The poems I like the best are those that hold up a mirror to my own thoughts, feelings, and impressions. This of course springs from a narcissistic fascination with myself. Much loved poems play with this tendency in readers like me, they tempt us to transmigrate into the voice of the speaker and claim it as our own. The poem carries out its work once we’ve been thus snared. Infusing our experience with meaning, poetic verse changes our course even as we tell ourselves that we’re the ones doing the reading.
There is such a need for bigger hearts, vast minds, for more tolerance, kindness and attitudes that includes everyone. We have enough racism and so many other way to exclude each other. We all know how painful it is to be the left out, to be the excluded or even the suppressed minority. Sometimes for absolutely no reason.
Here is a meditation song to sing right after waking up. Such a song can resonate into every moment, every action, and give strength to make a day better by connecting with love and genuine presence. It comes from Padmasambhava, and the tune is original, the same as Tulku Urgyen sang in Tibetan, but the words are translated into English. Erik and I just recorded it this morning after waking up. Everyone is invited to use the song.
Day after day we can witness around us acts of callousness and cruelty of which most people are not even aware, because they simply do not acknowledge that other life forms are sentient and therefore feel and respond to energy, moods and pain. This is an extremely crucial point to understand if we are ever to come into greater harmony with all other life forms with whom we share this world.
Living in a world focused on what is outside us, and not looking within, we are taught from a young age that we need to become something more than we are right now. We are encouraged to always be doing: we must learn; we must buy; we must acquire and achieve. And for absolute certain we must become better than we are right now just sitting here doing nothing. The Buddha taught the opposite. He said that by learning to let the mind be, just as it is right now, all our good qualities can unfold from within.
This story from one of the previous lives of His Holiness Rangjung Rikpé Dorjé, the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa, was told in 1976, while his party drove through Jalandhara, a place in Himachal Pradesh. It was raining very slightly and peacocks were singing softly. His Holiness had the car stopped and said to his attendants, “I have come back to my motherland”. He then told the following wondrous story.
Where there is suffering, either in ourselves or in our world, it is because there has been a lack of attention, love, and understanding. Now, each breath, each look, each thought we direct towards ourselves can be brimming with love, Each step, and every attentive moment can be like a gentle caress.
In the moments just before dusk the light lengthens, lemon-gold, over the grass: swells, then billows flags of flame tearing in the wind, wave after wave of ochre and umber resounding on the shores of evening, and finally becomes a thing almost incarnate—the clear flesh of the orchid evaporating on its stem might be the opposite of this— and thoughtless you reach to touch it so it thins, fades, and is gone.
With everyday stress, you should be looking more at handling the situation with your own mind and your own attitude rather than turning to any medication. But medicine is there to help; either for people who are not handling it or people who have such undue stress that it’s not even reasonable to expect them to handle it. Body and mind are constantly interrelated.
Interview with Dr. Emchi Shakya Dorje.
At the onset of the after-death experience, phenomena have no structure and no recognizable features whatsoever, but are a tremendous display, the ultimate acid trip. It’s unlike wide open space on a cloudless day: something happens within that space, called sounds, colors and lights. The sounds are, Tulku Urgyen said, like 100.000 simultaneous thunder cracks, from all directions, above, below, everywhere. The colors are all colors of the rainbow, but much more intense than we normally see in this life. The rays of light are like sharp needles or swords, piercing through everything.
We began by viewing each other as enemies and ended up holding hands—a young college student and a broken soldier holding hands together in the brightness of early winter. I give his story to you now because it’s all I can do to relieve the heavy tenderness I still feel for him to this day.
Observe with mindfulness. If we become accustomed to this kind of observation, our vision of the world and of ourselves will change subtly, we will be freeing ourselves from the bounding chains, the clinging and we will be enjoying the events in the present moment, here and now, while they last, letting them go and allowing them to fade away until they become a simple memory.
We have the incredibly great fortune to have encountered the precious teachings of the Buddha as well as living teachers who offer us the opportunity to study those teachings and assist us in training in them. Such a situation is a source of rejoicing that fills my heart with gratitude. It doesn’t matter that the path is long and difficult; it is the journey itself that is important.
Buddhism ultimately is not about making ourselves comfortable and well adjusted in samsara. It is about getting off that wheel entirely, by ending what they call the uncontrolled rebirth that arises out of confusion. We have to be careful in caring for each other and adapting to circumstances that we don’t reify the self, and reinforce our suffering.
Lotus Animal Sanctuary, raising awareness, awakening hearts and saving lives. The sanctuary is the life mission of Lynn, a vegan animal rights activist. When I met her, she tells me she is following a Buddhist path and was inspired by her teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh to become vegan and to get off the meditation mat and put compassion into action in everyday life, and she is.
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Chadral Rinpoche encouraged us to recognize our ‘true nature,’ because absolutely nothing else will be of any use to us in the long run. This and this alone is the chief and crucial point. In recognizing and practicing, one brings into balance all other factors in one’s life.
My darling Earth Pig I bow to your beneficent bounty Amid toils of duty and servitude To further your brood …
With life’s ceaseless hurdles, I imagine my dear fellow being banging their pity head on pillows, supposedly hitting their skull hard, wracking their brain, wondering and almost wishing that it pop out, frantically to see what is there that makes one forget.
Guru is heart, guru is luminous, substanceless mind-essence. By the virtue of his or her own training and devotion to benefit beings, the guru in human form embodies heartmind, and by embodying it brings it out in those with eyes to see and ears to hear, who also have a body alive enough to feel their own life and what is around. Like the real authentic guru himself or herself, heartmind remains ungraspable and indefinable, even as a person.
Radically Happy alternates between background explanations and instructions for guided meditations that build upon one another, moving from mastering one’s own mind to mastering one’s heart and finally mastering dignity, which is to say, finding radical happiness regardless of one’s circumstances.