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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Meditation Posture.

When I was first studying Buddhism I was daunted by meditation because I read so much about having the right posture, sitting in the "correct fashion." I read about the Full Lotus position the Half-Lotus position and the Burmese position. I was over-whelmed by the detailed nature of meditation positions and I was worried that I was going to "make a mistake" I read about teachers who would hit you on your head or back if your posture didn't adhere to the complicated "rules."

I was so intimidated that I didn't attempt meditation for a long time. I don't know how many times I tried the different "sanctioned" positions, only to fall off the cushion. I heard about monks who meditated for days on end in these positions and I wanted to sit like those great monks that I was reading about. I thought that If I didn't sit like a master Yogi then I wasn't a "good Buddhist." Or that I wouldn't realize "Enlightenment." That was before I understood more about the nature of so-called "Enlightenment." By the way, I prefer saying "Awakening" as Enlightenment is such an over-used, little understood word.

But let's face it, not many of us are contortionists so we have to find a position that is both relaxing yet still beneficial to our meditation. I'm not a very flexible person and have short legs and a long torso/back so the first thing that I set out doing was to find the right cushion. I tried many different ones and finally settled on The Mountain Seat Zafu from The Monastery Store.

The Monastery Store store set out to design a revolutionary series of meditation cushions in response to over-whelming demand for cushions that minimize discomfort for those who have injuries or are not so flexible like myself. Their final products were the result of extensive orthopedic research which align your spine while maintaining optimum comfort. The cushion starts with the familiar buckwheat base which helps cradle your hips and weight with a top layer of memory foam that conforms to your backside to assist in maintaining a restful meditation posture.

I chose the large size which is a taller cushion than most (it's their tallest size). It is recommended for those with less flexibility, chronic injuries and knee problems. It relieves back stain for those of us with long torsos. These cushions are a bit expensive but I found it worth the price as it has helped my hip strain (I have bad hip joints) greatly. Plus, I went through regular meditation cushions like Kleenex tissue so in the long run this is a better buy and it's made out of quality material so it is built to last.

I then experimented with different postures and finally settled on just sitting simply on the front end of the cushion with my legs crossed in a basic fashion. It was more comfortable and reduced fidgeting throughout my meditation and thus keeping me from being able to focus on my breath and center myself. So my advice is to find your own way of sitting if you can't do the traditional styles. Don't let anyone tell you that you MUST meditation a certain way. I understand that there are "recommended" positions but no one body is the same.

Here's another tip that I discovered to be useful for me. Don't worry about sitting absolutely still like a statue because not many people can do that I personally do not think that is the most important aspect to meditation. Of course sitting still is important to help maintain a feeling of calm, balance and focus on one's breath and the present moment. However. If your leg falls asleep then by all means, PAY ATTENTION TO IT!!! Meditation isn't about suffering, after all the point of meditation is to alleviate suffering not create more. If you leg falls asleep (goes numb) then just simply extend it out to bring the circulation back to your leg and return to your breath. Then when your leg feels less numb and more comfortable then you can fold it back with the other leg again or just keep it out front. Similarly, if your hip hurts, then rub it a bit and breath deeply to connect your body to your breath. Or stretch your back out for a few seconds if you feel your muscles strain or tighten.

It is OK to pay attention to your body this way, a big part of meditating it to pay attention to subtle changes in the body and mind. If you leg is sore in the present moment then that's fine, give it a gentle, loving rub. The present moment is full of any number of varied experiences. Once your feel your body relax a bit more after rubbing the sore area then you can fold your hands together again. The main thing is to be aware--awareness through being mindful of all the changes around us during meditation is part of awakening and liberating the mind.

If you can do the traditional meditation postures then by all means maintain that routine but only if you it doesn't hurt your body so bad that the pain is all that you can think about during your session. Suffering through pain is not what meditation is about. No one is a "better Buddhist" because they can sit through shooting pain, that's just stubborn and (in my opinion) a waste of time. So find what works best for you and enjoy!!

Oh and more one item. I don't want to make a big deal out of this but if you would like to make a donation to the blog then you can find the button to do so below my profile on the right hand side of the screen. Thank-you in advance for your donation should you be so kind to offer it.

Addendum:

I felt like I needed to add something to this post to clarify some things that have been mentioned in the comment section. I didn't mean to come off as an ordained teacher. I was just offering up some tips that I have found useful in my humble practice. I'm by no means any kind of Enlightened Master, just a well meaning practitioner.

