Bodhi Day – wake up…

Over 2500 years ago, deeply moved by the suffering he saw in life (sickness, aging, and death), disenchanted with the excess from which he came, and the practice of extreme ascetism, the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) set out to meet life face to face, as it is. He sat until he woke up. And in waking up he became the Buddha, which means awakened or awakened one. Seeing the middle way – not running away from or grasping at life, rather meeting life with an open heart – he found freedom from suffering.

Today, December 8th, we Buddhists commemorate the Buddha’s awakening under the Bodhi Tree, as Bodhi Day. A day to remember the event, but to also be reminded that we too can wake up, we too have within us the ability to be with life as it is, to be free and at peace.

This morning I practiced, I sat and meditated, and then painted this “wake up” enso to honor not just this one man who decided to sit beneath a tree and meet life authentically with an open heart, but to honor all who sit, all who practice, all who meet this passing life with all of its beauty and heartbreak with an open heart.

May we all wake up to the preciousness of this life, may empathy and compassion be born from our open hearts, to light the world with our love.

~j

12.08.17

nature and connection…

if we spend time with nature, watching and listening without agenda, our hearts open. there is a natural reverence that springs forth from this connection. we see its intrinsic sacred nature. we perhaps sense our connection and if we look deeply enough, we may open to the insight of our interconnection.

unfortunately, disappointingly, what we are currently seeing is the result of a disconnection. only disconnection can allow greed to surrender the beauty and generosity of nature’s resources to an abuse for commercial and monetary gain.

i’ve heard the claim of States’ rights and Federal overreach which although may have a foothold and value with some audiences, must seem like a tragic irony to our Indigenous sisters and brothers, who’s ancestors understood interconnection and were here long before this land was colonized by outsiders. Long before this newest grab at sacred land, they have known the bite of loss and disenfranchisement.

~j

#MonumentalMistake #MonumentsForAll #TheLongArc #PlantingSeeds #MeditateAndResist

maintain sanity…

I began meditating nearly a decade ago.  Similar to now, my meditation practice was mindfulness of breath as taught by the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh.  Soon after I had started my meditation practice, I had a very valuable friendship fall apart.  At the time, it was quite devastating.  Looking back, it was a pivotal growth moment in my practice.  I didn’t know a lot about meditation or Buddhism at the time, but I did know that the only way I was going to get through that period of time, those moments, was to find a way to BE with what was happening in a balanced way – to not run away from it, but to also not live out the storyline of what was happening over and over again, replaying it in my mind. To hold that person and friendship in love with no ill feelings, but also to completely let them go.

Just sitting with my breathing at times was too painful and overwhelming, so taking the lead from Thich Nhat Hanh who uses “gathas” or verses, I wrote one for myself to use with my breathing.
The verse was:

(breathing in – saying silently in my mind)
May I have the capacity of heart to hold the entire world and all of life
(breathing out – saying silently in my mind)
And the wisdom of mind to let go

I would sit with this verse and for quite some time it was my only practice.  I would sit for 10 mins, 20 mins or a half hour, breathing in and out, repeating this verse.  I would picture the friend, as I thought the first part while breathing in, and then picture them fading off into the horizon as I thought the second half while breathing out.  I wasn’t immediately relieved, but within time, I grew more and more at ease, the burden was lifted and I felt some peace.

Though the anchor of my practice is still simply sitting and breathing, at times when life feels overwhelming, I will come back to this verse and use it.  I have in recent years changed the “I” to “we” understanding that we are all in this together, sharing in suffering, sharing in joy, interdependent as a community.

We seem to be living in a time that is quite chaotic and can feel overwhelming.  I would like to offer this verse to you for practice.  If it’s too wordy, a simple version could be:

(breathing in – saying silently in your mind)
May I hold all of life in love
(breathing out – saying silently in your mind)
And in love, let it go

My gut says we are in for a long haul, my friends.  We need sane people doing good work to counter that which is harmful.  We need bearers of light and healers in love.  We need bodhisattvas. Even as the world spins around you, hold to center, maintain your balance, maintain your sanity.

Breathe.

May all be at ease and free from suffering.

~j
11.30.17

#NetNeutrality

NetNeutrality

 

at its most benign the repeal of #NetNeutrality is a greedy hand grab by network providers to limit speed, bandwidth, and content for the purpose of charging consumers more money for better, higher quality access.

at its most harmful, its repeal is a way to manipulate and control access to communication, shared knowledge, and community connection – squashing grassroot movements, and further creating a class system in regards to connection and knowledge.

whether your focus is on the consumer or on the principle of equality, the repeal of Net Neutrality is harmful.

access to the internet should be equal and should be considered a common use form of communication.

fight the repeal of Net Neutrality. make your voice heard loud and clear.

~j

practice gratitude…

Compassion Meme
aware that the history behind “Thanksgiving” is really not something to be thankful for, especially for the indigenous American community, I instead like to call this day “Gratitude Day”…which is worthy of celebration, and available everyday.

there is so much to be grateful for.
I am grateful for family and friends both near and far.

I am grateful for my practice, the stillness within the chaos.

I am grateful for nature, so humble and present just by Being, pointing us to the inherent beauty of all things.

I am grateful for empathy and compassion, which break down walls and borders, both from the outside and from within our own making.

I am even grateful for the darkness, which provokes and challenges our light from within to come forth.

may it come forth.

may the gift of gratitude, the practice of gratitude, expand our ever opening hearts to a world in need. may we journey forward in that love, together.

grateful for you all. may you be happy, may you have peace, may you be free from suffering.

~j
11.23.17

 

fall from grace?


many in the world politic have been dumbstruck by Aung San Suu Kyi’s seemingly tone deaf lack of response over what is generally considered now to be a genocide of the Rohingya Muslim population in Burma renamed Myanmar by the military junta. Buddhist publications have been writing about this very non-Buddhist movement, led by violent Buddhist monks. Buddhist by name only, certainly not in the moral or ethical philosophy. Buddhist leaders have been speaking out, though it has seemed off the radar. i posted over a year or so ago an essay by well knownBuddhist teacher Jack Kornfield about this tragedy. Rohingya have not had any officially recognized citizenship in Burma even though they have had a presence there for generations.the stakes though have been raised by the increase in horrific violence against the Rohingya by this rogue Buddhist order and military actors,  and their mass fleeing (hundreds of thousands of refugees) from harm along with Suu Kyi’s now vocal denial that this atrocity is even happening. she has now skipped a UN appearance due to increasing criticism, further isolating herself.

i had read a while back that the Dalai Lama, a fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, had contacted her regarding this issue to no avail. he has now also issued a letter.

what has caused this fall from grace for Suu Kyi who her self underwent oppression and decades of house arrest, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for her steadfast nonviolent protest and moral authority against violent oppression by the military junta, to upon release and rise to power, only ignore horrific violence against the Rohingya? i heard a news story on the radio that her father, in fact, was quite dismissive of the Rohingya when he was in power and believed they shouldn’t be considered citizens or have the rights that come with that recognition.

has the apple not fallen far from the tree? are we seeing a different side to Suu Kyi? only time will tell, but meanwhile the Rohingya are suffering from targeted violence at an increasing rate and Suu Kyi has betrayed both the Nobel Peace Prize given to her and her image as a Buddhist leader.

may there be peace and an end to this suffering. 🙏🏻📿