Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011






I wish all my readers, visitors and droppers a very happy and worthwhile 2011.

May we all learn a bit more about ourselves and others, and may it be good.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Looking back

We tend to look back on the past year with all oru feelings and emotions and sometimes we're completely caught by what we have experienced.

A different way is to look back...really back. Knowing it's all over and in the past.
We can leave it there, like we're walking a road and on top of the hill we look back, knowing all will be gone whemn we've walked a few metres more.

Just keep the lessons you've learned.
Just be grateful that you're entering a new day and a new year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Opinions

Are you one of those people who is able to create an opinion on the basis of almost nothing?

Why do you feel the need to have an opinion about someone else?

Does that make you more interesting? More valuable as a human being?

It's all ego, isn't it?
Having an opinion sometimes makes someone feel better.
What is it? self esteem, security?

Do you really need that?

Why do we take the freedom of others that way? The freedom to be themselves.

Why do you take the freedom of yourself?
Being not opinionated is so much more interesting. And so much more relaxing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Blaming someone

We're living in a time where people always seemt o be looking for someone to blame.

Recession? Due to the banks and the governments.
A row? He's to blame?
Cold? It's the weather.

I really had to train my children to losen themselves from the automatic behaviour to look outside themselves first.

When there's a problem, why start blaming someone?
There is almost never a clear cause to a problem. As we buddhists say: there's always a cause for the cause of the cause.

It's far more important to observe how we react and to change the way we react into a constructive way of dealing with the situation.

So instead of trying to find out who's guilty and who's to blame, I want my children to react with dignity and find a proper solution to the problem.
To me it's a kind of self respect.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Perceiving the world

How you perceive the world is dependent on your own truth.

See this movie.

I'll write more about it later, as I'm needed somewhere else now.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Being together?

How do you feel when you're part of a group, a family party?

Some people can feel very lonely, even in a crowd.

Are you one of those people?
How do you feel?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A happy christmas


I think christmas is the most bonding event of the year.
People want to be together and want to forget differences.

Even on the political stage the important people try to stay nice and peaceful.

How about your life?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy christmas to you


Ice and snow against the front door.
A cold wind blowing.

But it's warm in our hearts and we want to share the best of ourselves with other people.

Wouldn't it be great when people would live like every day is christmas?

I wish you a very happy christmas.
May it bring the inspiration for each day of the next year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Expectations

In this time of expectations it's clear what they do with people.
During christmastime most of them make people happy...only the expectations I mean.
People dream of a white christmas, or of one without any snow at all.
Of their family and friends, of presents.

No harm intended.

But then it's time to live the time of dreams, and most often it turns out that the dreams can't come true.
The result?
Disappointed people.

It's what buddhism says: stay in the present and that's enough.
Loning creates suffering.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snow: beauty, boring or burden?

The delicate beauty of snow is covering the world again.
It's amazing that nature does this without human intervention.

I'm always amazed that so many people complain when we finally get some snow.
Because they get dirty shoes or have to walk more careful they lose all admiration for beauty.

Snow is amazing.

The softness, the purity.

Have you seen it at night? It seems to radiate light.

It's your own attitude that defines the character of snow.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Buddhism and christmas?

I was asked if I celebrate christmas.

Let's first say that I respect the fact that other people have their celebrations.
Striving for peace within the family and outside the family is never a bad thing.

We're living here in an area where the old traditions are kept, so christmas is more of a festivity of giving hope, that a deep belief that so many years ago a baby was born at a place that was not suited for a delivery.

Because the children go to school and experience many special events during this time of december we've decided not to place ourselves outside of the mainstream, but celebrate with them.
We buddhists use prayer flags and candles and such, so there's no real problem.
In fact, we here smile when we hear about initiatives of hanging leaflets with nice wishes in the tree, as some shops and schools do.

The image of long lines of prayer flags and the silver streamlets in the tree reveals an interesting closeness of symbolism.

Buddhism is noneclusive, which means that we can have our own choice of religion beside the main teachings of buddhism.
So the answer if we celebrate christmas is: "Yes"
At times we have our own symbolism and own interpretations, but none bothers about that.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Looking into the other garden

We're living in a strange time.

We're watched everywhere, even when we go shopping. It's even difficult to go by bus without a computer traching where you're going in and out.

When all the information is put together someone else can take over your life.

When you travel to the usa you need to give all sorts of information, including your sexual preferences and if you're on a special diet.

It's not only the governments requiring control and information, ordinary people want to posess complete insight in the lives of others too.
"Mind your own business" is not wanted to be said anymore. On the contrary.
When you don't want to know everything about others you're out of order.
When you don't want to share it all you might be a problem for whomever has something to say.

People want to know everything about the lives of others like they have nothing else to do.
In fact, they take the places of judges and condemn others without ever having studied law and without having all the facts a judge needs to know.

Even more interesting.
There are so many people brought to court, because people and society can't rule themselves anymore and have become completely dependent upon the judges, that the judges won't read the files anymore.

It gives the impression that the law acts opposite of how the layman acts. Not because the law requieres that, but because there is so much to do.

The safe feeling that the law protects us is taken away, because good and nice people are convicted by judges who don't care.

When I was still a christian I was always amazed when people said: "God would say that....". And interestingly enough God always said what they thought.
I would always comment: God makes up his own mind. And he doesn't need us to judge, he can perfectly well do that by himself.

My gram used to say that people shouldn't look in the garden of someone else before they had their own garden in perfect order.
I think she was right.

Work on the person you are yourself, set your own standards and leave the karma of others to them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When the Buddha was dying,Ananda asked who would be their teacher after death.
Buddha replied to his disciple:

Be lamps unto yourselves.
Be refuges unto yourselves.
Take yourself no external refuge.
Hold fast to the truth as a lamp.
Hold fast to the truth as a refuge.
Look not for a refuge in anyone besides yourselves.
And those, Ananda, who either now or after I am dead,
Shall be a lamp unto themselves,
Shall betake themselves as no external refuge,
But holding fast to the truth as their lamp,
Holding fast to the truth as their refuge,
Shall not look for refuge to anyone else besides themselves,
It is they who shall reach to the very topmost height;
But they must be anxious to learn.


Quoted in Joseph Goldstein, The Experience of Insight

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cleaning the pavement

In the past it was a local law that people should clean the pavement from snow, ice and plant materials.

A few years ago the law was deleted.
People didn't need a law like that, as they cared for each other and would clean the pavement anyway.

This year we've had lots of snow and ice already.
Many people didn't care to clean the pavement, thus making it risky for the elderly, pregnant women and handicapped people to walk outside.

Couples of two working people were hiding behind: "we have to leave early and arrive at home late."

Well, taking a handful of salt and throwing the salt on the pavement doesn't cost much time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fighting emotions

Fighting emotions costs a lot of energy and it even gives you a headache.
So why not let the emotions come to you?
Maybe they've looked far bigger from a distance.

When you meet your emotions they're not half as bad as when you keep them at a distance.

It's like being in the cold.
You can put your shoulders higher, and shiver a lot, even before the body sognals it wants to shiver.
You'll certainly get muscle ache and headache, and the cold won't be less.
When you relax the blood flows easier from cold to warm places and vise versa.
You keep much warmer and you won't experience muscke ache the next day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giving birth

Giving birth is one of the most impressive experiences of a human being.
It's amazing that so many people let others dictate what to do and where.

Newborn babies are subject to routines that are not all necessary.
Ofcourse reflexes need to be tested, but why put a baby in a bath or hold it under a stream of water
It's just for the idea of cleaneliness.

The grease in the skin of a baby prevents infection and it enables a baby to keep it's temperature easier at the desired level.

Do you know that the grease is perfect to treat dried out hands?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Your support is needed

The years that people freely gave a donation to someone who needed financial support are over.
Many people lives less in lxury than before and consider that a loss, so they won't think of donating money to others.
Why help them forward when they themselves had to step back?

