The Lake Under The Moon – Metta Teachings

Winter is behind us now. This brings a feeling of light, hope and openness. We can look out of the window at trees and see them forming leaves. Golden Daffodils adorn our gardens once more. The snowdrops and crocuses are also bountiful. This year more than most! I like to think it is not only a new beginning but  also a time to ponder on what lies ahead. Although in the quiet moments  of a Spring day, reflection on what has past is often more on our minds.  Dare we expect more from this new year than the last?  In the old Pali dialect, the language of the Buddha (upanijjhāna),  “reflection” has the self-same meaning that it does in English—it means to be like a mirror or the surface of a deep pond, to receive an impression and hold it without adding anything else. It also means to contemplate or consciously consider. To listen to the inner voice of reason.

Years ago, at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York, Bhikkhu Bodhi spoke of this, and of the Buddha’s advice to his 7-year-old son Rahula. The Buddha told his son about the importance of honesty, telling young Rahula to practice reflection—to reflect on the inner and outer consequences before, during, and after doing something. Please consider trying this. The results are subtle but quite amazing. Consider how you feel before you perform an act of generosity, during, and after. Also consider how it feels to do something less than noble or not do something. Let’s say, not to eat or drink too much or be angry or stingy, to un-grasp the hand of lifelong habits. What is amazing is that this type of practice of reflecting on the quality and consequence of our lives is a way to expand time by opening and deepening and enriching the time we have to spare.

In meditation or just being  alone with our thoughts , we allow ourselves to reflect on something that has already happened. We can allow a memory or experience to arise within us, and like the surface of a deep pond, reflecting the moon without fighting it or fleeing from it or freezing it or adding anything at all. Remember that the ancient root of the word, “understand” means to stand under, to allow the truth of something to soak in. It also suggests holding and supporting, standing under our own experience, receiving it. Think of the lake under the moon.

Crocuses in the garden

Re-written from an article published in Parabola magazine.

Might be a good idea to subscribe. They need supporting.

Flowers In The Garden – Rumi


Beauty Of The Arts
Beauty Of The Arts

Imam Ali once said, “be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it.”

 

We humans are like seeds. We belong to the garden. ‘But of what garden?’ we ask. ‘From what planting?’

We admit to pondering little about the matter of our growth in this Earthly garden. We barely discern the seed-like nature of ourselves; that the outer-life is a flower or husk, protecting or concealing our fragile inner life, an embryo of a new being-ness. Both pod and flower have a part to play if the whole self is ever to be born.

We search for ways to harmonize these often quarrelsome aspects. Will we ever succeed? If not, the difficult task of bearing new life onto the planet, life and vision and will, is bound to fail, with seeds falling on fallow ground.

Traditions also speak of the calamitous consequences of ignoring this enormous human responsibility. All this knowledge, the good gardener knows, and probably more. Doesn’t the gardener remember where control over conditions ends?  Nature is far more powerful than us. A good gardener is well-practiced in sprouting seeds, and getting them to grow. But the ‘Garden of the Heart’ needs cultivation, to bring forth the blossoming of spirit and of a new consciousness.  

 


Here’s a short story about ‘The Wisdom of  Rumi’.

 

One day Sirajuddin, a Khalifa of high initiate of Rumi, went to the garden of Husamuddin and picked a bunch of flowers for Rumi. When he again entered the house, he saw that many important and learned people were sitting and listening to Rumi give a spiritual discourse. Sirajuddin was taken by the talk and forgot about the flowers. Rumi turned to him and said that whoever comes from a garden should bring flowers with him, as whoever comes from the shop of the sweet-seller is expected to bring back some sweets.

Rumi once said in such a discourse that God had a collyrium that, when applied to one’s eyes, opens the inner vision, and  allows one to see the mystery of existence and know the meaning of hidden things. One also can be illuminated by the gaze of a Sheikh. Rumi reminds us that when the inward eye is opened, one sees that the flowers that grow from Earthy plants live only for a day or two, while the flowers that grow from reason and wisdom are ever fresh. The flowers that bloom from the earth become faded while the flowers that bloom from the heart produce joy. All the delightful sciences  known to us are only like two or three bunches of flowers from God’s Garden. We are devoted to these two or three  bouquets because we have shut the Garden-door on ourselves.

