Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
When your heart becomes calm, you will see the falsehood of your heart; and at the
same time, you will also see the truth that is in it. In addition, you will see the faults of the
restless, distracted wandering of the heart, which causes you to be agitated and unhappy.
At the same time, you will also see the merit and virtue of a calm, cool heart, which
brings you happiness while the heart is calm.
Acharn Maha Boowa
Teachings by Than Acharn Maha Boowa
Picture by: Eric Lafforgue@Flickr
Saturday, April 26, 2008
"I am deeply pained by this ongoing suffering. I do not believe that repressive measures can achieve any long-term solution. The best way forward is to resolve the issues between the Tibetans and the Chinese leadership through dialogue. I have repeatedly assured the leadership of the People’s Republic of China that I am not seeking independence." - The Dalai Lama
Hamilton, NY (USA) -- Today I would like to make a personal appeal to all Chinese spiritual brothers and sisters, both inside as well as outside the People’s Republic of China, and especially to the followers of the Buddha.
I do this as a Buddhist monk and a student of our most revered teacher, the Buddha. I have already made an appeal to the general Chinese community. Here I am appealing to you, my spiritual brothers and sisters, on an urgent humanitarian matter.
The Chinese and the Tibetan people share common spiritual heritage in Mahayana Buddhism. We worship the Buddha of Compassion – Guan Yin in the Chinese tradition and Chenrezig in Tibetan tradition – and cherish compassion for all suffering beings as one of the highest spiritual ideals. Furthermore, since Buddhism flourished in China before it came to Tibet from India, I have always viewed the Chinese Buddhists with the reverence due to senior spiritual brothers and sisters.
As most of you are aware, beginning with the 10th of March this year, a series of demonstrations have taken place in Lhasa and across many Tibetan areas. These are caused by deep Tibetan resentment against the policies of the Chinese government. I have been deeply saddened by the loss of life, both Chinese and Tibetans, and immediately appealed to both the Chinese authorities and the Tibetans for restraint. I specially appealed to the Tibetans not to resort to violence.
To continue reading: An Appeal to all Chinese Spiritual Brothers and Sisters
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The dhyana mudra may be made with one or both hands. When made with a single hand the left one is placed in the lap, while the right may be engaged elsewhere. The left hand making the Dhyana mudra in such cases symbolizes the female left-hand principle of wisdom. Ritual objects such as a text, or more commonly an alms bowl symbolizing renunciation, may be placed in the open palm of this left hand.
When made with both hands, the hands are generally held at the level of the stomach or on the thighs. The right hand is placed above the left, with the palms facing upwards, and the fingers extended. In some cases the thumbs of the two hands may touch at the tips, thus forming a mystic triangle. The esoteric sects obviously attribute to this triangle a multitude of meanings, the most important being the identification with the mystic fire that consumes all impurities. This triangle is also said to represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism, mentioned above, namely the Buddha himself, the Good Law and the Sangha.
The Dhyana mudra is the mudra of meditation, of concentration on the Good law, and of the attainment of spiritual perfection. According to tradition, this mudra derives from the one assumed by the Buddha when meditating under the pipal tree before his Enlightenment. This gesture was also adopted since time immemorial, by yogis during their meditation and concentration exercises. It indicates the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.
This mudra is displayed by the fourth Dhyani Buddha Amitabha, also known as Amitayus. By meditating on him, the delusion of attachment becomes the wisdom of discernment. The Dhyana mudra helps mortals achieve this transformation.
"Meditation mudras: Every position assumed and every gesture performed by our mortal body may be said to imprint its seal on the Ether, and sent forth a continuous stream of vibrations that impress the atmosphere. But to be really effective there must be a deliberate and intended arrangement of the body or parts of the body. Such an arrangement is nothing but the yoga of mudra. It is interpreted as being able to bring the physiological system in harmony with the cosmic forces and so form a magical microcosm through which the macrocosm can be represented, channelled, and utilized.
We perform mudras in every action, every moment of the day. Each action is a symbol of our underlying mental and physical condition and results because of the various energy patterns forming within our being. These patterns determine our personality character and mannerism and expressions. Thus our every moment is an expression of our inner-nature. Consciously performing mudras allow us to become more aware of inner energy and to control it so that we make the most of each moment. The effect is total, at once subtle but powerful. In this way, we learn to integrate our dissipated thoughts and actions, so that life becomes a graceful flow of energy and understanding. Our whole being can then become a mudra, a gesture of life within, reflecting into our external life."
More on Meditation mudras
Picture: Dhyana Mudra by Akuppa @ Flickr
The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.
Apart from its higher implications, today metta is a pragmatic necessity. In a world menaced by all kinds of destructiveness, metta in deed, word and thought is the only constructive means to bring concord, peace and mutual understanding. Indeed, metta is the supreme means, for it forms the fundamental tenet of all the higher religions as well as the basis for all benevolent activities intended to promote human well-being.