Two young schoolgirls have the opportunity to take part in a student exchange program.
It's an exchange of 10 to 14 days between The Netherlands and a few other European Countries.
The aim is that young people learn from other cultures and learn to behave in other cultures. This will create more understanding between people, more care, and this will ensure more peaceful behaviour in the future and hopefully in better economical exchange.
There are a lot more reasons, but you'll get the idea.

Quite some of their classmates come from families who can pay for annual vacations (at least 1) and lots of extras. Both girls come from a family with 4 older brothers with special needs.
They have developed in nice young women, with a warm and caring heart and a good feeling for responsibility for others. They would give their last piece of bread to someone with hunger, and they won't hesitate to give their most precies bracelet to someone who tell them it's the most beautiful thing ever seen.

Wouldn't it be a pity when these girls had to stay home and see the others leave?

They need financial support.

One of them already has made a blog to try and find sponsors, the other is making one.

Wouldn't it be nice to sponsor them?
For instance with 7 dollar a week when they write a blogpost each day? Thus sponsoring each blogpost with a dollar?

Or maybe with a 10 dollars for putting your blogbadge in the sidebar for a week?

I'm thinking aloud, but maybe you have far better ideas.

Come on and help them.

The blog of one of them is here.
When the other girl has her blog ready I'll inform you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Buddhistic school

Buddhists in Amsterdam wanted to create a basic school for their children, just like other religions did in the past.

They did a lot of work, but found themselves with empty hands when the court decided not to grant their wishes.
The main reason is that buddhism is not a religion like others.

Ofcourse the buddhistic parents are filing an appeal.
The law states that parents are allowed to decide at which school a child gets his or her education.

All I can hope that they'll succeed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Was this her karma?

A woman in the Philippines seemed to be in a hurry.
People were standing in line to buy lotto tickets, but she pushed herself in front of a man and bought a ticket.

After that, the man bought a ticket too.
He was spending his holiday in his homecountry.

Never ever did he expect to win, so when people told him to check the number he said he'd do that the next day.

He won 12 million euro!!

Right now he lives in the USA, but he wants to use the money to spend his retirement in his homecountry.

The story doesn't tell anything about the woman.

Her behaviour had far reaching consequences.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Enjoying snow

At the busstop people were complaining about the slippery roads.
In the bus someone was complaning about the insurance.
I nearly got in the complaining mood myself and when I was walking again I forgot to look around me for a short while.

I missed the beauty of the snow for these moments.
What a pity.
We've longed so many years to seen snow in these amounts.

I felt grateful for realising that I should enjoy nature a bit more and immediately I was caught by a bird that was picking in the snow and threw bits of snow around.
It didn't look distressed, On the contrary. He made a happy impression.

What have you seen today?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inner peace - 3

The Dalai Lama said about inner peace:

According to my own experience, the highest level of inner calm comes from the development of love and compassion. The more concerned we are with the happiness of others, the more we increase our own well-being. Friendliness and warmth towards others allow us to relax and help us to dispel any sense of fear or insecurity so we can overcome whatever obstacles we face.

That's my experience too.

I've been through some very bad times in my life.
When I lost a child I thought the future was one black deep hole.
But the moment someone needed me that changed.
I completely forgot about my own grief and I was able to get in touch with the best in me again. Reaching out with love and compassion to the other person made me aware that the most important part of me wasn't changed. I was still able to feel that very important rest, and because of that I could find a way to live on.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inner peace - 2

Inner peace is not something that's thrown in from the outside.
It's not other people who give it to you.
You have to enable yourself to let go of what prevents you to get in contact with it.

Realising that you're not the centre of the world can be very healing.
There's no need to expect a lot from other people, because there's no need for them to live up to your expectations. They have to live their own path, they have to follow their own pace of development.
Ofcourse you can assist and support them. Without criticism. With care and compassion.
But they need to stay true to their own being, just like you have to stay true to yourself.

Inner peace can be reached by leaving behind all criticism and expectations. Not only those with regards to others, but also in relation with yourself.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Inner peace - 1

Finding and keeping inner peace is for most of us a real struggle.
We want inner peace and calm so very much, that this loning only brings us further away of what we want.

Why not let go?

Why not be grateful for what happens?
Why no be grateful for waking up, seeing a new day?
Why not be gratful for your breakfast?
Why not be grateful for the shoes you're able to wear?

When you're able to develop an attitude of gratefulness and take nothing for granted you'll notice a change in yourself that enables you to develop inner peace.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

It's sinterklaas

It's so wonderful to see children waiting for Sinterklaas.
With all their being they believe in what they see.
They see nothing but good.

Isn't it a rich way to deal with life?

OK, we know that life has many set backs, troubles and disappointments, but nevertheless.
It can be so good when we deal with the beautiful moments by accepting them in full glory.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Giving a 100%

A lot of sites, like scrapbook sites, organise give-aways during the month of december.

But when I read all the requirements to be able to participate I wonder if we're talking about give-aways or a simple way to make people advert your site.

In my opinion giving is unconditional.
That means that there's no need to jump and dance to make a chance to win an item.

When I want people to do something for the chance to win, I'm trading something. Their services against my prize.

I know that society is about winning and using people more than about care for others.

Practicing unconditional giving is very worthwhile and a pleasant experience.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What would you do?

A small baby is born with HIV.
She's lucky.
An aunt lives in a european country and she takes the baby with her to give her the best medical care possible.

The baby is brought to the attention of the authorities and an official request is made to grant the child the official papers to stay in the country.

A year later the authorities still haven't taken a decision...

What would you do?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Behaviour and cold weather

It's winter here, and people dive in their coats and only stick their eyes out to see where they are going.

Even in the shops they seem to be bundles of clothes without smiles.

Your smile is much needed though.

Have you noticed that old people are afraid to walk on the snowy streets?
Why not give them a hand, or do their shopping for them?

have you noticed how much time it takes to dress small children for the ciold and how difficult it is to go shopping with them? So help these people.

Each smile and gesture of good will will make you a better person and will improve the world.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Being someone different

I can't understand why some people always present themselves in another way than they are at home.

It's like roleplaying.

Are you one of them?

Why do you keep that distance to yourself?
Insecurity?
Not wanting to take responsibility?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem



May I give you peace
with both hands
carefully
not to disturb
the fragile balance
in our souls

may we
from our friendship
share this peace
all over the world

may we know
that all people are connected
that bombing unknown people
hurts people
family and friends
and through them
we hurt ourselves

may we give peace
no arms
no evil words
peace of heart

like the innocense
of a newborn baby
in our arms

.

Dreams?

Do you have any dreams?

What do you do to persue them?

What keeps you from realising your dreams?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When death comes

 .

When death comes
I'll rest my head
and think of you
the way you smiled
your bear high on the shelf
and your hands resting on my shoulder

When death comes
I know your life
has been fulfilled
with all you wished for
and a little bit more
and I'll remember
how you recognised my voice
after almost 20 years

when death comes
I know you've faced the same
and you didn't want to share
the deepest pain
whereas I tried to reach out
so you wouldn't feel alone

But alone I will be
hearing your laughter
when you played the handdoll
for grown ups and little kids
I'll remember your cinnamom  tea
and hopefully even smell it
while my mind searches
for the melodies I loved so much
I'll remember
how relaxed I could be
sitting against your shoulder
and I felt your smile
in my hair

There's much I didn't do in this life
I was too shy, too hesitant,
too insecure, too caring for others.
I even waited too long,


but I stood up
for those who couldn't do that themselves
for respect between people
against war
and for those who were trusted in my care

I hugged those who needed it
smiled to people on the street
and looked at the stars in the deep dark night

I even looked in the mirror
and told myself to get my chin up
and go on living
right through the worst
when the piercing pain in my heart
was almost unbearable

So when death comes
I will remember you with a smile
and fade away
somewhere to those I knew
to the stars
or maybe
just somewhere
far away
in the sky.

