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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Buddhist Pancakes

A huge truck, like a concrete mixer, pulls up outside your house for a delivery. However, this one is filled with blueberry pancake batter. Since you really love pancakes and ordered the maximum load you are not surprised when the valve opens and pancake batter begins to pour out onto your front lawn. As it continues to pump the pancake batter, there is so much that it begins to creep across the lawn and eventually floods your front lawn. As it reaches the front door, you open the door. Blueberry pancake batter enters and begins to flow into your front hall. If the truck is still not empty, it will continue pumping pancake batter onto the front lawn and sidewalk, it will definitely creep down the hall toward the kitchen. Now containing the grass, sticks, and dirt accumulated in its journey it arrives to the floor in front of stove. Now is the exciting time because we are really getting hungry and love pancakes so very much! However, it is still on the floor, how will you get it into the frying pan so that you can enjoy the resultant taste!

It is like that; the delicious but preliminary effects of outer spiritual practices such as reciting mantras, visiting holy places and doing ritual are trying to go inside for actual transformation. However, the actual practice comes not from the outside but from interior through living transmission and inner meditation that is clean and free from debris of contaminated and confused outer energies. The debris of ordinary thinking, unaccomplished karma, desires, aversions, and perceptions interfere with the actual meditation. The important purpose of the outer activities is to facilitate and encourage the inner meditation without pushing a false spirituality inside. Reducing fascination by making behavioral changes and learning high thinking that provides high nutrition is a more correct relationship to the inner process.

Beyond that, if there is no authentic transmission connecting the practitioner to inner development process to begin the inner meditation there is no inner actual practice. Therefore, seek authentic transmission as though your life depended on it. This is how the sages behaved.

What Do Words Mean?

“In our Tibetan tradition, much of the time, perhaps even most of the time, is spent defining terminology. Oh, I suppose, from a modern point of view, that must sound so boring. In response to that boredom, I have shifted from telling you what a Buddhist term means to asking you what that word means to you. We can then see the similarities and differences from various cultural and spiritual views to gain correct understanding. Since then, it has worked out very nicely and is a lot more fun and productive” ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Domo Geshe Rinpoche: Was ist die Bedeutung von Worten?
In unserer tibetischen Tradition wird viel Zeit, vielleicht sogar die meiste Zeit darauf verwandt Terminologie zu definieren. Oh, ich nehme an, dass sich das von einer modernen Sichtweise aus furchtbar langweilig anhört. Als Antwort auf diese Langeweile bin ich dazu übergegangen, Euch zu fragen, welche Bedeutung ein Wort für Euch hat, anstatt Euch den buddhistischen Begriff zu erklären. So können wir die Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede verschiedener kultureller und spiritueller Sichtweisen erkennen, um das korrekte Verständnis zu erlangen. Seitdem funktioniert das sehr gut, macht auch viel mehr Spaß und ist produktiver."

Friday, October 30, 2009

When the Mind is Seated Upon the Breath

"There is a connection between the breath and the mind. In all of the Tibetan yogic traditions, we emphasize to the student that the mind rides the breath like a rider on a horse. Then later, when that is well understood, the meaning of pranayama breathing is skillful, without dangerous pushing or superficial, like some boring duty ~Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

"Es gibt eine Verbindung zwischen Atem und Geist. In sämtlichen tibetischen yogischen Traditionen wird dem Schüler gegenüber betont, dass der Geist auf dem Atem reitet, wie ein Reiter auf einem Pferd. Wenn dies richtig verstanden wird, wird dadurch später die Anwendung des Pranayama Atmens kunstfertig, ohne etwas erzwingen zu wollen, was gefährlich wäre, und ohne oberflächlich zu sein wie eine langweilige Pflichtübung." - Domo Geshe Rinpoche ---

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Red Lotus Buddhist Wisdom for Christmas

nice for a small coffee table book. Many people have already purchased as Christmas gifts

