May 11

Wonderful Day at the Buddha Center

Vesak day was enjoyed by all at the Buddha Center, We engagaged in Offerings to the Buddha, Mandala painting and many talks and meditation sessions
It was a great success!

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May 06

Heart Sutra Analysis Part 1

Talk given at Riverview Dharma Center 2016-11-27
Welcome,
After the talk on the Heart Sutra and Mantra a few questions of hearers remained in my mind and it felt it would be a good idea to address the core of these questions in a follow up talk. This talk we have today.
The topic of today’s talk is Emptiness, what is it and how to understand it rationally, in a way that makes it more palpable (if one can say this like that) and in a way that helps us to realize it more easily.
Of course the conclusion on the meaning of the Heart Sutra is that all phenomena are ’empty of inherent nature’. As we analyzed the text of the sutra, we learned by logic that this has to mean that all phenomena actually do not even exist because they do not even get to be created. Nevertheless we experience phenomena, as they appear to us, actually all as being very created, very existent and real.
As we analyzed in the Heart Sutra, phenomena have to be a ‘sort of a dreamed up experience’. Dreamed by a non-dual dreamer, called ’emptiness’ who dreams being a universe with a multitude of phenomena, including our individual personalities who are (being) tricked in to believing the dream is a reality.

We learned from the Heart Sutra there have to be two truths.
Our small personal identity, its experiences and corresponding view on reality are a relative truth in which we experience all phenomena as real.
The ‘Greater Whole’ the ‘Non Dual Dreamer’ (just a few designations I or anyone can imagine for the Foundation on which, or in which, or because of which all phenomena experience one another) is the ultimate Truth. This Truth in Mahayana Buddhism often is referred to as ‘Emptiness’. Another very important reference to this Truth we find in a text called ‘Udana’ which is part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism as Wikipedia informs us. I am referring to Udana nr. 80. I will quote that text:
Quote
There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, and Unconditioned. If that Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned were not, there could be no escape from this that is born, originated, created, conditioned. But because there is That which is Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned, an escape from this that is born, originated, created, conditioned can be proclaimed.
Unquote
It seems good to once more shortly emphasize that this ‘Emptiness’ as we find it in Mahayana Sutra’s is actually something which one will find in the Pali Canon as it is accepted in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism.

Now;
At first glance there seems to be an unsolvable contradiction and our mind is screening at us, trying to convince us that it really can’t be true that ‘it all’ does not exist, and, then, when believing our mind, we actually strengthen the experience of the reality of those phenomena which nevertheless do not really exist.
We have to learn to calm this panic-like response of our minds to this notion that phenomena do not exist. We have to learn to ponder on this idea calmly and in a way our minds will accept the possibility of this idea, so that we remain open, in a researching way, for experiences which may bring conformation of the reality of this idea of non-existence of the phenomena.
That this is not an easy task may be obvious. We need to practice relentlessly and we need to correct ourselves every time our mind tricks us in to believing things as real and existent.
If we now look at that board behind me, on my right hand side, (for you that is left of me) we see these lists which I copied from Alexander Duncan’s book called ‘Conversations with the Buddha’.
These lists are lists which basically have been given to us by the Buddha in his teachings.
The list on top on the right side of the board shows those five aggregates or ‘skandha’s’ of which the Heart Sutra says the are empty or non-existent. This, although in Buddhist philosophy, these aggregates totally constitute and explain a livings being existence.
If we would wish to imagine ourselves upon that image or visa versa, we would spontaneously wish to flip the list upside down. Consciousness on top and form at the bottom, right?
If we do so flip the list, we immediately see the great overlap that this list of aggregates has with the list on the top left side of the board.
That list is called ‘the chain of cause and effect’ also known as ‘the links of interdependent arising’, of which there have evolved several versions with a few more or less links in the list.
The idea however is the same in all of them.
In this chain of cause and effect, we see that the Buddha taught, that a person’s existence here in Samsara starts out with consciousness. Often this first link is called ‘ignorance’ which is consciousness as well, but of an uninformed nature – thus of a not wise nature, lacking in wisdom. It is only at the end of the ‘chain of interdependent arising’ or the ‘chain of cause and effect’, in the last two links, we see the arising of matter as we know it, when we start becoming and get born into this material universe.

