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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Questioner: Falling for someone is no problem, but accepting someone’s love is difficult for me. (Video)

Question-and-Answer Dharma Talk ~ Venerable Pomnyun Sunim

The Question-and-Answer Dharma talk follows a tradition of Buddhism in which Dharma teachers provide appropriate answers to any questions from Dharma talk attendees. Below is an overview of the tradition and content of the talk. The differences between this format and the general Dharma talk are also addressed.

Ven. Pomnyun Sunim is the founder and guiding Zen master
of Jungto Society. He is not only a Buddhist monk and Zen
master but also a social activist who leads various movements
such as ecological awareness campaigns; promotion of
human rights and world peace; and eradication of famine,
disease, and illiteracy.

Spirituality, Enlightenment & The Mind

By Pamela J. Wells

Nothing To Gain, Only Ideas To Lose

Spirituality and enlightenment is not about gaining anything, acquiring anything new. It is about losing all faulty and false thoughts, ideas, and perceptions about yourself and others, about the world around you, that have blocked you from your source, your natural peace and joy that is within you. It is about realizing our connection to one another, to life, to all living creatures, to the earth, sky and to the universe, to the stars and to other planets, and beyond, to other dimensions, from the physical to the spiritual dimension that we can see and cannot see with the naked eye.
Spiritual & Physical Body

To be spiritual does not mean to deny the body. You accept all that is. The problem is that the world places too much emphasis on the physical, so there is an imbalance. When there is an imbalance, we move further away from our true nature, peace and joy—and closer to our false self, the ego, where we create and project unnecessary pain and suffering onto ourselves and onto others.

Awareness Transcends Your Analytical Mind, Ideas & Notions

When we live from awareness, we transcend our analytical minds, which dissects everything, separates everything into opposites—duality (ugly/beautiful, right/wrong, good/bad), only creating more conflict, anger, and violence. Yet we are oblivious to what we are doing. Why? Because we were raised on ego, the imaginary idea we have about ourselves, which becomes our reality and truth in our mind, because we are so conditioned to think this way, with this mindset. What we are taught to value, especially in the West, is our “Status” in society, from a child on, we are taught to be better than others, compete, and win. If you do, you are valued in our society. You are valued in your family and by your friends. You are valuable. If you lose, you are a failure, a nobody. People will look down on you. This is the ultimate “Insanity” of our society, the delusion that our mind creates and that is perpetuated throughout our society. None of it is real. That is why we have to wake-up. 

We have to wake-up from delusion to what is real. As long as your mind is swept away, swimming and drowning in the ocean of ego and notions, you cannot see the ocean and what you are doing to yourself and to others. You have to save yourself, because society is not going to do it, because the majority of society is with you in the ocean, swept away, swimming and drowning in the ocean of ego and notions. Grabbing onto and attaching yourself to others who are drowning is just pulling you further under and deeper. You have to break away, to save yourself first, before you can even think about helping and saving someone else.
One great way to experience your natural awareness—and start to see everything as it truly is—reality—is to ask yourself a question, “Is what I am thinking real or my imagination?” You could also ask yourself this question, “Is what I am thinking real or societies imagination?”

If you win a ribbon or a trophy, you should be proud of yourself. That is what we are told. The mind creates value out of nothing, out of things that are meaningless. Ascribing meaning to the meaningless, value to the valueless is what our mind creates. Awareness has no value, it just is. When you live in awareness instead of from the ego and all of the minds notions, you can actually feel your natural peace and joy that is within you. Go ahead and compete, if you are an athlete. Have fun, but do not become attached to winning and material objects, like ribbons and trophies. There will come a day when you will no longer be able to compete and if you have not wrapped your identity up into what you have won, your ribbons and trophies, then you will be at peace with yourself and not depressed and down because you are no longer on top and in the headlines and getting the recognition and praise that you once craved so much. 
Competing or Embracing & Accepting

The problem with competition is that it is hard to embrace others and be accepting of others, including ourselves, when we are constantly competing with one another over everything, such as over our perceived status in society, educational level, job position, material objects, relationships, etc. The more that you separate yourself off from others, the less you are Self-LESS, the less you are able to see the suffering of others, the less compassionate you are, the less chances there are that you will give to others or volunteer your time to help others and do so unconditionally, not to impress others, but to do what is right and do what your heart is telling you to do. The more you are embracing instead of competing, the more connected you are to others, which creates a wonderful feeling of joy and peace inside of you, that cannot be felt when you are competing.

Watch Your Thoughts

Watch your thoughts. Be consciously aware, mindful, of your thoughts as often as possible. Keep what’s real and throw out the rest. The less, unnecessary, weight that you have on your mind, the lighter you feel, and the easier life becomes. Do not ascribe meaning to the meaningless, value to the valueless. When egoic thoughts pop up, acknowledge them and release them.

The ego is an illusion, but the problem herein lies, when we believe that we are the ego.  
Habits that are ingrained in us—over years and even decades—take time and practice to break. Go easy on yourself, let go of guilt, when you slip up, and remember:

Every Day is a New Day to Start Afresh,
Every Moment is a New Moment to Start Anew.

For more articles like this, go to Pamela's Spiritual & Inspirational Writer's Blog

Copyright © 2012 Pamela J. Wells. All Rights Reserved
Image licensed under Bigstock.com

Feel free to add a comment, if there is anything that you would like to add or any experiences that you would care to share.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Spiritual & Inspirational Group on Facebook

Spiritual & Inspirational is a group where writers and non-writers can share spiritual and inspirational articles, quotes, books, images and videos that are uplifting, spiritual, inspiring, motivational and enlightening.

