Monday, December 18, 2006

Quitting Coffee

A Survey Of Buddhism, published by Windhorse Publishing, will turn 50 in 2007. I've begun my second reading of it.

If I were on a desert island, and could only take one secondary material book, I would take Survey of Buddhism. I think if I had 5 books, I would take the Middle Length Discourses, The Dhammapada, A Survey of Buddhism for sure. The other two would be difficult to choose, I'd like to take a Mahayana sutras, maybe the Bodhicaryavatara, and Ten Thousand Songs of Milarepa.

Through meditation, I've decided to quit coffee tomorrow. I've weaned myself down to 1 cup in the morning. With the use of wikihow, I looked up how to quit caffeine, and I've read that and girded myself for tomorrow.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

News/opinion/retreat/travel

Ambedkar's death anniversary set off more activity in India, read all about it in the FWBO/TBMSG News.

An op-ed article in the NY Times suggests we should rebuild Nalanda.

I really wish I was going on a retreat at Aryaloka over Xmas. The NY Times has an article on retreats around the NYC area.

There's an article about traveling in Tibet in the travel section.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sad Messages

Messages from people who died in 9/11 left on voice mail and answering machines:

"Honey. Something terrible is happening. I don't think I'm going to make it. I love you. Take care of the children."

"Hey, Jules. It's Brian. I'm on the plane and it's hijacked and it doesn't look good. I just wanted to let you know that I love you, and I hope to see you again. If I don't, please have fun in life, and live life the best you can. Know that I love you, and no matter what, I'll see you again."

"Mommy. The building is on fire. There's smoke coming through the walls. I can't breathe. I love you, Mommy. Good-bye."

"I love you a thousand times over and over. I love and need whatever decisions you make in your lives. I need you to be happy, and I will respect any decisions you make."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Excellent Blog

The atrocities in India against the Dalit community are reported in an excellent blog.

There's a wonderful new Buddhism and vegetarianism web site called Shabkar.org.

It's not dharma, but Jon Stewarts commencement speech is one of the funniest things I've read in a while.

I've greatly enjoyed Subhuti with Subhamati's book called Buddhism and Frindship, available at Windhorse. I am currently enjoying very much Sangharakshita's The Yogi's Joy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a spiritual interpretation

I know Alison Krauss' song Maybe probably is about worldy romance, but the lines, "Tell me that I'm smart enough to deal with all the information/Spinning inside my head" could be a bit of a Buddhist teaching about our ability to truly see reality. Tagore's Gitanjali is not about worldy romance, it's about his love for God. Well, Buddhism is non-theistic, but it's inspired me to give a spiritual interpretation to the song Maybe. He in the song is the Buddha, and flying the coop, is about our mental habit of losing and not accepting the wisdom of the dharma. I suppose when you feel deeply into the dharma, everything is dharma. I'm not making any claims about my spiritual depth, I'm just talking about my ideals and hopeful focus.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

BNN leads in conversion converage

I find the Buddhist News Network web site the most informative about what is going on in India. A recent article estimates that 2.5 million people have converted to Buddhism in India since Ambedkar's conversion 50 years ago.

The prison retreat was very good. I got to develop my friendship with Vajramati on the drive up and back, and in the inbetween times. Spending time with all those who participate was great. Of course the prisoners were interesting too, though I, out of propriety, didn't ask the question most on my mind--why were they there? It's a strong sangha in Concord. Bodhipoksha gave a good talk.

Friday, October 27, 2006

misc

An interesting map is about the spread and territory of Mahayana and Teravadan schools of buddhism.

I continue to enjoy Dhammarati's blog, he's got some interesting posts, including a summary of a discussion with Bante.

We've been studying the five spiritual faculties on sangha night.