.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Question to meditate on

For today I've got a question t\you can meditatie on:

How do you get in touch with nature when you wake up?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Too tall

Teaching children isn't difficult.

One day my children were very noisy.

Then suddenly I heard myself asking them:

How would little insects deal with noisy insect children?

We went outside to try and find the answer and within no time all children were in the grass on their bellies, trying to understand insects.

I asked one of the children why they were on the ground and he said:

"Because we can't answer your question when we're standing. Then we are too tall."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Treasure

 Some people search the whole world for the perfect teacher, but sometimes that perfect teacher is right in front of them.


Like one pointing out hidden treasure,
if one finds a man of intelligence 
who can recognise one's faults 
and take one to task for them, 
one should cultivate the company of such a wise man. 
He who cultivates a man like that 
is the better for it, not worse.

Dhammapada

.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No texts

 In some religions heathens or people who haven't been in contact with the teachings of that religion are not appreciated.

In buddhism we value everyone.

It's said:

Even if he does not quote appropriate texts much,
if he follows the principles of the Teaching
by getting rid of greed, hatred and delusion, 
deep of insight and with a mind free from attachment, 
not clinging to anything in this world or the next --
that man is a partner in the Holy Life.

Dhammapada

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Clothes

Buying clothes is easy, throwing them away too.

Have you ever considered wearing your clothes a bit longer?

And why not putting in some effort to see that your clothes find a good destination?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

See virtue

It's easy to find fault with people.
Doing so is of all ages.

How to see good in people?

A quote.

One day I complained to Suzuki Roshi about the people I was working with.
He listened intently.
Finally he said,
"If you want to see virtue, you have to have a calm mind."
 
"To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shuryu Suzuki" 
(Edited by David Chadwick)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mistakes

Buddhism requires a constant willingness to develop oneself.
It doesn't matter when you make mistakes, as long as you try.

A wonderful quote states:

There are only two mistakes one can make 
along the road to truth; 
not going all the way, 
and not starting.

Buddha

.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Violence

All tremble at violence,
Life is dear to all.
Comparing others with oneself
One should neither kill nor cause others to kill.

~Dhammapada v. 130

The first of the five fundamental Buddhist precepts is "Avoid killing any living thing."

War is one of the uttter ways of ignoring care and compassion.
But even those finding themselves taking part can change themselves.
There's always someone who can use support and care.

Often it's said that even buddhists have fought in wars.
But that's no reason at all to follow in their footsteps.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Teaching children: all people are equal

One of the challenges of raising children to be responsible adults is to teach them that all people are equal.

I've always said that all people are equal, but we all have different talents.

My children have always been able to deal with that without too many questions.
They were lucky to go to schools where diversity was absolutely normal, so when they reached the age they started to read the paper and listen to the news on TV they commented on the way people exercised control over others and looked down on others.

What other children didn't even notice, they noticed.
From that moment on parenting changed a bit, because they realised that compassion and care is lost by many people when they grow up.

The preschool they went to was a special one, where the talents of individual were more important than marching in line.
There was no need to do things to stand out of the crowd and to be noticed, no need to bully someone to feel good or compensate for something else.

Children learned to feel good about themselves and to practice care and compassion for others.
At times they needed care and compassion for themselves, and at times they gave it to others.

No better learning school for eyality between people then at home and at a school like that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Guilt

Guilt is an emotion, a state of mind, which is very central in our society.
It's used as a motivator in raising children and even when these children are parents themselves their parents can exercise their influence by using guilt.

Guilt isn't a wanted emotion in buddhism.
It's a signal of attachment to an idea of how things or a person should be.
It's not living in the present, and it's certainly not linked to care and compassion at all.

Some people set their standards so high that we will never be able to live up to them.
So we will always long to be another person, instead of making the best out of the present.

Most important is to know how we can change into a person we want to be.
When we know how, we can practice.
Valuing a person for working each day to become a better person creates a gigantic motivation.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Buddhism and your common sense

I've been raised with many dogma's and I'm still amazed by how easy people accept what is said by representatives of religion.

Some people just accept everything.

In buddhism one should think and practice and see if what is told can be used in daily life.

A quote:

Believe nothing,
no matter where you read it,
or who said it,
no matter if I have said it,
unless it agrees with your own reason
and your own common sense.

.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Organ donation and buddhism

There's lot to do about organ donation at the moment here in the news and someone asked me if buddhists are able to donate, because they belief they'll be reborn.

Well, many people know there are different ways to dispose of a dead body and as far as I know there are no laws the body should be kept completely whole and accessible after death.

In fact the body doesn't belong to the mind.
And one could state that clinging to the body, even after death, is a form of attachment. So it's not done.

People who won't commit themselves to donate are rather attached to their bodies and being good looking even as a corpse.

So donating is showing understanding of anatta (not self) and generosity (dana).
Most people who donate do it because the feel compassion for the people who suffer bad functioning organs.

So there's no conflict at all between organ donation and buddhism.
On the contrary.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Four ways of verbal action

And how is one made pure in four ways by verbal action?

There is the case where a certain person, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech.
When he has been called to a town meeting, a group meeting, a gathering of his relatives, his guild, or of the royalty, if he is asked as a witness, 'Come & tell, good man, what you know': If he doesn't know, he says, 'I don't know.' If he does know, he says, 'I know.' If he hasn't seen, he says, 'I haven't seen.' If he has seen, he says, 'I have seen.' Thus he doesn't consciously tell a lie for his own sake, for the sake of another, or for the sake of any reward. Abandoning false speech, he abstains from false speech. He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. 

Abandoning divisive speech he abstains from divisive speech.
What he has heard here he does not tell there to break those people apart from these people here.
Thus reconciling those who have broken apart or cementing those who are united, he loves concord, delights in concord, enjoys concord, speaks things that create concord.
Abandoning abusive speech, he abstains from abusive speech.
He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing & pleasing to people at large.
Abandoning idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter.
He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, what is in accordance with the goal, the Dhamma, & the Vinaya.
He speaks words worth treasuring, seasonable, reasonable, circumscribed, connected with the goal.
This is how one is made pure in four ways by verbal action.


Anguttura Nikaya, book of 10s, Sutta 176

Monday, October 18, 2010

A family ...

We all know that harmony is important in a family.
A positive attitude towards another and oneself prevents many problems.

I found a nice quote I want to share with you:


A family is a place
where minds come in contact with one another.
If these minds love one another
the home will be as beautiful
as a flower garden.
But if these minds get out of harmony with one another
it is like a storm
that plays havoc with the garden.


Author unknown.
.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dharma

Dharma knows many translations and has many different meanings.

So when you're part of a group you'd better follow the meaning the group gives. Otherwise misunderstandings will be created.

But for others the main meaning of Dharma is something like preventive skills.
In daily life we can prevent problems and negativity and we can prevent the development of the negative side of our consciousness.

We can do so because in buddhism we are responsible for ourselves and our own mind.

The more we are aware that all living beings are interconnected, the more we live with care and compassion, the more we try to be grateful and full of joy, we will be able to leave negativity aside.

What happens in life can ofcourse be seen as obstacles, but when we see them as invitations to learn and to make positive changes we are able to transform problems into something positive in our lives.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sakya Trizin

Sakya Trizin (born in 1945) is the spititual leader of the Sakya order and he's one of the most important teachers of Tibetan Buddhism.
He's famous for his insight and knowledge of Dharma and his clear way of transforming insight and knowledge to the listeners.
He's the emanation of Buddha Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom and insight.

