Monday, July 31, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/31/17

“The human soul is born knowing its life’s purpose but over time, through social conditioning, it forgets. The enchantment with its own personal story is what prevents the soul from remembering its purpose. Being identified with our story, we are led in the opposite direction of what we actually came here to do.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Your Whole Life Is Here and Now

To practice the way of Buddha means to completely live out this present moment—which is our whole life—here and now.

—Kodo Sawaki Roshi, “To You

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Via Ram Dass: Words of Wisdom - July 30, 2017

Bearing the unbearable is the deepest root of compassion in the world. When you bear what you think you cannot bear, who you think you are dies. You become compassion. You don't have compassion - you are compassion. True compassion goes beyond empathy to being with the experience of another. You become an instrument of compassion. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/30/17

“A great transformation is underway on our planet. It’s as if a golden ray pierces the dark clouds and begins to illuminate Earth. While this ray brings light, it also activates great fears for it represents the new. Light frightens those that are accustomed to darkness. This is why the internal and eternal resistances are manifesting with great force. However, this transformation is inevitable.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: A Teacher Points the Way

A teacher, out of compassion and love, seeing that somebody is suffering, gives a path. But each individual has to walk on the path.

—S. N. Goenka, “Superscience

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Via Ram Dass: Words of Wisdom - July 26, 2017

As we each listen to the intuitive message of our hearts, the society of which we are a part listens too.

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/28/17

“Finding an answer to ‘what was I born for’ is a vital question but is something that is only revealed from the awareness of the Being. As you let go of thoughts and free yourself from belief systems, which is equivalent to undoing your masks, you begin to identify with the Being which is your real self. When this happens, your true purpose is revealed.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Planting the Seed of an Awakened Mind

In Buddhism, we often talk about the seed of bodhicitta, the potential for an awakened mind that resides in all sentient beings. This seed is the basis of Buddhist practice—the generation of wisdom and compassion toward all sentient beings.

—Ogyen Trinley Dorje, “No Easy Answers

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/29/17

“Breast milk is the child’s main source of nutrition. It is its most complete food. When this milk is full of love and affection, it transforms into a nectar that awakens love in this soul. However, when this milk is poisoned by hatred, it is inevitably transmitted to the child and ends up condemning that soul to miserable experiences. The pain generated by the lack of love causes the entity to develop violence, which in all of its manifestations, is a self-defense mechanism.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Appreciation Is Key

I think for every human being, appreciation in daily life is key. Through having appreciation for everything, you're able to expand so much as a human being, with your heart and your spirit and your mind.

—Ifé Sanchez Mora, “Interview with Nichiren Buddhist Singer Ifé Sanchez Mora

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/26/17

“The game of accusations, born of the idea that one has enemies, is one of the most insidious and illusory aspects of the human psyche. It is one of the roots of suffering on this plane. This illusion is born from the idea that separation exists. The truth is that, ultimately, the other does not exist - they are a projection from your own inner world.”

Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Defining a Hero

A hero, a person who is courageous, has the courage to admit one’s mistakes, one’s faults.

—Sayadaw U Pandita, “The Best Remedy

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/27/17

“The clouds pass and the sky remains. The Being has this nature, this quality of the sky. Therefore, when you remember the nature of being, you become equanimous. Then, you can manifest unconditional love, a love that does not change with the reactions of the other. Love observes and understands these reactions and knows that it is just a cloud, an illusion.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Art of Listening

To know what a person says, we must hear what remains unsaid. If we cannot hear silence, we do not know how to listen.

—Mark C. Taylor, “Hearing Silence

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/25/17

“There are many protection mechanisms within the human psyche. One of them is the mechanism of projection that causes you to constantly project your past images onto others. You project the people from your past who didn’t love you and caused your first frustrations onto the people with whom you relate today. You may not objectively see your father and mother when you look at these people, but on an unconscious level, you are subjectively seeing them in rich detail. Even without being aware of it, you are projecting.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Stepping into the Unknown

We’re always stepping into the unknown. And to trust that and be present with the moment without going into the stories is a lifesaver.

