Vajramati turned 28 yesterday. Again. He's been Vajramati longer than he's been Peter. We celebrated with Sita, her mother, Savanna and me, plus Sue.
It's really a lucky thing he decided to commit to New York City to work for the good of the dharma, because many people are intimidated by NYC or find it easier to go to an established sangha. He's showed fortitude, commitment, sradha and a great kindness that marks his every interaction. He is wise, integrated, centered, deep, clear, thoughtful and sensitive to others.
My toast to him is to thank him for not going to Padmaloka, and coming to NYC, because it's hard to see how I would have gotten into the dharma without him. He's had a huge impact on my life, and I'm sure others. We celebrated his spiritual rebirth in the order yesterday. Happy birthday Vajramati!
Thiradhamma got married and lots of OMs showed up, even Naghabodhi from England and Buddhapalita from Montana, and Suddasa from Maine, Vajramati from New York City, Vidhuma and Surakshita from New Hampshire and Punya from Boston.
As reported on FWBO/TBMSG news, CNN has gotten interested in the LBC and meditation. I met a fellow last night who was lucky enough to live in a community near there, and go to the LBC. I hope some day to get there.
It's being tried in Oakland California, sponsored in a public school by a near by private school. It's also been tried in Lancaster PA.
Why not try all the tools available to us? I'm trying to gently teach my sons to meditate. At 3 and 1 they can't really do it yet, but they see me do it. And I saw my step father do it 2x a day since I was 7, and I eventually found it at 35. For me it's the most revolutionary thing that's happened to me. I naturally would like to share that with everyone who is open to it.
I didn't know Tiger Woods was a Buddhist. While he says he doesn't practice all the time, or believe everything, that could apply to most. His mother is a Buddhist. See Bodhi's list of top 10 famous Buddhists. Also Orlando Bloom is one. And Kate Bosworth, an actress from Superman Returns.
I suppose I was flattered to be asked to review a DVD of Deepak Chopra. I thought maybe I could give the DVD to the agency I work for, they do have a chaplain and spiritual groups. Most of the clients are Christian, but I believe in learning about all the wisdom of the world.
Prior to this DVD, I listened to one of his tapes, from the library, on energy. His suggestion, if I remember correctly, was to rest more, to get more energy. I like going the opposite way sometimes, I liked his advice.
Shambhala Sun reviews Chopra's book on the Buddha says, "Buddhist will turn up their noses at Buddha for it's loose interpretation of scripture adn it's new-age dilution of Buddhist philosophy." He has posted The Huffington Post about the Buddha.
In the Wikipedia entry on Deepak Chopra, I learned he was a very successful western medical doctor and teacher before he turned to the spiritual world.
For me, Buddhism is the path. There is similarity with Hinduism, which is what I believe Chopra's tradition is, as he references the Vedas. Hindism itself is very diverse. Chopra advocates Transcendental Meditation. In TM you focus on a mantra that is your object of concentration. I do mindfulness of breathing and metta bahavana.
I sometimes find spiritual advice overly simplistic, but I´m also aware of my cynical nature that pooh poohs this kind of stuff. For me the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order finds the right tone for me. I know some people who embrace Hinduism in it´s universal form, or TM, and find benefit. When people find what is right for them, I feel the happiness that I felt at finding the access to the dharma through the FWBO.
I don´t know enough to criticize his use of certain ideas in relationship to Buddhism. It feels a bit wishy washy and vague at times, and sometimes it feels more in harmony with me. I like the idea of being natural, going with the least resistance. It almost makes me think of Bhante´s advice to work as little as you can get away with--advice that runs contrary to the protestant work ethic. I find people judged as not working, elderly adults, children, disabled and unemployed, and therefore as unworthy. There's a lack of generosity in America in my opinion. I get other bloggers challenging me for saying that, like I can't observe something negative about America. I feel like my country has been hijacked by unlike minded people.
I want to be open minded, but I'd say to my FWBO brethren to pass on this DVD. I would encourage seeks to consider this DVD, especially if you haven't really explored world religions, because it does have some interesting language. I found "manifest" a bit funny, but then I heard my friends using that word a lot. I sometimes wonder if these kinds of thing are interesting because they are foreign. It's a matter of extremes—to discount everything foreign or to discount everything native.
Finally I like the spiritual and non-materialistic focus, even though they do have "successful business people" in the DVD. I wish Deepak Chopra well.