Sakya Trizin means ‘keeper of the throne of Sakya’. he's the last one in line of the holy Khön family which is older than buddhism in Tibet.
members of the family have been underking in the Tibethan province of Tsang.
History tells that around the year 750 the family gained knowledge about buddhism by the teachings of Padmasambhava.

His Holiness Sakya Trizin has been in London in June 2010.
He was five days at Sakya Dechen Ling and his teachings were recorded.

You can find them here.

Ofcourse you're welcome to share your thoughts in the comments or contact me directly.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buddhism and science

Buddhism is old, very old, but it doesn't cling to former knowledge and strives to be as up to date as possible.
While the old wisdom guides us through the days and touches the inner truth of many people both in the eastern and western world, through the ages, people of today have to deal with the influences of science in a day to day setting too.

Some religions and worldviews simply ignore the advances of science as well as they can, but buddhism doesn't.

There's a growing number of buddhistic leaders who create bridges between the western world and buddhism and even the dalai lama keept an open mind for whatever changes are necessary to keep Buddhism up to date.

He states:

If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.

.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Art of living

Today I want to share a quote a friend has on her wall.

I'm sure you'll love this quote too.

The person
who is a master in the art of living
makes little distinction
between their work and their play,
their labor and their leisure,
their mind and their body,
their education and their recreation,
their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which.
They simply pursue
their vision
of excellence and grace
in whatever they do,
leaving others to decide
whether they are working or playing.
To them,
they are always doing both.

Zen Buddhism

.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Accepting feedback

Accepting feedback on behaviour can be very difficult.
People often think that criticism on behaviour says something about how good or bad they are as a person, whereas in fact feedback is meant to accentuate the good in a person and eliminate the bad.
When the person wgho gives feedback doesn't believe in the good of the other he won't give feedback.

When someone wants to give feedback sit down and free your mind.
Lsiten well, try to understand what is said, summarise and if needed ask for more information.
It's also nice to show appreciation for the effort taken. The other offers a learning moment and a way to improve yourself.

It's up to you to do with the feedback what you want. So why not take it positive?

It's kinf od natural to defebnd yourself, but refrain from that.
take a close look.
Do you recognise the way the other describes your behaviour, does the other need extra information to reach another intrepretation?(be careful with that, because he might feel criticised or not taken seriously).

Ask for alternative behaviour. "You said you thought that I didn't listen to Karin. Can you tell me how I can show better that I'm listening to her?

Try to be honest about how the feedback affects you and what you're going to do with it.

"I understand you saw behaviour indicating I didn't listen. I don't agree. I did listen. But next time I'll sit down and tell het to sit down too to create a more listening situation.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giving feedback

We all can do with a bit of self-reflection and feedback.

Giving feedback, hoever, is an art in itself.
It's not throwing your opinion at the feet of the other, but enabling self-reflection and maybe change.

Feedback isn't about interpretations, because the other doesn't need your stream of thoughts, but it's about what can be observed.
So don't tell the other you saw he was upset, because he might get into a discussion with you stating he wasn't upset at all.

Describe what can be observed: I saw you were standing in the kitchen and the knife sounded very hard when it was put down, your face was read, your voice was loud, and when you walked away I heard the door close very loud with a smash.

Feedback should be given as soon as possible after an incident, so the person can look back at his behaviour and remember his feelings and thoughts, but not before anger and irritation are gone.

Describe what you have observed as neutral as possible and in words that indicate it's your perception.
It's important that the other doesn't feel he or she should defend him/herself or can start a discussion.

Be as concrete as possible.

Never say: you did..., but I feel...

And check if the message your trying to get across has arrived: "Do you recognise this? Do you understand what I mean?"

When the other can't deal with the feedback, accept that.
Stay close to the aim of your feedback.
Only give feedback when you know the behaviour you're giving feedback on can be changed.

It's ofcourse best when you're able to give alternative behaviours to try out, and explain why these behaviours might enhance the way the other functions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Active listening: asking questions

Yesterday we saw that many people think they're listening carefully, whereas in fact they're fitting the information they get in their own streams of thought.

But how do we justice to the speaker?
When do we really listen?

Why do people think their friends listen better to them than others without any proof their friends really do listen better?

That's because they follow the stream of thoughts of the speaker and ask questions at the right time.

So the secret of active listening is not in interpreting and giving advice, but in asking questions to follow the stream of thoughts of the speaker.

When you do that, you'll be able to stand beside the speaker and hear what's happening. At crossroads of thoughts you'll be able to ask the questions that lead to all directions, thus broadening the understanding of what's going on.

That's active listening as it's supposed to be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Active listening: selective perception and tunnelvision

Many people think that active listening is listening with care and attention, and drawing conclusions right on the spot, so good advice can be given.

But it doesn't do right to what the speaker is saying, because we limit our frame of mind.. because we listen with a frame of mind.

That means that we sort the information we get into streams that fit our thinking processes.
That means in fact that what fits into those streams of thought is heard and many other things are not perceived.
One calles it selective listening: sorting out what's needed, what fits.
And the result: tunnelvision (yes, it's called that way when you're listening too.)
Everything that's outside the streams of thoughts is not perceived.

Sometimes this is a conscious process. When we're studying, or writing a paper, we only need certain information.

But when you're reseraching, examining, assessing or just listening well, you're not doing justice to the person.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Early years of the Dalai lama

To me it has always been important to be a stay at home mom.

People say now I'm not emancipated.

Haha!!

I've made my own choices and I've been able to see my children grow up.

It's a privilige to see a child develop in his own environment where he can be himself, instead of in a room with a few leaders attending to what's needed for hygiene, food and drinks.

Ofcourse a child needs to learn to adjust and needs to learn to assume a role in a group, but the first years should be dedicated to development of the person, of the wish to discover the world in all aspects. Not only those that are presented by others.

The importance of those first years is shown by the account of the mother of Dalai Lama of the first years of her son.
Observing a child reveals many messages as you can see here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Two worlds

At times I don't feel at ease in this world.

Living as a buddhist means letting go.
But I'm living in a society that clings to so many things that people have no moment in their agenda left for enthousiasm, sitting down to talk with someone without registering it first etc etc.

Living in the present is a struggle, because people want replies on letters that are not worth a reply, people want one to cling to emotions from years back, and people want plans formulated long before there is even a chance to realise them.

It's almost as if we need to plan our complete lives ahead, and there's no room to discover who we really are.

No wonder so many people are burned out.
They have forgotten to keep in contact with their inner rest.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

All people are equal, except...

Isn't it interesting that most people agree that all people are equal, but when you give them the chance to speak freely they place themselves aside from that rule.

There are so many exceptions that it is as if there's a special race/class/level to this society.
We don't have a proper name for this people yet, but they're sure more than others, as they suggest.

I have the luxury of not feeling that way.
I don't think I'm more than others, or better, and when I look int the mirror I know I'm quite average on the outside too.

Strange thing is that I respect some people so much I almost place them above me, but then the voice of my grandmom pops up saying that these people too have to eat and are naked when they're undressed.

This week I've dealt with many people who think they're better than others and I find myself struggling with the fact that it makes me feel very uneasy.
At times I almost want to proof myself I'm just as good as they are, but I've left that area of behaviour a while ago.

There's one battle to be fought inside.

The person who really stated in words, knowing what he was saying, that his opinion counted far more than mine didn't get a hand when we left.
I couldn't answer the outreach, as his hand looked dirty and his eyes like that of a statue.

I don't shake hands with statues.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Attachment - concepts

There's a slight discrepancy between the original word Trishna, which is literally translated by thirst and which means not only attachment, but also desire, clinging, greed, craving, or lust.

Attachment follows from not accepting that all things and people are impermanent and are not seperate. To seek permanence we cling to people, things and ourselves.

