Friday, September 30, 2011

Heaven and Hell ~ Pema Chodron

Heaven and Hell.

by Pema Chodron on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 6:35pm

"There's another story that you may have read that has to do with what we call heaven and hell, life and death, good and bad. It's a story about how those things don't really exist except as a creation of our own minds. It goes like this:

A big burly samurai comes to the wise man and says, "Tell me the nature of heaven and hell." And the roshi looks him in the face and says: "why should I tell a scruffy disgusting, miserable slob like you?" The samurai starts to get purple in the face, his hair starts to stand up, but he roshi won't stop, he keeps saying, "A miserable worm like you, do you think I should tell you anything?" Consumed by rage, the samurai draws his sword, and he's just about to cut off the head of the roshi. Then the roshi says "That's hell." The samurai, who is in fact a sensitive person, instantly gets it, that he just created his own hell; he was deep in hell. It was black and hot, filled with hatred, self-protection, anger and resentment, so much so that he was going to kill this man. Tears fill his eyes and he starts to cry and he puts his palms together and the roshi says "That's heaven."

There isn't any hell or heaven except for how we relate to our world. Hell is just resistance to life. When you want to say no to the situation you are in, it's fine to say no, but when you build up a big case to point where you're so convinced that you would draw your sword and cut off someone's head, that kind of resistance to life is hell."

From Wisdom of No Escape (Chapter 7- Taking a Bigger Perspective)

T.D.D. ~ Spiritual Experience and Spiritual Realization

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 30, 2011

Spiritual Experience and Spiritual Realization

In Buddhism, we distinguish between spiritual experiences and spiritual realizations. Spiritual experiences are usually more vivid and intense than realizations because they are generally accompanied by physiological and psychological changes. Realizations, on the other hand, may be felt, but the experience is less pronounced. Realization is about acquiring insight. Therefore, while realizations arise out of our spiritual experiences, they are not identical to them. Spiritual realizations are considered vastly more important because they cannot fluctuate.
– Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, "Letting Go of Spiritual Experience"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Meditation and Trauma

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 29, 2011

Meditation and Trauma

When a difficult emotion, sensation, or memory arises, learn to touch up against the pain in small increments. To do this, bring your attention to a place in your body that feels comfortable or neutral. Feel this comfortable place for a few minutes. Then slowly move the attention to the difficult emotion. Feel that for a minute, then move back to the comfortable place again. Keep moving the attention patiently back and forth between these two areas. This gradual re-experiencing can modulate the intensity of the emotion and create a sense of mastery over the feeling.
– Amy Schmidt & Dr. John J. Miller, "Healing Trauma with Meditation"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Buddhism and Race

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 28, 2011

Buddhism and Race

The Buddha was not Caucasian, as everybody knows. But Buddhism in the West has taken on the cultural trappings of the West, including racism. We all wish or hope that we’re not bigoted, but it’s culturally a part of us, so we need to look at it in all of its gross and subtle manifestations. In the absolute sense there is no separateness, no color, no race, but in the relative sense there are differences that are very real and very deep and sometimes determinative of our fate.
– Gina Sharpe, "Does Race Matter in the Meditation Hall?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

T.D.D. ~ The well-worn grooves of our mind

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 27, 2011

The well-worn grooves of our mind

It is interesting in meditation to notice all the different places where our thoughts lead us—what distracts us and what occupies our minds. It is important to notice these things in meditation because these will be the same things that occupy our minds in daily life. As we become more familiar with our thoughts in meditation, we will see how repetitive our thoughts are. We often think very similar things over and over again and it is actually rare to have what I would call a creative, original thought.
– Martine Batchelor, "Meditation, Mental Habits, and Creative Imagination"

Monday, September 26, 2011


"The Buddha is a flower of humanity
Who practised the way for countless lives.
He appeared on this Earth as a prince who left his royal palace
... To practice at the foot of the Bodhi Tree.
He conquered illusion.
When the morning star arose,
He realized the great path of awakening
And turned the wheel of the Dharma."
 ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

About Shakyamuni Buddha

About Shakyamuni Buddha

He could no longer repress the resolve he felt to go out in search of a solution to the four sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death.

Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical founder of Buddhism, was born in India approximately 2500 years ago. Shakyamuni Buddha was the son of Shuddhodana, the king of the Shakyas, a small tribe whose kingdom was located in the foothills of the Himalayas south of what is now central Nepal fifteen miles from Kapilavastu. Shakya of Shakyamuni is taken from the name of this tribe and muni means sage or saint. His family name was Gautama (Best Cow) and his given name was Siddhartha (Goal Achieved).
Seven days after his birth, his mother, Maya, died and he was raised by his mother's younger sister Mahaprajapati. His mother's death may have been a great influence upon the delicate youth who later became very perplexed by the question of mortality. His father took good care of his introspective, quiet-mannered son, and gave him special training in literature and the martial arts.

As a boy, Shakyamuni was deliberately shielded from the many realities of life, having been brought up amid the pleasures of the royal palace. It was natural for his family to expect that he would take over as the leader of his tribe and succeed his father.

Although his family had such expectations for him, Shakyamuni was extremely introspective and quiet as a youth, possessing a sharp sense of justice, seeking the answers to life's perplexing questions. It is said that he ventured out of the palace compounds on a number of occasions as a youth and each time was confronted with the sufferings of life. On one such occasion he came upon a very old man. On another venture he met a sick man, frail and burning with fever. On yet another journey, he was impressed when he met a wandering monk (bhikshu) who had renounced the world to lead an austere life in search of spiritual enlightenment. And again on another occasion he saw a person dead in the street. These events are recounted in the Buddhist scriptures as the four meetings. He was said to have been deeply moved by these confrontations with human suffering.

Knowing his son's tendency toward deep introspection and his desire to seek a spiritual path, his father sought to tie him down to life within the confines of the palace and their land. Marriage seemed a way to dissuade the young prince from pursuing the life of an ascetic, so at the age of sixteen, the young prince married the beautiful Yashodhara who bore him a son, Rahula.

Following the birth of his son, Shakyamuni could no longer repress the resolve he felt to abandon the secular world and go out in search of a solution to the four inescapable sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death.

Siddhartha renounced secular life and his princely status around the age of nineteen and began living a religious life. Having left the palace of the Shakyas at Kapilavastu he traveled to Rajagriha, the capital of the kingdom of Magadha, where he studied with various ascetics, however, after following their disciplines, he still could not find the answers to his questions. He then left Rajagriha and proceeded to the bank of the Nairanjana River near the village of Uruvilva, where he began to practice various austerities in the company of other ascetics. He subjected himself to disciplines of extreme severity, surpassing the efforts of his companions, trying to reach emancipation through self-mortification, but after six years he rejected these practices as well. To restore his strength from having fasted for such a long time he accepted milk curd offered to him by Sujata, a girl of the village. Then, near the town of Gaya, he sat under a pipal tree and entered meditation. There he attained enlightenment at the age of thirty. The pipal tree was later called the bodhi tree because Shakyamuni gained bodhi or enlightenment under this tree, and the site itself came to be called Bodhgaya.

After his awakening, Shakyamuni remained for a while beneath the Bodhi tree rejoicing in his emancipation. Shakyamuni contemplated how he should communicate his realization to others. It is said he questioned whether or not he should attempt to teach others what he had achieved. He finally resolved to strive to do so, so that the way to liberation from the sufferings of birth and death would be open to all people.

First he made his way to the Deer Park in Varanasi, where he preached the Four Noble Truths to five ascetics who had once been his companions. Over the next fifty years from the time of his awakening until his death, Shakyamuni continued to travel through many parts of India disseminating his teachings. During his lifetime his teachings spread not only to central India but also to more remote areas and people of all social classes converted to Buddhism.

At the age of eighty, Shakyamuni passed away. The year before his death he stayed at Gridhrakuta (Eagle Peak) in Rajagriha. He set out on his last journey from Gridhrakuta proceeding northward across the Ganges River to Vaishali. He spent the rainy season in Beluva, a village near Vaishali. There he became seriously ill, but recovered and continued to preach in many villages. Eventually he came to a place called Pava in Malla. There he again became ill after eating a meal. Despite his pain, he continued his journey until reaching Kushinagara. There in a grove of sal trees he calmly lay down and spoke his last words. He admonished his disciples, saying, "You must not think that your teacher's words are no more, or that you are left without a teacher. The teachings and precepts I have expounded to you shall be your teacher" It is said that his final words were, "Decay is inherent in all composite things. Work out your salvation with diligence.”

