Monday, October 31, 2011

T.D.D. --- Your Beautiful Refrigerator

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 31, 2011

Your Beautiful Refrigerator
For all its value, your refrigerator doesn't need much when it comes to maintenance. You clean its handles and wipe off the outside surfaces with a damp cloth. Periodically, you clean off the coils, wipe up interior spills, and remove any contents that have become undesirable. Not much more is needed. As you do this minimal cleaning, you might think for a moment about the poet Shinkei (1406-75), who thought that nowhere in the world was there anything more beautiful than or as exquisite as ice.

– Gary Thorp, "Infinite Winter"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

T.D.D. --- Our servant, the mind

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 30, 2011

Our servant, the mind

When we look for the mind, we can't find any shape, or color, or form. This mind that we identify as the self, which we could call ego-mind, controls everything we do. Yet it can't actually be found—which is somewhat spooky, as if a ghost were managing our home. The house seems to be empty, but all the housework has been done. The bed has been made, our shoes have been polished, the tea has been poured, and the breakfast has been cooked. The funny thing is that we never question this. We just assume that someone or something is there. But all this time, our life has been managed by a ghost, and it's time to put a stop to it. On one hand, ego-mind has served us—but it hasn't served us well.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, "Searching for Self"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

T.D.D. --- What's so great about mindfulness?

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 29, 2011

What's so great about mindfulness?

The current myth among some meditation circles is that the more mindful we are, the more beauty we'll perceive in mundane objects. To the mind with bare attention, even the suds in the dishpan—as their bubbles glint and wink in the light—are windows on a divine radiance. That's the myth. But the truth is almost the opposite: in fact, the more mindfulness we have, the less compelling sense-objects seem, until at last we lose all desire for them. It's true that strong concentration can seem to intensify colors, sounds, and so forth. But concentration alone doesn't lead to insight or awakening. To say that mindfulness makes the winter sky more sublime, or the act of doing the dishes an exercise in wonder, chafes against the First Noble Truth.
– Cynthia Thatcher, "What's So Great About Now?"

Friday, October 28, 2011

The mosquito is the cause of our enlightenment: Lama Yeshe

Concentrate on the mosquito that is biting us and think, "The numberless buddhas are born from bodhisattvas, and the bodhisattvas are born from bodhicitta. The loving compassion thought, bodhicitta, is received from each sentient being. It is received from this mosquito who is biting me now." So now, think, "My entire happiness is completely received from this mosquito." If we think like this, it is unbearable to kill the mosquito.

T.D.D. --- Put your body to good use

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 28, 2011

Put your body to good use
What should you do to put your body to good use? Most people have no idea. A craftsman who borrows some tools will try to make the best possible use of them while they are available. Your body, too, is actually on loan to you for the time being, for the brief period left before it is taken back from you by death. Had you better not use it to practice the dharma while you can?

– Dilgo Khyentse, "The Day After You Die"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

T.D.D. --- We must grow weary of craving

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 27, 2011

We must grow weary of craving

We’re stuck on feeling like a monkey stuck in a tar trap. A glob of tar is placed where a monkey will get its hand stuck and, in trying to pull free, the monkey gets its other hand, both feet, and eventually its mouth stuck, too. Consider this: Whatever we do, we end up stuck right here at feeling and craving. We can't separate them out. We can't wash them off. If we don't grow weary of craving, we're like the monkey stuck in the glob of tar, getting ourselves more and more trapped all the time.
– Upasika Kee Nanayon, "A Glob of Tar"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

T.D.D. --- Speaking all day long

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 26, 2011

Speaking all day long

Only the noble ones who enter the refined attainment of cessation, where feeling and perception stop, are able to stop speaking. Aside from them, everyone’s speaking all day and all night long. And especially those who vow not to speak: They talk more than anyone else, it’s simply that they don’t make a sound that others can hear.
– Phra Ajaan Dune Atulo, "If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say"

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

T.D.D. --- When You Prepare Food

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 25, 2011

When You Prepare Food

When you prepare food, do not see with ordinary eyes and do not think with ordinary mind. Take up a blade of grass and construct a treasure king's land; enter into a particle of dust and turn the great dharma wheel. Do not arouse disdainful mind when you prepare a broth of wild grasses; do not arouse joyful mind when you prepare a fine cream soup. Where there is no discrimination, how can there be distaste? Thus, do not be careless even when you work with poor materials, and sustain your efforts even when you have excellent materials. Never change your attitude according to the materials. If you do, it is like varying your truth when speaking with different people; then you are not a practitioner of the way.
– Zen Master Dogen, "Instructions for the Tenzo"