We hope these inspirational and thought provoking quotations by the 9th
Domo Geshe Rinpoche accompanied by dramatic portraits of lotuses will
awaken your natural joy as they have for her many students over the
years.
Although Buddhism is ancient, it remains fresh and contemporary.
Known for purity, peace, and tranquility, the teachings of Buddhism
also instill strength and determination in us to rise from the mud of
ordinary life and gain enlightenment, just as the lotus emerges
triumphantly.
Quotations by Domo Geshe Rinpoche are presented in
graphics word art also created by Domo Geshe to emphasize the Buddhist
concepts that can be used as meditations.
http://www.amazon.com/Lotus-Buddhist-Wisdom-Geshe-Rinpoche/dp/0692004106/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246398406&sr=1-1

When I sit for meditation,
I am standing for what I believe in~~~~~
Holding away change and
demanding life to be like it was before, rubs and irritates the actual
way you are alive like petting a cat from tail to head~~~~

Full color
dramatic photographs of rare and delightful lotuses accompany each
quotation to create a lasting visual impression.

There are 50 full
color lotus flower photos and 50 graphic displays of quotations as well
as explaining how to use quotations as basis for meditations.
It also
introduces a deep topic of how we interact with the symbolic world that
is of great interest to all spiritual seekers

Throwing Off Smothering Well-Meaning Care

When I moved everything from California to my Wisconsin country home, I noticed that the protective shipping quilts in the rented truck were not as clean as they could have been. That might be like the values pressing in upon us by numerous helpful individuals and groups to "protect us". Sometimes we might even feel that we cannot get a breath of fresh air or even breathe at all. Some recipients of this unwanted care will remain quiet and uncomfortable, others will dig their way out quietly and some will boldly throw off the unsuitable shipping quilts ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

"Cuando moví todo de California a mi casa de campo de Wisconsin, noté que los edredones de embarque protectores no eran tan limpios como ellos deberían haber sido. Esto podría parecer a valores humanitarios que aprietan en sobre nosotros por numerosos individuos serviciales y grupos para protegernos. A veces sentimos que nosotros no podemos conseguir un aliento de aire fresco o hasta respirar en absoluto. Unos permanecerán tranquilos e incómodos, los otros cavarán su salida silenciosamente y unos tirarán los edredones de embarque sucios" ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

"Quand j'ai déplacé tout de Californie à ma maison de campagne Wisconsin, j'ai remarqué que les édredons maritimes protecteurs n'étaient pas aussi propres qu'ils devraient avoir été. Cela pourrait être comme se soucier des valeurs appuyant dans sur nous par de nombreux individus secourables et des groupes pour nous protéger. Quelquefois nous estimons que nous ne pouvons pas reprendre le souffle de l'air frais ou respirer même du tout. Certains resteront tranquilles et inconfortables, d'autres arracheront leur voie doucement et certains ôteront les édredons maritimes sales en vitesse" ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

Als ich mit allen Sachen von Kalifornien in mein Landhaus nach Wisconsin umzog, bemerkte ich, dass die Schutzh... Read Moreüllenfür den Transport nicht so sauber waren, wie es hätte sein müssen. Das ist so als wenn uns wohlwollende Ratschläge von zahlreichen hilfreichen Personen und Gruppen aufgezwungen werden, um uns zu schützen. Manchmal spüren wir, dass wir keinen Hauch frischer Luft einatmen können oder sogar gar nicht atmen. Manche bleiben ruhig und fühlen sich unbehaglich, andere werden sich still ihren Weg ausgraben und die dreckigen Schutzmäntel abwerfen. Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~ ~ ~ ~

"Quando commossi tutto da California alla mia casa di campagna del Wisconsin, notai che le trapunte d'imbarcazioni protettive non furono così pulite come loro dovrebbero esser stati. Questo potrebbe assomigliare valori affettuosi affollandosi in su noi da individui utili numerosi e gruppi per proteggerci. Qualche volta pensiamo che noi non possiamo riprendere il fiato d'aria fresca o perfino respirare affatto. Alcuni rimarranno tranquilli e scomodi, gli altri libereranno la loro strada scavando tranquillamente e alcuni si sbarazzeranno delle trapunte d'imbarcazioni sporche" ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Real Practitioners

