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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha): “Do not believe in anything because it is found written in your religious books.

The Rigveda is an ancient Indian text one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism written between the 5th and 2nd century BCE, the first four books of the Bible Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers were written between the 6th and 2nd century BCE, the Tao Te Ching in the 6th century BCE, the Buddhist Sutras between the 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE, the New Testament in the 1st century CE, the Qur’an is the newest written around 632 CE.  Wow!  If you can remember all of that you’re better than I am!

 What’s my point?  The people who wrote these books were wonderful people who wanted to memorialize their beliefs and experiences for those who would come after them.  They were trying to explain, nature, birth, death, life, good and evil and more.  Science was not at the level it is today, they only had their eyes, ears, nose, and sometimes mouth to discover and memorialize their lives and how they dealt with what happened to them and in them in their waking and sleeping hours.

This is neither good nor bad—it just is.  Thus if saying a bed time Buddha at Bedtimeprayer will help keep you alive through the night—great what can you lose! If not eating meat is how you desire to live your life wonderful, go for it.  If eating meat but not pork or crustaceans (lobster, crabs, shrimp, etc.) is your choice that’s great too.  In ancient times you might have been better off not eating pork because it caused an infection we know as trichinosis, but so did lots of other foods.  Just a few more reasons “not to believe” everything found in your ancient texts.

My mom believed it about the pork and thus when we had pork chops for dinner they were so well done they tasted and acted like shoe leather!  That was one of the nights I always found a reason to eat at my best friend’s house for dinner.  Another time I bought some “free range chicken” and served it to her for supper.  I was bragging about how great they were and that all the chickens should be freed.  Once again mom told me a “farm story.”  “I fed plenty of chickens on the farm growing up and let me tell you they ate anything and everything in sight, at least this way their waste ends up far enough away that they can’t get at it.” You’ve got to love my mom!

So in this day and age with our education, science, technology, the internet, and more you have the opportunity to be your own researcher and discover about life for yourself.  If following your religious and family traditions is important in your life…go for it.  Just remember that not everything written in them is true…then move full speed ahead and live the life that works for you and spreads peace, love, and compassion wherever you go!

In gassho,

Shokai

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My quote today is by Russell Simmons from his wonderful book, Success through Stillness Meditation Made Simple.  In his chapter entitled “The Heaviness of Success and Failure” he quotes this phrase from the Bhagavad Gita “You have control over your work alone, never the fruit (page 116).”[1] Then he writes

There are a lot of different ways you could interpret that passage, but to me it’s always meant “Stop worrying about how much money you make off your work (the fruit) and instead just stay focused on your work itself.” Because when you embrace the process of your work, instead of focusing on the results, you’ll always be happier, plus do a much better job (page 116).[1]

For some your work may be school, some may be working on friendships and/or relationships, or working to stay clean and straight and not use. For others you may be thinking about a paid job where you earn your living.  In life we want to be successful in all aspects of our lives not just at the so-called work that we may do for a living to support ourselves and our families.

 

I wonder what our lives would look like if we had the same definition as Russell Simmons. There are so many Thich Nhat Hanhpeople throughout history that we could point to who simply did the “work” without focusing on the outcome or the money or the fruits of that labor. In Buddhism we study people like Thich Nhat Hanh who started out as a young Buddhist student, then monk, then founded the Engaged Buddhism movement in response to the Vietnam War. From there he served as the delegate for the Buddhist Peace Delegation at the Paris Peace talks in 1969 and the Paris Peace Accords in 1973 to help end the war. Today he lives in Plum Village in France surrounded by his students and friends.[1]

Or what about those adventurous people in history like the Englishman Doctor David Livingstone who went to Africa in 1840 with two goals: to explore the continent and to end the slave trade.  In 1871 Henry Morton Stanley went to find the then “missing” Dr. Livingston.  Eight months later he found him and upon meeting is to have said these famous words, “Dr. Livingston, I presume.”[2]

Success does not mean that you have to be as brave as Thich Nhat Hanh or as adventurous as Dr. Livingston and Henry Stanley, but I hope that it does mean you look within and discover your passion and run to it. Live it. Love it. Discover it. Find it. Share it. Meet it.