T.D.D. ~ A Direct Connection to the Dharma

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 26, 2011

A Direct Connection to the Dharma
When you set your intention on chanting correctly, melodically, and as crisply and clearly as possible, you become focused. It quiets the monkey mind and establishes a direct connection to the dharma. I can only guess how it compares to what people experience in silent meditation. The times I have tried silent meditation, it’s been very easy to just pop into this place that I have found through chanting. So I assume it’s the same.
– Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin, "A Right to the Dharma"

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why are there many Buddhist traditions?

Why are there many Buddhist traditions?
The Buddha gave a wide variety of teachings because sentient beings (any being with mind who is not a Buddha, including those in other realms of existence) have different dispositions, inclinations and interests. The Buddha never expected us all to fit into the same mould. Thus, he gave many teachings and described various ways of practicing so each of us could find something that suits our level of mind and our personality.

With skill and compassion in guiding others, the Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma three times, each time setting forth a slightly different philosophical system in order to suit the various dispositions of sentient beings. The essence of all the teachings is the same: the wish definitely to emerge from the cycle of constantly recurring problems (samsara), compassion for others and the wisdom realizing selflessness.

Not everyone likes the same kind of food. When a huge buffet is spread before us, we choose the dishes that we like. There is no obligation to like everything. Although we may have a taste for sweets, that does not mean that the salty dishes are not good and should be thrown away!

Similarly, we may prefer a certain approach to the teachings: Theravada, Pure Land, Zen, Vajrayana, and so on. We are free to choose the approach that suits us best and with which we feel the most comfortable. Yet we still maintain an open mind and respect for other traditions. As our mind develops, we may come to understand elements in other traditions that we failed to comprehend previously.

In short, whatever is useful and helps us live a better life, we practice, and whatever we do not yet understand, we leave aside without rejecting it.

While we may find one particular tradition best suited for our personality, do not identify with it in a concrete way: "I am a Mahayanist, you are a Theravadin," or "I am a Buddhist, you are a Christian." It is important to remember that we are all human beings seeking happiness and wanting to realize the truth, and we each must find a method suitable for our disposition.

However, keeping an open mind to different approaches does not mean to mix everything together at random, making our practice like chop suey.

Do not mix meditation techniques from different traditions together in one meditation session. In one session, it is better to do one technique. If we take a little of this technique and a little from that, and without understanding either one very well mix them together, we may end up confused.

However, a teaching emphasized in one tradition may enrich our understanding and practice of another.

Also, it is advisable to do the same meditations daily. If we do breathing meditation one day, chanting the Buddha's name the next, and analytical meditation the third, we will not make progress in any of them for there is no continuity in the practice.

A Manifesto ~ Lama Marut

A Manifesto

Are you desperate enough to really want to incite happiness in your life?
A true spiritual practice is for desperadoes. It’s for rebels and insurrectionists willing to pit themselves against a life defined by perpetual dissatisfaction, egoism, and greed.

It’s for those who know life is short and who are tired of wasting day after day in low-level unhappiness as they wait for the next high-level version. A real spiritual practice is for those who are desperate enough to take up arms and make revolutionary inner changes in their lives before it’s too late.

Are you ready to get medieval on your suffering?

Are you ready yet? Are you desperate enough to really want to incite happiness in your life?

What is the essence of the Buddha’s teachings?

Simply speaking, this is to avoid harming others and to help them as much as possible. Another way of expressing this is, Abandon negative action; create perfect virtue; subdue your own mind. This is the teaching of the Buddha. By abandoning negative actions (killing, etc.) and destructive motivations (anger, attachment, close-mindedness, etc.), we stop harming ourselves and others. By creating perfect virtue, we develop beneficial attitudes, like impartial love and compassion, and do actions motivated by these thoughts. By subduing our mind, we cut away all false projections, thus making ourselves calm and peaceful by understanding reality.

