...Buddhism for Urban America
Urban Dharma Newsletter... September 30, 2003
The Monk and the Alligator
...by Crispin Day
2. Anchorage Woman Prepares to Enter the Priesthood SHIN BUDDHIST:
3. Voice from a Thai girl ...Buddhist ordination ...Sawasdee
4. Ordination of Buddhist women
5. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week: Mahabodhi
Book/Movie Review: Kosmic Consciousness ...by Ken
The Monk and the Alligator ...by Crispin Day
some high school football star, Spirituality is hip and gaining
popularity in the halls of American society. Unfortunately,
the nature of popularity dictates that whatever is good must
be hyped, spun, re-produced, mass-marketed, and that you must
sell the shit out of it. If it is so cool, we all want
a piece of it. Why we all voted for nice-guy quarterback
Dirk Reader to be class president I will never know. He didn’t
do his last name any justice. Maybe we thought that by
affirming him he would come to our parties and give us tips
on what “cool” was.
it comes to popularity, by the time that "something good"
undergoes all the rigors of mass-production, replication, and
marketing, so that everyone can have some, it usually loses
meaning, and becomes worthless, empty, stupid, and hardly resembles
what it began as.
me to illustrate with a parable:
plays guitar. He hates the music industry and all the
greed and consumerism that are rampant in it. So he says,
"Screw 'em," and he picks up his guitar and plays
his music in local dives. He sings about how rotten greed
and consumerism are.
long, he has a cult following. Swarms of kids are singing
along about how rotten greed and consumerism are. They take
it to the streets. They start telling all their friends
about Joe. A year or two later Joe gets "discovered"
and goes on to become a big rock star.
Joe sells millions of units at Wal-Mart’s worldwide, his
songs still “ring true,” packed with references
to the rottenness of greed and consumerism.
the kids wear over-priced T-shirts and visit Joe’s official
banner-filled web site that says greed and consumerism are rotten.
Joe does interviews to promote his next album, and he is always
sure to tell everyone how rotten greed and consumerism are.
get the point.
reference the hipness of spirituality. From MTV to MIT,
spirituality has gained uncanny legitimacy in our culture.
Even atheists claim be intensely spiritual people.
Morriset and other celebs are not the only ones who can throw
the word "spirituality" around. Doctors and
scientists in so-called "rationalistic" fields are
declaring more and more often that "spirituality"
is a matter of great importance.
what's the deal? Are people genuinely committed to seeking
"truth" (or nothingness) at all costs? Has humanity
begun to care? Are we taking another stab at the age old
questions: What are we doing here? What is the meaning
let's put it this way: If someone buys a mass produced
T-shirt made in Indonesia that says "Corporate greed sucks!",
does it still mean something? Probably. But it sure
as hell is a half-hearted effort.
so it seems to be with popular spirituality.
even offer myself up as a negative example:
the last couple years, I have found Buddhism to be more and
more alluring. But is it fashion or substance? Is
it because I know the first thing about Buddhism?
reality is, my attraction to Buddhism has little or nothing
to do with what Buddhists actually believe and adhere to.
like Buddhism because I watched "Seven Years in Tibet"
and I thought the Dalai Lama was cool, and I thought the way
the Chinese communist government treated the Tibetan Buddhists
like Buddhism because I think the architecture on Buddhist temples
in the Eastern hemisphere is funky and cool.
I like Buddhism because I think the red robes and bald heads
of the monks look dope.
I like Buddhism because hearing monks chant "ohm"
on TV is better than most live rock shows I've seen.
I like Buddhism because I didn't grow up with it and it is mysterious
and different and appealing.
like Buddhism because the Beastie Boys like Buddhism and I like
the Beastie Boys.
I can read a couple of school books and act like I know something.
