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Messages - Chaz

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Does anyone still wonder this here who would like to read what I hope is a proper direction? I am not above words or entirely immune, but I have a life which has broken down a little bit of this lesson for me. I can describe how compassion and  letting go works and copes while being berated, threatened and otherwise verbally and even physically assaulted and abused. I do difficult work in an American prison and the understanding has come with sweeping and trying changes that slowly bring understanding that is, I hope, useful knowable phenomenon. I would offer what I have seen about this to anyone who wants to read it. My time on earth has challenged my ego and it can for anyone who is paying attention and knows what they are looking for but is also willing to accept.

A little late, but I've been thinking that yes you should share what you've learned. 

The thing is, it won't be for everyone.  That I can assure you, but it will be for someone, and that's what's really important.  The Buddha knew that what he taught would not connect with everyone who heard.  He taught for those who could and left a seed for those who couldn't.

Open Discussion / Teaching Experience
« on: June 09, 2021, 10:40:15 PM »
I was reading a thread on another forum and it got me to thinking who is the most influential teacher in my life right now.

For me it's a no-brainer - my Root Guru.

As a matter of personal policy I never reveal his name on social media, and I won't change that here, but suffice it to say that the first teaching he gave me was enough, that if I were to never have another teaching from him in my life, I would need no more.

I had recently joined his sangha and had a group interview with him during a teaching visit.  When my turn came I asked about something I had read.  I read it in a poem written buy one of his gurus, Dilgo Khyentse, Rinpoche.  It was the term "Genuine Devotion".  I also recalled that the term was also found in the Mahamudra Lineage Supplication.  I had a pretty good idea what it wasn't but was uncertain of what it was.  So I asked, "What is Genuine Devotion".

He pondered this for a moment.  He looked right at me and said. "Open Heart".  He paused as if reconsidering and then said, "Yes, an Open Heart."  That was it.  That was all.  It was all that was needed.

So as it says,
Devotion is the head of meditation, as is taught.
 The guru opens the gate to the treasury of oral instructions.
 To this meditator who continually supplicates him
 Grant your blessings, so that genuine devotion is born in me.

This has been my guiding light since then.

Has anyone else had a "moment" with a teacher or a teaching?

Open Discussion / Aghatavinaya Sutta: Removing Annoyance
« on: June 08, 2021, 06:13:45 PM »
Saw this discussed on another forum, thought I'd share my thoughts on the sutta.

Loving-kindness can be maintained in being toward a person with whom you are annoyed: this is how annoyance with him can be removed.

This, I think is most important, but is not something you can simply turn on and off like a light switch.  To say, or think, "I have loving kindness towards this anoying person." is not enough.  These are merely words and thoughts, and not loving-kindness.  There is more to it than that.

Compassion can be maintained in being toward a person with whom you are annoyed; this too is how annoyance with him can be removed.

The same would apply here.  In the Mahayana compassion is tied to the experience of emptiness.  You don't just turn on the compassion.

Onlooking equanimity can be maintained in being toward a person with whom you are annoyed; this too is how annoyance with him can be removed.

This is what I believe is the key - equanimity.  Practice leads to equanimity - having no extremes to cling to - love/hate, compassion/revultion and so on.  As long as you cling to hate for someone you can't love them and you can't just stop hating.  Or Loving if that's the case.  Either way it's clinging and until you achieve equanimity you won't let go.

The forgetting and ignoring of a person with whom you are annoyed can be practiced; this too is how annoyance with him can be removed.

This sounds like one of those things:  When all else fails you can just ignore them. Like covering your ears and chanting "lalalalalala".  Simple enough but is that really ignoring the person?  Probably not.  It's more likely to be some mental noise used to drown out other noise.  As some level you're still annoyed even though you claim to be ignoring.

Ownership of deeds in a person with whom you are annoyed can be concentrated upon thus: 'This good person is owner of his deeds, heir to his deeds, his deeds are the womb from which he is born, his deeds are his kin for whom he is responsible, his deeds are his refuge, he is heir to his deeds, be they good or bad.' This too is how annoyance with him can be removed.

This will come out of compassion.  You have to really believe that the person is basically good.  You can't just say it.  If you have that sort of compassion, you won't be annoyed with someone.

What are your thoughts?

Secular Buddhism / Re: I almost hate to say it, but ........
« on: June 07, 2021, 05:30:20 PM »
"secular buddhism" is somewhat oxymoronic,

That's really true.  Buddhism, at the end of the day IS a religion.  More to it than just that, though.  My Guru calls it "science of the mind" and I agree with that, but it's also religion.  "Secular Buddhism" is like saying "Irreligious Religion".

yet one doesn't have to label oneself anything in order to practice...