—Carol Wilson, “If We Watch, Wisdom Comes

Monday, July 24, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/24/17

“The remembrance of oneself is closely related to the virtue of trust. At one point in your  journey, you had to use a mask because you thought that by being yourself, you would not be accepted. You thought that you would be rejected, abandoned and perhaps have to undergo some kind of deprivation. Due to this fear, you needed to protect yourself. So, removing this mask means having to face this deeply rooted fear. Try to ask yourself, “If I were to just be myself, would I be accepted?’ Look honestly to see if it’s possible now to take a step in the direction of self-confidence.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Buddhist Exercise

Right intention is like muscle—you develop it over time by exercising it. When you lose it, you just start over again. There’s no need to judge yourself or quit when you fail to live by your intentions.

—Phillip Moffitt, “Brief Teachings

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - July 23, 2017

Compassionate action gives us an opportunity to wake up to some of our motives and to act with more freedom. It gives us the chance to put ourselves out on the edge, and if we are willing to take a clean look at what we see there, we can come to know ourselves better. We can’t, of course, change what is arising in us at any moment, because we can’t change our pasts and our childhoods. But when we listen to our own minds and stop being strangers to ourselves, we increase the number of ways we can respond to what arises. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/22/17

“Illusion is sustained by the idea that by pretending to be the way society expects you to be, you will be accepted. This is true of any social group. For example, a person is born into a family of criminals and ends up believing that if he is a good criminal, he will be accepted. So, he does his best to become an expert in crime. If one is born into a religious family, one believes that he or she will only be accepted if they are religious. So they force themselves to be so in order to ensure their inclusion. But this religious person or criminal is not real, it’s a mask. The main symptom of wearing a mask is dissatisfaction, but the mask often numbs you so much that you aren’t able to see it.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Happiness Within Doubt

We can be quite happy with a question mark. It’s not a problem at all, actually, as long as we don’t solidify it or base our whole life on feeling threatened by it.

—Ani Palmo, “Necessary Doubt

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/23/17

“There are certain areas of your life where you are not able to be yourself, where you can't be spontaneous and love doesn’t flow. You need to wear a mask and have to pretend you are something you are not. You do this because you were led to believe that if you wore this mask in a particular environment, your needs would be met. You thought you would be accepted, respected and loved. But this strategy inevitably leads to suffering because the greater the lie or the greater your identification with the mask, the greater the disconnection is with yourself and consequently, the greater the resulting anguish and dissatisfaction you feel.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Way to Happiness

Pay attention. Stay open. Note discomfort and go back to your breathing. Use your curiosity. Be patient.

—Pamela Gayle White, “The Pursuit of Happiness

Friday, July 21, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/21/17

“To remove the armor that masks your true identity, you must first be aware of it. One way of identifying it is by observing the symptoms present. One of the main symptoms is dissatisfaction. Perhaps you can identify other symptoms, such as anxiety, shame, inadequacy, depression or continuous anguish that can not be explained. These are symptoms that you are wearing armor. You learned that you need to use it in order to protect yourself, to please and to be accepted by society. This is sustained by the idea of normality or that to have these symptoms is normal. This is why it is often difficult to identify your own armor.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via More 4 of 12 Daily Dharma: Every Moment is Useful

To me, then, the way to not waste time is to find something useful in every moment, no matter what is happening.

—Brad Warner, “How to Not Waste Time

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Isso Existe - um filme sobre Sri Prem Baba - Versão em português

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/20/17

“What I call ‘illusion’ can be described as a set of defense mechanisms, an internal armor, that serves to protect us from suffering. But this is just an illusion because these mechanisms generate even more suffering. This armor covers our essence and we end up forgetting to be ourselves. There is no greater suffering than this.” 
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Do You Know What You’re Doing?

If we don’t know what we are doing, how can we be our self? If our mind is somewhere else, it means we are trying to be someone else, not who we are in the present moment.

—Les Kaye, “The Time Is Now

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

‘Ancient porn’ sheds new light on Bible verses

Gay sex is a sin.  The New Testament makes that abundantly clear.
Or does it?

According to one of the UK’s most prominent evangelicals, if Christian scholarship engages with archaeological evidence from the rediscovered ancient city of Pompeii, much of St Paul’s teaching on sexuality must be radically reinterpreted.

In a new online video for the Open Church Network, Revd. Canon Steve Chalke argues that by studying the remains of Pompeii, and understanding the ancient Roman world’s highly sexualised culture, we can find new meaning in chapters such as Romans 1, which have traditionally been misinterpreted to condemn same-sex relations.