Sure I can memorize the eight-fold path and learn to say things
like, "All life is suffering." But does that
make me a Buddhist?
it does or doesn't, the premise remains empty. I want
to be a Buddhist because I want a funky red robe NOT because
I think Buddhism is true or right or better or even inherently
Buddhism became less cool to me when I read that Adam Yauch
of the Beastie Boys quit snowboarding as part of his renunciation.
Unfortunately, I like snowboarding even more than I like the
Beastie Boys. And so ended my fascination with Buddhism.
Authentic spirituality (if such a thing exists) is simply not
the American way. "Spirituality" has far more
sex appeal than related words like "commitment", "dedication",
and "sacrifice". "Take up your consumerism
and following your desire" is a sweet sounding mantra .
this provides part of the reason why we never feel the need
to argue or even dialogue openly about spirituality as a culture.
Because whatever we believe, whatever we do to understand ourselves
as spiritual beings, we all have the same religion anyway.
Namely, we all belong to the Church of Self.
very common yet unrecognized source of spiritual sentiment is
simply self worship. According to the tenets of the Church
of Self, what you believe is inconsequential. Truth, and
whether or not it exists, is also inconsequential. Whatever,
whenever, however much or little you dabble in spirituality,
the point is that you please yourself. Serve your god
through the pursuit of happiness, the accumulation of wealth,
fame, sex, and power. And if necessary, hold onto some
vague idea of "spirituality" to convince yourself
you have depth of character.
spirituality can be a lot like plastic surgery: it gives us
a necessary lift but it doesn't really change anything.
We don't want to be on the side of truth. We want truth
to be on our side! We are the deities!
TV evangelist slogan, "God has a wonderful plan for your
life!" was a brilliant invention. It says, "God
will play for your team if you join our church".
That's exactly the slick crap we love to hear. These Brill
cream preachers seem to have missed that the Bible's heroes
were people who suffered and were usually killed for their spirituality
(Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, etc.)
which is better? Self-love or truth? Maybe they're
not mutually exclusive and it's a moot point. But I conclude
with a Beastie Boys album title: "Check Your Head"!
Do you have a soul, or do you just wear the T-shirt?
Anchorage woman prepares to enter the priesthood SHIN BUDDHIST:
Ordination ceremony set for Oct. 15.
By S. JANE SZABO Anchorage Daily News (Published: September
July 28, Diane Johnson Van Parijs celebrated her 40th birthday
at Red Robin Restaurant. It was a rollicking good time, with
burgers, kids crawling under the table and a "Happy Birthday"
serenade by the waiters.
Oct. 15, she will celebrate another birthday of sorts. Her head
will be shaved, and she will be officially ordained with her
Buddhist name, Jishin ("Compassionate Heart/Mind").
Van Parijs will become a Buddhist priest, rare for a Western
woman in the Shin Buddhist tradition and most likely a first
for an Alaskan.
a work history that started in the tobacco fields of North Carolina,
continued to making hoagie sandwiches, secretarial and computer
work and doing henna tattoos, it could be said that it took
Van Parijs time to find her niche. But Buddhism, more about
process than product, sees the spiritual quest as a life's work.
early milestone on that path was a discovery she made about
hypocrisy after her family moved in 1973 from the Philadelphia
and New Jersey area to North Carolina. She was used to a culturally
mixed milieu, not the clearly defined racial lines of her new
had always been taught to respect everyone, not to put anybody
down because of their differences. Going from that environment
to a little town in North Carolina and being faced with this
racial bias was just horrible," she said. "Even at
10 years old, I remember being very offended to see how black
people were treated differently. I guess my focus was that injustice.
White people. Black people. You live on this side of town. We
live on this side. There was a very clear-cut line of who can
do what, and I just found that very offensive."
religious dimension of this hit home when she was ostracized
because of an interracial romance in high school. When the minister
of the Protestant church her family attended called to criticize,
the family quit the church.
seemed that all we'd been taught about loving your neighbor
just went out the window with one phone call," she said.
