Saturday, October 21, 2006

What The Bleep?

What the bleep do we know?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Emptiness Talks

Christopher Titmuss The Personality And Beyond - the illusion of personality & the truth of selflessness; a talk about how our sense of self becomes a burden. Wouldn't it feel great if we lost all interest in self-improvement?

Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins - Meditation on Emptiness

"Wisdom does not mean 'knowing about'. That's just knowledge. Wisdom is becoming, becoming what we actually experienced and realised." Tenzin Palmo

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Life


My son is 13 today...

To what shall I compare this life of ours?
Even before I can say
it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop
it is no more. - Sengai

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Listening

Harvest of Peace Address by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche here
Let Us Not be Blinded by "An Eye for an Eye" by Venerable Wuling

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Patience

Yesterday I had lots of opportunities to practice patience! Things just weren't happening the way they should. Doh! How come conventionally existing 'I' keeps assuming things should happen according to plan? Dumb or what?! The relationship between the belief in an inherently existing self, self-centredness, anger and attachment was, for a flashing moment, so incredibly clear! Now, once again, the clarity is gone, gone beyond, gone completely out of sight, it has ceased to be, it's an ex-clarity moment!!!

Anyway, kids are great teachers, constantly challenging us 'ignorant-but-rather-arrogant parents', arrogant in the sense that we simply assume we know what's best. But do we really? Of course not! And of course ego doesn't like being faced with it's utter cluelessness. Observing it can be quite funny, though! At least one is developing a certain ability to laugh at oneself and not take things seriously - not as often as one would wish, but one needs to start somewhere...

Anyhow, things didn't go according to expectations and there I was, observing my conventional self's old habit patterns at work and being aware of extra layers of aversion arising: not just aversion to what-is but annoyance at aversion.

Later on in the afternoon I went to Geshe Thinley's Lamrim class in Corsham. He talked about pacience - just what I was needing to remember... Pacience, pacience, pacience... such a slow process, this one of transforming unskilful habbit patterns... The talk was about pacience with suffering. Wouldn't it be wonderful indeed to spontaneously and genuinely welcome into our lives all that which we immediately reject? Can you imagine how that would feel? I mean, I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to get my fix of pleasurable feelings, even if that means accepting the unpleasant ones! - even though Geshe-la calmly explained that even neutral feelings are actually 'all-pervasive' suffering...

Accepting the unpleasant is supposed to start with recognising suffering and all it's good qualities. Why the heck should I accept suffering? is usually ego's attitude. However, if we dare to have a good look at all that is happening in our lives and at our inner subjective experiences, then - if you're really honest with yourself - you'll have to accept that "the causes of happiness sometimes occur whereas the causes of suffering occur frequently." This is the first Noble Truth, and resistance is futile - it'll only add extra layers of suffering to the original suffering. In order to develop acceptance we also need to overcome the idea that suffering is horrible and to be avoided at all costs, and eventually recognise that accepting suffering is actually appropriate. Tsongkhapa is great at demonstrating this.

Anyway, after Geshe-la's teaching I went back home, expecting a peaceful evening, unaware that yet another challenge was on my way. This time, facing another Aspie meltdown, another opportunity to practice what I preach... Eventually I went to my room and picked up Tsongkhapa's book, sat on the floor and opened the chapter on 'developing the patience of disregarding harm done to you', which includes 'stopping impatience with those who harm you, those who prevent your happiness and with those who cause you to suffer'. DJ, my lovely aspie son, walked in after a while and, while jumping around, listened to my reading outloud: we ended up having a lovely 'debate' analysing whether anger is ever justified considering whether the object has self-control, whether anger is adventitious or inherent; whether the harm is direct or indirect; and so on. All in all, another wonderful day in our fleeting lives!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Just For Fun

I can resist everything except temptation.
Oscar Wilde

Friday, October 13, 2006

Pig & Cock

Analytical meditation on dependent arising - had a glimpse of how right view could help increase compassion. The glimpse has now gone, completely gone, it has ceased to be, it is an ex-glimpse!

