On the Life Path: Boulders, Vows, Evaluating Goals, Tarot 7 of Swords, Wood Bethony, and Buddhism

Imagine standing at the edge of a forest and  you want to reach the other side...
THE FOREST OF LIFE!  Imagine standing at the edge of a forest and you want to reach the other side…

Imagine standing at the edge of a forest, and that you want to reach the other side. 

Would you walk a straight line through it? Or, might the path meander in every possible direction, around boulders, between trees, along a stream, feeding the deer, conversing with the owls, and roasting marshmallows? 

Yeah, every possible direction, because this is how things are in a forest. 

Tree! 
    The Universe

[the clever lines above received by email this morning from tut.com]

I’d just been thinking such a similar set of mental phrases.  I sure am going the long way around wherever I’m going — and I quit trying to second-guess the ultimate destination a while back.  I adapted the attitude of one of my teachers who said, “… you go where you’re sent in life.”

Today I am also thinking of the Bodhisattva  vow:  May I attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings.  May my action bodhichitta grow

Yeah, okay.  I’m doing my best–so don’t laugh!  And I seem to be meandering around a few boulders in the forest of life  this year in general and this week most recently, but as my grandmother used to say “little by little” progress is made. So T-minus 4 days to take off!  The next move is in 4 days and some final cleaning took place here in the kitchen yesterday and the skin on my fingertips are a  bit raw to prove it.  Never have gotten used to cleaning using rubber gloves.  Clumsy and too much time taking them on an off as I’m pulled in other directions while cleaning–take answering the phone  for one example.

Where is the ultimate destination?  I don’t know!  But I’m willing to let that be okay.  I’ve located a number of possible paths and applied for the hiking permit (so-to-speak, speaking symbolically) and we’ll see what opens up.

Meanwhile, I have two small mirrors to un-anchor from the wall and some things to drive over to storage before the end of the week, aside from that, I don’t know what more I can do as I’ve always applied that girl scout motto:  BE PREPARED

My trip to the rental office yesterday was productive in that I was able to tie up the loose ends and end the confusion about final notices and paperwork:  there was a change of staff right in the midst of the apartment change.  (Long story–don’t ask.)  All’s well that ends well and I’m ending my association with this particular apartment about as well as I can do it.

So on to the next adventure, around this boulder here in 4 days.  Maybe then I will see more clearly what’s ahead.  I think sometimes my vision is blocked for good reason–perhaps I’m being spared in some way and that’s a blessing.

As I sometimes do, let me pull a card and ask (reaching for my tarot cards)… let me ask what is ahead around this current boulder, perhaps the card will show me?  (I do love divination! but then I’m a psychic after all and should, right?)

For clarity sake, the boulder represents the current move into the new apartment with my sister.  What is beyond that?  At least for the near future–this is my question.  Near future representing let us say the next 6 months.  So here we go…  asking for just one card, just to get a feel for the energy beyond the T-minus 4 days….

7 of swords wood betony collage

Well, it’s the 7 of Swords.  Well first thing I get here is “confrontations being avoided” — and that may be a good thing.  The herb associated with this card is WOOD BETONY which some wear to avoid evil spirits.  That’s a bit dramatic.  Let’s just say that Wood Betony can help one release fearful visions of the future… that I’ll go with.   It helps with one’s nerves when used medicinally.  There’s some reference to hidden intentions and deceptions.  Sounds like honesty all around will be important on the other side of this boulder.

The affirmation for this card [according to the book] is:  “With a peaceful heart, I gather information and truth for my plans and goals.”

This card involves “keeping something to yourself”  and being a loner–like those blackbirds who keep to themselves and bow and then fly away when they see other birds.  (Just this past week many blackbirds have been coming to the feeder–highly unusual)  Blackbirds stay to them selves so much that it is said when you actually see two blackbirds together at once, it’s a good omen.

So this “keeping to one’s self” sounds like blackbird medicine advice.  This card is also about preferring solitude–and that of course is no secret about me.  This will likely not change is what the card is indicating.  This card involves “separation from others”.   And further, this card relates to self-reliance and using one’s own wits to solve problems and resources.

Boy O boy!  The feeling that I’m getting here is that my life won’t really change all that much from what it is now.  That “loner” and “self-reliant” energy that I carry (that blackbird energy) will not change.  That’s a comfort to me.

