Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 28, 2018

Individual differences are not better or worse, merely different. If we forgo judging, we come to understand that each of us has a unique predicament that requires a unique journey. While we share the overall journey, everyone's particular experiences are his or her own. No set of experiences is a prerequisite for enlightenment. People have become enlightened in all ways. Just be what you are.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: The Ultimate Inclusiveness

Compassion is the ultimate inclusiveness, arising whenever we overcome the illusion of our separateness from others.

—Henry Shukman, “Is the Dharma Democratic?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Via Tricycle: An Interview with Zen Priest Greg Snyder on Brooklyn Zen Center’s Undoing Patriarchy Sangha

Brooklyn Zen Center’s Undoing Patriarchy and Unveiling the Sacred Masculine group is a response to the unacknowledged forms of patriarchy that exist within Buddhist communities as well as society at large. Co-facilitated by Greg Snyder, co-founder and president of BZC and senior director of Buddhist Studies at Union Theological Seminary, and Lama Rod Owens, guiding teacher for Radical Dharma Boston Collective, the group meets monthly and had its second annual weekend retreat in January.

Here, Snyder speaks about how Buddhists can use their practice to confront patriarchy rather than conform to it.
Zen priest Greg Snyder
Why did you start this group? 

Our first retreat, which Lama Rod Owens and I co-led in January 2017, was an attempt to address the fact that patriarchy is still thriving in the Buddhist tradition despite the tools for self-examination that Buddhism presents us with. During that retreat, we tried to examine internalized patriarchal masculinity the same way we’d examine greed, hate, and delusion. The participants came out with a desire to meet regularly, so we started the monthly group. 

The purpose is similar to that of BZC’s monthly Undoing Whiteness and Oppression group. Undoing Patriarchy is just a group of men who are trying to take responsibility for how they represent their gender identity.

Has the group changed over time?

It became evident right away that we should understand masculinity as an energy rather than something tied to a particular body. From there we’ve been trying to find a nonviolent, loving expression of that energy. 

As the group continued, it became more obvious that supporting one another is extremely important. These are cisgender and transgender men with many different racial identities, but there is a feeling of love in the room despite all the violence expressed historically between the various groups. This loving connection is one of the most critical pieces of undoing the typical male relationship, which usually involves hierarchy, competition, and apathy toward each other.

Via Daily Dharma: Do the Right Thing—with Ease

A noble person does not do good because of willpower. She does it through a combination of, on the one hand, modesty about self, and, on the other hand, faith in a higher purpose, a higher meaning, in powers more potent than self-will.

—David Brazier, “Other-Power

I Quit!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: To Be Home Is To Be Known

Home cannot be an experience of shame, terror, or rejection, but rather one of safety, freedom, and respect, an experience of love and being embrace, of being known and knowing who you are.

—Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, “The Hunger for Home

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 25, 2018

Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Spiritual Practice and the Bigger Picture

Through spiritual practice we can go beyond our egoistic point of view. We can touch the core of time, see the whole world in a moment, and understand time in deep relationship with all beings.

—Dainin Katagiri Roshi, “Time Revisited

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Being Truly Human

Freedom from identity is what allows and enables us to be truly human—to be an ongoing response to the challenges, demands, and needs of life.

—Ken McLeod, “Forget About Being A Buddhist. Be A Human.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: How Do You Relate to the World?

Stretching our capacity for loving-friendliness sometimes requires that we make a great sacrifice—but what we sacrifice are our comfort, thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. In other words, we sacrifice our old way of relating to the world.

—Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, “Overcoming Ill Will

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: The Antidote to Hatred

Lovingkindness is the antidote to hatred. That is why cultivating it is so beneficial. The practice is about your being able to access and cultivate the healthiest parts of yourself, without allowing anyone to obstruct that.