Make the jump here to  read the original and more here

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/19/17

“In general, our planet has a low vibration. The level of consciousness here is still very low precisely because we have forgotten the truth about who we are. The layers of illusion are very thick and once we are identified with them, we give way to cruelty and perversity which, in turn, creates even more ignorance. We create vicious circles that are the unfolding or different manifestations of what I call the vicious circle of sadomasochism.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Ram Dass: Words of Wisdom - July 19, 2017

It's very hard to grow, because it's difficult to let go of the models of ourselves in which we've invested so heavily.  

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Allowing Space Into Your Practice

When we allow space into our practice we begin to see the impermanent nature of the thoughts and feelings that arise within our experience—as well as of the conditions, over many of which we have no control.

—Tsoknyi Rinpoche, “Allow for Space

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/18/17

“Awakening means remembering oneself. Remember that you are a manifestation of divine love and, as such, you have no enemies. If the other wants to kill you, it’s his problem, not yours. This still is no reason to close your heart. Just as the sky doesn’t cease to be just because there are dark clouds, you do not cease to be yourself because the other is disturbed.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Investigating Within

To know the real situation within yourself, you have to know your own territory, including the elements within you that are at war with each other.

—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Cultivating Compassion

Monday, July 17, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/17/17

“When you can be authentically spontaneous, you naturally spread the scent of love, which is the fragrance of your soul.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: What Love Is and Is Not

Love is not about getting what we want. Love is about how we live with what we are given.

—C. W. Huntington Jr., “Seeing Things As They Are

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - July 16, 2017

In mystical traditions, it is one's own readiness that makes experiences exoteric or esoteric. The secret isn't that you're not being told. The secret is that you're not able to hear.  

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/16/17

“To become a butterfly, the caterpillar must first free itself from its cocoon. the same is true on the path of self-realization. The cocoon represents a place of purification in which you begin to recognize the nonsense you have made in your life. For a while, you have to deal with guilt until it transforms into repentance. The tears of true repentance wash your heart and illuminates forgiveness. Forgiveness sets you free. Forgiveness is the liberation of ignorance and freedom from the past. When you truly forgive, the past disappears. You stop reacting and all revenge ceases. When you look back, you don't recognize yourself.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: Freedom in One Breath

Each day presents a new confrontation with reality. I want to run; instead, I breathe. One breath—the freedom to choose my response in that moment.

—Marilyn Buck, “The Freedom to Breathe

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Via FB:

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/15/17

“Fear is a portal to the unconscious. Through fear, it is possible to access the most obscure regions of the mind where denied feelings are stored that sabotage our happiness. From this point of view, fear can act as a vehicle for healing.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: The Importance of Surrender

In order to practice, we have to surrender, we have to take a risk. Otherwise what we’re doing is standing back in order to judge, in order to feel superior.

—Sharon Salzberg, “Sitting on the Fence

Friday, July 14, 2017

Via Lionsroar: Turn Your Thinking Upside Down

We base our lives on seeking happiness and avoiding suffering, but the best thing we can do for ourselves—and for the planet—is to turn this whole way of thinking upside down. Pema Chödrön shows us Buddhism’s radical side.

A girl thinking and looking upward.
Photo by Tachina Lee.

On a very basic level all beings think that they should be happy. When life becomes difficult or painful, we feel that something has gone wrong. This wouldn’t be a big problem except for the fact that when we feel something’s gone wrong, we’re willing to do anything to feel OK again. Even start a fight.

According to the Buddhist teachings, difficulty is inevitable in human life. For one thing, we cannot escape the reality of death. But there are also the realities of aging, of illness, of not getting what we want, and of getting what we don’t want. These kinds of difficulties are facts of life. Even if you were the Buddha himself, if you were a fully enlightened person, you would experience death, illness, aging, and sorrow at losing what you love. All of these things would happen to you. If you got burned or cut, it would hurt.

But the Buddhist teachings also say that this is not really what causes us misery in our lives. What causes misery is always trying to get away from the facts of life, always trying to avoid pain and seek happiness—this sense of ours that there could be lasting security and happiness available to us if we could only do the right thing.
Suffering can humble us. Even the most arrogant among us can be softened by the loss of someone dear.
In this very lifetime we can do ourselves and this planet a great favor and turn this very old way of thinking upside down. As Shantideva, author of Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, points out, suffering has a great deal to teach us. If we use the opportunity when it arises, suffering will motivate us to look for answers. Many people, including myself, came to the spiritual path because of deep unhappiness. Suffering can also teach us empathy for others who are in the same boat. Furthermore, suffering can humble us. Even the most arrogant among us can be softened by the loss of someone dear.