If we now look at the list on the bottom right side of the board we see the list called ‘eight liberations’. This list is a list of steps one has to take, or go through, to attain final liberation and these steps are basically doing the opposite of ‘becoming and getting born’ as in the last two links in the list of interdependent arising.
In the list of the Eight Liberations we firstly see those first three steps which correspond to the last step of the chain of interdependent arising which is ‘becoming, getting born in this material world’. After these first three steps of becoming, we then see the first actual step on the actual path of reversing that chain of interdependent arising, which is step 4 in the list of liberations.
We see that we, as a first step, have to transcend all perceptions of matter!
Sidestepping the issue of this talk for a second, we should notice for a moment that according to this list the experience of ‘becoming, getting born and getting intend on these experiences in Samsara’ are actually part of the path from ignorance to Wisdom! Hence they are on the list of the eight liberations.

Forms do not exist, as we learned from the Heart Sutra, so matter does not exist either. We only perceive matter because we are intend on perceiving it and because we enjoy the sensory experiences it brings to our mind. Nevertheless we are interacting with a delusion, as is also clearly proclaimed in the Diamond Sutra from which the following is a quote:
Quote
Diamond Sutra, Section V.
Understanding the Ultimate Principle of Reality
Subhuti, what do you think? Is the Tathagata to be recognized by some material characteristic?
No, World-honored One; the Tathagata cannot be recognized by any material characteristic. Wherefore? Because the Tathagata has said that material characteristics are not, in fact, material characteristics.
Buddha said: Subhuti, wheresoever material characteristics there are is delusion; but whoso perceives that all characteristics are in fact no-characteristics, perceives the Tathagata.
End of quote.

So, In order to start to get an idea of that evading concept called Emptiness we must realize deeply and finally that all phenomena in our universe are NOT made of matter AT ALL!
If we fail to do so, we actually fail on the first step (actual or positive step that is) on the Path of Liberation which is listed as step nr.4 on the list of the eight liberations.

Studying the list of cause and effect leading from the arising of consciousness (in a state of ignorance that is) to being born, as well as this list of the eight liberations, we find ground to assume that the universe and all phenomena in it are made of that kind of energy which is, necessarily, included in that first consciousness and is the root of that consciousness at the same time.
This primal power is to be regarded as psychical or psychic in nature as opposed to material in nature. This we can conclude by logical deduction from the teachings of the Buddha, as is shown in these lists. This position which we actually find in the Pali Canon, the Digha nikaya more precisely, finds conformation in, for instance, such Sutras as the Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra. These latter once of course being an important legacy of, and teaching in, the Mahayana tradition.

Let it sink in for a few moments … our entire experience both personally as well as communally is made out of psychical energy as opposed to physical substance!
Let it sink in!

As we also learned from studying the Heart Sutra, our personal personalities are non-existent as well in reality, in absolute Truth. Of course we do experience our personal ‘selves’ as such in our relative view to reality. In objective reality in Ultimate Truth, there is, and can be, only One, since Buddha has taught us that the experience of Nirvana transcends duality. In other words, all our little personal selves are in the absolute reality part of that
Non dualistic One Primal Cause
Non dualistic One Primal Energy
Non dualistic One Unborn
Non dualistic One Emptiness
Non dualistic One psychical energy, whether we are fully submerged in our little personality and do not believe this can be true, or not.
One may consider these several designations as equally valid or equally invalid I believe, but the most important as a student in Buddhism is the teaching that there is no matter, no material phenomena and no other phenomena in this Ultimate reality and therefor all phenomena cannot be made from matter. The experience of matter is the experience of delusion.

As was already suggested in the Talk on the Heart sutra it only seems logic to call this one non dualistic psychical energy ‘Buddha’ or Buddha-nature of which we all carry a perfect copy, or part, at our core being, whether we realize this or not! This particle Buddha-nature in each of us is just as perfect as the one particle of Buddha-nature in Gautama is or was.
So what does this mean for a person like Gautama the Buddha, having realized this to full potentiality, because of understanding the nature of it and controlling it consciously and in wisdom as opposed to ignorance?

It means everything can be done!

