Jan 25

Discovering Yourself: A Teaching on Karma & Your Mindstream

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Jan 23

The Fabulous Sharabha Deer

Having Compassion for an Enemy

Virtuous beings show compassion even to those who seek to harm them. When evil doers are in distress, the truly compassionate never abandon them. This was the case when the Bodhisattva was born in the forest, as a fabulous Sharabha deer.

During a large hunt, a local king who was distracted by his passion for sport became separated from his retinue of elephants, chariots, and footmen. Because the horse he was riding was swift, he crossed a great distance without realizing it and became lost in the remote woods inhabited by the Sharabha Deer.

The king spotted the impressive deer and immediately strung his bow and started to pursue it. The chase continued until they reached a gaping chasm. The deer leapt across with ease but the king’s horse abruptly halted, and the jolt threw the king from the horse. When the deer turned around he saw the horse at the chasms edge and quickly realized what had happened. His heart overflowed with compassion for the man who was surely on the rocks below badly injured or even dead.
Completely forgiving the man’s attempt to kill him, the deer climbed down and offered aid. The deer’s kind action moved the injured king deeply and he apologized with tears in his eyes, saying that he had mistaken the deer for a low minded beast when in fact it was himself who was the brute.

The deer carried the King to his horse and the king, overcome by gratitude and remorse told the deer that he was forever in his service and beseeched the great being to come live in the capitol. The Sharabha deer declined the offer but said that he did have one request, that the king and the people of his kingdom stop hunting. He stated that the forest animals are worthy of his compassion and protection and not his arrows. The king agreed and from that day on, hunting was outlawed in the kingdom and the forest animals lived in safety.

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Jan 19

Engaging the Three Refuges

by Wayne Ren-Cheng

Across Buddhist traditions the Three Refuges (P., tritratna) is the initial step for all on the Noble Path. In the Chinese Ch’an tradition reciting the Three Refuges (also known as the Three Treasures or Three Jewels of Buddhism) is how a person “becomes” a Buddhist, it is known as Taking Refuge (P., sarana). It is a recognition that at any time, when needed a Buddhist can return to, or find sanctuary in the Three Refuges. It is not an act of conversion. It is a choice. We can choose approach the Noble Path with the knowledge that Siddhartha was a human being like ourselves, one whose example we can follow. We can approach the Noble Path with the realization that the dharma is a dynamic reality. We can approach the Noble Path alongside others who have similar goals and are searching for similar experiences.

The precise meanings of each of jewels, their interconnectedness, and how to honor each differs between traditions, while the intent remains steadfast. The intent being that once on the Noble Path the practitioner can return to the ideals of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha whenever needed to reinforce and strengthen practice.
In the Buddhavagga Sutra is found these verses about refuge:

They go to many a refuge, to mountains and forests,

to park and tree shrines: people threatened with danger.

That’s not the secure refuge, not the supreme refuge,

that’s not the refuge, having gone to which,

you gain release from all suffering & stress.

But when, having gone to the Buddha, Dhamma,

& Sangha for refuge, you see with right discernment

the four noble truths — stress,the cause of stress,

the transcending of stress, & the noble eightfold path,

the way to the stilling of stress: that’s the secure refuge,

that, the supreme refuge, that is the refuge,

having gone to which, you gain release from all suffering & stress.

Buddhavagga Sutra

In Engaged Dharma the Three Refuges are recited before any session, individual or sangha.

THE THREE REFUGES

I go for refuge to the Buddha, the teacher.
I go for refuge to the Dhamma, the teaching.
I go for refuge to the Sangha, the taught.

I take refuge in the Buddha.
I take refuge in the Dhamma.
I take refuge in the Sangha.

I have taken refuge in the Buddha.
I have taken refuge in the Dhamma.
I have taken refuge in the Sangha.

SVA HA!

