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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    The Higher Training of Meditative Stabilization includes 4 right effort effort to counteract the disturbing attitudes and negative emotions by meditating on the path 5 right mindfulness counteracting laxity and excitement in our meditation and 6 right samadhi the mind that can remain fixed one pointedly upon virtuous objects The Higher Training of Wisdom includes 7 right view the wisdom realizing emptiness and 8 right thought the mind that can explain the path clearly to others and is motivated by the wish for them to be free from suffering The essence of the Buddhist path is also contained in the three principal aspects of the path the determination to be free the altruistic intention bodhicitta and the wisdom realizing reality Initially we must have the determination to be free from the confusion of our problems and their causes Then seeing that other people also have problems with love and compassion we will develop an altruistic intention to become a Buddha so that we will be capable of helping others most effectively To do this we must develop the wisdom that understands the true nature of ourselves and other phenomena and thus eliminates all false projections What is the goal of the Buddhist path The Buddhist path leads us to discover a state of lasting happiness for both ourselves and others by freeing ourselves from cyclic existence the cycle of constantly recurring problems that we experience at present We are born and die under the influence of ignorance disturbing attitudes and contaminated actions karma Although all of us want to be happy and we try hard to get the things that will make us happy no one is totally satisfied with his or her life And although we all want to be free from difficulties problems come our way without our even trying People may have many good things going for them in their lives but when we talk with them for more than five minutes they start telling us their problems Those of us who are in this situation who are not yet Buddhas are called sentient beings The root cause of cyclic existence is ignorance we do not understand who we are how we exist or how other phenomena exist Unaware of our own ignorance we project fantasized ways of existing onto ourselves and others thinking that everyone and everything has some inherent nature and exists independently in and of itself This gives rise to attachment an attitude that exaggerates the good qualities of people and things or superimposes good qualities that are not there and then clings to those people or things thinking they will bring us real happiness When things do not work out as we expected or wished they would or when something interferes with our happiness we become angry These three basic disturbing attitudes ignorance attachment and anger give rise to a host of other ones such as jealousy pride and resentment These attitudes then motivate us to act speak or think Such actions leave

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006july/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    our basic nature is something good something pure Sure we have all sorts of disturbing emotions but they are not us They are mental events things that arise pass though and leave our minds We are not our thoughts and feelings They are not us When we sit in meditation and are mindful of our thoughts and feelings this becomes quite evident Underneath them is the basic clear and knowing nature of mind heart which is free from all thoughts and emotions On a deeper level our nature is like the pure and clear open sky Clouds may pass through it but the sky and the clouds are not the same nature Even when the clouds are present the pure and open sky still exists it can never be destroyed Similarly the nature of our mind is not inherently defiled the disturbing attitudes and emotions are adventitious Not only are disturbing emotions and thoughts transient they are also distorted they are not accurate views of what is happening nor beneficial responses to it Instead of believing everything we think and feel we investigate our thoughts and feelings to discern if they are accurate and beneficial Should we discover they aren t we apply antidotes by training our mind to view situations in different way one that is more accurate and beneficial As we do this we discover that our take on life changes we discover our inner goodness We are worthwhile and have been all along only now we see it How do these points connection compassion and potential for enlightenment relate to those healing from suicide First compassion for ourselves and for the one who completed suicide is called for It s easy to feel guilty and blame ourselves for another s suicide it s easy to be angry at them for making us suffer it s easy to sink into our grief at losing a loved one and become immersed in self pity But these emotions are like clouds in the sky of the spacious purity of our mind heart They are not us we are not them They arise and pass through our minds There is no benefit to grasping onto disturbing emotions and imbuing them with a reality that they don t have In addition all those feelings guilt anger resentment self pity are functions of our self preoccupied attitude It is this self centeredness that has kept us trapped in misery from time without beginning Not only is self centeredness not beneficial for our own or others happiness but it s also not realistic there are infinite living beings Let s place our own pain within the perspective of all the varied experiences that living beings have at this moment That doesn t mean we re bad if we temporarily get stuck in disturbing emotions Let s not add another layer of delusion on top of what we re already feeling by telling ourselves that we re selfish and wrong for being depressed or self