Because all we experience is a psychical projection of our collective mind or minds, it is in fact only that, a projection, and nothing more.
Those who have been able to fully realize their Buddha-nature see this projected reality as it is and therefor they do not see any material reality, or specific characteristics, other than that it is a projection, in it.

That is why their consciousness has the ability to remain un-influenced by these projected illusions.
This is why they can make their ‘body’ move through walls, make them walk on water and swim in sand, make them bigger or smaller, make them extremely heavy or without weight at all, make them radiate light or be invisible, or whatever is considered appropriate at any occasion.

All so called supernatural powers, or Siddhi’s are actually fully normal natural powers. Also because of this very same basis of oneness of all that is, supernormal powers like for instance telepathy, mind reading and knowing ones karma are totally understandable and natural too.

This natural aspect of this psychical power works both ways actually.
It does not only allow so called supernormal powers but it also is the root cause for falling into getting born!
Exactly because these powers are in this way fully natural, we keep getting born over and again each time we have died, as long as we did not cease our craving for experiencing Samsara.
The will in one to experience it, did not cease and thus the working of the psychical power granted to this ‘individual’ particle of the ‘whole’ will create a new birth to get the experiences it seeks.

How come we can’t do whatever we want all time then, simply by willing it?

Obviously the answer to that question is that we can’t because we still see reality in material and other phenomena, this is we see material characteristics in the projected universe we find ourselves ‘in’.
However; it is not the universe we are in, but the universe is in us!
How do we arrive at this conclusion?

Now please look at those first two steps on the list of the eight liberations.
The first step says: ‘possessing form, one sees form’. How did we get that form? We got it because of our ignorant state of consciousness in which we traveled down the links on the chain of interdependent origination and having reached the second link we acquired ourselves ‘name and form’ or Nama-rupa. There and then we acquired form!
The second step on the list of the eight liberations says: ‘Not perceiving material forms in oneself, one sees them outside’. This also only is so, because of the (still) ignorant state of our consciousness!
Of course this is a huge hint!
We should not see material forms as outside ourselves.
Seeing the material universe as outside ourselves or outside oneself also does not fit at all to the notion that the Ultimate Reality is that there is a non-dual existence. The non-duality guarantees there can be nothing existing outside of it. A simple question of logical deduction!

Secondly we can’t realize every will at command because of our untrained and un-sustained concentration. We have many and opposing intentions all the time, thwarting the promptly realization of most if not any at all of them.

Thirdly we have been having many intentions for many lives and in these lives we did do many things which have caused good or bad fruit of karma. This fruit of karma has to be experienced as well. This fruit of karma will also thwart the promptly realization of intentions.

Summarizing:
Emptiness is the non-dual Primal Force which in reaction to intention brings about the experience of what was intended.
Because of ignorance we do not realize this and that causes us to wrongly identify as a separate individual personal self-living inside a Universe which exists separate from us – which it does not.
Realizing this Ultimate Truth to the full, will cease the urge to try to attain anything ‘outside oneself’ or in the ‘material universe’.
Maintaining full concentration on this Ultimate Truth will then lead to exhaustion of fruit of karma. Not as a first goal, but siddhis will arise as a natural side effect of this ‘dwelling in the perfection of Wisdom’ as it is called in the Heart sutra.

So far this try to make the illusive concept of Emptiness a more clear mental concept and as such more ‘palpable’ and better attainable as a goal in meditation and in life. Of course this talk really can’t show you the full reality of emptiness, nothing and no one can except for the non-dual Buddha-nature in you!
I wish you the power and determination to find this one and only refuge from Samsara!

Author: Jos joszpe

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May 05

Reciting the Three Refuges as Intentional Practice

Engaging the Three Refuges

by Wayne Ren-Cheng for a talk at the Buddha Center, Second Life – 030317

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 needed to deal with the realities of human existence.

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, whether at home in front of a personal altar or with the 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, and with repetition the Three Refuges become firm in our unconscious mind and become a foundational cause of HOW we are. It is a simple act of intentional recitation, deep listening, and solemn reminder of a chosen path. It is a ritual done with the intent to transform how we are.