Sutta Pitaka, Khuddaka Nikaya, Saranagamana Sutta

The three repetitions follow the traditional Ch’an ritual of intent. The first recitation is to remind us that we made the choice to walk the Noble Path by going to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for shelter. The second, that we accept the Refuges as moment-to-moment ideals that must be engaged in the reality of the world we live in. The third, that we realize that refuge, serenity and equanimity can always be returned to. Once the recitation ceremony is completed then the intent of the Three Refuges becomes part of our consciousness. It is a simple ceremony of deep listening, intentional recitation, and solemn vow. Listening, recitation and vow, a ritual done with the intent to transform how we are.

The Buddha

At times in life we may become disillusioned or be assailed by doubt that one human being can have an appreciable effect on the unsatisfactoriness and suffering we recognize around, and within us. We can feel ourselves stepping back from our commitment.

Siddhartha Guatama, the historical Buddha lived and died as a human being. He encountered the same experiences as any other person of his place and time. He was simply a man who wanted to find a way to relieve unsatisfactoriness and suffering and committed himself to finding a way. He is the personal, human component in Buddhist philosophy and practice.

Siddhartha didn’t come to realize a path out of unsatisfactoriness and suffering by hiding out in a cave or sequestering himself in a monastery. He sat under a bodhi tree in full view of anyone walking by and meditated until he awakened with the realization of the Four Ennobling Truths. Then came Siddhartha’s moment of doubt . . . was this realization too much for others to understand? . . . do I have the skills necessary to get the message to others? . . . he ultimately decided that it would be selfish to keep this knowledge to himself because with the knowledge came the responsibility to tell others.

Each of us have moments of doubt. Can we do it . . . whatever it is? We can look to Siddhartha as our example, and go on to be an example to others. Then we take refuge in the Buddha.

The Dharma

Traditionally the dharma (P., dhamma) in Buddhist philosophy has three manifestations. The Dharma recorded as the words of the Buddha in the Nikayan texts are scriptural dharma. Realized Dharma arises when the practitioner puts information into practice and comprehends its positive transformational effects. Third is the dharma that is the reality of the world we live in. It is the realities of causality, the not-self, and of impermanence. We take refuge in all the manifestations of dharma. Through the Dharma the Buddha presented us with ways to live in harmony with the world around us, ways to live in harmony with the people around us, and to live in harmony with ourselves.

To take refuge in the Dharma has other interpretations as well. It can mean to take refuge in the truths that have been revealed by our everyday experiences, the laws of nature, or the principles that govern our individual and communal lives. Beth Ross, Tricycle Magazine Website, Family Dharma: Taking Refuge (On the Wings of Angels)

As Ms. Ross writes, we have to look to everyday, moment-to-moment experiences and learn from them. We have to learn to be aware and accept the causal process of the Universe and take action within it to create and maintain human flourishing. While we have individual lives we must realize they are never separated from the communal living that goes on around us, what we do has its effect.

When faced with situations we can take refuge in the Dharma to direct us toward positive transformation.

The Sangha

In the Mahayana tradition there is less of a distinction between the monastic and the lay people; all are considered the sangha. The sangha is important because Buddhist philosophy and practice isn’t meant to be only an individual pursuit, it is meant to have a strong socially engaged aspect. From the earliest incarnations of the Noble Path the Buddha made it clear to his disciples that they must travel around and spread the Dharma through example.

The EDIG sangha is a support network that offers friendship and the shared experiences of members. A sangha provides a fertilizer to help each practitioner grow into a socially engaged, socially relevant Buddhist. All sanghas allow the brain to think on a more encompassing scale as connections between members reveal that each are representative of the whole sangha. As a representative each practitioner becomes more than themselves, they realize themselves as a piece of everyone. This does not mean a loss of personal identity, only that there is no duality between individual and member.

It is through interactions and personal connections developed within the sangha that social selves arise. We discuss relevant issues and the effect of applying the teachings of the Buddha to them. Through social consensus decisions are made on the value of actions we have taken, and how we can better react to situations that didn’t turn out so well.

The sangha is a place we must be able to “air our views” without fear of judgement. We grow to trust the members of the sangha and this trust is a refuge.