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006june/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    we chant Chanting profound prayers with a mind distracted by thoughts of food or work or parties has little effect A tape recorder could also chant the names of the Buddha and say prayers But if we transform our thoughts so they correspond to what we re chanting then chanting becomes very powerful and beneficial A complete spiritual practice includes more than chanting Listening to teachings contemplating and discussing their meaning and integrating them into our daily life enables us to think feel speak and act in beneficial ways Chanting alone cannot liberate us from cyclic existence Deep meditation is necessary to generate the wisdom realizing selflessness What is the difference between a prayer and a mantra Is it necessary to chant them in a foreign language that we don t understand Mantras are prescribed syllables to protect the mind We want to protect our minds from attachment anger ignorance and so on Sometimes we seem to have an endless flow of internal chatter with our mind making comments about what this person is wearing and what that person said Reciting mantras is a skillful way to transform this tendency for internal chatter so that instead of commenting on useless trivial things we focus our mind on reciting syllables spoken by a Buddha When combined with the four opponent powers explained in the chapter on karma mantra recitation acts as a powerful antidote that purifies negative karmic imprints on our mindstreams While reciting mantras we train our minds to think feel and visualize in beneficial ways thus building up constructive mental and emotional habits In addition recitation of mantras calms our mind and heightens our concentration Mantras are recited in Sanskrit rather than being translated into other languages because they are the words spoken by a Buddha while in a deep state of meditation The sound of these syllables can induce beneficial energy or vibration While reciting a mantra we can concentrate on the sound of the mantra on its meaning or on the accompanying visualizations that our spiritual mentor has taught us Prayers on the other hand were composed by great spiritual masters to help us develop constructive attitudes They did this because sometimes we have difficulty differentiating between which attitudes and actions to practice and which to abandon in our Dharma practice Prayers express the essence of constructive mental states and when we think about the meaning of the prayers our minds are transformed into those attitudes Because understanding the meaning of the prayers is important they can be translated from one language to another Although chanting prayers in Asian languages can be quite lovely and inspiring we can also do them in our own language because this facilitates our understanding What does the mantra om mani padme hum mean Om mani padme hum is the mantra of the Buddha of Compassion Avalokiteshvara Kuan Yin Kannon Chenresig The meaning of the entire path to enlightenment is contained in the six syllables of this mantra Om refers to the

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006may/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    Machiraju Spirit and Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition By Susun Weed Tai Chi Qigong by Bill Douglas The Holistic Mystic by Lonny Brown Medical Intuition Tune in to Your Body and Improve Your Health by Caroline Sutherland Sutherland Communications Transformational Healing through the Violet Flame by Eva Kettles Herbs for Health with Kami McBride Lose Weight Permanently Stop the Endless Cycle of Dieting Rena Greenberg Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming Hypnotherapist The Directory The Book Nook Archives Past Issues Creating Bridges Spirituality Philosophy Spirituality in Daily Life Living in Solitude and Living in Community by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron I have been deliberating the differences between practice in solitude and in community I m rather alarmed at the tendency I see in many of us who have lived alone for a long time either in retreat or on our own in some other situation to get absorbed in our own agenda our own practice our own trip Compassion becomes somewhat theoretical sentient beings are out there somewhere and we lose the knack of actually taking care of people being kind and caring and considerate on a daily basis I see how living in community would be such an effective antidote to this because every day you have to compromise practice patience tune into others needs and suffering In other words to survive you really have to give up self will as St Benedict would say we would call it self centerdness I see a dangerous tendency in myself and others who have been in solitude for years to become somewhat rigid and ossified in terms of our agenda and our own way of doing things I can see how in order to get the maximum benefit out of ordination we really have to live in sangha community Of course there is the karmic benefit of keeping one s vows no matter where we live but in order to get the benefit of monasticism as a thought transformation practice conversion of manners to quote St Benedict again we need to have those rough edges polished off by living with others I could really see that process and the results in terms of practice and community harmony when I visited Shasta Abbey and was so enormously impressed You could really see the supportive container that their community created for their practice it was so powerful and palpable It also seems clear as we ve discussed that sangha communities will be the key to monasticism surviving and hopefully thriving in the West We Westerners are not so relational not like Asians who feel such a sense of identity in terms of family clan geographical location even the monasteries in South India have come up with names like Kongpo Valley Frat House But we tend to identify and relate more personally especially in intimate relationships with partners and close friends Then when we ordain we re asked to give up most of that but there often isn t another sense of belonging or community

