Category: Buddhism

………………dharma and karma and how that plays out in my life. The last time I pondered this polarity was here, in Arjuna’s tale in the Bhagavad Gita. Destiny, fate, call it what you will. We have ALL recognized the appearance of such events in our lives. Some of us recognize these synchronicities in their personal lives, and neglect to see same in their public lives. Others vice versa. Are you thoroughly confused now? You might be……..that’s the nature of polarities ( and dualities, too). It’s enought to make your head spin! Then you throw into the mix all the air sign people( Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) with whom duality & polarity are a daily/minute-to- minute struggle/agony they live with. Whew………………enough all ready. The futility of pondering duality is immeasurable.
Time to sit.

zafu

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In the beginning there was no existence.
Existence appeared and grew.
It became an egg.
The egg broke open.

Broken Egg

One if its halves was of silver, the other gold.
The silver half became this earth.
The golden half became the sky.
The membrane surrounding the white of the egg became the mountains.
The membrane surrounding the yolk became mist and clouds.
The blood vessels rivers.
The white became the sea.
And the yolk was the sun.

Indian Upanishad

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zafuIn 2001, I had the great good fortune to meet Sylvia Boorstein, a meditation teacher from the Theravada tradition of Buddhism. I loved her at first sight. She was the epitome of The GrandMother archetype for me. Round, jolly, sparkling, and chock full of the kind of everyday wisdom that only comes from deep study and years of personal practice. I assisted her with her 5-day program at Kripalu Center and became enamoured of Metta Meditation as a spiritual practice. Every summer for the following four years I returned to Kripalu to assist, practice and learn from Sylvia all about metta and the practice of lovingkindness.

Metta Meditation is a practice that was given to the Buddah’s students whereby particular phrases are repeated over and over, as in a mantra practice. The difference is that the phrases are first oriented towards oneself, then directed towards someone else, and finally for the well being of All beings. Beginning with oneself is critically important as the following quote of Gautama Buddah suggests.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”

Nice.

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winking chimp

The Hundredth Monkey

by Ken Keyes, jr. The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.

Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.

Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known.

Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes.

Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.

THEN IT HAPPENED!

By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them.

The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice.

A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea —

Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

(from the book “The Hundredth Monkey” by Ken Keyes, jr. The book is not copyrighted and the material may be reproduced in whole or in part.

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Krishna’s Chariot

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna lays out a plan for Arjuna which begins with the instruction to “find his dharma”, or true purpose.

On the way to his dharma,  Arjuni found himself on a battlefield prepared for battle, and skilled as a warrior.  Facing him was an army of opponents including  family, friends, loved one, and many, many others that he knew.  And, of course, the others, too.


Finding our true selves and our true purpose can either be a life long pursuit or recognized in a flash of intuition. Either way is challenging at best. Here’s the plan that Krishna shared with Arjuna.

1. First, discover what your dharma (purpose) is.

2. Then, do it full out, hold nothing back. Give it your full attention.

3. Next, let go of the ‘fruits of the action’ or said another way, detach from the outcome.

4. And finally, dedicate your actions to the greater good of all beings.

Yeah, right! What Krishna doesn’t say is what specific actions to apply.  There is no manual or instruction sheet on how to figure out life purpose. If you are one of the lucky ones who are ‘born knowing’, you are blessed. Practice #3 & #4 consistently.

For the rest of us…………………….

Keep breathing, consciously, slowly, one breath at a time.

Om shanti, shanti, shantihi.

 

 

ps. you might want to consult with an astrologer for more information on this topic.

 

 

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