This card also carries a meaning that relates to “running away” in some way—and that has to do with confrontations being avoided in this case (or so it feels).  There’s a testy teenager who will be part of the household and since this card applies to my question about what is around the corner for me, the avoidance of confrontations (bow and fly away; blackbird energy) may be what this card indicates.  (Astrologically speaking:  If you’re an astrologer, this girl is a Leo Moon and Aries Sun with Saturn (in Aries)  in the 7th, Virgo rising–3rd house Pluto.  My Sun and Moon are  in her 1st house within orb of her Chiron.   Her Moon is on my 12th house Mars/Pluto/Saturn  stellium.  My sister is an very early Leo Sun and Aquarius Moon affecting her daughter’s 5th House Uranus.)  Yeah, that 7 of Swords and Blackbird loner stuff …. probably good advice.  A big message of the 7 of Swords has to do with the need to be calm and to keep things to yourself–I so get that.

I may re-evaluate my plans or goals once I get on the other side of the boulder too but meanwhile, I will meander just  as I have been through the forest of life and enjoy whatever is beyond the boulder or around the curve in the path.   Meanwhile, I will do my best to hold to my Bodhisattva vows and the 37 Practices.

I also may totally plan a get away camping trip for a week  or so in the mountains too, providing I have the increase in $$ to do so.   Anybody want to order a reading or sign up for my class?  🙂   Help!  LOL

Part of the Vow:

Just as all the previous Sugatas, the Buddhas
Generated the mind of enlightenment
And accomplished all the stages
Of the Bodhisattva training,
So will I too, for the sake of all beings,
Generate the mind of enlightenment
And accomplish all the stages
Of the Bodhisattva training

This includes practice the “six perfections”:  giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom in order to attain enlightenment for the sake of all beings.

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Apathy and indifference when caught between a rock and a hard place – Knight of Wands

knight of wands herbal tarotApathy and indifference!  How to “handle that” when there’s a lot to do and you don’t feel like doing it?  I drew a tarot card for insight.  I have packing to do and my heart’s not exactly in that–except when the guy downstairs play’s his guitar and sings like a dog howling at the Moon.  That’s motivation!  But back to the card I drew.  We all have times like that, don’t we?  Stuff to do and we don’t feel like it and know we will never feel like doing that thing–right?  Well, the KNIGHT OF WANDS brings guidance.  He’s indifferent and apathetic at times on his negative side but he also has great courage and he moves forward, although awkwardly.  All he needs is a cause… to create an attitude of service to others and then the apathy disappears.

Fire within—there has to be some type of desire that is stronger than what you don’t want to do.  I don’t want to go in the direction that I have chosen to go but I don’t want to maintain the current course either—that feels like being “between the rock and the hard place” as that saying goes.  I don’t want to go where I’m going but I don’t want to stay here either and I know that I have to go—must go and really DO want to go!  But where I’m going doesn’t seem all that enticing either.  But I know I will be helping someone and will be able to save money.  And it’s only temporary—that last part is what I need to keep remembering!

So I have to pack and there’s the pickle!  I drew a card for my apathy and indifference and lack of motivation about that.

It’s interesting that the herbal tarot connects this card [Knight of Wands] with MONKSHOOD which is actually a very poisonous plant.   It’s a metabolic stimulant and in small doses can be a used [Chinese medicine] for low metabolism.

Suddenly I think of using this apathetic indifference about packing as an athletic challenge—use it as a “work out”.  Make it exercise, work fast and it becomes nearly aerobic.  Yeah, okay—maybe that is something that I could use to change the attitude and motivate self.

What about selfless service? I  could think about how I will be helping my sister save money and how we will both be using less energy—conserving mother earth; things like that.  Yeah, maybe I could expand that and make it work as an antidote to my apathy and indifference about packing.

I can think about the guitar player neighbor downstairs and his howling with his guitar and how I’ll be rid of that aversion.

I can think about how poisonous this angry kid’s energy is and how getting away from that will be a good thing.

Determination is what is needed when this card comes up in reply to a question.  In this case, the question or concern is about my not wanting to do what I know I must—continue packing!

Between a rock and a hard place!  That’s how I feel.  I can’t stay and I feel resistance to going where I’m going.  Where did that phrase come from anyway?   Of course we know that it means, “In difficulty, faced with a choice between two unsatisfactory options.”  Just like “between the devil and the deep blue sea”.

Well, Knights [in tarot] like adventure and change!  Moving from the mountains in the first place was that indeed!  And another move will be adventure and change too—moving in with my LEO sister and ARIES niece!  If you know astrology then, yeah, beginning to see why the lack of motivation and apathy?  But the good news is neither of them plays guitar (same notes over and over and over) while howling like a dog at the Moon.  I must think of myself as a monk going into a monastery!  devote my time for the benefit of all sentient beings and do my best to create some merit, somehow.  Must review the 37 practices of a Bodhisattva!  Must be a better Buddhist!

I don’t think Ram Das really said this but there was a recent quote on Facebook that read, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.”   Oh, enlightenment and initiations and packing and never mind all that because my daughter just texted me about going to the Y for a work out.

