Words from the Life of a Psychic and Form is Emptiness

Form is nothing but emptiness

Emptiness is nothing but form

Word from the Heart Sutra which holds my life together.

Form is Emptiness
Form is Emptiness

Here I go again–using this blog to sort out my personal life.  Therapy for an “off” day here and there I suppose.  Maybe that’s it.  Write it out and it is released.  Not energized further.  No.  Released, that’s all–sorted out and seen for the silliness that it is, the illusion that it is.  Maybe this post could be called something like ‘The Life of a Psychic’ or some such.

BLOG INTENTION, ASPIRATION:  Yeah, but in the spirit of Tonglen, knowing others out there feel this way from time to time or there are those who know this feeling right now just as I do.  Hello to you and may this feeling for us all and package it up and see us all being free of it, having compassion for you and for all those who feel a bit disoriented or perhaps are also in the midst of a move… whatever it is you are experiencing may we know that we are not alone… there are always many others who also go through this and may we all be relieved of this suffering or uncomfortable feelings such as they are… and may we all come to contentment and peace and may I be part of that process through my love and compassion for us all as we move through uncertain times. May this blog in some way be helpful to you.

Here it is, this feeling I’m sorting out or trying to heal.  And the internal feeling comes from attachment to  STUFF, yeah, form appearances–things.  Actual material things.  I told you this is silliness being sorted out here!  I already feel better really looking at this using some logic and intellect to soothe the …. well, the what?

Beyond what words can show, it is.  How about a picture to describe it?  A bit like the scarecrow from the story ‘The Wizard of OZ’.   That scene where parts of him were over here and over there and some he didn’t know where!

No, I’m not falling apart but rather I am realizing this whole Buddhist thing about the non-self and yeah, attachment too.  How can part of me be in a storage unit (we took a lot of boxes and things, forms) and loaded them in the vehicles and unloaded them into a storage unit.  As I tried to fall asleep last night I kept flashing on the dark rainy rows of storage structures and the number on my own with the lock and my things inside.  Yeah, it felt like parts of me were there, haunting my ‘things’ in some way.

Another part of me was hanging around my sister’s apartment, haven spend some hours at her place over the weekend helping her clean and pack.  Yet still, another aspect of consciousness was hanging around the new apartment that we’re going to that is getting updated appliances, new carpet, paint and so forth–do I really belong there?  Where is my place when I also see flashes of the last few things leaving this apartment unit.  I’m all over the place!  Like I said, silliness in the life of a psychic.

I’m feeling a wee little bit like crying (its mild), but have no real down-home authentic reason but for the fact that I’m feeling homeless and even without a self, more like a floating spirit neither here, nor there, everywhere and nowhere.  And the Buddhist teachings speak of emptiness in view of it holding form and formlessness such that everything is actually non-real as if it were a Moon’s reflection in the water.

I think again of that song of enlightenment, “All these form, appearance emptiness; like a rainbow with a shining glow…”

And one of the other lines is “Just let go, and go where no-mind goes.”  

Taffy pullI guess I’m having to do that a bit as I feel pulled in many directions like taffy.  Pulled, stretched, thinning out…. and definitely no place to ground.  The lessons of impermanence and non-self and forms being emptiness by appearing just the same… these are all being re-enforced within me.

At the same time, it feels like my solar plexus is torn a bit.  Here I am looking at an application, another one, for an apartment that I applied for on April 2nd and last week I found out my application was nowhere to be found.  I now have to fill out a new one!

Meanwhile, I am trying to visualize how I will fit all my necessary “stuff” into the master bedroom of the apartment that I’m sharing with my sister and her daughter, a teenager!   I feel grateful to have a place to go.

GRATITUDE:  I CAN DO this, of course I can and am so grateful to have some shelter so that I’m free to go without having to break a lease just as soon as I get a call from one of the many places upon which my name is on the list.

fill out the formAnd so the story goes.  Maybe I feel a bit better for writing it out?  My tummy is still topsey-turvey but I’m telling myself to enjoy the experience such that it is.  I’d better get that application filled out (another form—“all these forms”— and anyway get it resubmitted.  Forms are only emptiness.