The Buddha – The Physical Body

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 – The Teaching Body

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 – The Community Body

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 at the Buddha Center in Second Life 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 transforming 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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May 03

Nirvana by Thich naht hanh

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Apr 02

Talk given by Jos Joseph, Sanga Member on Second Life

Good read! Delani

Talk given at Riverview Dharma Center 2016-11-27
Welcome,
After the talk on the Heart Sutra and Mantra a few questions of hearers remained in my mind and it felt it would be a good idea to address the core of these questions in a follow up talk. This talk we have today.
The topic of today’s talk is Emptiness, what is it and how to understand it rationally, in a way that makes it more palpable (if one can say this like that) and in a way that helps us to realize it more easily.
Of course the conclusion on the meaning of the Heart Sutra is that all phenomena are ’empty of inherent nature’. As we analyzed the text of the sutra, we learned by logic that this has to mean that all phenomena actually do not even exist because they do not even get to be created. Nevertheless we experience phenomena, as they appear to us, actually all as being very created, very existent and real.
As we analyzed in the Heart Sutra, phenomena have to be a ‘sort of a dreamed up experience’. Dreamed by a non-dual dreamer, called ’emptiness’ who dreams being a universe with a multitude of phenomena, including our individual personalities who are (being) tricked in to believing the dream is a reality.
We learned from the Heart Sutra there have to be two truths.
Our small personal identity, its experiences and corresponding view on reality are a relative truth in which we experience all phenomena as real.
The ‘Greater Whole’ the ‘Non Dual Dreamer’ (just a few designations I or anyone can imagine for the Foundation on which, or in which, or because of which all phenomena experience one another) is the ultimate Truth. This Truth in Mahayana Buddhism often is referred to as ‘Emptiness’. Another very important reference to this Truth we find in a text called ‘Udana’ which is part of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism as wikipeadia informs us. I am referring to Udana nr. 80. I will quote that text:
quote
There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned. If that Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned were not, there could be no escape from this that is born, originated, created, conditioned. But because there is That which is Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unconditioned, an escape from this that is born, originated, created, conditioned can be proclaimed.
unquote
It seems good to once more shortly emphasize that this ‘Emptiness’ as we find it in Mahayana Sutra’s is actually something which one will find in the Pali Canon as it is accepted in the Thearvada tradition of Buddhism.
Now;
At first glance there seems to be an unsolvable contradiction and our mind is screening at us, trying to convince us that it really can’t be true that ‘it all’ does not exist, and, then, when believing our mind, we actually strengthen the experience of the reality of those phenomena which nevertheless do not really exist.
We have to learn to calm this panic-like response of our minds to this notion that phenomena do not exist. We have to learn to ponder on this idea calmly and in a way our minds will accept the possibility of this idea, so that we remain open, in a researching way, for experiences which may bring conformation of the reality of this idea of non-existence of the phenomena.
That this is not an easy task may be obvious. We need to practice relentlessly and we need to correct ourselves every time our mind tricks us in to believing things as real and existent.
If we now look at that board behind me, on my right hand side, (for you that is left of me) we see these lists which I copied from Alexander Duncans book called ‘Conversations with the Buddha’.
These lists are lists which basically have been given to us by the Buddha in his teachings.
The list on top on the right side of the board shows those five aggregates or ‘skandha’s’ of which the Heart Sutra says the are empty or non-existent. This, although in Buddhist philosophy, these aggregates totally constitute and explain a livings being existence.