Didn’t want to pack anyway!  It’s a no brainer; I’m outa here!  I’ll pack some more later or another day!  I think about Monkshood and motivation and attitude while I swim and maybe come back with a better attitude.  Something.   For now, I’m outahere!

Dense Fog, All These Forms, Bodhisattva Practice 18

  FOGSometimes Life Itself is like this photo:  Dense Fog!  And we can’t quite see what’s around the curve of Life and let’s face it, life is curvy.  The guitar dude downstairs neighbor  may agree with that one based on his behavior this morning.  He’s slammed the door  beneath me four times and screamed from the area of the parking lot, “You’re f____ing kidding me!!”  All on an otherwise very quiet Sunday morning!  Chances are he’d agree that life is curvy right now! LOL

Cha- cha- cha- chaaa-changes!!  As for me, it’s a little bit foggy but I did see our new apartment yesterday, being able to look upstairs at what will be my monastic cell.  Could be worse.  Not sure how this is all going to go since now the move date is in question, at least my own half of it.  I may be looking at boxes for a month longer than I originally thought since the only girl left in the office (the other two quit) can’t get an answer from the big boss regarding my particular apartment’s lease.  Geesh!

I’m looking hither, thither and yon trying to determine how the furniture is going to be in my room and have fingers, toes, and everything crossed that they can get the horrid smell out of the place before we get in.  Previous tenants had some real issues!  Yuck.

Yeah, foggy.  I don’t know how long I’ll have to be there before another place opens and with each box I pack, I wonder if its contents should go to storage or the garage sale/Goodwill pile.  Ahh, but it could be so much worse indeed!  At least there is someplace to go besides the street with a shopping cart!  Actually, I’m sort of getting ‘into’ the fog lately finding the humor in it while I sing the Buddhist song about form, appearance and emptiness!  That’s a song of enlightenment and always calms me and soothes me and restores happiness [lyrics below].

Meanwhile, I know the sun will shine again and all will be temporarily organized again even though there’s chaos now.  Then we have the next move after this one to who knows where for certain;  although I have a pretty good idea (being psychic and all).

Empty forms like a rainbow with a shining glow!  —  I try to hum this tune as I load the boxes.

Better go feeD my daughter’s cats now!  Today’s my last day of cat duty–that drive down the Interstate is way too exciting for my taste but shouldn’t be bad today being that it’s Sunday.  Good excuse to get away from the wailing guitar guys anger as he gives me opportunities to practice patience over and over as he slams the door yet again!  Wow, bad morning dude?  

The wall shakes when the door slams…   more Bodhisattva practice for me!!  thanks dude! 

Oh yeah, the Buddhist song…. the words….

It goes like this:

All these forms, appearance emptiness

Like a rainbow with it’s shining glow

In the reaches of of appearance emptiness

Just let go and go where no mind goes

Every sound is sound and emptiness

Like the sound of an echo’s roll

In the reaches of sound and emptiness

Just let go and go where no mind goes

Every feeling is bliss and emptiness

Way beyond what words can show

In the reaches of bliss and emptiness

Just let go and go where no mind goes

All awareness, awareness emptiness

Way beyond what thoughts can know

In the reaches of awareness emptiness

Let awareness go, OH, where no mind goes!

Bodhisattva Practice #18 on Discouragement and Compassion  (from the 37 practices of a Bodhisattva):  “… without discouragement take on the misdeeds and pain of all living beings.”

Tonglen!

The Older Spiritual Warrior and Virgo Sun mid-degrees intensifies character formation to refine identity and dealing with obnoxious people

The Older Spiritual Warrior and Virgo Sun mid-degrees intensifies character formation to refine identity

–AND– dealing with obnoxious people

–ALSO– Inner Patterns and Emotional Work Redefining Character and Re-evaluating Spiritual Warrior Energy

Stay!  In reading a book by a Buddhist monk recently therein  was a reference to the energy of frustration, aversion and yes that other uncomfortable “a” word, anger, relating to a dog that you tell to “Stay!”

Being in the center of the fire–the flame–is also used as an example.  We want to strike back, react, seek safety and security in either fight or flight types of reactions.

I’ll tell you what helps with this—being an old warrior (such as me).  The temptation to fight and react is there but one finds the opponent or that which incited the emotion to be totally not worthy and many times that adversary (the source of the anxiety, aversion or anger) is actually downright laughable.

It’s just that one remembers the foes and enemies that were fought and conquered in the past and suddenly one can tell the inner dog whose lips are drawn back, teeth showing poised to attack to “sit!” and to “stay!”

Self-discipline and inner-mastery cannot be achieved by shelling out dollars to have someone do it for you—obviously this type of discipline and mastery is achieved only through one’s own personal efforts.

