Friday, November 27, 2009
This is the most sacred of all Tibetan Buddhist chants. It literally translates to "OM, jewel in the lotus, Hum". It is endlessly translated in depth and it is said that all of the teachings of the buddha are within these six syllables. It is Chenresig's mantra of great compassion, and Chenresig is considered Tibet's protector. It is considered the national mantra of Tibet, and it is the Dalai Lama's mantra. It can be heard all throughout Tibet, and can be seen on prayer flags, prayer wheels and carved in stones.
When you recite this mantra it is imperative to think about it's meaning. The meanings are so vast, and widely interpreted that you can probably study and read about it indefinitely. So, the brief introduction I am giving here is just that.
OM; is made up of three letters, A U M. It is called the source of all sound. These are symbols for the practitioners impure mind, body and speech as well as the pure mind, body and speech of a buddha. The question is can we transform the impure to the pure. All buddhas started out like we do, and along the path became enlightened. It is a gradual process that happens as we follow the path.
The path is laid out by the next four syllables:
MANI; translates to jewel and symbolizes striving for love, compassion and enlightenment. The jewel is enlightenment and with enlightenment comes the end to difficulties, Samsara and brings solitary peace.
PADME; translates to lotus. The lotus is a symbol of wisdom. It grows through the mud but it shows not one speck of the mud it came through. Just as we can grow and achieve wisdom despite what we come through, we don't have to carry those things on or with us. In wisdom, all of the defilements, negativity and ignorance go away. There are so many types of wisdom, the realization of impermanence, non-self...the list can go on and on. We strive for everything the lotus symbolizes.
The last symbol, HUM; translates to I am. I am compassion and wisdom. It indicates indivisibility. It is achieved by an indivisible unity of wisdom and compassion.
The six symbols are also associated with the six realms of existence. You will find as you study, many interpretations of this Mantra. It is up to the practitioner to discover the depth of it's meaning and intrinsic value for them.
Visualization of a buddha or bodhisattva along with this silent mantra is an excellent meditation method. ~Om Mani Padme Hum~
Friday, November 20, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
This is my simple religion: There is no need for temples, there is no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is the temple; the philosophy is loving kindness and compassion.
Today, more then ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.
We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.
We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.
Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.
Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.
With realization of one's own potential and self-confidence in one's ability, one can build a better world.
All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
I find hope in the darkest days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do no harm to them.
If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it.
In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
My religion is simple, my religion is kindness.
Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old friend passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend - or a meaningful day.
Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
The purpose of or lives is to be happy.
The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
Last but not least one of my top favorites:
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individuals own reason and critical analysis.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This path is not meant to be followed in number order. You don't need to achieve the first before moving on to the second. The aim is to apply all to your life at the same time.
To clear up any confusion about the term Right used here interpret it as Appropriate. The intent is to see things with an open mind, free from our own prejudices, or beliefs.
Wisdom: Wisdom is not about intellect, but about insight and understanding and gathering truth through your own experiences in the world:
Right Understanding is also called right view. Again it is about viewing happenings as they are without our own issues to color them.
Right Thought also known as right resolve, is about the intentions behind your actions. Intentions should be without harm to yourself or anyone else.
Morality: These are basic ethics to apply to your every day life:
Right Speech would of course pertain to how you use your voice, no lying, gossip, or harming another's reputation with your words.
Right Action is fairly simple, do the right thing, don't steal, kill, commit adultery, ethical behavior should always be the goal.
Right Livelihood would be work that is honorable and healthy for yourself and others.
Mental Discipline: It is training yourself to focus, using the power of your mind to attain wisdom and morality, not giving in to laziness or distractions:
Right Effort is engaging to practice the Dharma in your every day life. Efforts should be aimed at suiting all involved, and will sometimes be pleasant and will sometimes require more severity. In each situation it will be different.
Right Mindfulness is being present in the moment. All that you do, think and feel is about the moment you are in. It is very important not to be harboring thoughts of the past or future especially if they are not constructive.
Right Meditation is about quieting the mind, to stop the constant restless thought processes that generate so much of our suffering. For those new to the practice of meditation it is OK to start with focusing activities such as visualization.
This is a very basic explanation of the Eightfold Path. As we get further along it will come up again in more depth.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
4. The end of suffering is the Middle Way. It is a balance between Samsara (being of this world) and Nirvana (release from this world or the Samsara cycle). The Noble Eightfold Path is divided among three goals. Wisdom, Morality and Mental Discipline.
"I believe the purpose of all major religions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts, Every major religion has the potential to create this. The greater our awareness is regarding the value and effectiveness of other religious traditions, then the deeper will be our respect and reverence toward our own religion, other religions, and religion in general." ~The Dalai Lama~
Buddhism was brought from India to Tibet by Emperor Songsten Gampo in the 7th century. The buddhist Dharma (teachings) are concise and powerful. It was the Buddhist wisdom that slowly worked it's magic on the people of Tibet making them more happy, gentle and peaceful. After a few centuries the Tibetans worked very hard to make the Buddha Dharma the center of their lives. It took one thousand years for Tibetans to succeed in establishing Buddhist ideals in the government itself. The 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century integrated the sacred and the secular. The entire Tibetan social system centered on people's spiritual development according to the Dharma.
The extinction of Tibet, as well as it's culture would affect all humanity. I am adding this appeal, this call to arms, for all peoples to help the Tibetans preserve the treasure that is their cultural heritage. Public support and sympathy toward the Tibetan cause is needed. It is especially crucial, for anyone practicing Buddhism to understand what is at stake here. The Tibetan traditions have been maintained now for many years outside of it's home. This may not last over time, and the sacred land of Tibet is vital to it's long term survival. Active support of this cause is not just politics, it is Dharma.