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Posts Tagged ‘loving relationships’

one-world-family-logo-jpgIn Zen Buddhism there are so many wonderful teachers and writers that you could spend the rest of your life reading their original books and their translations of the ancient writers. Plus, we have the current teachers and writers taking a particular point of view or sutra or teaching and creating a blog or a book or a lecture from the information.  I, of course, happen to be one of them.

Today I begin my new workbook on the world of “peace” as envisioned in my head.  The current world is creating peace, love, hatred and fear at an amazingly fast pace due to the internet and social media. Regardless of where others may stand, I stand for peace and love.

Dharmachari Abhaya writes in the preface of Sangharakshite: A Guide to the Buddhist Path, these words:

A fact that is often glossed over in books on Buddhism is that there are two basic modes of conditionality, not just one: two ways in which we can act, one unskillful, the other skillful.  The first is known as the circular or, in Sangharakshita’s term, ‘reactive’ mode.  This is the mode in which we operate for much of the time, and it is the cause of all our suffering. But there is also a spiral or ‘creative mode,’ in which we can make spiritual progress experience ever-expanding states of happiness and bliss.[1]

For me bliss is the kissing cousin of peace!  I’ve never heard anyone say after a meditation where they went in to samadhi…  I felt such anger or hatred or fear!  No, they haven’t, but they sure do say I felt peaceful, alive, happy, joyous, content, and as many positive descriptive adjectives as you can think of.

It is not easy in America today to live a peaceful life.  With what is going on in our politics, wars around the world, poverty and prejudice in America increasing daily and I could go on.  It could make you mad, sad, or revengeful and thus not at PEACE!  So how do we handle this?  By balancing our lives with Buddhist principles, meditation, and mindfulness.  By living the teaching, not just by teaching it or reading about it.

Dharmachari Abhaya goes on:

…one should approach Buddhism with one’s total being. One should not just try to feel and not understand, nor just try to understand and not feel.  One should not always look within and never look without, nor, on the other hand, always look without, never pausing to look within, there is a time and place for all these things. If possible, we should try to do all of these things all the time.  As we ascend higher and higher in our spiritual development, we shall tend more and more to think and feel, act and not act, simultaneously.  It sounds impossible, but that is only because of the limitations of our present way of thinking.[2]

What way are you thinking? Will it bring you to a peaceful life and world or bring you to a world of anxiety, hatred, and fear?  It’s all up to you.  You shape your world by your thoughts, words, and actions…what shape is your personal world in? Love filled or Hate filled…or somewhere in between?

[1] Sangharakshita, (1990). Windhorse Publications: Birmingham, England. page 11
[2] Ibid. page 22
[3] The picture is the logo from an interfaith organization in Fort Lauderdale, FL to which I belonged they have merged with another organization JAM & All where I am a board member. Check out their Facebook page at JAM and All Interfaith.

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craggy-gardensFu-jung is to have said, “A shortcut into the path is to be inwardly empty and outwardly quiet, like water that is clear and still, myriad images reflecting in it, neither sinking nor floating, all things spontaneously so (page 81).” [1]

For most Americans we are seeking and searching for the quick fix, the instant coffee, the two minutes in the microwave supper, and the long-lasting loving relationship that appears without work or dedication or commitment!  What?!

Life is not filled with shortcuts or Minute Rice or instant pudding.  All jobs, relationships, and projects grow through time with love, life, spontaneity, and talent.  The best homemade bread is kneaded lightly and slowly then left covered by a warm towel to slowly rise. Then it is lovingly placed in a hot oven where it slowly turns into the most wonderful smelling bread.  When we cut and cover the bread with butter it melts easily, and the smell of the hot yeast is unbelievable.  The smell draws us to the bread and its life-giving substance without even thinking about it.

If shortcuts are taken the bread will not rise correctly and it will be flat and hard and taste like cardboard.  Sort of like some of my personal relationships in the past that I rushed through. They were handled with harshness instead of kindness and love and ended up in disasters.  The person was unable to “rise” to the occasion because of my words, deeds, or actions.  Why? Because I wanted to take the shortcut, the easy path, the self-centered path. However, the I, Me, MY path ended at the edge of the cliff and the relationship or the job died.

Fu-jung wants us to see our path in an open-minded way inwardly empty leaves room for new things and ideas and relationships. Requires us to think spontaneously to go with the flow! To stop comparing everyone and everything to someone or something in the past, neither sinking nor floating.    What a great challenge and if worked at slowly and lovingly like our bread our lives will be filled with great adventures, loving relationships, and spontaneity! How great is that!

[1] Cleary, T. (1998)   Teachings of Zen. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc

[2} Photo that I took of my friends house in Tellico, TN

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How can we as active members of families of Truth practice the Buddha’s vow and begin to “help all beings to suffer less?  How can we as active Christians practice Jesus’ commandment to “love they neighbor as thyself?”  First, we must begin by creating a culture of peace within ourselves and then move to our families.  Once we have conquered these two great places where anger and violence can reside daily, then we will have the power and the knowledge to move our beliefs and our actions into the larger community in which we work, play, and live.

Master Thich Nhat Hanh recommends that we begin by making a personal peace treaty with ourselves.  He encourages us to do this particular act to make a “concrete commitment to transform our lives (Creating True Peace, 2003).”  His personal peace treaty is simple and can be memorized easily.  You can carry it in your wallet or purse and share it with your friends.  It goes like this: “Dear Self, I promise to practice and live my daily life in a way that will not touch or water the seed of violence within me (page 7).” How often have we “touched the seed of violence within” ourselves today, or this week, or this month?   Have we lost our temper this morning with family members because they did not get ready for school quickly enough, or with drivers on the road because they did not drive the way we wished they had driven, or gotten angry at co-workers for not doing what you thought they should have done in your time frame?  Or how about getting angry at ourselves for not being the person that we had hoped we would be by this time in our lives?

I have felt that rage and anger build in me in a relationship when I had a fight with my significant other about some of the most inane things imaginable, like the inability to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher before going to bed, or not picking up dirty clothes from the floor, or spending money on things that seemed to me to be a waste and not needed or not in our budget.

Because we have so much family violence today, it is important that we as  teachers, ministers, Truth students, and Zen practitioners share with our friends and families techniques that will help them get through their times of crisis without anger and/or violence.  Remember, violence does not have to be physical—it can be mental and emotional as well.

You might want to check out Master Hanh’s peace treaty in his book.  It is a wonderful process to use when working with an individual to create a peaceful and loving relationship.  He believes, “The war stops and starts with you and with me.  Every morning when you open your eyes, the potential for violence and war begins.  So every morning, when you open your eyes, please water the seeds of compassion and nonviolence.  Let peace begin with you (page 56).”

If you are reading this post you probably believe in these things as well so let us begin to practice our beliefs today and continue each and every day and soon we will find that peace we have been looking for right within ourselves. Sign that peace treaty today!

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