How far will you go for your goals, passions, and dreams? What will you do for success? Where will you meet your success today?  Keep me posted I can’t wait to hear!

In gassho

Shokai

[1] Simmons, R. (2014) Success Through Stillness Meditation Made Simple. NY, NY:

Gotham Books

[3] http://www.lionsroar.com/thich-nhat-hanh/?goal=0_1988ee44b2-cc25a1b6a0-20869581&mc_cid=cc25a1b6a0&mc_eid=f78b7768c4

[4] http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/stanley.htm

 

 

 

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Such a moon—

Even the thief

Pauses to sing.

–Buson

There is a thief in all of us to some degree or other.  Some of us are good at stealing time from our family, friends, and co-workers by asking of them things we should not ask.  We steal time from our day when we could be sitting in quiet meditation, or volunteering our time at a local food bank, charity, or senior center.  Most things when they are stolen can be returned either by the person giving it back, the police finding it and returning it, or by buying a new one to replace it—but not so with time.  Once it is stolen it is gone forever.

Even the thief was wise enough to stop and spend some time admiring the moon.  In Zen we are particularly conscious of time and often look at it as never ending and eternal and now.  We cannot go back in time to recover the lost item or relationship and we cannot jump into the future to catch up with it.  The only thing we can do is be mindful and live in the now moment to the best of our ability.

We can steal dreams from our children when we hinder them from being truly who they are–by not allowing them to follow their hearts to where their dreams wish to take them.  I knew a man when I was young who sold shoes, he sold shoes because his father and his grandfather sold shoes, but in his dreams he was an artist: he thought like an artist, dreamt like an artist, and probably even sold shoes like an artist.  Then one day he told me that he had quit his job and was running away from home to BE an artist.  I wished him luck and knew his dream had been reclaimed like we do with the ticket we take back to the shoe repair shop to reclaim our newly soled shoes.  We walk out of that shop filled with dreams of wearing those shoes, dancing in those shoes, and maybe even getting a kiss under “such a moon” from that comely young man round the corner.

You may have stolen other things from someone, things I cannot mention out loud but that was in the past and today is a new day, with a new moon, and you may want to pause to peer at its beauty like a thief in the night stealing back a dream hoping that in the dawn it will reappear and manifest in your life.

My 92-year-old mother wrote a poem about the moon when she was nine years old.  As she walked from the farmhouse to the outhouse before bedtime she looked up at the pitch black sky with the billions of stars and her heart was stolen by the beauty and joy of the moon.  Here is what she wrote:

I can see the old moon

As he rocks in the sky

With a bean for a nose

And a rock for an eye.

Up up he goes into the blue sky

I can see him wrinkle his nose

And twinkle his eye.

–Iona Louise Bishop

Today is a wonderful day to see how your senses can be stolen by something or someone you love.  How about stealing some time away from the to-do list to sit and meditate?  How about looking to steal some time away from your rambling thoughts, anxieties, and fears by being mindful of your next meal?  I mean really mindful.  To really eat it, every bit of it and enjoy every sound, scent, and feel of it.

Tonight I hope you will steal some time to take a walk outside and as you look up at the evening sky let me know if you can see the old moon with that “twinkle” in his eye!

Things to focus on this week:

Step one: Begin by deciding which area of “stealing” you will focus on first.

  • Step two: Set your intention to practice that one throughout the day/week.
  • Step three: Remember to be mindful of it by writing it on a 3×5 notecard, or by putting it in your smartphone and having it remind you throughout the day.
  • Step four: Remind yourself to listen to your thoughts and observe your behaviors to see if you are practicing the principle of “not stealing.”
  • Step five: Finally, keep a journal on the precept of “not stealing” and make note of how learning to embody it in thoughts, words, and actions is affecting your life. Good luck with that!

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