In mitra study we're studying Know Your Mind by Sangharakashita, published by Windhorse. On my own I'm reading Bante's The Eternal Legacy. I've been feeling a little scattered in my studies, I wonder if I should just focus on one area. I listen to lovely free talks from Dharmachakra. And I suplament my reading by getting sutras off the web, by going to the Wikipedia article on the Diamond Sutra, for instance,and then priting out one of the free versions. I recently printed out the latest Chan Magazine.

There's a translation from the Chinese of the chapter in the Lankavatara Sutra about not eating meat. Also the Avatamsaka Sutra. I've discovered these looking up what is available on line reading The Eternal Legacy.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bloggers and mass conversion

One blogger covers the mass conversion. But my hitherto favorite blogger is actually in India, and hasn't mentioned it at all. BNN, which collects articles on Buddhism into their web site, has had the best coverage and commentary on the 50th Anniversary of the mass conversion to Buddhism. Of course there are the special blogs previously linked, and Vishvapani has recently been on night radio in New Zealand.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sign Me Up!

The next ordination retreat for me has been set! There a nice picture of some of the North American GFR mitras. That's me to the left of the Buddha, standing up.

A friend says that the weekend retreat I was just on led by Nagabodhi was very influenced by Breathworks.

I'd better stop writing here, and work on my monthly reporting in to the community of men who have asked for ordination in the FWBO.

I quite like the poems of Jane Kenyon. The poem linked has a sense of pratitya samutpada.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Retreat

I went up to Aryaloka with Alyssa. Also from NYC were Sita, Faye, and Andrew. Poor Trebor was snowed in, in Buffalo. Nagabodhi led the retreat, plus Amala and Khemavassika were there. It was a lovely retreat. I love it on so many levels: The people, the meditation, dharma talks, puja, nature, and even the food is lovely.

I think I've been to about 20 retreats up in Aryaloka over the past 4 years, but I never get enough of it, I cling to the experience, want more than life is giving me. It's hard to really describe what goes on, but threw being with other Buddhists, and being in the retreat atmosphere, you really feel something happening deep inside, even on a short weekend retreat.

Driving home we added in Andrew who works for Tricycle, writing an excellent blog, and is very much into Reginal Ray and has enjoyed many of his retreats.

Meanwhile in London England, the venerable Sangharakshita made a speech at the London Buddhist Center

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mass Conversion

As BNN reports, there is to be mass conversion on the 50th Anniversary of Ambedkar's origional conversion (I've lost the aritcle for now). I find this wonderful news. BNN also has some further analsyis.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Psychology Today Magazine

For me meditation is more than just an efficiency enhancer. But...

Psychology Today Magazine trumpets meditation!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Upcoming Anniversary of Ambedkar

As reported on the TBMSG/FWBO web site, Oct. 14th is the 50th anniversary of the conversion of Ambekdar to Buddhism. A special blog has been created to chronical the events and celebrations.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Elvis Costello

I was watching VH1 Classic, and they had a concert with Elvis Costello. His song What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding still gives me goose bumps. I think it's connected to the boddhisattva idea. Here are the lyrics:

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.

I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

’Cause each time I feel it slippin’ away, just makes me wanna cry.
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

’Cause each time I feel it slippin’ away, just makes me wanna cry.
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mind Book of the Year in the UK

As reported on FWBO/TBMSG News, Valerie Mason-John, or as we know her in the WBO Vimalasara, has won a literary award for her autobiographical novel Borrowed Body. This is a wonderful book. I didn't meet her when she was in New York City promoting it, but I had some friends get an autographed copy. I read the book and loved it. It's an excellent book, go out and get it, or order!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bill Moyers and Pema Chodron

Bill Moyers and Pema Chodron have a good discussion on PBS

I caught some of this while trying to feed my two infants, and what I saw was quite good. I'm very interested in her notion of Shenpa. Quite interesting.

A fellow blogger gives a review of the show.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

More Free Podcasts

Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe has 16 free podcasts, many Stephen Batchelor.

They're doing some good work in a prison in Concord New Hampshire, up at Aryaloka.

