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Monday, August 28, 2006

The Teaching of the Poisoned Arrow

The Buddha always told his disciples not to waste their time and energy in metaphysical speculation. Whenever he was asked a metaphysical question, he remained silent. Instead, he directed his disciples toward practical efforts. Questioned one day about the problem of the infinity of the world, the Buddha said, "Whether the world is finite or infinite, limited or unlimited, the problem of your liberation remains the same." Another time he said, "Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take out the arrow immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first." Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth.

- Thich Nhat Hanh, in Zen Keys

James: This is a brilliant teaching that opened the door toward liberation for me. I use to have soooo many questions regarding the meaning of life and all that bullocks. I use to think that each question would bring me closer to true "happiness" and "peace." However, each question only brought more questions and thus great frustration and suffering. The teachings of the Buddha though have changed all of that. They have shown me the path to true peace. Now I work toward being mindful in each moment unfolding into the next moment instead of worrying about that which can not be answered. When I dwell in the past and worry about the future my peace goes right out the window and from that point the worrying becomes an addiction.

The worrying gives me an emotional pay-off of being the "victim" in soothing my ego by receiving attention from people. It also soothes the ego by thinking somehow I am so smart and therefore better then others for raising such questions. However, the down side of the "victim" role and soothing the ego is that it does not end the pain and suffering as we all know. In fact it makes it worse. It is like a drug where I need more attention and more ego injections as the "victimhood"and ego concerns grow stronger and stronger. Playing the "victim" raises an insatiable desire to control the uncontrolable and delusionally thinking that I can (somehow) control the future! Ah, the poison arrow of delusional games and attachments.

This analogy of the poison arrow is very enlightening. Questions of the Universe seem tempting but they can be poison if we attach to them and savor the philosophy of it all like a bone. That's my feeling anyway.

~Peace to all beings~

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We Can Learn a lot from Trees

We can learn a lot from trees. I am watching our neighbors giant cotton wood trees sway and bend in a strong breeze. Trees are made to move along with resistance. Everything about a tree can bend from the trunk to the branches, to the stem and finally to the leaves. They do not fight change for if they did they would no survive. They bend but do not break.

Often when change blows into our lives we feel shaken and think that if we bend then we will break. However, if we anchor ourselves in deep, grounding things such as our mindfulness practice then we can have faith that we will be able to weather any storm for we have strong roots, a strong foundation. Our roots go deeper and grow stronger each time we meditate, practice mindfulness, practice loving-kindness and compassion (not only with others but toward ourselves as well).

We can have faith that we too can bend but not break.

In fact, it is the very resistance and change of the wind that carries the seeds of life for the trees and plants. And so it is with us. Change brings new life, new hope and strength for future storms to come. Without resistance, change and yes, suffering itself we would grow steadily weaker and weaker until our deep, strong roots would rot and we would break.

~Peace to all beings~

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Something that Can Not be Described


There exists something that cannot be described.

-Maharamayana

James: This says it all for me lately. I take comfort in not being able to "explain" (nor having to explain) "everything."

~Peace to all beings~

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Lord Buddha Painting Finished


Close up.
I'll have prints available for sale soon.
-Peace to all beings-

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lord Buddha Painting

This is my latest work in project. I still have to add the neck and the top of his robes (which will be orange) but this is what I've done so far. And of course these pictures don't do it justice. Pictures can never give the fullest vision of a piece. I wish you could all see it in person.

It's titled, "Lord Buddha."

Close-up.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

The Higher Self

That which is the source of the sun
And of every power in the cosmos, beyond which
There is neither going nor coming, Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!

-Katha Upanishad

James: Om (Om=Ultimate Reality). All things are interconnected in the web of being and unmanifest. Each breath we are reborn and represents the breath of the Divine Presence. The Divine manifests the collective essence of all consciousness experiencing the Great Project Infinitely within and without.

This Interdependent, Universal Heart beams forth and reflects back the light of Enlightenment and of parinirvana.

Gone, gone, gone beyond. Completely gone beyond. Gloria in excelsis Deo!!! (Glory in the Highest). Om.

~Peace to all beings~

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