Sunday, January 25, 2009

Long Term Motivation

The Dalai Lama talks about cyclic existence in conjunction with the morality of individual liberation...this seems to be the key to attaining the first step toward a more meaningful life. We need to work to be free of an existence (cyclic) that is driven by temporary distractions and short term thinking.

He goes on to say, to be free of this short term thinking and reactive actions, we need to better understand what causes it. The four areas to understand include:

1) true suffering
2) true sources of suffering
3) true cessations of suffering and its sources
4) true paths for actualizing true cessations

Hmmm...I'll start on the first...true suffering, next time. Til then...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Ten Nonvirtures

And help I got...the Dalai Lama speaks about the ten nonvirtures in the next paragraph. By being aware of and abandoning these, we can then start on the path of "doing no harm."

These nonvirtues include the physical...killing, stealing and sexual misconduct...the verbal...lying, divisive talk, harsh speech and senseless chatter...the mental...covetousness, harmful intent and wrong views.

He goes on to say, "Since motivation precedes and drives actions, controlling it is the best way to prevent impulsive and possibly abusive physical and verbal actions." Hmmm...the key word for me here is impulsive... reflect more and react less.

As I was contemplating what to write about this morning, here are some pictures of winter in West Michigan. Beautiful, isn't it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

At least do no harm..

The Dalai Lama's book identifies the main principle of Buddhist help others...and if you can't do least do no harm.

My first thought was, "what the heck does that mean?" Does it mean help an older person across the street if you see one? Or how about the homeless guy you just saw leave the shelter...offer them a room? Or how about other species...mosquitoes? Offer them an arm when they are hungry? I read on, " mainly practiced by refraining from physical and verbal actions that cause harm." He identifies this as the "morality of individual liberation."

Ok...I'm going to try it this week...refrain from physical and verbal actions that cause harm. Dang, I've already messed that one up! I missed my hair appt. today because I didn't want to wake up my grandchild and drag him to the beauty shop when he was so blissfully sleeping. I refrained from causing him harm...and in doing so, did harm to my hairdresser!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A continuation

In Buddha's life, according to the Dahli Lama's book I'm currently studying, there were three stages that brought him to enlightenment.

1) Morality
2) Concentrated meditation
3) Wisdom

Each stage takes a significant amount of time to develop and must be undertaken in order. Any progress on this particular road depends on the development of morality as it's base. what is morality? "The main principle of Buddhist morality is to help others and, if that is not possible, at least to do no harm," the Dahli Lama wrote. He goes on to explain this is practiced by refraining from physical and verbal actions that cause harm.

I like this guy! I am starting to feel at home here...I'll cover more later in the week. Again, trying to do this daily, but sometimes, life just gets in the way.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

And if they can do it...why can't we?

New Year - Old Me

I've always been introspective. Am I the person I should be? Do I try hard enough? Am I good enough? Am I smart enough...healthy enough...kind enough...philanthropic enough? So normally resolutions are simply reiterations of fifty odd years past, made with the intent of improving upon probably most of us 'insecure' types do.

This year will be different! ;) Things I am doing as we speak...starting a heart healthy diet and setting a docs appointment to have my blood pressure checked, which I already know is too high. I'm getting that in order this year! Setting a 'learning objective' for each day...I'll never be smart enough, but I'll never quit trying! A daily exercise regime...this year I'll quit looking in mirrors when I walk by and wonder who the heck that old chubby lady is! And, a regular reading from a book I've tried to get through many times before, "How to Practice The Way to a Meaningful Life," by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Each time I blog, I will attempt to make some sense of what he says and how it relates to my life and how I live I hope to live it!

I've held a curious fascination for Eastern philosophies since reading some of
DeePak Chopra's books during the mid-nineties. This interest reawakened during my trip to Thailand last spring and then again with the Dalai Lama's book.

In the introduction, Dalai says (or is interpreted as saying,)

"...but more dangerous than guns or bombs are hatred, lack of compassion, and lack of respect for the rights of others. As long as hatred dwells in the human mind, real peace is impossible. We must do everything we can to stop war, and to rid the world of nuclear weapons."

So, many of us know do we do it? He goes on to say the we are all one in the same. Even though we come from different backgrounds, political structures, religious beliefs...we are all the same. So we all must come to the following...

"practice of compassion and love-a genuine sense of brotherhood and sisterhood-is the universal religion. It doesn't matter whether you are Buddhist, or Christian, Moslem or Hindu, or whether you practice religion at all. What matters is your feeling of oneness with humankind."

Once we realize we are the same, one we understand we all have similar hopes and fears, once we realize that without compassion, calm and insight that he prescribes to, we face angry reactions with deadly consequences. So...that's what we'll do over the next year. Cultivate compassion, calm and goes...

Road trip 2021

 A picture review of 2021 Sister Trip. As baby of the family, I’ve committed to visiting my three older sisters as often as possible, before...