"The stable and healthy person wants to continue to change because of higher purpose, and is a treasure of this world. These changes include their wish to become enlightened by dynamic compassion. This fresh view lifts us from being the spiritual seeker, and makes us real practitioners!" ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~

Wahre Übende
Die stabile und gesunde Person möchte sich aufgrund eines höheren Ziels fortlaufend verändern und ist ein Schatz für diese Welt. Diese Veränderungen beinhalten den Wunsch, durch dynamisches Mitgefühl erleuchtet zu werden. Diese frische Sichtweise hebt uns ab davon, ein spirituell Suchender zu sein und macht uns zu wahren Übenden!" - Domo Geshe Rinpoche

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Planning for the Future (last and part five)

Using a proactive approach, three important elements identify why some people do not have enough karma to practice spiritual development. If we first think about karma itself, we can see how it comes from internal causes ripening, external conditions, as well as unusual clues.

Internal causes are from ingrained, fixated habits, as well as previous actions ripened from the effects of similar actions performed previously. There are also “wild cards” such as blessings of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, who are members of the enlightened community alive in more subtle realities and are committed to rescuing living beings from suffering states.

External conditions might include a supportive or unsupported environment that we live in, our health and body in general, as well as pressures of responsibilities of work and family. It also includes the presence of spiritual opportunities, even though we might need to travel to participate.

Unusual clues to create more spiritual karma are serendipitous events, easy to overlook but noticed and responded to with an inner eye, your heart and inner senses. For example, you might see a Buddhist monk on television and your heart jumps in response. A tree swaying in the breeze might stimulate another kind of remembering, which feels like a spiritual moment.

There are many who posses a very good inner nature, very kind people, people who are very intelligent, yet who do nothing about spiritual development, even with good karmic potential. Perhaps he or she is watching TV right now with no idea that this might be a problem. Maybe they never even heard about the possibility or importance of inner development. They could pass the Dalai Lama himself on the street, and not recognize him, feel anything, or have a connection to transformation potential touching them. We must overcome these and similar obstacles to develop our capacity for spiritual expansion, beyond the ordinary goal to feel good. One, or all of these three elements identifies issues for someone who is low, devoid, or skewed in spiritual causes and conditions.

1- A lack of time to create the karma that is needed
2- A lack of interest
3- A lack of knowledge

Lacking Time

Another definition of proactive is controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than waiting to respond to it after it happens. We can actually fix some things, such as a lack of time. Right now, you do have time, especially by comparison, to someone for example has already passed away. It is how we use our time now rather than waiting until life is almost over to begin thinking about spiritual values. We have an obligation to be proactive while still in a stage of life where we can find time for important things, even though we are busy! By making use of good business values, such as
simple time management principles, use our time wisely, and reflect upon what is most important. There are no specific demands to abandon activities that are meaningful, but we can certainly examine how we use our day. Some might even think, ‘This activity is a total waste of my time, I'm going to stop and use that time for spiritual life. Then, even if I am not fully capable, my Buddhist karma will come and grab me, and hang onto me!

Make time for meditation. If you are already doing meditation, make more time for meditation. Meditate on your lunch hour. Sit in your car and do some prayers. If you are not meditating at all, then definitely do make time for meditation.

Lacking Interest
The second point is a lack of interest. Another dictionary definition for proactive is: Acting in advance with an expected difficulty, or anticipatory.
Spend time with others who are interested in spiritual subjects in a relaxed and happy way without competitiveness. This is not hard but quite enjoyable.
Join a group that meditates regularly.
Go out for coffee with someone who is interested in spiritual subjects.
Get your father, partner, children, or your sister to start meditating so you can have community. Then when you get up in the morning, there they are, your spiritual community that influences your interest as well.
Read. Change the reading materials.
In order to develop karma for spiritual subjects, think about the difficulties you and others have but not while you are in manifest suffering. It is easy to dwell on the pain of conflict and the damage it does when you or others are suffering, however, there is a completely different reaction to suffering if the mind is calm and more meditative. The abstract and objective view gained in quiet contemplation lifts the discriminative faculties to understand the real nature of suffering. That will tremendously awaken a dormant interest in spirituality and further expand spiritual karma.