I've been observing attachment, the mind projecting all these wonderful qualities onto someone and fabricating all sorts of story lines. Mind has been busy rationalising: out of contact comes feeling, out of feeling comes attachment, out of attachment comes craving, etc Well, so what? Yes, I understand that this momentary subjective experience is dependent arising and empty of existing independently of the coming together of all sorts of causes and conditions. So what? Here I am, facing it, it keeps popping up, so I keep on facing it again and again, and despite the glimpses of the emptiness of my feelings I still don't know what to do. All I know is that there is this strong urge to do something about it, even if that 'doing' stays at the mental level, like 'understanding' this urge. Well, actually there is an urge to understand and an urge to react. Doing nothing is a choice, of course. And yet I wonder about the wisdom of this choice. Observing without reacting sounds wise. But what if I'm choosing not to act out of fear? Well, fear can be wise too. So there is this frustrating lack of clarity - I am not aware of my deepest unconscious motivations, and I'm not fully aware of the consequences of my actions. And this 'not-knowing' brings up anxiety - and analysis is paralysis!

I've been listening to Geshe Tashi talking about 3 levels of concept of selfhood
1) self as permanent, unitary, indivisible reality (atman)
2) self as self-suffient, substantial, real entity
3) self as intrinsic being
Uh? Go figure...!

I've also been trying to do some Analytical Meditation: e.g. how does the I that wants to be happy appear to me? how do I apprehend the 'I' who is meditating? (what the heck?! - feeling the fullforce of ignorance!)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Contemplation

'When this is, that is.'
On what different levels can this statement be understood?

1) When A is, B is; A arising, B arises; this can be understood as explaining dependent arising: all things arise (and cease) in dependence upon causes and conditions. Results depend on causes. e.g. when there is contact there is feeling; when there is feeling there is attachment; etc (12 links explaining cyclic existence)

2) When A is not, B is not; A ceasing, B ceases. It is also the case that when there is no contact there is no feeling; when there is no feeling there is no attachment; and so forth. (12 links explaining liberation from samsara)

3) Results also act as causes. Things are conditioned and conditioning.

4) the statement applies not only to the 12 links of dependent origination but to all phenomena e.g all things and events, from one's unenlightened subjective experiences to Buddhahood, come into being due to the coming together of causes and conditions.

5) if everything is dependent it follows that everything is empty of existing independently.

6) Geshe Tashi also talks about 'A is only because B is' and gives the example of 'over here' and 'over there' which takes us to mutually dependency. It is only because I am 'over here' that saying 'over there' makes any sense. The same applies to 'I' and 'other'.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tears Of Tibet


Underground movie about the situation in Tibet

Tibetan Photo Project


"Visually and Respectfully Yours - the Story of The Tibetan Photo Project" Details on this feature documentary and premiere screening info here.

Free Tibet

Windhorse 1998

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Giving Things Up

Some people talk about 'letting go' and 'giving things up'. I sometimes wonder what they're talking about. Life is constantly forcing us to give things up and let go. Just take a moment and reflect on the many changes & losses that life has thrown at you. How skilfully have you dealt with them? I suppose the Buddha understood that by letting go of certain assumptions, beliefs, dysfunctional emotional habits, etc we’d be able to smile at impermanence.

So you wanna give up stuff? Try giving up these:

Taking your Precious Human Life for granted
Assuming you've got a rough deal in life
Thinking your life has no meaning, no value
Wasting this precious opportunity
Your attachment to material possessions, praise or approval, good reputation, pleasant experiences
Your fear of not getting material possesions or of being separated from them; blame or disapproval, of other people think of you; unpleasant experiences.
Your denial of death: death is inevitable!
Believing your actions have no consequences
Assuming you're not responsible for your feelings and your life
Acting in ways that result in suffering
Guilt - guilt is a waste of time. Messed up things? Learn from your experience and move on.

Not satisfied yet? Try giving up these:

Denial that you experience suffering, difficulties, and problems.
Your assumptions that the causes of your problems are other people / things out there
Your assumptions that this is it, that life is shit and then you die, that there's no way out
Give up suffering: who wants it?
Give up the causes of suffering: your own disturbing attitudes and negative emotions
Give up attachment, anger, pride, ignorance
Give up your misconceptions about the nature of reality, your distorted views, your own subjective interpretation of people, things and events

Want more stuff to give up?

Give up all bias, aversion, clinging or apathy towards others
Stop categorising people e.g. friends, enemies, strangers
Give up your sense of separateness from others
Give up assuming you're different
Give up believing your pain hurts more and somehow others are OK
Give up your denial of others’ kindness
Give up your self-centred attitude
Give up your assumption that self-centredness has benefits, that if you take care of n.1 you'll be OK

Want to really shift your negative patterns?

Give up greed, unskillful actions, anger, criticism, judgments, self-righteousness, etc
Give up laziness & low self-esteem (stop thinking you can’t do it!)
Give up all distractions
Let go of past & future

And most of all, give up your assumptions that
Life is supposed to bring us happiness
People, things and situations are fixed and unchanging