The essence of Buddha’s teachings is also contained in the three principles of the path: definite emergence, the dedicated heart and wisdom realizing emptiness. Initially, we seek definitely to emerge from the confusion of our problems and their causes. Then, we see that other people also have problems, and with love and compassion, we dedicate our heart to becoming a Buddha so that we are capable of helping others extensively. In order to do this, we develop the wisdom understanding the real nature of ourselves and other phenomena.

True practice...

"It is important to understand that true practice is something we do from moment to moment, from day to day. We do whatever we can, with whatever wisdom we have, and dedicate it all to the benefit of others. We just live our life simply, to the best of our ability." ~ Lama Thubten Yeshe

Dhammapada ~ Live in joy...

"Live in Joy Live in Joy, In love, Even among those who hate. Live in joy, In health, Even among the afflicted. Live in joy, In peace, Even among the troubled. Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, Know the sweet joy of living in the way. There is no fire like greed, No crime like hatred, No sorrow like separation, No sickness like hunger of heart, And no joy like the joy of freedom. Health, contentment and trust Are your greatest possessions, And freedom your greatest joy. Look within. Be still. Free from fear and attachment, Know the sweet joy of living in the way".

~from the Dhammapada, Words of the Buddha

Approaching enlightenment...

"Approaching enlightenment is a gradual process, but once you attain it, there's no going back; when you reach the fully awakened state of mind, the moment you experience that, you remain enlightened forever." ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche

T.D.D. ~ Practice and the West

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 25, 2011

Practice and the West

There’s no one who gets into dharma who doesn’t think, “Shouldn’t I be a monk or a nun?” We all go through a stage saying, “I want to be Milarepa, or the female equivalent of Milarepa. I should be in a cave. I should get out and do this heavy work. And the only place I can really do it is by myself in a cave,” whatever that cave is. But more and more I realize that it’s important for us Westerners to do it within life, within activity, because we have a lot to do here. We’re very young at this, at practice, and we have to do the physical, actual thing of transforming our culture and our society.
– Richard Gere, "Everything's About the Heart"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Strongest form of humanism...~Thay

"Buddhism is the strongest form of humanism we have. It can help us learn to live with responsibility, compassion, and loving kindness. We have the power to decide the destiny of our planet. If we awaken to our true situation, there will be a change in our collective consciousness. We have to help the Buddha to wake up the people who are living in a dream." ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

T.D.D. ~ The Acrobat and the Meditator

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 24, 2011

The Acrobat and the Meditator

We are so used to projecting our attention out into the world around us, it is a noticeable shift when we face inward and feel the subtle swaying of the head on the shoulders, along with all the muscular microcompensations keeping our body centered in gravity. The acrobat, like the meditator, is bringing conscious awareness to a process that is always occurring but is generally overlooked, which is a vital first step to learning anything valuable about ourselves.

– Andrew Olendzki, "Keep Your Balance"

Friday, September 23, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Does gossiping make you happy?

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 23, 2011

Does gossiping make you happy?

When talking about others is motivated by thoughts of ill will, jealousy, or attachment, conversations turn into gossip. These thoughts may seem to be subconscious, but if we pay close attention to our mind we’ll be able to catch them in the act. Many of these are thoughts that we don’t want to acknowledge to ourselves, let alone to others, but my experience is that when I become courageous enough to notice and admit them, I’m on my way to letting them go. Also, there’s a certain humor to the illogical way that these negative thoughts purport to bring us happiness. Learning to laugh at our wrong ways of thinking can be therapeutic.
– Thubten Chodron, "The Truth About Gossip

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Perfect wisdom

Subhuti asked: "Is it possible to find perfect wisdom through reflection or listening to statements or through signs or attributes, so that one can say 'This is it' or 'Here it is'?" The Buddha answered: "No, Subhuti. Perfect wisdom can't be learned or distinguished or thought about or found through the senses. This is because nothing in this world can be finally explained, it can only be experienced, and thus all things are just as they are. Perfect wisdom can never be experienced apart from all things. To see the Suchness of things, which is their empty calm being, is to see them just as they are. It is in this way that perfect wisdom and the material world are not two, they are not divided. As a result of Suchness, of calm and empty being, perfect wisdom cannot be known about intellectually. Nor can the things of the world, for they are understood only through names and ideas. Where there is no learning or finding out, no concepts or conventional words, it is in that place one can say there is perfect wisdom."