And what comes to mind is that line from whatever movie that was:  “Are YOU talking to me?”  Let me save my breath for my creative endeavors, pursuits and the enjoyment of the life that remains.

I’ve learned to step away from obnoxious humans and move toward the gentle, peaceful side of life as often as possible—it takes focus to deal with obnoxious humans.  I’d rather use my efforts engaging in creative and enjoyable activities.  Who needs to or better yet wants to be telling the energy within to “stay!”—there’s no longer a need or desire to prove warrior energy or self-mastery once a certain level is reached.  

It’s a fairly mild day here today with the clouds covering the sunshine presently.  There are a number of activities that I have in mind for my afternoon.  The Sun is at the mid-point of Virgo now while Mercury is reaching its final degrees through Virgo.

Blain Bovee, in his Sabian Sage Forecast, wrote that the major themes of this degree of  the Virgo Sun illumines character formation and themes of doing deep inner work on emotional patterns to refine identity occur.  I totally feel the truth to that.

I was having a lunar return around the time that my downstairs neighbors began to heave their hearty voices and slam the walls after midnight last night.  I had all the white noise going too!  Honestly!   I told the dog to “stay”–we were both too tired–and I pulled the pillows closer to my ears and turned over.   Again they were at it this morning with the yelling and banging and then I laugh with the Universe remembering all the important battles that I’ve fought and won and how unworthy it would be to give this notice. Again, I say, “Stay!”

Obnoxious, nasty humans getting you down?  Tell the emotions this way:  “Stay!”  (And then take the resulting inner power and “walk away” from those obnoxious people however and whenever possible.)  If you can’t do that, turn on the music (mp3 players and ear buds help!) or squeeze the pillows tighter to your ears, find the tunnel of light and let yourself drift in and sleep!

There are so many helpful phrases from the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva AND various Lojong Training Phrases that could be called upon here with this post –once one’s had that training, sometimes just one word and in this case for me lately, keeping it real and simple,  the word “stay!” says it all.

Ahhh, Life!   I love you!  Feeling Groovey!

Difficulties and Tensions Happen to Spiritual People and the Truth about the Number 11! Spiritual Flaccidity, Hunger Games and May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Hunger Games
Hunger Games

Difficulties and Tensions Happen to Spiritual People and the Truth about the Number 11!  Spiritual Flaccidity and May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

Maybe it’s the Aquarius or Uranus part of me, but I’ve always gone the opposite way of the crowd.  And in this instance I’m talking about the crowd that thinks or believes that if you have a difficulty in life or tension in any way that you’re doing something spiritually wrong!  Natural Law, you know?  Nature as an example:  the flower, in order to grow, requires the resistance of the earth to push against in order to find the light, the Sun.  Of course, how often do we hear of the other example of the lotus pushing up from the mud to symbolize our life on earth—without the mud the lotus couldn’t grow!

Tension!  There’s been a lot of that this year so far but this is (for me) and 11 year after all – numerology.  Anyway, the soul needs the tension, the strain, the stress, the pull within caused by life on Earth for growth and development just as flowers need rocks in their soil against which to push in order to reach the sun.  If we avoid tension at all costs—the way that the spiritually elite white-lighter population does—we become flaccid of spirit!  And live in yet another delusional state!

We seem to learn and to grow though tension:  maybe that’s what an 11 personal year is all about.  Does the tension and stress of earth living keep the spirit from going flaccid or getting fat and flabby?  Don’t we have to keep in shape (even spiritually)?  And so don’t we need challenges or some sort of oppositional energy (Ha! Thinking in astrological language now) in order to draw us out of our otherwise sleepy white-light delusional haze?  I’m just asking, contemplating—that’s an 11 year thing.  The word “tension”, interestingly enough, is used in describing the vibration of the number 11; Google it, you’ll see.  Other “T” words associated with the 11 vibration are these:  trials and tests.  Surprised?  If so then you might be a white-lighter in need of some 11 “T” vibe reality.

I mentioned at the start of this post the Uranus/Aquarius aspect of psyche and guess what the number 11 is associated with in astrological terms?  Yeah, Uranus/Aquarius is the answer.  And in soul astrology when we look in a chart to find where the soul has experienced trauma or wounding, we usually have our eye scanning for the location of Uranus and what where Aquarius is located.  Anyway…

Any trauma or crisis creates divine possibility and probability for spiritual growth—right?  We can’t have a flaccid soul or spirit now, can we?

Like I was saying, we need that tension in order to grow—or so the theory goes.  Tension is the key to growth; we learn through tension and we exist through tension here on Earth.  Tension creates that oppositional energy that pulls our lotus-flower-self right up out of the mud!  Light does that, sun does that and who says that the light or the sun (the 11 energy) doesn’t come right along with exactly what we need to grow, including crisis and all those T words mentioned earlier?  I’m just sayen’—just contemplating the idea of the necessity of opposition, of the right amount of necessary tension to shape our souls, our hearts, our minds, and our spiritual journey here.