Monday, October 24, 2011

T.D.D. --- The Root of Happiness

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 24, 2011

The Root of Happiness

It takes some training to equate complete letting go with comfort. But in fact, "nothing to hold on to" is the root of happiness. There's a sense of freedom when we accept that we're not in control. Pointing ourselves toward what we would most like to avoid makes our barriers and shields permeable.
– Pema Chödrön, "The In-between State"

Read the entire article in the Tricycle Wisdom Collection

Sunday, October 23, 2011

T.D.D. --- Beyond Positive and Negative

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 23, 2011

Beyond Positive and Negative

Entering the awakened state of mind, even for a moment, is always preceded by an experience, however fleeting, of extreme contrast and conflict. Even on the highest and most subtle levels of attainment, negative and positive continue together side by side, until one makes the leap beyond them both.
– Francesca Freemantle, "The Luminous Gap in Bardo"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

T.D.D. --- Sitting Regularly

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 22, 2011

Sitting Regularly

Plan to sit at the same time each day. One of the benefits of doing this is that one gets to know the mind that doesn’t want to sit. Personally, I like to sit immediately upon waking up in the morning. For many people, this seems to be a good time, before we become engaged in the activities of the day. But if you have small children or a demanding job, this may not be possible. And some of us have rebellious natures, so any routine presents a problem. Then we need to be flexible.
– Narayan Liebenson Grady, "The Refuge of Sitting"

Friday, October 21, 2011

T.D.D. --- Right Interest

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 21, 2011

Right Interest

Right effort is effort with wisdom. Because where there is wisdom, there is interest. The desire to know something is wisdom at work. Being mindful is not difficult. But it’s difficult to be continuously aware. For that you need right effort. But it does not require a great deal of energy. It’s relaxed perseverance in reminding yourself to be aware. When you are aware, wisdom unfolds naturally, and there is still more interest.
– Sayadaw U Tejaniya, "The Wise Investigator"

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"A man approached ...

"A man approached the Blessed One and wanted to have all his philosophical questions answered before he would practice. In response, the Buddha said, It is as if a man had been wounded by a poisoned arrow and when attended to by a physician were to say, I will not allow you to remove this arrow until I have learned the caste, the age, the occupation, the birthplace, an...d the motivation of the person who wounded me. That man would die before having learned all this. In exactly the same way, anyone who should say, I will not follow the teaching of the Blessed One until the Blessed One has explained all the multiform truths of the world-that person would die before the Buddha had explained all this."

~from the Majjhima Nikaya

T.D.D. --- What We Call “Sacred”

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 20, 2011

What We Call “Sacred”

Life is possible. Situations are possible. And anybody can start to gain some kind of insight and appreciation of their lives. That’s what we call “sacred.” It doesn’t mean something dramatic, but something very simple. There’s a sacredness to everyone’s life.

– Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, "A New Place, A New Time"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

T.D.D. --- Spiritual Bypassing

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 19, 2011

Spiritual Bypassing

Many of us originally turn to the dharma at least in part as a way of trying to overcome the pain of our psychological and relational wounding. Yet we are often in denial about or unconscious of the nature or extent of this wounding. As a result, being a “good” spiritual practitioner can become a compensatory identity that covers up and defends against an underlying deficient identity, where we feel bad about ourselves, not good enough, or basically lacking. Then, although we may be practicing diligently, our spiritual practice can be used in the service of denial and defense. And when spiritual practice is used to bypass our real-life human issues, it becomes compartmentalized in a separate zone of our life that remains unintegrated with our overall functioning.

