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Posts Tagged ‘silence’

buddha-quote-thinkingToday as I was looking on my bookshelf for another great book on peace I came across The Kwan Um School of Zen’s Chanting and Temple Rules workbook.  Near the back of the book on page 52 there is a section entitled “On Conduct.”  After reading it I realized that if I just followed these rules each and every day I would definitely end up with a peaceful life and positive relationships with everyone I meet and especially with my family and friends. Below is what they have written.

  1. On conduct
  • Always act with others. Do not put yourself above others by acting differently. Arrogance is not permitted in the temple.
  • Money and sex are like a spiteful snake. Put your concern with them far away.
  • In the dharma room always walk behind those seated in meditation. At talks and ceremonies, keep the proper posture and dress.  Do not talk or laugh loudly in the dharma room.
  • If you have business outside the temple which causes you to miss ceremonies or meals, notify one of the temple officials before you leave.
  • Respect those older than you. Love those younger than you.  Keep your mind large and open.
  • If you meet sick people love and help them.
  • Be hospitable to guests. Make them welcome and attend to their needs.
  • When respected people visit the temple, bow to them and speak considerately to them.
  • Be courteous. Always let others go before you.
  • Help other people.
  • Do not play games with other people.
  • Do not gossip.
  • Do not use other people’s shoes and coats.
  • Do not cling to the scriptures.
  • Do not oversleep.
  • Do not be frivolous.
  • Let older and more respected people be seated before you.
  • Do not discuss petty temple matters with guests.
  • When visiting outside the temple, speak well of the temple to others.
  • Drinking to produce heedlessness or acting out of lust will only make bad karma and destroy your practice. You must be strong and think correctly. Then these desires cannot tempt you.
  • Do not delude yourself into thinking you are a great and free person. This is not true Buddhism.
  • Attend only to yourself. Do not judge the actions of others.
  • Do not make the bad karma of killing, stealing, or lust.

And finally, they end it with these powerful words:

Originally there is nothing.

But Buddha practiced unmoving under the
Bodhi tree for six years,
And for nine years Bodhidharma sat
Silently in Sorim.

If you can break the wall of your self,
You will become infinite in time and space.

 

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As I looked for something to begin my newest blog post on peace a small green book caught my eye hidden between two larger books on the shelf behind my desk. It called out to me to open it up to discover what Frances W. Foulkes, Unity Minister and author, might have written in her book Effectual Prayer about peace. Here is what I found as I opened the book:

“My heart is at peace with God, and man and beats in unison with the great heart of the universe. As Thy [the] spirit of peace and love pervades my whole being, all that was weary in me is refreshed, all that was sick is made whole, all that was limited is made free and full (page 116).”[1]

Her writing is clear that peace begins within; peace is not something that you can buy in the store, or get from a doctor, priest, imam or website.

Peace lives in me every day if I would just take the time to notice it, to look for it, and appreciate it. Even in the most god awful traffic jam, when you are late for work, school, or an appointment you can find peace within you. Somewhere deep down inside of you is a secret sacred space that knows only peace. Some call it the heart chakra, some call it the unconscious mind, some call it God, some emptiness or oneness. Deepak Chopra calls it “pure potentiality.” My friend Erick at our study group in the Zendo last night said it this way. Mozart is to have said: “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” That is where peace lives.

So the next time you feel stress, anxiety, anger, hate, or fear go within quietly and find that secret sacred place within you where the “peace that passes all understanding” abides. It is there quietly, silently waiting for you to recognize it, remember it, to be with it in mind, body, and spirit.

To find it begin with your breath. The breath is the life force energy you were given at birth, the energy that pervades every cell of your body, powers your mind, muscles, and cells. Simply take three long breaths, slow breaths, counting one on the in breath and two on the out breath and watch your heart beat slow down, your mind begin to clear, and your body begin to relax. You can do it anywhere, anytime, regardless of the outside situation or circumstances.

The breath will find the peace center in you and help you reside there as long as you like or as long as you can, or until the traffic begins to move or the light turns green or the person leaves your presence. You may even want to memorize Rev. Foulkes affirmation even if just a portion, such as “my heart beats in unison with the great heart of the universe” or “the spirit of peace and love pervades my whole being.” These things I wish for you every moment of every day! Why not start today?

[1] Foulks, F.W. (1966) Effectual Prayer, Unity School of Christianity, Lee Summit, MO.

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“The sacred dimension is not something that you can know through words and ideas any more than you can learn what an apple pie tastes like by eating the recipe. (pg. 25)” writes Adyashanti in his e-book The Way of Liberation: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment.  Yet we continue to look for the answer to this question throughout our lives partaking in religious services in all faiths and traditions, in reading books, taking workshops and classes, and reading blogs like mine.  We ponder questions like:  Why am I here? What is life all about? Is there a God?  What is enlightenment?  Why are there wars?   .  .  .and more!

Adyashanti goes on to write, “The modern age has forgotten that facts and information, for all their usefulness, are not the same as wisdom—and certainly not the same as direct experience of reality.  We have lost touch with the intuitive wisdom born of silence and stillness, and we are left stranded in a sea of information that cannot deliver on its promise of ever-increasing happiness and fulfillment (pages 30-31).”

Wisdom is not the same thing as knowledge and much of the “knowledge” we share and seek, and create  is found through books, websites, YouTube, lectures, workshops, famous speakers, preachers, rabbis, and imams, and not through personal experience, inquiry, meditation, contemplation, or inner discovery.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a college professor and so I love all of those things and suggest that my students use them during their studies and courses, but I do not consider the results acquired “wisdom.”

In the Bible we call the book of Proverbs the Wisdom book its purpose is stated in the first seven verses:

“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.  Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.  These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge, and discernment to the young.  Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become wiser.  Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables the words of the wise and their riddles.”

Notice the words do not say anything about facts and information, but wisdom gives “insight to knowledge.”  Maybe that is the problem with our lives and our world.  We are relying upon knowledge instead of wisdom and insight and therefore screwing everything up—our environment, our government, our educational system, our healthcare system, our drone wars, our obesity dilemma, and our neglect of the poor, hungry, and homeless around the world.

Adyashanti goes on to write, “. . . you are not the thoughts in your mind.  By removing the false belief that any thought can tell you what you are, you make space for a deeper understanding to reveal itself (page 29).” That “deeper understanding” is wisdom.   So how do we get to that “deeper understanding” or wisdom?  He suggests and so do I: meditation or sitting as we call it in Zen Buddhism.  Some of you may be thinking I’ve tried it and it didn’t work.  I did it once some years back and nothing happened.  Others may be thinking, “I don’t have the time in my busy schedule to take a leak no less meditate!”  Others may be thinking, “I have ADHD—meditate—you must be nuts!”

Adyashanti says, “Meditation is more a form of silent prayer than a technique to master.  . . . it is the highest form of prayer, a naked act of love and effortless surrender into silent abyss beyond all knowing.  Meditation is the art of ‘allowing everything to simply be’ in the deepest possible way. (pages 20-21).”

When you do this for one minute or one hour or one day or one year without any expectation of knowledge or wisdom, or peace and love, you will find the taste of apple pie to be something like nothing you have ever tasted before.  The apples are crisper and tarter and sweeter, the cinnamon and sugar is just right, the crust is light and flakey, and all is right with the world.

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