T.D.D. ~ Strength in Surrender

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 22, 2011

Strength in Surrender

It has often surprised me that in the process of surrender what I give up is fear and struggle. A kind of strength comes from truly giving up. Something changes when I genuinely let go and ask for help. The challenge is maintaining this openness, rather than grasping at solid forms or quick solutions to feel safe. It’s not that I give up personal responsibility, believing that some external entity is going to rescue me. Rather, I realize that if I truly listen to the innate wisdom of my Buddha-nature, it will guide me.
– Rob Preece, "The Solace of Surrender"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s New (11 yr. old) Millennium Message

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s New Millennium Message

His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s New Millennium Message

January 1, 2000
Many people seem to be excited about the new millennium, but the new millennium in itself will be nothing special. As we enter into the new millennium things will be the same; there will be nothing unusual. However, if we really want the next millennium to be happier, more peaceful and more harmonious for humankind we will have to make the effort to make it so. This is in our hands, but especially in the hands of the younger generation.

We have had many experiences during this century, constructive as well as extremely destructive ones. We must learn from these experiences. We need to approach the next millennium more holistically, with more openness and farsightedness. If we are going to make the right kind of efforts to make the future of the world better, I believe the following matters are of great importance:

1. While engaging in material progress and taking care of physical well-being we need to pay equal attention to developing peace of mind and thus taking care of the internal aspect of our being.

2. Along with education, which generally deals only with academic accomplishments, we need to develop more altruism and a sense of caring and responsibility for others in the minds of the younger generation studying in various educational institutions. This can be done without necessarily involving religion. One could therefore call this “secular ethics,” as it in fact consists of basic human qualities such as kindness, compassion, sincerity and honesty.

3. This past century in some ways has been a century of war and bloodshed. It has seen a year-by-year increase in defense spending by most countries in the world. If we are to change this trend we must seriously consider the concept of non-violence, which is a physical expression of compassion. In order to make non-violence a reality we must first work on internal disarmament and then proceed to work on external disarmament. By internal disarmament I mean ridding ourselves of all the negative emotions that result in violence. External disarmament will also have to be done gradually, step by step. We must first work on the total abolishment of nuclear weapons and gradually work up to total demilitarization throughout the world. In the process of doing this we also need to work towards stopping the arms trade, which is still very widely practiced because it is so lucrative. When we do all these things, we can then hope to see in the next millennium a year-by-year decrease in the military expenditure of the various nations and a gradual working towards demilitarization.

4. Human problems will, of course, always remain, but the way to resolve them should be through dialogue and discussion. The next century should be a century of dialogue and discussion rather than one of war and bloodshed.

5. We need to address the issue of the gap between the rich and the poor, both globally and nationally. This inequality, with some sections of the human community having abundance and others on the same planet going hungry or even dying of starvation, is not only morally wrong, but practically also a source of problems. Equally important is the issue of freedom. As long as there is no freedom in many parts of the world there can be no real peace and in a sense no real freedom for the rest of the world.

6.For the sake of our future generations, we need to take care of our earth and of our environment. Environmental damage is often gradual and not easily apparent and by the time we become aware of it, it is generally too late. Since most of the major rivers flowing into many parts of south-east Asia originate from the Tibetan plateau, it will not be out of place to mention here the crucial importance of taking care of the environment in that area.

7. Lastly, one of the greatest challenges today is the population explosion. Unless we are able to tackle this issue effectively we will be confronted with the problem of the natural resources being inadequate for all the human beings on this earth.

We need to seriously look into these matters that concern us all if we are to look forward to the future with some hope.

T.D.D. ~ Bringing the Practice to Life

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 21, 2011

Bringing the Practice to Life

We can receive teachings on the nature of suffering, compassion, or emptiness, but when we sit down to practice, no one can show us how to integrate these teachings. What we end up doing with the wild and unruly character of our thoughts and emotions still remains a question for us. How we bring the practice to life is something personal, and it can’t be taught. Sometimes we receive a direct transmission from a teacher or have an encounter that has an awakening affect on us. We often get excited about these small awakenings. But how we use these short passing experiences to liberate the mind from confusion presents yet another koan—an open question—for the practitioner.
– Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, "The Power of an Open Question"

Daily Buddhist Wisdom

"The ultimate way is without difficulty; those who seek it make their own hardship. The true mind is originally pure; those who exercise it make their own defilement." ~ Hui-k'ung

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living With a Rebel Within ~ Dzogchen Ponlop

Living With a Rebel Within
by Dzogchen Ponlop

Your true mind is a mind of joy, free from all suffering. That is who you really are. That is the true nature of your mind and the mind of everyone. But your mind doesn't just sit there being perfect, doing nothing. It's at play all the time, creating your world.

