Friday, October 14, 2011

Wedding of the King of Bhutan

The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, married today with Jetsun Pema.
She the daughter of a pilot and when the King saw her when she was 7 he already knew she would be the woman of his dreams.
There's an age difference of 10 years, but they know each other already 14 years.

We wish them both a happy life.

Monday, September 12, 2011


People have memorial services to their own traditions.
I haven't been to New York, so I don't know how buddhists have experienced the anniversary of 9-11.
Someone asked me this after hearing the speech/poem by president Obama, which seemed to be directed to christian people only.

We as buddhists respect all religions.
Death is to us not the end, but a new beginning, and the responsibility to the past is daring to learn from it and move on. Harbouring hatred is not the way to deal with grief and it's certainly not treating yourself with respect.

The Dalai Lama gave a short message today, you can find it ::here::.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Responsibily of memorial days

All countries have memorial days. Some have them in modesty and humility, others in almost outgoing agression.

Memorial days center azround those who died, or rather, they used to.
Now the people who are left behind are far more central.

In that tendency, to support and even honor those who have lost a loved one, there's a huge danger.
Not only of taking away the private aspect of grief, with the risk of keeping people away from moving on in a healthy way, but also of neglecting those who also need support after a major event that took the lives of others.

Survivors of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other events where peope died can feel a tremendous feeling of guilt. They don't understand why they have survived and sometimes even feel they haven't done enough to assist others during the disaster. This guilt may develop into severe depression and even suicide.

Acknowledging and honoring the survivors, celebrating life, should be also an important aspect of memorial days or weeks.

In The Netherlands Memorial day is celebrated at may 4th. It's celebrated with dignity and respect for all who died during wars and peace missions.
The day after freedom is celebrated. All over the country festivities, open air concerts and children events take place.
The message that is conveyed is clear: death and survival belong to each other and each have their own place.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't concentrate on others

Raising children is a day to day challenge and to me buddhism is a good inspiration to tackle subjects one might forget.

Buddhism teached that people are responsible for their own behaviour and people should take that responsibility.
With a large family attention is easily drawn away of what's the centre and there's always a tendency to tell mom that someone else did this or that.

My standard reaction is: "first improve yourself so you show the other he is able to improve himself too.". It's a nicer version of: "shut up and mind your own business."

I think one needs to be humble before commenting on the behaviour of other people. Knowing you're not perfect helps a lot not to comment.

Not being negative creates a positive feel in the house. And not commenting on others adds to that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Burning incense

Burning incense can be a way to pay homage, a way to add to concentration and meditation or simply a way to give your house a nice smell.

But are you aware that there are people who are not able to cope well with the fragrance of some kinds of incense?

So when you expect visitors, always ask them if they are fine with you using incense in your home.
It's a way of showing hopspitality, as you want your guest to be able to breathe freely.

Some asthmatic people can feel very bad because of certain smells, but when they're warned they cane take medication to prevent problems.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Prayer Wheel House in Scotland

A couple of days ago the National Museum of Scotland opened a Prayer Wheel House.
4 years ago the Venerable Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche was asked for his assistance and he thought it wise to give the actual development in the hands of Samye Ling, the international buddhist centre of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

For those who are interested in the way it all came into being I've found a link which illustrates this with photos.

Have a nice time ::here::.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Smiling softens the heart

The past year has been very hard on us, but on the other hand... we were like trees in the wind, bending, but not breaking.

We've learned a lot.

One of the most important lessons for life is the experience that smiling really softens the heart.

Oh, some people hate it when others are able to smile even when they go through the roughest times of life. They can't bear it when the smile stays even when the tears are near to the surface. It enfuriates them and even makes them become nastier and more relentless.
They will try and make that wall around their feelings firmer and wider, creating a prison for themselves.
I feel sorry they feel the need to do so. They must have had some terrible experiences in their lives that they rather isolate themselves than reflect on their thoughts, feelings and actions and live with real care and compassion for others.

Some however are able to break their walls down and smile back.

But the reason I smile is not because I want to take away the responsibility of the other for his own behaviour. I don't feel the need to control the other person.

I've found out that with a smile my heart grows larger and I'm able to deal with a lot more than without that smile. The smile makes it easier for me to care for the other and to have compassion. It makes me able to endure more and to see things in a wider perspective. It's like the smile prevents me to have thoughts I don't want to have. It's part of the better me and it makes my whole being be the better me.

