questions for the path…

“So you need to consider, in the deepest part of yourself, what really counts in this life and use the time left to you to live in the most fruitful way possible – for your own sake and for others.”

~ Matthieu Ricard

what matters? what heals suffering? what opens our hearts to others? what offers love and increases light in this world?

this is our path.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #path #practice #OpenHeart #love #light #MattieuRicardQuote #EngagedBuddhist #JinpaLhaga #JMWphotography #BWphotography #photography

the measure of greatness is compassion…

if compassion is our measure of greatness, then America (read: USA) is not being made great again.

there still are children living in camps. children are still being separated from their families. the karma of this will be felt for a long time.

hear the cries.

we are failing.

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #compassion #HearTheCries #NoChildSeparation #NoCages #SitDownRiseUp #MeditateAndResist #EngagedBuddhist

balance…

“Without darkness, nothing comes to birth – and without light nothing flowers.”

~ May Sarton

#YinYang #Life #AllOfIt #Tao #Balance #Flow #Zen #Buddhist #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

fear not…

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

~ Yoda

such wise words. such a succinct quote on how (in a simple, general sense) karma works. the popular notion of karma being “you get what you deserve” is not accurate and feeds the ego with its desire for vengeance and misguided justice (which isn’t really justice at all).

in Buddhism, karma is simply a law of nature, like gravity. you plant a seeds and from that seed, something will grow. you plant love, for example, and that love reverberates and grows. you plant fear or greed, etc and they will grow eventually into some form of suffering. our thoughts, words, and actions are seeds. our thoughts can give rise to words, and words to actions and so forth. i’m not an expert and it gets more complicated than that in the Buddhist cosmology, but the metaphor of planting seeds is helpful. karma is not punitive, it is simply a result and can be affected by other karma – other thoughts, words, actions.

i’ve always liked this quote though, because it demonstrates the slippery slope of these hot emotions. they so easily (and quickly!) grow into each other after being planted.

i also appreciate that fear is noted as the root issue, as the initial seed. i once read, from a Franciscan Priest, that “fear not” (or “be not afraid” etc) is the most repeated phrase in Biblical scripture. isn’t that interesting?

in our evolution fear has played an important role to avoid danger. fear, like anger, can be a beneficial motivator if transformed (into compassion for example), but they are not healthy places to stay. our fear is often misplaced and so many of us live and react out of some level of fear (anxiety) much of the time. fear blinds us and creates tremendous unease. in our discomfort anger can arise, and we can act with desperation to control or avoid, which can lead to horrible harm and suffering.

to quote Biblical scriptures again, “there is no fear in love.”

let’s plant seeds of love.

~j

(#Yoda #BWphotography from a series of #StarWars i did a couple of years ago)

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #love #fear #karma #Buddhism #Zen #JMWphotography #JinpaLhaga

can we remember?

18 years ago i woke up to the news that a jet had flown into one of the World Trade Center towers. i then watched live as a second jet flew into the second tower and then as the towers fell. i remember seeing specks fall from the buildings prior to their crumbling, horrified to realize these “specks” were people. some falling, but many jumping to their death – all avoiding the hot flames and smoke.

on this day, we have little trouble saying “never forget,” but can we remember? can we remember that the minutes, hours, days following the response was love and a sense of community? the nation opened its heart to each other and the world opened its heart to us.

there was an opportunity there. an opportunity for a path that abhorred violence and embraced healing. a path to bring unification in message that an ideology of fear and hate has no place in our hearts or on the world stage. that path was lost to us, perhaps we just weren’t ready to stay in a place where the wound was fresh and could teach us. the horror and tragedy all too infuriating, the wound too painful and uncomfortable.

18 years later. we still have first responders suffering deadly illness and practically begging our government for care, we still have the longest war in US history going on in Afghanistan (over 2000 military dead and over 20,000 injured), over a hundred thousand Iraqi citizens dead from the war in Iraq (over 4000 US military dead with over 30,000 injured), and we are still besties with Saudi Arabia where 15 of the 19 hijackers were citizens.

i know it isn’t popular to be critical on such a solemn occasion, a day reserved for grief. but how much more grieving is it to see that out of such horrific tragedy, we have learned so little and continue to contribute to violence and suffering? i grieve it all.

yes, let’s never forget. but let’s also remember the potential we showed – if ever so brief – for love, for healing, for unity and a sense of world community. there’s hope present in that and something to work towards.

~j

#TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #September11th #EngagedBuddhist #Zen #enso #JMWart #JinpaLhaga

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose…

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

~ Yoda

many of us are motivated by and move through life with fear as our companion. in this transient world, whose very foundation is one of change, it is easy to grasp at illusions of security and desperately avoid loss. but in a world of change, we can’t avoid loss. in our desperate efforts, we suffer, because we expect life to be something other than what it is. in fear there is no freedom.

with practice we can train our minds and open our hearts, to expand our capacity to be with life as it is. when we live openness – not grasping or fearful of loss – there is freedom and the reality of change becomes potential for expanded love and opportunity to do good and be of benefit. loss opens space for newness. the cycle of loss and newness is written into life, into nature. we can look to it for guidance and comfort. day turns to night, and then the dawn of a new day returns. summer fades to autumn and autumn to winter. and then, out of winter comes spring and new life. spring is there all along, just waiting for the right conditions to appear, as is every season.

as i age and practice, desperation and grasping feel more like a death than the physical death that awaits my arrival someday. grasping and desperation feel like they are strangling-suffocating life…and yet fear is still present at times and in situations, so ingrained and patterned into my mind.

so, i practice letting go, i practice being free.

~j

(artwork of #Yoda from #Inktober2017)

#fear #loss #change #life #death #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #dharma #EngagedBuddhist #JMWart #JinpaLhaga #StarWars #TheForce