If this is true, then why isn't your life, and the whole world, perfect? Why aren't you happy all the time? How could you be laughing one minute and in despair the next? And why would "awakened" people argue, fight, lie, cheat, steal, and go to war? The reason is that, even though the awakened state is the true nature of the mind, most of us don't see it. Why? Something is in the way. Something is blocking our view of it. Sure, we see bits of it here and there. But the moment we see it, something else pops into our mind -- "What time is it? Is it time for lunch? Oh, look, a butterfly!" -- and our insight is gone. [...]

This busy mind is who you think you are. It is easier to see, like the face of the person standing right in front of you. For example, the thought you're thinking right now is more obvious to you than your awareness of that thought. When you get angry, you pay more attention to what you're angry about than to the actual source of your anger, where your anger is coming from. In other words, you notice what your mind is doing, but you don't see the mind itself. You identify yourself with the contents of this busy mind -- your thoughts, emotions, ideas -- and end up thinking that all of this stuff is "me" and "how I am."

When you do that, it's like being asleep and dreaming and believing that your dream images are true. [...]

On the one hand, we're used to our sleep and content with its dreams; on the other hand, our wakeful self is always shaking us up and turning on the lights, so to speak. This wakeful self, the true mind that is awake, wants out of the confines of sleep, out of illusion-like reality. While we're locked away in our dream, it sees the potential for freedom. So it provokes, arouses, prods and instigates until we're inspired to take action. You could say we are living with a rebel within.

--Dzogchen Ponlop, from "Rebel Buddha"

T.D.D. ~ Love and Faith

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 20, 2011

Love and Faith

Love and faith share the same essence of deep caring. The only difference is that love is aimed toward sentient beings, including those who are less fortunate than we are, while faith is aimed toward sublime beings, including all buddhas and enlightened guides. The nature of love is to give positive energy to others in order to benefit them and to release them from suffering. The nature of faith is to trust in sublime beings in order to receive the blessings of wisdom energy that benefit oneself and others. True faith creates the vast love of compassion that benefits countless beings.
– Thinley Norbu Rinpoche, "Continuous Mind"

Monday, September 19, 2011

T.D.D. ~ How Ignorance Causes Suffering

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 19, 2011

How Ignorance Causes Suffering

This is what we call ignorance: not recognizing the void nature of phenomena and assuming that phenomena possess the attribute of true existence although in fact they are devoid of it. With ignorance comes attachment to all that is pleasant to the ego as well as hatred and repulsion for all that is unpleasant. In that way the three poisons—ignorance, attachment, and hatred—come into being. Under the influence of these three poisons, the mind becomes like a servant running here and there. This is how the suffering of samsara is built up. It all derives from a lack of discernment and a distorted perception of the nature of phenomena.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, "An Investigation of the Mind"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The first Noble Truth ~ Via Thay

"The first Noble Truth taught by the Buddha is the presence of suffering. Awareness of suffering generates Compassion, and compassion generates the will to practice the Way.
Aware of the depth of suffering in the world, I vow not to live superficially."

~Thich Nhat Hanh

What would Buddha do about changing other people?

Do not examine the limitations of others. Examine how you can change your own.
- Dakini Teachings

T.D.D.~Why the Buddha Taught Meditation

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 18, 2011

Why the Buddha Taught Meditation

The Buddha praised the practice of meditation as a way of paying homage to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha that was better than offering material objects. The practice of training the heart to reach purity pleased the Buddha because it is the way by which a person can gain release from all suffering and stress. The Buddha taught us to meditate so that we can free our hearts from their slavery to the defilements of the world.
– Ajahn Lee, "Sowing the Seeds of Freedom"

Buddha is just human

"The cause is right now; the result is at the moment of death. When the resultant action is already manifest, how can you fear? Fear is over the past and present; since the past had a present, the present must have a past. Since there has been enlightenment in the past, there must also be enlightenment in the present. If you can attain now and forever the single moment of present awareness, and this one moment of awareness is not governed by anything at all, whether existent or nonexistent, then from the past and the present the Buddha is just human, and humans are just Buddhas."~Pai-chang

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Every second...

