For those of us, men and women, who have experienced sexual or any kind of abuse, for that matter, the film offers insight into how we craft our stories into narratives that elude uncomfortable recognition of personal trauma and hurt by reshaping them into more tolerable story lines redefined in the abstract while denying the visceral or reacting with a lifetime of blame.
Many of us struggle to stay afloat these days. We have increasing social, financial, and work burdens that often stretch us in many different directions at once, and a meditation or spiritual practice can unfortunately easily slip into just being one more thing on the to do list.
The best and foremost way to help others is to see them as they really are, reflections of their own nature of pure being, just like oneself. Knowing that reflections always manifest the same attributes and qualities as their source, all beings are in fact now and always the omnipresent totality of pure being. Knowing this, if you wish to help someone or wish to develop an attitude of compassion, train in seeing others as already possessing the attributes and qualities of pure being, in other words, see them as already possessing wisdom.
As more people explore the option to alter their biology, gender issues have surfaced in so many ways it’s hard to recognize certain facets of culture we used to take for granted. There is no longer a ladies room or a men’s room for that matter in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
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.
In our society, there is a constant and intense quest for pleasurable and satisfying experiences, but no room for dealing with disappointment. Things do not always happen as we plan, inevitably resulting in frustration and a lot of effort to avoid it. Increasingly incapable of handling frustration, because on being unprepared for it, we seek illusory alternatives and flee from a real confrontation with the causes.
Many people are not aware of the fact that they are almost constantly distracted. We tend to have an almost addictive need for some kind of emotional engagement and smartphones fill this need on a number of different levels, very effectively. In fact they have been designed with just this need in mind.
An interview with Neil Dalal, a scholar and director of acclaimed documentary Gurukulam, an immersive portrait about life in a remote forest ashram. “I knew Swami Dayananda for nineteen years prior to his mahasamadhi last year and studied extensively in India with him. Over the years we had numerous discussions and he was always interested in my research. He was keenly aware of the difficulties of self-representation that traditional Advaita faces today, but was disinclined towards publicity and biographical praise.”
When we buy a piece of meat, doesn’t the supply-chain economy react to replace it in the grocery aisle, where it otherwise would not? If hundreds of tantric Buddhists shopped in the same Whole Foods outlet, perhaps that would be the case. But if we relatively few tantrikas are thoughtful and selective, we not only are very unlikely to add to the toll of lives lost to consumption of meat by our twice-monthly small purchase, but likely will be substituting our purchase for that of another person who lacks our motivation and purpose in forming a compassionate and aspirational karmic connection with the being whose flesh has been slaughtered.
The rise in a multitude of ways to have a quick fix, a good body, and perfect health is another manifestation of our cultural sickness. Simple direct ways to live, eat and follow the flow of nature have become totally uninteresting to our hyped-up western culture. If it’s not sexy, trendy or going to make you famous, then it’s not of value to us at all. This is the danger of our current way of being in relationship to our lives and a direct affront to the sacredness and true purpose of life itself.
The Moon landing showed that humans can set foot on other worlds, and Hubble validated the Big Bang fourteen billion years ago, but Voyager revealed the depth of humanity’s astounding hubris by simply travelling from planet to planet and taking pictures of our solar system. It was like looking in a mirror while high on LSD and seeing 99.99999% Emptiness — a great void — with a few tiny bits of luminous matter spinning about a blob of boiling solar plasma that will eventually consume itself.
We must take empowered responsibility, skillful means, insight, awareness, make decisions with perspective and perform interconnected and compassionate actions beyond self-interest and fear, the fear of ourselves or self-doubt, fear of others, of the open space of possibilities, and beyond fear of action.
It is strange that we can keep on upholding the notion of the superiority of our own civilization over earlier and currently different forms of society and cultures. And furthermore, it is strange that we find this position to be legitimized by the power that our economic superiority ensures us.
That is why the industrial agriculture and meat industry can exist. It is due to a basic experience of discernment and independence that violence in any form grows. That thinking does not allow us to see ourselves as part of a larger and interdependent whole, but creates a world where we feel separate from other people and everything else alive. It is a thought pattern that appeals to our fears and greed, which has defined the world in purely economic terms, builds on the idea of eternal growth and profit, and which constantly brings us to battle against others and nature.
The longing for wholeness commits us to a perpetual state of dualistic suffering. We search for God, a soul mate, philosophical ideals, creative ecstasy through the many human values such as power, greed, jealousy and hatred. These dualistic patterns run through out all of samsara creating an endless perpetual dissatisfaction.
The Bodhi Tree is a type of fig tree (Ficus Religiosa) so during the time it is bearing fruit there is much life in the tree as birds and chipmunks are attracted to the tiny figs. October is one of those times so I was fortunate to be able to gather some of the seeds that had dropped from the tree. These can be planted easily and will grow very well in a tropical climate, or as house plants further north.
There is something that comes before all other contemplation, that if it is lacking whatever time and energy is spent in studying is as good as wasted. I’m referring here to a clarity of mind that grasps what’s being talked about, and that can understand it and make connections with our own life, at least to some extent. If we are not moved inwardly by what we hear or read, then something essential is missing.
Enjoy this Santa Xmas meditation, overflowing with generosity and good wishes by Adam Moes.
THE PERFECT TIMEView Post
Some people are beneficiaries of a system that enables certain individuals to amass inconceivable riches while countless others are condemned to lives of squalor and disenfranchisement. And while Buddhism extends its systemic lenses on a much wider framework of human suffering, the in-between area of the immediately near us is sometimes neglected.
We almost never think to question our story or to investigate the nature and origins of our inmost sense of self. As a result, our attention remains locked onto the drama of our unfolding life and we remain none the wiser right up until the time it is about to end. Most of us are not even aware that we are fixating on a drama which is neither true nor real and we are accustomed to living almost all of our lives this way. For us, what is nearest and true, as our inmost nature, has become but a distant dream and what is dreamlike and passing is the obsessive focus of our day to day attention.