Real Mindfulness

Great Middle Way

images (7)Mindfulness has become fashionable as a technique to combat stress, increase efficiency, and “live in the moment”. But, what did the Buddha Shakyamuni say about Right Mindfulness?

One is mindful to abandon wrong view and to enter and remain in Right View.

This is Right Mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong intention and to enter and remain in Right Thought.

This is Right Mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong speech and to enter and remain in Right Speech.

This is Right Mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong conduct and to enter and remain in Right Conduct.

This is Right Mindfulness.

One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter and remain in Right Livelihood.

This is Right Mindfulness.

—Buddha Shakyamuni

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Remembering Dolpopa

Great Middle Way

buddolpoMay I teach the Dharma in all my lifetimes.

If unable to teach the Dharma,

may I bear the great responsibility of upholding it.

If unable to uphold the Dharma,

may I stand watch with concern for the doctrine

and fear for the decline of the Dharma.

May I remove all the suffering

of all infinite beings, my parents.

If unable to remove all their suffering,

may I be their companion in suffering.

—Kunchen Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen

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Let Go

Great Middle Way

images (1)All persons have different levels of capacity, maturity, training, skill, and experience.  In addition, we have particular family backgrounds, cultures, personalities, idiosyncrasies, tendencies, dominant afflicted emotions, communication styles, and many other characteristics. In short, the combinations and permutations of our karmic formations are truly beyond calculation.

Given all these permutations, the potential for unsuitability between two particular persons is very high. It should come as no surprise, then, that any one relationship between any two persons is fraught with the potential for misunderstandings, conflict, and plain incompatibility. It is indeed the extremely rare relationship that actually ‘works’, so we should not be surprised in the least when most do not. Those are the odds.

When a relationship increases stress or suffering, whether its nature is personal or professional, there is no sense in prolonging it. It is best to move on and release it, without resentment and recrimination. It just…

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Happy Saga Dawa Düchen!

Happy Saga Dawa Duchen!

Great Middle Way

EnlightenmentSaga Dawa Düchen, the ‘Festival of Vaishakha’, is one of four major Buddhist holidays. It occurs on the full moon of the fourth Tibetan lunar month, which is called Saga Dawa.

It celebrates Buddha Shakyamuni’s birth in Lumbini, His enlightenment at Bodhgaya, and His parinirvana at Kushinagara.

The Blessed One is the One Gone to Bliss,

The Fully Awakened, Accomplished in True Knowledge and Conduct,

The Fortunate, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed Leader of Beings to Be Tamed,

Teacher of Gods and Humans, the Perfectly Enlightened One, the Buddha.

 

The Buddha is non-dual Wisdom.

The Buddha is the Body of Truth.

The Buddha is the Lama.

The Buddha is our own Pure Mind.

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Freedom and Responsibility

Great Middle Way

images (10)To be free, in the worldly and the spiritual sense, it is essential to accept full responsibility for our thoughts, words, and deeds; recognize that it is impossible to avoid the consequences of our previous acts; and establish the necessary causes for our happiness.

Subordination to others —no matter how good and saintly they may appear at the moment— is highly  detrimental, because it allows us to avoid responsibility and turns us into willing victims of external powers.

By oneself is evil done;
by oneself is one defiled.
By oneself is evil left undone;
by oneself is one made pure.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
no one can purify another.

—Buda Sakyamuni

Without freedom, there is no responsibility. Without responsibility, happiness is impossible.

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Heart Advice

Great Middle Way

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Relinquishing ‘me’ is ceasing to want to be this and that.

Relinquishing ‘mine’ is ceasing to want to have this and that.

In samsara, nothing is worth being; nothing is worth having.

When meeting with sensory objects, stop at contact:

when hearing, just hear; when touching, just touch;

when seeing, just see; when tasting, just taste;

when smelling, just smell.

If stopping at contact is not possible, and feelings arise:

when a pleasant feeling arises, do not cling to it;

when an unpleasant feeling arises, do not avoid it.

If attachment and aversion do arise, do not proceed to craving;

emotions appear, endure but for a moment, and subside.

If you must act, apply the four efforts:

stop harmful acts already started;

don’t start harmful acts not yet begun;

start beneficial acts not yet begun;

don’t stop beneficial acts already started.

If you do act on afflicted emotions,

minimize harm…

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Aligning with the highest

IMG_8890I woke up to this glorious Dallas blue sky morning, contemplating “aligning with the highest”…which my teacher always talks about, and defines as “align with ‘your’ highest view — whatever that is, but align with that”…

I do love and appreciate my Shudda Ayurveda and New Jonang Dharma lineages so much, and our amazing arya sanga.