Clear Vision is an important right livelihood business, providing educational material for schools, and other DVDs and media.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

dhammarati

dhammarati

The above is Dhammarati's blog. He led the last retreat I was on, I think he's awsome. I'm in the process of reading what so far are sad stories of complicated loss, in his blog from the beginning of the year.

I had a lovely retreat at Aryaloka. The retreat was the height of harmony, I had deep meditations, I continue to go deeper into the dharma, and the fellowship and communion with others was wonderful.

I'm posting monthly to Jalaka, so much of my writing energy about going for refuge has gone there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Free Dharma

FWBO

There are some free books at the following site, which is Sangharakshita's site. There was a new book last time I checked so, I won't even begin to list them, but I'll note that it's not just Sangharakshita's work, there's also a book by Nagabodhi last time I checked.

For mp3 files, check out Dharmachakra. They too are very much in the process of change, and are making more and more available free. I bought the complete talks (now it's incomplete since he's made some more) of Sangharakshita in my own personal effort for them to make enough money to begin to make it all free. Buy a CD, and speed the organization to making more and more free.

I'm going to post this thus far, but there's more work to be done on it, come back to see more links.

Non FWBO

There is a large collection of the ancient writings. One is here. One is here.

The Tricycle podcast archives is pretty good.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Change Your Mind Day

We met for lunch at a cool place Seth picked out. Change Your Mind Day did end up going to the alternate location, which was the Pure Land Buddhist Church on Riverside Drive, in the 90's. There was dancing and talks, with short meditation. This is my 3 great NYC sangha event, and it was once again interesting in seeing all kinds of people, and seeing the different ways people practice. Laurie Anderson told some stories, which was cool, and there were talks. The Buddhist dances were pretty cool too. Vajramati, Trebor, Alyssa and I went for coffee after we'd had enough, and that was fun to.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Manjusvara

Manjusvara visited New York City, and he lead sangha night, and on Saturday he had a workshop. I will be buying his book, if you're in the U.S.A. you can order it off the FWBO-NYC web site. And there's more information about the workshops at Wolf At The Door. I highly recommend the book if you want to have fun writing with imaginative exercises, with lessons on yourself and mindfulness.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Vessak Day

Vessak Day celebration was interesting in the same way as the charnel ground meditations; I felt the larger NYC sangha. This was more so, with a procession for a few blocks with what I learned was the Buddhist flag—five vertical stripes and 5 horizontal. Vajramati says it can be any color. I imagined a Rothko one, with 5 different kinds of black. At one point someone said, “hurry hurry,” to get us all across the street. Someone not associated with the procession said, “slower, slower.” I said, “a perfection of wisdom teaching!”

Inside the Shambhala center, I had the misfortune to sit behind a pillar and not see much. It focused on including the three traditions, Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana with initial chanting and whatnot. There was a play by some children of Sri Lankan heritage from the Theravadan vihara in Staten Island. One of our sangha members had to leave when he hear, “now part 5.” It had many more parts than that. Later the kids came out and sang, which was not on the program. I thought it was cute the way the mothers coached them from the audience to sing louder or move. I liked the talk by a Korean woman who spends 6 weeks in a cave twice a year, except she was anti-therapy.

The event was organized by the Buddhist Counsel of New York City, and it was the 21st such Vessak Day celebration in New York City. I’ve never experienced a FWBO celebration. While I felt there was much ethnic stuff, I felt that above that, there was a similar commitment. One of my coworkers who is Orthodox Jewish said she’d like to confess to me her “unskillfullness”, when I was talking about Buddhist confession and ethics, but I told her that I was not sure we held the same ideals. No matter how different and foreign everyone looked or acted on Vessak day, I felt a kind of kinship that gladdened me.