– John Welwood, "Human Nature, Buddha Nature"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

T.D.D. --- What We’ve Been Practicing For

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 18, 2011

What We’ve Been Practicing For

In times of crisis, we often feel we don’t have the time or energy to practice, but those are precisely the times when the practice is most necessary. This is what we’ve been practicing for: the situations where the practice doesn’t come easily. When the winds of change reach hurricane force, our inner refuge of mindfulness, concentration, and discernment is the only thing that will keep us from getting blown away.
– Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "What We’ve Been Practicing For"

Monday, October 17, 2011

T.D.D. --- Christianity and Buddhism

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 17, 2011

Christianity and Buddhism

Perhaps an important difference between Buddhism and Christianity is that, within the Christian tradition, there is usually a subject you are contemplating, whereas in Buddhism, especially with the formless practices, you are really opening the mind in and of itself; you are not contemplating a particular subject or figure. Ultimately, we are looking to simply open the mind and lay bare its depths. In Christianity you find that as well, so it’s not an absolute difference but a difference in emphasis.
– Reginald Ray, "The Power of Solitude"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Avoiding Disappointments

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 15, 2011

Avoiding Disappointments

How do we avoid misguided faith? We practice awareness and non-attachment. Seeing attachment, aversion, expectation, and disappointment as they arise allows the mind to understand and to disengage from them. Awareness breaks the spell; the mind is no longer enchanted when we see the defilement for what it is. When a defilement has no hold on the mind, suffering ceases. Awareness can simply wait and observe the next present moment as it arises. These moments gradually refine faith, and skillful wisdom increasingly arises in daily life.
– Steve Armstrong, "Got Attitude?"

T.D.D. ~ Mindfulness and Relationships

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 16, 2011

Mindfulness and Relationships

We all have personal sensitivities—“hot buttons”—that are evoked in close relationships. Mindfulness practice helps us to identify them and disengage from our habitual reactions, so that we can reconnect with our partners. We can mindfully address recurring problems with a simple four-step technique: (1) Feel the emotional pain of disconnection, (2) Accept that the pain is a natural and healthy sign of disconnection, and the need to make a change, (3) Compassionately explore the personal issues or beliefs being evoked within yourself, (4) Trust that a skillful response will arise at the right moment.
– Christopher Germer, "Getting Along"

Friday, October 14, 2011

T.D.D. --- Life with a Capital ‘L’ ~ Philip Kapleau Roshi

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 14, 2011

Life with a Capital ‘L’

Life and death, as my teacher used to point out, are just different names for different states. These are not permanent states. If we have to give it a name, Life with a capital "L" is the basic reality. Ours is not an inert universe, it's an alive universe; so what we call birth and death are just temporary states, temporary transformations, names for our true self at one time, and in one situation.
– Philip Kapleau Roshi, "Life with a Capital "L": An interview with Philip Kapleau Roshi"

Thursday, October 13, 2011

T.D.D. --- A City of Dreams ~ The Dalai Lama

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 13, 2011

Praise and Criticism

If we really stop to think about praise and criticism, we will see they do not have the least importance. Whether we receive praise or criticism is of no account. The only important thing is that we have a pure motivation, and let the law of cause and effect be our witness. If we are really honest, we can see that it makes no difference whether we receive praise and acclaim. The whole world might sing our praises, but if we have done something wrong, then we will still have to suffer the consequences for ourselves, and we cannot escape them. If we act only out of a pure motivation, all the beings of the three realms can criticize and rebuke us, but none of them will be able to cause us to suffer.
– The Dalai Lama, "Bad Reputation"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Life is a Good Friend ~ Pema Chodron

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 12, 2011

Life is a Good Friend

Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
– Pema Chodron, "Stay with Your Broken Dreams"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Do You Have Time To Love? ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Do You Have Time To Love?

--by Thich Nhat Hanh (Nov 29, 2004)

To love is, above all, to be there. But being there is not an easy thing. Some training is necessary, some practice. If you are not there, how can you love? Being there is very much an art, the art of meditation, because meditating is bringing your true presence to the here and now. The question that arises is: Do you have time to love?

I know a boy of twelve whose father asked him one day: "Son, what would you like for your birthday present?" The boy did not know how to answer his father, who was a very rich man, able to buy anything for his son. But the boy did not want anything except his father's presence. Because the role the father played kept him very busy, he did not have time to devote to his wife and children. Being rich is an obstacle to loving, When you are rich, you want to continue to be rich, and so you end up devoting all your time, all your energy in your daily life, to staying rich. If this father were to understand what true love is, he would do whatever is necessary to find time for his son and his wife.

The most precious gift you can give to the one you love is your true presence. What must we do to really be there? Those who have practiced meditation know that meditating is above all being present: to yourself, to those you love, to life. [.]

