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Topics - Chaz

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1
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,
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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?

2
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.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.161.nymo.html

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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?

3
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?

4
Open Discussion / Obstacles
« on: March 11, 2021, 12:20:04 AM »
I was reading a thread on another forum about obstacles.  While reading this occurred to me:  Obstacles on the Path, are those things we cling to.

We cling to things - thoughts, emotion, etc - because we don't want something to change.  In doing this we ake something immaterial and dynamic, fixed, static, unmoving, and as long as we cling we are as unmoving as the thing we cling to.  We go nowhere.  So our clinging and that which cling to become an obstacle.  The way to get past this is to not cling.   

Some think that clinging is something that can be completely eliminated.  I think that's true, but only to a point.  In our experience, clinging is episodic.  We see that we are clinging, we let go, and move on, but this is not the end.  Sooner or latter we cling to something else we have to let go of.  This goes on ad nauseum.  I suppose there comes a point where there is no more clinging, but that attainment is so far down the road as to be pointless to worry about.  It's just another obstacle to overcome.  All we can really do is practice - let go of the things we cling to, until theres nothing left to cling to.

Thoughts?

5
Open Discussion / The Application of Mindfulness of the Sacred Dharma
« on: February 16, 2021, 08:38:43 PM »
 From BuddhistDoor:

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On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the global nonprofit 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is announcing publication of a new translation of an important sūtra known as The Application of Mindfulness of the Sacred Dharma. This scripture, one of the longest texts of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, has never before been made fully available in English.

https://read.84000.co/translation/toh287.html

This looks real interesting.


6
Open Discussion / Cultural Baggage
« on: February 10, 2021, 08:00:51 PM »
People sometimes express a certain displeasure with the "cultural baggage" they see in Buddhism today.  This is often directed towards Tibetan Buddhism. 

It's certainly true that there are a lot of culturally relevant trappings associated with those traditions and lineages.  Is this really "baggage", or rather a way to ethnocentricly describe the cultural context in which TB is presented?

Additionally, wouldn't these assertions of "baggage" acctually have roots in cultural baggage as well?

7
Meditation / Headspace Guide To Meditation
« on: January 03, 2021, 10:22:35 PM »
I started watching a new Netflix series, Headspace  Guide To Meditation.  It's a 8-part series presented by a fellow named Andy Puddicombe.

It's good.

I've watched the first episode.  It's made up, mostly, of what I would call basic Shamatha/Vipassanna instruction.  From what I gather, the rest of the episodes will follow basic Mindfullness practice in a largely secular setting.  I'll finish the series.  Should be good.

I can whole-heartedly recommend.  If you have Netflix, definitely check it out.  Or, get a 7-day netflix trial and binge.

8
Open Discussion / This time of year .....
« on: December 27, 2020, 07:14:58 PM »
This time of year always give me pause to consider the elements that have gone into present day religion and how such processes may affect western Buddhism in the future.

Lets take the most obvious - Christmas.  As a Christian holidayit has elements of Germanic Yule, Latin Saturnalia and Celitc Solstice observances along with traditional Christian tradition.  You could, if you wanted, throw Mithraism and Egyptian mythos into the mix.

The process by which this happened was first described to me as Purposive Evolution.  Simply put, this is a status quo, like Germanic religions, encounters a revolutionaryforce in Christianity.  Conflict arises.  The result is something new arises, containing elements of both the status quo and the revolutionary. 

This is why eastern and western christianity differ.  This is why they are in some ways the same.  The same is said for Buddhism.  As Buddhism spread it encountered new cultures and was adapted by those cultures.  Sometimes Buddhism prevailed, sometimes not.

This makes defining "pure" religions difficult because they are all have strong cultural influences and all the a]way back.  Like Christianity.  Christianity has Judaism as it's basis. Judaism contains elements of Mesopotamian and Egyptian mythology.  The same goes for whatever flavor of Buddhism you care to name.