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006april/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    causes May they be free I shall cause them to be free Guru Chenresig please inspire me to be able to do so How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never parted from upper rebirth and liberation s excellent bliss May they never be parted I shall cause them never to be parted Guru Chenresig please inspire me to be able to do so The key word in the four immeasurables is all sentient beings All is a short word with great meaning We don t simply think May my friends relatives and everyone who loves me have happiness and its causes Even animals wish for that But as human beings we try to extend the limits of our love and think May the jerk who cut me off on the highway have happiness and its causes May that doctor who screwed up my prescription be freed from suffering and its causes May the person who hung up on me may the person who complained about me may my friend who won t speak to me may my cousin who doesn t invite me to her parties may all these people have happiness and its causes and be free from suffering and its causes When our compassion becomes strong we will be able to think and feel May Timothy McVeigh Sadam Hussein and George W Bush have happiness and its causes and be free from suffering and its causes We must try to gradually extend the scope of our equanimity love compassion and joy spreading them out to all sentient beings not excluding even one If our hearts shut down when thinking of one sentient being and we can t bring ourselves to include them in all we should stop and observe what s happening in our heart mind With compassion for ourselves we ask What in me is resistant to this Am I hurt Angry Prejudiced When we become aware of what we re feeling then we apply the appropriate Dharma antidote For example think of Osama bin Ladin when he was a baby Doing this we realize that he didn t come out of the womb as a terrorist but due to conditioning in this and previous lives his mind was overwhelmed by confusion and hatred He s acting in the way he is because he s trying to be happy and doesn t know the real method to find happiness Thinking like this we let go of our anger and bias Then contemplating the kindness of others we open our heart and wish them well Each of the four immeasurables has four parts a wish an aspiration a resolve and a request for inspiration and each part progressively leads our mind to a deeper more committed state Going through each step slowly thinking of specific people or situations and making examples from our life is very helpful The first immeasurable is equanimity First we wish How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006march/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    to be free Guru Chenresig please inspire me to be able to do so How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never parted from upper rebirth and liberation s excellent bliss May they never be parted I shall cause them never to be parted Guru Chenresig please inspire me to be able to do so The key word in the four immeasurables is all sentient beings All is a short word with great meaning We don t simply think May my friends relatives and everyone who loves me have happiness and its causes Even animals wish for that But as human beings we try to extend the limits of our love and think May the jerk who cut me off on the highway have happiness and its causes May that doctor who screwed up my prescription be freed from suffering and its causes May the person who hung up on me may the person who complained about me may my friend who won t speak to me may my cousin who doesn t invite me to her parties may all these people have happiness and its causes and be free from suffering and its causes When our compassion becomes strong we will be able to think and feel May Timothy McVeigh Sadam Hussein and George W Bush have happiness and its causes and be free from suffering and its causes We must try to gradually extend the scope of our equanimity love compassion and joy spreading them out to all sentient beings not excluding even one If our hearts shut down when thinking of one sentient being and we can t bring ourselves to include them in all we should stop and observe what s happening in our heart mind With compassion for ourselves we ask What in me is resistant to this Am I hurt Angry Prejudiced When we become aware of what we re feeling then we apply the appropriate Dharma antidote For example think of Osama bin Ladin when he was a baby Doing this we realize that he didn t come out of the womb as a terrorist but due to conditioning in this and previous lives his mind was overwhelmed by confusion and hatred He s acting in the way he is because he s trying to be happy and doesn t know the real method to find happiness Thinking like this we let go of our anger and bias Then contemplating the kindness of others we open our heart and wish them well Each of the four immeasurables has four parts a wish an aspiration a resolve and a request for inspiration and each part progressively leads our mind to a deeper more committed state Going through each step slowly thinking of specific people or situations and making examples from our life is very helpful The first immeasurable is equanimity First we wish How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to abide in equanimity free of bias attachment