"Every second of this human life gives us the freedom to choose between hell and enlightenment, samsara and liberation."~Lama Zopa Rinpoche


Tricycle Daily Dharma September 17, 2011

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 17, 2011

The Last Obstacle to Awakening

The conceit of self (mana in Pali) is said to be the last of the great obstacles to full awakening. Conceit is an ingenious creature, at times masquerading as humility, empathy, or virtue. Conceit manifests in the feelings of being better than, worse than, and equal to another. Within these three dimensions of conceit are held the whole tormented world of comparing, evaluating, and judging that afflicts our hearts. Jealousy, resentment, fear, and low self-esteem spring from this deeply embedded pattern. Conceit perpetuates the dualities of “self” and “other”—the schisms that are the root of the enormous alienation and suffering in our world. Our commitment to awakening asks us to honestly explore the ways in which conceit manifests in our lives and to find the way to its end.
– Christina Feldman, "Long Journey to a Bow"

Friday, September 16, 2011

It is not easy...

"It is not easy to be reborn as a human being.
It is rarer than for a one-eyed turtle,
who rises to the surface only once every hundred years,
to push his neck through a wooden yoke with one hole that
floats on the surface of the wide ocean."


Tricycle Daily Dharma September 16, 2011

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 16, 2011

Reverse the Cycle

Buddhism explains that our normal state of mind is such that our thoughts and emotions are wild and unruly, and since we lack the mental discipline needed to tame them, we are powerless to control them. As a result, they control us. And thoughts and emotions, in their turn, tend to be controlled by our negative impulses rather than our positive ones. We need to reverse this cycle.
from "The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Wisdom" by The Dalai Lama

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Counting your breathing...

 "When we count our breathing, you know, in each number we find limitlessly deep meaning of life."~Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

The root?

"The root of your life's problems becomes non-existent when you cherish others."~Lama Zopa Rinpoche

What are your thoughts on not just unconditional love, but cherishing as well?~VRS

Who is the Buddha? (a few ways to see)

Who is the Buddha?
There are many ways to describe who the Buddha is, according to different ways of understanding . These various interpretations have their sources in the Buddha’s teachings.
One way is to see the historical Buddha who lived 2,500 years ago as a human being who cleansed his mind of all defilements and developed all his potential. Any being who does likewise is also considered a Buddha, for there are many Buddhas, not just one.
Another way is to understand a particular Buddha or Buddhist deity as omniscient mind manifesting in a certain physical aspect in order to communicate with us.
Yet another way is to see the Buddha -- or any of the enlightened Buddhist deities -- as the appearance of the future Buddha that we will become once we properly and completely have engaged in the path to cleanse our mind of defilements and develop all our potentials.
"The essence of the guru is wisdom: the perfectly clear and radiant state of mind in which bliss and the realization of emptiness are inseparably unified."~Lama Thubten Yeshe

Daily Buddhist Wisdom

Daily Buddhist Wisdom  
"There is something suspect about our inability to enjoy anything."

~Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition.

Right Speech and Religious Diversity

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 15, 2011

Right Speech and Religious Diversity

"Right speech is a vast, important topic in Buddhist training, and nowhere is it more important than in delicate conversations across religious lines. In our current context, arguments or debates about religion are counterproductive and only produce more sorrow and anguish. As Buddhists, we want to avoid participating in or contributing to the contentious atmosphere that permeates much public discourse about religious diversity."
from "Buddhism and Religious Diversity" by Rita Gross

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bodhisattva attitude...