Do you have enough time to love? Can you make sure that in your everyday life you have a little time to love? We do not have much time together; we are too busy. In the morning while eating breakfast, we do not look at the person we love, we do not have enough time for it. We eat very quickly while thinking about other things, and sometimes we even hold a newspaper that hides the face of the person we love. In the evening when we come home, we are too tired to be able to look at the person we love.

We must bring about a revolution in our way of living our everyday lives, because our happiness, our lives, are within ourselves.

--Thich Nhat Hanh

"Happy Continuation Day Dear Thay"

Via: Plum Village Online Monastery

Dear Friends,
Today is our Teacher's Birthday - or as Thay likes to say Continuation Day. "Happy Continuation Day Dear Thay"
Thay often tells us - if we have the idea to offer Thay a birthday gift - that the best gift he could receive is the gift of our own practice. He invites us to write to him to share our idea of something very concrete and practical that we feel inspired to do to help deepen our practice. For example "Dear Thay, I vow that for everyday the next year I will practice brushing my teeth in mindfulness" or "Dear Thay, I vow that when I feel irritation with my loved one I will practice not to react immediately but to find a way to stop and breathe".
Send your gift to Thay by posting here. It will be an inspiration for us all and we will pass on these gifts to Thay.

T.D.D. ~ A City of Dreams

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 11, 2011

A City of Dreams

At present, the outer universe—earth, stones, mountains, rocks, and cliffs—seems to the perception of our senses to be permanent and stable, like the house built of reinforced concrete that we think will last for generations. In fact, there is nothing solid to it at all; it is nothing but a city of dreams.
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, "A City of Dreams"

Monday, October 10, 2011

T.D.D. ~ We have a living body

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 10, 2011

We have a living body

The body that we have is a living body. Mostly we were taught that the body is what we leave here when we die. I think that is a terrible mistake. The body that we have is not a dead body. We don’t know exactly how dead bodies come to be, but it is absolutely clear that this body is the living body. So we need to draw the basic concepts about “the body” from the living process.
– Eugene T. Gendlin, "Focusing"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is Buddhism A Religion? ~ Ethan Nichtern

October 9, 2011 / Ethan Nichtern

This post originally appeared on the Interdependence Blog.

As I frequently participate in discussions about whether or not Buddhism is a religion, I realize that the question itself comes from an implicit frame with which I don’t agree.
If the framing of a discussion is flawed, the conversation will often spin in irreconcilable loops. Within the framing that exists, I prefer to say that my approach to Buddhism is a “secular psychology and ethics system, a full mental wellness path.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who has a profound influence on many aspects of how I conceptualize my practice, as well as my teaching style (although I bring less of the “crazy” and certainly less of the “wisdom”), had this to say as far back as 1966, before he came to North America.

“There are many people who are more learned than I and more elevated in their wisdom. However, I have never made a separation between the spiritual and the worldly. If you understand the ultimate aspect of the dharma, this is the ultimate aspect of the world. And if you should cultivate the ultimate aspect of the world, this should be in harmony with the dharma.”

I don’t think the discussion has anything to do with separation of church and state from a governmental standpoint, but rather the bipolarity that individual human beings have been taught to live with in modern society. This split way of regarding our lives and experiences is quite problematic.

So, my view of whether or not Buddhism is a religion is in accord with Trungpa Rinpoche’s view. The question itself is flawed. However, in our world, where institutions are either labelled and categorized legally as religious or secular, where that split already exists and is constantly fortified by the bureaucracy of thought and language, I continue to argue that it’s best to promote Buddhism as secular. Is it really secular? No, it’s secular/spiritual. But in a world that separates the two, it feels much more effective to further Buddhism’s secular progress than its religious status, and that is how I view the path and our job in building genuine and compassionate sanghas.

T.D.D. ~ Be kind, be just, be humane

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 9, 2011

Be kind, be just, be humane

Be kind, be just, be humane, be honest, if you desire to crown your future! Dishonesty, cruelty, inhumanity, will condemn you to a miserable fall!
– Soyen Shaku, "Soyen Shaku: One Hundred Years Ago"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Attainment isn't scheduled

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 8, 2011

Attainment isn't scheduled

We should not have a time schedule to attain the goal, for our attainment depends on how we progress in our practice based on our understanding and development of our spiritual faculties. We must work diligently and mindfully toward the goal without setting any particular time schedule to reach it. When we are ready, we get there. All we have to do is to prepare ourselves for that attainment.
– Henepola Gunaratana, "Sitting Still"