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006february/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    Wilma slammed into Cancun bringing fear and insecurity in the minds of those there and causing great damage to the town Ven Chodron Dear Venerable Chodron I hope this finds you in good health I am writting in behalf of our Buddhist group here in Cancun You must have heard about the hurricane that hit this area Even though we were prepared for a major hurricane the destruction and devastation is beyond imagination Members of our group were not harmed and we all had a safe place to endure the storm Unfortunatelly looting and vandalism took over during the disaster for the first time in Mexico s history so now we also have to look for safety even after a week It is difficult for me to explain how we all feel There are people that stand strong and positive others feel broken and find no hope There is much suffering around Besides reconstruction of the city the economy is paralyzed We know we ll have to work harder but at times it seems very difficult Ven Chodron would you please advice us about practice during these tough times We ve been following a program as you suggested in the past Previous to the hurricane we were doing analytical meditation on precious life in depth I hope we all can get together in a couple of days and practice together Personally I found great inspiration in Green Tara as well as Tonglen What do you suggest Much love Silvia Dear Sylvia I was in India and just received your email All of you in Cancun have been through an ordeal Although we hear teachings on the disadvantages of cyclic existence the ignorance in our mind prevents us from meditating on this topic we don t want to think that suffering will happen to us So while this experience has not been pleasant it has opened your eyes to the dangers of cyclic existence and now you understand better why our teachers encourage us to generate the determination to free ourselves from cyclic existence Yes the tonglen taking and giving practice is good to do Think As long as I m experiencing these difficulties may it suffice for all sentient beings who are going through hard times Think specifically of those who have been in hurricanes and imagine taking on their suffering with compassion and giving them happiness with love When we spend some time considering others problems our own difficulties appear more manageable in comparison Sure we have problems but in comparison to what many others are experiencing our difficulties aren t so bad Our mind becomes stronger and more courageous we know that we can manage the situation all right Green Tara practice too is very helpful Imagine Green Tara in front of you or if you ve had the initiation imagine becoming Tara yourself From Tara s heart beautiful green light radiates and touches each and every sentient being It purifies their negative karma and eliminates their misery

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2006january/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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  • Spirituality in Daily Life
    Hurricane Wilma slammed into Cancun bringing fear and insecurity in the minds of those there and causing great damage to the town Ven Chodron Dear Venerable Chodron I hope this finds you in good health I am writting in behalf of our Buddhist group here in Cancun You must have heard about the hurricane that hit this area Even though we were prepared for a major hurricane the destruction and devastation is beyond imagination Members of our group were not harmed and we all had a safe place to endure the storm Unfortunatelly looting and vandalism took over during the disaster for the first time in Mexico s history so now we also have to look for safety even after a week It is difficult for me to explain how we all feel There are people that stand strong and positive others feel broken and find no hope There is much suffering around Besides reconstruction of the city the economy is paralyzed We know we ll have to work harder but at times it seems very difficult Ven Chodron would you please advice us about practice during these tough times We ve been following a program as you suggested in the past Previous to the hurricane we were doing analytical meditation on precious life in depth I hope we all can get together in a couple of days and practice together Personally I found great inspiration in Green Tara as well as Tonglen What do you suggest Much love Silvia Dear Sylvia I was in India and just received your email All of you in Cancun have been through an ordeal Although we hear teachings on the disadvantages of cyclic existence the ignorance in our mind prevents us from meditating on this topic we don t want to think that suffering will happen to us So while this experience has not been pleasant it has opened your eyes to the dangers of cyclic existence and now you understand better why our teachers encourage us to generate the determination to free ourselves from cyclic existence Yes the tonglen taking and giving practice is good to do Think As long as I m experiencing these difficulties may it suffice for all sentient beings who are going through hard times Think specifically of those who have been in hurricanes and imagine taking on their suffering with compassion and giving them happiness with love When we spend some time considering others problems our own difficulties appear more manageable in comparison Sure we have problems but in comparison to what many others are experiencing our difficulties aren t so bad Our mind becomes stronger and more courageous we know that we can manage the situation all right Green Tara practice too is very helpful Imagine Green Tara in front of you or if you ve had the initiation imagine becoming Tara yourself From Tara s heart beautiful green light radiates and touches each and every sentient being It purifies their negative karma and eliminates their

    Original URL path: http://www.themetaarts.com/2005december/chodron.html (2016-02-13)
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