Yet it is so basic in us to feel that things should go well for us, and that if we start to feel depressed, lonely, or inadequate, there’s been some kind of mistake or we’ve lost it. In reality, when you feel depressed, lonely, betrayed, or any unwanted feelings, this is an important moment on the spiritual path. This is where real transformation can take place.

As long as we’re caught up in always looking for certainty and happiness, rather than honoring the taste and smell and quality of exactly what is happening, as long as we’re always running away from discomfort, we’re going to be caught in a cycle of unhappiness and disappointment, and we will feel weaker and weaker. This way of seeing helps us to develop inner strength.

And what’s especially encouraging is the view that inner strength is available to us at just the moment when we think we’ve hit the bottom, when things are at their worst. Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace—disappointment in all its many forms—and let it open me?” This is the trick.

There are various ways to view what happens when we feel threatened. In times of distress—of rage, of frustration, of failure—we can look at how we get hooked and how shenpa escalates. The usual translation of shenpa is “attachment,” but this doesn’t adequately express the full meaning. I think of shenpa as “getting hooked.” Another definition, used by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, is the “charge”—the charge behind our thoughts and words and actions, the charge behind “like” and “don’t like.”

It can also be helpful to shift our focus and look at how we put up barriers. In these moments we can observe how we withdraw and become self-absorbed. We become dry, sour, afraid; we crumble, or harden out of fear that more pain is coming. In some old familiar way, we automatically erect a protective shield and our self-centeredness intensifies.
We can become intimate with just how we hide out, doze off, freeze up. And that intimacy, coming to know these barriers so well, is what begins to dismantle them.
But this is the very same moment when we could do something different. Right on the spot, through practice, we can get very familiar with the barriers that we put up around our hearts and around our whole being. We can become intimate with just how we hide out, doze off, freeze up. And that intimacy, coming to know these barriers so well, is what begins to dismantle them. Amazingly, when we give them our full attention they start to fall apart.

Ultimately all the practices I have mentioned are simply ways we can go about dissolving these barriers. Whether it’s learning to be present through sitting meditation, acknowledging shenpa, or practicing patience, these are methods for dissolving the protective walls that we automatically put up.

When we’re putting up the barriers and the sense of “me” as separate from “you” gets stronger, right there in the midst of difficulty and pain, the whole thing could turn around simply by not erecting barriers; simply by staying open to the difficulty, to the feelings that you’re going through; simply by not talking to ourselves about what’s happening. That is a revolutionary step. Becoming intimate with pain is the key to changing at the core of our being—staying open to everything we experience, letting the sharpness of difficult times pierce us to the heart, letting these times open us, humble us, and make us wiser and more brave.

Let difficulty transform you. And it will. In my experience, we just need help in learning how not to run away.

If we’re ready to try staying present with our pain, one of the greatest supports we could ever find is to cultivate the warmth and simplicity of bodhichitta. The word bodhichitta has many translations, but probably the most common one is “awakened heart.” The word refers to a longing to wake up from ignorance and delusion in order to help others do the same. Putting our personal awakening in a larger—even planetary—framework makes a significant difference. It gives us a vaster perspective on why we would do this often difficult work.

There are two kinds of bodhichitta: relative and absolute. Relative bodhichitta includes compassion and maitri. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated maitri as “unconditional friendliness with oneself.” This unconditional friendliness means having an unbiased relationship with all the parts of your being. So, in the context of working with pain, this means making an intimate, compassionate heart-relationship with all those parts of ourselves we generally don’t want to touch.

Some people find the teachings I offer helpful because I encourage them to be kind to themselves, but this does not mean pampering our neurosis. The kindness that I learned from my teachers, and that I wish so much to convey to other people, is kindness toward all qualities of our being. The qualities that are the toughest to be kind to are the painful parts, where we feel ashamed, as if we don’t belong, as if we’ve just blown it, when things are falling apart for us. Maitri means sticking with ourselves when we don’t have anything, when we feel like a loser. And it becomes the basis for extending the same unconditional friendliness to others.

If there are whole parts of yourself that you are always running from, that you even feel justified in running from, then you’re going to run from anything that brings you into contact with your feelings of insecurity.
I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away.
And have you noticed how often these parts of ourselves get touched? The closer you get to a situation or a person, the more these feelings arise. Often when you’re in a relationship it starts off great, but when it gets intimate and begins to bring out your neurosis, you just want to get out of there.