One of the children said that with a smile it was easier to go on doing the things she wanted to do, because it made her aware she had a choice.
She felt some other people didn't use the choice they have to make every moment a better moment.

So we've learned a lot!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

hands and rain

Folded hands
can't keep the rain
spilled force

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are you a competitor at work?

Some people simply love working and when they're promoted to a higher rank they're even a kind of surprised.
They "just do their job" as well as they can and to feel content about that is their reward.

How about you?

Are you competitive at work?

Many people are.

The past month I've spoken with quite some people about the subject and the main reasons for being competitive are:
  1. Fear to fail in the eyes of others.
  2. Earning more money.
  3. Pride. The need to be better than others.
It's interesting that people attach values to their motives.

The first motive, not to fail in the eyes of others, is seen as negative.
The underlying feelings are those of insecurity, being unable to fullfill expectations and non acceptance of their own talents and gifts.
Some of these people found out during the conversation that they'd rather do other work and they feel they would be happier there. But fear of failure kept them from writing an application.

The group that wants to earn more money is mixed. That's due to the fact that the motives for earning more money differ a lot.
Some are in need of money, because they're dealing with problems with the mortgage due to the recession. Some want to realise a dream and are saving for that one in a lifetime trip, a wedding and other goals.
And there's a group who just want to have more and more, and feel driven by a kind of greed. They don't use the money to make other people or themselves happy, but just to pile it up.

I'm not a very competitive person. I'm lucky to be born without jealousy.
I've worked both at the hospital and the uni with utter pleasure and when they would ask me back I would start again without any hesitation.
Ofcourse I have dreams and wishes (see wishlist) and as this society doesn't run without money I need some too. In fact I'm always short of money, mainly for the children.

I've dealt at my work with competitive people of all sorts and sizes.
To me it seems that competition diminishes social relationships a lot. Some people's smiles can't be trusted, because they smile to people they don't like, to be liked and to be chosen over others.
I've experienced people taking my books so I couldn't look up things and they could come up with the knowledge. Etc etc.

How are you at your job?
Who are you at your job?

He's himself

One of my old friends is going through a lot of changes in his life.
I'm not involved, just observing what is going on.
He's been used to a high rank in social life from his early days at school.
His posture, his gestures, the way he looked, it all made people feel impressed and willing to hand over power and decision making.
On the other hand, he made people feel the need to strive to become a better person. He was and is kind of charismatic.

Knowing him on the personal level also showed his insecurities and his tremendous kindness for the people close to him.
The hesitation to show his love sometimes threw people back on their own, make them feel waiting for something that would never come.

On his flight to the top he went fast. Very fast.
Sometimes I worried if his work was not overshadowing his family life, but it was not up to me to say something about it.

A few months ago his working carreer was brought to an end.
Re-organisations for the so maniest times made him decide to step down.

He's disappeared from the limelights, out of the top rankings, and finally he's got all the time of the world to himself, so he can decide what to do next.

What would you do?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Better internetconnection?

I guess I needed a break from blogging here, because the internetconnection has been crap all summer.
In a village nearby they're redoing all the cables and wires and it sure affects us here.
They've promissed a couple of times the connection would be a lot better in september.
Well, I hope so.

We didn't have much of a summer.
Too much rain, too much grey colours.

Maybe, maybe we'll have better weather at the end of the week.
I'll keep my fingers crossed.

How was your summer?

Monday, August 15, 2011


I'm pasting this post at the date I've written it.
I couldn't access my blog.


One of my daughters loves beading. She has already made some nice bracelets for the people she loves and likes and they're all welcomed and worn with pleasure.

I've seen that one of the jewelry shops has a large amount of beaded bracelets for under a euro in a large basket.
They're there for almost or maybe for over a year now, and no one buys them.
I've been thinking to ask them for my daughter.

I'm not the person who's used to asking items, so I have to think a bit about it... but knowing me, in the end I will.
So why waste time?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Being accepted

After all we went through the past year we doubted if people could see who we are.
We shouldn't have had that deep doubt for one little moment, we found out.

On one of our trips we paid a visit to a buddhist temple and the shops nearby.
I had been to one of the shops before and had a very nice conversation with the chinese owner.
This time there was a woman who turned out to be his mother.

We had a talk about buddhism, commercial buddhism (where you have to pay a lot to learn what was given free a lot of centuries long), and the inner need to be among people who are soft of heart. She smiled in a wise way when I said I often miss this in daily life.
And then we were invited over for buddha day.

We had a good day, I will write about that another day.