So these two events have given me a sense of the greater NYC sangha. Not sure if I have to do it again, I won’t disrupt the family to do so, but I do enjoy these events. I imagine my conflict with family and sangha events would be heightened if I lived near a thriving center.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Welwood

I particularly like the therapist/buddhist writers. Jack Kornfield and Sylvia Boorsteen don't so much address it, but they are also trained clinical psychologists. Mark Epstein in a psychiatrist, and he addresses both more specifically. But my favorite of them all is John Welwood, at the moment at least, based on my finally getting towards the end of his excellent book Toward A Psychology of Awakening. His discussion of the way that psychotherapy and meditation can compliment each other is very good. He articulates "spiritual bypassism" in which you use the teachings to reinforce your personal dynamics instead of improving on them. I've found it a useful work.

Andrew has had an intense retreat experience, sympathetic joy to him. Reginald Ray has his own Wikipedia entry, he led the retreat: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reginald_Ray

I was kind of bummed to say I'll miss some of the next Saturday mitra meetings because of my wife's pressing paper deadlines and the need for me to watch the boys. I look forward to returning to sangha night soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Charnal Ground Meditation

I saw the bodies exhibit: http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/

Which was sponsored by http://www.tricycle.com/

The following people were supposed to speak:
Roshi Enkyo OÂ’Hara will teach on the preciousness of this human existence
Bhante Kondanna will teach on the transience of life
Reverend T. K. Nakagaki will offer Pure Land chants and prayers

but since Bhante H. Gunaratana was there, Bhante Kondanna did not speak,and he was by far the most famous buddhist leader there.

It was good to see sangha and we had coffee afterwards. An illustrious Scottish female ordermemberr was in town, and another one from Aryaloka. Seth pointed out her name was mention on the free lecture by Dhammarati at http://www.dharmachakra.com/. I don't want to try and spell her name. Anyway she is lovely and it was so good to get together with everyone.

Human flesh looks like chicken. I've always been an intellectual vegetarian, I never reacted viscerally to dead animals, etc. But for the first time, I felt that human flesh was like chicken, and that while I've stopped eating meat, I really am less likely to take it up after this exhibit.

I really liked The Meatrix but you can go on and on about the argument. Until I felt it is wrong, I did not stay a vegetarian for long.

May all be happy, may all be well.

Monday, April 10, 2006

billboard

http://www.fwbo-nyc.org/index.php

three fetters

I had a lovely retreat on the 3 fetters: if you break them, then you become a stream entrant, and never worry about the gravitational pull of the dharma, you will eventually become a buddha. The retreat begins in the drive up. I enjoyed the company, nature, vegetarian fare (I've finally gotten the discipline to become a vegetarian), meditation, puja. I got a cold, and was sneezing in the shrine room, I worried about interrupting other's meditation. Dino drove back with us, and taught us a new route.

Check out the timer for meditation:

www.berkeleymonastery.org

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Benches

I got a deluxe bench from Windmind today. It's pretty good, but I can imagine a non-portable model that would be more stable. The legs come out from the middle, which is handy when you fold them up, but not so much for balance. It has adjustable legs, which is what I like. Check it out at: http://www.wildmind.org/

My first bench, which I ordered online from I don't know where, I gave to Alyssa, because she's so wonderful. My second bench I got at Aryaloka, made by Bill, and it's my sturdy backup, not sure what to do with it now. Maybe I'll give it to the sangha or maybe I'll take it to work. I also got a cushion which I sometimes use. That's in the car right now. Then I got the cheapest bench I could to leave at Virginia's but we're not there much any more. So I left it at the sangha night space in Soho. And now this deluxe one!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Lokabhandu!

Lokabhandu is in town, and he's an amazing guy. He's just been on a whirlwind tour of FWBO centers around the world. He went on a retreat in India with 3,500 people. That must have been one awesome puja! I wish him well in his travels and in his new post for the F/WBO/TBMSG. I had a lovely evening with him and Vajramati. I appreciate Lokabhandu taking my peppering him with questions well.

