Posted in BUddhism, cause and effect, Christianity, fears, happiness, hate speech, love, Mindfulness, prayer, psychology, religion, self-help, sexual assault, sickness, suffering, Uncategorized, Zen, tagged anger, anxiety, Buddah, Buddhism, challenges, Charles Fillmore, college professor, compassion, contemplation, fear, forgiveness, happiness, hospice chaplain, joy, life, like-minded people, love, mind, mind and body, mindfulness, peace, Pollyanna, rape, retreat, sesshin, suffering, unconditional love, Unity Church, Wicked Witch of the West, Zazen, Zen, Zen Buddhism, Zen Buddhist priest on August 8, 2016|
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I just spent 5 days at a silent retreat (Sesshin) at the Brevard Zen Center in Coco Beach and I was surrounded by like-minded people. People who decided to take time off to focus on their practice, on stillness, on quiet contemplation, and on quieting the mind and body. I know that not everyone has the luxury of taking extended periods of time out of their family and work lives; however, if you can even take one day I recommend it highly.
Being around like-minded people can be an invigorating experience, or a hellish experience depending on which “mind” you are choosing to focus on. If you feel sometimes like an angry, unhappy person with a mind that’s always focusing on the negative you surly do not want to be around “like-minded people.” Today would be a good day to discover the happy, upbeat, positive, helpful people that you, at times, envy and sometimes dislike, and sometimes may even try to emulate.
I’ve had many people in my life ask, “What are you so happy about all the time, smiling, laughing, and joking? Don’t you know there are terrible things going on in the world or at work or at home?” Of course, I do know that life is not always a panacea; however, I’d rather create a life like Pollyanna then a life like the Wicked Witch of the West any day! Life is what you make it, unless of course you let outside circumstances or outside people like the Wicked Witch of the West make it for you? The choice is up to you.
I often relate a story about one of my congregants who came home from work and found a man in her house who proceeded to rape her and stab her 62 times. She lived and they caught the man and put him in prison. Her life seemed to be falling apart from that day forward until, as she says, she decided to forgive him and move on with her life. So she went to the prison, faced him, and forgave him. From there she began to heal to be able to live a normal life. She saved herself and spent the rest of her life living around “like-minded people” those who can forgive, and love, and reach out to others in times of need to help console and hold them up with love and compassion.
She is an inspiration to me and my role model for unconditional love. Till that time my love came with conditions. I have been lucky enough to have jobs like my work as a Unity minister, a hospice chaplain, a college professor, and a Zen Buddhist priest which has allowed me to be surrounded by like-minded people.
I hope you are surrounded by those people who will love you unconditionally and have a life filled with peace, joy, love, and happiness. A life filled with people that lift you up and not tear you down. This is my wish for you that you meet your good today and it is filled with like-minded people who will celebrate the uniqueness of you and see the good in your heart! Let me know how that goes.
In gassho, Shokai
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Posted in administrators, bombing airplanes, Buddhaghosa, campus unrest, cause and effect, chant, death, discrimination, diversity, education, Ethics, extinct species, fears, happiness, hate speech, human race, Kazuaki Tanahashi, love, meditation, Metta, Metta Prayer, oppression, planet earth, prayer, prison system in America, protesters, religion, sexual assault, Shambhala, Zen Chants Thirty-Five Essential Texts with Commentary on November 13, 2015|
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May I be happy.
May I be free from stress and pain.
May I be free from animosity.
May I be free from oppression.
May I be free from trouble.
May I look after myself with ease.
May all living beings be happy.
May all living beings be free from animosity.
May all living beings be free from oppression.
May all living beings be free from trouble.
May all living beings look after themselves with ease.
Kazuaki Tanahashi, in his book, Zen Chants Thirty-Five Essential Texts with Commentary, writes this:
Buddhaghosa does not recommend that the practitioners simply focus on an aspiration that they themselves be happy or attempt absorption. Instead, the meditators are urged to use themselves as an example: “Just as I want to be happy and dread pain, as I want to live and not die, so do other beings, too.” And thus when we pray the Metta we pray and chant for self and others (page 136).
As we watch the news each evening and see the students on campuses around the country protesting for things that I thought would not still exist in 2015: hiring discrimination, race discrimination, hate speech, unresponsive administrations, sexual assaults, and more. Each of these protesters want for themselves the list of things we recite in the first verse of the Metta and they also want it for everyone else on planet earth. And thus, we chant for them in the second verse.
We can add those in the prison system in America and those in the Middle East who are being killed and bombed in their countries and homes, and in airplanes flying through the air after a family vacation. As a human race we need to work at learning how to live together with our diversity and cultures and religions or we will soon be an extinct species and all that will be left are the birds, the bees, and the trees.
Besides chanting this verse each and every day with love and passion, what can you do each day in your families, homes, workplaces and communities? Think small or think big but please think and then act. You just may save someone’s life. You never know.
May you be happy and find ways to share your happiness with everyone you meet.
 Tanahashi, K. (2015) Zen Chants Thirty-Five Essential Texts with Commentary. Shambhala: Boston & London
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