"One must practice with the bodhisattva attitude every day. People can't see your mind, what people see is a manifestation of your attitude in your actions of body and speech. Pay attention to your attitude all the time, guard it as if you are the police, or like a maid cares for a child, like a bodyguard, or like you are the guru and your mind is your disciple."~Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 14, 2011

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 14, 2011

An Entry Point to Stillness
"The mind not distracted is present with things as they are. Sensations, sights, sounds, thoughts, mental moods, all of these phenomena are happening in the present, continually arising and disappearing. An entry point into stillness is a moment where the mind is not drifting or distracted with the constantly changing nature all around. It doesn't matter if you're driving on the freeway or sitting in a cave."
from "Q&A with Vipassana Instructor Michele McDonald," by Michele McDonald
Daily Buddhist Wisdom  
"A blessing in the world: reverence to your mother. A blessing: reverence to your father as well. A blessing in the world: reverence to a contemplative. A blessing: reverence for a brahmin, too. A blessing into old age is virtue. A blessing: conviction established. A blessing: discernment attained. The non-doing of evil things is a blessing."

~Dhammapada, 23, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daily Buddhist Wisdom  
"If you think, I breathe, the I is extra. There is no you to say I. What we call I is just a swinging door which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. It just moves; that is all. When your mind is pure and calm enough to follow this movement, there is nothing: no I, no world, no mind nor body; just a swinging door."

~Shunryu Suzuki, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind"
Tricycle Daily Dharma September 13, 2011

Right, Wrong, and Reality

"Judgments on right and wrong are a nearly irresistible enticement to pick sides. And that’s exactly why the old Zen masters warned against becoming a person of right and wrong. It isn’t that the masters were indifferent to questions of ethics, but for them ethical conduct went beyond simply taking the prescribed right side. For these masters, the source of ethical conduct is found in the way things are, circumstance itself: unfiltered immediate reality reveals what is needed."
from "An Ear to the Ground," by Lin Jensen

Monday, September 12, 2011

Daily Buddhist Wisdom  
"For there is suffering, but none who suffers; Doing exists although there is no doer; Extinction is but no extinguished person; Although there is a path, there is no goer."

~Buddhaghosa; Visuddhimagga 513
Tricycle Daily Dharma September 12, 2011

Life is Training

"Our entire life has been training. The question is: training in what? This question means: training in which direction?... Are we training in numbing ourselves in the face of fear, or training in waking up? Training in opening the heart, or training in shutting down?"
from "Fruitless Labor," by Gaylon Ferguson

P.S. My question...what is YOUR answer?, Kevin

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tricycle Daily Dharma September 10, 2011

Is Buddhism really a religion of tolerance?

Buddhism is often considered a religion of tolerance. In many ways it is. But a particular kind of intolerance develops as we practice: intolerance to suffering. I use the word “intolerance” to be deliberately provocative, to encourage you to reflect on suffering and the issues surrounding it. Taking suffering seriously is an important element of Buddhist practice. To ignore it is to miss a powerful opportunity. Intolerance to suffering motivated the Buddha to find liberation from it.
from "Intolerance to Suffering," by Gil Fronsdal

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"It is unsure whether tomorrow or the next life will come first. Therefore, it is more worthwhile and wise to be prepared for this future life than for tomorrow." ~ Buddha Shakyamuni, (from the book, Heart Advise for Death and Dying by Lama Zopa Rinpoche).

Your thoughts on this are welcome of course, Kevin

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome Brothers and Sisters,

Please sign on to follow my newest attempt to further my own and others knowledge and growth. This was an idea I had a while ago and have been brewing it in my own brain (so to speak). So please feel free to post (being mindful) and share with others of a like mind. As that is what I am trying to do here in this "Virtual Refuge Sangha".

As you may have guessed or assumed this is a Sangha of sorts. A safe place for fellow Buddhists to come and sit a while. So if you are not walking this path, please feel free to share in the comfort of this space, but be mindful of some material you may not understand. It is fine to disagree or simply question some of the material posted here, but not to be discourtious or disrespectful.

This is a place for love and comfort. Discussion and reflection. So please keep in touch. Post, read and take in the beauty of the Buddhist culture. While I have been on this path for some time...I am still a child, so be patient as this blog grows. Into something I hope all will enjoy and learn from. It has taken many lifetimes to get here....and many more to follow. Of that I'm sure.

Namaste' Brothers and Sisters, Kevin Burgess

P.S. I (Kevin Burgess) am a follower of the Mahayana tradition, mostly ;)