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?
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