If we would wish to imagine ourselves upon that image or visa versa, we would spontaneously wish to flip the list upside down. Consciousness on top and form at the bottom, right?
If we do so flip the list, we immediately see the great overlap that this list of aggregates has with the list on the top left side of the board.
Thàt list is called ‘the chain of cause and effect’ also known as ‘the links of interdependent arising’, of which there have evolved several versions with a few more or less links in the list.
The idea however is the same in all of them.
In this chain of cause and effect, we see that the Buddha taught, that a person’s existence here in Samsara starts out with consciousness. Often this first link is called ‘ignorance’ which is consciousness as well, but of an uninformed nature – thus of a not wise nature, lacking in wisdom. It is only at the end of the ‘chain of interdependent arising’ or the ‘chain of cause and effect’, in the last two links, we see the arising of matter as we know it, when we start becoming and get born into this material universe.
If we now look at the list on the bottom right side of the board we see the list called ‘eight liberations’. This list is a list of steps one has to take, or go through, to attain final liberation and these steps are basically doing the opposite of ‘becoming and getting born’ as in the last two links in the list of interdependent arising.
In the list of the Eight Liberations we firstly see those first three steps which correspond to the last step of the chain of interdependent arising which is ‘becoming, getting born in this material world’. After these first three steps of becoming, we then see the first actual step on the actual path of reversing that chain of interdependent arising, which is step 4 in the list of liberations.
We see that we, as a first step, have to transcend all perceptions of matter!
Sidestepping the issue of this talk for a second, we should notice for a moment that according to this list the experience of ‘becoming ,getting born and getting intend on these experiences in Samsara’ are actually part of the path from ignorance to Wisdom! Hence they are on the list of the eight liberations.
Forms do not exist, as we learned from the Heart Sutra, so matter does not exist either. We only perceive matter because we are intend on perceiving it and because we enjoy the sensory experiences it brings to our mind. Nevertheless we are interacting with a delusion, as is also clearly proclaimed in the Diamond Sutra from which the following is a quote:
quote
Diamond Sutra, Section V.
Understanding the Ultimate Principle of Reality
Subhuti, what do you think? Is the Tathagata to be recognized by some material characteristic?
No, World-honored One; the Tathagata cannot be recognized by any material characteristic. Wherefore? Because the Tathagata has said that material characteristics are not, in fact, material characteristics.
Buddha said: Subhuti, wheresoever are material characteristics there is delusion; but whoso perceives that all characteristics are in fact no-characteristics, perceives the Tathagata.
End of quote.
So, In order to start to get an idea of that evading concept called Emptiness we must realize deeply and finally that all phenomena in our universe are NOT made of matter AT ALL !
If we fail to do so, we actually fail on the first step (actual or positive step that is) on the Path of Liberation which is listed as step nr.4 on the list of the eight liberations.
Studying the list of cause and effect leading from the arising of consciousness (in a state of ignorance that is) to being born, as well as this list of the eight liberations, we find ground to assume that the universe and all phenomena in it are made of that kind of energy which is, necessarily, included in that first consciousness and is the root of that consciousness at the same time.
This primal power is to be regarded as psychical or psychic in nature as opposed to material in nature. This we can conclude by logical deduction from the teachings of the Buddha, as is shown in these lists. This position which we actually find in the Pali Canon, the Digha nikaya more precisely, finds conformation in, for instance, such Sutras as the Heart Sutra and Diamond Sutra. These latter once of course being an important legacy of, and teaching in, the Mahayana tradition.
Let it sink in for a few moments … our entire experience both personally as well as communally is made out of psychical energy as opposed to physical substance!
Let it sink in!

