The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step

Social action

To change the system you have to first unplug from it

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Buddha taught that freedom from suffering means liberation from the illusion of separation that society feeds us.

You are the Universe, walking upon this planet in human form. We are each a part of the great symphony of universal creation, sister or brother to the animals, the mountains, rivers, trees and stars.

Civilisation’s institutions tell us we are our names, race, nationality, politics, religion and gender preference. They con us (program us from childhood) into believing we are separate from the world. And it’s these illusions which give rise to all our desires and fears.

This is the Big Lie, that keeps us hypnotized. Thinking we are individuals competing with other individuals distracts us from our true nature. Keeps us from opening our hearts to reality, from waking up.

The Buddha understood this, as did Jesus, Walt Whitman, Gandhi, Einstein, Alan Watts, Thich Nhat Hanh and many many others.

This is the choice we face every moment of our lives, to stay asleep, plugged in to the dreams of civilization’s MATRIX, or to wake up to deeper truth about ourselves, connecting with the magnificence of this Universe that brought everything into being…

~Christopher:::
Tao & Zen

“As soon as you say that you are an individual, illusion is very happy to distract you from your real nature and to keep you inside her institutions.” ~Sri Siddharameshwar Maharj

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ – a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

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If you really wish to benefit others

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So if you really wish to benefit others, the first step is to attain realization yourself. You must first mature your own mind; otherwise you will be incapable of helping others. Giving other people water is impossible unless you have a jug with water in it. If it is empty, you might make the gesture of pouring, but no water will come out.

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

from the book “Zurchungpa’s Testament”
ISBN: 978-1559392648 – http://amzn.to/19RFPbO

Just Dharma Quotes


In Engaged Buddhism, Peace Begins with You

Source: In Engaged Buddhism, Peace Begins with You – Lion’s Roar

http://www.lionsroar.com

thich nhat hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh, who originated Engaged Buddhism, in an interview with John Malkin.

I met with Thich Nhat Hanh recently at the Kim Son Monastery in Northern California. I was happy to be seated on a zafu drinking tea with him, but I was also glad when he motioned with a simple gesture towards the page of questions sitting at my side: otherwise the lunch bell might have sounded an hour later without the interview having begun.

Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1967, after playing a central role in the Vietnamese peace movement. He is the author of over one hundred books, including Love in Action, Peace Is Every Step, The Miracle of Mindfulness and No Death, No Fear. He currently lives at Plum Village Monastery in France. —John Malkin

John Malkin: Will you describe the origins of Engaged Buddhism and how you became involved in compassion-based social change?

Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Buddhism is just Buddhism. When bombs begin to fall on people, you cannot stay in the meditation hall all of the time. Meditation is about the awareness of what is going on-not only in your body and in your feelings, but all around you.

When I was a novice in Vietnam, we young monks witnessed the suffering caused by the war. So we were very eager to practice Buddhism in such a way that we could bring it into society. That was not easy because the tradition does not directly offer Engaged Buddhism. So we had to do it by ourselves. That was the birth of Engaged Buddhism.

Engaged Buddhism is just Buddhism. When bombs begin to fall on people, you cannot stay in the meditation hall all of the time.

Buddhism has to do with your daily life, with your suffering and with the suffering of the people around you. You have to learn how to help a wounded child while still practicing mindful breathing. You should not allow yourself to get lost in action. Action should be meditation at the same time.

John Malkin: Why did you come to the United States for the first time in 1966, and what happened while you were here?

Thich Nhat Hanh: I was invited by Cornell University to deliver a series of talks. I took the opportunity to speak about the suffering that was going on in Vietnam. After that I learned that the Vietnamese government didn’t want me to come home. So I had to stay on and continue the work over here. It was not my intention to come to the West and share Buddhism at all. But because I was forced into exile, I did. An opportunity for sharing just presented itself.

John Malkin: What did you learn from being in the United States during that time?

Thich Nhat Hanh: The first thing I learned was that even if you have a lot of money and power and fame, you can still suffer very deeply. If you don’t have enough peace and compassion within you, there is no way you can be happy. Many people in Asia would like to consume as much as Europeans and Americans. So when I teach in China and Thailand and in other Asian countries, I always tell them that people suffer very deeply in the West, believing that consuming a lot will bring them happiness. You have to go back to the traditional values and deepen your practice.

John Malkin: What did you learn from Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement in the United States?