Engaging the Three Refuges

Buddhist practice is all about re-wiring the bodymind, strengthening the positive practices we already engage in, and discarding or altering the negative ones. This isn’t mind control or brain washing. No one, deity or otherwise is coercing you or can force you to change; it is up to you to choose your path.

Reciting the Three Refuges is a reminder that no matter what situations we face there are places of sanctuary. We can go to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha to refresh our awareness that we must accept the world as it is, and that we can take actions necessary to make it better on a personal and societal level.

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Jan 18

Buddha Center schedule update

Monday
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple
01:00 PM SLT – Teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in Deer Park (in voice)
05:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple

Tuesday
01:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Harmony in the main temple.
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Harmony in the main temple.
06:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of relaxing meditation with MarieReine in Deer Park (in voice)

Wednesday
09:00 AM SLT – Metta meditation with JenLanSerra at the Deer Park
01:00 PM SLT – Jataka tales and meditation with Zino March in the main temple (in voice)
05:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Cysix Sage in the main temple

Thursday
01:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Harmony in the main temple.
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple
01:00 PM SLT – Lecture with Swami Luminos; “Journey into the Thought World of Early Buddhism” in the main temple (in voice)
06:30 PM SLT – 30 minutes of relaxing meditation with MarieReine in Deer Park (in voice)

Friday
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of silent meditation with Tashi Aura in the main temple
12:00 PM SLT – Teaching with Ealadha Glasswing in the main temple (in voice)
02:00 PM SLT – Teaching with Venerable Wayne Slacker in the main temple (in voice)

Saturday
08:30 AM SLT – 30 minutes of relaxing meditation with MarieReine in Deer Park (in voice)
02:00 PM SLT – Lecture with Tseten Thokmey in Deer Park (in voice)

Sunday
10:30 AM SLT – Puja ceremony held every last Sunday of the month in the main temple (in voice)
02:00 PM SLT – Lecture with Tseten Thokmey in Deer Park (in voice)

Teachings – To Be Announced

Teachings by Lodro Kamala
Teachings by Lama Tsewang
Teachings by Venerable David
Teachings by Venerable Wayne
Teachings by Teak Zenovka
Teachings by DoKwang
RL teaching with Zino March

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Jan 17

The Dhammapada The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom

Dhp I PTS: Dhp 1-20
Yamakavagga: Pairs
translated from the Pali by
Acharya Buddharakkhita

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

3. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.

7. Just as a storm throws down a weak tree, so does Mara overpower the man who lives for the pursuit of pleasures, who is uncontrolled in his senses, immoderate in eating, indolent, and dissipated. [1]

8. Just as a storm cannot prevail against a rocky mountain, so Mara can never overpower the man who lives meditating on the impurities, who is controlled in his senses, moderate in eating, and filled with faith and earnest effort. [2]

9. Whoever being depraved, devoid of self-control and truthfulness, should don the monk’s yellow robe, he surely is not worthy of the robe.

10. But whoever is purged of depravity, well-established in virtues and filled with self-control and truthfulness, he indeed is worthy of the yellow robe.

11. Those who mistake the unessential to be essential and the essential to be unessential, dwelling in wrong thoughts, never arrive at the essential.

12. Those who know the essential to be essential and the unessential to be unessential, dwelling in right thoughts, do arrive at the essential.

13. Just as rain breaks through an ill-thatched house, so passion penetrates an undeveloped mind.

14. Just as rain does not break through a well-thatched house, so passion never penetrates a well-developed mind.

15. The evil-doer grieves here and hereafter; he grieves in both the worlds. He laments and is afflicted, recollecting his own impure deeds.

16. The doer of good rejoices here and hereafter; he rejoices in both the worlds. He rejoices and exults, recollecting his own pure deeds.

17. The evil-doer suffers here and hereafter; he suffers in both the worlds. The thought, “Evil have I done,” torments him, and he suffers even more when gone to realms of woe.

18. The doer of good delights here and hereafter; he delights in both the worlds. The thought, “Good have I done,” delights him, and he delights even more when gone to realms of bliss.

19. Much though he recites the sacred texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who only counts the cows of others — he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.

20. Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

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