But to my horror and a slight chill, I see my blog listed on the FWBO blogspot: http://www.fwbo.blogspot.com/. Yikes and egads. A very public note pad! I suppose that's what I hoped, but I guess I'd given up on the idea. I'll have to be more conscious when I write here.

Vajramati gave me Buddhist Saints In India by Reginald Ray. That's my next book to read.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hundred Verses

I'm trying to increase my time meditating. I went for 50 minutes this morning.

I've greatly enjoyed The Hundred Verses of Advice. Quite inspiring. I've been reading Batchelor's The Awakening of the West. History is sort of secondary, but important anyway. One book triggers more books, there's so much to read, and I love reading, but for me reading is all about motivation about meditating. Meditate meditate meditate!

I continue to listen to free podcasts of the dharma, and enjoy reading the Jalaka reporting in of other GFR mitras.

When Eric goes, William is back into his room, and Andrew begins to go from cradle to crib, and perhaps I can meditate in front of my shrine and not be a nomad in my own house. I enjoy chanting the refuges and precepts from my recently acquired puja book.

We're reconnecting this Saturday with the mitras after 3 weeks. I look forward to it.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

father's haiku on a photo of buddha i took

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f133/zaneparks/buddha.jpg

I took the photo on retreat at Aryaloka. It was a wonderful retreat about going to the Buddha for refuge, with Vidhuma leading it.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

33. Peak Experiences

Andrew has been getting good readings for us. We talked about peak meditation experiences. I had a really good meditation last night. I'm clinging to it, I want to reproduce it.

I rejoice is Seth's merit. He's seared out a cheap room to rent for mitra study so the Brooklyn people don't have such a long ride to attend. We've been alternating from Alyssa's in Bay Ridge, to Seth's in Astoria. That might be a problem for me, with my car, but I'm going to attend no matter what, no matter where, except when family demands me not to go. Seth's act is a wonderful act of inclusion and trying to meet everyone's needs.

Seth has also lent me some tapes: What the buddha felt. And he lent me a Thurman DVD.

I've been reading What Is The Sangha? and Pema Chodron's Comfortable With Uncertainty, which turns out is just a collection from her other stuff. I was reading that at lunch because it's one of the books in my car, and I stopped in a park to eat lunch and be away from the orifice.

I've been spinning all kinds of fantasies about retreats. I need to think some more to figure out my schedule till the GFR week in July that should be the highlight of my retreat year.

Carol sent me a book from Windmind, very kind of her.

Friday, January 13, 2006

32. Vimalakirti-nirdesa

Simon is back with sangha night, and we had some visitors from out of town. I've decided to begin posting to the male ordination newsletter on the Jalaka web site. Couldn't finish my meditation this morning, so exhausted, sick feeling. But over all my meditation has been more steady and regular. I started reading What is the Sangha?

I found Thurman's translation of the Vimalakirti-nirdesa at: http://www.buddhistinformation.com/ida_b_wells_memorial_sutra_library/vimalakirti_nirdesa_sutra.htm

I've been studying it on my own, listening to lectures, reading S's book. The mitras are studying the heart sutra. Sangha night we're studying the four foundations of right mindfulness.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

31. www.buddhistrecovery.com

I'm not usually in the business of plugging others web sites, mostly because I fear nobody reads this blog. But I met Paul yesterday and he's a wonderful fellow. I consider him a new friend from down under, and he has a wonderful web site, which he pays for, and does quite a lot of work for, reading books on buddhism and recovery from substance abuse. If you buy a book through his web site, you might perhaps support his web site. He hopes to make it self sufficient at some point. I see this as a wonderful and useful example of doing something for other people, that helps one's own practice. Paul reports he went to a book store on recovery, and they only had 2 of the 25 books he's reviewed. The book store owner will hence forth use his web site to help create a buddhism and recovery section. Sadhu to Paul and his web partner!

http://www.buddhistrecovery.com/