Lessons Along the Path

“The path is like a busy, broad highway, complete with roadblocks, accidents, construction work, and police. It is quite terrifying. Nevertheless it is majestic, it is the great path. ‘From today onward until the attainment of enlightenment I am willing to live with my chaos and confusion as well as with that of all other sentient beings. I am willing to share our mutual confusion.’ So no one is playing a one-upmanship game. The bodhisattva is a very humble pilgrim who works in the soil of samsara to dig out the jewel embedded in it.” ~ Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

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Photo by Axel Vandenhirtz on Pexels.com

Everything changes

be kind and grateful as much as possible

eat local, wholesome foods, mindfully

consume ideas that are wholesome, nourishing, and in alignment with nature.

be in touch with your precious breath

take time each day for a yoga and meditation practice

cultivate loving relationships with all beings including yourself

choose to slow down

choose to let your emotions arise and pass away, even the difficult ones, even the excruciating ones, even the ecstatic bliss

release the delusion of “I, me, mine”

(Buddhist teacher Joseph Goldstein says, “Nothing whatsoever is to be clung to as me or mine.” This isn’t easy, since it happens multiple times per minute. My bed. My house. My body. My child. My pet. My happiness.)

watch life as it unfolds and remember that “I” am nothing but a collection of ever-changing molecules in human form who has been given this day to live, breathe, love, and make mistakes

[Read original post on elephant journal]

5 Ways to Find Balance & Bliss in Daily Life

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Our past does not have to define or confine us. We have the power to choose, now, in this moment, to say YES or NO or MAYBE. We have the power to affect our present and future, yet the wisdom to know that there are many things outside the realm of our control.

Finding our balance is lifelong work. If we were perfectly balanced all the time, that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? We wouldn’t appreciate the times when we find balance because there would be nothing to compare it to, no growth, just a stagnant, too-easy, status-quo balance.

Here are some wonderful ways to cultivate more balance and wellness into our daily lives:

1) When you wake up every day, repeat this Shantideva verse three times (Pema Chodron swears by it):

Just as all the Buddhas of the past
Embraced the awakened attitude of mind,
And in the precepts of the bodhisattvas
Step by step abode and trained,
Just so, and for the benefit of beings,
I will also have this attitude of mind,
And in those precepts, step by step,
I will abide and train myself.

Bodhisattvas are human beings who strive to benefit all beings (including themselves) and choose to stay in the human realm helping inspire everyone to achieve enlightenment. The precepts include a long list of things to avoid (killing, stealing, etc.), the Buddhist version of the ten commandments. What it all boils down to is cultivating openness, honesty, compassion, loving kindness and equanimity. 

2) Be in touch with reality. Remember the simple truths of life: everything changes; be kind and grateful as much as possible; eat things and consume ideas that are wholesome, nourishing, and in alignment with nature.

3) Be in touch with your breath, taking time each day for some yoga and meditation practice, and always cultivating loving relationships with self, family, friends and ultimately all beings and things.

4) Choose to slow down, shed toxicity and be patient. Awareness of how our minds and bodies and hearts work is the first step. Acceptance is the next. And, simultaneously, striving to improve, to be more disciplined yet more spontaneous, more natural and open. I know it’s paradoxical to be content with how things are in this moment and to set goals and achieve them. Life is full of paradox!

Thanks for reading! May this article be of benefit. Please pass it along to someone who could use it, if so inspired!

A new year for practice, service and love.

Bodhicitta is the authentic mind and open heart of a Bodhisattva, a peaceful warrior whose “weapons” are compassion, presence, wisdom and equanimity. In practical terms, a Bodhisattva recognizes the interconnectedness of all beings — the truth that we are all the same despite our outward differences in appearance and personality. No matter how difficult or unredeemable a person may seem, bodhicitta sees the imminent potential of redemption, of kindness, of love.

~

In An Open Heart, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes:

Compassion is the very essence of an open heart and must be cultivated throughout our journey.

Equanimity removes our prejudices and enables our altruism to reach all sentient beings.

Bodhicitta is the commitment to actually help them.

First, we must recognize our afflictive emotions and bad habits as evidence of our continuing state of attachment and consider, once again, their harmful nature. Second, we must apply the appropriate antidotes and marshal the determination not to indulge in these emotions further. We must remain focused on our commitment to all sentient beings.

At the beginning of your meditation you should say to yourself, “I will not allow my mind to be distracted by thoughts of the future, anticipations, hopes, or fears, nor will I let my mind stray toward memories of the past. I will remain focused on this present moment.”

Once you have cultivated such a will, you will take that space between past and future as the object of meditation and simply maintain your awareness of it, free of any conceptual thought processes.

Ceremony for generating the altruistic mind wishing enlightenment:

With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Until I reach full enlightenment.

Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddha’s presence
I generate the Mind Wishing Full Awakening
For the benefit of all sentient beings.

As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain,
And dispel the miseries of the world.

May your 2012 be filled with delight!