Thursday 30 August 2012

There are many doorways we need to go through in our lifetime.

There are many doorways we need to go through in our lifetime.
These doors take us to places we want to go and sometimes to places we don't like.
When we are lost, we look for a door to enter that will fix our emotional state.
The doors I am talking about are the door of the body,
the door of speech and the door of the mind.
The one we enter is not important.
The door is only important when we are lost and at that time, the closest door is the one we choose.
The tension in our neck and shoulder might be the nearest entrance, or our doubting mind or our inner critic.
We often overlook the closest door and pick the longest way.

We have a shop that sells Buddhas.
We have a Buddha at both ends of our shop.
It's a very small shop only thirty square meters.
It has a front door to the street and a large double door at the back.
There is a huge market at the back so a lot of people visit us.
We are busy.
People rub the Buddha's stomach for good luck.
They see the money in his hand and ask why?
I tell them that the Buddha will take their problems and troubles from them if they drop a coin or two in his hand.
Just tell him your problems.
See the size of his ears,
See the size of his bag,
Put your problems in his bag and then you won't have them.
He is not there for his good looks.
He is there to change your world.
He will stop your anger,
your greed, your jealousy.
He will give you love compassion and calm.
He will show you how to smile.
Can you look at him and not smile?
I tell them that he is a doorway to peace and happiness.
"That's fine" one person said
" a smile doesn't fix the problems I have,"
"He won't pay my debts"
"He can't feed my children"
And on and on with the negative agitation irritation and anger.

A small story:
"two friends were walking along the street when one picked up an unopened pay packet, someones wages.
He opened it and there was over one thousand dollars in cash.
His friend was happy, but he wasn't.
"I am not happy, look at how much tax I pay."
All negative .

She asked me if I was a doctor and if I wasn't, how can I give advice.
I told her I was a doctor,
not a medical doctor,
but a doctor of love and compassion,
but I do offer medicine.
I write scripts for three pills.
These pills are to be taken daily, whenever the symptoms arise.
The symptoms are
agitation, irritation and anger.
These are the cause of all negative thoughts and actions.
Now you can have three pills to take at least three times a day, I told her.
The pills are
The pill of stillness
the pill of silence and
the pill of spaciousness.
These pills can open doorways of refuge that we cannot find without the pills.
When we find ourselves agitated:
take the pill of stillness and not practice distraction,
but feel the stillness within the agitation.
When we hear irritation and complaint in our voice, we can take the pill of silence.
We can actually listen to the silence within us.
When anger takes over and our minds are filled with things we should not say or do,
we can take the pill of spaciousness and settle into it's calm.
These pills are offered freely and are available to all.
Most don't take the medicine I offer as it doesn't taste sweet.
It's too simple and as we have to do something as we take the pills, it becomes too hard.
So to make it easy.
I give instructions with the pills.
When we are rushing around and become agitated.
We realize we have chosen agitation.
I advise at that moment to say
"Thank you agitation, you have reminded me to take the pill of stillness."
It's the same when we hear complaint in our voice, we can take the pill of silence and with anger, we take spaciousness.
These three emotions are the doorways to our body,
our speech and our mind.
Agitation effects our body,
Irritation effects our speech,
Anger effects the mind.
These doorways can be opened with my pills and in this way we are able to discover a deeper truth to all our problems.
The problem is in opening a doorway that has been closed all our lives and we might find something we don't like.
Taking a pill is the easiest way to liberate the suffering experienced through the doorways of body, speech and mind.
In taking these pills we can show others how positive, calm and cultivated we are.
How loving and compassionate we can be.
In opening our doorways,
we may benefit others through the positive qualities that become available to us.


Sent from my iPhone and
With love

Monday 27 August 2012

Know what you want!

I feel let down and I shouldn't.
I spent time as a Samanera Monk in the Theravedan tradition in a Wat in northern Thailand earlier this year.
I was assisted by two wonderful foreign Monks who were full of knowledge and wisdom.
However both of the Monks who were assisting in my training at the time, have left the Wat.
One dis-robed and the other has left Thailand.
I am sure they had their reasons and I am also sure they both thought very hard about leaving.
This has left me wondering now about my own commitment, even though my  practice is going well.
The Buddha said 
"be a light unto thyself"
 and not to be bothered by external nonsense, but there still seems to be a void, as I was looking forward to seeing them both on my visits to Thailand.
The Buddha said that any kind of "desire leads to suffering."
So any form of attachment causes suffering and I am feeling an attachment 

How ironic that the one major setback to humanities future development is attachment and I feel attached to two monks.
 I am so lucky to have met them and am reminded of them daily in my practice 

The decision to start a new life last year was the cause of my problems and the main problem is not knowing what we want.

We can start our new life's resolutions, our wishes, our hopes and dreams, but the secret is to know what we want.
The Buddha said
 "when we give up what we desire, we will get what we desire."