On the other hand, only thinking about the suffering during painful events can be a trauma-induced kind of meditation. That will actually decrease interest in learning about spiritual subjects because of associating suffering with trouble and forced introspection.This might lead to avoiding meditation because you might accidentally think about what you do not want to think about, and isn't that where most people are? We need time to think skillfully and quietly about the logical dilemma of suffering. This is how it is done in the Tibetan system. When cool and calm, it is not an emotional subject; it is a reasonable, logical process to slowly discover the existential dilemma of life.

Make decisions to change. It will definitely increase your interest in developing that karma. Keep images of enlightened presence, such as Buddha images and other inspiring images, nearby. Why? Because the inner eye often can see what you do not see. Many dharma students tell me that they keep a Buddha image or picture at work. While they are on the telephone, their inner eye (or some say the subconscious mind) is looking, looking, looking. Have you ever found yourself gazing at a Buddha image, without realizing that you were doing so? That was your inner eye, connected to a more subtle level of mind. There is a great need for more karmic interactions by having more clues of enlightened presence in this world. Those sensitive enough can even feel the inner eye seeing that image and resting feeling that this is a wonderful place to be. This world has the presence of the Buddha and the teachings. Karma, karma, karma.

Lacking Knowledge
Lastly, there is a lack of karmic connection to spiritual development due to a lack of knowledge. There is more than one level and method of receiving a dharma education. We definitely need to come into closer contact with the dharma by listening or attending teachings where dharma is spoken in person.

Spoken dharma as opposed to written dharma reveals the blind spots to help gain new understanding. Become involved in discussions as well as listening to teachings rather than exclusively reading dharma. Have you ever looked at a page, and later realized that you saw only half of what was written? By reading dharma, we might miss certain words, phrases, and concepts because of a lack of supporting perceptions to process what we are reading. On the other hand, it is not quite as easy to overlook ideas when presented in the spoken dharma, especially in front of a lama teaching and facilitating inner and outer dharma simultaneously. With effort, we can hear concepts for the first time; however, without spiritual karma, usually we can only see what is already familiar.

Nevertheless, read about the life of the Buddha and his teachings, or at the very least, go to the movie! Go see Milarepa. Go see Little Buddha. There are many wonderful Buddhist movies and documentaries. In addition to reading about the life of the Buddha and the Buddha's teachings, it is also important to read or listen to modern day Buddhist teachings relating the struggles of daily life with spiritual development.

The Great Path will not abandon the karmically unskillful, or busy modern person. Each century holds a new adaptation of Buddhadharma that can be part of your planning for your future. We have ordinary precautions for the safety of our retirement; now let's practice long-range preparations for the great Journey to perfection, our actual home.

Logic Like an Inept Surgeon

In defending your viewpoint, you might say, "Well, partly it is like that, and partly like this." Then you have no penetration of the subject under analysis. This is like an inept surgeon trying to do heart surgery accidentally cutting a number of different organs, and saying, "Oh well. At least the heart got repaired." It does not help because you have mixed it, causing further confusion, whereas correct analysis is like the sword of Manjushri, driving it into the argument of your own view ~Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~~

Logik ist wie ein unfähiger Chirurg
Wenn Du Deine Anschauung verteidigst, sagst Du vielleicht: 'Nun, es ist einerseits so und andererseits so.' Dann durchdringst Du das zu analysierende Thema nicht. Dies ist so, als ob ein unfähiger Chirurg, der versucht eine Herzoperation durchzuführen, aus Versehen mehrere Organe anschnitte und sagte: 'Nun ja, wenigstens ist das Herz jetzt in Ordnung.' Dies ist nicht hilfreich, weil Du die Dinge vermischt hast und weitere Verwirrung stiftest, während eine korrekte Analyse wie das Schwert des Manjushri ist, dass Du in das Argument Deiner eigenen Sichtweise hineinstößt." DGR

Monday, October 26, 2009

Planning for the Future (part four)

Life is a fluid learning experience changing and adapting to situations we want to influence as well as influencing us. Experiential learning becomes incorporated into every strategy we use to take charge of our life. We use and gather information like a squirrel gathering acorns in the fall to store away and nibble all winter long, only the is about our family dynamics, and other obligations such as work to help decide where to go from here. Now we know more because we have experienced it as well as remembering and telling others what we have discovered and become more skillful.