—Andrew Olendzki, “No Exceptions

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 21, 2018

  Did you ever have a bad day? Everything seems to go wrong and you are completely lost in anger, frustration and self-pity. It gets worse and worse, until the final moment when, say, you have just missed the last bus. There is some critical point where it gets so bad that the absurdity of it all overwhelms you and you can do nothing but laugh. At that moment you uplevel your predicament, you see the cosmic joke in your own suffering.

Humor puts things in perspective. There are many levels of humor - there is a humor of survival, a humor of sex and gratification, a humor connected with power. Beyond all these there is a humor that is filled with compassion. It is reflected in the tiny upturn in the mouth of the Buddha, for he sees the humor in the universal predicament: All beings are lost in illusion, yet he knows that they will awaken from that illusion for they are, at heart, already enlightened. He knows that what seems so hard for them is, from another perspective, their own path to liberation.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Don’t Go It Alone

The sangha speaks to the idea that self-reliance can manifest only when we ourselves are in good health—we aren’t meant to go at it alone.

—Elizabeth Zach, “Health Care for All Beings

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: A Living Tradition

We now have a choice, even if we want to insist on cleaving to Buddhist tradition. Do we emphasize the more authoritarian parts of the tradition, or the more democratic ones?

—James Kierstead, “Democratic from the Start

Monday, February 19, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Buddhist Politics

A Buddhist would not hesitate to vote for legislation and political candidates devoted to peace, to undoing injustice, reducing duhkha in its myriad manifestations, healing society’s wounds, and preserving individual freedoms and the environment.

—Charles Johnson, “Accepting the Invitation

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 18, 2018

Every religion is the product of the conceptual mind attempting to describe the mystery. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Everyday Presence

Presence need not be confined to the time spent sitting on our meditation cushion. Every single moment provides an opportunity to relax the tension in the body and unconscious thought patterns in the mind.

—Will Johnson, “Full Body, Empty Mind

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: The Source of Equanimity

Equanimity? In the end, it seems to be like dignity: only you can provide it for yourself.

—RJ Eskow, “Above the Fray

Friday, February 16, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Cherishing and Releasing

Bringing order to clutter, I begin to see, is not just about putting my spices in alphabetical order. On a deeper level, it’s about balancing the twin poles of spiritual life: cherishing life and holding it sacred, while knowing that it will pass away.

—Anne Cushman, “Clearing Clutter

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Via 12 of 29 Daily Dharma: Nothing Is Hidden

Nothing is hidden. We can find it in books. We can find it in the sutras. We can find it by asking. And, most important, we can find it simply by looking into ourselves.

—John Loori, “Asking to Exhaustion

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 11, 2018

The universe is made up of experiences that are designed to burn out our reactivity, which is our attachment, our clinging, to pain, to pleasure, to fear, to all of it. And as long as there are places where we’re vulnerable, the universe will find ways to confront us with them. That’s the way the dance is designed...

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: For Whom Do You Practice?

If we wish to live well in the world, not just amble along through life without any examination of our being, then we must engage in the effort to find meaning in our lives. In order to do this, we have to find a way to balance our own interiority with an empathic recognition of others.

—Eido Frances Carney, “The Way of Ryokan

Via Daily Dharma: Let Yourself Be

Everything in nature has a physical body, yet a rock doesn’t call itself a rock or a flower call itself a flower. Only humans are stuck on how they should be. The healthiest way of being is to have no need to explain our being, but for it to manifest naturally.

—Shodo Harada Roshi, “Finding Our Essence of Mind

Via 4 of 27 Daily Dharma: One Step at a Time

It is extremely difficult to accomplish an important task all at once, but even the hardest can be accomplished by undertaking it gradually, like the case of an ant and its nest.

—Drogön Chögyal Phagpa, “Brief Teachings

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 14, 2018

Demanding as that sounds, it is what, in the spiritual sense, we are all here for, and compassionate action gives us yet one more opportunity to live it. It is an opportunity to cooperate with the universe, to be part of what the Chinese call the great river of the Tao.

