Friday, November 30, 2007

What seeds are resting in the desert of your mind?

How is it that harmful results follow from harmful actions? It is by the force of an imprint placed on our mind that the potential to experience future suffering comes about. For example, a person who commits murder plants a very strong negative impression on his or her own mind and that impression, or seed, carries with it the potential to place that mind in a state of extreme misery. Unless the impression of that non-virtuous action is purified this latent seed will remain implanted in the mind, its power dormant but unimpaired. When the appropriate circumstances are eventually met, the potential power of this impression will be activated and the seed will ripen as an experience of intense suffering. . . . The situation is analogous to that of an arid piece of ground into which seeds were placed a long time ago. As long as these seeds are not destroyed somehow, they will retain their potential to grow. Should the ground be watered sufficiently these long-forgotten seeds will suddenly sprout forth. In a similar fashion our karmic actions plant their seeds in the field of our consciousness and when we encounter the proper conditions these seeds will sprout and bear their karmic fruit.
- Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Meaningful to Behold from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am what I think. (and you can too!)

In a well-known phrase, the Buddha said, Hatred can never cease by
hatred. Hatred can only cease by love. This is an eternal law. We can
begin to transcend the cycle of aversion when we can stop seeing
ourselves personally as agents of revenge. Ultimately, all beings are
the owners of their own karma. If someone has caused harm, they will
suffer. If we have caused harm, we will suffer. As the Buddha said in
the Dhammapada:

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
and trouble will follow you
as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart...
Speak or act with a pure mind
and happiness will follow you
as your shadow, unshakable.

Happiness and unhappiness depend on our actions.

--Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Does this work for you?

Begin the Development of Taking With Yourself

You cannot do anything with others that you have not done in the first
place with yourself. you can hurt others if you have hurt yourself,
you will be a pain in the neck to others if you are a pain in the neck
to yourself, you can be a blessing to others only if you are a
blessing to yourself.
Rather than starting by taking the whole misery of the world and
absorbing it into your heart, start with your own misery. Don't go
into the deep sea so fast; learn swimming in shallow water... You can
say to yourself "Yes, I am taking the misery of the whole world" - but
what do you know of the misery of the whole world? You have not
experienced even your own misery.

We go on avoiding our own misery. If you feel miserable, you put on
the radio or the TV and you become engaged. You start reading the
newspaper so that you can forget your misery, or you go to the movies,
or you go to your woman or your man...just somehow to keep yourself
away from yourself, so that you need not look at how much it hurts

First, you have to begin with yourself. If you are feeling miserable,
let it become a meditation. Sit silently, close the doors. First feel
the misery with as much intensity as possible. Feel the hurt. Somebody
has insulted you: now, the best way to avoid the hurt is to go and
insult him, so that you become occupied with him. This is not
If somebody has insulted you, feel thankful to him that he has given
you the opportunity to feel a deep wound...Just close the room, sit
silently, with no anger for the person but with total awareness of the
feeling that is arising in you - the hurt feeling that you have been
rejected, that you have been insulted. And then you will be surprised
that not only is this man there: all the people who have ever insulted
you will start moving in your memory... Stop all occupation, because
that too is a subtle drug. Just be silent, utterly alone. Don't even
pray, because that again is a drug, you are becoming occupied, you
start talking to God, you start praying, you escape from yourself.

Atisha is saying: just be yourself. Whatsoever the pain of it and
whatsoever the suffering of it, just let it be so. First experience it
in its total intensity. It will be difficult, it will be
heart-rending: you may start crying like a child, you may start
rolling on the ground in deep pain, your body may go through
contortions. You may suddenly become aware that the pain is not only
in the heart, it is all over the body - that it is aching all over,
that it is painful all over, that the body is nothing but pain.

If you can experience it - this is of tremendous importance - then
start absorbing it...Absorb it, drink it, accept it, welcome it, feel
grateful to it. It may take a few days for you to be able to digest
it, but the day it happens, you have stumbled upon a door which will
take you really far away. A new journey has started in your life, you
are moving into a new kind of being - because immediately, the moment
you accept the pain with no rejection anywhere, its energy and its
quality changes. It is no longer pain.

In fact one is simply surprised, one cannot believe it, it is so
incredible. One cannot believe that suffering can be transformed into
ecstasy, that pain can become joy.
Whenever anything is total it transforms into its opposite. This is a
great secret to be remembered...You will not believe it when it
happens the first time, that your own suffering absorbed willingly,
welcomingly, becomes a great blessing. The same energy that becomes
hate becomes love, the same energy that becomes pain becomes pleasure,
the same energy that becomes suffering becomes bliss.
Ride on the incoming breath and your small heart is bigger than the
whole universe, if you know what miracles it can do... Then let
blessings go riding on the outgoing breath to all the nooks and
corners of existence.

Atisha says: This is compassion. Compassion is to become a
transforming force in existence - transforming the ugly into the
beautiful, kissing the frog and transforming it into a prince,
transforming darkness into light. To become such a medium of
transformation is compassion.

From The Book of Wisdom : Discourses on Atisha`s
Seven Points of Mind Training, by Osho
Used by kind permission of Osho Foundation International


Nonviolence belongs to a continuum from the personal to the global,
and from the global to the personal. One of the most significant
Buddhist interpretations of nonviolence concerns the application of
this ideal to daily life. Nonviolence is not some exalted regimen that
can be practiced only by a monk or a master; it also pertains to the
way one interacts with a child, vacuums a carpet, or waits in line.
Besides the more obvious forms of violence, whenever we separate
ourselves from a given situation (for example, through
inattentiveness, negative judgments, or impatience), we kill something
valuable. However subtle it may be, such violence actually leaves
victims in its wake: people, things, one's own composure, the moment
itself. According to the Buddhist reckoning, these small-scale
incidences of violence accumulate relentlessly, are multiplied on a
social level, and become a source of the large-scale violence that can
sweep down upon us so suddenly. One need not wait until war is
declared and bullets are flying to work for peace, Buddhism teaches. A
more constant and equally urgent battle must be waged each day against
the forces of one's own anger, carelessness and self-absorption.

--Kenneth Kraft, Inner Peace, World Peace
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Monday, November 19, 2007

Near Enemies

The near enemies are qualities that arise in the mind and masquerade
as genuine spiritual realization, when in fact they are only an
imitation, serving to separate us from true feeling rather than
connecting us to it . . .

The near enemy of loving-kindness is attachment. At first, attachment
may feel like love, but as it grows it becomes more clearly the
opposite, characterized by clinging, controlling and fear.

The near enemy of compassion is pity, and this also separates us. Pity
feels sorry for that poor person over here, as if he were somehow
different from us . . .

The near enemy of sympathetic joy (the joy in the happiness of others)
is comparison, which looks to see if we have more of, the same as, or
less than another . . .

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference. True equanimity is
balance in the midst of experience, whereas indifference is withdrawal
and not caring, based on fear.

If we do not recognize and understand the near enemies, they will
deaden our spiritual practice. The compartments they make cannot
shield us for long from the pain and unpredictability of life, but
they will surely stifle the joy and open connectedness of true

--Jack Kornfield, in A Path with Heart
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Emperor Has NO Clothes!!!

It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point
out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a
half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.

- Neil Gaiman