So I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away. You can cruise through life not letting anything touch you, but if you really want to live fully, if you want to enter into life, enter into genuine relationships with other people, with animals, with the world situation, you’re definitely going to have the experience of feeling provoked, of getting hooked, of shenpa. You’re not just going to feel bliss. The message is that when those feelings emerge, this is not a failure. This is the chance to cultivate maitri, unconditional friendliness toward your perfect and imperfect self.

Relative bodhichitta also includes awakening compassion. One of the meanings of compassion is “suffering with,” being willing to suffer with other people. This means that to the degree you can work with the wholeness of your being—your prejudices, your feelings of failure, your self-pity, your depression, your rage, your addictions—the more you will connect with other people out of that wholeness. And it will be a relationship between equals. You’ll be able to feel the pain of other people as your own pain. And you’ll be able to feel your own pain and know that it’s shared by millions.

Absolute bodhichitta, also known as shunyata, is the open dimension of our being, the completely wide-open heart and mind. Without labels of “you” and “me,” “enemy” and “friend,” absolute bodhichitta is always here. Cultivating absolute bodhichitta means having a relationship with the world that is nonconceptual, that is unprejudiced, having a direct, unedited relationship with reality.
That’s the value of sitting meditation practice. You train in coming back to the unadorned present moment again and again. Whatever thoughts arise in your mind, you regard them with equanimity and you learn to let them dissolve. There is no rejection of the thoughts and emotions that come up; rather, we begin to realize that thoughts and emotions are not as solid as we always take them to be.

It takes bravery to train in unconditional friendliness, it takes bravery to train in “suffering with,” it takes bravery to stay with pain when it arises and not run or erect barriers. It takes bravery to not bite the hook and get swept away. But as we do, the absolute bodhichitta realization, the experience of how open and unfettered our minds really are, begins to dawn on us. As a result of becoming more comfortable with the ups and the downs of our ordinary human life, this realization grows stronger.
We may still get betrayed, may still be hated. We may still feel confused and sad. What we won’t do is bite the hook.
We start with taking a close look at our predictable tendency to get hooked, to separate ourselves, to withdraw into ourselves and put up walls. As we become intimate with these tendencies, they gradually become more transparent, and we see that there’s actually space, there is unlimited, accommodating space. This does not mean that then you live in lasting happiness and comfort. That spaciousness includes pain.

We may still get betrayed, may still be hated. We may still feel confused and sad. What we won’t do is bite the hook. Pleasant happens. Unpleasant happens. Neutral happens. What we gradually learn is to not move away from being fully present. We need to train at this very basic level because of the widespread suffering in the world. If we aren’t training inch by inch, one moment at a time, in overcoming our fear of pain, then we’ll be very limited in how much we can help. We’ll be limited in helping ourselves, and limited in helping anybody else. So let’s start with ourselves, just as we are, here and now.

Excerpted from “Practicing Peace in Times of War,” by Pema Chödrön. © 2006 Pema Chödrön. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications. 

Allow things to unfold and you will find your Purpose in Life. | Peggy Oki | TEDxQueenstown

Walk with Me

Jack Kornfield – Ep. 21 – What Changes Us

By Lama Surya Das: Earth to New York Times: "We Live Here Too."

Lama Surya Das
February 25, 2004

The Media is Leaving America's Eastern Religions — 7% of the Country — Out of an Important Democratic Debate Earth to New York Times: "We Live Here Too."

(Boston) - February 25, 2004 - Lama Surya Das, one of the most senior leaders of the 5 million Buddhists in the United States, announced today his support for the gay and lesbian weddings that have taken place over the past few weeks in San Francisco and his hopes that the state of California and the city of San Francisco will take firm action to guard the legality of those civil marriages and protect the civil rights of gay citizens and their families.

"I've been watching the events unfold in San Francisco and what I have seen is that the joy and love that these people are sharing with each other is amazing and it is right," said the Lama, a best selling author and teacher who is also the most highly trained Buddhist lama in the U.S. and has been called "The Western Lama" by the Dalai Lama himself. 

"It's really been a transforming experience for myself and many of those in my religion to see such happiness shine from the West Coast here to the East Coast," the Lama said. "There are over three thousand Buddhist centers in North America, and none have any problem with homosexuality."

