Tag Archives: Buddhism

Being Still

While reading I came across a little story and quote that I wanted to share.

I am reading Loving-Kindness by Sharon Salzberg and in this book she shares a story that really hit me.

This is a story told by The Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu.Image

There was a man so displeased by the sight of his own shadow and so displeased with his own footsteps that he determined to get rid of both. The method he hit upon was to run away from them. She he got up and ran. But every time he put his foot down there was another step, while his shadow kept up with them without the slightest difficulty. He attributed his failure to the fact that he was not running fast enough. So he ran faster and faster, without stopping, until he finally dropped dead. He failed to realize that if he merely stepped into the shade, his shadow would vanish, and if he sat down and stayed still, there would be no more footsteps.

“When we make the courageous choice to be still, rather than running away, we have the chance to establish a relationship with what is.” Sharon Salzberg

I am a runner so this really hit home for me. I hope it hits home and helps stop any other runners out there. 🙂

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Drive Thru Window for Enlightenment

Tonight during my meditation class  I asked my teacher a question about equanimity. She smiled and explaining that an entire course could be devoted to my question. I half jokingly asked if it could be summed up. Her response gave me this blog topic and a lot to think about. She said, “that Buddhism was not a drive thru window with quick fix answers and I needed to meditate and practice patience”.

I spent the next few day thinking and questioning whether  I was practicing in a fast food way? If I answer this with honesty then I would have to say yes. A few years ago I placed an order for one mala, a large Buddha statue, 4 dharma books, a cushion, oh don’t forget my order of Buddhist terminology, an empowerment, and throw in some sangha friends. I pulled up paid the fees of a supporting member and donated to a few charities, I then looked in my bag of Buddhism to make sure the order was correct and everything was there. Umm excuse me I think you left out my enlightenment.  Hello! I don’t see enlightenment in the bag it should have come with my dharma meal!  

I know it seems a bit funny but isn’t that the American way. Isn’t “Have it your way” a slogan that sums up this country. I grew up thinking I could make changes to suit myself but still receive the benefits as if nothing changed. I can see that mentality when I reflect back on my practice. I have skipped a day or week of meditation. I have flipped on Young and the Restless instead of opening a dharma book. I have practiced kindness on those I already like while continuing my distaste for the people I didn’t care for. I also walk along with indifference to a backdrop of people in the world that I don’t even see. I justified the glass of wine, the occasional steak, the lack of patience with the kids, and my lacking compassion for family and friends when they are feeling ill or financially strapped. Yet I become baffled when enlightenment evades me. I get discouraged when each virtuous act is not met with praise. I have even become bored when clarity did not happen after the shortest of meditations.

So why do I give less and expect more? Why do I put meditation off for another day? Why do I continue to put my needs over the entire worlds day after day? Buddha left his family behind and devoted his life to ending suffering. He sat under one Bodhi tree for 49 days straight in meditation to awaken. I sit for 45 minutes and peek at the meditation timer to see if I am almost done.  Maybe I expect more than I give because I live in a country where feeling good and instant gratification have a higher value than accountability and responsibility. I put meditation off because I have an unrealistic view on my control over death. I feel as if I still have time. When in reality I have no knowledge of how much time I have. I cherish myself more because that is all I have ever done and all that I know.

How do I make the changes needed and engage fully in Buddhism. Patience and perseverance are imperative. I need to become mindful and practice kindness. I must stop looking for the shortcuts. Recognize and rejoice the time I have put in, shown up, studied, and meditated. Then study dharma, meditate on dharma, apply dharma and repeat over and over and over.

**I am getting there one breathe at a time. **

Peace and Flowers

Tracie

A Shout Out To A Couple Of My Spiritual Guides!

The term ‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit word that means ‘Spiritual Guide’. A Spiritual Guide can be eastern, western, male, female, ordained or lay. Our Spiritual Guide is any Spiritual Teacher who leads us into correct paths to liberation and enlightenment by giving teachings and showing a good example.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso~ Modern Buddhism, p. 207

This Thanksgiving weekend as I sit and reflect back it dawns on me what a special gift I have been given. I am grateful for many things but for the purpose of this post I would like to give thanks and a shout out to my sons, Brian 11 and Alex 10. They are my little spiritual guides bringing to life my Lamrim meditations and teachings. Here are some examples of my spiritual guides at work.

They make it possible for me to receive dharma teachings that lead to liberation and enlightenment.

Today the three of us spent a good part of the day at the Dharmapala Kadampa Buddhist Center. I arrived expecting to teach a Dharma for kids class followed by the three of us attending a mala making class. When no children showed up for class I asked the boys if they wanted to join in on the Introduction to Meditation class being offered at the same time. They said yes and away we went. They did wonderful with the meditation, participated in the class discussion, and seemed to really enjoy both the meditation and mala making class. Their willingness, great behavior, and enthusiasm make it possible to attend classes.

Alex teaches me how precious and rare our human life is and spiritual practice is important.

The other day we all got into my van to go out to dinner. The Prayers for Meditation cd was in and playing. Alex was sitting in the back seat singing away. He did not ask me to put on his favorite pop station. He was content and happy singing the prayers. This makes me recall the line; practicing dharma and not wasting our human life on meaningless activities, from the first Lamrim meditation.

Our dog had surgery this week and when we brought her home I could see the pain and worry on his face. Alex loves our dog and hates to see her suffer in any way. He continually expresses his wish for her to have a human rebirth so she too can reach enlightenment. The love and sincerity of his wish reminds me how rare and special this human life is.

On Thanksgiving as we all stated the many things we were grateful for Alex said he was grateful he was a Buddhist. I can’t help but see in his statement the reliance and understanding of going for refuge.

Thank You Alex

Brian sets the example of all living beings are our mothers and cherishing others is most important.

One day Brian asked if we would allow him to stop eating meat. One of his reasons stated was that he could not harm or eat another living being. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s contemplation for the meditation Advantages of Cherishing Others: The precious mind that cherishes all living beings protects both myself and others from suffering, brings happiness, and fulfills our wishes.

He has scooped up bugs and carried them outside instead of killing them for as long as I can remember. We even joke calling him the stink bug whisperer because of how often he carries them outside and never once gets sprayed. His compassion for all living things brings to my mind the realization that all beings are our mothers.

Two weeks ago I took Brian to a occupyroanoke meditation event. I did not realize it was not a guided meditation until the last-minute and had no time to prepare him. So I just whispered say a mantra or think about wishing peace. It was a 30 minute meditation and he did great. Walking back to the car I told him how I was wishing the 99% happiness and freedom from suffering. He explained that he too started out with that wish but felt like it was mean to leave the 1% out and so included them in his wish for happiness as well. I am humbled and inspired by his realization to cherish all beings.

Thank You Brian

Peace and Flowers

Tracie