Thich Nhat Hanh: The last time Martin Luther King and I met was in Geneva during the peace conference called Paix sur Terre—”Peace on Earth.” I was able to tell him that the people in Vietnam were very grateful for him because he had come out against the violence in Vietnam. They considered him to be a great bodhisattva, working for his own people and supporting us. Unfortunately, three months later he was assassinated.

John Malkin: What is your view of the current peace movement in the United States?

Thich Nhat Hanh: People were very compassionate and willing to support us in ending the war in Vietnam during the sixties. But the peace movement in America did not have enough patience. People became angry very quickly because what they were doing wasn’t bringing about what they wanted. So there was a lot of anger and violence in the peace movement.

Nonviolence and compassion are the foundations of a peace movement. If you don’t have enough peace and understanding and loving-kindness within yourself, your actions will not truly be for peace. Everyone knows that peace has to begin with oneself, but not many people know how to do it.

John Malkin: People often feel that they need to choose between being engaged in social change or working on personal and spiritual growth. What would you say to those people?

Thich Nhat Hanh: I think that view is rather dualistic. The practice should address suffering: the suffering within yourself and the suffering around you. They are linked to each other. When you go to the mountain and practice alone, you don’t have the chance to recognize the anger, jealousy and despair that’s in you. That’s why it’s good that you encounter people—so you know these emotions. So that you can recognize them and try to look into their nature. If you don’t know the roots of these afflictions, you cannot see the path leading to their cessation. That’s why suffering is very important for our practice.

If you don’t have enough peace and understanding and loving-kindness within yourself, your actions will not truly be for peace.

John Malkin: When the World Trade Center was destroyed, you were asked what you would say to those responsible. You answered that you would listen compassionately and deeply to understand their suffering. Tell me about the practice of deep listening and how you think it helps in personal situations, as well as in situations like the World Trade Center attacks.

Thich Nhat Hanh: The practice of deep listening should be directed towards oneself first. If you don’t know how to listen to your own suffering, it will be difficult to listen to the suffering of another person or another group of people.

I have recommended that America listen to herself first, because there is a lot of suffering within her borders. There are so many people who believe they are victims of discrimination and injustice, and they have never been heard and understood.

My proposal is very concrete: we have to set up a group of people—a kind of parliament—to practice listening to the suffering of America. It’s my conviction that there are people in America who are capable of listening deeply, with compassion in their hearts. We have to identify them, and ask them to come and help us. Then we will ask the people who suffer to come forward and tell us what they have in their hearts. They’ll have to tell us everything, and that won’t be easy for those listening.

If America can practice this within her own borders, she will learn a lot. The insight will be enormous, and based on that insight, we can start actions that can repair the damage done in the past.

If America succeeded in that, she could bring that practice to the international level. The fact is that people know America has the capacity to hit. To hit very hard and make people suffer. But if America does not hit, that brings her more respect and gives her more authority.

John Malkin: After the World Trade Center was attacked, even people who believe in nonviolence said, “This occasion requires some action and some violence.”

Thich Nhat Hanh: Violent action creates more violence. That’s why compassion is the only way to reduce violence. And compassion is not something soft. It takes a lot of courage.

When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the seed of anger, and it becomes stronger in you. It’s a dangerous practice.

John Malkin: In Western psychology, we are taught that if we’re angry, we can release that anger by, say, yelling or hitting a pillow. In your book, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, you offer a criticism of this method. Why do you feel that this doesn’t help get rid of anger?

Thich Nhat Hanh: In Buddhist psychology, we speak of consciousness in terms of seeds. We have a seed of anger in us. We have a seed of compassion in us. The practice is to help the seed of compassion to grow and the seed of anger to shrink. When you express your anger you think that you are getting anger out of your system, but that’s not true. When you express your anger, either verbally or with physical violence, you are feeding the seed of anger, and it becomes stronger in you. It’s a dangerous practice.

That’s why recognizing the seed of anger and trying to neutralize it with understanding and compassion is the only way to reduce the anger in us. If you don’t understand the cause of your anger, you can never transform it.

John Malkin: Many people have the view that happiness and enlightenment are things that happen only in the future, and that maybe only a few people are capable of experiencing them. Enlightenment can seem like a very unattainable thing.

Thich Nhat Hanh: Happiness and enlightenment are living things and they can grow. It is possible to feed them every day. If you don’t feed your enlightenment, your enlightenment will die. If you don’t feed your happiness, your happiness will die. If you don’t feed your love, your love will die. If you continue to feed your anger, your hatred, your fear, they will grow. The Buddha said that nothing can survive without food. That applies to enlightenment, to happiness, to sorrow, to suffering.