Since Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco ordered the city to begin providing civil marriage licenses to all applicants without discrimination on Feb. 13th, over 3000 couples have been married in the city. On Feb. 20, over a dozen more couples were married by a county court in New Mexico.

"It has made my heart glad to see it," said the Lama. "The director of my Dzogchen Retreat Center is gay and in a long-term relationship he would like to sanctify as a marriage."

On May 17th—coincidentally the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education eliminating the "separate but equal" policy for races in America—gay and lesbian civil marriages will begin to take place throughout Massachusetts.

Not a 'Culture War,' a Religious War

Although some have called the battle over gay and lesbian civil marriage equality a "cultural war" in the United States, Lama Das views the dispute as a religious dispute.

"What we're seeing is a religious majority that is trying to take legal rights away from a sexual minority that their religion purportedly doesn't like," he says. "But our nation's laws have always tried to prevent this kind of tyranny of the majority over the minority."

The Lama says that he takes issue with recent statements by President George Bush and his wife Laura Bush saying that Americans ought to vote on whether or not to make a minority within the country a class of second-class citizens as regards to the rights of marriage.

"The idea that we live in a country where a majority can vote on which legal rights they think a minority 'should' have and which rights they 'shouldn't' is a frightening one," he said. "It entirely contradicts what we teach schoolchildren every day in our grade schools, middle schools and high schools. Are the Bushes seriously suggesting that a majority should have the power to 'give' or to 'take away' rights from a group of their fellow citizens on the whim of the majority?"

For the current President to suggest that the Constitution be changed to define marriage in accordance with the definition of his own, personal religion — even if it is the nation's majority religion — shows a shocking lack of understanding of what this country is about and how it was created to protect minority rights, the Lama says. "If our nation were run strictly on a 'majority rules' basis, Mr. Bush wouldn't even be President today. He lost the popular vote in the last election; he wasn't chosen by a majority. Yet we don't hear him saying that the president should be decided by the majority in the next election, do we. That's very ironic."

A Nomination: Laura Bush to Give a "National Civics Lesson"

The Lama suggests that the president's wife, Laura Bush, who has recently spoken out on a trip to California to urge the country to begin a serious discussion on the issue, would as a former schoolteacher be the ideal person to give us all a much-needed National Civics Lesson on what is so wrong about the political processes that are currently going on.

"America has been throughout its glorious history a country of guaranteed human rights and has never been a country of 'majority rule' at the expense of the minority" says the Lama. "Perhaps Laura Bush and Katie Couric could re-read and discuss the Federalist Papers and Tom Paine's classic, 'Common Sense' on 'The Today Show.' Coretta Scott King, a long-time supporter of marriage equality, might also be invited. Throw in Al Roker and Ann Curry and the visual point will be made for certain. Discrimination is not a happy part of our heritage. It has taken much too long to eradicate prejudice in our country, a lingering problem we still have yet to overcome."

The Lama, an American who was raised in the Jewish faith on Long Island and who became a Lama after undergoing decades of monastic and philosophical training in India and the Himalayas and two three-year stints of silent meditation in his teacher's cloistered hermitage retreat, says that both his experience being raised a Jew and his experience as a Buddhist make him wary of attempts by majorities to impose their views on others through the instruments of the state.

History Reminds Us: "No Dogs or Jews"

"In Germany in the 1930s, municipalities using the discriminatory Nuremburg laws posted signs on local swimming pools saying 'No Dogs or Jews'," the Lama said. I'm not sure how the present situation in regards to marriage equality in the United States is any different Why would a country such as the United States, which has been a model of democratic principles to the world for centuries, want to discriminate against some of its citizens. It's bizarre. It's sad. It's frightening."

Events in Tibet, where members of the Buddhist religion have been persecuted since the country was overrun by Communist China in the 1950's, provide further evidence of how important it is to guard the rights of minorities and endangered cultures and peoples. Many Buddhist monks and nuns have been tortured, disrobed, and even murdered by the Communist invaders, and most of Tibet's 6,000 ancient nunneries and monasteries destroyed.

"These were not two of the most admired societies of the last century," says the Lama. "America should take pause before we do anything whatsoever that makes us even a tiny bit like them."

As a resident of Massachusetts, the Lama says he was proud when his state's highest court ruled last fall that the state could not legally make Massachusetts gay and lesbians second-class citizens when it comes to the rights and privileges in marriage.

