Develop Positive Qualities

In Buddhism, it is advised that if we want to help others to develop positive qualities in speech and actions; we need to focus on our own flaws first. Preach only what you practice, as they say.

If we examine our thoughts, our speech, and our actions regularly and train our mind to think positively, all our flaws will gradually diminish and our positive qualities will surface. The more we reduce our flaws and be positive, the more those around us will benefit and more we will be capable of helping others around us.

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” Buddha

#mindfulness #mindtraining #buddhism #compassionatecare #kindnessmatters

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Advice from Buddhist teachers on meditation

Gom as it is called in Tibetan Buddhism which basically means meditation that is aimed at training ones mind. It is the quintessential part of the whole practice aside from the esoteric and elaborate rituals we have. Almost all the highly realised Tibetan masters have practiced ‘Gom’ diligently for years in remote mountains and caves forsaking all the worldly materials.

Here are some meditation advice from some of the well known practitioners I have collected to share to provide an inspiration for your own practice. Hope these quotes help.

The breath changes and you change. Nothing stays the same, yet there is constancy. The breath reminds us that we are here and alive: let it be your anchor to the present moment.

Elana Rosenbaum

Simply see the natural phenomena of physical and mental events as they arise and pass away. They’re not you. They’re not really yours. You don’t have any real control over them.

Upasika Kee Nanayon

If you want to be happy, you have to check the way you lead your life. Your mind is your religion.

Lama Thupten Yeshe

This is why we practice meditation—so that we can treat ourselves more compassionately; improve our relationships with friends, family, and community; live lives of greater connection; and, even in the face of challenges, stay in touch with what we really care about so we can act in ways that are consistent with our values.

Sharon Salzberg

Sitting practices that focus on relaxing the underlying tensions and holdings you feel in your body, as well as restrictions to the breath, help you mitigate the legacy and habit patterns of reacting, clinging, and aversion.

Will Johnson

Sounds, like everything else, arise and pass away. Just by listening, you can experience the insight of impermanence.

Sylvia Boorstein

It is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself.

Robert Aitken

To keep your practice consistent, remember what the famous Nike ad says: “Just do it.” Don’t concern yourself with trying to get to some particular place or state of mind. Each day’s zazen will be a little different, just like the rest of life.

Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara

In walking meditation, you are not walking to get anyplace. . . . The challenge is, can you be fully with this step, with this breath?

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Meditation requires some degree of being aware of awareness itself. We become cognizant of the quality of the mind, not just of phenomena perceived by the mind.

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

The Buddha told us to see the way things are and then let go of our clinging to them. Take this feeling of letting go as your refuge.

Ajahn Chah

Only dwelling in the present can make us free. We have to look into our suffering, our craving. And when we see its face we will smile: you cannot make me your prisoner any more.

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Don’t prolong the past, Don’t invite the future, Don’t alter your innate wakefulness, Don’t fear appearances. There is nothing more than that!

Patrul Rinpoche

Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.

Pema Chödrön

The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes onto oneself.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

As long as we remain within the confines of the thinking mind, we can’t experience the state of non-thinking. If we can’t experience non-thinking, we will not understand what our life truly is. Please realize this for yourself. Just sit!

Taizan Maezumi Roshi

Don’t move. Just die over and over. Don’t anticipate. Nothing can save you now because you have only this moment. Not even enlightenment will help you now because there are no other moments. With no future be true to yourself and express yourself fully. Don’t move.

Suzuki Roshi

When we face a situation in which we feel indignation, if we mindfully investigate our own mind, we will discover bitter truths about ourselves: that we are selfish; we are egocentric; we are attached to our ego; we hold on to our opinions; we think we are right and everybody else is wrong; we are prejudiced; and at the bottom of all this, we do not really love ourselves. This discovery, though bitter, is a most rewarding experience. And in the long run, this discovery delivers us from deeply rooted psychological and spiritual suffering.

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

It’s no small thing to be born human. A lot of “stuff” comes along with the opportunity of human life. Zazen is an incredible doorway for getting to the bottom of it all, and learning to live your life out of what you directly experience yourself: not what somebody tells you, not what you read, not because you should, but because your own direct experience of yourself and your life tells you what to do.

John Daido Loori

Mindfulness practice isn’t meant to eliminate thinking but aims rather to help us know what we’re thinking when we’re thinking it, just as we want to know what we’re feeling when we’re feeling it.

Sharon Salzberg

Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken. Take heed, do not squander your life.

Dogen Zenji

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What is Sanskar?

This is a beautiful Sanskrit word, but it is so difficult to translate into English word and do justice to its true meaning. I understand what it means, but cannot explain it in words as it is something deeply rooted in my birth, upbringing, and environment. Help me with your understanding of this beautiful word, please.

Sanskar
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Thruebab Duechen – Blessed Rainy Day

Blessed Rainy Day is celebrated as one of the religious holidays in Bhutan which also marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of harvest time. This year it is on the 23rd of September. On this day of all unlike any other days, we actually pray for the rain which is considered to bring the elixir to sanctify and wash out all defilement, bad deeds and anything negative we have accumulated during the year. Tradition is to get up early in the morning to wash our body from the water collected outside overnight. This water would have been prepared with concoction of various mixtures of flowers, fresh or dried blessed by the monks usually.

Families in their fine Bhutanese attires traditionally gather for a meal of soup prepared overnight and salty butter tea for breakfast. This culture is still being followed in my family in Bhutan and long may it continue. The day is full of fun with activities such as archery games, deygo which is throwing two flat stones to hit the jack like french boules game, Khurus which is essentially two darts being thrown at the target over 20 meters distance and there are plenty of other games. Some of the family members would visit temples to offer butter lamps and prayers for good seasons for the following year.

