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Thursday, March 31, 2005

Breath

I am always amazed at the power of breath.

Just three deep breathes and I can feel relaxation in my body. This is why breathing is such an important aspect to meditation. Through Breathing we bring in positive, relaxing energy and breathing out we release the tension and anxiety build up inside. I use the three breathes technique all throughout the day. When I'm driving in the car, (especially when driving in the car so that I do not became over-taken with rage/anger)when I'm blogging, when I'm reading, or even when I'm in the shower.

As Thich Nhat Hanh says:

Let us enjoy our breathing.
Breathing in--I feel I am alive.
Breathing out--I smile to life.
To Life…smiling to life

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Everything You Do Is Zen

Not thinking about anything is zen. Once you know this, walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is zen. To know that the mind is empty is to see the Buddha...Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation.

-Bodhidharma

I see using the mind to look for delusion as saying "I can not see the forest because the trees are in the way."

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Meditation.

I have been meditating twice a day now for about a week and I have noticed a marked improvement in my ability to be mindful, relaxed and open to change. I find that these sessions are like "bookends" to my day. It has also helped the anxiety that sometimes comes up with my schizoaffective disdorder.

How wise are those who have gone before and blazed the path to ultimate peace to give us meditation so that we too many one day reach full and complete peace with existence.

What we have to learn, in both meditation and in life, is to be free of attachment to the good experiences, and free of aversion to the negative ones.
-Sogyal Rinpoche-

Meditation is not a way to enlightenment,
Nor is it a method of achieving anything at all.
It is peace itself.
It is the actualization of wisdom,
The ultimate truth of the oneness of all things.

-Dogen-

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

If Necessary, Ditch The Raft

How joyful to look upon the Awakened and to keep company with the wise. Follow then the shining ones, the wise, the awakened, the loving, for they know how to work and forbear. But if you cannot find friend or master to go with you, travel on alone - like a king who has given away his kingdom, like an elephant in the forest.

The Buddha

This teaching tells me that sometimes we can become attached and cling to our teachers even and the Buddha tells us to cling to nothing even teachers. And to go it alone if we have to. And if you really think about it we all have to go it alone in the end. Teachers can tell us all kinds of things but in the end we are the only ones who can do it for ourselves.If we do not put the teachings into practice then we are wasting them.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Life and Death Blend Together


This is a dead tree in out backyard. It reminds me of the impermanence of life but that death is useful too. There is a Flicker (type of woodpecker) who comes to this tree often to look for bugs.


This is a tree in our front yard which is budding right now with life. The cyle of life continues from the dead tree in our backyard to the budding tree in our front yard.

The line between life and death is very fine and somewhat blurred and blended together. This evolution of seasons is one of the things that brought me to believe in Buddhism. In the change of the seasons I see rebirth and impermanence.

This from Philip Kapleau's, The Zen of Living and Dying:

If you "don't want to be there" when dying, learn how to merge with dying so that you "disappear," transcending body and mind. Rid yourself of the thinking that distinguishes death from dying, self from other, and similar antagonistic opposites. Who remains then to say or think, "I'm dying"? In this highly desirable condition there can be no clinging to life, no railing against death."

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Friday, March 25, 2005

The Awakening


This is my latest painting titled, "The Awakening."

I received the following quote in my inbox today and thought I'd add it with the picture of this painting. It is from the Buddha and about impermanence. I thought of this painting when I read it because I think of these clouds (and any clouds) as powerful symbols of impermanence. In fact, when I am meditating and I find some thought arises such as, "I should wash the dishes today" I picture a large cloud coming along and taking the thought away out of my mind. Anyway, on with the quote:

"Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world; A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; A flash of lightening in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream."

-The Buddha.
Posted by Hello

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Byodo-In Buddhist Temple


"This beautiful Buddhist temple is a replica of the 900-year-old Byodo-In located in Uji, Japan. It is located in one of the most peaceful locations in O'ahu - the Valley of the Temples. The valley is situated against a back-drop of tall cliffs and is landscaped with traditional lush Japanese gardens and koi ponds. Inside the Byodo-In Temple is a nine-foot Lotus Buddha." This description comes from Hawaiiweb.com

This is probably my favorite place on O'ahu, Hawaii. Officially I think it is a "Pure Land" temple but I find it is open to all. The temple room which contains the Lotus Buddha is SO peaceful I could stay there forever.
Posted by Hello

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Little Buddha statue in front of the lagoon and the temple.  Posted by Hello

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This is the 3-ton Peace Bell at the temple. Visitors would sound the bell from time to time during our stay. It was a nice reminder to be mindful as we walked the grounds. It also reminded me of the impermanence of everything. Posted by Hello

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A nice, gentle, little stream that flows on the front side of the temple into the lagoon. Posted by Hello

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This is one of the most beautiful Buddha statues that I have ever seen. I sat here and meditated for awhile and just enjoyed the silence and the sweet smell of incense. According to Hawaiiweb.com, "It is the largest wooden Buddha carved in over 900 years." Posted by Hello

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Looking from the back toward the front. That lagoon is full of Koi fish.  Posted by Hello

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This is the back area of the temple. I love that the water flows under and around.  Posted by Hello

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I love these concrete lanterns that you see at temples. Such as this one in the fore ground. Posted by Hello

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Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I really enjoy this peaceful image of the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh. I especially love the lotus flowers in the front. "Breath in, I am home. Breath out, I am alive" as Thay (nickname for TNH) would say. Posted by Hello

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A Beginning of Sorts

This is a place where I am going to discuss Buddhism and it's influence in my life. I have another blog that is mostly devoted to political issues and my daily rants and you can find that here.

Anyway, this blog will discuss things from a Zen, Taoist, Thich Nhat Hanh perspective but I have studied most Buddhist schools and will most likely discuss other schools of thought from time to time. I am by no means an expert on Buddhism rather I am simply a student who is following the path like anyone else.

I welcome your comments and thoughts.

-James

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