“Behold our words!” Rumi said. “They are the fragrance of those Roses, while we are the Rosebush of certainty’s  Rose Garden.”

The fragrance of the Rose can lead one to the Rose itself and even the Rose-seller. But somethings Rumi was anxious about – that time should not be wasted, as he indicates in this poem:

 

My poetry resembles Egyptian bread;

When a night passes over it you cannot eat it anymore.

Eat it at this point when it is fresh,

Before dust settles upon it.

 

photo source - Beauty Of The Arts


I See You Mara – Metta Teachings

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We can be very hard on ourselves, can’t we? It’s as if, sometimes, we’re watching out for any tiny hint of a mistake, and then we pounce on ourselves, getting angry, or frustrated, or ashamed. I suspect it’s because we can be. When people are allowed or encouraged to be cruel, they often will be. There’s some inherent cruelty in all of us (to varying extents) and this is kept in check by social norms. Change the social norms so that cruelty is encouraged, and it soon emerges. Here’s the Buddha tells us of another way. We don’t need to be demons to ourselves or others.  We simple need to ask the demons to tea.


aawhiteed

I see you Mara, stay for Tea!

“One of my favorite stories of the Buddha shows the power of a wakeful and friendly heart. On the morning of Buddha’s enlightenment Mara, the fearsome demon who symbolizes the shadow-side of human nature, fled in defeat and disarray. In Sanskrit “Mara” means “delusion” – that craving and fear that obscure our enlightened nature.

But it seems that he was only temporarily discouraged. Even after the Buddha had embarked on his teaching career and become a revered figure throughout Indian, Mara continued to make unexpected appearances. Instead of driving him away, however, the Buddha would calmly acknowledge the demon’s presence saying, “I see you, Mara.”He would then invite him for tea and serve him as an honored guest.

Offering Mara a cushion so that he could sit comfortably, the Buddha would fill two earthen cups with tea and place them on a low table between them. Mara would stay for awhile and then go, but throughout, the Buddha remained free and undisturbed.

You see, when Mara visits us in the form of troubling emotions or fearsome stories, we can say, “I see you Mara,” and clearly recognize the craving and fear that persists in each human heart. The objective is to see what is true and to hold what is seen with kindness….

Our habit of being a fair-weather friend to ourselves – of pushing away or ignoring whatever darkness we can – is deeply entrenched…. We truly befriend ourselves when, rather than resisting our experience, we open our hearts and willingly invite Mara to tea.”

From Tara Brach’s, Radical Acceptance

beautiful sharing!!♥!

Precious Treasure – Metta Teachings

padmasambhava2closeup

Karma means we have had many former lives and many more will follow. Each lifetime could well see us born into an entirely different culture, and if the culture is evolved, then it can serve us by helping us to develop our own evolution to become a free being, rather than dominating us to produce or die for the culture itself. Unfortunately, this dark age goes against the grain, and has mostg of the planet striving for all the wrong ideals. We see ourselves as hopelessly lost in a world that is constantly urging us to worship only money and power.

Human life itself is a precious treasure. The metaphor of the Buddhist sutras is that the human embodiment, especially with all wits intact, and especially in a country where there’s a teaching and the idea that evolutionary liberation is possible, then such a life is the precious jewel of the human embodiment. And the Buddha said, if you lose through suicide your precious human life, endowed with liberty and opportunity, that precious jewel that you have now, it’s like throwing a jewel in the trash.

And, to get it back, to work your way back through generosity, morality, patience, wisdom, meditation, to achieve these virtues and come back to be a human, will be as likely as if the old turtle, (who lives in the great ocean and surfaces once every hundred years,) were to surface and put his neck through the hole in a golden yoke that just happens to be floating in the ocean. So, what a treasure it is to have a human life.