Like the holy master who was dying and his disciples gathered around to hear his last words.
The holy master whispered 
"tell them desire is like a river."
One of the young monks said "what does he mean desire is like a river?"
The old master said, 
"Tell them desire is not like a river" and he died.
We all want words of wisdom about desire, about what we think we can't get.
The secret of a good life is to know what we want.
We then allow the universe to arrange it.
So what do we want:
To make a fortune this year?
Save the world ?
Wrestle a demon ?
Face a challenge?
Win a battle ?
Gain a new friend ?
Deepen an understanding ?Strengthen a commitment ?
Move a mountain? 
All possibilities 
All feasible
Here is the question;
What do we want?

Last year a lady rolled up to the shop on one of those electric chairs.
 I remember her, five years ago she was healthy, with full use of her legs. She fell and hurt her shoulder and needed an operation. The doctor made a mistake and severed a nerve and she lost the use of her legs, permanently.
She was at home having trouble coping, and for the next two years was looked after by a team of helpers.
She gained forty five kilos and developed a very bad opinion of herself and others.
A year ago she had to go to hospital and her helpers were not available to take her.
She had to catch the train by herself.
On the train she met a man in a wheelchair who was profoundly crippled, to the extent of having to use a stick to point to words on a computer to communicate.
She asked him where he was going and he told her the same hospital, but not for treatment, but to help others like himself cope with life.
He told her he was a volunteer and his life is great.
She felt ashamed, wallowing in her own suffering when there was a person much worse than her helping others.
This was the lesson she needed, this was the message from The Universe.
Over the next year and a half, she lost fifty kilos in weight, changed her attitude, started attending Temple, started being nice to everyone.
She started volunteering at the hospital three times a week, and here she is coming to the shop to wish me a happy new year
I asked her "what do you want this year?"
 "Do you want a cure?" 
I asked her.
"No" she replied, 
"I want the strengh to be able to go to hospital to help others overcome suffering."

The secret is to know what we want and The Universe will provide.

Friday 17 August 2012

We went to our favorite Japanese restaurant and it has an extensive vegetarian menu.

We went to our favorite Japanese restaurant and it has an extensive vegetarian menu.
It was as usual outstanding,
the rice was perfect,
the vegetables in the sushi roll just amazing.
The chef had a new one;
avocado, that was sublime.
The wasabi cleared the nose.
The next plate was also sushi, with asparagus tips all sticking out, the same length, like soldiers standing to attention .
We sat at the counter where the chef prepares the food.
I asked the chef, "how do you do this so perfect, every time and don't you get sick and bored with the repetition?"
He joined us for tea after he had stopped serving customers.
His answer to my question was as surprising as his food and the message I got was a dharma.
He said, "I don't get bored with the repetition."
"The meal might look the same to you, but no two meals are the same, no two pieces of sushi are the same, no two plates are the same ."
"Everything I do is vibrant unprecedented and unrepeatable."
"You think they are the same, they even look the same."
"To me," he said "they are all different."
"This is because I am not In a habitual thought pattern.
I don't think "same old same old",
"I don't think this is boring ,
this is same as yesterday and will be tomorrow ."
"With that thought my food will be stale and old in a few days.
Most people get into a routine of doing something once and repeating it a thousand times until the mind becomes numb."
He said
"I don't think this way."
"Every sushi is different to me .
Every mouthful full of love,
full of flavor."
When I heard this it was like a thunderbolt in my head.
I knew what was meant when we become enlightened on the spot.
In zen, (cha an) there is a teaching;
I Chi Go , I Chi E
(each ee go, each ee ay)
In Japanese this means ;
"One time one meeting".
"This means that everything in this life should be unprecedented and irreplaceable.
Everything should be fresh and new and vibrant
Every meeting unique.
It will not occur again.
Each moment precious.
It will not occur again .
All encounters ,
every breath ,
every prayer ,
will never be the same again.
They may seem the same,
It all depends on our way of thought."
When I first heard this I thought it sounded logical,
but defied common sense .
How can everything be new every time?
Then I started to practice and found new tastes, new sounds, new smells, new feelings, that I never had before.
When we start to practice
I Chi Go, I Chi E
"one time. one meeting"
like the sushi chef,
we suddenly free ourselves from habitual thought patterns and feelings.
We allow our world to reveal itself to us as it really is and reveal who we really are.
Vibrant unprecedented and unrepeatable .
We are not all the same.
If we are treated as all the same, it would be a very boring world.
It is not the samenesses that are important, but the differences that tell us who we are.
Who we really are is vibrant,
unprecedented and irreplaceable .


Sent from my iPhone and
With love

Thursday 2 August 2012

"I am so lucky"

I am so lucky, every time I go on a seeking journey, 'stuff' seems to follow me.
On this trip the 'stuff' is of a cultural and  philosophical  nature.

My heroes are everywhere.

Every town and city I visit there is a hero worth knowing.

The list would fill pages and that is only with the names not the deeds; I try not to get carried away but I am now in an area that some two thousand six hundred years ago Laozi walked and gave us the Tao Te Ching and the teaching of Wu Wei, an important concept in Taoism, that literally means non-action or non-doing.

In the Tao te Ching, Laozi explains that beings (or phenomena) that are wholly in harmony with the Tao, behave in a completely natural way.