Take the Yin-Yang; within the light there is darkness and vice versa.  And as the white-light crowd goes one way seeking spiritual flaccidity and I go the other contemplating the necessity for oppositional tension, life goes on as it will despite our theories.  Are our experiences in life on Earth all about haphazard odds? Or is there a divine force of intelligence guiding those odds?  As they say in the book and movie The Hunger Games, “May the odds be ever in your favor!”

Meanwhile, if any of those T words are part of your experience (tensions, trials, tests, and trauma), don’t immediately jump to the conclusions that those white-lighter’s push about creating your reality and positive thinking and all the rest of that.  You don’t need a crash course in the Law of Attraction (gimmie’ a break!) and you don’t need to escape into the white-lighter nihilistic delusion either.  Simply realize the true 11:11 vibrational message:  there needs to be balance, yin/yang and avoid the flaccid spiritual extremes.

White and black are the colors of the numbers of 11 which is reminiscent of the yin/yang symbol—two sets of opposites, the world of duality—light in the darkness and darkness in the light.

The number 11 represents challenges; do people know this?

Here’s something I found online [http://www.professionalnumerology.com/chaldeansystem.html] about the number 11:  This is an ominous number to occultists. It gives warning of hidden dangers, trial, and treachery from others. It has a symbol of a “Clenched Hand”, and “a Lion Muzzled”, and of a person who will have great difficulties to contend against.   [Based on Chaldean numerology]

My greater point is that great difficulties happen even though we wish that “the odds be ever in your [our own]  favor” …  despite that, sometimes struggle, strain and striving happens and like the flower pushing against the rock and soil or mud, that’s how we grow.  Don’t let those white-lighters make you feel bad – it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong! It’s only life on earth; it’s soul growth and maybe it’s the odds!  😉

divider3-15-13

I just remembered a few things.  First, I’ve not been blogging regularly and with this recollection, I (once again) vow to be more consistent.  Secondly, what ever happened to the 37 Verses of the Bodhisattva that I said that I was going to start doing?  Opps, see all of the above; it’s an 11 year!  However, with the above in mind, I did draw a verse number out of the basket here to add to rectify my delinquency.  I drew vow #23 which has to do with attachment and impermanence.  It talks about not holding on to anything — yin or yang, light or dark and those rainbows in life and not being attached to anything.  What do you think about how this verse applies to what I’ve written in this post?  Here it is:

When you encounter attractive objects,

Though they seem beautiful

Like a rainbow in summer, do not regard them as real,

And give up attachment.

Giving Up Concern for this Life–Can We? Enlightenment Practice #4 of the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva

Vajrasattva
Vajrasattva

I asked a vajra teacher, a Lama that I’ve been communicating with, for a 2nd best book to continue my sort of self-made dharma lessons on The Thirty Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva.   Oh, maybe vajra teacher is incorrect phrasing according to custom.   I think the word for spiritual teacher in Tibetan Buddhism is vajracary or vajrasattva is probably more technically correct but I can’t say for sure being an American who is trying to pick up where haven left off from previous incarnations—not that I could prove this.  Which actually brings me to the 2nd best book since the 1st best was $150 (totally out of the budget).

I asked a Lama of the Karmapa lineage and was referred to a book by the 17th Karmapa (who I have heard speak on TV and really admired) called ‘Traveling the Path of Compassion’, a book on the 37 Practices, which I’m now reading.

I just finished a passage written by the Karmapa on Practice #4 which was cool because he wrote about death (specifically, there’s no death) and reincarnation—he gently points out how it is almost impossible to feel that a loved one who has died is totally gone and never present in some way!  “Most people”, he writes, “have a feeling that a loved one who has passed away is still somehow still available.”

He says death is not nothingness.   Nor is it a blank state; it is the time when we transfer our light to another way of being.  We are, he says, not a candle that is finished when the flame goes out but instead a torch, a light shining everywhere that can be transferred one bright flame to the next.

Well, I had to include that here and write about that first before I start to write what I’m REALLY writing about today!  HA!  So here we go—the real reason I’m writing today!  And it still relates to Practice #4 which is about attachments.

The teaching is about being attached to this life and of course if you practice the dharma or said another way if you subscribe to the Buddhist philosophy of life and therefore relate to and start to apply the teachings to your own life (in order to increase happiness and decrease suffering first for self and then for others) then what you do in Buddhist language is that you “practice the dharma”.  Which in this case the word dharma means “the teachings” –but the word also translates to “phenomenon” and I’ll write on the correlation there another time.  Getting back to the practice of dharma, he says that we have to release attachments to life if we are going to call ourselves a Buddhist and in particular a Bodhisattva…. [paraphrased].