"The state of Massachusetts has the oldest Constitution on the North American continent," he noted. "And as far as I am concerned, it is also one of the very best." (He is also a Boston Red Sox fan.)

As far as the Buddhist faith in America is concerned, the Lama notes, there is simply nothing wrong with being gay or lesbian. "This is an issue that seems to have been overlooked in this whole high energy debate," he says. "It's just the way some people are created and there's nothing wrong with it. 

Every 'Seinfeld' fan knows that! Many highly-respected Buddhist teachers are gay."
The Lama was himself married to his wife Kathy Peterson in 2000.

Neither Buddha Nor Jesus Were Anti-Gay

"Buddha never said anything negative about gays and lesbians," notes the Lama. "Nor did Jesus, for that matter. Both were viewed as social reformers by their contemporaries. They both led their lives promoting love and compassion, and protecting the downtrodden, the underdog, the outcast and the powerless. I think we all could guess what Buddha or Jesus would do in the present situation."

Despite the intense media coverage of the marriage equality debate in Massachusetts and now nationwide, the Lama notes that he has never once seen a member of any minority or Eastern religion quoted on the topic by the mainstream media: "That's puzzling because we live here too." The Lama notes that in our modern day American pluralistic society, at least 7 percent of Americans are of the so-called Eastern faiths. An estimated 30 million Americans practice yoga and mediation. 

"It seems as if President Bush is taking a page from the book of Pat Robertson - whenever Robertson attacks gays and lesbians, millions of dollars in contributions flow to his coffers," he says. "For Bush to follow this same path for the same cynical reasons is a mark of shame for the U.S."

Web sites of Lama Surya Das:
Lama Surya Das
Dzogchen Foundation
Read about more Voices of Equality.

Via Lama Surya Das – Ep. 45 – The 16th Karmapa

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/14/17

“Often we remain isolated even while relating on various levels. This happens because we have pages in the book of our lives that we don't want to reveal to anyone, not even to ourselves. In this case, fear in the form of shame, becomes a barrier that prevents us from growing deeper in any relationship.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: One and the Same

All the traditions in Buddhism have their own unique aspects. But in essence, we are all students of the same teacher.

—The Fourteenth Dalai Lama, “Ethics for a Secular Millennium

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/13/17

“It’s difficult to break the flow of compulsive thoughts. For this reason, it is necessary to  stop them even before they arise. This can only be done through presence, which is to be total in action - here and now. When thoughts begin to arise, if you don’t feed them they dissipate.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: What We’re Made Of

All that we are is a result of what we have thought; it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.

—The Buddha, in Scott Darnell’s “Dharma in a Broom Closet

Via churchtimes: Steve Chalke unearths ancient erotica to combat a conservative reading of scripture on sexuality


Explicit: a fresco of a couple in bed painted onto the wall of a house in Pompeii

EROTIC Roman art recovered from the ruins of Pompeii supports the view that the New Testament passages about homosexuality do not condemn modern same-sex relationships, the Revd Steve Chalke has argued.

The leading Evangelical Baptist pastor has released a video in which he suggests that archaeological study of the ancient world gives the proper context to interpret verses which appear to prohibit gay sex.

In the 37-minute talk, Mr Chalke states that the preponderance of carved penises and other explicit imagery found in homes and on the streets from Pompeii underlines how the Greco-Roman world Paul was writing into was utterly saturated with sex.

Mr Chalke’s video talk begins with a “parental advisory — explicit content” warning because it contains images of ancient pornographic material from Pompeii and its sister town of Herculaneum.
“I have not released this out of any desire to provoke or shock for the sake of it,” Mr Chalke said. 

“Because of widespread ignorance of the ancient world and Greco-Roman culture in churches across the West, we throw Bible verses around without understanding their context.”

Mr Chalke first spoke openly in support of same-sex relationships in 2013 (News, 18 January 2013). 

As a result, his charity Oasis was thrown out of the Evangelical Alliance (News, 2 May 2014). In the new video, he argues that New Testament verses which are used routinely to label same-sex activity as sinful were, in fact, condemning the abusive and exploitative sexual activity common in the world that Paul’s recipients lived in.


OASISScathing: the Revd Steve Chalke, who has criticised his fellow Evangelicals for using New Testament passages to “destroy” LGBT people“Eighty per cent of the artwork recovered from Pompeii and Herculaneum is sexually explicit, and also reveals a fascination with the image of the stiff, erect penis — a symbol of power and pleasure,” Mr Chalke said.