Interesting was that they are chinese and I am following the Tibetan tradition.
There was no problem with that on buddha day, however. All sorts of buddhists were present and on the main stage people from all over the world performed.

Then we had to be near the shop a few weeks later and she was happy to see us.
When my son said he needed some incence, she guided him to Tibetan incense and praised the positive effects on the lungs of that particular incense.

We felt like she said that she knew we were Tibetan buddhists, but she wanted to stay in contact nevertheless.

Now we're developing a friendship which is very precious.

I'm happy that the chinese people here are able to accept Tibetan buddhists and love with them and share their traditions in utter respect.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Back again

I'm back again blogging here after a break.
Not a lazy one, but one to pull back inside myself.

With so many things going on in my life I found myself trying to live up to the expectations of others and especially of myself.
People were not willing to see my family and me the way we are and after defending us I tried to proof them wrong. Until I realised that by doing so I was not true to myself anymore.

When people have power over others, as they have over us in this case, they often lose care and compassion and they stop truly listening with their hearts.
Even in the "help-business" forcing views and therapies on people is accepted and I wonder if anyone even considered the ethical boundaries of it all. The need to help is greater, much greater, that the actual need for help.

When we tried to proof nothing was the matter and no help was needed, proof we only could deliver through psychological evaluation, it turned out that the registered psychologists didn't want to do assessment in our case. As there was clearly nothing the matter, why assessment?
They were right in their own thinking.
But they left us standing empty handed in front of those who told us to proof nothing is the matter.

People can make life complicated, too complicated.

So I wrote what those people wanted myself, so legally it was written by a psychologist. LOL!

And then I gave my family my total attention again and we lived our lives the way we saw fit.
So I was the good mother I've always been and my kids felt well again.

It's not that a bad story is finished with that. It doesn't work that way between people when one part of them doesn't respect the other part.
But we've got our self-respect back, and that's what's most important.
That we feel happy again, and not influenced by the opinions of others.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is this Karma?

I've always tried to be an honest and sincere person.
I never cheated at school or university, simply because I couldn't. I became nervous, very self conscious and got a terrible red head.

So why do people lie about me?

As a buddhist I should say it's Karma. Maybe I did something wrong in my past life and now it's time to pay for it.

A buddhist teacher had a good laugh a while ago when I said I had the feeling I was playing a role in the Karma of someone else. Without me, he could not make the choice he had to make.
This person made a huge mistake and I was the victim.

It was a strange experience, because I saw no cause at all why this person should speak bad about me.

Buddhists who are grown up in a buddhist culture are far more accepting of these situations than I am.
It's part of the suffering of life, they say.

Oh yes, suffering it is... but only because I long for the truth: that I'm OK.

How far should we go in accepting injustice?
Should we just accept that people destroy your family life because they think wrong?

Some say I just should bow my head and let happen whatever happens.
But the consequences are not right.

Some say I should stand up for the truth as long as I won't be violent and will be peaceful.
But the person who speaks ill of me feels it as a violation of his supremacy when I go against him.

So tell me, what would you do?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Martin Luther King Day

It's Martin Luther King Day.
I guess this year there's not a lot spend on bringing this to the attention of the public, because i saw far less blogposts about this special say than the years before.

Martin Luther King stood up against injustice and he changed the world.
He firmly believed that all people should fight for equal rights and justice for all and he would have just as hard a battle today as he had in his own days.

It's hard to say, but today there are many people who think their opinion is of more value than those of others, as many people who look down on others, and as many people who enforce their wants and needs on others.

We've experienced ourselves the past months what happens when people have lost their perspective and let their phantasies about others run freely. To feel dependent upon the judgments of others is a strange experience when you know for yourselves that you're a good family and good individuals.
It's also a very educational experience as we share these feelings with many people in the past and present, all over the world. Black people, Tibetans, Native Americans, Aboriginalsm and many more.

I feel lucky we were able to keep thing into perspective for ourselves. That we felt no need to take the role of underdog upon us.
But the idea that other people consider them better human beings is quite disturbing.

I believe that all people are equal.

And I dream that one day people gain the insight that they have to respect others, have to respect themselves and have to live more in the present to fully enjoy life.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Om mani padme hum

A long time ago I entered a tibetan shop and it was like entering a completely different world.
I was welcomed in a very kind way and immediately I felt at ease.

In the centre of the shop was a raised space and on the wall behind it the Dalai Lama smiled to me from a photo.

The music was soft, but ever so present.
3 hours after I left I was still singing the mantra inside myself.