I can't meditate in the formal, traditional manners. So I developed my own style to enable me to meditate. Otherwise I most likely wouldn't sit at all. And i know that this might not be acceptable to some but I am just trying to do my best. So right now this is my best, sitting the way I described.

Maybe in my next incarnation I'll inherit a body more flexible but until then I'll meditate the best way that I know how. All I know is that many have taught me to "start where you are" and well, this is where I am.

~Peace to all beings~

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Barack Obama: An Inspiration to the World.

Don't worry, even though this post is about U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who is running for president here in America, and despite the fact that I am supporting him and plan on voting for him in the primary, I am going to try hard to not talk too much politics. I try to limit political talk here on this blog, I have another one for that stuff.

I want to instead talk about Barack Obama the person. There is no debate that Mr. Obama is a brilliant, gifted man and he could have taken any number of jobs in the private sector making a lot of money. However, Barack felt his talents were needed elsewhere and that he felt a calling to help others. So instead of taking a lucrative position at a prestigious law firm he went to work with the people in the poverty stricken, violent neighborhoods of Chicago. This wasn't always easy for him as many didn't show up to his meetings intended to motivate community leaders such as church pastors. But Obama kept at it.

He has a deep, ingrained gift of listening to people, truly listening and realizing that their suffering was his suffering. In many cases, people who are struggling just want to be heard by someone. They want to feel like someone understands their situation and has faith that they aren't stupid, lazy or worthless because they are poor, sick or homeless. Obama has a way of uplifting people and leading them to a place where they can believe in themselves again. He gave these people hope that better times were possible and that united with others, they could improve their lives and regain their dignity once more. His compassion is on full display, he couldn't hide it even if he wanted to. The very fact that he went to work for those who often have to voice to seek assistance shows that this man has a deep reservoir of compassion and loving kindness. His smile glows that kindness and when his eyes smile you can see his love for others. This is a talent that he still has today, when I hear him speak I feel inspired, uplifted, filled with hope, compassion and yes sometimes tears of joy from feeling understood. He is the first politician that upon hearing them speak, I felt chills of inspiration throughout my body.

Working in those neighborhoods stricken with just about every problem imaginable, Obama was able to bring people of all races, ethic backgrounds and religions together to work as a united unit of people to bring the change that they all so desperately wanted and needed. He understand what we call in Buddhism, oneness, inter-being or interconnectivity. He knew that society is only as strong as the "weakest" link in the chain. He knew that he couldn't feel content knowing that others were suffering and realized that his happiness and that of others is intermixed with the lives of others. He is a rare person that is able to channel many people's hopes and dreams for a better community, a better country and a better world.

To hear him speak is to be inspired to be a better person and a better member of society. He speaks with convincing sincerity that change is not only possible but inevitable just like the Dharma teaches us. He understands that we all too often fear change and only see the bad side of change but he has a way of uplifting people to see the greatness in change, to see the great possibilities in change. His infectious, positive energy beams brightly like a lighthouse in a world so depressed, cynical, tired and lost in the darkness of fear and delusion. It is hard not to feel uplifted by his unflinching optimism and faith in humanity. He has convinced me to believe again that our greatest days as a society are still ahead of us. He is not only inspiring but stands firm as a rock in the face of negativity, criticism and fear. His confidence is admirable as he isn't arrogant about it. Instead, understands how to channel it into the lives of others to assist them in finding their own confidence and greatness that is already there but hidden under layers of fear, self-doubts and pain.

Standing for equality for all people is in his DNA. He is the product of a mixed marriage, his mother white and his father black. He understands the ignorance and fear that motivates people to want to divide society into separate groups. He spent several years during his youth living in the diverse country of Indonesia where he gained further insight into how different yet similar the world can be. He spent time in Kenya with his grandmother and came to know and take pride in his African roots. He may not be a Buddhist be he understands and lives many of the Buddha's teachings, one major one being understanding that all sentient beings are equal and have worth.

Like the Buddha, Barack Obama learned in his early adult years as a community organizer that poverty is the root of much suffering in the world. He saw how poverty seeps into people's lives like a poison that drives people into a life of crime and overall suffering. He understands that to bring people out of poverty is to improve society as a whole. He is known as a uniter, he is quite gifted at being able to bring about compromises that work for all sides involved.