BODHISATTVA, WHAT?

By the way the word bodhi translates into “understanding the nature of things” or “enlightenment” –the root word “budh” means ‘to awake, become aware, notice, know or understand).   Sattva in sanskrit means purity and reality.  One could say bodhi means enlightened and sattva means existence.  So, a Bodhisattva is one who lives an enlightened existence.  And the 37 practices was written in the 13th-14th century by a highly respected and devotedly compassionate monk instructing others on how to live an enlightened existence.  That could be one way to put it which I think would be a fairly correct interpretation based on what I’ve read and surmised and I offer it to the reader with the highest intentions.

Anyway, the point that I wish to make here is that I was reading a passage written by the 17th Karmapa on the 4th Practice of a Bodhisattva in which he refers to those who turn to the dharma when in a crisis of some sort and the rest of the time their main attraction is to life and the world or the world’s entertainments.  He says that we consider our worldly possessions crucial to our lives and the very source of our happiness.

Personally, I see people who hang to each other in that same way, seeing the ‘other’ as the very source of their happiness as well.  And as he points out, even if we do not think these things consciously, they are at the background of our minds—our unconscious attitudes hold to worldly things as if our happiness depends on them.

Personally, I am guilty of this fault but am, through effort now, working to keep the dharma teachings working at all times in the background instead of my attachments and aversions running the show.  It’s a process!  There are slippery patches and tricky spots but I’m taking those and really more consciously working with them—sometimes I go unconscious and fall back into  the old habitually created karmic patterns.  (There’s an actual word for that; it sounds like “bach-tah” but I cannot seem to find the proper spelling and definition…sigh! I looked thru the glossaries of 3 Buddhists text I have here on the shelf and consulted a number of online Buddhists dictionaries! )  Well, there’s another  lesson in practice #4, letting go and non attachment!  (I’ve been highly obsessed and attached to finding that word for a good while now! ugh! letting go!)

Yeah, so anyway there’s a word for those patterns and I’ve just turned all my writing time into google time instead trying to find that right word and in giving up now must conclude this writing!

Here’s the note from the universe this morning that somewhat resembles what I’ve been trying to convey here to some extent—using life challenges to reach non-attachment and therefore happiness is what I’m trying to say and the thing below that showed up in my email says it better than I could in 10 pages of writing which is why I’m including it.  And with this, will have to wish you a good day—my time is up!

NOTE FROM THE UNIVERSE IN MY EMAIL BOX TODAY WHICH CORRESPONDS TO MY CURRENT BUDDHIST STUDIES:

(www.tut.com)

It’s not that your life totally rocks, Joy, except for a few tricky spots, slippery patches, and challenges.

But that your life totally rocks, in large part, because of the tricky spots, slippery patches, and challenges.

Stranger than fiction,
The Universe

By the way Enlightenment Practice #4 of the 37 Practices reads this way:

Everyone will part from relatives and old friends;

The wealth of long labor will be left behind;

The guest, the consciousness, leaves its lodging, the body behind:

To give up concern for this life is the practice of a bodhisattva.

Oh, and by the way, (in addition to my own personal experiences and the work that I do as a medium), I’ll take the 17th Karmapa’s word on the afterlife and reincarnation since he’s the official incarnation of the 16th Karmapa’s previous life… well, you know what I mean.  He passed the tests involved in determining the lineage continuation–he was the 16th Karmapa in his last life, and now he’s back as the 17th Karmapa!  So I supposed that if anybody should know about this reincarnation stuff, it’d be him.  Or I’d like to think so; and we have to trust, eh?

Enlightenment Practice #32 of the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Including Divination

My first thought when I drew the paper with number 32 out of the basket today and read the words associated with this practice was to recoil and to think, “Wait, I don’t do that!”  Following which I knew this must be a “biggie” if I had such a strong adverse reaction.  “You’d better look closer at this one Joy!” was the next thought.

I turned to the commentary by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche to help with this.  I think my problem was that I interpreted the wording of the original root text that read, “…if you point out the faults of another Bodhisattva…” That brought to mind the Dalai Lama or Kwan Yin or even someone like the 17th Karmapa or any of the Rinpoche’s or Lamas or even Buddhist nuns—take Pema Chodron and the like.  I revere, admire and venerate teachers of this nature; I can’t imagine ever criticizing any of them.  I honestly sat stupefied and then solemn for a moment and deeply inquired if I’ve criticized other Bodhisattvas.

