Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lesson 59 - Wisdom is a Whisper

I want to give you something to ponder on this week and a lesson to practice. You know it is often times interesting to me when speaking with a revered one (buddhist priest or holy person) that many times it has been my experience that something they might say very casually will later hit me as very profound. I think it is the way with those who have a holy calling that the buddhas' essence just pours from them in this easy manner. Last week I was speaking to a buddhist priest who said something that struck me as one of these profound statements. When talking about wisdom he said "Wisdom is a whisper, wisdom does not speak in a loud voice so you must calm your mind through meditation so you may hear the whisper of wisdom when it speaks to you." In this blog we have often talk about the chaotic nature of the mind. We have often described the mind as a the buddhist usually refer to it as "the monkey mind" racing in it's many varying directions of worry, desire and other related attachments. I challenge you this week to make a concerted effort to meditate so that you may hear your own internal voice of wisdom. Like the revered mentioned wisdom does not come on with a strong overbearing voice so silence your minds racing thoughts through peaceful mediation and allow your self that opportunity for clarity so that you may hear when wisdom speaks to you.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Lesson 58 - The Three Bonds: Anava, Maya and Karma

"Anava" this simple word has a deep and very spiritual meaning. The buddhist term (and also used in Saivite theology) Anava means the consciousness of the ego, the sense of "I" and "mine". The representation of a sense of individuality and a separation from a general existence of any "divine plan". One of the three Buddhist malas or bondages: anava, karma and maya. In Shaivism, anava is the cause of the individual soul's mistaken sense of separate identity from Universal God, and the last bond broken before union or Self-Realization (moksha).

"Maya" is the belief that everything, which one sees in this world is illusion, a product of the individual's own failed interpretation and self-delusion. It begs the question...is there an out there, out there?

"Karma" if you are a reader of this blog I know you know what Karma is by now but as a quick definition. Karma is the universal principle of cause and effect.

Now that you have a working definition of what Anava, Maya and Karma mean I would like to relay to you the following dharma lesson.

Just as children are kept from knowing all about adult life until they have matured into understanding, so too is the soul's knowledge limited. We learn what we need to know, and we understand what we have experienced. Only this narrowing of our awareness, coupled with a sense of individualized ego, allows us to look upon the world and our part in it from a practical, human point of view. Pasha is the soul's triple bondage: maya, karma and anava. Without the world of maya, the soul could not evolve through experience. Karma is the law of cause and effect, action and reaction governing maya. Anava is the individuating veil of duality, source of ignorance and finitude. Maya is the classroom, karma the teacher, and anava the student's ignorance. The three bonds, or malas, are given by the buddha to help and protect us as we unfold. Yet, the buddhas all-knowingness may be experienced for brief periods by the meditator who turns within to his own essence. "When the soul attains Self-knowledge, then it becomes one with the buddha. The malas perish, birth's cycle ends and the lustrous light of wisdom dawns." ~Namaste

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Lesson 57 - Tantric Practice, Karma, Vows and Guru Lineage

I wanted to post this video today as a means to explain why it is essential to have a lineage holder guru when practicing Tantra and to clear up misconceptions related to the term Karma. Many Westerners I think are drawn to tantric practice because they love the idea of secret, magical practices but I tell you it is VERY dangerous to practice in this manner if you do not have proper empowerment and a qualified lineage holder guru to guide you. I come from the Vajrayana tradition and for us we are taught from very early on the importance of guru lineage but I think this is something that most westerners do not have a good understanding of as to why this is necessary so today's lesson is in video format from Tsme Tulka Rinpoche on this subject. He does a most excellent talk on why this is so important and the pitfalls that await those who attempts these practices without proper training and guru blessings. He also speaks of Karma another subject I think is highly misunderstood and it's relation to vows. Please enjoy this video it is one hour and thirteen minutes long but it is chopped full of a whole host of important topics and the knowledge it imparts is quite important and worthy of your time I assure you. Enjoy and Namaste.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lesson 56 - Mindfulness

One of the cornerstone teachings in Buddhism is that of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice in careful attention. It is important to be mindful in ALL things, in this way we have the best opportunity to guard ourselves from negative outflow like harmful speech or harmful action. When we are mindful we are completely in the moment and aware of our deeds and actions. We are not concerned with the past or future only the exact present moment. When we are mindful there is no need to second guess ourselves because we know that we used our full attention to focus the best effort possible on the task. Mindfulness also allows us to truly see a situation for what it really is because we have been fully attentive and not wrapped up in our own internal dialog and perceptions. Being mindful in ALL things is the best way to practice the dharma. So the next time you brush your teeth or have a conversation with a friend I challenge you to be mindful. Do not get caught up in your thoughts or opinions of the situation or participate in an activity as if in auto pilot mode but instead be fully present, experiencing moment by moment the joys of living a life fully alive and attentive. I assure you that this will improve your quality of life in innumerable ways.