Tag Archives: Dharma

Wistful thinking

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Wistful thinking

incense smoke
brings back the dead-
will-o-wisp

Inspired by a Hangon-kon story which is as follows: (My interpretation)

Many years ago during the Han dynasty the Chinese Emperor Wu lost his wife, Lady Li. The Emperor loved her so much that her death consumed him. No matter what he did he could not distract himself. So one day he told his servants to obtain some of the Spirit-Recalling-Incense so that he might call her back from the dead. His advisors tried to dissuade him as they felt doing so would only feed his obsession. But being the Emperor he refused to listen to their advice and proceeded with the ritual burning.

When the time was auspicious the Emperor lite the incense and kept his mind focused on the memory of his beloved Lady Li. After some time passed the Emperor saw the form of his wife forming within the blue smoke of the incense. At first it was quite faint but slowly the apparition started to assume human form and become a living person. The Emperor watched his wife grow more beautiful and alive with each passing moment. At first the Emperor whispered to the image afraid that it would fade, but quickly grew more bold and soon was calling, pleading with the image to speak to him. Finally unable to control himself he reached out to touch the image but as soon as he touched the smoke the Lady Li vanished forever.

Sources:
Ghostly Japan by Lafcadio Hearn
I lost the link to image but is was Japan wiki

Spiritual materialism

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40 Oz of Bad Karma

The controversial Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa called this “spiritual materialism”. In his book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism he stated that:

“Walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques. This fundamental distortion may be referred to as spiritual materialism.”

Now, I have already talked a bit on the relationship between Buddhism and other faiths. It is also well known that the Buddha taught everyone, regardless of caste, race, gender, etc. The Dharma places a higher value on a person’s ethic and virtue rather than what family or caste one was born into. Buddha stated in the Vasala Sutta that, “not by birth is one an outcast; not…

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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

Teaching sharing

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The following question does not necessarily express the practice of the writer it is only presented as a topic of discussion.

“Why as a society do we tell our children to share their toys, books, crayons when we grow up sharing of that kind is not practiced.”

Is there something wrong in telling our children something that is not the way society works?

I look forward to your replies.

Dharma talk on the “Four Dharma Seals”

Video

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

April Fools Day

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to those hurt it’s
no laughing matter-
april fools day

I have never enjoyed April Fools Day. As a child I felt bad for those who were pranked and I also felt a distrust of those who pranked, and it could be anyone, during this day.

While it is suppose to be “in good fun” it generally ends up being a free day for bullying. Along with bullying there is also the possibility of the prank going to far and cause physical harm or property damage.
I recently learned that if your house is damaged as part of pranking AND you were also participating then your insurance will likely not cover the repairs. Furthermore, IF someone is hurt on your property they can sue you!

As a Buddhist this day also does not sit well with me. “Fooling” someone is tantamount to lying and goes against the principles of the “Eightfold Path.” If you are lying you are obviously not practicing “Right Speech” and if your actions cause harm, damage (even mental) then you are not practicing “Right Action.”

Enough preaching now back to the haiku.

Thoughts of you

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The sky mirrors
my clouded mind-
thoughts of you

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.

Blue Heron Ver. 2

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under the heron’s wings
hides the dark of winter-
frogs dare not shiver

Second attempt at the image. Still something is not quite right.

Read version 1 for comparison