Unlike many politicians he has faith in ordinary citizens and sees them as equals and the foundation of his movement, unlike many others who see ordinary citizens as worthless and tokens to amass to gain money and power. He knows that he wouldn't be where he is in life without countless others. He doesn't forget his roots and where he came from and I think that helps him remain humble and grounded in reality. This is practicing the Dharma teaching of no-self or selflessness where despite having great confidence in himself and seeking power in the government he realizes that his power is nothing without using it to vastly improve the lives of others. He understands that his mission in life isn't just about him but rather about us, everyone. I can see in his eyes and hear in his words and know in his actions that he doesn't think he is above or below anyone else.

In dedicating his life to serving others he is a great example of Right Livelihood. He could have been a very successful, wealthy lawyer and helped many people but his sights were set higher knowing that serving in public office he could help even more beings. That kind of self-sacrifice is rare and very admirable.

He tries to adhere to Right Speech when he speaks because he uses his words to uplift rather than destroy, to heal instead of hurt. True like all of us he sometimes doesn't say the right thing but overall I believe he understands the power of words and weaves them in a way that is helpful and not hurtful.

Barack is a man of peace and you can see that in his eyes and loving smile. When many others were for the Iraq war, he stood on the side of peace. He understands deeply that peace must be
a key aspect to a thriving and loving society. I can feel that this peace stems from a vast pool of peace within his essence, that he is at peace with himself and therefore able to help others feel at peace as well.

Barack Obama may not be a Buddhist (he's Christian and of course Christians share these same values) but he lives many of the teachings of the Dharma and I think that is a big reason why he is the inspirational figure that he is today.

~Peace to all beings~

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Yael Naim: "New Soul."

I love this video and decided to post it here as a musical interlude. It is so happy and light, I also like the lyrics. You U.S. readers might recognize this song from the Apple computer commercial advertising their new thin laptop, air. In addition, the t-shirt giveaway is still taking names for the drawing. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this video/song as much as I do:

~Peace to all beings~

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Free Burma" T-Shirt Giveaway.

During the terrifying yet hopeful protests in Burma recently, I wanted to show my support for the cause and immediately began blogging during those intense days trying to bring awareness to as many as I could. Yet I wanted to do more and since there weren't any demonstrations against the military junta crackdown in my area, I looked for other ways to show my solidarity.

I wanted those in my relatively sheltered community who tend to be disconnected with the rest of the world to know of the crimes occurring on the opposite side of the world against the Burmese people and sangha. This led me to buy a "Free Burma" t-shirt so that I could show my support and hopefully raise awareness. I found a site online which sold a nice looking one and ordered it. However, when it arrived I realized that not only was it the wrong size but that it was a girl's t-shirt. I'm a somewhat bulky guy and a girl's shirt wouldn't even fit over my head!! So obviously It wouldn't work, therefore I contacted the online store and told them of the mishap. They were very helpful and said that they would exchange it for the right size if I sent it back. However, I didn't get around to sending it back within the allowed time frame so now I'm stuck with this shirt.
I want someone who really cares about this issue to have it and wear it so I decided that I would like to give it away to one of my readers here. I would like to extend this opportunity to all of my readers around the world but I can only afford to ship it to someone in either the United States, Canada or Mexico. That being said, I would be more than willing to send it to any other country than the three mentioned above but I can not afford the shipping costs. So if you would like the shirt and live outside the USA and Canada then just send me the money to pay for the shipping via Paypal. Please know that you can trust me that I'll indeed send you the shirt. I would never steal your money. I'm not perfect but I like to think I'm a very honest person and a faithful Buddhist and so please take my word that your trust in me will be taken as sacred.

I wondered what would be the best way to select the "winner" (I hate that word, it's so exclusive) of this t-shirt so I figured the easiest thing to do would be to place everyone's name who is interested into a hat and just pull a name out. I would do this with the utmost confidentiality and honesty. In fact, I will have my wife pull the name out of the hat as she is one of the most honest and unbiased people I know.

Therefore, if you wish to enter the drawing then just post a comment and I'll use your screen name, write it on a piece of paper, fold it in half several times and place them into the hat. If you're an anonymous person then just use whatever name that you want but don't just use "anonymous" because there are others that might use the name "anonymous" as well. I will then hold the hat just above my wife's head and have her reach her hand up and pull a name/piece of paper out of the hat. And that will determine the "winner." I hate to use that word "winner" but it's the only one that I can think of. I've leave the contest open for two weeks or so.