As we also learned from studying the Heart Sutra, our personal personalities are non-existent as well in reality, in absolute Truth. Of course we do experience our personal ‘selves’ as such in our relative view to reality. In objective reality in Ultimate Truth, there is, and can be, only One, since Buddha has taught us that the experience of Nirvana transcends duality. In other words, all our little personal selves are in the absolute reality part of that
non dualistic One Primal Cause
non dualistic One Primal Energy
non dualistic One Unborn
non dualistic One Emptiness
non dualistic One psychical energy, whether we are fully submerged in our little personality and do not believe this can be true, or not.
One may consider these several designations as equally valid or equally invalid I believe, but the most important as a student in Buddhism is the teaching that there is no matter, no material phenomena and no other phenomena in this Ultimate reality and therefor all phenomena can not be made from matter. The experience of matter is the experience of delusion.
As was already suggested in the Talk on the Heart sutra it only seems logic to call this one non dualistic psychical energy ‘Buddha’ or Buddha-nature of which we all carry a perfect copy, or part, at our core being, whether we realize this or not! This particle Buddha-nature in each of us is just as perfect as the one particle of Buddha-nature in Gautama is or was.
So what does this mean for a person like Gautama the Buddha, having realized this to full potentiality, because of understanding the nature of it and controlling it consciously and in wisdom as opposed to ignorance?
It means everything can be done!
Because all we experience is a psychical projection of our collective mind or minds, it is in fact only that, a projection, and nothing more.
Those who have been able to fully realize their Buddha-nature see this projected reality as it is and therefor they do not see any material reality, or specific characteristics, other then that it is a projection, in it.
That is why their consciousness has the ability to remain un-influenced by these projected illusions.
This is why they can make their ‘body’ move through walls, make them walk on water and swim in sand, make them bigger or smaller, make them extremely heavy or without weight at all, make them radiate light or be invisible, or whatever is considered appropriate at any occasion.
All so called supernatural powers, or Siddhi’s are actually fully normal natural powers. Also because of this very same basis of oneness of all that is, supernormal powers like for instance telepathy, mind reading and knowing ones karma are totally understandable and natural too.
This natural aspect of this psychical power works both ways actually.
It does not only allow so called supernormal powers but it also is the root cause for falling into getting born!
Exactly because these powers are in this way fully natural, we keep getting born over and again each time we have died, as long as we did not cease our craving for experiencing Samsara.
The will in one to experience it, did not cease and thus the working of the psychical power granted to this ‘individual’ particle of the ‘whole’ will create a new birth to get the experiences it seeks.
How come we can’t do whatever we want all time then, simply by willing it?
Obviously the answer to that question is that we can’t because we still see reality in material and other phenomena, this is we see material characteristics in the projected universe we find ourselves ‘in’.
However; it is not the universe we are in, but the universe is in us!
How do we arrive at this conclusion?
Now please look at those first two steps on the list of the eight liberations.
The first step says: ‘possessing form, one sees form’. How did we get that form? We got it because of our ignorant state of consciousness in which we traveled down the links on the chain of interdependent origination and having reached the second link we acquired ourselves ‘name and form’ or Nama-rupa. There and then we acquired form!
The second step on the list of the eight liberations says: ‘Not perceiving material forms in oneself, one sees them outside’. This also only is so, because of the (still) ignorant state of our consciousness!
Of course this is a huge hint !
We should not see material forms as outside ourselves.
Seeing the material universe as outside ourselves or outside oneself also does not fit at all to the notion that the Ultimate Reality is that there is a non-dual existence. The non-duality guarantees there can be nothing existing outside of it. A simple question of logical deduction!
Secondly we can’t realize every will at command because of our untrained and un-sustained concentration. We have many and opposing intentions all the time, thwarting the promptly realization of most if not any at all of them.
Thirdly we have been having many intentions for many lives and in these lives we did do many things which have caused good or bad fruit of karma. This fruit of karma has to be experienced as well. This fruit of karma will also thwart the promptly realization of intentions.
Summarizing:
Emptiness is the non-dual Primal Force which in reaction to intention brings about the experience of what was intended.
Because of ignorance we do not realize this and that causes us to wrongly identify as a separate individual personal self living inside an Universe which exists separate from us – which it does not.
Realizing this Ultimate Truth to the full, will cease the urge to try to attain anything ‘outside oneself’ or in the ‘material universe’.
Maintaining full concentration on this Ultimate Truth will then lead to exhaustion of fruit of karma. Not as a first goal, but siddhis will arise as a natural side effect of this ‘dwelling in the perfection of Wisdom’ as it is called in the Heart sutra.
So far this try to make the illusive concept of Emptiness a more clear mental concept and as such more ‘palpable’ and better attainable as a goal in meditation and in life. Of course this talk really can’t show you the full reality of emptiness, nothing and no one can except for th non-dual Buddha-nature in you!
I wish you the power and determination to find this one and only refuge from Samsara!
Author: Jos joszpe