Very true!

i think all the religious ornaments have the quality of bringing together people in a group, that's their power.

It's a cultural thing - part for the structure of a society.  It aids in identification with the group.  If you look at the material culture of Tibetan Buddhism  - it all has meaning.  And the intent is to convey that.  A Thanka isn't so much an image of a particular being existing somewhere in time and space.  Rather it's a graphic representation of the various qualities and attributes of enlightened being.  This meaning is intended for the community (Sangha) as much as for the individual.

Secular Buddhism / I almost hate to say it, but ........
« on: May 27, 2021, 09:25:20 PM »
........... I am, slowly, but surely, becoming a secular Buddhist.

This isn't a matter of choice, to a loss of faith, or a inability to relate to the religious aspects of the path.

It's a matter of evolution.

I'm fine with everything has gone before.  However, having left the comfort of my Colorado sangha, having not found anything as a suitable replacement, and nothing on the horizon, things have changed.  The "religious" aspects of my practice, things that are heavily dependent on a sangha for support, have taken on less importance that in previous years.  I don't do the practices and rituals.  I don't make observances.  I'm still strong with the less religious aspects of the path - sitting meditations in the simplest of forms.

And it's ok.  This is where karma has taken me.

There have been and there still are issues I have with "Secular Buddhism" - things I don't agree with. I'm not fond of the label. However, my practice is becoming more secular than religious.

Go figure?

Open Discussion / Re: New Kadampa Tradtion Section
« on: May 21, 2021, 02:23:01 AM »
There used to be a New Kadampa Tradition section of the old forum; where is it on this new forum please?  Also, many thanks to all those who worked to sort the new forum out when the old server broke, so pleased Free Sangha is still here
and use patterns just dont

Timothy!  Welcome!  Glad you found your way here.  NKT discussions would go in the Mahayana section.  When we rebuilt the site we decided there were just too much to manage.  Traffic doessn't justify it.  If you want to post NKT info, do it there or in the danger zone.  Put-downs of teachers and traditions are not tolerated.  If you're NKT and want to diss HHDL, or if you're a Gelug and want put down Kelsang Gyatso, take it somewhere else.  I have no patience for the whole NKT/HHDL controversy.  My moderation will likely reflct that.

All that said, we're happy your here and look forward to your joining in.

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 17, 2021, 10:53:35 PM »
The thing for me, was, that we were dealing with something that was posted.  A lot of people would have taken offense at it.  The fact that Avisitor sorta apologized, saying it wasn't meant to be rude, confrontational, etc.  Indicated that he knew it could be taken that way.  Rather than write, and then apologize for it, doesn't make everything ok, at least in my mind.  ITAM, if you have to apologize for something right after writing, it's best to un-write it and find another way to express yourself.

There's an old custom with forums to advise people to sit on a post overnight before submitting it.  If there's some heat in what's been written, a good night's sleep can temper those feelings. 

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 16, 2021, 03:05:30 AM »
i'm sorry that my thread degraded into insults...i'm sorry that i was sarcastic and insulting, but can you tell me about a particular form of right and wrong speech? I feel like i constantly have an issue with this...but yes, i am sorry that i cause suffering and %^&* with people at times. I've been trying to meditate a whole lot but something just seems to always get in the way.

This is the danger zone, is this then a dangerous place to talk about things? Please answer my questions.

The DZ is meant to discuss hot-button or controversial topics.  It's not meant to be a forum where you can say what you want to someone.  Hard- and fast rules are difficiult, but a little common sense can go a long way.  Being snarky, mean-spirited, abusive, insulting and so on, simply won't fly.  Wheaton's Rule:  "Don't be a dick", is a pretty good one to follow in social media.  You can go a long way with that.  You can be strong and assertive in your opinions, and still not be a dick about it.  Be careful with what you post.  Think about it.  Don't be in a hurry to post it.

If people get out of line, that's my problem.  Someone's pushing your buttons, step away.  Meditate on Clover's Rules 1 & 2..  It's also valuable to contemplate Rule 5: "Harden the !@#$ up".

I'm not real big on Right vs Wrong Speech.  In terms ofr the N8FP that's really not what it's about.

The DZ is for hot topics, not hot language.

And don't worry about your practice.  Just keep practicing.

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 15, 2021, 06:33:58 AM »
Hmm, time to leave.