However, even this information gathering is superficial by comparison to the internalized knowledge that becomes part of the deep nature. This real and meaningful change is the only thing that matters after passing away. It is not what we know, or have experienced and learned but what has been internalized and become part of our nature that remains, whether that is positive or negative.

Since you are perfectly capable of making effort, are you where you want to be in that growth process? If the uncertainty of lifespan should catch you unaware, do you have your own personal assurance that after you pass away from the hustle and bustle of this life, you will be capable in your deep nature, or are you now less capable due to hardships and damage of this lifetime? Are you ready, or would you like a bit more time to work on yourself before you pass away from this experimental station called human life? You want more time? Good!

The dictionary definition of proactive: "Description of any event or stimulus or process that has an effect on events or stimuli or processes that occur subsequently.” This defines the issue and the positive environment where planning for the future takes place.

If the answer to the problem of what exists beyond this life is that you are not prepared, then there must be something that is lacking. That deficiency could simply be related to not having enough positive karma regarding the need to learn, or to remember the importance of spiritual growth.

Karma is very simply cause and effect. Everything from making a cup, to making an airplane needs modules of elements, and linking of systems within those elements to actualize a final form. These are the direct causes of either a cup or an airplane. A cup can be made of many different materials, with many artistic elements added, such as a kitty cat peering over the rim, its tail, curling very cutely becoming the handle. It can be made of tin, or ceramic. There are many ways to construct a temporary cup also, even by twisting a piece of paper to use for holding water. There are many different configurations, all called cup.

Like that, developing spiritual karma can be quite varied also. However, the relationship between you and the cup delivering liquid to your lips is not fraught with peril. It is not that earthshaking, but it can be fun. Like that, a try at spiritual fun does have little danger, but there is also little benefit, true? There is a tremendous amount of spiritual activity that is pure fun and creativity, from naked romps in the woods, pounding on drums without knowing for what purpose, to exclusively eating one kind of food or exclusively avoiding another kind of food as a spiritual experiment. A certain kind of fun and creativity enters into your perhaps boring routine by these methods. I am not saying your life is boring, but on the other hand, maybe it is if you need to romp into the woods naked under the guise of spiritual creativity. These are like fanciful spiritual cups. Nobody really cares, you are not hurting anybody, but there is not much that happens either. This is spiritual fun.

However, the exacting dynamics of creating an airplane that will really fly means something very different. You will need every element finely tuned, finely machined, and finely tested before it goes into that system to be put into the airplane, isn't that so? This is serious because nobody is going to get off the ground until and unless it is tested and safe to fly. There is very little creativity, fooling around, or experimentation possible with the dynamics and structural integrity of what will actually fly. This is like the life of a real practitioner in the advanced Buddhist practices, honing the very elements of their own being, which are their energies. These modules of energy become trained rather than wasted in frivolous activities.

The airplane of the Mahayana, the vehicle of the bodhisattva hero who would save all living beings, the altruistic Mount Everest of motivations, will get off the ground carrying all living beings to freedom. Perhaps the reason you are not where you want to be or feel that you should be, is that you lack the karma or causes and conditions to be the experiencer of spirituality with muscles. To be continued…

Interdimensional Lines of Communication

“Important inter dimensional lines of communication between an ordinary person and the connected actual being interior are muddied by the inappropriate and damaging display of anger, stress and other delusions. However, they are muddied most of all by the ordinary belief that the outer person is the one who is alive, owning an inner life that belongs to them. Quite the opposite!” ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~~