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There is the idea that there are treasures everywhere if we had the wisdom to see. There’s the story about the great adept Padma Sambhava in one of his biographies. Someone gave him a bag of gold dust. He took the bag and scattered it to the wind, and the person was really shocked because he had spent a long time collecting this – it was his offering. Then Padma Sambhava snapped his fingers and shared his vision for a moment with that person: they perceived all of the mountains and sky and everything as solid gold, they saw that there was no difference between the earth itself and the gold.

Enlightened vision sees everything as a treasure anyway, and the only thing that makes us not see everything that way is our ignorant self-obsession which makes us feel that the universe is an alien thing, separated from us, that we’re against it and we must conquer it. By this way of thinking, we are fighting a losing battle with the universe. That’s the notion of ignorance in Buddhism. And the ignorance is what makes us unable to find the hidden treasure right in our own cells, right in our own atoms, right in our own brains…

-Robert Thurman

Quotes From The Diamond Sutra – Inspirational Quotations

very good quotations on this you tube here, set to Western Choir Music.

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Short ‘edit’  from The Diamond Sutra

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“Subhuti, someone might fill innumerable worlds with the seven treasures and give all away in gifts of alms, but if any good man or any good woman awakens the thought of Enlightenment and takes even only four lines from this Discourse, reciting, using, receiving, retaining and spreading them abroad and explaining them for the benefit of others, it will be far more meritorious. Now in what manner may he explain them to others? By detachment from appearances-abiding in Real Truth. -So I tell you-Thus shall you think of all this fleeting world:A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;A flash of lightening in a summer cloud,A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.When Buddha finished this Discourse the venerable Subhuti, together with the bhikshus, bhikshunis, lay-brothers and sisters, and the whole realms of Gods, Men and Titans, were filled with joy by His teaching, and, taking it sincerely to heart they went their ways.”
-Siddhartha Gautama on the Diamond Sutra
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4 Secrets of the Diamond Sutra

  • The Diamond Sutra distills Buddhism’s central message that everything changes. It describes our fleeting world as a bubble in a stream.
  • Jack Kerouac was so influenced by the Diamond Sutra that he studied it daily for years and attempted his own rendition.
  • Brevity is one reason for the Diamond Sutra’s popularity. It can be recited in 40 minutes.
  • The Diamond Sutra of 868 A.D. is printed on paper, a material unknown in the West for another couple centuries.

A wonderful rendition of the Diamond  Sutra from Imee Ooi – although there is a minute or so of her speaking in her native language.

http://www.diamond-sutra.com/


“Mother” – Inspirational Quotations and Poems

aanandaone

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“If with deep faith, devotion and love you can exclaim: ‘Mother, come to me, I cannot pass my days without you’, rest assured, the Universal Mother will spread out Her arms and clasp you to Her heart. Don’t look up to Her only as a mysterious refuge in your hour of distress. Keep
in mind, She is always very, very near as the Force that guides your life. She Herself is the supreme refuge of every sentient being. With this conviction proceed. She will take the brunt of your burdens from your shoulders and make them light.”

– Sri Anandamayi Ma

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The Buddha of Great Compassion – Metta Teachings

http://web.singnet.com.sg/~alankhoo/Avalokitesvara.htm

The Bodhisattva of Great Compassion

The Sanskrit name “Avalokiteshvara” means “the lord who looks upon the world with compassion”.

Translated into Chinese, the name is “Kuan Shih Yin”or Quan Yin.

Kuan: observe
Shih: the world / the region of sufferers
Yin: all the sounds of the world, in particular, the crying sounds of beings, verbal or mental, seeking help

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is the embodiment of great compassion. He has vowed to free all sentient beings from suffering.

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is has great powers and can help all sentient beings.

His skilful means are limitless and he can appear in any form in all the six realms of existence to relieve the suffering of the sentient beings who live there. He vowed to rescue those who call on him when they are in suffering, for example, when caught in a fire, shipwrecked or facing an attack.

