Monastic Basketball

Also via Kenley Neufeld, check out this really wonderful short video of a Monastic Basketball game:

(“Playing basketball on Lazy Day at Deer Park Monastery in mid-June.”)

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On Death…

When ordinary people die they are out of control. Because they have not trained themselves during their life, they are overwhelmed by the experience of death and bewildered as their bodily elements go out of balance and cease to function harmoniously.

~ Lama Thubten Yeshe

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This quote inspired such an amazing moment of awareness and compassion in me.  On a lot of levels, I already knew what the Venerable Lama Yeshe said, but it was good to read and think on this separately.   (Especially as, one of these days, as soon as I can, I want to get involved in hopsice work.  It’s a place I genuinely feel I could help.  And it sort of “runs in the family.”)

Being Where I Am

You Are Here

So, life continues to be interesting.  I struggle with how I feel about the difficulties that keep cropping up.  We are well off, by whole world standards, but not well off by American (US) standards.  (I’ll spare you the details, but I do not think I’m being false by saying lots of things are a current struggle.)  It is difficult to feel comfortable in my own skin right now, so I have whittled down my practice to simply trying to accept where things are and to be joyfully mindful of being alive.

Eating an Orange

Via a fantastic post on impermanence at the blog Somewhere in Dhamma, is a really juicy clip from Zen Noir. I hope you savour it as much as I did.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

(I’m totally going to go ahead and get the movie now…..)

Equanimity

If this embed doesn’t work, and you’ve yet to see Susan Boyle‘s performance (it went viral this weekend on the ‘net) – please click here and watch this all the way through:  YouTube – Susan Boyle – Singer – Britains Got Talent 2009.  (You could also click on the image above to get to it.)  I think you’ll be glad you did.

From from chapter 22, “The Four Immeasurable Minds,” of Thich Nhat Hanh‘s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching:

The fourth element of true love is upeksha, which means equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go.  Upa means “over,” and iksh means “to look.”  You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other.  If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.  People who do not understand Buddhism sometimes think upeksha means indifference, but true equanimity is neither cold nor indifferent.  If you have more than one child, they are all your children.  Upeksha does not mean that you don’t love.  You love in a way that all your children receive your love, without discrimination.

Upeksha has the mark called samatajñana, “the wisdom of equality,” the ability to see everyone as equal, not discriminating between ourselves and others.

Quotes

Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself – if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself – it is very difficult to take care of another person.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

All my life I have tended to gravitate towards the hardest, most difficult road I can take. I’ve been that way since I was little. When I was 5 or 6, it was decided that I was too forceful a person – too full of myself is how I once had it explained to me by my parents. So in the first grade (I started school a bit young), a concerted effort was undertaken by my parents and teacher to “take me down a peg.” That was a hard year for me. I love my parents and know that they did not mean me real harm, but their efforts with my teacher that year were very successful. I have long since struggled with issued of self-worth and self-confidence. This is part of my Origin.

So I do what I do, and I am what I am. I sit, I practice. I try to practice mindfulness. I dissect, dissolve and attempt to release what I grasp after.

The great practitioners of nonviolence have never turned their heads or shrunk away from their own or others’ suffering. Knowing the downfalls of aggression, they have been able to respond with wisdom and broad-mindedness. This type of wisdom and courage grows from our commitment to understanding our own mind and reactions and the causes and results of our actions. We develop the ability to accurately read and respond to the world around us without rejecting it. This is the practice of nonviolence. Of course this takes some maturity. We really need to cultivate this kind of maturity.

Staying Present

I found a quote I really liked in the book I’m reading right now:

“…we often still find ourselves disengaged from our own clarity, moving along without thinking….”

That’s exactly it – I really can grok this – for me it’s like residing a half-step away from being present.

Perhaps with a “deeper breath” and a more mindful effort I can “let go” and ease down into this clarity more often.