“Importante entierran líneas dimensionales de la comunicación entre una persona ordinaria y los actuales relacionados siendo interiores son enturbiados por la demostración inadecuada y perjudicial de cólera, tensión y otras ilusiones. Sin embargo, ellos son enturbiados sobre todo por la creencia ordinaria que la persona externa es el que quién está vivo, poseyendo una vida interior que pertenece a ellos. ¡Todo lo contrario!” ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~~

“Important enterrent des lignes dimensionnelles de communication entre une personne ordinaire et les réels connectés étant intérieur sont crottés par l'étalage inconvenant et nuisible de colère, tension et d'autres illusions. Cependant, ils sont crottés le plus par la conviction ordinaire que la personne extérieure est celui qui est vivant, en possédant une vie intérieure qui leur appartient. Tout le contraire!” ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~~

"Wichtige interdimensionale Kommunikationsschienen zwischen einer gewöhnlichen Person und dem verbundenen eigentlichen inneren Wesen werden durch unangemessenen und schädlichen Ärger, Stress und andere Verirrungen beschmutzt. Am meisten jedoch, werden sie durch den gewöhnlichen Glauben beschmutzt, dass es die äussere Person ist, die wirklich lebendig ist und dass sie ein inneres Leben hat, das ihr gehört. Ganz im Gegenteil! ~Domo Geshe Rinpoche~~~"

“Importante seppelliscono linee dimensionali di comunicazione tra una persona ordinaria e gli effettivi connessi sono interno sono infangati dall'esposizione inadeguata e nociva di collera, pressione e altre illusioni. Comunque, loro sono infangati soprattutto dalla fede ordinaria che la persona esterna è quel che chi è vivo, possedendo una vita interna che gli appartiene. Al contrario!” ~ Domo Geshe Rinpoche ~~~~

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Planning for the Future (part three)

So far, the discussion on planning for a successful life seems to be quite worldly without the important spiritual component for success. Unfortunately, there are many people raised with a more money and possession orientation than spirituality at its core, even though they might have a natural spirituality that needs to mature even further. This absence of spiritual inclusion in life plans actually creates a hunger that seems to further drive the need for the materialist view because there are few viable alternatives. The excessively sweet or illogical presentations of many religious and spiritual traditions might drive the intelligent person away.

Buddhism has much to offer for those with a devotional nature, but does not insist that people conform to a model in order to benefit. In general, however, the logical and skillful changes modeled in Buddhism are useful and attractive to the thinking person. We can thank the early Buddhist Indian sages such as Nagarjuna, Chandrakirti, and so many others for the detailed analyzes of reality and logical philosophy. We can also thank the Indian Hindu philosophers that predate the Buddhist system because it was in response to the Hindu philosophies they were developed. That is because the great Hindu sages became the great Buddhist sages by being defeated with their own logic! The great debates of early Buddhism were also great social sporting events drawing great crowds, royalty, and followers of the debaters, like Olympic events with heroes of logic. Ashvagosha is one example. After his public defeat, he was so distraught, they locked him in the Buddhist library, and he emerged as a Buddhist scholar! (See below today’s article for a lively and fanciful description of the defeat of Ashvagosha.)

In the spirit of that great tradition, we return to the actual discussion of planning for the future based on a Western materialistic worldview, but only briefly, because this debate will go on for some time. Let us now switch to another way of looking at planning for the future because life is short no matter how long it lasts, from both the Buddhist and reasoning non- Buddhist viewpoint. If we were honest with ourselves, we would see that neither we nor anyone else is fully enough prepared to enter into a new way of being in accordance to evolutionary development. There could be so much more accomplished in deep preparation for passing into another way of being.

Although the retirement ideal of many is to get a motor home and go to Mexico, or Texas, travel, pursue other interests, or be with close family and friends, it is uncertain they will be able to do that or not, because life is as unpredictable as trying to plan for a financial future in a bad economy.

There are reasonable preparations and planning needed for the future, although you probably do not know what they are at this point if you are like most people. In accordance with evolutionary maturity, we will each and all have to enter into a new way of being after passing away, without the physical form that comprises so large a part of our identity. At that point, it will not matter whether you were vice president of an important company, owned a Ferrari or a fancy vacation home. All of these will become as nothing in comparison to the need now to prepare and transform the inner mind, the real you, that requires happening during life.