As the planets revolve around the sun, they "do" this revolving, but without "doing" it.

As trees grow, they simply grow without trying to grow. Thus knowing how and when to act is not knowledge in the sense that one would think, "now I should do this," but rather just doing it, we just do the natural thing.

The goal of spiritual practice for the human being is, according to Laozi,
the attainment of this natural way of behaving.

Wu may be translated as, not to have, or without;

Wei may be translated as do, act, serve as, govern or effort. The literal meaning of wu wei is "without action", "without effort", or "without control", and is often included in the paradox wei wu wei: "action without action" or "effortless doing".
The practice of wu wei and the efficacy of wei wu wei are fundamental tenets in Chinese thought and have been mostly emphasized by the Taoist school.
One cannot actively pursue wu wei.

It is more a mere observation of one's behavior after we have accepted ourselves for who we are.

There is another less commonly referenced sense of wu wei;

"action that does not involve struggle or excessive effort".

In this instance, wu means "without" and Wei means "effort".

The concept of "effortless action" is a part of Taoist Internal martial arts such as T'ai chi ch'uan, Baguazhang and Xing Yi.

It follows that wu wei complies with the main feature and distinguishing characteristic of Taoism, that of being natural. To apply wu wei to any situation is to take natural action.

In the original Taoist texts, wu wei is often associated with water and its yielding nature. Although water is soft and weak, it has the capacity to erode even solid stone (for example, the Grand Canyon) and move mountains (for example, landslides).
Water is without will (that is, the will for a shape), though it may be understood to be opposing wood, stone, or any solid aggregated material that can be broken into pieces.

Due to its nature water may potentially fill any container, assume any shape; given the Water cycle, water may potentially go "anywhere", even into the minutest holes, both metaphorical and actual. Droplets of water, when falling as rain, gather in watersheds, flowing into and forming rivers of water, joining the proverbial sea: this is the nature of water.

Several chapters of the most important Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching, attributed to Laozi, allude to "diminishing doing" or "diminishing will" as the key aspect of the sage's success. Taoist philosophy recognizes that the Universe already works harmoniously according to its own ways; as a person exerts their will against or upon the world, they disrupt the harmony that already exists. This is not to say that a person should not exert will.

Rather, it is how one acts in relation to the natural processes already extant.
The how, the Tao of intention and motivation, that is key.

The Sage is occupied with the unspoken and acts without effort. Teaching without verbosity, producing without possessing, creating without regard to result, claiming nothing,

Wu Wei has also been translated as "creative quietude," or the art of letting-be. This does not mean a dulling of the mind; rather, it is an activity undertaken to be the Tao within all things and to cultivate oneself to its "way."

The concept of wu wei is often described as performing a selfless act, but this merely exposes the background of the writer. Other religions have selfless acts and “doing good” as part of their belief systems. In Taoist teaching, however, “good” is unknowable.

A selfless act can only be performed by someone in an egoless state. Every act performed by someone in the usual way of things has some kind of reward attached whether it is financial, power, love, status, or just feeling good about oneself.
All these things are ego re-inforcing. To perform a selfless act one must let go of one's ego and pass into an enlightened state of consciousness. This is called wu wei – the state of doing without doing. Here every act is selfless for the ego has ceased to exist. There is no 'I' making decisions and the outcome is always perfect.

In Neijia, (internal forms of martial arts) one of the aims is to be able to fight in the state of wu wei. There is no ego wishing to aggrandise itself by punishing the opponent and every move is performed effortlessly before one has time to think. One blocks every move by one's opponents yet for all parties involved you might be playing with clouds (it's painless and without harmful consequence).

As one diminishes doing—here 'doing' means those intentional actions taken to benefit us or actions taken to change the world from its natural state and evolution—one diminishes all those actions committed against the Tao, the already present natural harmony. As such one begins to cultivate Tao, one also becomes more in harmony with Tao; and, according to another great ancient Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi, (Laotzi's main disciple) attains a state of Ming, or 'clear seeing'.

It is in the state of Ming that the Taoist is in full harmony with Tao, and 'having arrived at this pointless point of non-action, there is nothing that is left undone.'

It is upon achievement of this Chinese equivalent to 'enlightenment' that a sage begins to perform wei wu wei, or 'action without action.'
Thus the sage will be able to work in harmony with Tao to accomplish what is needed, and, working in perfect harmony with the Tao, leave no trace of having done it.

An example of active non-action using wu wei, would be to teach in such a way that no course of action is dictated to a student (they are just told raw facts for use, and left to their own creative devices), so they assume that they have been taught nothing, that is, until their learnings have been integrated in their lived experience.

An example of this teaching that comes close to our understanding, I came across the following;

.......The more laws and restrictions there are,

the poorer people become.

The sharper weapons,

the more trouble in the land.

The more clever and ingenious people are,

the stranger things happen.

The more rules and regulations,

the more thieves and robbers.


He reputedly lived around the sixth century BC

Everything  changes

 but humanity's behavior

 stays the same