Well, I hate to see that, but it's your decision.  Good Luck.

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 14, 2021, 10:19:24 PM »
Yeah, have seen those who put out compliments only to be truly insulting.
Sometimes hard to see the real meaning without the actual words being heard.

I see you like to be difficult and contrary. But, take it however you like.
My meaning was to not get upset with anything I said. Cause I am not trying to be rude, difficult or contrary.
 ;D ;D ;D ;D

LOL, people can be so apologetic when theirs an impeding fear of DOOM and FIRE
Yeah, and the cycle continues on.
And why would any body be apologetic if not for their fear of impending DOOM and FIRE.
Have seen video of police kick a guy in a holding cell. This is while the guy is handcuff and not resisting.
Charges were brought up against the officer. And in court, he apologized so tearfully.
What good were those apologies to the guy in the holding cell?

OK, I don't want to see this degrade into a discussion on right speech.  I think I've been abundantly clear already, but recap,  while perhaps not quite unacceptable, calling someone child-like is pushing the boundaries pretty close to the edge and I encourage all of us to not go there, even if it isn't our intent to insult or demean. 

I would like that to be the last word on that and I would request we get back to the east/west discussion we were having.  If not, I'll just lock the thread.


Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 13, 2021, 05:24:05 PM »

I see you like to be difficult and contrary. But, take it however you like.
My meaning was to not get upset with anything I said. Cause I am not trying to be rude, difficult or contrary.

<Chaz  put's on his Mod Cap> Ok, so how about we try and be a little more carefull about choice of words, ok?
And to think this was about a note to not take what I say as being rude or an attack????

Yes, but it's the language that occurred earlier in your post. Your choice of words' and their usage would upset just about anyone it was directed at, and your closing statement about not trying to be rude, etc, would be lost.  That's all.

On a personal level I adhere to the first and second of Clover's Rules of Social Media:

1.)  Never take anything said to or about you, personally
2.)  If something said to or about you, is meant to be taken personally, Refer to rule 1

Not everyone adheres to these rules.

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 13, 2021, 04:46:57 AM »

I see you like to be difficult and contrary. Have met lots of children like that.
And much fewer adults with such syndromes. But, take it however you like.
My meaning was to not get upset with anything I said. Cause I am not trying to be rude, difficult or contrary.

<Chaz  put's on his Mod Cap> Ok, so how about we try and be a little more carefull about choice of words, ok?

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 12, 2021, 06:11:44 PM »
I've always wanted to some traveling in the far eastern part of the earth but i don't know if i'm ever going to feel comfortable about doing that for all sorts of reasons.

I would encourage you to do that.  There's a lot to be said for being on the ground with a different culture.

I've never been to India, but I have been to Egypt.  It was mainly a site-seeing trip, but it was impossible to not be exposed to the culture of the place and especially the religious aspects.  It gave me a fresh, positive perspective in a way that would have been impossible anywhere else.  It also served to sever some of my preconceived notions about the region and Islam.  It was a priceless experience, and one I'll never forget.

You should do it.

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: May 11, 2021, 09:53:02 PM »
That's why there is a diversity of centers and groups.  I agree that trying to run into several directions at once is distracting and confusing.  Better to pick one thing and focus on that.

Chaz, I see your points about in-person being better than online.  But, by my experience, Zoom meditation can work well and it is even possible to give instruction in this way.  It's better if the people attending are not complete strangers and the group is small. 

Thankfully, however, the pandemic is receding and it will be possible to meet in person again soon.

Yes, and I'm basically waiting on that to happen.  Get back to some semblance of normalcy, then move forward.

I want to get with my old friend Jeffrey the Meditator, to seek counsel in the matter.  He did what I'm thinking about, but he was a meditation instructor and teacher in the Shambhala tradition, before and had the street cred.

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: May 11, 2021, 04:57:27 PM »
Hmm, a rose by any other name is still a rose. Practice is practice. To make everyone do the exact same thing is like trying to teach and follow your practice. No choice?

My feeling is, one practice method, or two, if related, is best. Thats what I'm the most comfortable with.  This is how dharma centers do it.  Allowing anyone do what they please, causes too much confusion.  Think of it like this:  Lets say someone goes to a Zendo for group practice and rather than zazen, starts chanting Nembutsu.  That's an unnecessary distraction.    Better to keep everyone on the same page, practice-wise.

I'm sure there are groups that allow that sort of thing, but TBH, that's not the kind of group I want to be a part of.

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