First of all, enlightenment is enlightenment about something. Suppose you are drinking some tea and you are aware that you are drinking some tea. That kind of mindfulness of drinking is a form of enlightenment. There have been many times that you’ve been drinking but you didn’t know it, because you are absorbed in worries. So mindfulness of drinking is already one kind of enlightenment.

If you can focus your mind on the act of drinking, then happiness can come while you have some tea. You are capable of enjoying that tea in the here and now. But if you don’t know how to drink your tea in mindfulness and concentration, you are not really drinking tea. You are drinking your sorrow, your fear, your anger—and happiness is not possible.

To be aware that you are still alive, that you are walking on this beautiful planet—that is a form of enlightenment.

Insight is also enlightenment. To be aware that you are still alive, that you are walking on this beautiful planet—that is a form of enlightenment. That does not come just by itself. You have to be mindful in order to enjoy every step. And again, you have to preserve that enlightenment in order for happiness to continue. If you walk like someone who is running, happiness will stop.

Small enlightenments have to succeed each other. And they have to be fed all the time, in order for a great enlightenment to be possible. So a moment of living in mindfulness is already a moment of enlightenment. If you train yourself to live in such a way, happiness and enlightenment will continue to grow.

If you know how to maintain enlightenment and happiness, then your sorrow, your fear, your suffering don’t have a lot of chance to manifest. If they don’t manifest for a long time, then they become weaker and weaker. Then, when someone touches the seed of sorrow or fear or anger in you and those things manifest, you will know to bring back your mindful breathing and your mindful smiling. And then you can embrace your suffering.

John Malkin: In meditation practice, it is very common for us to feel that our minds are very busy and that we’re not meditating very well. What do you have to say about this?

Thich Nhat Hanh: Meditation is a matter of enjoyment. When you are offered a cup of tea, you have an opportunity to be happy. Drink your tea in such a way that you are truly present. Otherwise, how can you enjoy your tea? Or you are offered an orange—there must be a way to eat your orange that can bring you freedom and happiness. You can train yourself to eat an orange properly, so that happiness and freedom are possible. If you come to a mindfulness retreat, you will be offered that kind of practice so that you can be free and happy while eating your orange or drinking your tea or out walking.

It is possible for you to enjoy every step that you make. These steps will be healing and refreshing, bringing you more freedom. If you have a friend who is well-trained in the practice of walking, you will be supported by his or her practice. The practice can be done every moment. And not for the future, but for the present moment. If the present moment is good, then the future will be good because it’s made only of the present. Suppose you are capable of making every step free and joyful. Then wherever you walk, it is the pure land of the Buddha. The pure land of the Buddha is not a matter of the future.

John Malkin: You have wondered whether the next Buddha will come in the form of a single person or in the form of a community. . .

Thich Nhat Hanh: I think that the Buddha is already here. If you are mindful enough you can see the Buddha in anything, especially in the sangha. The twentieth century was the century of individualism, but we don’t want that anymore. Now we try to live as a community. We want to flow like a river, not a drop of water. The river will surely arrive at the ocean, but a drop of water may evaporate halfway. That’s why it is possible for us to recognize that the presence of the Buddha is the here and now. I think that every step, every breath, every word that is spoken or done in mindfulness—that is the manifestation of the Buddha. Don’t look for the Buddha elsewhere. It is in the art of living mindfully every moment of your life.

John Malkin hosts a weekly radio program on Free Radio Santa Cruz, focusing on social change and spiritual growth.


Every noble work is bound to face problems and obstacles

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“Every noble work is bound to face problems and obstacles. It is important to check your goal and motivation thoroughly. One should be very truthful, honest, and reasonable. One’s actions should be good for others, and for oneself as well. Once a positive goal is chosen, you should decide to pursue it all the way to the end. Even if it is not realized, at least there will be no regret.”

~His Holiness the Dalai Lama


Dudjom Rinpoche on Climate Change 2012

Source: ECOBUDDHISM :: Dudjom Rinpoche 2012

http://www.ecobuddhism.org

Posted Dec 4, 2016

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Ecobuddhism:
Since the last time we spoke about this subject, five years ago Rinpoche, the gravity of the climate crisis is even better understood. The leading climate scientist, Dr James Hansen of NASA is publishing a large multiple-author study which makes it clear that there must be a great change in current policies if we are going to avert the danger of crossing a “tipping point” in the climate system–whereby the whole process will become self-generating and pass beyond human influence.  In essence, he says, we have ten more years to make fundamental changes in the way our society uses energy and treats the natural world.