"So why aren't folks practicing what they preach, and why
didn't people stand up for the right thing to do?"
a failed marriage, she moved to Anchorage in 1986 to join her
mother, Lynn Peterson, sister Karen Zane and aunt Wendy Talbott.
those years, Van Parijs occasionally accompanied family members
to a local Lutheran church, but she wasn't making a connection
there, she said. "I've always felt a very spiritual, inner
knowledge, but where and how it was going to manifest as far
as in a church, temple, synogogue, I was not sure. I just kind
of left it up to the universe to figure that out."
Parijs moved to Portland, Ore., for a while, and it was there
that she discovered Buddhism. Through the job she landed at
Providence Portland Medical Center, she began working with HIV-positive
and AIDS patients, and when one died, she attended his funeral,
a Buddhist service.
was immediately drawn to Buddhism and later decided to attend
a class on Zazen, a type of meditation in Soto Zen Buddhism.
walked into the temple, sat down on a cushion, and it was just
like the weight of the world had come off my shoulders,"
she said. "It felt like 'This is what I've been looking
for all my life. This is where I'm supposed to be.' "
was led to Shin Buddhism and learned more of it during an e-mail
romance with the Rev. Bruno "Yuho" Van Parijs, a Shin
Buddhist priest from Antwerp, Belgium, whom she would eventually
marry. About five years ago, they started the White Lotus Center,
which recently moved to 123 E. 11th Ave. It is a branch of Yuho's
temple, Jukoji, the Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Temple in Antwerp.
the White Lotus Center, the typical scene blends American reality
with the Shin Buddhist tradition. The children -- granddaughter
Amya Johnson, 4; and children Arnesto Soc, 6, and Spencer Brown,
13 -- ride their scooters or play Barbies in the temple space
in the living room. Daughter Kalynn Johnson, 20, practices opera
singing as part of her UAA studies. Pop tarts in the toaster,
towels in the dryer and dogs jumping on the couch are the norm,
along with cushions, Japanese calligraphy and Buddha statues.
In the library, tomes like "The Collected Works of Shinran
Shonin" share the shelves with Dr. Seuss.
day's life is your practice," Van Parijs said. "Everything
that we do is the Dharma. The teaching is infused in that."
living won't make you a Buddhist priest, though. It has taken
eight years of study, with steps along the way, such as when
Van Parijs received Kikyoshiki, confirmation of her Buddhist
name, in Dusseldorf in 2000. She did much reading and studied,
in particular, the three Pure Land sutras. She talked with scholars
at conferences. She and her husband spent a year and a half
putting the entire collected works of Shinran Shonin, the founder
of the tradition, on the Internet.
she brought the annual Buddhist gathering Change Your Mind Day
to Anchorage, organized the first Alaska Buddhist Conference
in November 2000, and was president of Interfaith Council of
Anchorage from 2001-03 and now is a board member.
Parijs says that her husband, a university professor, was her
teacher, but studying Buddhism is not what people would expect
in terms of universities, research papers, tests and degrees.
living life in the Dharma. It is a lifetime of study. It just
doesn't stop," she said.
does not mean 'Oh, you know it all now. Go on your way.' It's
a beginning. It's a commitment to study and spread the Dharma
within this tradition. It's that commitment of the heart that
is most important for me."
June, it was announced that a Tokudo (Ordination) for Foreigners
was going to be held. It has been nine years since the last
ordination ceremony for foreigners has been held within the
Jodo Shinshu Tradition of Buddhism.
Parijs submitted her application, which included information
about her activities and the recommendation of three priests.
After being accepted, she began to prepare for the 11 days of
intense training she'll undertake in October. The candidates
wear special robes, and spend each day from 5 a.m. until the
evening in services, lectures and study.
morning of Oct. 15, she and the other candidates will be taken
for Tonsuring, in which the head is shaved to symbolize letting
go of the ego. The ceremony will take three hours in the evening,
and is so powerful that it is protected by guards and no guests
can be present. After her new birth as a Buddhist priest, Van
Parijs will be the resident priest at the White Lotus Center.
