Tag Archives: Mindfulness

American Zen ver2

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american zen
sipping coffee
buddha in each sip.

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

All guests welcome

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Excellent advice on mindfulness

Inspire 'til You Expire

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house,

empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

-Rumi, The Guest House 

Our minds are like a complex compound occupied with transient guests coming and going. All guests have varying intentions with various triggers with which they unpack into our psyche. As they come and go, shifting through the halls of our mind weaving feelings of love and fear, it is our choice if we are vacant or…

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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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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.

American Zen

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American Zen
Mindfully sipping coffee
Buddha’s mind each sip.

Still Life Meditation

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My humble attempt
A still life meditation
Apple, Orange; food for thought

Chicago music

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As I sat quietly in the park meditating this Haiku came to me.

Chicago music
Sirens, construction, traffic
Pulse of the city

Autumn, seasons change

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In honor of the time change I composed this little question.

Autumn, seasons change
Setting clocks back one hour.
Did you enjoy it?

Did you know that Daylight saving time was established by the Standard Time Act of 1918.
The Act was intended to save electricity for seven months of the year, during World War I.

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.