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What does it mean to walk the path of the Buddha?

May 14th, 2010 No comments

Not as easy a question to answer as to ask, in every country Buddhism has visited, it has mutated or taken on local customs in some way. However in coming to the west it has also been subject to rational empiricism, which is the stance the Buddha taught to take.

As a western Buddhist I still received my grounding in Dhamma from Her Eminence Khandro Mindroling Rinpoche – a Tibetan teacher, and also from Kobun Chino Roshi (deceased) – who came from Japan and lived in America.

Now I take most of my teachings from the Pali canon, having reverted to a somewhat Therevadan stance on the purity of these teachings, whilst always being aware they were carried as an oral tradition for some few hundred years before being inscribed.

The Buddha’s teachings are quite explicit. To follow his path is to follow your breath and body until you still your mind. It is not to focus on the nose or mouth – this comes from a misunderstanding – but to “fully face” the object of meditation – at first the whole body breathing experience and sensation in the body, which one is to relax.

The neurological basis of this is simple. By sending a signal to the brain via the Vagus nerve, one of ten Cranial nerves and one that directly enters the brain stem near the fight/flight mechanisms of your lower brain, you tell the mind:

EVERYTHING IS OK!

And eventually the mind believes it. The endless, inane, babble and chatter of your own mind stops and, one day – if you are doing it right –  something seemingly magic starts happening. You start to feel quite blissful. The Buddha said, “Enraptured with bliss” and “with a bliss not borne of the body”. He described four material states of bliss and four immaterial. The first four are essential to fully attaining the meditative fruit of “insight” or “Vipassana”. This fruit is one of the conditions of extinguishing the final remnants of the three root poisons and attaining the goal.

On the way you act with compassion, kindness, generosity, honesty and do right by those you meet on the way.

The goal is hard to attain but possible for everyone who tries hard enough, develops their insight, uses it wisely to hone their meditation, does not get hung up on anything, including views of the path or the goal .. and practices hard at meditation, with discipline and awareness yet with a relaxed and upright body.

That’s how I do it. I’m not exactly a meditation master (yet?) but I teach the basics and get good feedback. Don’t know why people write books on the subject to be honest. People need feedback.

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Categories: Buddhism, Equanimity, Health, Life, Meditation, Prose Tags:

Pulp Fiction

January 16th, 2010 No comments

From the final scene of Pulp Fiction.

Jules:

There’s a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.” I been sayin’ that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass. But I saw some shit this mornin’ made me think twice. Now I’m thinkin’: it could mean you’re the evil man. And I’m the righteous man. And Mr. .45 here, he’s the shepherd protecting my righteous ass in the valley of darkness. Or it could be you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that’s evil and selfish. I’d like that. But that shit ain’t the truth. The truth is you’re the weak. And I’m the tyranny of evil men. But I’m tryin, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.

We are all surrounded by unwholesome influences including the tyranny of evil men. How aware are you of those which are touching your life right now?

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Jessica Looks Down The Rabbit Hole: The Amish Facebook

August 24th, 2009 No comments

Jess Best wrote in her blog, “Jessica Best’s Blog” (here) and (here) how during travels with the Amish she discovered their own form of long established social networking. It’s not exactly facebook, but it works for the Amish and Jess writes rather well, so it’s a good read.

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Categories: Computers, Life, Prose Tags:

And Now For Something Completely Different

July 18th, 2009 No comments

The world around us smells of decay

An empire beholden to men of hair grey

The streets are filled with many lost souls

Who can’t find their way in this city of gold

Lost souls since some day long ago

When they wondered and laughed and

Did not know all the things and stuff

That tore them apart never knowing

The meaning of anything

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A Shoe Thrown At Bush Is Worth Two On Your Feet !

December 15th, 2008 No comments

From the BBC:

In the middle of the news conference with Mr Maliki, Iraqi television journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi stood up and shouted “this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,” before hurling a shoe at Mr Bush which narrowly missed him.

Showing the soles of shoes to someone is a sign of contempt in Arab culture.

With his second shoe, which the president also managed to dodge, Mr Zaidi said: “This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq.

Muntadar al-Zaidi throws a shoe at George Bush (14 December 2008)

On Video:

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