Went to meditation practice last night and I have to say that “just sitting” is one of the hardest things for me to do, and it’s not that I have ADD or anything like that, it’s just that my right butt cheek falls asleep, no matter what position I try to sit in, or what configuration of cushions I use, and I don’t understand why. Anyhoo, we recited The 37 Practices of a Bodhisattva again, and I did not stay to chit chat. Oh, and the Buddhist Web site of the day is: http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/
While I’m here…a few thoughts about my practice…at first, I wondered why it was important that we (the sangha) recited prayers aloud as a group. I compared it to any other religious practice that I’ve experienced and didn’t give it much more thought. However, now I understand that just meditating is not enough, and you have to have the proper motivation. The prayers help us get into the proper mindset. We usually recite from The Ratnashri Dharma Chakra Book of Prayers, which I could not find the complete text of online anywhere, but here’s another good article that covers motivation (with prayers): http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/Meditations/motivation.html
Hell – abject misery. The people here are so miserable that they are actually hostile to the world and will lash out at it aggressively. These are your tortured souls who are constantly suffering and will take it out on the rest of humanity if they can.
The Hungry Ghost – is in a constant state of desire, always wanting more and never finding contentment. Like having an addiction, or like drinking salt water: it just makes you thirstier.
The Animal Realm – these people seek out things that give them pleasure and avoid things that cause pain, but they do so without any forethought as to the consequences of their actions. Like an animal. A hedonist might behave in this manner.
God – this person thinks they have it all figured out, that they have achieved enlightenment, but they are very disappointed when they realize that this is not the case.
Demi-god, or Jealous God – this person feels the need to make other people look bad, put other people down in order to feel good about themselves.
Human – this is the place where you want to be – the acknowledgment that we all make mistakes and we want to strive to improve ourselves. This is the path.
Lovely weather we’re having. My power went off yesterday. It’s still not back on. I am posting from the Beehive. Mm coffee. The river is expected to crest at 30 feet. Parts of town are under water. At least the rain has ended and it’s clear and sunny now. I still don’t have power. I chuckle at the irony; I’m glad that my friends down South made it through Ivan without too much trouble but their power didn’t even go out. I love livin’ in da’Burgh.
Last night, I spent a pleasant evening with a friend. Dinner at Bravo and movie: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It was uber-cool. I loved the style. Very 1940s, film noir, lots of soft focus.
This friend is a Buddhist and we talked about some stuff that helped me a lot. I have been having issues with attachment to anger and not being able to let go. I am fully aware of this but sometimes I need to hear the right words from the right person to make a change. Without going into too much detail, my friend said that we should recognize anger when it comes, then put it aside. This is different from what I do. I bottle it up. It may seem that I’m putting it aside, but I’m still maintaining an attachment to it. So, do I release it? By developing patience and understanding. This is not what I want to hear because I feel like I have been the patient one. I put up with a lot of crap for too long and I’m sick of it. But being patient doesn’t mean being a doormat. It’s also wrong to let people walk all over you. Then, you are letting them bring bad Karma upon themselves. So there has to be some balance, and I’ve been trying to find that. My friend also said that our enemies can be our best teachers, because they teach us patience, tolerance, and compassion. It’s easy to feel compassion for our loved ones, but a lot harder to feel compassion for our enemies. PATIENCE. That was the magic word. Russ tried to tell me that, too. And, I love how raqs icon means “The Patient One.” I hope raqs doesn’t mine that I took her idea and created an icon that means “The Truth.”
Thank you, mine enemies, for teaching me patience.
Another slow workday, and seems like an appropriate time to ponder “Buddhism.” Let’s see how I’ve been doing lately: