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Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Single Grain of Rice

Around 1945, I was a young rinpoche in a monastery in Tibet in my just previous life. I lived with about 18 other boys in a house on the grounds of Sera Je Monastery in Lhasa called a kangsen. I suppose it is a kind of fraternity house. One day we received a teaching that stayed with me even past the end of that life! A single grain of rice was held up by our teacher; “This is something which appears to be insignificant. And yet, at great personal expense, a farmer had to bend over and stand in water with leaches and other terrible things, pushing the rice plant in the wetness. He had to bend over again and again weeding and caring for the rice. If the harvest was not damaged and survived to be harvested, this grain and others were dried and beaten to take off the chaff. Later, this very grain of rice was loaded and carried by horseback for long distances to arrive here at our kangsen.”
Our teacher told us that we harbored an enemy inside our minds so bad that it prevented us from experiencing gratefulness. In a land of deprivation where so much hunger existed, we conspired with our self-cherishing by allowing what we did not eat to fall to the floor and be wasted. Because of the amount of physical labor and care that had been taken with that single grain of rice, we should be extremely careful and thankful toward the efforts of the grower and those who gathered the rice and stored it and those who cooked it and those who carried it to us. Each person along the way should be thanked with great seriousness and care by the one who wished enlightenment! Rather than saying, “Well I paid for it. It’s my rice.” However, even if you have a million dollars, if someone does not bring the rice, you have no way to make rice out of dust.
I now felt a huge responsibility for taking charge of the portion of the food chain that I was holding. Soon after, I walked past the kitchen and noticed that the cook had spilled some rice grains right there on the floor. There I was, a little guy of perhaps 8 or 9 years. I went in and gave him a lecture. “How can you do this? Don’t you know that…?” and I repeated nearly word for word in the strongest language I had the teachings that I had just received. Then I went away to my room quite satisfied that I had done what I could. Like that, we were trained.

Um 1945 herum, in meinem vorigen Leben, war ich ein junger Rinpoche in einem tibetischen Kloster. Ich lebte mit ca. 18 anderen Jungen in einem ‚Kangsen‘ genannten Haus auf dem Gelände des Sera Je Klosters. Ich nehme an, es ist eine Art Bruderschaftshaus. Eines Tages erhielten wir eine Unterweisung, die auch nach dem Ende jenes Lebens noch in mir lebendig ist! Unser Lehrer hielt ein einzelnes Reiskorn hoch: “Dies ist etwas, das unbedeutend erscheint. Und doch musste sich ein Bauer unter großem persönlichen Aufwand bücken, im Wasser voll von Blutegeln und anderen schrecklichen Dingen stehen, und die Reispflanze ins Feuchte drücken. Er musste sich wieder und wieder bücken, Unkraut jäten und sich um den Reis kümmern. Wenn die Ernte nicht beschädigt war und bis zum Erntetermin überlebte wurden dieses Korn und die anderen getrocknet und gedroschen, um die Spreu zu entfernen. Später wurde genau dieses Reiskorn aufgeladen und über eine lange Strecke auf einem Pferderücken transportiert, um hier in unserem Kangsen anzukommen.“
Unser Lehrer sagte uns, dass wir einen Feind in unserem Geist beherbergten, der so schlimm sei, dass er uns daran hinderte, Dankbarkeit zu empfinden. In einem Land voller Entbehrungen, wo es so viel Hunger gab, hatten wir uns mit unserer Selbstbezogenheit verschworen, denn wir erlaubten es, dass Ungegessenes auf den Boden fiel und verschwendet wurde. Da so viel körperliche Arbeit und Fürsorge für ein einziges Reiskorn aufgebracht wurden, sollten wir äußerst sorgsam sein und dankbar für die Anstrengungen des Bauern und jener Leute, die den Reis geerntet und aufbewahrt hatten, die ihn kochten und zu uns brachten. Derjenige, der die Erleuchtung wünschte sollte jedem einzelnen auf seinem Weg mit großer Ernsthaftigkeit und Sorgfältigkeit danken! Anstatt zu sagen: „Nun, ich habe dafür bezahlt. Es ist mein Reis.“ Aber selbst wenn du eine Million Dollar hast und keiner dir Reis bringt, gibt es für dich keine Möglichkeit Reis aus Staub zu erzeugen.
Ich verspürte nun eine Riesenverantwortung, mich um den Teil der Nahrungskette zu kümmern, der in meiner Hand lag. Bald darauf kam ich an der Küche vorbei und bemerkte, dass der Koch dort einige Reiskörner auf den Boden fallen gelassen hatte. Und da war ich nun, ein kleiner Kerl von vielleicht 8 oder 9 Jahren. Ich ging hinein und erteilte ihm eine Lektion. „Wie kannst du das tun? Weißt du nicht, dass....?“, und ich wiederholte auf ausdrücklichste Weise beinahe Wort für Wort die Belehrung, die ich gerade empfangen hatte. Dann ging ich auf mein Zimmer, recht zufrieden damit, dass ich getan hatte, was ich konnte. Auf diese Weise wurden wir ausgebildet.“
- Domo Geshe Rinpoche ---

Friday, July 31, 2009

Pursuit of Happiness and All That!

There are things that you wanted to do with your life. Many of you are still young and there are important things that you want to do with your life. Things that you want to accomplish, places that you want to go, experiences to gather and integrate. Yet, often, as you move toward your objective you cannot obtain it. Something prevents you from getting the very things that you want to have and feel that you deserve! Isn’t that so? As Americans we say, “It is not fair”. Therefore, there must be some discrimination against the individual that you do not get what you want. In your constitution, it affirms the right to pursue happiness. However, they never told you that you were going to catch it!

So, the pursuit of happiness and keeping away difficulties has been a full time occupation up to this point in your life, isn’t that so? There might be some special problems that are not be apparent on the surface preventing you from getting what you want. In that way, there must be something about, not the way you are doing things, but perhaps your perceptions about what is going on that keeps you from success. Does that make sense?

""Das Streben nach Glück und all das!
Es gibt Dinge, die Du im Leben tun wolltest. Viele von Euch sind noch jung und
es gibt viele wichtige Dinge, die Ihr in Eurem Leben tun wollt. Dinge, die Ihr
erreichen wollt, Orte an die ihr reisen möchtet, Erfahrungen, die ihr sammeln und
integrieren wollt. Und doch ist es oft so, dass Du Dein Ziel nicht erreichen
kannst, wenn Du Dich ihm annäherst. Irgendetwas hindert Dich daran, genau die
Dinge zu bekommen, die Du haben möchtest und von denen Du meinst, Du verdienst sie,
oder? Wir Amerikaner sagen: 'Das ist nicht fair'. Also muss es irgendeine
Diskriminierung gegen das Individuum geben, wenn Du nicht bekommst, was Du willst.
In Eurer Verfassung ist das Recht auf das Streben nach Glück verankert.
Allerdings haben sie nie gesagt, dass man es auch einfangen kann!

Also sind das Streben nach Glück und das Vermeiden von Schwierigkeiten bis jetzt
ein Vollzeitjob in Deinem Leben gewesen, nicht wahr? Vielleicht gab es einige
besondere Probleme, die nicht offen zu sehen sind und die Dich daran hindern, zu
bekommen was Du willst. Und so muss es nicht an der Art liegen, wie Du es versuchst
, sondern vielleicht an Deinen Wahrnehmungen dessen was passiert und Dich vom
Erfolg abhält. Macht das Sinn?""

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Suffering of a Teacher

We need to instill a desire to spring back to a stable identity, a stable interior referent. For example, a schoolteacher, over the summer, might have a chance to spend a lot of time alone, just reading, walking through the woods, enjoying their own company, perhaps even painting a picture. Simply enjoying them self, they feel real and comfortable inside and out.

Then they need to go back to teaching school in the fall. Over a course of the next year, by the time the next May or June comes along they hardly recognize them self anymore (again). The real work that they did on them self in the summer, returning to their internal referent to heal is gone. They feel as if they had their feet to the fire for nine months of the school year and again they can hardly wait to have time to be by them self and to get to know them self again. watch this about teacher stress http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/educational_and_howto/watch/v17489191ySYcHbHw


However, each time they get to know them self again they are not them self anymore. They have not gone back to their comfortable referent often enough. They have become changed by the stress that causes people to “morph” into another way of being alive in order to withstand the often rigorous demands of school teacher in today’s modern society. The burn out experienced in education is so high that anything that can be done to prevent it will benefit many.

What is true for a schoolteacher is true for a healer also. However, anyone who is a meditator is working toward developing a steady, sincere relationship with higher being that needs to be returned to daily. Better yet, twice a day. A meditator who is in retreat will do that six times a day. Enlightened beings never leave the internal referent.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Little Old Ladies and Tibetan Butter Sculptures

One of my students told me a story about a group of Tibetan monks who came to New York City to make a big butter sculpture. Day after day, the monks shaped and assembled a quite impressive display of flowers, different animals, and deities out of colored butters all fastened onto large boards, which then were going to be brought in a tall assembly. It is quite complicated and requires a great deal of experience in order to make a butter sculpture. watch here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJmj4jqQBxQ

Every day, many people came to watch the monks making butter sculpture, a very interesting process. Some of the monks had their hands immersed in water with ice cubes for long periods making this sculpture underwater. In addition, they had to keep the room at a very cold temperature, and it was wintertime, otherwise, the butter would melt. People would come to watch them mold and create the designs and ask questions, "Are your hands cold?" This was the important question to ask Tibetan Buddhist monks who came all the way from the other side of the world. They replied, "Of course they are cold. They are immersed in ice water." watch here http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/video/how-to-make-a-butter-sculpture-272708/

A group of old ladies came to see the butter sculpture being produced and assembled. These were beautiful older ladies wearing little mink shoulder wraps and little hats and quite a good amount of makeup. They said, "What are you going to do with the butter sculpture once it is finished? Will it be available for sale?" They said, "No, ladies, this butter sculpture will be scraped off and made into a lump and thrown away." They said, "Well, that is terrible! This butter sculpture should be preserved! You should not destroy it!" The monks, who did not have very good English, tried to explain carefully about the nature of impermanence and how butter sculpture and sand mandala making teach the Buddhist concept of the nature of impermanence in even this beautiful exhibit. The ladies did not understand and continued to complain that it was wrong to destroy these types of things at the end of the show.

This is an example of the wrong view that takes the impermanent to be permanent.
It seems the monks found the old ladies amusing because the making of butter sculpture is part of their education and practice as well as working on understanding the nature of change and impermanence. On the other hand, these well-preserved old ladies insisted that something that is going to change does not change. They want to hold away change and demand that either life return to the way it was before or never change at all. This rubs and irritates the actual way that you are alive. Holding away change and demanding life to be like before rubs and irritates the actual way you are alive, like trying to pet a cat from the tail to head.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When a Healer Burns Out

