Tag Archives: Buddhist

Where There is Tummo, There is Bliss

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Ahhh Tummo—so esoteric, so mysterious, so powerful, yet so natural! No particular beliefs are required because these practices work with our body’s natural systems.

Several traditions teach practices for awakening the body’s dormant energy and raising it up the spinal column, but they usually stop there and leave out what happens once the energy is raised. Life seeks balance, and Tummo—the inner fire of compassion—also has its counterpart. The other half of the equation is Bliss.

When we cultivate our inner fire, it burns away many subtle blocks and has amazing benefits physiologically and energetically. But that’s not all! Our inner fire ignites our natural bliss. Bliss is so much more than pleasurable feeling. Bliss takes us beyond the conceptual mind and heightens our awareness. The result? Profound wisdom and realizations. The combination of Tummo and Bliss enables us to recognize the union of emptiness and emptiness. Wow.

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Perhaps that sounds a bit beyond a 4 day retreat … indeed, it is a practice to be cultivated over time. However, no matter your prior experience, Tulku Lobsang skillfully guides his students and offers a complete practice that can grow with you. He provides the motivation, background and experiential taste we need to receive immediate benefit and then safely continue our practice at home.

Come experience Tulku Lobsang’s phenomenal energy, charisma and profound wisdom for yourself! To receive this ancient teaching is an opportunity of a lifetime.

 

WHAT: Tummo & Bliss Retreat
WHEN: August 17 – 21
WHERE: Menla Retreat Center, NY
DETAILS: menla.org/programs.php?sub=menla_169

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Summer Teaching in NYC by Tulku Lama Lobsang

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A great chance to attend a fascinating teaching in NYC

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TOWARD AN AWAKENED HEART

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I once read a quote that really stayed with me:

“…The conceit of self is challenged and eroded not only by the circumstances of our lives but also by our willingness to meet those circumstances with grace rather than with fear.”

When word spread in the village of a beloved teacher’s failing health and impending death, well wishers gathered to pay their last respects and to honor him. Streams of people extolled his kindness, patience, eloquence and compassion.

The Master listened and smiled weakly as the visitors seemed to go on for hours. Finally, his wife noticed he was growing restless and asked that he be allowed to rest. Turning to her husband, she asked what was bothering him remarking that such wonderful things were being said about him.

“Yes,” he replied “It was all wonderful … But did you notice that no one mentioned my humility?”

The ‘conceit of self’ is said to be the last of the great obstacles on the path to full awakening. Cleverly disguised as humility, empathy, or virtue, conceit can appear as feelings of being worse than, equal to, or better than others. This in turn gives rise to the messy and jumbled world of comparisons, judgements, jealousies and insecurities.

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Hmmm …

Superiority Conceit is easy to grasp: Basically, this is where we consider ourselves better or worthier than others – it builds upon our appearance and achievements.
Who hasn’t (even for a split second) noticed a fellow meditator shifting positions on their cushion as we congratulate ourselves for remaining stoically still?
Or how about that great story we are itching to share, the one that highlights some ‘wonderful’ personal achievement, or quality we possess, only to discover our audience couldn’t be less interested?
In its obvious form conceit displays as arrogance and self-righteousness. There are also more subtle versions such as the immutable belief in our ‘rightness’ – which in turn blocks our ability to receive criticism or to truly listen to another person.

Inferiority Conceit is one everyone can relate to: Feelings of unworthiness, of ‘not being good enough’, which have become a common aspect of our competitive culture.  Oddly this conceit also builds upon our appearance AND the mental laundry list we keep of all the mistakes we have ever made.
This is the domain of envy, resentment, fear and blame … further reinforcing our belief in an ‘imperfect’ self.
Moments of personal progress are ‘mistakes or flukes’, achievements are the prizes of the ‘more perfect’ others.
When we break out of this cycle of self-judgement we develop our self-confidence and can see that each person, in each moment, has an equal possibility for joy, the capacity for compassion, and a potential awakening on their path.

Equality Conceit is not subject to the Goldilocks Principle one would assume: Here we fall into the realm of mediocrity. Why bother? Don’t we all share the same flaws and delusions? There’s a lazy comfort with this outlook, ‘sameness’ means we don’t need to strive toward higher goals alone … “Misery loves Company”.
When we notice that someone falls asleep during a teaching, suddenly we feel better about ourselves because we feel the same way. It’s reassuring to observe ‘apparently’ happier or more successful persons (than ourselves) and to focus on their flaws to somehow justify our own struggles.
Who hasn’t seen the chuckles when a celebrity trips and falls on stage at an awards ceremony?
The downside of this attitude is a constant sense of disappointment and cynicism about human nature.


Conceit perpetuates the dualities of “self” and “others” by taking the stories and identities we build for ourselves and using them as the foundation for how we relate with others and the world.

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To break out of these cycles takes hard work along with the courage to use each ‘conceit’ moment as a chance to practice mindfulness and restraint.

Life can be unpredictable, and as such, gives us many opportunities to practice letting go of control with sprinklings of hardships, illnesses, and other obstacles.

But it’s OK to face the limits of our powers and to let Life happen, because in doing so we learn to cultivate a heart that can unconditionally welcome all things.

Student: “What is the secret to your happiness and equanimity?”

Teacher: “A wholehearted, unrestricted cooperation with the unavoidable.”

This is the Heart of Mindfulness and Compassion.  This is an Awakened Heart.

How it Is

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When people see some things as beautiful,
other things become ugly.
When people see some things as good,
other things become bad.

