Tag Archives: Buddhist Family

Living in the Present Moment

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Living in the Present Moment

When one is attempting to live the Dharma it is important to remember to live in the moment and be mindful. Most people, me included, find this difficult. My wife and I were discussing the below quote from Lao Tzu and she said that until now it she had never really felt it. I understand what she meant. It is easy to look at the words and have enough intelligence and education to intellectually comprehend what they mean. But, actually understanding the words and taking them to heart is another matter. I challenge you my dear reader to contemplate these words and to try and live them this weekend. I will be using them as my focus during meditation as well as trying to live by them. I look forward to hearing how you did and any thoughts you may have on this exercise.

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Dharma Kids at Buddhist Temple of Chicago

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On April 22nd the children of the Dharma School ran the service at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago on 4/22/12. Below is a short video of them in action. My daughter does her short talk in the video @ 1:38

Dharma talk on the “Four Dharma Seals”

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This is the talk I gave at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago on 4/15/12

Beethoven, Mindfulness and Meditation

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In Buddhism we speak of being “Mindful” during meditation. In meditation there are two parts of the mind; Concentration and Mindfulness. Concentration provides the power to keep you focused on the object of mediation. If and when your mind wanders Concentration is the force that guides the mind back onto the object. Mindfulness is the gentle part that pays attention to the object and notices that the attention has wandered. In this posting I present one of my favorite Symphonies, Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony as a focus for our meditation.

To facilitate our mindfulness I put forth some questions that I found in a very old album at a yard-sale recently. Please read through the questions before listening. The questions were devised to help measure audience perception in music appreciation class. But, it was found to do much more: the questionnaire ended up heightening attentiveness! Think about that, if you prepare yourself before you meditate upon something you will pay increase your mindfulness.

For those of you who do not share my love of classical music and are not familiar with some of the terms used I have included a list at the bottom of this post.

1. (True or False) Throughout the Eroica Symphony Beethoven uses startling changes in key and rhythm to achieve surprise and shock.

2. (True or False) The first movement opens with a quiet pastoral melody.

3. (True or False) The first theme of the movement is built on three notes.

4. In the developing section of the first movement Beethoven departs from usual practice and introduces a:
a. Fugal Passage b. Canon c. New Theme

5. (True or False) The first movement concludes with a short coda.

6. We would characterize the main theme of the second movement as:
a. somber b. dramatic c. wistful

7. (True or False) There is a fugal passage in the second movement.

8. The third movement is a:
a. Rondo b. Scherzo c. Theme and Variation

9. Would you describe the third movement as:
a. Dark and Sinister b. Frivolous and Gay c. Powerful and Driving

10. (True or False) The trio of the third movement features a fanfare for horns.

11. The fourth movement is a:
a. Set of Variations b. Waltz c. Rondo

12. Which of the following instruments prominently play one of the melodies in the fourth movement?
a. Bassoons b. Flutes c. Trombones

Here is the entire symphony. If you do not have time to listen to the whole thing listen to one movement at a time and return. They can also be downloaded at Archive.org

Answers for Quiz here. (In white text so you will have to highlight them to see them.)

1. T; 2. F; 3. T; 4. c; 5. F; 6. a; 7. T; 8. b; 9. c; 10. T; 11. a; 12. b
Musical terms:

Waltz – A dance written in triple time,
where the accent falls on the first beat of each measure.
Coda – Closing section of a movement.
Movement – A separate section of a larger composition.
Sonata Music of a particular form consisting of four movements.
Each of the movements differ in tempo, rhythm, and melody;
but are held together by subject and style.
Sonata form – A complex piece of music.
Usually the first movement of the piece serving as the exposition,
a development, or recapitulation.
Scherzo – Pertaining to the sonata form, a fast movement in triple time.
Rondo – A musical form where the principal theme is repeated several times.
The rondo was often used for the final movements of classical sonata form works.
Canon – A musical form where the melody or tune is
imitated by individual parts at regular intervals.
The individual parts may enter at different measures and pitches.
The tune may also be played at different speeds,
backwards, or inverted.
Fugue – A composition written for three to six voices.
Beginning with the exposition, each voice enters at different times,
creating counterpoint with one another.
Theme – A melodic or, sometimes a harmonic
idea presented in a musical form.

95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness

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I tried reblogging this earlier. This one is worth a second shot.

Hands-of-Faith Holistic Healing Centers® Blog

At the cusp of a new day, week, month or year, most of us take a little time to reflect on our lives by looking back over the past and ahead into the future.  We ponder the successes, failures and standout events that are slowly scripting our life’s story.  This process of self-reflection helps us maintain a conscious awareness of where we’ve been and where we intend to go.  It is pertinent to the organization and preservation of our long-term goals and happiness.

The questions below will help you with this process.  Because when it comes to finding meaning in life, asking the right questions is the answer.

  1. In one sentence, who are you?
  2. Why do you matter?
  3. What is your life motto?
  4. What’s something you have that everyone wants?
  5. What is missing in your life?
  6. What’s been on your mind most lately?
  7. Happiness is a ________?
  8. What…

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Beautiful Moment

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Beautiful moment.
Existence evaporates
Melding with mankind.

Little Ghosts at door

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Little Ghosts at door
Smiling faces ask for sweets
Like Monks seeking alms.

Virtual Schoolhouse

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Virtual Schoolhouse

Virtual classroom
One room school, parent teaching
Customized learning

We are a homeschooling family. My wife and I decided that taking responsibility for our children’s education was the best option for us.

Zen and the World

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While reading “Zen Antics” I came across a poem written by Zen Master Gisan in 1866. He recited these poems in response to being given an honorary title  by the emperor of Japan. These three poems are as applicable today as they were in 1866.

Humanity and Law
Self-Help and helping others:
this trance of mine
is dutiful at home, loyal in public,
never obscured in daily affairs.

The Benefit of Buddhism for Nations
Do not kill, and life will be sufficient;
do not steal, and goods will be plenty.
How excellent the moral teaching:
they enrich nations and stabilize families.

Protecting the Nation
Whatever is bad, do not do;
whatever is good, carry it out:
then above and below will harmonize,
the good and the bad won’t compete.