Friday, October 7, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Generosity doesn't have reasons

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 7, 2011

Generosity doesn't have reasons

In the end, generosity doesn’t have reasons. Generosity might be strategically effective or virtuous, but that’s not important. The point is that there is no good reason to love life or each other, yet we do. Generosity keeps faith with our appreciation of each other, it stems from a natural empathy with everything that, like us, has the courage to take a shape in the world.
– John Tarrant, "The Erotic Life of Emptiness"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Impermanence Makes Transformation Possible

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 6, 2011

Impermanence Makes Transformation Possible

As Buddhists, we work to accept the impermanence and inevitable decay of the physical body. But it’s not enough to accept it as a fact; we can believe in this and still not want it in plain sight. Nagarjuna said, “Change makes all things possible.” It is only because of change that suffering can end—and it is because of change that our bodies fall apart, like all compounded things. We cannot have one without the other, but we try.
– Sallie Tisdale, "Washing Out Emptiness"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Study and practice ~ Dalai Lama

"Study and practice are both very important, but they must go hand in hand. Faith without knowledge is not sufficient. Faith needs to be supported by reason. However intellectual understanding that is not applied in practice is also of little use. Whatever we learn from study we need to apply sincerely in our daily lives." ~ Dalai Lama

T.D.D. ~ Ignoring Distractions

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 5, 2011

Ignoring Distractions

Richard Baker Roshi once told of a dream he had: He was trying to find the answer to a question, and the telephone rang. He ignored the phone and focused instead on the question. On the thirtieth ring he picked up the phone, and the answer came to him through the receiver. What he had labeled a distraction was really the point.
– Dairyu Michael Wenger, "Competing with the Incomparable"

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Bad Me

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 4, 2011

Bad Me

This sense of “bad me” comes from not understanding the view of selflessness that is so central to the Buddhist path. Understanding that there is no solid, singular, or permanent “me” makes it possible to accommodate whatever arises in life without feeling so intimidated by our experience, without rolling over like a defeated dog in a dogfight. We can see that things arise due to our karma playing itself out and that it does not necessarily have to be so personal. In this way we can identify with something greater—which is our nature itself. From this perspective, since there is no solid, singular, permanent self, there’s not going to be a “bad” self to feel guilty about. Mind is innocent but influenced by ignorance and wrong conceptual beliefs that project a self. But there is no self.
– Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, "Realizing Guiltlessness"

Monday, October 3, 2011

T.D.D. ~ The Technique of Focusing

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 3, 2011

The Technique of Focusing

The technique of Focusing begins with a step called Clearing a Space, which is quite similar to mindfulness practice but features a more deliberate and sustained focus on the body. You settle and bring attention especially to the torso area. This process is described as “coming inside” or “dropping down” (that is, shifting awareness from the head-centered discursive mind down into the torso-centered domain of feelings and impulses). The practitioner, or focuser, brings a quality of attention known as the Focusing attitude, a friendly and inquisitive but at the same time dispassionate and nonreactive way of sensing what the body is holding in the present moment. It has been evocatively described as “caring, feeling presence.”
– David Rome, "Focusing and Meditating"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Respecting Our Bodies

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 2, 2011

Respecting Our Bodies

For most of us, and for most of modern culture, the body is principally seen as the object of our ego agendas, the donkey for the efforts of our ambitions. The donkey is going to be thin, the donkey is going to be strong, the donkey is going to be a great yoga practitioner, the donkey is going to look and feel young, the donkey is going to work eighteen hours a day, the donkey is going to help me fulfill my needs, and so on. All that is necessary is the right technique. There is no sense that the body might actually be more intelligent than “me,” my precious self, my conscious ego.”
– Reginald Ray, "Touching Enlightenment"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

T.D.D. ~ Playing the Victim

Tricycle Daily Dharma October 1, 2011

Playing the Victim

One of the worst kinds of elevation of the self is playing the victim. There are times when we actually are victims, when actual blame is appropriate, but to take on the identity of a victim and be stuck blaming is something else. Surprisingly, it is actually a subtle form of elevation—I’m not responsible, you are. This is giving up all freedom. I think the reason that remarkable stories of forgiveness take our breath away is that we instantly feel the liberation in the lifting of boundaries, the end of separation, of “inside” and “outside.”
– Nancy Baker, "The Seventh Zen Precept"