Voice from a Thai girl ...Buddhist ordination ...Date:
8 April 2003 ...Sawasdee Kha,
Saturday, I had a chance to join an ordination of a son of my
father’s friend. I thought that, “Ah! Great! I could
get some pictures and post in my page”. That’s why
I am writing about it now.
cut some part of a book called, “Essays on Thailand”
where mentioned about Buddhist ordination. It will be shown
in Italic dark blue font. I hope it would be useful for you
guys who would like to know more about Buddhism.
word for “ordination” is “Buad Pra”.
“Pra” means a Buddhist monk who has to be complied
with 227 Buddhist precepts.
of the greatest things in the life of a Thai man is ordination,
which is regarded as an act of a great merit dedicated to his
parents. It is a Thai custom for a young man to enter the monkhood
for a certain period of time in their life, but usually before
marriage as Thai people believe that of a man enters the monkhood
after marriage his wife is certain to receive half of the merit
in stead of his parents who need most of the merit so that they
will be born in heaven after death. To enable their parents
achieve this goal, most Thai men therefore take this opportunity
to express their gratitude to their parents by entering into
the monkhood immediately after they reach a mature age of not
less than 20 years old.
Thai man who wants to ordain before 20 years old or any +20
years old man think he couldn’t follow 275 monk’s
rules, could select to be a novice (or as we call in Thai as
“Sam-Ma-Nain” and we call ordination for a novice
as “Buad Nain”). Then, there are a lot less strictly
rules he has to comply.
man who has not been ordained is not considered a mature adult
and he seems to gain less respect from his community while a
man who has already been ordained will be called “Thit”,
which derived from the word “Bundhit” (Really!
I haven’t known about this before, Me). Bundhit means
“a learned man” or “scholar” (presently,
it also means a person who graduated from university or college,
Me). Thus, in the countryside, we will frequently hear the
elder people call the already ordained man beginning with “Thit”
and then to be followed by the person’s name.
a man who has not been ordained isn’t disrespected as
much as it might happen in the past. I think we more realize
that some men have lots responsibilities so that they couldn’t
stay in monkhood even for a week.
ordination can be performed at any time of the year, it usually
takes place in July or August of each year, which marks the
beginning of the rainy season as during this period monks throughout
the country are committed to stay only in their respective temples
throughout a 3-month Rains Retreat or “Khao Phansa”
the ordination ceremony is a religious event in which the entire
village is drawn to take part. The participants gain merit by
accompanying the “Nak” or the “white-robed
shaven head candidate for monkhood” in a colorful procession
to the temple. The procession is very joyous and elegant as
the Nak’s relatives and friends dance to the music in
a festival mood.
brief, the formal ceremony begins with the oral examination
of the ordainee’s equalifications. Some of the questions
to be answered by the ordainee are, “Are you male? Are
you free from debt? Have you your parents’ permission
to become monk?”
(From the ordination I joined, I saw that my father was
asked to sign a form, which I guessed it was the permission
form. I think this form has been used not long time ago”,
Me) All these questions are meant to
ensure that the young man has been really relieved of all worldly
burdens so that he can devote most of his time for religious
studies during this valuable time of his life. After fulfilling
the prescribed regulations, the ordainee will then be given
the yellow robe and hear his first admonition before becoming
a full monk.
the end of the 3-month Rains Retreat and after the Kathin robe
is presented to their temple, (Kratin is one of a
religious event done at the end of Khao Phansa period. At the
Kratin, people, in the past, would give monks the yellow robe
made by them, but presently we buy it and give to monks. Me)
some monks will leave the monkhood and become a laymen while
some other still continue their monkhood for a longer period
and some may spend their entire life in the monkhood for the
profit of attaining enlightment in the many lives to come. However,
this depends on the individual’s merit and his endurance
in preserving the 227-Buddhist precepts. Sometimes, it is very
unfortunate that a young man is able to stay in the monkhood
just only for a few days, even then he also gains merit from
this good deed”
the period of ordination is round 1-2 weeks due to work constraints.