Nearing the time of death, you will not exactly know what it is you are supposed to be mentally preparing for, other than goodbyes and unfinished business. If passing is sudden, of course, there will not even be time for that ordinary preparation; only the distillation of the preparations and valuable changes you have already accomplished will be with you. With blinders on to inner life and still not knowing what to expect, you will definitely enter a different way of being. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, does not matter, this is the stopping point or event of a human life. If I am addressing Oriental people, they pretty much already believe in transmigration after death. If they do not, they would never admit to others that they actually did not believe it. However, in the West, many people would say, "Well, this part of the discussion has nothing to do with me because I do not believe in reincarnation."

However, it really does not matter whether you believe in reincarnation or not. If you believe in past and future lives, you have an obligation to increase value during this lifetime that increases the future life possibilities. In that way, you can either rejoice in, or be anxious about the karmic life potential you were given as the result of some previous life. During this life, some might be thankful for experiencing such a wonderful opportunity. Others might be nervous because they fear they may have distorted a few things during their organic manufacturing process of living.

You are already well along in life working with what you have brought into this existence, isn’t that so? Some people start out extremely well, with tremendous possibilities, but do very little in this life, even though it might appear as though they were successful. It was as if everything fell into their lap without needing to try very hard. They always got good grades at school; their job just landed into their lap and with so many opportunities, they became members and pillars of the community. In spite of everything, that person could be the laziest person on the face of the earth from the viewpoint of their potential!

There could be another person who struggled hard to gain their education and to get their job. To do as well as they did required a tremendous amount of personal effort. What if they were someone who really cared about others and worked hard to be the kind of person, who could say, "I did the best I could,” near the time of their passing? They might not have received the accolades or tremendous success of this other person, yet they increased the value of their very being tremendously! It is difficult to judge these long-term gains.

However, if you do not believe in reincarnation and only a present life, it is even more important to be prepared for another way of being that will be very unlike human life. Because you do not believe in past or future lives, therefore, it will not be a human life, and you only have this one chance to make a good show. You should be very careful how you conduct yourself in all areas of life if you do not believe in reincarnation.

Most people believe that by entering into the unknown way of being after passing, there will be some other kind of evolutionary process, like a continuation of the conveyor belt that goes from birth to death. Off we go all together into the future!

If you feel this is too esoteric, I briefly refer to another system of information. In accordance with current scientific knowledge, no energy is lost, only transmuted. It is also increasingly acknowledged that it is possible for mind to function even when it appears that the body is disconnected, such as out of body and near death experiences or awareness of events happening at another location. Research into consciousness itself is a new frontier for science, still in its infancy, but highly developed in Tibetan Buddhism.

Returning to our discussion regarding reincarnation, it is not very skillful to think that we can spontaneously become this new thing after death, without effort. This is clear when we examine our life, the planning we do to make things come out well and when we do not plan, at best nothing special happens, or things turn out not so well. These days some schools think that it does not matter whether a student does well or not; everyone is passed to the next grade. Then it means a poor student will have double pressure in the next grade; to be what they are not, and to work with knowledge they do not have, in order to accomplish new learning based upon a nonexistent foundation. Because they did not do what they were supposed to do at the time they had opportunity to prepare for their next level, it is stressful. To be continued….

Biography of Ashvagosha 1st - 2nd centuries C.E.
Miraculously born from a lotus, Aryadeva was raised by the king of Sri Lanka. As a young man he went to study with the renowned master Nagarjuna, eventually becoming his spiritual heir.

During the same time, there also lived a very learned non-Buddhist named Matracheta who lived in western India. Matracheta was a physician that had saved thousands of lives during an epidemic and had a large and fiercely loyal following. It was said that no man born from a human womb could defeat him in debate or combat. Empowered by Maheshvara, Matracheta was able to shoot fire from his forehead, utterly destroying all who challenged him in combat. He also had special advantages while debating, for Maheshvara would secretly enter his body to help him, Shiva would write answers to questions by using invisible ink written in the sky, a magical parrot would whisper helpful tips in his ear, and the goddess Sarasvati would come to his aid with beautiful and wise verses. Having vast knowledge and supernatural aid, Matracheta had never been defeated and became known as 'The Black Conqueror'.