 

“…just let go. And go where no-mind goes!”  

Form is nothing but emptiness

Emptiness is nothing but form

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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.

divider3-15-13

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! 

Work with Emotional Patterns-Kleshas using Buddhist Tools and Prajna Teachings

This is what I know and also what I keep forgetting and so need to practice!  Why do I keep forgetting?  How do I keep allowing my… well, what the Buddhist call kleshas to affect me.  What are kleshas?  Essentially we could say emotions or one definition is “mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome action”.  In the modern-day world we often hear them called “emotional patterns”.  Your patterns!  Right?  Your customary and habitual emotional responses.  Yeah, new ager’s want to deny those or push them away and not deal with them out in the open like this.  Here’s what I was writing about in the last blog about my “muggle” klesha.  This is from the writing of Lama Zopa Rinposhe; it is expressing what I wrote about–remembering the nature of emptiness and calling upon the praja/wisdom of the  prajnaparamita (emptiness).  Let’s go right to Rinposhe’s words:

Emptiness is a remedy for the foundation of all delusions—ignorance—so all the other delusions will disappear. The minute one meditates on emptiness, anger for example, will stop. Anger arises when you believe in the false I, false object—all this which does not exist. So when one meditates on emptiness of the self and other objects, there is no foundation for anger. This is the most powerful antidote. But if it arises again, it is because there is no continuation of the meditation; the meditation, the mindfulness, has stopped. The problem is to remember the technique. Once you remember the technique, it always works. When you don’t remember the technique, it is delayed and the delusion, anger and so forth, has already arisen and taken you over. — Lama Zopa

Some of our kleshas can be quite clever and convince us that we are justified and even egg us on to find those descriptive words — the one’s I used in my last blog were… well, there you see?  I’m being tested again to go to those words, reproduce them and once again the klesha pattern gets triggered and those old resentments and aversions become alive.  When that happens, I’ve taken many steps backwards or the Buddhist would say it is loosing merit.

What I do is use my blog to create space around the klesha and slow it down so that I have an opportunity to analyze it–dissect it, if you will.  I heard one lama say it is like creating speed bumps for an speeding out of control car (anger) to slow itself down.

Yeah, it can be like that for us—being overcome by emotions that get triggered from those old patterns.  For me it is the muggle who is my blessing because he gives me the opportunity to practice remaining awake and remembering emptiness helps me to diffuse the bomb of my klesha.  I can be quite indignant, irate and outraged by other sentient beings who, in my judgment and opinion, disrespect animals and nature.  Like with any emotional trigger that any of us experience, the pulse races, the face gets flushed and all those other responses happen but the progress that I’ve made over time is that I am able to catch it sooner and analyze myself and the situation and diffuse the bomb or not let the pattern reach bomb stages in the first place.  I let it go much quicker these days.

What helps me is to remember that the muggle in question and his/her actions or attitudes and so forth are simply ignorance, meaning lack of wisdom, knowledge or information.  I say this without being above or feeling superior in any way.  What evens the playing field in working with that type of klesha is to embrace the knowing that what motivates all sentient beings is that they are seeking happiness and trying to avoid their own suffering.

When I remember this, it helps me very much and then I begin to move my attitude toward compassion for the other, the one I name muggle and also for myself I feel compassion and this helps to transcend the experience, bringing me back to who I truly am.

This is the reason that Buddhism helps me, because of the awareness of mind that it encourages us to have–the practical reality of day-to-day living is acknowledged and the teachings are just as real and practical and grounded.

These are a few thoughts about my last blog and my muggle klesha for the record.  Maybe any reader who comes to this could benefit in some way by applying any wisdom found here to their own life–this is the intent.

Perceiving the Minds and Inner Truth of Others – Kua 61 Emptiness, Openness

You could, if you wanted to, observe a good deal by observing any group of people—either in person—or on the Internet in any of those group settings and those observations would give you a fairly good feel for that person’s INNER TRUTH which is being projected outwardly. The heart’s feelings and wisdom (or lack thereof) will eventually make itself known to the careful observer—it is about consciousness. And it is amazing to see it in action. It also helps me realize my own which is why we are here with each other, I suppose, rather than wing it completely alone. Yet, we’re still alone even in a group of other consciousness’es in bodies or in twitter land or other internet gathering places.

