Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008


So I asked for ordination into the Wester Buddhist Order several years ago, and they have retreats for the men about once a year. This year the retreat was held at Jikoji. It was lead by Dhammarati, who did a wonderful job. We studied the eight point mind training.

One revelation on the retreat was to find out more about Ksitigarbha. The retreat was on bodhicitta, and I learned a new meditation to facilitate that. Because my last retreat was solitary, I found it was easier to take refuge in the sangha.

The word vipaka was used a lot. It's the fruit of karma.

Also, I was mortified to find out I was the only one who didn't know what Quinoa was. Turns out it's nutritional content is good, it is a more complete protein.

Bookending the trip was a visit to my father and stepmother in Livermore. Tomorrow I fly home and I look forward to being reunited with my wife and children.

Friday, July 18, 2008


In searching trichiliocosm, I found Rigpa Wiki, which is, "an online encyclopedia and media library of Tibetan Buddhist teachings designed especially for students of Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche."

I'm reading Conze's The Perfection of Widson in Eight Thousand Lines, which came out in 1958. I bought the book, but you can find a PDF file of it here.

In thinking about my approach to the upcoming retreat that begins at 3pm today, I quote the following verses from the The Perfection of Widson in Eight Thousand Lines:

If someone would say, ‘On condition that you have shattered Mount Sumeru,
You will be one who will attain to the foremost enlightenment.’
And if he [then] effects a thought of fatigue or limitation [to his efforts],
Then that Bodhisattva is affected by indolence.

But when there arises to him the mindful thought, ‘That is nothing difficult.
In a mere moment Sumeru [will] break up into dust,’
Then the wise Bodhisattva becomes one who puts forth vigour.
Before long he will attain the foremost enlightenment of the Leaders.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Comedy and the lama


I'm visiting my father and step-mother before the retreat. They are kind and good hosts. Meditating is OK with them, they give me space to prepare for my retreat. I'm adjusting to the time zone, recovering from the flight. I'm excited to begin tomorrow.

I'm enjoying a memior called Turtle Feet, about a guys time as a monk in Dharmasala. It's Jack Kerouac without the booze, more intelligent and really spiritual, but with the intense over the top friend, and the odd assortment of characters.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


My ride will be outside in 5 minutes. I'm sad to leave my family. I'm tired from all my responsibilities. I'm excited to go on a trip, to see the guys, to be on retreat. I felt the mindfulness increasing as a kind of anticipation of retreat. Six years isn't a long time, but I have done retreats every year and in the early years I did a lot of retreats before the kids came along.

I was talking at work about how it's hard to lift up the responsibilities when I return from retreat. Time passes, I know, and soon enough I will be back. To be mindful through it all is my goal, and to spend time with friends. One pointed and in the moment, flexible and kind. Open and willing. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

sexy waiting

Batchelor writes in Living With The Devil, "The practice of waiting is to learn how to rest in the nirvanic ease of contingent things. yet waiting is not passive inaction any more than emptiness is nothingness. As an alert stillness that cradles perplexity, it is the ground from which we can respond in unpredictable ways to life's unfolding and the inevitable encounter with others." p 117.

It's been suggested that my path is that of the perfection of patience, so I thought this was interesting. My friend intimated something similar, surprisingly.


Stephen Batchelor's book, Living With the Devil, is really good. He's talking about the metaphor of the path, and notes that in other languages you can say "pathing" as a verb.

He write, "The art of creating a path is to do neither too much nor too little." There are many great quotes about path. Tomorrow I go on a sangha hike with Alyssa and Maria, so the term path is even more poignant. I might xerox some pages to read while we're on the hike.

We were lucky enough for Batchelor to agree to meet with the NYC FWBO sangha, when he was in town promoting the book, and he was generous enough to give our sangha a copy of the book. I never got my hands on it, even though I was generous enough to share it when he handed it to me. I broke down and bought a copy for myself. He's one of my favorite Buddhist authors. I highly recommend his books, and especially this one.

Also of note, there are some good talks of his on the Upaya web site, in the podcasts. He also share some talks on his site.

The incomparable Bodhipaksa reviews Batchelor's most famous book Buddhism Without Belief on Wildmind. I couldn't help but add my 2 cents reading his review...