The practice of metta thus can be likened to bringing into being a great tree, from the time the seed is sown to the time the tree is heavily laden with luscious fruits and sends forth its sweet odor far and wide, attracting myriads of creatures to it to enjoy its tasty and nutritious bounty. The sprouting of the seed and the growth of the plant are, as it were, brought about by the first part of the sutta. In the second part the tree, robust and developed, is fully covered with fragrant and beautiful flowers, riveting all eyes upon it.
As a pattern of behavior, the first aspect of metta makes one's life grow like a tree, useful, generous and noble. Metta, as meditation, effects that spiritual efflorescence whereby one's entire life becomes a source of joy for all. The third part envisages in this imagery the fruition of that process of spiritual development whereby one brings about an all-embracing application of spiritual love which can powerfully condition society as a whole and lead one to the heights of transcendental realization.
Metta is also called a paritta — a spiritual formula capable of safeguarding one's well-being, protecting one against all dangers, and rescuing one from mishaps and misfortunes.
The protection of paritta works both subjectively and objectively. Subjectively, as metta cleanses and strengthens the mind, it also awakens the dormant potentials, resulting in the spiritual transmutation of the personality. Transformed by metta, the mind is no longer haunted by greed, hatred, lust, jealousy and those other mind-polluting factors which are one's real enemy and source of misfortune.
Objectively, metta as a thought-force is capable of affecting any mind anywhere, developed or undeveloped. The radiation of metta can not only calm a person or remove the darts of hate from within him, but in some cases can even cure him of severe illness. It is a common experience in Buddhist countries to see how people are cured from all sorts of diseases and freed from misfortunes through the recitation of paritta. Thus metta is a real healing power. In this way does metta act as a paritta, a healing formula affording safeguards.
The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita
To know more: Wat Arun - Temple of Dawn, Bangkok
Picture: Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Prerequisites to the Practice of Metta (Fifteen Qualities)
1. able, capable, in the spiritual life
2. upright (not deceptive, not crooked)
3. honest (not hypocritical, not pretending to have virtues one doesn’'t possess)
4. easy to speak to, amenable to correction
5. gentle, soft
6. not arrogant, not proud
8. easy to support
9. not involved with many duties
10. light in one’s activities
11. with calm sense faculties
12. discreet, possessing pragmatic wisdom
13. not impudent
14. not greedy when among families
15. he should not do anything even slight because of which other wise ones might reproach him.
Metta Sutta teachings by Bhikhu Bodhi
The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita
Friday, April 18, 2008
The greatest friend of the soul is the unknown. Yet we are afraid of the unknown because it lies outside our vision and our control. We avoid it or quell it by filtering it through our protective barriers of domestication and control. The normal way never leads home.
Once you start to awaken, no one can ever claim you again for the old patterns. Now you realise how precious your time here is. You are no longer willing to squander your essence on undertakings that do not nourish your true self; your patience grows thin with tired talk and dead language. You see through the rosters of expectation which promise you safety and the confirmation of your outer identity.
Now you are impatient for growth, willing to put yourself in the way of change. You want your work to become an expression of your gift. You want your relationship to voyage beyond the pallid frontiers to where the danger of transformation dwells. You want your God to be wild and to call you to where your destiny awaits.
The journey shows you that from this inner dedication you can reconstruct your own values and action. You develop from your own self-compassion a great compassion for others. You are no longer caught in the false game of judgement, comparison and assumption. More naked now than ever, you begin to feel truly alive. You begin to trust the music of your own soul; you have inherited treasure that no one will ever be able to take from you. At the deepest level, this adventure of growth is in fact a transfigurative conversation with your own death. And when the time comes for you to leave, the view from your death bed will show a life of growth that gladdens the heart and takes away all fear.
Books by John O'Donohue
Sunday, April 13, 2008
THE CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE
Recorded at Unity Church, Santa Barbara, CA , Jan. 16, 2008
The Conscious Universe: Where Buddhism and Physics Converge
Physicists have long assumed that the universe is fundamentally composed of matter and energy and that life and consciousness are accidental byproducts of configurations of matter. But a growing number of distinguished physicists are now suggesting that consciousness may play a much more fundamental role in nature than scientists previously believed. In this lecture Alan Wallace will review some of the most provocative theories presented by such leading physicists as John Wheeler, Stephen Hawking, and Andre Linde that challenge many of the materialist assumptions based on outdated19th-century physics. And he will discuss how these theories may relate to Buddhist theories and practices, including those of the Theravada, Mahayana, and Dzogchen traditions.
Website: Santa Barbara Institute
"The Conscious Universe" Lecture Series:
Books by Alan Wallace:
Saturday, April 05, 2008
There is a proverb that says:
Intelligence is helped by hidden virtue.
Hidden virtue leads you to enter the path of intelligence.
Those who do not practice hidden virtue,
but make use of intelligence alone,
Will be defeated by their own intelligence.