Friday, April 25, 2008

Lesson 62 - No Good, No Bad

Each experience that we have is a good experience because it molds us. It shapes us, just like an artist would mold a piece of clay. From an ugly hunk of clay can emerge a divine being, molded by the artist. In that same way, the experiences of life, even those that boomerang back on us and those we think are terrible, mold us. But they only mold us quickly and benefit us tremendously if we hold our perspective as the inner man, the timeless man, the immortal being. Only in this way can this happen. That's the attitude, the thoughts we must have, as we go along on the path of enlightenment.

The mere fact that you want Self Realization in this life means that you have been through hundreds of thousands of experiences. You have been nearly everything that there is to be on this planet. And now, in your last lifetime, you are finishing up the experiential patterns that you didn't handle in a life prior.

Life is a series of experiences, one after another. Each experience can be looked at as a classroom in the big university of life if we only approach it that way. Who is going to these classrooms? Who is the member of this university of life? It's not your instinctive mind. It's not your intellectual mind. It's the body of your soul, your superconscious self, that wonderful body of light. It's maturing under the stress and strain, as the intellect gives back its power to the soul, as the instinct gives back its power to the soul, as the physical elements give back their power to the soul and all merge into a beautiful oneness. In this way, the beings of the new age are going to walk on Earth. Each one will have light flowing through his whole body and he will inwardly see his body glowing in light, even in the darkest night.

The good-and-bad concept should be thrown out with a lot of other things, including the up-and-down concept. There is no good; there is no bad. You don't raise your consciousness, nor do you lower it. These are just concepts that have come in by various philosophers who tried to explain these deeper teachings the very best that they could. What is bad is good, and what is good is good. And a higher state of consciousness and a lower state of consciousness, they don't exist at all. We simply hold a certain perspective of awareness, and we look out, and we go in.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lesson 61 - Metta Meditation (Loving Kindness)

Today's lesson is on Metta. We have looked at Metta before in some other posts but I would like to give you today a great visualization technique for your meditation time centered around Metta. Metta is the buddhist term for loving kindness. This is something that we should all strive to put out in the world each and every day. A simple way to do this is to incorporate Metta into your meditation, you will see that this meditation will help soften your heart to those around you and help increase the amount of love in the world. Here is how to preform the Meditation.

Sit comfortable with back straight.

Quite your mind of activity, any thoughts that come into your mind allow to float away like clouds.

Begin to visualize the Buddha in front of you sitting on a lotus cushion.

Now see in your minds eye your family appears sitting just behind you facing the Buddha, so you see a picture of your self sitting in front of the Buddha and your family members behind you. Now envision love streaming from your heart to your family members.

Now envision your neighbors and those in your community with which you have an affinity for seated behind your family. Also send to them love and appreciation from your heart.

Now comes the hard part...see behind those with which you have an affinity for in the community all those whom you do not get a long with, any one you would relate to as difficult or view as your enemies. Now also send them love from your heart. This is where growth happens when you can sit in meditation and love those whom harm you or whom you do not get a long. This stretches your heart in wonderful ways.

See now in your minds eye the Buddha sitting in front of all of you. See the Buddha smile down apon you pleased with the great love and compassion you have been able to show. See from the Buddha a brilliant light of many colors pouring forth and showering down on you and the others. See all those present in your meditation happy to receive this light gift from the Buddha.

End your meditation really feeling the feeling of pure love, give thanks. As often as you can, think of this mediation during your day. So when you are stressed you can return to this place of pure love.

This mediation does wonders in releasing anger towards others and helps bring much needed love to our world of Samsara. I hope you enjoy practicing this meditation and that you grow in your love for self and others.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lesson 60 - WHO or WHAT is the Buddha???


I am very excited about today's lesson. This lesson comes from the revered Nichiren Shu priest Shami Ryuei Michael McCormick. He has done an excellent job through this article to help us understand the proper way to view the buddha. Often times we think of the Buddha in his historical capacity only but as the following lesson shows the buddha is both a historical figure and an essence. Please use this article to further your understanding of who or what the buddha truly is.
~Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

*I apologize for the formatting of the text but the content is worth it!

Awakening as Buddha's Children

"Since time immemorial all of the people on earth have been Shakyamuni Buddha's beloved
children. We had not realized the relationship, because we had been undutiful children. It
is a unique relationship. As the moon reflects on calm water, the Buddha appears in our
calm mind." - from Hokke Shuyo Sho by Nichiren Shonin

My reflection: In what sense are we "Buddha's children"? Obviously we are not the children
of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha. But the Buddha does say in the Lotus Sutra chapter
3, "The triple world is my property. All living beings therein are my children. There are
many sufferings in this world. Only I can save all living beings." This has been interpreted
as the passage that shows that the Buddha is like our sovereign, our parent, and our
teacher or guide. How is this?

We must not forget that in Mahayana Buddhism, "Buddha" is not simply a long dead
historical figure. "Buddha" also refers to the true reality that in a metaphorical sense is the
real source or ground (though a groundless ground) of all that we experience. This
Dharmakaya or Suchness or True Nature is also the Buddha-nature. It goes by many
names in Buddhism alone. Wisdom comes from this, wisdom awakens to this. It is always
expressing itself in and through bodies of bliss (sambhogakaya) and bodies of
tranformation (nirmanakaya) in a very personal way, though it is not a person in any
conventional sense. The Eternal Shakyamuni Buddha of chapter 16 embodies all three -
the Dharma or reality, the bliss of awakening and boundless merit, and the concrete
actualization of compassionate awakening conduct in this world. In this sense the Buddha
as reality, realization and expression is really at the center of everything. At the center of
the Omandala that is the world we live in. As the center the Buddha protects and leads us
like a sovereign, nurtures and cares for us all like a parent, and guides us to the same
awakening and selfless compassion as our great teacher and exemplar. Here Nichiren
asserts that this Buddha is found in our own calm mind. Then we are able to be the
Buddha for others so that they too can find the Buddha within them.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,