In the Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said that if a suffering being hears the name of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and earnestly calls out to the bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara will hear the call and relieve that being from his suffering.

According to the Huayen Sutra, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into forms that suit the nature of those to be helped. His manifestations or transformation bodies are countless.

e.g. if a boy or girl is about to gain some enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into a boy or a girl to teach the child.

e.g. If a monk is about to attain some enlightenment, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva transforms himself into a monk.

In short, he can appear as a monk, a nun, or a normal person like you and me. The purpose of such transformations is to make people feel close to him and willing to listen to his words.

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In China, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is represented in female form and is known as Kuan Yin. Probably because of Kuan Yin’s great compassion, a quality which is traditionally considered feminine, most of the bodhisattva’s statues in China since the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 – 907) have appeared as female figures. In India, however, the bodhisattva is generally represented as a male figure.

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In her hands, Kuan Yin may hold a willow branch, a vase with water or occasionally, a lotus flower.

The willow branch is used to heal people’s illnesses or bring fulfillment to their requests.

The water ( the dew of compassion) has the quality of removing suffering, purifying the defilements of our body, speech and mind, and lengthening life.

In Buddhist art, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva is sometimes shown with eleven heads, 1000 hands and eyes on the palms of each hand (Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva). The thousand eyes allow the bodhisattva to see the sufferings of sentient beings, and the thousand hands allow her to reach out to help them.

Sometimes, he is represented with one head and 4 arms. This is the Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, worshipped by all Tibetans as “Chenrezig”, the Holder of the White Lotus. It is in the male form which has two hands in the praying gesture while the other two hands hold his symbols, the Crystal Rosary and the Lotus Flower.

There is a sacred place for the worship of Kuan Yin in China – the Putuo Mountain. It is actually an island located near the city of Ningpo, in Zhejiang Province. There are many stories of Kuan Yin’s miraculous appearances at Putuo Mountain.

Actually, anyone can be like Kuan Yin. You may say that you don’t have a thousand eyes or a thousand arms or that you lack skilful means, but it is your compassion that can transform you into a Kuan Yin. With your eyes and hands, you can help others. With your compassion, you can bring peace and tranquility to this world.

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The Mani Mantra (The Mantra of Universal Protection) : OM MANI PADME HUM

 

would like to add a great big thank you to those people who like – it helps me enormously to know just what you all like and would like to hear more about… thanks ~ 🙂

Why Fear When I Am Here – Metta Teachings

from a very old scanned photo

 One of the most powerful skillful means one can bring to feelings of fear is skillful *attention.* To bring attention, and even curiosity to feelings of fear, can help us break through our aversion to dealing
with what we fear. The key is developing a curious “what is this?” mind, for fear is never what it seems to me on the surface. And if we go all the way to the roots of our fears, we find nothing *intrinsic* about our fears—that is, in Buddhist terms, fear is “not self” and without our self-identification with fear it *can’t* stick to us, or stick around.

So whether we feel our fear is rational, or irrational, the point is to begin to “own” the fear by consciously embracing it in our thought. (Well, if not embracing it; at least taking an *attentive” peek at it.    Maybe even give it a little poke! Take your time. Facing dragons takes courage, for sure!

Just remember that, paradoxically, while fear is, absolutely speaking, “not self,” in terms of the ego and personality, it’s actually *your* fear, *your dragon.* You own *it,* however much it may now seem to own you! And therein is your secret to your power over fear).

So, in the end, it’s our aversion to fear, our avoiding of looking into fear, that gives fear its hypnotic power over us. The more we can
pay mindful attention to fear—which is by the way different than being possessed by fear or obsessed by fear—the more we can begin to
dissolve the tight knot of energy and release what binds us.

Yes, it takes courage, but the if you look deeply, you will find, right in the midst of the fear, the very courage you need to do so. No
one need be a victim of or slave to fear. But as is often the case, the only way out is through. “What is this?” “Is that so?”

piece written by my Buddhist friend, Steven.