If you think about it, the Internet is a perfect example of how it REALLY ‘is’. What I mean is there you are on your computer, alone on your keyboard; yet, in some way still having interaction with various other levels of mind who show up on your screen through your Internet Connection. A perfect example of life.

We can hang out in Facebook-ville or the local train station and we’re just as much alone and interacting with other minds around us; it’s just that at the train station those minds are within a physical body. But, we’re still just as much alone—and this is true even if we have our family in the mix of minds and bodies. We’re still one mind observing the rest and sometimes interacting with them (relating to them) so that we can determine who it is we are and what it is we believe. Our Inner truth, their inner truth and sorting it all out and that takes, if you don’t mind me saying, a good deal of humor. Human nature really is pretty comical if one gives it half a chance to show itself by standing back and watching instead of participating. And we can also laugh at our self in the process too.

It makes me think of times when there’d be someone at a party or social event that others would think of as a wall-flower and sure as rain someone would come along and try to drag the person into the heart of the activity only to hear them protest that they were really enjoying watching. Why does no one ever believe that this could be true? Anyway, these thoughts are the precursor to more serious consideration of the KUA of the day which is 61, “Inner Truth”—the gentle, wind above the joyous, lake. VISUAL: the wind blows over the lake and stirs the surface of the water.

A heart/mind has to be free of prejudices in order to be open to truth; therefore, dogma has no place in observing the truth in self or others. In fact, it’s a hindrance. Truth is not found by adopting certain beliefs from the local preacher or priest-like cult or by any type of social conditioning. It comes from the silent voice of the intuitive heart.

The problem with social conditioning and dogma is that a person is deeply influenced without knowing they are conditioned and dogmatized—it’s all very subtle but it does not miss the careful observer. There are those who find joy in the victimization of their religious figures and model themselves right along with that and let us not omit the new age white lighters who find the multi-million dollar bandwagon to jump on by repackaging the dogma into a new form. It’s all plainly there in front of the eyes of a careful observer with the open, intuitive, free of dogma and unprejudiced heart. And it’s really hard not to laugh about it all until one realizes that people are serious and have created their own specialized hell out of it—and this elicits a certain compassion but at the same time acceptance knowing that someone’s truth is what it is until it isn’t anymore. And some minds with bodies find joy and freedom in obeying those that they deem to be their superiors with their books of writing to stand behind.

It becomes a struggle some days to know if one should smile or cry at what is clearly observed without influence—just simple observation with unattached emotionalism that is always available but often ignored. It’s sometimes insidious but often obvious. Like, there it is—there. Obvious. And it isn’t difficult to see it and know it, for people will bend over backwards to pour out their inner truth to you without even trying to do so.

What the difference is between the truth attained via dogma and social conditioning is both vital and spiritual. The inner voice of one’s own spaciousness is serine and based on love—that love has nothing whatsoever to do with victimization or suffering and all to do with inner peace.

Heaven and hell are both seeds in the mind that are just waiting for you to think them into being and there are many of those seeds planted upon this earth—which ones will you nurture? Which ones are being nurtured by the other minds around you? Do you have a belief ABOUT truth (call this religion) or are you more interested in inner truth?

When anyone has had ENOUGH of the truth that’s been handed to you; when you begin to awaken from the spell of religious and social conditioning and when you can duck and dodge the new-age white-lighters and their multi-million dollar businesses made from repackaged christianity, you will enter an entirely new territory which in spiritual terms is known as “walking the path”.

What does that mean? It has to do with abandoning the prior conditioning and then questioning life. And this leads you within and helps you get in touch with your own inner truth. And that, ultimately, comes out in your attitude eventually whether you want it to or not.

BOTTOM LINE: Once you achieve a state of emptiness and openness, you will be open to receiving wisdom and knowledge from inner sources and the Universe Itself. It requires an open mind and that starts with releasing dogma and beliefs based on old paradigms and patriarchies.

Eventually, you will be able, then, to perceive the minds and inner truths of others.