Whilst this is a culture to be admired by many and to be celebrated by all Bhutanese it is also a day of utter sadness. Bhutan is known for being the Buddhist country where caring, loving kindness, compassion etc are the aspired qualities which every Bhutanese endeavor to practice in their everyday lives yet many somehow becomes immune to these qualities during festive seasons. Cruelty, unkindness, uncaring etc are frowned upon let alone killing of any sentient beings which is regarded as the ultimate sins along with eating of any kind of meat. Sadly building up to any big occasions such as blessed rainy day in this case, people cannot get enough meat and even fight over few cuts of meat in the market place like vultures scavenging over the corpse of a dead animal.

On this day many will rejoice and celebrate their good fortune whatever that may be by eating, drinking, dancing, playing games etc all day long. During this time time there will be disagreement, fights, gossips etc which are all not really Buddhist in nature and I guess their excuse will be to blame on alcohol and so on. Such behaviors of few will tear family and villages apart which are not at all uncommon.

As a child growing up you follow your elders and do what they do which all seem normal at the time. Now I feel somewhat confused with our moral and cultural attitudes to such barbaric behavior particularly in a country following Buddhism. Anyway when all said and done we will have forgotten the wrongs and will promise to do the right thing next time. When the next time arrive we will be back to our usual same old ways and nothing will have changed despite our pledges to reform.

That being said I wish everyone to enjoy the blessed rainy day but display bit of decorum whilst at the same time enjoying the occasion and remember our infinite capacity of Buddha nature to demonstrate compassion.

Tashi Delek!

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Mindfulness View

Today’s mindfulness topic is from a Buddhist master his late holiness, Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche

”Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts. What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future? Remain in the simplicity of the present moment.”

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Stonehenge in Wiltshire

I have been lucky enough to visit the Stonehenge in Wiltshire in England a few times now and it never ceases to amaze me the engineering minds these Neolithic people must have possessed to put up such a giant monument.

It is one of the wonders of the world built around Neolithic period of 4500 BC. These stone pillars were brought from Wales no less which is a long way away even by today’s journey by car to build this monument. It must have meant a great deal to Neolithic people of the time and to their fore-bearers. No one can accurately say how long it may have taken to build it but I can’t even hazard to guess. Many years or decades perhaps!

Stonehenge

Historians believe it was used for worships during summer and winter solstice. There are burial mounds all around the areas near the stone pillars and may have used the site for this purpose too by the Neolithic people living in the area.

These people were master craftsman to see some of the tools and constructions found by the archeological digs around the Stonehenge area. I can’t imagine the task to put up so many heavy stones even by modern standard with heavy hydraulic machines let alone in Neolithic period. They were truly creative and master craftsman to pull off such a build of this majestic and magnitude. Hats off to them for their engineering prowess.

Neolithic Tools

Truly magnificent!

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Irony of Life

The Lawyer hopes You
get into trouble,

The Doctor hopes You
get sick,

The Police hopes You
become a Criminal,

The Teacher hopes You
are born Stupid,

The Landlord hopes You
don’t buy a House,

The Dentist hope Your
Tooth Decays,

The Mechanic hope Your
Car Breakdown,

The Coffin Maker wants
You dead………

Only a Thief wishes You
“Prosperity in life”
And
Also Wishes
“You have a Sound
Sleep”

Note: I didn’t write this as it was sent to me by a friend and thought I will share it here.

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First Impressions

Is it too important to make the first impression – you bet it is, as there is never a second chance to make a first impression, because first impressions will influence later impressions.

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Do Not Fear Death

Death is perilously close to all of us and yet we ignore it as if we are to live forever. This realisation is only often experienced when we grieve over the soul of our departed family and friends and that we too shall succumb to such fate.

I like the Bhutanese Tibetan sand mandala which takes enormous dedication and effort to make, only to be dismantled at the end of making it. This is to illustrate the impermanence of life no matter how beautiful and how powerful the end cannot be avoided.

I like what Greek philosopher Socrates said about the death “To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?”

There is also a saying in Bhutanese about the natural law of all things:

    What is born will die,
    What has been gathered will be dispersed,
    What has been accumulated will be spent,
    What has been built up will collapse.

Therefore we should learn to live in the present moment and enjoy what is right before us by living how you wish to live and not how others want you to live.

To departed souls may your soul rest in peace and to livings may you have a healthy & peaceful life.

Om Ami Dewa Hri!

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England in EURO2020 Final

Day after the day before England team winning in the semifinal of the EURO2020 to play in the final against Italy on Sunday.

When England team went behind in the first half of the game, no one knew how the team might respond but they did respond positively and stayed calm. They were soon reward with the equaliser just before the end of the first half. Although, it was an own goal by the Danish player, they were forced into that by the shear quality of passes into the box. I am happy to see England team do so well in this tournament even though at times it was nervy.

Second half was a dominant performance by the England team with occasional Denmark team threatening to score but it ended 1:1 by the regular time. Extra time and penalty kicks looked to be inevitable which we all know as England supporters what happened in few games when we have been in this position.

England had a breakthrough just before the first half of extra period when they brought down an English player in the penalty area. Nervous wait for the penalty kick which was saved by the Danish keeper big unfortunately for them it rebounded back to the penalty kicker who put it at the back of the net to give England a massive hope. From then on the game was up as England took charge to control the game.

I am still pinching myself that after a wait of half a century England team will be playing in the final of a major tournament – EURO2020.

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