Let me give you a few more details and measurements for the shirt:
It is a U.S. women's xxl (2xl) red t-shirt with yellow/orange lettering which blends to a deep orange red (see photos). The website says it is fitted which means that it is tighter around the body and maybe smaller than the size says. They didn't have the exact measurements for a woman's xxl fitted t-shirt. So here are the measurements for a regular woman's xxl shirt, I'm hoping that they are quite similar. Anyway, here is the information: Chest size: 52 inches, Length: 30"

Good luck to all participants!!

~Peace to all beings~

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Extra Special This Year.

I'm sure Dr. King would be very proud to see the first viable African American candidate for president in Senator Barack Obama. Who also became the first African American candidate to win the Iowa caucus.

It is a huge achievement for a country that has been so bitterly divided by race and we should not fail to note how important this is regardless of who wins the nomination for the Democratic Party.

We know, however, that there is still much to do when an entire city of mostly African American citizens is flooded and left helpless by an out of touch government. We know that there is still much to do when we see a noose hanging from a tree in a school yard in that same state. We know that there is still work to be done in knowing that our prison system is disproportionately filled with young African-American men. We know that we still have mountains to climb when the confederate flag still flies in South Carolina and Mississippi.

Dr. King was a humble man who was friends with the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh and would nominate the meek Buddhist for the Nobel Peace Prize. Which showed how selfless King was as he was already a great man of peace himself at that time. But like Nhat Hanh King was bigger than his ego and that is what made his efforts into a movement that literally changed a country.

It is a wonderful reminder of oneness, that we can not accomplish great things in this world without joining together and living the reality of inter-being. It was no wonder that King and Nhat Hanh bonded in friendship as Buddhism fits beautifully into the civil rights leaders vision of a united community of brother and sisters.

May we keep Dr. King's dream alive and keep striving forward for greater equality amongst all people.

Let us not become complaisant and lull ourselves into sleep thinking that racism and segregation do not exist in 2008. Let us join hands and unite to continue to bring this country and world together as one and never cease to break down walls of injustice and discrimination.

I will close this post with the words of the great man of peace himself, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An Important Plea.

Colin of Awakening the Buddha Within Us came to me with a special plea and I am passing it on to you as well:

To: Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

THE 100 MILLION MANI RECITATION RETREAT was held annually by Kong Meng San
>Phor Kark See Monastery of Singapore (PKS) for some 5 years, and have since
>became an inseparable part of our spiritual lives. Unfortunately, there's
>news that PKS might not hold the Retreat this year 2008. This year's
>retreat was shadowed by His Eminence Drubwang Rinpoche's passing away in
>Singapore, a day before the Retreat itself.

>He had passed away on the same
>day he landed in Singapore. Despite bad health and much dissuasion from
>other Rinpoches, Drubwang Rinpoche insisted on his journey to Singapore
>lead the Retreat. It was specifically explained by His Eminence Garchen
>Rinpoche during the Retreat that it is Drubwang Rinpoche's wish for the Om
>Retreat to continue year after year, after his passing. I personally
>believe his choice to pass away a day before this event has great
>significance and he might have foreseen that after his passing, this
>greatly beneficial event will end abruptly.

I also felt strongly Rinpoche's
>love for all beings. His teaching and message put forth through his actions
>are too profound and wide for me to put into words here. Please send the
>message to all who cares for Dharma to appeal to the management of Kong
>Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery NOT to let this annual Retreat end. Email
>them, write to them, approach and talk to them. Let them recognize that this
>is no longer just a PKS event, but a precious inheritance left behind by
>Drubwang Rinpoche and PKS management has the responsibility to keep it
>alive.

>Sincerely,
>The Undersigned

Please forward to your friends this message, ask them to sign this petition:

If you have a blog, do post it on your blog to spread awareness to it. If you can, please forward this message to your friends so more people can show support and keep the OM Retreat alive. Thanks!

>May peace be with you,
>Colin
>____________________

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Time is Not a Factor.

