Tag Archives: Buddhist

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.

Buddhist stages of awakening

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Buddhist stages of awakening.

40 Oz of Bad Karma

Bodhi, buddhi, and Buddha all come from the verbal root of buddh which literally means to be awake, become aware, to notice, to know or understand, etc. Buddhi refers to intelligence or the intellect, and bodhi is awakening, knowing, or enlightenment. Bodhi is attained when the Four Noble Truths are fully grasped, and all karma has reached cessation. According to Mahayana sutras, if a person does not aim for bodhi, one lives one’s life like a preoccupied child playing with toys in a house that is burning to the ground. With bodhi, one may realize Nirvana.

In order to “wake up”, we have to stay mindful. It is with this mindfulness that we keep the mind grounded in the present moment for the purpose of awakening. The desire for awakening is not such a bad thing, because it is a desire which brings about the cessation of dukkha (stress…

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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

Work for peace

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A very brave statement. Let us all be so compassionate.

The Jizo Chronicles

Last week, I became a war tax resister. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and finally this spring my actions aligned with my intentions and I sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

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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.

Angkor’s temple bell

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Hear the Temple Bell.
Dharma in the vibrations.
Chanting to planet.

Tonight I came across this article about Angkor in National Geographic and wanted to share it.

Ancient Samurai

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Ancient Samurai
Uses all weapons in War
My life’s principles

Miyamoto Musashi’s teachings have been very influential in my life. One
day I hope to see his tomb in Tatsudamachi, Kumamoto Japan.