It is not a coincidence that Hanuman, who in the Hindu cosmology is called the “embodiment of selfless service,” is the son of the wind god. When we give ourselves into becoming fully who we are by doing fully what we do, we experience lightness, we are like kites in wind, we are on the side of the angels, we are entering lightly.

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Love’s Embodiment

I couldn’t flourish as a human being as long as I saw myself as the passive recipient of love. (There’s an awful lot of waiting in that position, and then damage control when it doesn’t work out, and also numbness.) But I could certainly flourish as love’s embodiment.

—Sharon Salzberg, “Why We Are All Capable of Indestructible Love

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Courageous Restraint

To forbear is indeed an act of courage and not a symbol of cowardice. It takes great effort and resolution to endure pain and hardship. It requires tremendous confidence to bear insult and disgrace without a hint of retaliation or self-doubt.

—Master Hsing Yun, “Don’t Get Mad, Don’t Get Even

Friday, February 9, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Practice First, Ask Questions Later

Someone sitting for the first time can learn more about meditation in thirty real-time minutes than any experienced meditator can explain to them in that same amount of time.

—Barry Evans, “Meditation 101: Less is More

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: On Love and Attention

People become more desirable when we are attentive to them. Their most lovable qualities reveal themselves to us only after we have begun to love them.

—Nicole Daedone, “Love Becomes Her

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 7, 2018

One dies as one lives. What else can better prepare you to die than the way you live? The game is to be where you are – honestly, consciously, and as fully as you know how. Once you have awakened, you can’t fully go back to sleep. Regardless of what happens in the world, I’m still going to follow Maharaji’s instructions every day – to love everyone, serve everyone, and remember God – love, serve, remember. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Go Where the Suffering Is

If you’ve taken a vow to save all sentient beings, it’s time to go to where the suffering is.

—William Alexander, “With Your Hair on Fire

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Keep Tabs on What Distracts You

The power we have is our awareness, and you can develop it right now. Start paying attention to what sites you visit, how often you’re looking at your phone, how long you’re spending in front of a screen all day.

—Leo Babauta, “Dropping Distraction

Monday, February 5, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Mindlessness Only Postpones

Mindlessness, however petty, is reckless at its heart. It only postpones; it never takes us anywhere. Mindfulness, by contrast, is patient, careful.

—Joan Duncan Oliver, “Do I Mind?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Via Ram Dass / Words of Wisdom - February 4, 2018

We all love our own melodramas. We each have one. Everybody thinks they're somebody doing something, or somebody thinking something, or somebody wanting something: "I've gotta have sex tonight or I'll die." "I'm so lonely!" "I can't meditate!" "I'm so high!" We all get so involved in our melodramas, so busy thinking we're the actors, so busy thinking we're doing it all - and it's really all just this lawful stuff running off. How funny!

But in order to see that, in order to begin to appreciate the lawfulness of the unfolding, we need to develop a little perspective. It can be a nice meditation to take a seed, and put it in a bit of earth. Put it on a kitchen window sill, and watch it grow into a plant, into a flower. Just observe it everyday. Use that as your daily meditation exercise; see the way the whole process unfolds. 

- Ram Dass -

Via Daily Dharma: Our Heart’s Capacity

We use only five to ten percent of our heart’s capacity to love and feel kindness. Instead of boxing in our hearts we must try to slowly expand that box till we’re able to love all humanity.

—Nawang Khechog, “Elevated Music

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Awareness Meets Emotion

You don’t have to “do” anything; awareness simply meets emotions as they arise.

—Tsultrim Allione, “Feeding Your Demons

Friday, February 2, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Examining Our Judgment

Our Buddhist practice drives us to examine the self, but also to examine the self’s ideas about the other, and to admit that any problem we encounter is at least partly of our own making.

—Sallie Tisdale, “Beloved Community

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Via Daily Dharma: Karmic Opportunity

You are constantly creating new karma, and that gives you a golden opportunity. With your reaction to each experience, you create the karma that will color your future.

—Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche, “The Power of the Third Moment