Let's Inspire & Uplift Each Other

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Transforming Our Compost

~by Thich Nhat Hanh

When we look deeply at a flower, we can see that it is made entirely of non-flower elements, like sunshine, rain, soil, compost, air, and time. If we continue to look deeply, we will also notice that the flower is on her way to becoming compost. If we don’t notice this, we will be shocked when the flower begins to decompose. When we look deeply at the compost, we see that it is also on its way to becoming flowers, and we realize that flowers and compost “inter-are.” They need each other. A good organic gardener does not discriminate against compost, because he knows how to transform it into marigolds, roses, and many other kinds of flowers.

When we look deeply into ourselves, we see both flowers and garbage. Each of us has anger, hatred, depression, racial discrimination, and many other kinds of garbage in us, but there is no need for us to be afraid. In the way that a gardener knows how to transform compost into flowers, we can learn the art of transforming anger, depression, and racial discrimination into love and understanding. This is the work of meditation.

According to Buddhist psychology, our consciousness is divided into two parts, like a house with two floors. On the ground floor there is a living room, and we call this “mind consciousness.” Below the ground level, there is a basement, and we call this “store consciousness” In the store consciousness, everything we have ever done, experienced, or perceived is stored in the form of a seed, or a film. Our basement is an archive of every imaginable kind of film stored on a videocassette. Upstairs in the living room, we sit in a chair and watch these films as they are brought up from the basement.

Certain movies, such as Anger, Fear, or Despair, seem to have the ability to come up from the basement all by themselves. They open the door to the living room and pop themselves into our videocassette player whether we choose them or not. When that happens, we feel stuck, and we have no choice but to watch them. Fortunately, each film has a limited length, and when it is over, it returns to the basement. But each time it is viewed by us, it establishes a better position on the archive shelf, and we know it will return soon. Sometime a stimulus from outside, like someone saying something that hurts our feelings, triggers the showing of a film on our TV screen. We spend so much of our time watching these films, and many of them are destroying us. Learning how to stop them is important for our well-being.

Traditional texts describe consciousness as a field, a plot of land where every kind of seed can be planted—seeds of suffering, happiness, joy, sorrow, fear, anger, and hope. Store consciousness is also described as a storehouse filled with all our seeds. When a seed manifests in our mind consciousness, it always returns to the storehouse stronger. The quality of our life depends on the quality of the seeds in our store consciousness.

We may be in the habit of manifesting seeds of anger, sorrow, and fear in our mind consciousness; seeds of joy, happiness, and peace may not sprout up much. To practice mindfulness means to recognize each seed as it comes up from the storehouse and to practice watering the most wholesome seeds whenever possible, to help them grow stronger. During each moment that we are aware of something peaceful and beautiful, we water seeds of peace and beauty in us, and beautiful flowers bloom in our consciousness. The length of time we water a seed determines the strength of that seed. For example, if we stand in front of a tree, breathe consciously, and enjoy it for five minutes, seeds of happiness will be watered in us for five minutes, and those seeds will grow stronger. During the same five minutes, other seeds, like fear and pain, will not be watered. We have to practice this way every day. Any seed that manifests in our mind consciousness always returns to our store consciousness stronger. If we water our wholesome seeds carefully, we can trust that our store consciousness will do the work of healing.

Touching Peace: Practicing the Art of Mindful Living book by Thich Nhat Hanh

Image: Watering the Plot Edge After Planting Ipomea by hardworkinghippy at Foter.com

Friday, May 18, 2012

"The false I and the real I" ~Eckhart Tolle (Video)

Is it possible to have a friendship between the false I and the real I?
Eckhart clarifies how he uses the term "ego," reminding us to be compassionate as we uncover our own hidden or conditioned patterns.

How You Know When You Are Living Unconsciously

By Pamela J. Wells

  • When you are trying to control another human being.
  • When you desire to be accepted by others.
  • When you live your life from the ego, the false self, your imagination, your idea of who you think you are.
  • When you are engulfed in thoughts instead of aware of thoughts.

Read More

Copyright © 2012 Pamela J. Wells. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Krishnamurti & Dr Jonas Salk

March 27, 1983

“I can’t go very far if I don’t start very near.” 

~Jiddu Krishnamurti~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cooling the Flames

Thich Nhat Hanh: April 11th 2012 Dublin Ireland

April 11, 2012. 160-minute recording given at he Dublin Convention Centre by Thich Nhat Hanh. The sangha is on the UK and Ireland Tour and this is the public talk in Ireland. Though it has been over twenty years, this is Thay’s second trip to Ireland. The recording begins with singing and a guided meditation led by monastics.

At 23-minutes into the recording, Thay gives an introduction to chanting. With compassion and love, we can be a happy person. How can we generate understanding and love as energies? They can be generated by a spiritual practice, a spiritual dimension. A nation can do the same. We have to learn how to handle our own suffering. Suffering within ourselves and in the world. The monastics have learned to generate compassion by chanting the name of Avalokiteshvara. We listen to the chant 43-minutes into the recording.

The main talk begins at 1:04 into the recording. Mindfulness is an energy for our practice. We can begin with breathing and discover the conditions of happiness in the here and now. At the conclusion, about 2:13 into recording, there is a period of questions and answers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thich Nhat Hanh on Compassionate Listening - Oprah Winfrey Interview (Video)

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says listening can help end the suffering of an individual, put an end to war and change the world for the better. Watch as he explains how to practice compassionate listening.