Munindra-ji used to say that in spiritual practice, time is not a factor. Practice cannot be measured in time, so let go of the whole notion of when and how long. The practice is a process unfolding, and it unfolds in its own time. It is like the flowers that grow in the spring. Do you pull them up to make them grow faster? I once tried to do that with carrots in my first garden when I was eight years old. It does not work. We do not need any particular length of time for this process of letting things be. --Joseph Goldstein, Insight Meditation.

James: Don't let anyone tell you how long you're supposed to meditate and/or chant mantras, etc. There is no "one size fits all" in Buddhism. Most days I meditate for 20 minutes because that feels right for me. However, other days I go for 10-15 minutes, it just depends on how I feel and the circumstances that I can not deny in that present moment.

In many religions this life is it and if you don't get it "right" (whatever the hell that means) than you will suffer for making the littlest mistake forever and ever. To me that isn't motivation but unnecessary stress that creates more suffering. It is easy to do things for the wrong intention when one follows such a path because the intention is often out of fear whereas in Buddhism there is no one waiting to punish us. This takes the pressure off so that we can concentrate on the issues that our preventing our peace. Rather than forcing ourselves to do something without understanding it first simply because we want to please someone else. Contrary to what many will say, this is not the only path to follow. There are many combinations to unlock the puzzle of samsara.

In Buddhism, we create our own suffering and therefore have control over how deeply we suffer. There is no "Satan" out there to tempt us and mislead us down the path of spiritual destruction. We are the ones in charge of whether we experience peace and freedom or suffering and fear. We are in charge of our own destiny rather than feeling at the mercy of two "Gods" fighting over the dominion over our "souls." Such a situation can easily lead one to feel fated to the outcome of things that are beyond our control which leads to deep despair and often times bitter resentment.

The beauty of Buddhism is that we can go at our own pace and if we need some more time after this life then it is granted to us. There is no need to rush because everyone will achieve liberation at some point along this beautiful journey. In Buddhism we all have a common foundation but due to our different karma, no one path is the same as the next. I am not saying that those different paths are wrong but rather pointing out that there are many ways to find one's peace with all things. Listen to your heart and find what works best for you. So take a deep breath, smell the flowers and smile--for you are a Buddha to be.

~Peace to all beings~

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Changes to The Buddhist Blog.

Some of you may have noticed the lovely banner image at the top of the blog with the blog name on it. It is the hard work and effort of David from Buddha Day blog. If you are looking for a great header then I highly recommend his impressive work. He has a lot of talent. His site that handles the themes is called, Free Wordpress Themes.

I am extremely satisfied with this new look and think it has a nice, classy appearance. It turned out better than I imagined. It is nice to spice the blog up a bit and I wouldn't have been able to do it without David. Thank-you again for this wonderfully generous gift my friend!!

However, I do have a problem with being able to link the banner/header to my homepage so that readers can return back to the the main page once finished reading a specific post. I had to chop some code out of the template to get the image to work. I guess I don't know html as much as I thought. I use the classic template and refuse to switch. It's what I know and prefer.

So this is my plea, can someone help me fix this problem? David was so kind to offer his help but he's not so familiar with blogger. I have looked all over the google help group for assistance but still can't figure this out. I will post the code that I have below to help you know what I'm working on. If that isn't enough to help understand and repair the problem then I can give someone my login information and I'll just change my password once the work is done.

I'd prefer not to use that option but I trust my readers. :)

I'd be so very grateful for any help that you might be able to give me.

Here's the code that ends with the beginning of the content code:

/* Header

----------------------------------------------- */

#header {

width:100%;

margin:0 auto 0 auto;

padding-top:0px;

height: 200px;

background: url(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2019/2179140994_e5f3b75362_o.jpg) no-repeat center;

border-bottom:0px dashed #ccc;

}

/* Content

----------------------------------------------- */

~Peace to all beings~

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

We all Contribute to the Beauty and Prosperity of the World.


The creatures that inhabit this earth--be they human beings or animals--
are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.

~His Holiness the Dalai Lama

James: Being someone who deals with chronic depression and other mental health difficulties from living with schizo-affective disorder, I sometimes wonder what I have to contribute. It is easy to feel isolated in this busy, hectic world and feel small and insignificant. This stems from a deluded society that focuses on the accolades of the individual. Thus since not everyone can be millionaires and Nobel Peace Prize winners, it is easy to feel that we are worthless, bland and unworthy of respect, admiration and value. This is an illusion a very convincing illusion but a false reality none the less. A dangerously deceptive mirage.