Being and non-being create each other.
Difficult and easy support each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low depend on each other.
Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master
acts without doing anything
and teaches without saying anything.
Things arise and she lets them come;
things disappear and she lets them go.

She has but doesn’t possess,
acts but doesn’t expect.
When her work is done, she forgets it.
That is why it lasts forever.

Lao Tzu
Tao Te Ching

Morning teaching on the way to the School Bus

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10 yr old – Mom, what’s karma?


Me – Well, if you plant peaches you are always going to get peaches, and if you plant tomatoes you will always get tomatoes.  You can’t plant peaches and wonder why you didn’t get tomatoes, right?  Do you understand what I mean? … Well, karma is kind of that way.


10 yr old – Oh, so if I bother my brothers they’ll bother me back?


Me – Yeah, sort of.  Hey, here’s the bus!


10 yr old – Thanks Mom, that made sense.

 

Whew!

What do You Have to Lose? … A Little Stress?

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Lu Jong is an ancient Tibetan movement practice from the Tantrayana and Bon traditions with origins dating as far back as 8,000 years.  It is a form of Meditation in Motion.

The practice is comprised of a series of body movements done in conjunction with rhythmic breathing for the purpose of self-healing.  With the release of internal blockages and the redirection of stagnant energy within us,  we can develop resistance to disease, mental clarity, and balanced emotions, resulting in a greater harmony of our physical, mental and energetic levels.

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Lu Jong has been transmitted directly from Master to student, to this present day, primarily by means of oral teachings.

Opportunities to learn Lu Jong with a certified teacher are rare, but DO exist for the curious … this week!

http://www.tibethouse.us/programs/full-calendar/view/673792/114

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Fortune

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5 AM … Ring, Ring, Ring …RING, RING, RING!!! …Ugh!  Yawn … What the heck?  Hello??

“Hello, this is your school district calling to tell you that ALL classes are cancelled for today. Have a lovely day!”

Huh?  Wait, what?  Why?  Am I being punked?

I shuffle over to the window, the tiniest of flurries are cascading down with a vengeance.  Again?  Sigh.  Fine.

Maybe I can still get back to sleep.

But such is not MY lot this morning (insert grumbles here), you see, I have three boys ranging from Elementary to High School.  Five more robo-calls and four robo-texts later, all spread over a total four different numbers, I am now fully awake and YES, I get it – it’s another Snow Day!  Yay?

Can’t wait to see what the rest of the day throws my way …

The first image I see this morning is that of Yellow Jambhala, as painted by his Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.  I can’t help but stop several minutes to savor and enjoy it.  Something about it appeals very much to me:  Is it the colors?  The style?  What comes to my mind?

Ah!  Yes, Yellow Jambala, it’s what he represents that is resonating with me.

Jambhala (also known as Dzambhala, Dzambala, Zambala or Jambala) is the God of Wealth and a member of the Jewel Family.  He is the protector of all Lineages and of all sentient beings from all sickness and difficulties.  There are five different wealth Jambhala, each a different color (white, yellow, black, red & green) – all manifestations of the compassion of Buddha and Bodhisattvas to guide sentient beings along the path to enlightenment.

Each has his own practice and mantra to help eliminate poverty and create financial stability. Aside from being different colors, and shown in different poses, they are all portrayed holding a mongoose in the left hand that spits out precious gems for the poor and needy. They ALL have the essence of generosity.

White Jambhala is said to be the manifestation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (he who listens to the sounds around him and embodies compassion).  He is able to stop suffering and to dispel bad Karma. Chanting his mantra can also bring wealth, avert disaster, and give you good health. He sits on a snow lion.

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Yellow Jambhala is considered the most popular and powerful of the Wealth Gods. He is thought to be the manifestation of Buddha Ratnasambhava, the Buddha of Giving. It is said you must practice Buddhism using correct procedures to gain the most powerful blessings from him, not just wealth but wisdom and intelligence are his gifts. He is usually shown sitting on a lotus, sun and moon disk.

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Black Jambhala is also known as the Hindu God of Wealth, Kubera. He will fulfill your wishes, make you happy, and give you wealth and prosperity. He is usually seen standing on a corpse and with a Kapala (a cup made from a human skull) in his right hand.

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Red Jambhala is said to be the manifestation of Vajrasattva, the Buddha of Purification. Some say that he is the Hindu God of Wealth, Lord Ganesha, and has the head of an elephant. Others picture him as having two faces and four arms. His Tibetan name is Dzambhala Mapo.  He offers protection, wealth and popularity when his mantra is chanted with sincerity.

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The last of the five Wealth Gods, the Green Jambhala, is thought to be a form of the Buddha Akshobhya (who reigns over the eastern paradise). He is usually shown in tight embrace with his consort. He is actually blue in color. The Green Jambhala made a sacred vow witnessed by Buddha Sakyamuni that he would protect anyone who chanted his Mantra.

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I connected the Yellow Jambhala image with what I realized were MY blessings of ‘wealth’, maybe not mega-bucks in my pockets, but certainly an abundance of creature comforts I often take for granted. I am rich in health, love and spirit (I hope), and if the inconvenience of yet another a Snow Day is my most challenging moment, well – I guess I shouldn’t be complaining at all!

Yeah!  The beauty of the snow, the playfulness of my boys around me … This day has turned itself around rather nicely.

4 PM … Ring, Ring, RingRING, RING, RING!!! … Uh, Hello??

“Hello, this is your local school district calling to advise you that due to inclement weather there will be a TWO HOUR delayed opening for all schools tomorrow.  Have a good evening!”

Sigh.