On a continual quest to find a worthy adversary, Matracheta eventually arrived at Nalanda monastery along with his retinue of followers. Knowing of Matracheta's power, none of the monks of Nalanda challenged him. The non-Buddhists then surrounded Nalanda and began beating a drum and declaring victory, occasionally entering the grounds to assault and humiliate the defenseless monks.

While still surrounded, the abbot of Nalanda had a dream that Mahakala, a fierce protector of Buddhism, was angered by the invaders and told him to summon Nagarjuna from the south to challenge Matracheta. A black crow with a message tied to its leg was dispatched to find Nagarjuna. When the messenger bird delivered the urgent plea, Nagarjuna was anxious to challenge Matracheta immediately, but Aryadeva held him back. Aryadeva told Nagarjuna that he was too old, but that he would gladly go in his place. Nagarjuna agreed and quickly taught his student the art of debate and then bid him farewell.

When Aryadeva arrived at Nalanda, he disguised himself as a water carrier to get past the followers of Matracheta. Yet when inside the monastery, the monks could tell he was no ordinary water carrier and asked him if he was Nagarjuna. He said he was not, but that he was there in instead of Nagarjuna. Because he was born from a lotus and not a woman's womb, the monks were very excited to see him challenge Matracheta. All of the monks began beating their drums and preparing for the impending debate. Nine scholars were chosen as judges and the king himself arrived at Nalanda to witness the great debate. The king insisted that the loser would have to cut his own tongue out. It was also agreed that the followers of the loser would convert to the side of the winner.

Before the debate began, Aryadeva resolved to counter the divine aid that Matracheta usually received while debating. To do this, he placed a dirty boot near Matracheta, released a cat, spread vanishing ointment in the sky, and led a naked man into the debate area. Once the debate began, Matracheta realized that Maheshvara was not entering his body because the god had left in disgust once he saw the dirty boot, thus taking away his ability to shoot flames from his head. Then, as he turned to his magical parrot for guidance, the cat jumped up and killed it, as is the nature of cats. Matracheta then looked up to the sky to see Shiva's writing only to find that it was no longer there due to the vanishing ointment.

He then tried to get help from Sarasvati but quickly realized that the goddess had turned her back because she was offended by the presence of the naked man. Realizing that Aryadeva had blocked all his powers, Matracheta became desperate and flew up into the sky in an attempt to escape. Seeing this, Aryadeva flew after him, following close behind as the two of them traveled through space at tremendous speed. They quickly reached the limits of existence and Aryadeva warned Matracheta that if he went any further he would pass the point of which there is no return. Matracheta did not believe him and to test the boundary, shook his long hair beyond that point. The long hair disappeared instantly. Realizing that Aryadeva saved his life, Matracheta was impressed by Aryadeva's compassion and decided to return to Nalanda and accept his fate. Once they returned, all of the followers of Matracheta had converted, easily accepting the Buddhist teachings.

Matracheta however, was bitter and recalcitrant. He remained this way despite having to study Buddhist scripture. One day, while studying, pages of well written verses blew in the winds and auspiciously fell to where he sat. He found them to be beautiful and profound and was quite impressed, but being a stubborn man, he doubted they were Buddhist. As he thought this, a fierce deity appeared and beat him thoroughly. When he regained consciousness, he re-examined the pages and learned they contained a prophecy that said he would become a great Buddhist teacher. Admitting his errors, and according to the conditions of the debate, he cut his own tongue out. As he did so, he proclaimed that if he was correct in following the Buddhist teachings, his tongue would grow back. Almost instantly his tongue grew back and he quickly attained supreme realization, going on to become a famous Buddhist master by the name of Ashvaghosha.
By Monty McKeever 3-2006