Saturday, July 21, 2012

In The Mail: Obama Karma

"Ultimately, Obama's Karma is the way in which his inner world is manifested in the outer world. It's the same for all of us.  The one thing--perhaps the only thing--we have control over is ourselves; but that is all we need."  p.6 Obama Karma: Lessons on Living Inspired by the 44th President

I'm skeptical reading the introduction, he writes loose and fast, but I'll read some further.  Why can't people use footnotes?  Why can't they share where they learned their information?  

The more I learn about Obama, the more I like him.  The more I learn about Mitt, the less I like him.

Russell Razzaque is a psychiatrist from UK.  He has some videos of the meditations he suggests to consolidate the lessons from each chapter.  The Password is "launch".

BTW, I found a course on line that looks interesting.  It doesn't say when it's going to start, but it looks like an interesting course on Coursera.  I'm tempted to take a poetry course or a history course, or a class on irrational behavior.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time lines

I've been looking at time lines of Buddhism, and I came across this photo of all religions:

timeline of religion (WIP)

You can see my linking of timelines in my twitter feed.

I'm reading Mythology by Edith Hamilton, and I was looking at Greek timelines, and then I moved to Buddhist timelines.  There's some amazing information out there, presented visually.  I watched Ken Burn's documentary on baseball, so I've been thinking more about history.  Of course his one on the Civil War is, I think, his best one, but the Jazz one is also awesome because there's nothing else like it.  He can get a little stuck on Armstrong in my opinion.  And his others documentaries are great too, the one on the Brooklyn Bridge is pretty good.  He's really quite amazing, even if I was a bit bored at the beginning of the baseball one, at times.  He puts it at a leisurely pace, he doesn't pack information in at a breakneck pace.  These were all done before the internet took off, I think.  I think now I'm used to being bombarded with information.

In a side note, seeing Bhante on Skype yesterday, in NYC, Aryaloka and Mexico City, was awesome.  I didn't learn anything new (not the point anyway) but did have some human contact with him.  I did however learn he likes Sea-Drift, from Leaves of Grass.  I didn't know he liked Whitman.  I'd just read that he didn't like Walden, so it's good to see he does like some American.

It's hard to imagine he came out with Survey of Buddhism: Its Doctrines and Methods Through the Ages
 in 1947, which for my money has the most spiritual heat of any book on the earth.

If I could have gotten one question to ask him, I would have asked him what it felt like when he went forth, that first step after he'd given all his stuff away, and went off into India.  Must have been liberating and scary, exciting and worrisome.  Where am I going to sleep tonight would be my first question.  Going forth...  awesome.  

Sunday, July 01, 2012

solo practice day

Not my weekend for my kids, and my partner was out of town, so I had some rare solitude.  To make the most of it, I decided to have a practice day.  Here was what I did:

Dedication puja from TBC puja book
Body scan from FBA
Mindfulness of Breathing (40 min)
Breakfast, walk, break time, read Dharma
Confession puja from the Sutra of Golden Light
Just Sitting (30 min)
Lunch, break time, read Dharma
Metta Meditation (40 minutes)

I read Thubten Chodron's book on the Chenrezig sadhana.  In my order, you don't do the sadhana until you're been witnessed to be effectively going for refuge, but it doesn't hurt to read about it.  I've wanted to read something from her.  She's not a bad writer.  I have a tanka of Chenrizig, that my wonderful partner gave me, and I look at it from time to time.  Thubten Chodron's teacher also added in the eight point mind training to their lineage of practice, and I like that too, so I enjoyed reading about that.  I've studied that on a GFR retreat, and even before that, so it's a text I treasure.  I am so grateful for all the retreats I've been on.  I don't have the money to go on the GFR retreat in California this year, but my heart goes out to those who will be on it this year, I'm sending you my best wishes.

It was a hot day yesterday, but I didn't turn on the AC until after the Metta meditation.  For some reason when I meditate, the heat doesn't bother me as much.  I think I get some sensory integration from meditation.  I also get what my friend called, "coming out of warp speed," feeling in my head from meditating that much.  It was only 3 meditation, but it was bolstered with a body scan and 2 pujas, and Dharma reading.

On my walk, aside from enjoying my body in motion, I look at the beautiful flowers people so kindly plant in front of their homes.

I felt a little lonely in the evening, but it was too late to connect with anyone.  I could have made a phone call, but I just went to bed.  My dreams intensify when I ramp up my practice, and that's always interesting.

I'm going to take it a little bit more easy today, but I'm going to try and do the 4 Brahma Viharas. But I'm going to be more worldly today, listen to music, and maybe get a Sunday Times, do some errands and tasks.  I'm going to read about Vairocana, because his head is above Chenrizig and below Amitabha in the visualization, in Vessantara's excellent book, Meeting the Buddhas: A Guide to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Tantric Deities.