Well, maybe Christians who still tend to irk the jesus out of me, pardon the pun.  I admit that I’m still healing the wound from prior life religious persecutions—but of course it is just mind latching onto an identity as one who was supposedly persecuted.  I get that intellectually and sometimes emotionally but not when the wound takes a direct hit.  Okay, okay—let’s say I’m working on that.  It’s a little bit difficult for me to see a Christian practitioner as a Bodhisattva but maybe I need to reconsider that.

Meanwhile, back to  what Khenpo Tsultrim  says about practice 32… he links this to The Seven Points of Mind Training.  The Buddhist seem to have a lot of numbers associated with their teachings:  the 3 this, the 4 that, the 6 this and the 7 that.  Probably a good way to memorize teachings!

Anyway, Khenpo Tsultrim says that one stanza in The Seven Points of Mind Training directs the reader to think that all positive qualities belong to other sentient beings and that all faults are one’s own. This is the correct attitude. [that will develop humility for sure!] Generally, most people think just the opposite: someone else is always wrong, while they are always right. This attitude is to be given up.  Patrul Rinpoche advises students to acknowledge their own deficiency first; and then, when they recognize it in someone else, to pray that the guru grants blessings to them both. It is always beneficial to see that the perceived fault in yourself is greater than it is in the other. Then you know that person is no different from you. [I highlighted what I felt where the most important points there.]

Oh Lordie, I do see how I worry/am concerned about one of my family members and their relationship to money and that this fault is greater in myself.  

The Dalai Lama spoke on each of the 37 practices of a bodhisattva and he wrote one line very succinctly which says it all, “We must try to conquer our own illusions rather than those we ‘think’ we see in others.”—pg 101, Essential Teachings

Most of what I come up with while investigating the meaning of practice 32 relates to infighting amongst various schools of Buddhism criticizing each other or student’s critiquing other students or teachers.

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DIVINATION ~ MESSAGE

Through examining this practice as it applies to my own life experience I can see how I am repulsed and disgusted with Christians to are always quoting scriptures.  Yet, am I not right here and now quoting Buddhist scriptures in the same way?

Buddhist teachings are helping me a good deal but I must remember that Christian teachings are in the same way helping those humans who, like me, are only hoping to be better humans and grow and evolve and become a better compassionate and loving soul—a bodhisattva!

Oh, and on that relationship to money thing… better go look at the bills I’ve been avoiding looking at and work on ‘my own’ illusion!

Enlightenment Practice #30 of the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva Including Divination

Shantideva (who wrote A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life AKA Bodhicaryavatara
Shantideva (who wrote A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life AKA Bodhicaryavatara

The humble monk (Ngulchu Thogme) wrote the 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva it in a cave in the Himalayas around the 13th century.  It’s a guide for travelers on the path to enlightenment—practically advice on how to actually live day-to-day.  Are you trying to consciously travel this path?   Me too; c’mon let’s figure this out!

So like I’ve been saying how I’m going to write about the 37 practices of a Bodhisattva (guidance to live by). You know the Dalai Lama? He is said to be the Bodhisattva of Compassion incarnate. Oh, to be like him! Anyway, I’ve got (like most of you) about 1,000 coals-in-the-fire-of –life’ as the saying goes (busy/whatever) but I want to get started here. So I’m writing numbers from 1 to 37 onto 37 small slips of paper and have now put them in a small basked. I will draw one at a time and write about that one while asking that it bring importance guidance for something currently relating to my life on the day the number is drawn!  Ready?

Divination Message 3/16/13 from the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva:  Today I’ve drawn Practice Number 30!  I don’t know these by heart, so I’ve got to grab the book and have a look; let’s together see what it says.  I guess you already know that a bodhisattva (essentially) is someone who wants to work for enlightenment not only for their own benefit but for the benefit of others in order to end suffering.  You probably already knew that.

Bodhisattva Practice #30

Reading and typing and divining as we go along here… right away I see it’s about virtue with heart.  Maybe this is about putting our whole heart into attempts to be virtuous?

Gosh, I’m remembering (flashing on) something my “spirit-guides” (as it goes) conveyed and at the time (as I did with many things then), I shrugged and felt it to be too simplistic.  You know, I was looking for something more profound after all—I was looking for something really sensational when I asked why I was here and what my purpose is.  I was told we are here to develop and practice virtue—I completely blew that off back then.  Yet, divine irony of irony, here I am studying the 37 Practices and Buddhism and that’s exactly what it’s about!

As I look at this little book of Essential Teachings (the one I carried unknowing with me for 6-weeks –see previous blog—which is the writing of the Dalai Lama himself), he’s talking about having the “right view”.  The word “view” in Buddhism (email me if I’m wrong if you’re a Buddhist monk or someone more expert than myself a humble student) has to do with understanding the nature of reality and the 8-fold path.