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Apr 01

We talk about Loving Kindness at the Buddha Center but do we practice it in our everyday life

a beautiful article as a reminder to us all

 » Basic Buddhism Guide » Snapshots » Loving-kindness – Forgivemess

“Please put the attention on the breath.
Have forgiveness in your heart for anything you think you’ve done wrong . Forgive yourself for all the past omissions and commissions. They are long gone. Understand that you were a different person and this one is forgiving that one that you were. Feel that forgiveness filling you and enveloping you with a sense of warmth and ease.
Think of your parents. Forgive them for anything you have ever blamed them for. Understand that they too are different now. Let this forgiveness fill them, surround them, knowing in your heart that this is your most wonderful way of togetherness.
Think of your nearest and dearest people . Forgive them for anything that you think they have done wrong or are doing wrong at this time. Fill them with your forgiveness. Let them feel that you accept them. Let that forgiveness fill them. Realizing that this is your expression of love.
Now think of your friends. Forgive them for anything you have disliked about them. Let your forgiveness reach out to them, so that they can be filled with it, embraced by it.
Think of the people you know, whoever they might be, and forgive them all for whatever it is that you have blamed them for, that you have judged them for, that you have disliked. Let your forgiveness fill their hearts, surround them, envelope them, be your expression of love for them.
Now think of any special person whom you really need to forgive. Towards whom you still have resentment, rejection, dislike. Forgive him or her fully. Remember that everyone has dukkha. Let this forgiveness come from your heart. Reach out to that person, complete and total.
Think of any one person, or any situation, or any group of people whom you are condemning, blaming, disliking. Forgive them, completely. Let your forgiveness be your expression of unconditional love. They may not do the right things. Human beings have dukkha. And your heart needs the forgiveness in order to have purity of love.
Have a look again and see whether there’s anyone or anything, any where in the world, towards whom you have blame or condemnation. And forgive the people or the person, so that there is no separation your heart.
Now put your attention back on yourself. And recognize the goodness in you. The effort you are making. Feel the warmth and ease that comes from forgiveness.”
May all beings have forgiveness in their hearts!

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Feb 10

Parinirvana Day, February 15th at the Buddha Center

 

 

Please join us for a day of reflection and meditation sessions at the Buddha Center to commemorate the Lord Buddha’s entry into Nirvana.  A schedule will be submitted to the Sangha for the day’s events

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Feb 01

Chinese New Year at the Buddha Center – January 28th 2017

Year of the fire Rooster 2017

What an amazing day we had, meditations, historical talks fireworks and dancing and lovely gifts for all.   We started at 7 am slt and ended with Bhante Yuttadammo’s talk at 6:30 PM

 

Please join us next year for a fun filled day

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Dec 28

Happy New Year from the Buddha Center

Image result for Happy 2017 new year from the Buddha

May you achieve Enlightenment in this new year

The Buddha Center Staff

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Oct 19

So you have never done a retreat before? How to get started

Retreats and Benefits

Often people ask me how long should I participate in a retreat. I say “the longer the better”. However, if you are a beginner, it is really best to do a one to three day retreat. This will give you a sense of the retreat process and it likely will encourage you to continue with longer retreats. In time you work your way up to a five or even an eleven day retreat

Many monastics and devoted lay people, of different traditions, take part in a three to four month retreat. In the West, with jobs and family obligations, this may be difficult if not impossible for the lay person.

But think of it this way – everyone gets vacation time from work so doing a ten to eleven day retreat is very feasible. And what a great vacation it is. Think about this – your worries, anxieties, fears are put aside during your retreat time. You dwell in bliss – peaceful bliss.

I have had monks and nuns tell me you do not achieve the benefit of retreat until day five, but I don’t agree. I have done both short and long retreats and found that a one day retreat can give me as many benefits as an eleven day one.

Let me emphasize this. Just doing a retreat one time is not going to do it.   It is a practice and with practice we continue to gain the privilege of achieving our goal. What is this goal? Enlightenment, awareness, knowing self.

I suggest that you don’t put pressure on yourself and say it didn’t work – it does with time and commitment. Keep at it.

So what are the benefits?

There are two categories – physical and spiritual

Let s start with physical

  1. Blood pressure goes down
  2. Cholesterol levels are reduced
  3. Aches and pains seem to magically evaporate
  4. You are more relaxed. Things that bothered you before are now unimportant
  5. You find that you are more focused on work.

Spiritual

  1. I rate this on top. Getting to know your true self
  2. Gaining a sense of peace, direction and increased confidence
  3. Reducing anger and frustrations
  4. Improving relationships
  5. Smiling more and sleeping better
  6. Attaining an acute sense of your surroundings with appreciation and respect.

Those are just a few.

There are many monasteries and temples that offer retreats- it will cost a lot less than going to Aruba or Jamaica. Besides all that, the food it great and you will find you are really tasting the food, not just shoveling it in. Again a sense of appreciation.

May we all achieve Buddhahood.

Delani, co-founder of the Buddha Center and Satori.

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