no one superior…

the basic Buddhist understanding of life is one of interdependence, that we have no independent self, that many co-arising conditions have come together to manifest this body and life.  this is the case with all things, including all people.  as it has been often quoted and re-quoted (to paraphrase) we are related to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, and to the entire Universe atomically.  all have their rightful and honored place in this web-like tapestry of Life.

understanding this, how can anyone say that one thing is more important or superior to another?

this is Achilles Heel of the White Supremacist movement, the White Nationalists movement, the Nazis, the Neo-Nazis, the KKK, the Alt-Right movement, and all the other racist movements that have sprung up through time over and over pitting one group of people against another manifesting in physical violence, economic/structural/institutional violence, and political violence.

They are all eventually doomed.  Why?  Because they act contrary to Life itself which is at its foundation interdependent and always changing.  Yet, these movements rise up again and again – sometimes hiding under a rock sheltered in darkness, until finding home once more in fragile egos and closed hearts.  This is why it is so important that we stand as allies to Life and to all who are oppressed.  Life acts through us, and sometimes in spite of us, so it is each one of us who have to wake up, listen, stand, speak, write, create art, practice and serve, as allies to Life and all who are oppressed finding themselves on the receiving end of the fear, anger, bigotry, racism, aggression and violence that has found its way into the light.  We MUST be engaged.  Naming the darkness and what lies beneath it, so that we can defeat it, without becoming it.

in this moment our greatest enemies are what we call in Buddhism, The 3 Poisons – our tendency to avoid the discomfort of our situation of this life by either grasping (greed), being aggression (hatred), or lost in our ignorance (delusion – ignorance is NOT bliss).  these are the driving reactive force for those who would put themselves above others, the roots of the fear and anger we see motivating racism and these hostiles groups.  we counter these by authentically engaging life in all of its challenge and discomfort with an open heart through practicing The 4 Immeasurables, which are lovingkindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.  these aren’t to be confused with being “nice” as we may think.  compassion can be fierce, cutting and precise.  we need the fiercest compassion at this time.

the rock has been turned over again and what has been hiding underneath once more is in the light.  what will we do?  the world is watching and history will record these moments.

~j
08.14.17

I sit…

I sit.
I breathe.

I sit with patience.
I sit with impatience.

I sit with an open heart.
sometimes  begrudgingly.

I sit and let go.
over and over again.

I sit with this life as an offering.

I sit with my vow to not harm,

waiting with compassion
for the Ocean’s next wave…

~j

our lives…

Moon and Tree through Lines

 

“Our lives are like the plants, floating along the water’s edge, illumined by the moon.”
~ Ryokan

held.
carried.

we reflect
the beauty
of this life

given
for a time.

and then
given back
just as easily
and all too quickly.

~j

Michael Stone – teacher, thinker, activist…

Michael Stone

Hello friends –

Buddhist teacher, thinker, and activist Michael Stone transitioned from this life to the next last night.  Although I didn’t know him personally, I have valued his teachings both through his YouTube vlogs and his writings.  Very real, very accessible, and always with a sense of tenderness and genuine curiosity.  His presence will be missed.  The openness and generosity of his partner and wife, Carina along with other members of his family and loved ones during the past 24 or so hours has been an incredible act of grace as they practiced openly and invited all those touched by Michael’s teachings to join them in practice.

Although I have many favorite Michael dharma talks, I have some particular favorites below for you to view.  Michael had this thing he did “5 Minute Dharma Talks” which I have loved to go back to from time to time.  They were like a clarifying anchor in my practice.

May they bring benefit to your practice as well:

The heart of non-attachment – Michael Stone

Redefining the present moment – Michael Stone

The gift of our wounds – Michael Stone

a longer talk/conversation with Zoketsu Norman Fischer:
Nobody’s Life Is Just Their Life

Mindfulness & Concentration: Practice Tips with Michael Stone

 

Michael was also at the forefront of practice and social engagement, which you get a glimpse of in his videos I’ve posted above.  We are certainly in a time when this is not only beneficial, but necessary.

May Michael’s teachings continue to be of benefit as the generosity of the dharma ripples out from heart to heart, into the world.

bows of gratitude
~j

why wait?

Sooner or later life catches up with us and we come to the realization that there is no avoiding our problems, there is no running away from our demons, there is no going to war to win over this life or force our way through.  It never lasts.  There is nothing to grasp in desperation.  It only adds to the suffering in the world.

We come to realize, often through experiencing or bearing witness to suffering, that the only true option is to meet life with authenticity in all of its rawness with an open heart, right here in this moment.

Meditation is the practice of not waiting until later, but gently and persistently meeting life as it is and as we are in this moment.  Staying put.  meeting our demons with compassion and gentleness.  Moving beyond winning and losing.  Letting go.  Transforming suffering rather than transmitting suffering.  Then we have no need to go to war with ourselves, with others, with life.  Then we have peace.

~j