It was this music which has become my favorite music and those of the children.
They often ask for it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The moon

Do you notice the moon when it's visible in the sky?
Have you ever taken the time to feel the moon?

Being silent and let nature speak to you is very empowering.

Dress yourself warm and sit down in the light of the moon and open your mind and heart....

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A seperate "I"?

Buddhism states it's a misconception to think our mind and body are seperate from everything else.
The consequence is that this idea generates self-centeredness, because one thinks in terms of "I"and "mine".

Arising from this are 5 kinds of troubles:
  1. greed
  2. resentment 
  3. righteousness
  4. negligence and 
  5. doubtfulness
Practicing selflessness and becoming aware that we own nothing will end this.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How often?

How often do you ask
how do you do?

Do you wait for an answer,
or do you turn around
and forget about the question asked?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You speak a thousand languages.

You speak a thousand languages.

You're talking.
Your face creates a thousand people
and it's only you
who's speaking.

Gestures of your hands are loud,
as is the shrugging of your shoulders.

You speak a thousand languages.

I close my eyes,
and hear a thousand tones.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Do you listen to gossip?

Do you listen to gossip?
Or are you a person who takes every lesson for the truth?

The Dalai Lama says:

"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."


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

meaning and reality

When I attach meaning to something I create my own reality.
Someone else might attach a completely different meaning to it...and creates his own reality.

A mailbox is positive for people who love mail. And the sound of it generates a pleasant feeling.

Those who have to pay far too many bills fear the sound of a mailbox. It might be another bill arriving.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You can't change? You can!

Today I was talking with someone who said every so many minutes: "people can't change, so I can't change." It was almost like a mantra. A destructive one.

When people say I can't change they mean: I don't want to change, and my automatic response is starting to search for the reason.
Is it fear? Do they gain by not changing?

I think everyone can change.

The Dalai Lama says:

"When we really feel that there is some need to change,
then our minds can change.
Wishing and praying alone will not transform your mind,
but with conviction and reason,
reason based ultimately on your own experience,
you can transform your mind.
Time is quite an important factor here,
and with time our mental attitudes can certainly change."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Impact of daily news on children

Again a shooting.

Again I wonder about the impatct daily news has on children.

There's so much negativity in the news and it comes from all parts of the world.

I fear that certain children might start to think that this world is all bad and negativity.
A few times a week it's in the news that children aren't safe, and men in neat suits look in the camera and state that they can't cope anymore.

Grown ups send so many mixed messages that children get aggressive or just don't care about the feelings of others anymore.
Or they close themselves for their own feelings.

What are your thoughts about this?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

How do you game?

Interactive games show who you are as a person.
Not all intercative games offer the opportunity to learn to know yourself a bit more, but many do.

Are you a person who shares and gives? Or are you a person who takes?
Do you want to be better than others?
Or do you play for fun or to improve yourself?

I'm sure you can come up with more questions like these.

And I'm sure you can answer them. :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Individuality, yes or no.

Isn't it interesting there's so often a tension in people between individuality and wanting to belong to a group, wanting to fit in and to be accepted?

People want to be seen, and at the same time they want to blend in.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mindfulness as the new trend

I've seen trend of therapies come and go during the past 40 years.
Very interesting to see what people need in certain times of cultural and economical development.

The past year step by step mindfulness became accepted in the psychological care in The Netherlands, even though people rather call it something else.
The idea that a good way to deal with life has been around for thousands of years and is a way of living for millions of people who would never ever be able to pay for one singles session of psychotherapy is almost unacceptable.

That we've here in the home have been able to cope with a complex family thanks to mindfulness is almost unbearable for those who earn their money...with...say...120 euros an hour.

I've taught so many parents the way I deal with autism that I lost count. Pity I didn't send them bills. I would have had a very large villa with pool, 3 vacations a year, a jaguar and a mercedes, and certainly a subscription to my favorite magazines. LOL!
I'm sure I wouldn't have had to look for the least expensive shoes or search to find donations and sponsoring for my girls to go with school to another country.
OK, wrong choice.

But I've reached far more people and certainly those who would never have been able to afford a psychologist teaching them.
And I would have felt a fraud because buddhism provides everything for free.
(Not our local buddhism organisation..alas!)

Today I stumbled across an article in the Guardian about mindfulness in the UK.
In case you're interested. It's here.

When it's not accesssible anymore, please let me know.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Some thoughts on ego, empathy and choices.

"Being a buddhist is for a large part about being nice", said one of my children a while ago.