The well-known Buddhist teacher, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, who is now 86, is making a tour of the world to emphasize what he calls “falling in love with the Earth again.” He considers that by the end of this century, there may be no human beings on the Earth.  He asks for a deep change of values. Therefore there seems to be the need for people to dedicate their practice, whatever that may be, for the protection of the Earth.

Dudjom Rinpoche:
There are excellent prayers focusing on protecting the Earth and environment written by Chatral, Dzongsar Khyenste Chokyi Lodro and Jigdral Yeshe Dorje Rinpoches. They are quite extensive, beneficial to recite and will have positive effects.

From a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, we could say that Guru Rinpoche is the source of all our dharma traditions. Not only the lineage of the Nyingmapa,  but even the Sarma schools like the Geluk, have a special relationship with Guru Rinpoche. The lineage of the Great Perfection is unique to the Nyingmapa, but all Tibetan traditions of Buddhism are based upon a Nyingma template.

We consider Guru Rinpoche, Tara and Chenrezig to be the three primary protectors throughout the three times. They are united within a single wisdom intent, gazing upon all beings with compassion, continuously raining blessings on the outer universe and its inner contents—the world and all the living beings it contains. We make Dharma prayers to invoke these blessings.

Now from a worldly perspective, I agree completely with the scientific findings on climate change.  When we consider the direction in which the global economy is moving and the kind of activities humans are engaging in, it is certain the outcome will be great harm for the world system.  The general situation is most precarious: there will be no stability for the entire world and the beings in it.

From a religious perspective – and I’m not talking here about exalted teachings like the Great Perfection – even ordinary religious followers cannot feel happy in view of what is going on.  We Buddhists believe the twelve links of interdependence are undeceiving. From that perspective too, the situation is very serious. I am just one religious teacher, without anything special to say. Yet I would ask that all people in this world think in terms of the common good, rather than focusing solely on their own benefit.

We share this one world. In order to uplift and preserve our environment, it definitely matters how we conduct ourselves in the collective sphere.   We have to consider what will really benefit sentient beings, both short and long-term, with respect to environmental change. It is important to give careful consideration to the long term continuity of the human race and future generations.

We might feel a year is a long time, but the fact is that a whole decade goes by quickly.  So it is essential to change our way of thinking and go beyond the obsession with private gain. Taking the state of the whole world into account is our universal responsibility now.  It makes oneself happy and it accomplishes the welfare of others.  It is our duty to care for the global environment. Let us reflect carefully on this.

To Buddhist followers, I would ask you to please examine the evidence, and determine the causative factors concerned.  On the basis of what you find, please act accordingly and ethically.  Non-Buddhists who see validity in this approach can also choose to act appropriately, in light of their own enquiry and values.

When we reflect on the unfolding of recent history, it is clear how great the scale is of what has already occurred.  We used to have all these beautiful and pristine snow mountains. Now their glaciers are undeniably melting. Many places in the world are experiencing tremendous heat.  Other places are experiencing great floods. New diseases are coming up and are reducing life expectancy for some. Things have certainly changed, and they are continuing to do so.

Although we must disseminate this information, there is the difficulty that it has the potential to bring about fear.  Nonetheless, it is beneficial for the scientific community to spread the evidence they have gathered as extensively as possible. A religious leader who talks about these issues can influence only those persons with devotion—the advice is unlikely to spread far.  Out of 100 people, perhaps one will listen. Yet those who consider these topics deeply can make significant changes by taking their inner meaning to heart.

Ecobuddhism:
Another problem has arisen in that climate science is being actively undermined by the proponents of the industrial economy, and even certain governments and the media.   Scientists are feeling increasingly anxious that their advice is not being communicated to the general public. Some senior scientists now acknowledge this is primarily a moral issue and a question of values. It is beyond the scope of science.  That implies that the global ecological crisis is a spiritual crisis. Finally, there has historically been contention between religion and science. A meeting of minds between them is not easy to accomplish.

Dudjom Rinpoche:
Yes, a partial conflict between science and religion exists. As does a conflict between climate science and modern industrial society.

If we examine the opposition between science and religion from a Buddhist perspective, the law of cause and result (karma) is what underlies the Buddhist belief in past and future lives. Scientists generally address themselves only to this one life, in an individualistic manner.

The scientific focus on this single life could be associated with materialism and used to justify neglect of the common good. What appears to our senses or instruments comes to define truth. What is not perceived in that way becomes insignificant and has no value.  Only phenomena said to be “objective” are believed to truly exist.