If we focus on the bigger picture we can see that just like pixels on a big screen television which on there own seem tiny and insignificant but when seen as a whole create a profound, beautiful and vibrant reality. So too our seemingly small and limited life when seen as apart of a bigger essence is suddenly seen as critical to this grand project we call existence. Nothing and no one is out of place in this intricate tapestry. The circle of life is broken and degrades quickly when just one thing is taken away. This in Indras net that allows for each jewel to add their brightness to the group so that the overall light will shine brighter and stronger.

Try as we might, we can not separate ourselves from the tapestry that we are interwoven through. Each one of us is an important part of a large, complex and important machine. Some of us are small screws or nails and some of us are larger components but can we say that a washing machine is a washing machine without one of its parts whether big or minute? Of course not.

Here's another example, an automobile. Can an automobile work and help make life easier without the tiny spark plug? No. So if even the littlest plant adds beauty and life to the world through turning poisonous carbon dioxide into fresh, life giving and life sustaining oxygen then without a doubt each one of us makes this time and place better, happier and brighter.

We may never know how many lives we touch and have touched. The slightest talk with a total stranger could change their life completely and inspire them to shine brighter than they might not otherwise not be able to accomplish. I think about many people in the history of my life who have done such things for me without asking anything in return and usually not knowing how deeply they impacted me to be a better, happier, kinder, more compassionate and confident person.

When I get depressed I sometimes feel that my life has been a complete waste because I am disabled and have to stay at home because of my condition. I have too many times longed for what could have been, a professorship to teach history. However, that was not meant to be and just because things don't turn out the way we want does not mean that our life is ruined and worthless. Yes I haven't achieved many of my dreams but I have still made a big impact on many lives and society in general. Through this blog I have touched many and helped people feel a greater importance in their lives. Who knows but if this is my true calling and without having this disabling illness I wouldn't have the time necessary to devote myself to this blog and my readers.

I think about the squirrels and birds that I feed at our house and how important I have become to their lives. They rely on the seeds that I leave out for them during the brutally cold winter. Think about your pets if you have any, they rely on you for so many things and they give so much back to you in return. They wouldn't even be alive without you. Do you think that they don't have any value because they do not do any of the things that society deems "important" and "valuable?" Or because they don't talk and make money? Absolutely not. They give us unconditional love in return and that is worth more than gold. They teach us how to be sincere and full of love not only for others but also for ourselves and self love and appreciation is so important to our well being.

In addition I think of my wife who was very timid before meeting me and I helped her gain confidence in herself and now like the lotus, she has broken through the mud of self doubt to bloom into a strong and successful person. And perhaps if she had not met me she wouldn't have achieved all that she has. Just by being born and entering this world my mother has told me that I have changed her life for the better. It is o.k. to be proud of yourself sometimes because it helps you remember your Buddha Nature, your true importance to the big picture.

We just don't know what impact we have on others. So don't give up, you are adding value to this world and many lives whether you realize it or not.

~Peace to all beings~

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Nephew Ethan.

My brother and his son Ethan are here visiting for the holidays and it has been fun to spend time with them both but especially the little guy. He is so sweet, innocent and brimming full of happiness. He is two years old and full of life, joy and full belly laughs.

<---(James with Ethan in his red pajamas).

He refers to himself as "Ethan" rather then, "me" or "I." For example, "Ethan like milk," or "Ethan do it." He still hasn't grasped the whole duality delusion and so it is beautiful to watch a pure being like himself who hasn't made the distinction between his name, himself and the world around him yet.

He sees things as nameless right now, a reality that we adults spend hours meditating to redevelop. He is starting to understand though that he is being forced into a world that is obsessed with distinctions, labels, perceptions and the worship of the individual.

Therefore he keeps asking what objects are "named" and feels frustrated when he can't figure out our complex language of parsing words and splitting the reality of oneness into trillions of pieces. (Above: Ethan playing with this toy helicopter)

I think that one of the reasons that we enjoy children and need them around (besides keeping humanity going) is that they are some of the best teachers around. They remind us to take pleasure in that little bug crawling along in the dirt, to laugh a lot and not be afraid to act silly. They remind us to accept people for who they are rather than feeling we have to change everyone to fit our model of, "How people should act/live."

Ethan, I love you buddy.

~Peace to all beings~

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