Friday, October 23, 2015

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Via Ram Dass - Love Serve Remember Foundation / FB:


When I look back on the suffering in my life, I now see it as a gift.

I would have never asked for it for a second, I hated it while it was happening and I protested as loudly as I could, but suffering happened anyway. Now, in retrospect I see the way in which it deepened my being immeasurably.

I recently spent time in the local hospital as a result of a wound that I incurred accidentally. The hospital was filled with staff who were more or less karma yogis without having any idea of what karma yoga is in it’s Eastern definition.

For me, that was like being on a vacation because there was no demand on me in my role as Baba Ram Dass. I just thought about love and we all loved one another. I got through the physical suffering by remaining in the depth of my soul.

I also used the perspective of the witness. I witnessed the suffering, I witnessed my body as it got hold of my mind in reaction to the pain. I witnessed the capturing of my consciousness. Eventually, that witness gave me the leverage to transform my suffering.

It was interesting; my sadhana (spiritual work) came through, my years and years of practice. Everyone who encountered me saw that my spirit was strong if not my body. I immediately settled on the fact that what happened to me was simply a matter of nature. Once I realized that it was nature and karma, I was content and with that contentment I was able to surrender to the One: to the Guru, God, and Self.

I had Maharajji’s photo in the hospital and I talked to him, not about the suffering, because I accepted early on that this was just nature and inevitable. But rather, I talked to him about love. About truth. About joy. Of course, that’s the time to be able to burrow into that moment in any of life’s twists and turns. I was very grateful to have this grace in those very difficult circumstances.

And that grace is always available; we just need to sink into our spiritual hearts, our souls, and see our lives as a passing show from that perspective.
The body is the body, the soul is the soul.


Ram Dass

Via Huffington Comments: Buddhist Priest Invites Same-Sex Couples To Marry At His Temple

"We mustn't act as if it's all right to cast the LGBT community aside because they're a minority group," says priest at Japan's Shunkoin temple.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Deputy Head Priest Zenryu Kawakami at Shunkoin temple in Kyoto, Japan.</span>
Deputy Head Priest Zenryu Kawakami at Shunkoin temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Same-sex marriages are not legal in Japan. However, there is a Japanese Buddhist temple where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and members of other sexual minority groups can wed: the Shunkoin temple in Hanazono, Kyoto. Same-sex couples from around the world visit the temple. 
How did the Shunkoin temple start holding LGBT wedding ceremonies? HuffPost Japan posed the question to the Rev. Taka Zenryu Kawakami, deputy head priest at Shunkoin. 

The priest admits he was prejudiced against the LGBT community when he was younger. "I am not gay myself, and there were no LGBT people around me when I was growing up. The old me was prejudiced against sexual minorities," he said. 

Kawakami was born into a family that has produced Shunkoin chief priests for generations. After graduating from the Hanazono School (which is affiliated with Rinzai Buddhism's Myoshinji temple), he studied English at Rice University in Texas, and then enrolled at Arizona State University.

"One day I was having tea with a friend, and a person walked past who you could tell at a glance was gay. I made a discriminatory comment. My friend replied, 'I'm gay, too. Is that the way you feel about me, Taka?’” Kawakami recounted. 

“When he said that, I remembered being discriminated against as an Asian person when I traveled in the South," he said. "Especially because I had been the victim of prejudice myself, I felt terrible shame, and I completely changed my position. As I changed, my friends began to open up to me about the fact that they were gay or lesbian." 

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">A monk at Shunkoin stands in front of the temple's sliding door panels, which were painted by artist Eigaku Kano.</span> 
A monk at Shunkoin stands in front of the temple's sliding door panels, which were painted by artist Eigaku Kano.
Kawakami majored in religious studies and psychology at Arizona State, and lived in the U.S. for approximately eight years. In 2004, he returned to Japan to start his ascetic training at the Zuiganji temple in Miyagi prefecture, since having experience as a priest would help prepare him for graduate school.

In 2006, Kawakami finished his training and returned to Shunkoin, where he had the opportunity to give an American acquaintance zazen meditation classes in English. Word got out about the classes, and tourists started calling. In 2007, Kawakami officially became deputy head priest at Shunkoin, and started offering meditation classes to more and more English speakers.

The first person to ask about same-sex wedding ceremonies was a woman from Spain who had visited Shunkoin many times to learn about zazen meditation.

"'Can you hold wedding ceremonies here?' she asked me," Kawakami recalled. "I told her, ‘Yes, we can.' Then she said, 'I have one more question. My partner is a woman.' And I responded, 'That's fine.'"