You often see discussions about the future of western Buddhism.  These commonly about what people think should be added or subtractedas if there could be a collectively conscious decision to make.  It doesn't work that way.  Like the Chridtmas tree.  This tradition is about as non-Christion as it gets, yet there is is in Chistian homes world-wide.  There was no meeting to add that to Chritian tradition, it just worked its way in.  Why?  Because it worked.  Tibetan Buddhism is a fusion of Bon and Tantric Buddhism.

Sadly, none of us will live long enough to seewhat Western Buddhism will be, but it's still fun to speculate.

Personally I thing Buddhism in the west will begin with a fusion with monastic/contemplative Chistianity.

Your thoughts?

9
Open Discussion / Fear, Attatchment, and Suffering
« on: November 21, 2020, 01:04:18 AM »
M&B posted something that bears discussion on it's own.

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so am I supposed to believe an attachment believe an infant and a mother always without a doubt leads to suffering?

I'm reading "believe" as "between".

The answer to that is unequivocally, yes.

My guru gave a teaching where he said the fear was the cause of suffering.  Where are afraid the good things will go away and bad things will stay.  so we become attached to that.  Thus there is suffering.

A mother, naturally fears for her child.  She is afraid that her child will get sick.  The child will die.  Leave her.  Not love her.  This cause the mother to cling to the chaild in the forlorn hope that the changes she fears will not come to pass.  That is suffering.  The mother isn't bad for feeling the way she does.  The suffering she experiences isn't bad either.  Just the same it is attachment and it is suffering.

I have an example.  about 50 years ago something happened with/to me that caused my mother such anguish and fear for my well-being that she had a breakdown and ended up in the hospital.  Wht she was feeling wasn't bad, and quite understandable, but it she was suffering on my account.  It was so bad that the family never really recovered from it and  that's on me.  A lot of suffering from a lot of love. 

That's an extreme case, but event the natural care and love a mother will have for her child, will be suffering.  It's inescapable.

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Meditation / Lojong Teachings streamed Live
« on: November 16, 2020, 03:49:56 AM »
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche's Mangala Shri Bhuti  group will be having live streamed event on Logong practice Dec 5 & 6.  It will be free.

https://wp.mangalashribhuti.org/product/DJN2020L?fbclid=IwAR3E8gi_dghTGtxCgPFsuUsqEbtcq5_Ff32RjBWmDuoqhmXkOSuuVTp5Y1M

As I understand it, there will be three talks led by Dungse Jampal Norbu. I'm not familiar with Norbu, but with the connection to Dzigar Kongtrul I'm sure this will be great

11
Meditation / Life Turns
« on: October 25, 2020, 03:39:04 PM »
I find that life has it's turns.  They are often unexpected, and not always welcome, but by the end, alwasys interesting in how things worked out.

It seems that Gibbon started something.  He asked about my Ngondro practice in a thread a couple weeks ago, and it truned into a brain worm of sorts.  I've been thinking about Ngondro a lot.

I stopped my practice about 4 years ago.  The main reason was that I had lost interest in my goal - fulfillment of the prelininaries to tantric/Vajrayana practices.  Reasons aside, I decided that I wasn't going to be that kind of practitioner, and if so, the practice on Ngondro wasn't particularly important, so I stopped.

I've always felt bad about that.  The empowerments given for practices of this sort come with the obligation to perform the practice faithfully, untill released by the Guru.  While there are no deadlines involved (it takes as long as it takes.  One mentor I had took 15 years), you don't move on intil your finished.  Traditionally, that means 100,000 repetitions of 4 practices - Refuge, Vajrasattva, Mandala and Guru Yoga.  Many western lineage holders are asking students for 20,000 each. Mine does, but that's still a pretty big number..........anyway ......... I felt bad about stopping practice.  I had agreed to contunine and I wasn't.  That's not very good Karma. But still, they don't come and take away your Super Secret Vajra Decoder Ring over it.  Life, such as it is, goes on.

