Posted in birth, BUddhism, enlightenment, happiness, human race, love, meditation, old age, planet earth, prayer, Uncategorized, wisdom, Zen, tagged anxiety, breath work, Buddah, Buddha, Buddhism, Buddhism for Sheep, Chris Riddell, compassion, contemplation, Emerson, enlightenment, fear, happiness, life, Louise Howard, love, meditation, mind, Moon by the Window: The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada, peace, prayer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Shakyamuni Buddha, Shodo Harada, sitting, suffering, Unity Church, wisdom, Zazen, Zen on September 4, 2016|
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Emerson: “There is no planet, sun or star could hold you if you but knew what you are.”
Shodo Harada Roshi in his beautiful book, Moon By The Window, wrote:
“In a dualistic world we will fumble and fall. When we see with the eyes of the Buddha, we know the joy of the Dharma [teachings] in daily life. We become one with the heavens and earth, and there is no longer any division between inside and outside (page 169).”
We are made up of stars and light and when we use the talent, energy, compassion, and love of which we were born all things are possible. We have sent spaceships to Mars, found cures for diseases that in the past had destroyed civilizations, we have created music, and dance, and poetry, and literature that has moved millions. It is possible to be one with each of these things as we travel through life on planet Earth. I know because I have done it at a Cherokee Indian Fire Walk with Unity Minister Edwene Gaines on a dark night in an Alabama forest during one of her workshops
That is who we are. That is what we are. Shodo Harada Roshi goes on to write, “We have to throw away our small way of thinking and live in a place where we hold on to nothing whatsoever. It’s here that we discover the Buddha, and there is nothing sturdier than the strength that comes from this discovery. The Buddha discovered that he was a part of the “all” as he awoke under the Bodai tree and taught us that through our direct experience we could realize that as well (page 169).”
As Louise Howard and Chris Riddell illustrate in their book Buddhism for Sheep: “Train your mind it is the source of everything.” As we sit in zazen (meditation) we are training our minds to “throw away our small way of thinking and to hold on to nothing.” Then and only then can we know what we are—a piece of the heavens and the earth.
As Emerson said, “know what you are.” Sheep or not sheep…that is the question.
 Floris, O. Inspiration & Wisdom from the pen of Ralph Waldo Emerson. www.odeliafloris.com (page 25)
 Harada, S. (2011) Moon by the Window, The Calligraphy and Zen Insights of Shodo Harada. Boston, MA: Wisdom Press.
 Riddell C., Howard, L. (1996) Buddhism for Sheep. London, England: Ebury Press
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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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