Archive for February, 2012

Just Sitting by Barry Magrid

February 23, 2012

“Just sitting means just that. That ‘just’ endlessly goes against the grain of our need to fix, transform, and improve ourselves. The paradox of our practice is that the most effective way of transformation is to leave ourselves alone. The more we let evrything be just what it is, the more we relax into an open, attentive awareness of one moment after another.”
Quote from the book “Leave Yourself Alone by Barry Magrid.
This quote is shared by Doreen Domb.
More discussion can be found at Tricyle through this link.

Mind Watching at Segaki by Roger Groghan

February 20, 2012

A week of quiet intimacy,
We respond to gongs, bells
and knocks on wood.

Speak only sutras
and necessities.

Move in meditation
amongst  ghosts and hells

surrounded by power realms
and heavens with no eternity

We look for forms
of wisdom and compassion
on some middle path.

What am I
other than

Whilst chopping vegetables I’m  distracted by the unborn, the undying, the unknown.
or sex.

View of the wall,
the weight of — body
my seat and feet.

What am I
other than impermanence?

Avoiding the void
with stillness.

We feed and clean
ourselves in silence.

All ending with a bow
in gratitude
in gassho.

Buddhist Virtues by Atiśa Dipankara Shrijnana (980–1054 CE)

February 20, 2012

The greatest achievement is selflessness.

The greatest worth is self-mastery.

The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.

The greatest precept is continual awareness.

The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.

The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.

The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.

The greatest generosity is non-attachment.

The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.

The greatest patience is humility.

The greatest effort is not concerned with results.

The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.

The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

(This quote has been shared with us by one of the lay sangha from the Portland Buddhist Priory.)

The Tea Ceremony by Thich Nhat Hanh

February 20, 2012

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.

Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.

Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.

If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.

You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.

Life is like that.

If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.

You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.

It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.

Learn from it and let it go.

The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.

Worrying is worthless.

When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment.

Then you will begin to experience joy in life.

The source:
Incidentally, the “PF” stands for “PRO FELICITE” – from Latin language, meaning “for successful.” It is widely used in Europe.
I wish everyone a peaceful and happy year 2012.
*** Milan

Freeway Dana by Kim Woodward

February 20, 2012

I was driving home from an appointment in Sacramento. It was late afternoon and traffic was fairly heavy… not stop and go but pretty dense. I was conscious of how I was driving. Trying not to tailgate and also keeping pace with the traffic in my lane. I was feeling pretty Zen about it all, pretty self congratulatory.

A car came up on my right and pulled a little ahead. I knew he was going to pull into my lane and he did. I shook my head and eased back. Too bad everyone wasn’t as Zen and cool as me. Another car came alongside. She pulled in front and into my lane. Enough! I started gauging my distance from the car in front of me carefully. I wanted to be the perfect distance so I wasn’t following too closely and so there wouldn’t be room for others to continuously pull in front of me.

And it suddenly struck me what an ungenerous place that was to be. How miserly I was being with “my” space on the freeway. As if there was some shortage of space on the freeway and I had to grasp and hold my little portion. How different it would be if I instead practiced dana, if I was generous with the space, if when someone appeared to wish to change lanes I eased back to give them room.

I tried it and immediately noticed the change in myself. Instead of the tension of carefully calculating and holding distance to keep my space, I felt the relaxation of making the space needed available, not grudgingly but openly and freely and in the spirit of dana.

Car Karma by Kim Woodward

February 18, 2012

I was driving to town on the freeway a couple of weeks ago and got chopped by another driver. As chops go it wasn’t a really bad one… maybe a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10… but I noticed that little tightening I get in my diaphragm when irritation arises. And I noticed that the other driver was obviously impatient and in a hurry and was lane changing to move ahead more quickly than the flow of traffic.

A few moments later I was coming up on a freeway entrance and a car was entering to merge. There was that little moment of decision. Should I slow down and let them enter in front of me or should I speed up to get ahead of them. That little tightening in the gut wanted me to speed up, to get in front, to win in some subtle way.

It was such a clear example of the law of karma playing out on the road. The actions of the impatient driver creating irritation and impatience in other drivers, and continuing to move outward until one could see the entire flow of traffic being affected. The level of tension and anxiety on the road increased and amplified. There was a consequence for the view (it’s all about me), thoughts (I’m in a hurry) and actions (weaving in and out of traffic) of one driver.

Equally, there is consequence when one driver is calm and courteous. The acts of allowing someone to enter ahead, of making space for another driver to change lanes, of being aware of one’s own speed and selecting a slower lane to avoid impeding faster moving traffic, each reduce the level of tension on the road. Courtesy begets courtesy.

And with mindfulness, karma can be converted. If I can be aware of the tightening in my gut when I judge another’s actions to be wrong, when anger begins to arise in the form of irritation, then I can make the choice to not follow that irritation, to step away from the view that it’s all about me, to see the thought of “she chopped me so I’ll chop you” and to instead make the conscious choice of courtesy.