However, regarding labour regulation of Thailand, a man is allowed
to leave for ordination for maximum 1 month, but only once.
from this information, I also have some pictures I took from
this event, which could give you more idea of ordination. Please
be informed that all posted photos were taken on the ordination
day only. Sometimes, there would be "Nak" celebration
a night before.
would like to share the merit I gained from this event with
all you guys. Hope all good things will happen in your life
and have good health.
Ordination of Buddhist women
over the ordination of women is not confined to the Christian
churches; it is also a hot-button issue in Buddhist countries.
Venerable Dhammanada Bhikkuni is a Buddhist nun living in Thailand,
where the ordination of women to the Buddhist priesthood is
attracting political attention.
Crittenden: I want to introduce you to one of the most prominent
women in Thailand. The Venerable Dhammanada Bhikkuni is a former
university professor ordained as a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka
two years ago. She now heads a monastery and temple at Nakhon
Pathom, near Bangkok.
are around 300,000 Buddhist monks in Thailand, but Thailand’s
Therevada tradition doesn’t allow for the full ordination
of women. Thai women can take religious vows, shave their heads
and wear white, but they have a fairly servile position in comparison
Bhikkuni has embarked on a campaign to change all that. She
wants the Buddhist Sanga Council in Thailand to introduce women’s
ordination, and she’s gone to the Thai Senate to enlist
may not be ordained in Thailand, but that’s not the case
in some other parts of the Buddhist world. The ordination of
women was apparently practised in the Buddha’s own time,
and has been handed down through various lineages, in Tibet
and China, Japan and Sri Lanka – and many Australians
will know the name Tensin Palmo, perhaps the most famous Buddhist
nun in the Tibetan tradition.
as you’re about to hear, issues of lineage are treated
with the utmost importance in the Buddhist tradition. Dhammanada
Bhikkuni spoke to me from her monastery outside Bangkok.
Bhikkuni: Countries like South East Asian countries, we
never had any ordination before, so it is something new for
this area. But otherwise it was practised by the Buddha himself.
Crittenden: How much is the opposition to the ordination
of women something that comes out of Thai society, or South
East Asian society?
Bhikkuni: I think there is some misunderstanding about reading
the texts, you know. They got stuck with the idea that we must
be ordained by dual ordination – dual ordination meaning
that I must be ordained first by the nuns’ order, and
then the monks’ order. The fact that we never had ordained
nuns in our country, therefore we cannot have ordination, full
stop. But I would like to make that full stop a comma, to say
that when we cannot have ordination from this country, we look
around and we find some other countries where the order of nuns
still survives. We could happily take, ask for lineage from
them, and that has been done in the past. We did not have Thai
monks, we did not have Buddhist monks in our country, and we
invited lineage from Sri Lanka. So the Sri Lankan lineages started
the Thai monks, also in Myanmar, and in Cambodia. So then the
monks can do that, I don’t see why women cannot do it.
Crittenden: And that’s what you did yourself.
Bhikkuni: Yes. Well, when we cannot receive ordination simply
because we don’t have a fully ordained nun in our country,
so I seek for other countries where they actually have fully
ordained nuns. And the lineage of the fully ordained nun never
stops from the Buddha’s time, it continued from India
to Sri Lanka to China, and now back to Sri Lanka, and now coming
back to Thailand.
Crittenden: And you told me that when you returned to Thailand,
after having been ordained yourself, you came up against a lot
of opposition. Was it from Thai men, or from male Buddhist monks
Bhikkuni: To speak the truth, actually, there were only
a couple of senior monks who did not like the idea. But the
problem with that is it’s blown up by the media, because
now the media is accessible to everywhere. The majority of people,
including the monks, I would say they really did not know what
was right or what was wrong, or what was possible.
