instantly remembered I was, of course, back in Kalimpong and we do get temblors from time to time. We just ride them out. No problem- these buildings have been through many earthquakes. I went back to meditation and then I sat up quickly because I here in Deki Lodge in the new section and this is quite new construction. I did a quick logical analysis and realized that where I was lying may not have experienced any earthquake before. In the Orient, the only way you really know if a building is strong enough to tolerate an earthquake is by letting it go through an earthquake. If it fall down it not safe. I got out of bed and went outside to the balcony.

A friend told me one time to be alert if you see a little, teeny tiny scorpion, like the size of a fly. You might think, “That’s nothing.” Except little teeny tiny scorpions always ride on the back of their mama. Like that, mama is around somewhere and the little teeny tiny temblor could be accompanied by the mama earthquake. I do not mind the little ones, but I do not want to experience the mama! So I went out onto the balcony and called, “Ngawang Jugney, come!” very strongly. He was there instantly because the earthquake also awakened him.

We marched ourselves down the steps. I was wrapped in a blanket, towel style like somebody just out of the shower. At night I put my hair into two braids at the side because now it is getting longer and I cannot wear it flowing. So there I am, wrapped like a funny lady out of the shower, two little braids flapping as I stomp down the steps, grumbling, “I am not going to tolerate being in this building with new construction. I am going to the courtyard,” toom toom toom toom. At the very same time I felt so grateful to interior protection that cares for me and walks me down the steps.

We got down to the courtyard, it is dark, the middle of the night. I did not alert those students or other people in the old building because it was not necessary – that had already been through many shakings. Jugney said to me, “You know, Rinpoche, I thought something auspicious was going on.” I looked at him thinking, “What? How could an earthquake be auspicious?” Then suddenly, I remembered that I taught from one of the scriptures or commentaries about authentically arises the wish to be free. That thought is like a flash of lightning. When this authentic awakening of the wish to be free occurs, is held and stabilized, that being is definitively removed from the clutches of samsara.

In that way, the samsaric energies have a loss. These delusional samsaric energies are angered by the loss of that one who is becoming free. That samsaric energy is associated with earth energies, the lower energies of anger, etc.; that energy shakes uhhhhhhhhhhn dada dada dada dada da. So some say when earthquakes occur it is because someone has attained bodhicitta. Even though we can look at it from another point of view, I enjoy seeing it from that point of view.

This is how the minds of practitioners work: “This is just wonderful. Someone has attained bodhicitta. How marvelous for them.” But how marvelous that Jugney could glory in the attainment of bodhicitta that someone, somewhere has attained. We collectively thumb our noses at samsara and glory in the attainment of another. Jugney had no fear or concern, but was filled with appreciation of the auspiciousness of the moment. I like the way he is thinking. Whatever comes, it comes as Dharma.

So, I stood out in the courtyard in the open night air in my blanket. From my point of view, having experienced many earthquakes, I was profoundly grateful for the protection. When I felt comfortable that the coast was clear, I made my way back to my room, said goodnight to Ngawang Jugney, and went back to my meditations. There were no further temblors.

Edited excerpt from teaching Initiations Explained 3-2003

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blind but Wise Child

A blind boy in Tibet accidentally fell off a cliff and landed on the back of a kiang,a kind of wild horse. As he was clinging to the animals back the kiang jumped and raced around trying to knock him off. Nearby villagers rushed to the scene and shouted to the boy "Jump off, jump off" as he and the kiang dashed by. The blind boy shouted back, "no, this came by unusual method and who knows when I will get this chance again?"
Like that, human birth is not easy to attain and we should make effort while we have it because it is not known it we will get the chance again!

A story from the Lam Rim stages of the Buddhist path to enlightenment

"Blindes aber weises Kind
In Tibet fiel ein blinder Junge versehentlich von einer Klippe und landete auf dem Rücken eines Kiang, einer Art von wildem Pferd. Während er sich an den Rücken des Tieres klammerte sprang und rannte das Kiang herum und versuchte ihn abzuwerfen. Die Dorfbewohner rannten aus der Nähe herbei und riefen dem Jungen zu: 'Spring ab, spring ab', als er auf dem Kiang vorbeisauste. Der blinde Junge rief zurück: 'Nein, dies geschah auf ungewöhnliche Weise und wer weiß, wann ich nochmal so eine Chance bekomme?'
Und so ist auch die menschliche Geburt nicht einfach zu erreichen und wir sollten uns anstrengen während wir sie erlangt haben, da wir nicht wissen, wann wir wieder die Chance dazu erhalten!

Eine Geschichte aus den Lam Rim Stufen des buddhistischen Pfads zur Erleuchtung" DGR