“If you were a man in Roman culture, so long as someone was your social inferior — a slave, a gladiator, a woman etc — it was considered socially acceptable and respectable to penetrate them.
“So engrained was this way of thinking and behaving that it became incorporated into religion. Drug- and alcohol-fuelled orgies featuring men sleeping with women, men sleeping with men, and women sleeping with women and men were even classed as acts of worship.”

In this context, Paul’s warnings in the New Testament against having sex with someone of your own gender do not mean that faithful gay relationships are forbidden for Christians, Mr Chalke suggests.
“Every Christian believes God to be a God of love. It is no wonder that these abusive practises are condemned by inspired scripture. But, it is a disingenuous misreading of the text to conclude that what Paul describes in Romans 1 can be used to prevent people forming loving, faithful and nurturing relationships with people of the same-sex.”

Mr Chalke is scathing about the traditional, conservative reading of the key verses on sexuality, saying that some scholarship is driven more by “prejudice” than by any real “grappling with the New Testament passages”.

“In Evangelical circles there has been a lack of intellectualism which has meant that we’ve not dealt with these Biblical passages as we should,” he said. “Some Biblical scholarship just has not kept up with archaeological discovery, it’s not kept up with wider cultural research and understanding.”

Instead, the contentious passages have become “weaponised” and used to “destroy LGBT people and their lives and their credibility and their sense of peace”, he claims.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried by a sudden volcanic eruption in AD 79. Archaeologists have gained a vivid insight into ancient Roman culture by digging through layers of ash which blanketed the town in hours and protected the city from decay for 1700 years before it was rediscovered.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Via FB:

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - July 12, 2017

When we're identified with awareness, we're no longer living in a world of polarities. Everything is present at the same time.

- Ram Dass -

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/12/17

“All thoughts arise from the idea of ‘me’ and ‘mine’. Experiment repeating the word ‘me’ internally and notice where it resonates within you. Notice that from this place are born the thoughts that immediately radiate to the brain. When thoughts get to this point, they start to create dramas and stories. Thoughts arise from this source and mix with the collective mind, in turn becoming compulsive. They are only residue and impressions left by objects that rule the senses and serve to feed various psychological selves.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: All You Need To Do

Just understand your mind: how it works, how attachment and desire arise, how ignorance arises, where emotions come from. It is sufficient to know the nature of all that; just that gives so much happiness and peace.

—Lama Thubten Yeshe, “Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/11/17

“My work is to help you use the master key of self-realization which is presence, as soon as possible. Only presence allows you to be able to observe your thoughts without clinging to them. By deepening into silence and consequently presence, it is possible to keep thoughts at their source and stop them even before they are created.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via 5 of 45 Daily Dharma: Living Love

Although we may not always live in a steady state of loving feeling, through practice we can learn to touch it many times a day.

—Joseph Goldstein, “Triumph of the Heart

Monday, July 10, 2017

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/10/17

“When you ask, ‘Who am I?’ You begin to be lead to the Source of pure consciousness, from where bliss emanates - a silence filled with grace - a state of no mind, no thoughts and no ‘I’. When this state becomes permanent, it is known as enlightenment.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via Daily Dharma: When Your Mind Changes, The World Changes

When your mind changes, the world changes. And when we respond differently to the world, the world responds differently to us.

—David Loy, “Rethinking Karma

Sunday, July 9, 2017


Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - July 9, 2017

In this culture, we are rewarded for knowing we know. It’s only when we come to the despair of seeing that the rational mind just isn’t going to be enough – it’s only when you see the assumptions you’ve been working with are not valid that there is the possibility of change.

Albert Einstein said, “A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move towards higher levels.” And again, “Man must be able to develop a higher form of thought if he’s ever going to be able to use his energy with wisdom.”  

-- Ram Dass --

Via Sri Prem Baba – Awaken Love / Flower of the Day: 07/09/17

“The most beautiful and rare phenomenon on this Earth is the encounter of the master and his disciple. This incarnation is a school of love and the master-disciple relationship is the highest form of love because the master illuminates your consciousness. He takes you from darkness and guides you into the light. This has been my experience. I have found this love.”
Sri Prem Baba

Via 5 of 11 Daily Dharma: Joy in the Process of Awakening

Patience gives you joy in the process of awakening. Without patience, you may find yourself at war with your own forgetfulness or reactivity.

—Tara Brach, “Finding True Refuge