Crittenden: And how much support is there from women, for
example, in Thailand? Is this something where social values
are changing at a grassroots level, and the religious leaders
are the ones having trouble catching up?
Bhikkuni: I think it is – this pocket of knowledge
has been neglected in our country for a long time, and it is
up to us Buddhists. You know, the Buddhist text is never limited
only to some people, no, it’s accessible to everyone.
But the study of Buddhism had never been done in academic levels.
Just like even in the West, you know, the study of religion
as academic subjects only happened one hundred years ago, that
also is the same problem that we have in our country. Something
that is handed down by tradition we need to question.
Crittenden: So how much support is there from ordinary Thai
Bhikkuni: I think right now our society is very open, and
the internet, with the mass media, Thai society, the upper class,
middle class, they are educated, and they are willing and they
are open with this change, particularly for women. Don’t
forget that women are half the world’s population. This
is the new alternative access for women for their spiritual
Crittenden: Now, am I right in thinking that you have appealed
to the Thai Senate? and I’m interested in why you’ve
done that, because I understand that it’s not politicians
who can really make this ruling, that’s something that’s
only really up to the ruling council of the Buddhist Sangha.
Am I right about that?
Bhikkuni: Well, whether the Sangha is going to accept or
not, you know, the Sangha says now they also wait for the public.
You know the Sangha – meaning community of monks and
nuns – really has no power if they are not supported
by the people. Even from the Buddha’s time, monks and
nuns, whatever they do, is this correct or not correct, acceptable
or not acceptable, it is up to the lay people. Because the lay
people are the ones who support us. So there is a spirit of
Buddhism that we have to follow, at the same time whether this
is going to be a possibility opening for the future or not,
depending on how we prove ourselves and how the society –
meaning lay people, lay women and lay men – accept us
and support us. Even the 300,000 monks in our country, they
are supported by the people. If the people stop supporting them,
they cannot live.
Crittenden: And is this why the views of the Parliament
Bhikkuni: It is important, because if there is no opening
for the existence of ordained women in the law itself, it is
injustice, it’s a human right issue.
Crittenden: What is the position of the law in Thailand
on this issue?
Bhikkuni: This is the complication in Thai law. They do
not speak directly on the community of monks, but the community
of Thai monks developed in such a way that it is closely connected
to the official side, you know, so they go side by side.
Crittenden: So they’re connected with the State?
Bhikkuni: So you cannot say that it is completely secular,
and this one is completely on the Buddhist Sangha side.
Crittenden: So what the politicians say is important.
Bhikkuni: I think it is addition – something that
adds to the Bill of the Sangha. We just need one word to add
there, you know, the Sangha actually means – the Buddha
meant Sangha means community of monks and nuns. But at present
in our country, people tend to understand that when we say Sangha
community, we tend to mean community only of the monks. And
that is not correct according to the spirit of Buddhism.
Crittenden: How has the Thai Parliament responded? Are they
showing signs, is the Senate showing signs of support for this
idea at this stage?
Bhikkuni: Well, I am very positive, because the Deputy of
the Prime Minister himself, spoke in the Parliament, and they
actually spent fifty minutes discussing on this issue. And he
actually sent the report that was done by the sub-committee
of the Senators to the Supreme Patriarch already.
Crittenden: So what’s the next step?
Bhikkuni: Right now I think the Senators are working on
getting people educated on the issue. And when the voice of
the public is more positive, I’m sure the Sangha will
Crittenden: Well I wish you the best of luck. It’s
wonderful having you on the program, and thank you for joining
us in Australia.
Bhikkuni: Thank you, you’re most welcome.