Dvesha is a concept which belongs to this too. It means avoidance, hatred. To want things to be separate from us we're also trying to escape from the deep truths of life: that everything is connected.
We intensily try to make clear we're not connected to something or someone, and by that we cling to the connection.

The reason we cling to things, people, thoughts is not fully understanding the impermanence of things: avidya. Ignorance or the refusal to see.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Suffering - some thoughts

Critics state that buddhism allows suffering.

Well, it certainly doesn't impose suffering on people like some other religions do.
"All people live in sin, including newborn babies", sounds like doom to me and doesn't do justice to the fact that a child can't have done anything wrong. Especially not when that religion grants a person just one life.

Some say that buddhism is the perfect religion for those who want to be a vitim of their circumstances.
I can't see why.

To me buddhism is not only bringing hope, by pointing out in the 4 Noble Truths why and how suffering is caused, but also by providing a way out. Not by some magical performance, but by adjusting our lifestyle by the Eightfold Path.

In clear and comprehendable language we're told how we can adjust our lives to feel better and to escape from suffering.
We can work on this every day, so there's no need to dwell too long on the fact that we're suffering.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Suffering - concepts

The Four Noble Truths state that:

  1. Life is suffering.
  2. Suffering is due to attachment.
  3. Attachment can be overcome.
  4. There is a path for accomplishing this.

The original Sanskrit word is duhkha. It has a slightly different meaning of the word suffering, even though suffering is the best translation.
There's also an element in it of stressfulness, imperfection, filled with anguish.
One could say it's more descriptive. It states the psychological impact of the fact of suffering in closer detail.

The anguish of suffering is brought about partly by anitya, the overwhelming feeling and knowledge that all things and people are impermanent.

Often used when discussing suffering is the concept of anatman or anatti (Pali) which literally means: "no soul". It means that everything and everyone is interconnected and interdependent in such a way that nothing and no one has a seperate existence.

So there's no need to think of "I", as identity is never a seperate issue. And there's no need to consider things "mine".

At another post I'll go deeper into the meaning of anatman/anatti.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fractals

It's long ago that I suddenly realised that many things cane be seen in mini, midi and maxi.
Like the molecules at mini level and the stars at maxi.

Later I found out that mathematics has a word for it: fractals.

Here's a movie about that concept.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Charity

Real charity can't be found as easy as in the past.
People want to show the world what they have done and have many means to do so.
It makes one wonder if people pay for advertising themselves, or if they really want to give their money to someone else.

Turning the question a 180 degrees: are you prepared to give me money so I can donate it to people who really need it? Without your name attached to it, I mean.

On internet I see many give-aways, but they're not really give-aways.
People have to visit sites, twitter about it and do many other things, mainly for the benefit of the person who gives away.

That's not really charity, it buying web-presence.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Deal with pain

Pain can be a real burden. Either continuously or for a short time.

When you've hurt yourself you can dibvert your attention from the pain.
That's what moms do when they kiss the kneww that was hurt.
Mom's kiss isn't magic (otherwise your dad would never be ill), her attention is.

You can divert your attention by focussing on something else.
A poster on the wall or music for instance.
More piercing pain can be dealt with by tricking the brains by making it think there's pain elsewhere that needs attention.

Pressing your nail in your thumb is a well known trick to do so.

Try it out and you'll see it works.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who's done that?

People in our society are very driven to find the person responsible for an unwanted situation.
Who's guilty?

It's seldom that a person makes a choice all by himself to do evil to others.
Most of the time there are "circumstances" that led to the acts of someone.
So nothing is caused clearly by the act of someone, there's also a mix of other causes.

In Buddhism we say these causes can go a long way back.
For instance: 
  • someone doesn't behave well beause he hasn't learned properly how to behave
  • that's because his parents didn't have enough time for him because they had relationship problems
  • these were due to the fact that they never had a proper home when they were young
  • that's because the fathers worked hard and were often drunk
  • that was because their parents moved into a neighbourhood that was unsafe, with lots of violanece
  • that was because the father was fired because he couldn't live up to the expectations anymore because he got ill from working in the mines, 
  • etc etc.
 That places guilt in a completely other contexts doesn't it?

The question about who is guilty is not a proper one.
A better question is how we deal gracefully with a situation and how we are able to prevent it in the future.
With other words: it's a learning experience and there lies a duty to learn from it.

Ofcourse buddhism doesn't allow crimes.
And the laws of the country are always to be followed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

In need and karma

I've often heard stories about people who really needed something and got it at their deepest moment of despair.

Like that couple that had a small child during war and had to flee their own home.
They took food and water with them, but ran out of all of it.

After a while the breastfeeding started to diminish and the baby started to lose weight.
All seemed to be lost. And on top of it, they were lost too.
Somewhere in a wood. They didn't know where to go.

They hoped to find some food. Maybe berries, maybe something else. But it was too early in the year.

At last, too tired to go on, they sat down at the side of a small road.

A car passed, but it didn't stop.
Another one and another one.
They dozed off, expecting nothing.
Then the car of a backery passed. Even this one didn't stop.
But when it was almost out of eyesight  something fell off.
It was a loaf of bread.

More cars passed, but they were too bussy to eat the bread.

Then they fell asleep and would have died because of the cold.
An old farmer, on his way home, saw them and went to see if they were still alive.

He took them with him.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Buddhist temples

I've been asked for a list of Buddhist temples.
Ofcourse I don't have a list on the shelf, but there's a good one here.

Buddhist temples can be found all over the world.
Some are huge and very richly decorated, others are sober.
They all, however, provide the feel of intense being.

Using the links provided on the site brings a lot of information.
Not only about the temples themselves, but also about the historical and cultural times of importance.

I never knew there were temples in Russia too, and already a few centuries ago.

Well, have a look yourself.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No killing

Buddhists don't kill.
Well, none should.

But don't we all try to kill what really bugs us?

I'm not talking to musquitos. Unless I tell them: "Gotcha!"
Which means I've killed one.
I try not to. But I'm hypersensitive to what they do to humans and I have to protect myself to function well in the morning.

That's the problem.
When I respect all creatures I want some respect back.
And when they respect me I respect them.

I know it should be unconditional. But I have to take care of myself.

What do you think?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In relation

.
All things appear and disappear
because of the concurrence
of causes and conditions.
Nothing ever exists entirely alone
everything is in relation to everything else.

Buddha



The way things are interconnected makes one feel humble.
Knowing this makes simplification something not done, because it doesn't justice to the nature of things

Friday, September 24, 2010

a wannabee buddhist

He was in a shop nearby the Tibetan shop I like to go.
He was dressed in all sorts of red and yellow, walked on open shoes, and smiled.

For a while he stood looking at the small buddha statues, then turned away and walked past a couple who were discussing the meaning of some statues and figures on printed card..
They suddenly turned to him and asked him for the meaning of a print of the white Tara.
He gave it a glance and told rather unkind: "I am a buddhist. This is not a buddhist print."

The shopowner walked to them quietly and told the couple to wait for a moment.
The "buddhist" walked away and then the shopowner told about the meaning of the white Tara.

It's a pity there are so many wannabee buddhists.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

When I meditate

I've been asked when I meditate.

Interesting. Not why,but when.

When I wake up I like to take a bit of time to be silent and let the day arrive.
I know it was already there, :), but it has to step into my life.
Often I need to be quick and organised for the children, so they'll be at school in time.
But when they have left I take some time to be silent and bring myself into a calm and peaceful mood.

I express my gratitude for being alive and my gratitude for having another day to practice to become a better being.
I remind myself how.

During the day there are often a few minutes to set myself straight into the person I want to be.

And in the afternoon there's almost always time enough to meditate about a subject.

Before going to bed, however, people will consider what I do as real meditation.
It's the only moment of the day I certainly won't be disturbed by anyone or anything.