I empathize for those who suffer problems with co-workers, who feeling trapped in a work environment where they experience anger from co-workers, clients or patients.  Built up minor stress causes annoyance but long-term problems affect health, well being and can end careers if we can't change the way we interact with others. 
For those in the helping professions, healer burnout isn't easy to identify and resolve. Many valuable and fine people have already burned out and given up trying to find a cure. You might even be someone that is experiencing early signs of burnout yourself, or see it happening to a friend or a dear one.
What is the average career of a healer? I heard it was 3 years. This isn't very long by comparison to the amount of preparation and study that goes into that career.  
Many nurses are disappointed in their expectations of how their career as a caregiver was going to be. I gave a teaching called Utilizing Compassion in the Face of Anger discussing special issues facing nurses, such as passive aggressive behavior, and how hurtful these are in clinical settings.
What are signs of burnout?
· Irritability happens slowly, more and more things bug you, and you snap more. You start creating problems where there are not problems.
· Disoriented or just going through the motions
· Judgmental
· Physical system out of balance,
· Stomach problems
· Headaches
· Outright anger at anyone making demands. Part of being judgmental is an inability to tolerate anyone telling you to do anything, without feeling irritation or anger. I believe that someone has already turned the corner into burnout when it arrives at that point.
What would an early warning be?
Perhaps surprise. The first time you experience something that does not resonate regarding your work environment and feel surprised that something shifted just then. This would be an early warning sign accompanied perhaps by a feeling that something inside hurts and you don't know what or why. In the familiar environment of your work environment, suddenly you feel like it does not energetically support you.
Successful people who have not burned out are able to perceive early warning signs and work with them before they become confused and disappointed with healing others. Wherever you are in that progression, there is a potential for adding to that unhappy surprised feeling.
Many of you are healers. think about that and just simply hold your hands like this. Close your eyes think about your work. Feel whether your environment is energetically supporting you. If it is, it will feel like a cushion of density supporting you. Look at how high your hands are. Do you feel very good about your work?
We have a sense of where we do have energetic support, if we feel the hands drop down. In a way, your energetic system is saying something to you that you have programmed it to do.
Some other signs of burnout are
· Cynicism,
· Negativity and irritability,
· A sense of being overwhelmed or besieged.
· Frequent headaches or intestinal disturbances.
Meditators acknowledge that the navel center is a strong practice location. In the more yogic processes, of the various centers of meditation, the heart, and the navel centers are the most important. Recently, science research has identified that there seems to be a second brain or certain cells, which have a brain-cell-type configuration in the intestines. There seems to be a kind of intelligence associated with the intestines. Practice energies around the navel accumulate. When problems come up, intestinal distress manifest, as though you are thinking in a different way.
Other signs of burnout could be
· Weight loss or weight gain
· Sleepiness or inability to sleep
· Depression Part of burnout is anger, which is an energy arising. The other part is depression, which is the up and down between angry and depression where the person’s energy rises up as though there was no monitor on emotional cycles.
· Shortness of breath
· Suspiciousness. It is hard when burnout comes and the healer is unable to see that. No matter what you say to them, it does not make sense to them. They become suspicious and unhappy.
· Feelings of helplessness and self-criticism, blaming oneself for putting up with the demands of others. So, in addition to being angry with others, that person blames themselves for allowing that other person to put demands on them. What is wrong with them…? It is a difficult dilemma because whichever side you are on, it does not work!
· Exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential events
· Increased degree of risk-taking … pushing too ha when the system can't tolerate it can cause a plummet into depression. In order to continue working, some will take chances that they normally would not. 
 One certainly doesn't need all these symptoms to recognize a downward spiral. It is definitely time to seek change. And whatever they are doing is not working. There is something else that has to happen.
· Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very real possibility at a very serious level. People who have experienced serious burnout exhausted themselves and tried to pull themselves into a position where they can accomplish what they promised to do. Something happens inside where they literally faint inside. This happens in a deeper level of their being, which is the area I call the actual being. When the actual being faints, very often that person cannot get up out of bed. They fall into extreme exhaustion, feel physically run-down and unable to be diagnosed with any perceivable disorder.
Some businesses and hospitals encourage hyperactive work, which over stimulates the energy system and makes you susceptible to drops in your own energy due to stress.
What are some of the good reasons that people want to become healers?
Some say it is because they want to affirm the interconnectedness of beings so that not only are you supporting others, but also your good karma comes back at you and you yourself will be cared for.
Other healers want to help end suffering. With a powerful idealistic urge, which arises and due to your education and abilities, this emerges as a wish to be a healer. Some healers feel that there is something was wrong the way health services are done.
I have one student raised in an environment that not just encouraged but demanded that she follow in the footsteps of other family members who are healers and the expectations of that family tradition.
The one reason I would like to present, one of the best reasons for becoming a healer is that you have no other choice. You have no other choice. The commitment to heal is not dependent upon whether you can afford to be a healer, whether you have all of the educational modules in place, or support of your family. Your commitment to being a healer is because there is nothing else you feel like you are. In some ways, the best reason for being a healer is that you already are a healer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Your Diamond Day

Let us suppose that on the day you were born, you were presented with a bucket of perfect and rare diamonds. Even on that first day of your life, you extracted one of these perfect diamonds, but you did not know what it was. Not only did you not know its purpose, you were completely uninterested. All you wanted was mommy, milk, comfort, and care, and with no idea what this diamond meant, you forgot quickly where it went.