The Buddhist view holds that virtuous causes bring happiness, and prepare the ground for full awakening.  A conventional scientific perspective would dismiss the phenomena of lower realms and of deity as non-existent. Nonetheless, I think it would be excellent to find common ground between the scientific and religious worldviews.  It might be difficult for them to become very close. But it is also not desirable for there to be a great divide.

I am not just speaking about the Buddhist religion.  When we consider the religious traditions of the world, such as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and so forth, the followers of Buddhism are relatively small in number.  Most people follow one of the first three traditions.  All possess teachings on compassion, and in some way focus on a process of mental transformation. This is really what religion is about: developing the mind.

People unaligned with any spiritual tradition may find it easier simply to proceed on the basis of scientific evidence.  If this leads them to a clear sense of how to address collective and environmental issues, that will be excellent for themselves and others.

Some materialists assert this is the only life we have. This view could limit their understanding of the global environmental crisis. Buddhists believe that in future lifetimes we experience the karmic consequences of our present life’s actions. There is an added significance to the choices we make now. We ourselves are the ones who will experience the world we leave to future generations.

Dudjom Rinpoche, Sangye Pema Shepa, born in Tibet in 1990, is the head of the DudjomTersar lineage of Nyingma Buddhism. This interview took place in Pharping, Nepal in March 2012. Thanks to Christina Monson for her capable translation.


Drop by Drop

Source: Drop by Drop | Great Middle Way

greatmiddleway.wordpress.com

unnamedWhen drops of water fill a vase, it is not the first drop that fills it, nor the last drop, nor each drop individually; through the gathering of dependent factors the vase is filled.

Likewise, when someone experiences joy and suffering –the effects– this is not due to the first instant of their cause, nor is it due to the last instant of the cause.

Joy and pain are felt through coming together of dependent factors. So within this mere appearance I will observe ethical norms.    —Acharya Dharmarakshita


Just practice good

 Just practice good, do good for others, without thinking of making yourself known so that you may gain reward. Really bring benefit to others, gaining nothing for yourself. This is the primary requisite for breaking free of attachments to the Self.

~ Dōgen ~
artist: Rakusan Tsuchiya — with Luna Estela and Alfonso Aldunate Salazar.

Source: Zen, Tao, Chan


Engage!

Source: Engage! | Great Middle Way

GreatMiddleWay.Com

wpid-taranatha-e5a49ae7bd97e982a3e4bb96e5a4a7e5b888-5-jpgIn Dharma traditions, and especially those associated with the Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, ‘Engaged Buddhism’ is not a new trend, whether in its social or environmental manifestations, but has been always present.

The ideal of the Bodhisattva, the Noble Being, is to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all, human and non-human, and thus service is the supreme expression of bodhichitta, or the mind of enlightenment.

Service is the practical expression of the wish to benefit others and increase their happiness. The Four Great Vows of the Bodhisattva make this intention explicit:

  1. Beings are numberless. I vow to save them all.
  2. Delusions are inexhaustible. I vow to end them all.
  3. Dharma gates are boundless. I vow to open them all.
  4. The Great Middle Way is unsurpassable. I vow to become it for the benefit of all.

The Epoch of Maitreya is the Epoch of the Mother of the World


“In the hands of woman lies the salvation of Humanity and our planet. Woman must realize her significance, the great mission of the Mother of the World. She should be prepared to take responsibilities for the destiny of Humanity.”
~ Helena Roerich

Bodhisattva Maitreya


You are not yourself

Never look at the world in comparison. Do not compare yourself to the average and think something is wrong when you do not fit in. Considering society as it is currently you are on the right track if you don’t fit in. I am not saying to deliberately be anti establishment. That too is ignorant.

Pro establishment or anti establishment you are controlled by the establishment. You are not yourself. You may not be doing what the establishment wants, but your actions are based on what society doesn’t want for you. Your actions are not authentic they are determined from something outside yourself. Don’t be pro or anti establishment. Transcend both states. Be who you are. Be an authentic expression of life.

To be authentic simply listen to your heart and become aware of your self and your being. Then do whatever is done. Do not choose action, let your intuition and your awareness choose. Let your awareness and intuition act. Take yourself out of the decision.

Have faith, don’t be afraid to be authentic, don’t be afraid to surrender the self. Don’t interfere with your inner flow, your inner energies. Allow, all your inner nature to unfold. Allow others to be pro or anti establishment. Pay them no mind. You should have the right to be anyway you want to be. Others should be given the same right….

Source: Bradley Ross Coutts