Crittenden: The Venerable Dhammanada Bhikkuni speaking from
on this program: Venerable Dhammanada Bhikkuni Buddhist
to the homepage of the Mahabodhi Institute (MBI), an internet-based
education program dedicated to the study and application of
the principles of Mindful Living as they relate to social reform,
environmentalism, and world peace.
in 1992 out of the need for American Buddhists to have a better
knowledge of the life of the Buddha, not just the meditative
and devotional practices of the different sects, the Institute
turned to the "Buddhist Catechism" and created the
correspondence course that would later become the Online Edition
of the Buddhist Catechism.
under the direction of the Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala in America,
the Institute continues to advocate a core Buddhism that is
not only humanistic, but also grounded in the Bodhisattva ideal.
Fourteen Common Beliefs of Buddhism
Fourteen Common Beliefs of Buddhism are the foundation of what
is shared in common between all schools of Buddhism and are
based on the original Propositions agreed upon by delegates
from both the Theravada and Mahayana schools in 1891.
commonly held beliefs are as follows:
Buddhists are taught to show the same tolerance, forbearance,
and compassion to all people, without distinction; and unswerving
kindness towards the members of the animal kingdom.
There was no creation and the universe was evolved, functioning
according to law, not according to the behest of any Supreme
The truths upon which Buddhism is founded are natural. They
have been taught in successive world-periods by illuminated
beings called Buddhas, the name Buddha meaning "Awakened".
The fourth teacher in the present world-period was Gautama Buddha,
who was born to a royal family in India. He is an historical
person and his name was Siddhartha Guatama.
Gautama Buddha taught that ignorance produced from the Dual
Mind results in craving and clinging, the consequence of which
is suffering. To get rid of suffering it is necessary to extinguish
desire; and to extinguish desire, it is necessary to destroy
When ignorance is destroyed, the cycle of dependent origination
is broken, with craving, clinging, and the consequential suffering
ceasing to exist.
The dispersion of this ignorance can be attained by the persevering
practice of embracing the Bodhisattva ideal in conduct, the
development of natural and correct intelligence, wisdom in thought,
and refraining from sense desires and clinging.
The perfected individual attains through meditation the highest
state of peace called Nirvana.
Gautama Buddha taught that ignorance can be dispelled and sorrow
removed by the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths, which are:
Suffering is universal;
The source of Suffering is clinging and craving to sense desires
through the Dual Mind, which never is satiated.
The elimination of the source of Suffering, which is called
the Supreme Truth;
The basic means by which Suffering is elimated is by following
the Noble Eightfold Path --- Right Belief; Right Thought or
Attitude; Right Speech; Right Action; Right Means of Livelihood;
Right Exertion or Intention; Right Mindfulness; and Right Meditation.
Right Meditation leads to spiritual awakening, or the development
of a Buddha-like faculty which is latent in every person.
The essence of Buddhism, as summed up by the Buddha himself,
refrain from all error,
to purify the mind.
The universe is subject to a natural causation known as Karma,
each person having antecedant causes for the effects which he
or she now experiences.
The obstacles to the attainment of good karma may be removed
by the observance of the following precepts, which are embraced
in the moral code of Buddhism: (1) to refrain from killing;
(2) to refrain from stealing; (3) to refrain from sexual misconduct;
(4) to refrain from lying; (5) to refrain from substances that
cause intoxication. Five other precepts which need not be mentioned
here should also be observed by those who would attain, more
quickly than the average person, the release from misery and
Buddhism discourages all superstitious practices. The Buddha
taught it to be the duty of parents to have their children educated
in science and literature. He also taught that no one should
believe what is spoken by any sage, written in any book, or
affirmed by tradition, unless it accords with direct experience.
all the prayers in the universe, none is as powerful as the
Bodhisattva Prayer. The Bodhisattva Prayer is the aspiration
to lead all sentient to complete enlightenment and liberation
from the six realms of suffering known as samsara.
thought of "I" or "self" is the only obstacle
to reaching enlightenment and liberation. If the "I"
can be dissolved without enmity then you will become enlightened.