To me, meditation is not about moments and time, however.
The way I live is changed from whirling around, not paying attention at all, or doing things mindless, as fast as possible, to devoted attention to what I'm doing this very same moment.

Ofcourse I have to prepare meetings and such. So I have to think about the past and future at times.
But when I slice a carrot I'm slicing a carrot.
I try to keep my attention to the moment and I do whatever I'm doing the best I can.

Some call that meditation too, others call it meditative mood.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're all the same

Buddhism is against war or any other violence.

This is based on the knowledge that we're all the same.
We all want to be loved, we all want to love.
We all have the same basic needs.

From that knowledge the differences between people and countries become less huge.
In fact it facilitates compassion.
And care.

Some people consider war an act of political justice.
They say they're bringing democracy to other people and it's the best they can do.
They even take killing mothers and children as a side effect of the good deed.

Is it acceptable for you that your mother, your brother, your child is killed because someone want to bring you a political system?

Enforcing your own beliefs and views on someone else is not a sign of respect.

Show how well you feel in your own system, if you need to, without showing off.
Just be yourself.
And the other will work from the need to experience the same.
Without war.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daily meditation

Some people consider it strange that buddhists meditate.
They fully accept christians to go to church and pray at home.
But meditation? That só strange!

There are all sorts of meditation. In fact, many christians consider prayer a form of meditation too.

Even within Buddhism there are different ways to meditate.
But why daily?

Because daily meditation creates routine.
The time is made available each day, and that creates both a habit and a need.
And these make it easier to start meditating.
So you're helping yourself.

Most often meditation takes the form of deep thinking about a subject.
Maybe brainstorming resembles the process in part.
Mediation is without clinging to the values people often use when they regard things.. and feelings and thoughts.
When you don't condemn yourself for less wanted thoughts, don't praise yourself for clever thoughts, and don't fall in utter amazement when you think things out of line, you're far more free to let your feelings and thoughts stream.
The consequence is that you can gain insight you'd never will attain when you're thinking in the train.

That is to say.
Someone who is well trained in meditation can meditate everywhere, because they can reach that state of mind without any problem.

Daily meditation brings about changes for the better, not only in your thoughts, but also in you as a person.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a long time ago that I heard a story and in it the drops of rain caught the sun and looked like diamonds.

Not long after that I took a note of a wonderful quote:



get your free blog banner at emilayusof.com

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Care and coffee

Making a cup of coffee is so easy nowadays.
No juggling with boiling water, but just a patch and a bit of cold water in the machine. Just pressing the button does the trick.

So how do we show we really care and put some effort in a cuppa?

Take a nice mug or cup and put it on a small plate.
Put a small spoon at the right and a cookie on the left, or put a slice of home-made cake at a seperate plate.

Add decoration the way you like it or your guest likes it.

Some people like a bit of water in a glass with it.
Others like a tissue to wipe their hands and mouth.

Maybe add a note under the cup with: "It's good to have you here".

Enjoy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Plans

Plans can guide us towards the future we wish, and in the meantime we miss opportunities.




get your free blog banner at emilayusof.com



Friday, September 17, 2010

The last one on the shelf

Last week I went to the shops to get groceries.
With a small list I went past the shelves, trying to find something my autistic son really loves a lot.

When I finally found it there was only one left on the shelf and a man took it before I even reached my arm out.
So I turned and wanted to walk away.

I saw he'd seen the small dorja I was wearing as a pendant.
But I didn't think anything about that. Just registered it.

So I turned away, but he called me. Smiled and handed me the item. "For you".
"No, you keep it. You were there first."
"Please give me the opportunity to be a bit caring. Please take this from another buddhist."

He smiled again and for a moment we stood there silent.

"Thank you. You've made two people happy: me and my son, who absolutely loves this."

"Nice way of multiplying", he laughed, and said his goodbyes.

.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lam Rim - 1 introduction

Many buddhust centers provide meditation evenings for everyone who wants to participate.
It's a very nice way to meet the people, and find out if you feel well at that certain buddhist centre.

For those who want to be active each buddhist centre has it's own list of activities, ranging from roling mantras to courses how to draw tanghkas and introduction to buddhism.

Those who are serious about studying buddhism and implement it in their daily life more intensive courses are presented and one of them is the Lam Rim.

Atisha, living in the early eleventh century, took the effort of putting the essentials of the sutras together in one text: Lamp of the Path.
Lama Tzong Khapa, another buddhist master, living in the fourteenth century, created additions to this and this text is known as The Great Exposition on the Gradual Path to Enlightenment (Lam Rim Chemmo).

Since then many masters have commented on one or both texts and even though the main texts are unchanged, translations and these comment have lead to different interpretations and understandings.

That's why many buddhist keep close notes of who their teachers were, so others can understand where they come from.

Basically however the buddhist principles have remained unchanged, but because we all live in different cultures, we need different ways of guidance to reach the same.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

His smile...


His smile
is of a softness
that soothes the soul
His eyes
speak thousand words
of kindness

He is a restful place
within the crowd
a sole reflection of the sun

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Their loss

To my regret I can't afford the courses at the buddhistic centre nearby.
I would have loved to follow them, but alas.

So I thought I'd spend the time I would have used for studies to be a volunteer at the centre.
It was kindly rejected. Maybe I should learn more about buddhism.

Interesting.

Not one question was asked how much I know about buddhism.
About what kind of person I am.

So I guess I have to prove myself as a buddhist.
And in this centre I have to do it through following their courses.
(I guess this is a western approach?)

But how can I do that without money?

Haha!!

All those circles in life that keep people enclosed.

It's all business and money, isn't it?

So I gues that's not the place to be.
There's one other buddhistic group in town, but their meetings are out of town and they are....too expensive, Yes.

Well, let's smile to the Dalai Lama on the wall here, and turn towards my online group.

For those who are interested.

When I was young I studied buddhism with a group of dear friends here in towm nd elsehwere.
We didn't ask much, we just accepted gladly the teachings and tried to live according to what was taught.
I don't remember writers, I don't remember any names anymore.
But I can study lamrim (again) and see what I don't know yet.

Before becoming a meditation teacher I went trough thorough training by a monk.
The fact that he allowed me to guide groups through meditation in which he at times took part himself says something, doesn't it?

Well, when people consider themselves more without really knowing me, I simply say nothing and move on.

I'll share my journey with you, with compassion for those who entered my life.

Cookbook give-away

Oh, I would love to do a give-away. But right now I'm going to point you to a very nice one.
One for everybody.

Nina,... eh. Ms Recipe, gives away a signed paperback of her cookbook
Ask Ms Recipe:
Simple Recipes that Make Cents to one lucky winner


In case you live outside the USA you have two options: either pay the extra mailingcosts or opt for the E-book. That's fair, isn't it?

I'm sure you want to take part in the give-away too, because these recipes are awesome.
I know. I tried several when they were prublished at her blog and they're as good as you can get.
The book is not only great to keep in sight at your own home, because the recipes are simple they're also perfect for teaching your kids how to cook.

Oh, I nearly forgot to give you the link. Here you go! :)

Read the rules well. They're not difficult. It's worth it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kowledge versus experience.

..
However deep your
Knowledge of the scriptures,
It is no more than a strand of hair
In the vastness of space;
However important appears
Your worldly experience,
It is but a drop of water in a deep ravine.

Tokusan 


Very wise saying.
Knowledge without participating in the world means nothing.
And knowing how to behave without doing so is nothing too.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

New url

I've received a new url for this site, and I'm very happy with it.
Now I'm in the process of tranferring everything to that url.

Please update your own links.

Thanks a lot!

I've also added a shoutbox at the left of the site, so those who can't login with intensedebate are able to comment too.
By the way, when you login at intense debate in a seperate tag of your browser and reload my site you're logged in at my comments section too.