Well, Life it seems has gone (back?) to a place where resuming the practice seems likely.  I'm gathering materials.  Talking with an old friend about it.  Studying the liturgry.  It's good.

Along with Gib's gentle push, this forum has served as well.  My feelings about FreeSanga have changed since Wonky and I put the forum back together.  We turned a page.  The forum has the same name and the same look , but it's still new and that means new possibilities. Something can be built here. It's exciting.  It has me thinking about things in a way I haven't seen in a long time.  We're getting off to a slow start, but that's ok.

I'm glad you're all here.

12
Open Discussion / The Dalai Lama Global Vision Summit
« on: October 17, 2020, 06:56:50 PM »
I just found an announcement for this this even at https://promo.lionsroar.com/dalai-lama-summit-register/?_ga=2.115262407.1906553536.1602948319-228141637.1595798668#aff02

Check this out.  10/21 - 10/27  There will be me over 40 talks including 21 teachers as well as HHtDL.

It's free  and should be an interesting series.

TBH, I don't know if I'll attend or not.  I'm prepping for a big car and craft show.

Be forewarned. This is said too be free, which I take for "no charge".  I suspect there will be occaisional pitches for contribution for dana.  The last time I responded to something from HH, i started getting seasonal fund-raising material.  Back then it was a brochure describing what they were trying to raise money for.  These included a package 5 strung prayer flags, which were actually rather nice.  I have a couple sets strung on the monitors in my office. They stopped contacting me after a few years. I don't know about you, but  from involvement in my chosen political caucus, as well as NPOs, I don't mind being approached for fund-raising.  The trick is knowing how to say "No".  The point is, in the near term, it won't be "free".  They will like something in return, but they won't, or at least shouldn't, make it a hard sell.

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Meditation / Jeffrey the Meditator
« on: October 08, 2020, 01:52:22 AM »
Back in the day, when Pterodactyls ruled the skies, I had a meditation teacher named Jeffrey Stevens.  He was well-known in Buddhist circles around Denver as one of the best MIs anywhere.

Fast forward to today.

My old friend struck out on his own a few years back and founded a meditation community holding group meditation without all the fluff of lineage.

For the record, Jeffrey comes from a Tibetan/Shambhala background.

A couple weeks ago he started a YouTube channel for .... welll .... meditation.  He's got a couple videos posted and will be releasing more.   Jeffrey's style has changed since our hunter/gatherer days together.  Today, he reminds of Ze Frank ....... if Ze Frank were to teach meditation ...... which he doesn't ..... but would still be pretty good if he did.


I recommend checking it out:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOyzwLLkhhrvLu4nJsOsn3w

Like and Subscribe


 

14
Bother / Amenephistus Plese Read
« on: September 16, 2020, 03:38:30 AM »
There was a problem and your account was removed.

My bad.

Please open another account.

15
Meditation / Thoughts about a practice group
« on: September 16, 2020, 12:13:34 AM »
Since moving to South Carolina 3 years ago, I've been without a sangha for group practice.  Back in Denver they were commonplace - Zen, Shambhala, various Tibetan groups and so on offered programs that were compatible (hate to use that term) with my main practice.  Here, not so much.  There are a few groups nearby but for one reason or another, don't offer a practice container I'd be comfortable in.

I've been considering taking steps toward starting a practice group myself.

Teaching meditation presents a challenge.  I've been practicing Shamatha/Vipassna for 15 years.  I guess after all that time I could get a beginner started.  The problem I face is that in my practice lineage you have to have completed Ngondro and have the guru's permission/blessing after specific training.  Those prelims aren't gonna happen.  So if I abide by tradition, a local practice group ain't gonna happen unless somebody else does it and I doubt that will happen any time soon.

So, do I break with tradition and move ahead or wait.   Is it better to ask forgiveness than permission?

It may seem to be a simple thing, but believe me it is not.

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