Constantly remaining in that view is liberation. When the thought
of "self" arises in your mind it is like a cloud gathering
in the sky blocking the natural radiance of your true nature.
Continually clinging on to the thought of "self" even
more clouds gather creating a thunderstorm of discursive thoughts,
emotions and actions that only serve to increase the delusion
of self and its suffering. The best way to disperse the delusion
of "self" is to become selfless by thinking of others
more than yourself and develop love, compassion, and wisdom
towards all sentient beings, from a single insect on a single
blade of grass to the highest wisdom of Samantabhadra. With
this aspiration the awakening of Bodhicitta will dawn in your
mind stream dispersing the dark clouds of a thousand eons bringing
the natural clear light awareness to the forefront of your being.
people say that practice makes perfect. But, we say that only
perfect practice makes perfect. Imperfect practice only makes
imperfect. What goes in is what comes out. A religion or spiritual
practice that liberates their practitioners is Buddhism. A religion
or spiritual practice that doesn't is a cult. You can practice
one billion Buddha tantras for one billion years but if you
still haven't developed the awakened mind of Bodhicitta you
still won't be any closer to enlightenment. Chan Master Huihai
once said, "if you keep searching for the Buddha you will
spend an eternity in samsara and never see a single one. But,
if you can see the nature of your own mind for just an instant
then you will see all of the Buddhas in the entire universe".
Our original nature is none other than the Buddha itself; compassionate
wakefulness free from all attachments to the five skandhas of
thoughts, feelings, conceptions, impulses and consciousness.
dispel the demon of "self" and all the clouds that
arises from the delusion of "self" the Lord Buddha
in his infinite wisdom taught us the unexcelled method of increasing
our own enlightenment and wisdom by wishing the same for others.
If you pray for someone else's enlightenment without a thought
of reward then the karma of that prayer comes right back to
you bestowing all of the blessing of enlightenment upon you.
If you pray for one hundred people to reach enlightenment then
the karma comes back to you one hundred times. Now, if you wish
for all of the sentient beings in the entire universe to become
fully and completely enlightened then think of the results and
immense blessings that will rain down upon such aspirations.
This is the path of the Bodhisattva. Being selfless the self
is dissolved, and if there is no self, there is no place for
suffering to attach itself to.
long as sentient being remain in samsara may I too remain so
that I may inspire them to recognize their own true nature,
free from both attachment and aversion, hope and fear!!!
I be a protector for those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
a boat, a bridge, a passage for those desiring the further shore.
the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away.
I be the doctor and the medicine, and may I be the nurse
all the sick beings of the world until everyone is healed.
like space and the elements such as earth,
I always support the life of the boundless creatures.
until they pass away from pain, may I also be the source of
all the realms of varied beings that reach unto the ends of
Kosmic Consciousness ...by Ken Wilber
Audio CD'S, Over 12 hours of revelatory insights
who is Ken Wilber?" For more than 30 years, a rising tide
of readers enthralled by this visionary philosopher’s
map of human potential have asked this question about the famously
"low profile" author. Finally, early this year, Wilber—the
author of A Brief History of Everything and Grace and Grit—agreed
to create a series of in-depth dialogues on audio for the first
time ever. The result is Kosmic Consciousness: a landmark recording
that invites us to experience a full-length audio learning course
with this celebrated thinker.
will be surprised and delighted to discover the Ken Wilber behind
the writer’s pen—spontaneous, irreverent, and incredibly
passionate about how each of us can participate in the unfolding
of human consciousness. Through over 12 hours of revelatory
insights, Kosmic Consciousness explores: The integral map of
the Kosmos (the universe that includes the physical cosmos as
well as the realms of consciousness and Spirit), the pursuit
of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, discovering your "multiple
intelligences", using altered states, male and female sexuality,
how meditation accelerates personal growth, prayer, does it
work?, integral perspectives on individuals spanning Jung to
Piaget, Baryshnikov to Nietzsche, Jesus to the Buddha, and much
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