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Saturday, July 29, 2006

One Essence

The mind is not just 'oneness' or a singular entity because it manifests in manifold ways. It is not a plurality or many things, either, because these numerous manifestations all have one essence. No one can describe its nature saying, "It is exactly like this!" It is indescribable, unutterable, inconceivable, nonarising, unceasing, and nondwelling, like the essence of space. Mind nature is discovered within the experience of awareness and is cognized individually.

-Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, "Union of Mahamudra and Dzogchen"

James: This reminds me of the beautiful, "Heart Sutra." Namo Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva!!! Om Mani Padme Hum!!!

~Peace to all beings~

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Meditation Troubles

I've been having a difficult time finding the motivation to meditate lately but I'm not sweating it too much. I'm having a hard enough time dealing with my mental illness right now and re-adjusting my medications. I'm sure the meditation will come back eventually. For the time being I am praying to Avalokiteshvara for strength.

Breating in, Breathing out.

-Peace to all beings-

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Monday, July 24, 2006

The Funky Buddha Lounge

Apparently there is a bar here in Denver, Colorado called, "The Funky Buddha Lounge" and that in and of itself is disgusting and disturbing.

However, (according to the local news) the other day there was a fight in the parking lot that killed one person. How ignorant and shameful that a bar would use and abuse the name and sacredness of the Buddha in such a way. It is beyond ironicly sad that a person would die a violent death by the hands of a fellow patron of, "The Funky Buddha Lounge!!!"

This misuse and manipulation of the Buddha's image to sell products is nothing new but using it to promote a club/bar??? That is going beyond too far. A bar titled, "The Jesus Lounge: where we turn water into wine" would never fly and there would be so much protest about it that it would never survive but somehow no one cares about using the Buddha in such a way.

Shameful.

-Peace to all beings-

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Suffering Returns, and Delight Arrives

Life continues to create itself and fall away, and suffering returns, and delight arrives, if even for a moment--agony, peace, rapture.

-Sandy Boucher, "Hidden Spring"

James: Given my struggles lately I have been feeling down and often when I feel such deep pain I start to indentify myself with the pain. Feeling "why me?" and "this is so unfair." This quote is helping me remember that pain and downtimes are apart of the cycle of existence. That said pain is a great reminder of the very first noble truth that suffering is inevitable. That it is delusion to think that I should never experience such things because I am on a spiritual path.

-Peace to all beings-

Picture: Jesus and Buddha together.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Meeting Our Own Expectations: Doing the Best You Can

It isn't always easy to meet the expectations we hold ourselves to. We may find ourselves in a situation such as just finishing a relaxing yoga class or meditation retreat, a serene session of deep breathing, or listening to some calming, soul-stirring music, yet we have difficulty retaining our sense of peace. A long line at the store, slow-moving traffic, or another stressful situation can unnerve you and leave you wondering why the tranquility and spiritual equilibrium you cultivate is so quick to dissipate in the face of certain stressors. You may feel guilty and angry at yourself or even feel like a hypocrite for not being able to maintain control after practicing being centered. However, being patient with yourself will help you more in your soul's journey than frustration at your perceived lack of progress. Doing the best you can in your quest for spiritual growth is vastly more important than striving for perfection.

Just because you are devoted to following a spiritual path, attaining inner peace, or living a specific ideology doesn't mean you should expect to achieve perfection. When you approach your personal evolution mindfully, you can experience intense emotions such as anger without feeling that you have somehow failed. Simply by being aware of what you are experiencing and recognizing that your feelings are temporary, you have begun taking the necessary steps to regaining your internal balance. Accepting that difficult situations will arise from time to time and treating your reaction to them as if they are passing events rather than a part of who you are can help you move past them. Practicing this form of acceptance and paying attention to your reactions in order to learn from them will make it easier for you to return to your center more quickly in the future.

Since your experiences won't be similar to others' and your behavior will be shaped by those experiences, you may never stop reacting strongly to the challenging situations you encounter. Even if you are able to do nothing more than acknowledge what you are feeling and that there is little you can do to affect your current circumstances, in time you'll alter your reaction to such circumstances. You can learn gradually to let negative thoughts come into your mind, recognize them, and then let them go. You may never reach a place of perfect peace, but you'll find serenity in having done your best.

-From the Daily Om wesite.

James: I've been cycling like mad again lately with my bipolar and it's been exhausting. Thus it's been difficult for me to feel peaceful or centered. I've been working with my psych on adjusting meds and it's not been easy to pin down but i'm hanging in there. I've also been hard on myself about not meditating as regularly as I usually do because of all this upheaval with my mental illness so this is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I hope you will find it useful too.

I pray to Avalokiteshvara for the strength to carry on.

-Peace to all beings-

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Friday, July 07, 2006

It Has Always Been There

Imagine a very poor man living in a decrepit little shanty, the only thing he owns in the world. What he does not know is that just beneath his shanty, but hidden in the dirt, is an inexhaustible vein of gold. As long as he remains ignorant of his hidden wealth, this pauper remains in poverty; but when he attends more closely to his own dwelling, he is bound to discover his own fathomless wealth. Similarly, all we need to do is unveil our own nature, and we will find an inexhaustible source of wisdom, compassion, and power. It is nothing we need to acquire from anywhere or anything. It has always been there.

Seen in this light, the Buddha-nature requires no additions. One does not have to memorize sutras, recite prayers, or accumulate virtues to create it. All one needs to do is unveil it.

-- B. Alan Wallace

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Self-Worth

Though much of who and what we are changes as we journey through life, our inherent worth remains constant. While the term self-worth is often used interchangeably with self-esteem, the two qualities are inherently different. Self-esteem is the measure of how you feel about yourself at a given moment in time. Your worth, however, is not a product of your intelligence, your talent, your looks, your good works, or how much you have accomplished. Rather it is immeasurable and unchanging manifestation of your eternal and infinite oneness with the universe. It represents the cornerstone of the dual foundations of optimism and self-belief. Your worth cannot be taken from you or damaged by life's rigors, yet it can easily be forgotten or even actively ignored. By regularly acknowledging your self-worth, you can ensure that you never forget what an important, beloved, and special part of the universe you are.

You are born worthy-your worth is intertwined with your very being. Your concept of your own self-worth is thus reinforced by your actions. Each time you endeavor to appreciate yourself, treat yourself kindly, define your personal boundaries, be proactive in seeing that your needs are met, and broaden your horizons, you express your recognition of your innate value. During those periods when you have lost sight of your worth, you will likely feel mired in depression, insecurity, and a lack of confidence. You'll pursue a counterfeit worth based on judgment rather than the beauty that resides within. When you feel worthy, however, you will accept yourself without hesitation. It is your worth as an individual who is simultaneously interconnected with all living beings that allows you to be happy, confident, and motivated. Because your conception of your worth is not based on the fulfillment of expectations, you'll see your mistakes and failures as just another part of life's jo! urney.

Human beings are very much like drops of water in an endless ocean. Our worth comes from our role as distinct individuals as well as our role as an integral part of something larger than ourselves. Simply awakening to this concept can help you rediscover the copious and awe-inspiring worth within each and every one of us.

From the Daily Om website.

James: May we all realize our Buddhahood which is already within us. May we melt away the layers of ice that is hiding our buddhahood through the hot water of mindfulness, meditation, self-love and practicing the 8 fold path.

-Peace to all beings-

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Nine Requisites for Contended Living

Johann von Goethe said that there were nine requisites for contented living:

Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support our needs. Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.

Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God. Hope enough to remove all anxious fears of the future.
* * * * * * * * *

~Namaste~

-Peace to all beings-

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