"We cultivate compassion to soften our hearts and also to become more honest and forgiving about when and how we shut down. Without justifying or condemning ourselves, we do the courageous work of opening to suffering. This can be the pain that comes when we put up barriers or the pain of opening our heart to our own sorrow or that of another being. We learn as much about doing this from our failures as we do from our successes. In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience - our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror. It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity."
~~~ Pema Chodron
Comfortable with Uncertainty:108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion
Will be joining us Sunday May 21, 2017 at Derma Design 108 Fisherville Rd Concord NH from 10 am to Noon. We hope you can join us for Meditation, a dharma talk, and conversation.
Brendan's Bio: Brendan’s earliest memories are of wandering as an orphan through war-torn Korea, bombs falling on all sides. Some years later he came to the US, adopted by the family of a US soldier. Before long, he resumed his wandering, becoming a ski bum and later a landscape gardener. Finally,
he dropped it all, and returned to pilgrimage in Asia, where he landed in India at the feet of some of the highest Tibetan lamas of our time. Thus commenced a life devoted to Buddhist practice, and today he is a respected teacher, in demand at many teaching centers. His own teachers include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Chatral Rinpoche, and Sokste Rinpoche. Brendan gives few teachings each year and spends most of his time on retreat in his desert hermitage.
You don’t have to do anything with your mind, just let it naturally rest in its essential nature. Your own mind, unagitated, is reality. Meditate on this without distraction. Know the Truth beyond all opposites. Thoughts are like bubbles that form and dissolve in clear water. Thoughts are not distinct from the absolute Reality, so relax; there is no need to be critical. Whatever arises, whatever occurs, simply don’t cling to it, but immediately let it go. What you see, hear, and touch is your own mind. There is nothing but mind. Mind transcends birth and death. The essence of mind is pure consciousness that never leaves reality, even though it experiences the things of the senses. In the equanimity of the Absolute, there is nothing to renounce or attain.”
Lama Surya Das:
Generally I advise, or the tradition advises having a daily practice. Anything I say is very improvisational. Like if I say “meditate every morning,” maybe somebody says, “I’m not a morning person.” So I’ll say, “oh, then meditate every night.” What shall we say: meditate every day. So morning is good, before things start going, but maybe night is good for you, or maybe mid-day or when you get home from work, I don’t know. Maybe twice a day, short times. So I say having a meditation session, formal, let’s call it sitting practice every day is very recommendable.
And then, how you structure that–it could be according to the way we do it here, a little chanting and bowing to begin, the warm-ups, and then the main silent meditation, naked awareness, sky-gazing, and end with some chanting and praying. Maybe in the middle you put in something like a who am I? question or whatever. For you that’s a session, which might help or be inspirational. Maybe it’s just opening the book of nature or reading, but some study and learning, questioning or analyzing, experiential and intellectual practice and study is benificial. And third, some form of work on yourself, like therapy or journal writing or dream work or creative art or support groups–whatever that means to you. So those first, the first three of the six building blocks; and that’s the inner triad, more alone-ish. Although you can do those things with others, those three are more aloneish.
The next three are more with others. The fourth is group practice, because it’s very hard to do this alone. That’s why all over the world there are congregations and groups and churches and synagogues and communities and sitting groups and sanghas. And fifth, teacher practice: working with some teacher, expert, mentor or elder can be very helpful. And sixth, last but not least, service, seva in Sanskrit, service to god by serving humanity, some kind of giving back. So group practice, teacher practice and service are the three outer triad; and daily practice , spiritual study and working on the self, are the three inner triad. Those are the six building blocks of a spiritual life.
And don’t be overwhelmed by them. Just pick up one or two. You’re probably already doing some of them anyway. It’s not that mysterious. So I think the daily practice part is the part that’s missing most from our Western religions. Of course it’s there, but who goes to mass every morning? Of course it’s there, but who chants the shema every morning if you’re Jewish? I respect the Moslems who bow, get out their prayer rug and bow to Mecca five times a day. They’re doing something five times a day. Even if it’s brief, good for them. That’s not nothing. I wish we were doing something five times a day–a moment, or five minutes of mindfulness five times a day. That would be great throughout the day-ish practice, so you don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day here and there. It’s like exercise, the important thing is to do it most days throughout the year, enough days that you have established a year around exercise program, a year-round spiritual practice. And then integrating that into daily life: mindfulness while eating, talking and working; practicing the virtues of generosity and unselfishness–that is where the rubber really meets the road on the spiritual path.
Even When you do not feel big hearted, you can give yourself permission to act that way.
"Pure Perception...is to recognize the buddha-nature in all sentient beings and to see primordial purity and perfection in a;; phenomena. Every sentient being is endowed with the essence of buddhahood, just as [sesame] oil pervades every sesame seed. Ignorance is simply to be unaware of this buddha-nature, like a poor man who does not know that there is a pot of gold buried beneath his hovel. The journey to enlightenment is thus a rediscovery of this forgotten nature, like seeing the ever-brilliant sun again as the clouds that have been hiding it are blown away.
~~~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
In the mystery there is something more trustworthy.
~ Lama John Makransky