This brought back to mind, the signs and symptoms that we define natural perfection by, and they are:

1. Healing the Sick – the desire to alleviate the suffering of all who experience pain, discomfort, and anxiety.

2. Nourishing the Young – the will to provide favorable conditions for the maturation of our juniors.

3. Protecting the Weak – the capacity to extend shelter to those who are oppressed by others or by negative circumstances. (This includes our animal friends.)

4. Loving the Beautiful – the outpouring of genuine appreciation for the attractive qualities of others.

5. Serving the Good – the uncontrived determination to contribute our talents, time, and treasure to further virtuous undertakings.

6. Honoring the Wise – the cheerful acceptance of correction and guidance from our seniors.

7. Aligning with the Highest – the constant disposition to search for the truth and aspire to manifest the Union of Wisdom and Compassion.

So beautiful and something to keep aspiring to…

Another photo sent to me by my son Jeffrey, taken in Venice, CA this past week…

Enjoy this weekend, which here in Dallas today, looks to be a lovely one…

Love & Light!

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Right Effort

Great Middle Way

12778698_1145134358830599_4718864828656346532_oAnd what is Right Effort? There is the case where one generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts one’s intent for the sake of the non-arising of unwholesome, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen. One generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts one’s intent for the sake of the abandonment of unwholesome, unskillful qualities that have arisen. One generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts one’s intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen. One generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds and exerts one’s intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, and culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen. This is called Right Effort.  ―Buddha Shakyamuni

Time and again the Buddha stressed the need for effort, diligence, exertion, and unflagging perseverance in working for our own deliverance. The Buddha points the way, but it is us who…

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Conditioning and tendencies…

12823342_998102903605724_7358314368076559261_oFor 24 weeks (and counting) my teacher has been lecturing on a chapter on Patience, from “The Way of the Bodhisattva” by Shantideva.

It always amazes me how he can speak on one or two lines in a text for over an hour — and, for weeks and weeks on end…

Patience is the practice of peace, so I suppose it could go on forever…:)

As we study Buddhism, we learn in detail how the mind works, and how previous conditioning and tendencies cause our suffering.

As we learn to take a step back and consider consequences before we act, it helps us to see that nothing is happening from outside of us, and that we have power over our actions and what happens next.

We all have a dominant emotion, which has a very short fuse. When we are put in a situation that is ripe for it to manifest, our tendency is to react before thinking. For some that emotions is anger, for others passion, jet others jealousy…for me it is, and always has been: fear…

The past few weeks I have faced some realities that have caused a ‘fight or flight’ response in me, and the resulting tension in my body. Since I know that there is no physical or emotional threat ‘out there’ — no ‘tiger’ about to jump and have me for breakfast — I have been able to work through the process in my mind — however, I have still had to live through the effects in my body.

We have some conditioning that is so strong that even knowing the reasons, and being able to step back, it will take continuous awareness and effort. But, they will become less and less frequent and less powerful in time, and finally disappear.

Understanding and working with this process has been extremely helpful, and I think I can safely state that all of us who have had the benefit of Mind Training can attests to it totally changing our lives, and for the better.

My teacher always says we only have 2 problems in this world: wrong views and afflicted emotions. Due to our karma (action and consequence) we have conditioning that gives us the tendency to repeat, but we have the power to ‘cut’ off those tendencies, and put new causes in place for the effects we want to experience…

Fortunately for us, we don’t have to create something from nothing — all we have to do remove the veils that cover our true nature.

I am grateful each and every day for the wisdom and compassion of my teacher, for his teacher, and for our lineage root master: Kunchen Dolpopa.

om mani peme hum

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Doctrine and Practice

Great Middle Way

boat2The Three Wheels of the Dharma are the three cycles of the Buddha’s teaching, in which He emphasized various aspects. The First Wheel (in which He presented the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path) are focused on cause and effect, action and reaction —karma. The Second Wheel focuses on emptiness —that is, that our perceptions are conceptual elaborations, and have no independent existence. The Third Wheel focuses on Buddha Nature, the natural perfection of all sentient beings, which is ultimate reality.

One can go very deeply into all Three Wheels, but this is their essence: (1) as long as we live in duality, we must observe the law of cause and effect, avoiding harm and doing good; (2) we must understand that our perceptions are more indicative of our own perspective than of any substantial ‘facts’, and thus we must cultivate peace and clarity, purifying the mind of…

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