“Right View” as they call it has to do with the type of wisdom that has to do with understanding of things as they are which of course has to do with those 4 main truths:  there’s suffering, get real about it and then understand what causes it and the good news is that there’s a way to end it *(yay!) and following the 8-fold path enables us create that cessation.  And back to the 8 fold path again of which right view is a part.  Didn’t we just make a circle, a loop—right view leads back to right view. Ingenious!

Hey, by the way, thanks for being patient while I work through this.

Not to let all the cats out of the bag at once creating confusion but the 8 fold path (just as a preview and curiosity satisfy-er) and no, I’m not going into all this right now but they are as follows:  right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.  But hey, let’s just stick with the view for the moment—right view.  And let’s get back to the #30 practice of a Bodhisattva.

The Dalai Lama the guru teacher here says that this view in practice #30 has to do with realizing that the person who acts in any kind of way to do any kind of thing or who takes any action +plus the action itself that is taken +plus the person who may receive the action that we take don’t (in the right view) actually inherently exist.  Wow, that’s a tough one to explain to the average bear on the street human if you know what I mean!

This IS samsara after all, don’t you know?  This is a dream-like state of reality.  That is what we’re being asked to remember.  Things exist on a conventional level but ultimately—no, they don’t.  It’s really not that hard to understand with the new science where we look at atoms and the core of the atom itself doesn’t even exist only if we put our mind on it.  You know what I mean!?  You’ve heard this!  The chair you sit on or the table or any object is solid according to our perceptions but it is because the vibration is very, very, very slow.  On the quantum physics microscopic level (hope I said that right), it’s nothing but energy molecules vibrating—just a bunch of atoms which are empty at their very core!

So, let’s say you give someone a gift, you could say something like, “There is no giver, no action of giving, no gift, and no receiver of the gift”—that’s ultimate truth.  Conventionally, there is all that, but ultimately NO.  So that’s the right view of things which, if you think about it, is quite liberating and there’s a part of us that says, “Okay, I get that and now I can tell myself to stop worrying about every little thing!”  Or  that’s one view you could take and it would be ‘ultimately’ right, correct, on the quantum or ultimate level.

Whew!  Hope that makes sense.  The bottom line of this practice is:  No subject, No object.

So, what do we do?– we practice this.  We hold this in our mind and remember it and function in life with this view right alongside conventional reality—to practice this it changes our behaviors, our attitudes, and we become a teacher of the dharma (phenomenon and the truth of phenomenon) by our very being via our life being witnessed by others.

Right view is called the word “prajna” in Buddhist teachings.   If we get this one thing, in my humble opinion, it is the best thing we can understand and it really answers most any question we have about life and addresses any concern.  Upset? Worried or fearful?  Remember practice #30 of The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva – understand the emptiness of reality and shazam, this right view just calms it all right down for ya’!  Totally and fer’ real as they say! What is real isn’t real—totally dude! Samsara is an illusion.

Another way of saying it since this practice #30 is the 6th of the Six Paramitas (more on that another time)… the 30th is about cultivating  “non-conceptual superior knowledge” and in the words of the monk himself or at least one common translation:


Without superior knowledge,
it is not possible to attain perfect enlightenment through the first five paramitas alone. Therefore, joining it with skillful means and not conceptualizing about the three spheres is the practice of a Bodhisattva.

And another translation:

Since five perfections without wisdom cannot bring perfect enlightenment, along with skillful means cultivate the wisdom that does not conceive of the three spheres [as real].

Note to reader:  the three spheres in Buddhism are 1) self 2) other and 3) connecting action.

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THE DIVINATION

Now.  How can I apply this personally in my own daily life?  Ha!  I’m reminded lately of the story of the monk who, so inspired by teachings on generosity, gave away his worldly possessions, two of which included his food bowl and his shoes!  Since his generosity was not accompanied by wisdom he had to ask for them back when it came time to eat and then to go somewhere!  I was very inspirit-ed to work with generosity yesterday in my efforts to be an ‘active’ Bodhisattva!  In other words, it is one thing to wish all beings be relieved of suffering and I do that plenty but what about “putting one’s money where one’s mouth is?”—as the saying goes.

I did that to the point of pain yesterday—giving when it doesn’t hurt really doesn’t count in my book.  If you’re going to give, make it a bit of a sacrifice at least!  So with that attitude, I did so in a fairly large way; in fact, I gulped hard several times in the process thinking, “Yike, I hope I’m not being like the monk who gave away his bowl.”–!!

And today’s Bodhisattva Practice 30 is a great message for me (using the 37 practices as divination messages here)!

I’m being reminded that the 3 spheres of giver, gift and receiver are not ultimately real; self, other and connecting action don’t exist;  and to remember this and embrace it is a practice of a Bodhisattva!