Care and compassion are the main ingredients of daily life and communication, and all sorts of good behaviour flows from that including forgiveness, understanding and being kind to people one initially doesn't like.
In fact...the "doesn't like" disappears as soon as the person is regarded with an open mind and compassion.
Most unwanted behaviour is caused by experiences people haven't made a choice for.
When we see that, we see a person who is hurt and in pain, and needs care and a friendly face.
That usually stops a chain of bad events and enables that person to heal, at least partially.

The last year we have encountered, as a family, some people who were guided by their willingness to do well.
They were so very willing to do good, that they lost the ability to perceive the good in people.
They wanted everything to fit in their picture and rather than checking their own perception they fitted everything in the matrix in their heads.

It's what happens when people think they have the ultimate truth in their hands.

It's one way of describing what we buddhists say: "Reality is the way we see it."

Teaching children to deal with people like that has been of the largest challenges of last year.
How to deal with people who speak bad about you, who paint a picture about you that's not how you are, who deny the plain facts?
How to deal with people who read into your words something completely different than you have intended?

Ofcourse I gave my children an insight in how people become that way.
People are products of their own history, of their own wants and needs, and of their own ego's.
But I also gave them the power to stay the person they are, to have faith in themselves, to stay pure and clean in their own intentions.
I can't say how often I told them to listen to their inner voice. I have learned these kids have a very clear intuition, and they should not be misguided by wants and needs, by misperceptions are anything else.

They said they didn't trust a person, and so I learned them how to deal with that.
Help came as a surprise by someone who said there was no need to deal directly with that person, they could write down what they had to say if they wanted too.
Help also came from time itself, as they had so much to do for school that they gladly wrote down what was on their hearts, instead of bicycling to town and lose lots of time.
They would have gone to the meeting otherwise.. with the risk of having their words turned again, like happened before and what happened with my own words and behaviour.
I think an ego was hurt a bit, but sometimes it's time for grown ups to grow up.

When talking with the children it was clear they missed something very important in the other person: empathy.
It's the ability to step out of your own frame of mind, your own wants and goals and perceive with an open mind the other person and to understand that person from the way he is, from his own life.

It was amazing to see what my children could do what the grown up couldn't do. Display empathy.
I think it's inborn and disappears when the ego takes over and grows to be a feeding force for the wellbeing of the person.
When we lose touch with our own inner being and strive for wealth and recognition the ego takes over. In certain jobs ego's are regarded to be of more importance than empathy. It's about being on top of other people, I think.

My children have learned that it's not always possible to keep oout of the way of people like that.
They've also seen how they mold their own reality into something they feel comfortable with, or can gain their own egofood with.

It's a kind of warning too.

When a person grows up he's faced with choices about his own person.
By making a choice for a profession it might be a choice for a certain behavioral climate which might go against the way you want to be.

It's a huge choice.

Young people are not always aware they have that choice.
Older people are not always able to face up to that choice.

How about you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Buddhist new year

The buddhist new year is celebrated at different dates in different countries and in different traditions.

In Mahayana countries new year is celebrated on the first full moon day of January.

Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese buddhists celebrate according to the lunar calendar, so late January or early February.
The Tibetans usually celebrate about one month later.

In Theravadin countries, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Lao, the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April.

Buddhists tend to adjust themselves to the people around them. So don't be surprised when they celebrate new year with you too.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Traditional resolution

I don't make resolutions.
I think I don't.

I try to stay in the present, live as intense as possible.

Doesn't that sound as a resolution?

Interesting is that very long ago I wrote down in a diary that I wanted to do something good for someone else at least once a day. Something I wouldn't have done otherwise, or to someone I wouldn't have done something for.

No, I wasn't a member of the scouts or something like that.
I just wanted to become a better person.

Little did I know that buddhism contains something that contains this: metta.

Wishing and doing the best to everyone, including the people one doesn't like.

It's one of the most difficult resolutions one can make, but also one of the easiest.

Difficult, because our society makes us hate people, judge people, criticise people until they're nothing.

Easy, because it makes us stay close to the people we really are: good, open people.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An open year

Isn't it wonderful to mark the beginning of a new year with fireworks?
OK, it's not very good for the environment, and the animals simply hate it, but I'm thinking more of the old ways people marked new beginnings.

First they got rid of the bad spirits by making a lot of noise.
When they were gone, one could have an open look into the future.

Without realising that millions of people open the new year with a lot of noise.


Happy new year!
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