7AEZ9RKQ66HE

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grief

My gram used to say that our own grief is the worst grief, unless we're able to let go.

After my daughter died, 2 days after she was born, I experienced exactly what she'd told me.
The world stopped to exist and all I could do is think about her.

But then I was told about a mother who died during childbirth and I realised that not far from us a baby had to grow up without his mother.

In fact this opened up my grief and I realised I was one in the long line of mothers who had to live with a dead child in her personal history and her family history.

This has formed me for life.
Whenever I experience something I realise I'm one of all those people who experience the same.

It's not the grief which is most important, it's how we deal with it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's my karma.



.
When you don't want to listen to me,
not with your ears,
not with your heart,
it says nothing about me,
it's not my karma.

When you want to misrepresent my words
because you ignore them,
because you write them wrong,
or because you translate them in a bad way,
it says nothing about me,
it's not my karma.

I don't want to spend energy anymore
on putting things straight,
on making you see me for the person I am.

I'm a good person,
I even feel compassion for you,
because you can't see the beauty
of my motherhood in me.

Compassion says something about me.
It's my karma.

.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Silence

Because I can't afford to take part in the course of lamrim that starts at the nearby buddhist centre today I went to a free reading at the university about silence.

I expected a kind of contemplative mood, a restful time.

Wrong!

A group of talkative students chatted all the time in a very disturbing way and the lecturer was equally restless. He gave to many quotations without almost no time between them to let the essence sink in, that the reading was a true violation of it's very subject.

So I left early and walked in the woods near the building.
It was very quiet there, with only the birds singing and some flying creatures swirling around at places.

Then the sun found it's way in long rays to the ground, which was absolutely beautiful.

That was true silence...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meeting a buddhist

Today I went to a meeting and I just before I left home the girls arrived from school.
Ofcourse I wanted to hear about school, so I sat down, listened, and then hurried to the busstation.

I was already on the bus when I noticed I'd taken a small mala with me. It was still wound around my wrist.

I forgot about it.

On my way home I had to wait at the central busstation. The temperature was very high, and I carried my cardigan and coat over my arm.
Now everyone is back from vacation the waiting area at the busstation was crowded and all the benches were taken.

I was staring over the square when suddenly someone called: "nice mala".
I turned and looked into a pair of dark brown eyes.
"From one buddhist to another... you can sit here, I have to go."

The smile he gave me was heavenly. I should have been able to wrap it and take it home.

He moved aside to create a place for me.
"Thank you. I thought you said you had to go?". I smiled back and was a bit concerned he'd forget to take his bus.
"Yep, in 10 minutes. I never tell lies", he laughed. "I thought that otherwise you would have said "no".

Yes, he was right. I always try not to be a burden and give everyone enough space to live.

We talked a bit and when the busses arrived we went our own seperate ways.
I think I'll meet that guy again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Anger, can you do without it?

Anger is one of those emotions that has nothing to add to your life.
It consumes energy, makes you feel bad and makes you see the world as a bad place. Even distrust and stomach ulcers can be a consequence.

People can pamper and cherish their anger and make it grow so large that they do things they would otherwise never do.

It's important not to feed your anger, but let it go away.
There are several ways.
Feeling compassion with the person who caused anger is one of them.
Being aware that you are the one who keeps the anger alive and who allows it is another approach.

To let it go away first admit that you're angry and then observe it in a mindful way.
That means that you are honest to yourself and accept the anger as part of yourself.
Then observe it without critical thoughts.
What has caused those feelings?
What can you learn?
Maybe you need to redirect the anger to create change for the wellbeing of others.
Otherwise let it flow away.

Dealing with anger requires practice.
In the end you'll be able to realise you're angry sooner and thus you'll prevent the worse forms of it, or you'll reach the realisation that you are the creator of anger yourself and you won't react that way.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The fruit garden and my autistic son

My autistic son didn't feel happy at school.
He was very aware of the chaos around him:
  • the sounds:
    of other children, moving chairs, wind against the windows
  • the lights
    of the harsh lamp, the sun through the window, the refection in a mirror or something iron
  • the colours
    which were everywhere around him
  • the temperature
    that changed whenever someone entered of left the classroom, and the draft that was caused by opening the main door
  • etc.

Whenever he had the chance he took off and went to the fruityard nearby.
There he sat in the grass, or leaned against a tree.
Soon he got calm and even a bit happy, but when the principal came to him he felt afraid and started to scream.
Then they would call me.

In the beginning I didn't understand why he went to the fruityard and felt calm there.
The birds were making lots of noise, the wind could be heard whisepring through the grass and the trees would move and with strong winds even bend, casting large shadows on the earth and allowing the sun to blind the eyes whenever the wind went quiet.

Soon, however I understood.

In the fruityard everything was in balance.
My son didn't experience nature as an outward experience, but he became part of it.
And thus he could rest against the tree and feel it move without being burdened by it.

What a pity his schoolmaster was never able to understand this.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Right speech and children

Raising children in a buddhistic way is a real inspiration, as I've found out.
Children have the inborn tendency to do good and when they're a bit older they want to please others.

Teaching them the right speech isn't a problem until they're going to school.

Many parents remember the first time their child came home with words they certainly never learned at home.
One of my boys didn't even understand what he was saying, but he liked the sound of some words I don't want to repeat here. When I kindly told him what he was saying he got a head so red...

Right speech means not saying awful words, but it also means not saying anything that hurts other people, refrain from idle chatter, no lies.

For a child at school that sure is a challenge, because it should withhold spontaneous outbreaks of using bad words, calling names and the like.

It's a pity that in the western world buddhist schools are hardly or not available.
Because a buddhist child is made aware that words can bring peace, help people grow.
To me it has always been a very positive approach to verbal behaviour, and it has made me aware that verbal behaviour should be trained as well as other forms of behaviour. This is often forgotten in the western world, where freedom of speech is for some people an excuse for misconduct at the verbal level, and calling names back to someone who has been unkind is seen as normal behaviour.

The support of teachers to display the right conduct in school and at the playground makes a huge difference.
When bullying is not tolerated at all, children who exercise the right speech will get the respect they deserve because other children will find the confidence and trust of never being called names or talked about.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How to tell others

When I told others about my interest in and studies of Buddhism the reactions were quite diverse.

Those who know me a long time smiled and said they expected me to do so for a long time. (Why didn't they say that before? :))
Some said: "interesting", others wanted to know what brought about the change or what I thought to be more of interest.

And one expressed a concern that I might get stuck in "that sect".

So you can understand I've spend quite some time explaining my views to others while trying not to sound like I want to influence them or want to convince them.

I came on a site which addressed the subject of telling to others that buddhism is important to you.
It's here, at the bottom part of the page.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Do you have a moment of peace in the weekend?

When I grew up we were called out of bed early on sundays because we had to go to church.
I was raised in a roman catholic family in a part of town that resembled a village and where the priests were more important that the mayor who lived there too.

I was a member of the church choir because I could sing. As simple as that.
And because I had a nice voice and kept key and could remember the melodies well I also sang solo.

My songs were always planned before the incense filled the church with smoke, as I felt unwell as soon as I breathed it in.
Some chaplains refrained from using incense completely. That meant a lot to me as the most beautiful songs were sung in the second one of the service.

One of them, who worked in china and india and was too old to travel any more burned his own incense after he carefully tried it out. He was a kind guy and told me the incense was used to cure asthmatic people. None believed him but I did.

Sunday mass was supposed to be the most peacefull time in the weekend.
In a way it was that for me, as I forgot everything around me when I was singing.

But I doubt it was for others.
The women on their way home always had a lot to talk about others: "Have you seen..., she has a new coat." etc etc.

When I went to university I visited the university church a couple of times and then gradually moved to buddhism.

