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 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.
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.
Enjoy this Santa Xmas meditation, overflowing with generosity and good wishes by Adam Moes.
What to do when no place feels like home? I chose to open myself freely to whatever happens outside while being in an inward retreat, which means I try to protect my mind while knowing the absolute ridiculousness of dwelling, getting attached to thoughts, emotions and the dream-like world.
In Vajrayana Buddhism, we learn to see ourselves and all others like this, as essentially divine, transparent beings of light. We interact continually with others and this world, receiving blessings and responding compassionately as needed. At first we do this as an act of imagination, but gradually we learn to see that this is how things actually are, all by themselves. At that time, what we call prayer, in thought, word, and action are entirely natural.
The process that I went through to come to my current appreciation of making offerings is a worthwhile lesson in curiosity, diligent investigation, and the development of evidence-based faith. I need things to make sense. I need to know that what I am doing has a purpose and leads to a measurable outcome. I’m not fond of hypothetical constructs, blind faith, magical thinking, adherence to protocol, or unquestioning obedience to authority. If somebody tells me to do something “because it’s good,” but then offers no reasonable explanation as to why it is good, I tend to walk away.
For almost all countries that Buddhism came to, it was a force of civilization. Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Tibet, Mongolia, all got their written languages from Buddhist scholar-missionaries. But not China. China was a civilized country at the time, with its own language and literature when Buddhism arrived.
Each kind act is like a rung on the ladder to the truth of wholeness, dissolving the illusion that we are separate. When we drop our own story to listen to someone else, it forges cracks in the mind’s inner shell, allowing light to flood in.