The next day, you extracted another perfect diamond, and again, you did not know what it was for; perhaps it fell through your fingers. Each day, you were compelled to extract another diamond from your bucket of diamonds. In your youth, you extracted a diamond, and looking at it, you thought, 'this is boring and ordinary, and does not matter. There is an endless supply of diamonds,' and so you did not give it much importance because there were so many left in your bucket, and so you dropped it in the dust.

Like this, your life went on. One day, you reached into the bucket, and noticed that there were not as many diamonds in there as there were before, but you could not see how many were left. In this way, you began to become concerned and a little bit frightened about the uncertainty of the quantity of these precious diamonds. You were now used to taking them in your hand, handling it for a while, and rather enjoying the feel of it, but now the quantity is going down. One day, perhaps not so long ago, or perhaps yesterday, you reached into that bucket, extracted a diamond, but this time you held it up to the light. You looked at it directly for the very first time, and said, "How beautiful this is. This is a day of my life that will soon be over. I will not waste this day. I will make it meaningful. I will extract every bit of value from this extraordinary gem given to me that I have in the form of time." That was your first diamond day.

Some people, perhaps even someone here, realized that there was not as much time left in lifespan. There was not only an uncertainty about how many days were left, but a certainty that there definitely were not as many days in front of you as there were behind you. Now we can see that the activities we perform today might even be our last. This is an authentic Dharma realization. Those of you who have some skill and spiritual development from previous lives as meditators might have even felt the hair on the back of your neck rise when this happened. You might feel something extraordinary overcoming you combined with anxiety, producing a sense that I will not waste any more time!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Qualities of a Healer

At some point in spiritual practice, there is a gripping, heartfelt pain associated with seeing how much suffering there is. Many practitioners who are healers cannot endure that feeling; it is so powerful that it seems to be deeply rooted in perhaps a past life. This needing to be a healer, to acknowledge that suffering t is far-reaching. It is like having a bad toothache that you cannot stop touching. Every time you touch it, it causes the pain to intensify, but you cannot stop touching it.

There are many different kinds of healers but there is a kind of healer that I love so much. A highly motivated healer who is trained and capable is someone who is also spiritually alert. Those who are called to being a healer have idealism to doing good in this world. It is an emotional response to one’s own spiritual development because it is possible to end suffering.


The awakening of altruistic motivation needs to be cultivated so that we do not ride an emotional crest that can be disabling if used too long. Instead, we need to gather other elements besides emotional caring and empathy. Those who are called to healing must have special vows as well as disciplines that they follow, or they cannot be a healer and they cannot be protected themselves in their practice of healing. Therefore, the intelligent response to this heart breaking understanding that suffering is tremendous and that it cannot be healed with ordinary remedies is to seek a special practice that provides what a healer needs.

Another element in the creation of a good healer is their amazing personal discovery that everything is energy. In meditation, we can discover definitively that all others and we are only made of energy. A sudden realization comes; what if I could do something with energy that changes the way others are? When that light switch goes on we become alive to the possibilities. A healer is someone who has this compassionate awakening that includes benefiting others.

There is something that the healer can do consciously to create change, by creating a special disruption. Have you ever noticed how small children in an adult’s gathering might run among the people, hanging onto and shouting at their mother? Soon, the mother and the people in the room can’t tolerate it, isn’t that so?
I was in a restaurant once and there was the cutest little boy, exercising by screaming. When he began to scream I was seated only two tables away. The mother did not do anything; she just looked at him. He screamed and screamed, and finally I moved to a table about ten tables away but still felt like I was sitting right next to him. Finally, I had to move all the way to the other end, and I could still hear him a little bit, but it was tolerable.

Like that, the healer is trying to create a disruption in the current dynamic of the one who wants healing. However, what this little boy did in a negative disruptive way, the healer does in the positive disruptive way. The healer must get that person away from their usual way they hold their energy. How that is accomplished is up to the individual healer.