Each sunday a group of roman catholic and buddhistic students would meet to share a meal and meditate.
I felt at home there.
None was focussed on outward behaviour and clothes.
None was trying to be better than someone else.

I was accepted as the person I was and took the ways of the buddhists upon me in such an easy way that they seemed to have slumbered inside me for a long time.

When I had my own family and wasn't able to keep in contact with church or buddhistic friends I kept the ways of creating a peaceful weekend with a silent hour for all of us in the afternoon or early evening.

It was very special to us and we've kept it until now.
The hour is still silent, but I wonder if anyone of my family realises where it came from and I think some even don't realise it's there every week.

Now we've chosen to be officially buddhists children respect my silence consciously, whereas before they did it unconsciously.

Do you have a moment of peace in the weekend?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The mind

When longing is suffering, what does the longing for understanding mean to us?

For some people loning for understanding is intense suffering.
They study texts and life so very hard, that they become painfully focussed and forget to live in the here and now.

There's a difference between understanding with the heart and understanding with the brains.

Understanding with the heart is far more accepting than understanding with the brain.
The brain feeds the ego, and we can do without the ego.

Some people become very critical in their search for understanding.
They find fault with almost everything and thus sink in a negative attitude towards the world.
It's like wirtten texts can't be read with compassion.

But they can.

Sure they caN...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Controversial teachers and groups

False prophets and teachers  are everywhere.
Those who start to study buddhism will try to find a teacher and a group, and they won't be able to distinguish between those who are genuine good buddhists and those who don't deserve that description.

In order to warn people a special page was made at View on Buddhism to be of assistance for those who want to recognise any problems.

You can find it ::here:: on A view on Buddhism

Connected to your past

Living in the here and now doesn't mean the past isn't part of your life.
It's your life's history and the way you live now is the consequence of the lessons you've learned in the past.

Some people tell me they can't concentrate on the present because they have had too many bad experiences in the past.

One of my teachers used to say that in that case your lesson has been presented very often and you haven't learned it yet, or you're so strong and such a good learner that your lessons follow each other very fast.

Whatever.
When you use the past as an excuse for not focussing now your tied with hands and feet in the past.
This shows the way you deal with your experiences.
Ask yourself:  Why is this experience so very important?
Are you longing to that time? Or do you long to change what happened?
Longing causes suffering.

When you're compassionate for yourself and others you're able to let go of the past.

You have to, otherwise the present will be lost.. all the time. :)

.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Schedule of the Dalai lama

I was asked how people can find out if the Dalai lama will visit their country.

Well, there are several ways to find that out.

You can contact a Buddhistic Centre in your town or country and ask.
They will know.

And you can visit the site of the Dalai Lama. He's got a special page for his schedule ::here::

He'll visit Budapest for two days in september. All tickets are sold out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Morning prayers

When I was young my grandmother taught me to wake up with beautiful thoughts.
She said that there was always something to be grateful for and all I needed to do was look around.

I've kept that habit for the rest of my life and when I bird started it's own habit of sitting on the roof and peeking through my window I always had a smile on my face when waking up. Even on days I knew would be difficult.

It was the joy of the moment that stayed with me all day.
When people would act unkind I could stay kind, because of that small bird that made me smile.
It made me aware to concentrate and focus on what I was doing, not to dwell on the past or future.

Ofcourse I was curious in which way the buddhists greet their day after I realised that my ways were very buddhistic.

Those who chant sutras often chant this part of the Sukhavativyuha Sutra:

Buddhist Morning Prayer

Full of equanimity,
of benevolent thought,
of tender thought,
of affectionate thought,
of useful thought,
of serene thought,
of firm thought,
of unbiased thought,
of undisturbed thought,
of unagitated thought,
of thought (fixed on) the practice
of discipline and transcendent wisdom,
having entered on knowledge
which is a firm support to all thoughts,
equal to the ocean in wisdom,
equal to the mountain Meru in knowledge,
rich in many good qualities....
they attain perfect wisdom.


And many love this one:

A Prayer Upon Arising in the Morning
by: Venerable Master Hsing Yun

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Today is a new beginning!
It is said that "the morning hours are the best time of day."
On such a fine morning,
I recall past experiences:
I have failed,
But have never been disappointed;
I have been sad,
But have already been able to open my mind peacefully;
I have been wronged,
But have understood
that everything in this world arises and extinguishes 
according to the law of dependent origination;
I have shed tears,
But have deeply believed that tomorrow will be better.

Today, under the blessing and protection
Of your compassionate Buddha light,
I pray to you to grant me the courage
To face all challenges on this day;
I pray to you to grant me the patience
To accept all setbacks on this day;
I pray to you to grant me the strength
To carry out all work on this day;
pray to you to grant me the wisdom
To be grateful for all causes and conditions on this day.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please help me increase my wisdom;
Please help me open my mind.
May I be able to appreciate the wonders of sky and earth;
May I be able to be grateful for the warmth of the world;
May I be able to obtain the assistance of friends;
May I be able to realize the value of Dharma.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please help me become a person wealthy in spirit

Every day, may I give with joy;
Every day, may I willingly form affinity with others;
Every day, may I practice loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity;
Every day, may I treat people with tolerance and generosity.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please help me become a brave person in life:
May I be able to purify my thoughts;
May I be able to contribute often;
May I be able to do no wrong;
May I be able to do only good.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please bless me:
May I possess spiritual wisdom
And the Buddha mind;
May I have prajna wisdom and compassion
And liberate people from suffering.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
I recognize the presence of your image in my mind.
I realize that I came to the human world to be happy;
I understand that I have entered into society to contribute;
I know that I am cultivating the Way to enlightenment to benefit all.
I vow, from this moment on,
To benefit all sentient beings
And awaken myself and others every day;
I vow, from today on
To bring good fortune and benefit to the nation and the people, and
To liberate self and others every moment.

Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please accept my sincerest morning prayer!
Oh great, compassionate Buddha!
Please accept my sincerest morning prayer!

Namo Shakyamuni Buddha.



 Have a wonderful day!

.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Looking for a money tree

I hate to talk about money.

I've always lived from a bit.
No car, no posh house, no expensive clothes.
Now the children are almost 15 or older they tell me they're very happy with their youth, because I was almost always at home.
We didn't have much money, but we had lots of love and attention for our children.

I'm happy they see it that way. That they're content people and are aware that a nice label on your clothes doesn't make you feel warmer in the winter.

Because we were able to say "no" to many nice things we never were in debt.
I was so grateful for that.

But the recent attack on our family resulted in a few bills of lawyers with a total of 1500 euro!!
And buying things we wouldn't have bought otherwise, like new clothes for the courtcase and traintickets, made the gap between having and needing even larger.

I'm so worried.

Friends tell me to relax, that we'll solve the problem, but it doesn't feel good.
This makes the injustice even bigger.

So I'm looking for a money tree.
please warn me when you see it growing in my back garden. LOL!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happiness

..

Happiness is not something ready made.
It comes from your own actions.

the Dalai Lama


The way we react to experiences makes a huge difference.
Negative thoughts about people have a strong mirroreffect on yourself. These thoughts act like poison and even though it's a struggle to erase them from your repertoire, it's well worth the effort.

Buddhism offers good tools to accomplish this task: care and compassion.
Even the worst person can be excused, because even he deserves kindness.
Buddhism doesn't speak often about guilt. because many bad acts are the consequence of a lack of learning.
If the person would have known more about the effects of the acts he would have refrained from acting that way.

Happiness also follows when you're able to live in the here and now. When you're able to let go of what happened it the past (after you have learned the lesson which was in it) and when you stop worrying and act in the present with full concentration and dedication you will feel happy.

That's true.
That's why I'm always able to deal with the most difficult situations in life.
Whatever happens, my emotions stay with it, so new concentration for a new moment gives new feelings.

Good luck.




.
Related Posts with Thumbnails