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">A view of a garden at Shunkoin. The temple dates back to the 16th century and was one of the most important places for Zen Buddhism in the early 20th century.</span>
A view of a garden at Shunkoin. The temple dates back to the 16th century and was one of the most important places for Zen Buddhism in the early 20th century.
Kawakami looked over the sacred texts of Mahayana Buddhism, and confirmed that such a wedding would not contradict scripture. He expected to be criticized for holding the ceremony, but was also sure that his willingness to hold same-sex wedding ceremonies at the temple would support the LGBT cause by paving the way for more acceptance in Japanese society.

"The reasons why LGBT people are not accepted are different in the West than in Japan," Kawakami said. "In Japan, there is no religious pressure from groups like Christian conservatives. So you don’t see the same sort of strong opposition as in the West. On the other hand, in Japan, there is an underlying pressure to conform, a sense of ‘We are all the same; we are all heterosexual’ -- and that makes it hard to live as an LGBT person."

"I thought that if places such as my temple could show that we actively accept same-sex marriage, it would draw more attention to the problem," he added. 

In 2010, the Spanish couple held a public wedding ceremony.

In the spring of 2014, Shunkoin partnered with Hotel Granvia Kyoto to offer Buddhist wedding package tours for LGBT couples. Five couples signed up that year. So far in 2015, eight couples have come to pledge their love, Kawakami said. Six of the couples were from abroad, and two of the couples were Japanese -- two men, and two women.

"A lot of the couples are women. This was the first year we had a couple where both individuals were Japanese, which made me happy. I hope we get even more couples like them in the future," Kawakami said.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Same-sex couples from around the world come to Kyoto to marry at Shunkoin temple.</span>
Same-sex couples from around the world come to Kyoto to marry at Shunkoin temple.
Since the same-sex wedding ceremonies started at Shunkoin, Kawakami has given lectures at General Electric and the University of Tokyo, and has been invited to speak at other institutions.

"The missionary Luís Fróis recorded that in the Warring States period, daimyo [lords] had sexual relationships with their pages. Same-sex love is depicted in the shunga [erotic] art of the Edo period, and was accepted," Kawakami said. 

"This changed during [the Meiji period]. During the ‘Leave Asia, Join Europe’ phase, the definition of a 'civilized country' as a Protestant-based Western nation was blindly imported, and it came to be thought that gay love was a sin. If we look carefully at history, we can see that pre-Meiji Japan was 'gay friendly,'" he added.

"We mustn't act as if it's all right to cast the LGBT community aside because they're a minority group," Kawakami said. "According to surveys, 7.6 percent of Japan's population is LGBT. That means about seven percent of the people in Japan don't have the option to get married. This cannot lead to happiness in the country."

And it’s not just about gay rights, Kawakami believes. Becoming a society where women, people with disabilities, immigrants, and other minority groups can be happy is the road to happiness for the whole country, he says.

This story originally appeared on HuffPost JapanIt has been translated into English and edited for clarity.

Via Sri Prem Baba: Flor do Dia- Flor del Día - Flower of the Day 23/10/2015

“O trânsito da ilusão para a percepção da Realidade na qual experimentamos Satchitananda – existência, consciência e bem aventurança absolutos - inevitavelmente envolve episódios de cura. Ocorre uma espécie de cirurgia psicoespiritual na qual tumores de autoengano são removidos. Essa cirurgia pode ser bastante desafiadora. O desafio será proporcional ao tamanho do apego ao que precisa ser removido.”

“Cuando puedas dejar de reproducir la guerra y los juegos de poder en tus relaciones íntimas, estarás abriendo caminos hacia una nueva y más armoniosa forma de relacionarte en todas las áreas de tu vida, incluso en tu empresa. Pero si todavía necesitas humillar y rechazar a tu compañero para sentirte más fuerte, apenas podrás soñar con un nuevo modelo de gestión para tu negocio. Para que el cambio sea exitoso, tienes que ser un ejemplo. Ideas y modelos son muchos, pero la mayoría todavía se basa en la guerra.”

"We are moving from a perception of illusion to the perception of reality in which we experience Sat-chit-ananda: existence, consciousness and absolute bliss. This transition inevitably involves a healing process. A type of psychospiritual surgery may occur where tumors of self-deceit are removed. This surgery can be quite challenging, and how challenging it will be depends on how attached we are to what is needing to be removed.”

Today's Daily Dharma: Ethics in the Moment

Ethics in the Moment
The old masters placed the site of ethics within the inward, instantaneous and entire grasping of circumstances, a living dharma not divisible into categories of right and wrong. We can know things most directly when we lay no claim to knowing anything at all.
—Lin Jensen, "An Ear to the Ground"
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