I was installing something on my computer this morning and I smiled when I remembered that, prior to meeting my husband, computers were for me something that I barely touched, using the one in my house back then only to write some paper work for university from time to time (yeah, that was a different age, we used handwriting more often 😛 – I still use it probably more than half of you, dear readers, although I discovered also that Microsoft Office is quite a friendly application :).
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that after meeting my husband I “evolved” up to the point where I’m not only capable to use the current system, but I’m able to assemble one from pieces, install the software (starting with the OS) and whatever other programs I need, and do many other things with it. In other words, “I learned”. Which is something that we ALL do, all our lives, voluntarily or involuntarily – we learn in order to adapt to the circumstances presented to us by life. Some say that we are able to learn even prior to being born from our mothers’ wombs – I don’t know about that, but for sure we are able to learn starting with the moment when we are born, and we continue to learn until the day we die.
The reasons why we learn are obvious. The reasons why we don’t learn can also be obvious, but neither ones nor the others make my topic for today. Instead I am going to mention a discussion that I had with a friend only a couple of days ago, in which he (my friend), who, coincidentally, is going to be a professor, was telling me that if I’m not able to teach someone a certain thing, maybe it’s because of the method that I’m applying.
I was tempted to reject the idea, for many reasons (pride among them), but fortunately for me I was smart enough in that moment to simply shut up, to listen to what he was saying and to chew on his words later that night. And then I realized that he was pretty much telling me what I always stated – that prior to teach someone WHAT to learn, you have to teach them HOW to learn. Ignacio Estrada said that “If a child can’t learn the way WE teach, maybe we should teach the way THEY learn”. The final goal is not for our own teaching to impose itself unto the mind of a being, but for that being to learn something from our teaching.
What my friend may not have realized at that point was the lesson that I myself had to learn that evening – and that is that the hardest to learn is when you think you already know what you’re learning. But as John Cotton Dana said, “He who dares to teach must never cease to learn”. And I myself feel lucky to have remembered such a beautiful lesson of life – and above all, lucky to have friends to teach it to me again :). Namaste!
The image used was taken from http://quotespictures.com/who-dares-to-teach-must-never-cease-to-learn-education-quote/
LILIANA NEGOI (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) ~ is a member of our core team on Into the Bardo. She is the author of three published volumes of poetry in English, which is not her mother tongue but one that she came to love especially because of writing: Sands and Shadows, Footsteps on the San – tanka collection and The Hidden Well. The last one can also be heard in audio version, read by the author herself on her SoundCloud site HERE. Many of her creations, both poetry and prose, have been published in various literary magazines.
There is something truly wonderful about travel. I have been blessed in the past to be able to visit a number of other countries. I have been to Egypt, France, England, China, Mexico, Switzerland, Bolivia, Peru, Spain and I lived in Okinawa for a year. The Okinawa year was when I was quite young and with a former husband, not a really, really great experience. David and I never really traveled as Americans. We have always been aware of the “ugly American syndrome” and truly did not wish to participate in it. We did not make any reservations other than airline. Although to be honest, I brought that sort of travel to an end in 1996 when we arrived in Seville without Hotel reservations after having driven from Madrid. I was 50, it was hot, we were dirty and very tired. Exhausted, looking for a hotel while driving down streets no wider than the car was not my idea of fun. But we survived and we were introduced to Tapas.
Travel, if you allow it to do so will open your mind to the rest of the world. You will see people other than those to whom you are accustomed. You will see things through their lens. When visiting ancient cities or ruins should you take the time you can see things through the lens of those who once were. I believe that travel builds compassion, empathy, sensitivity, mercy and tolerance towards others within the individual traveler. Traveling is about real connection with another culture. Visiting Machu Picchu was something that I wished to do since I was 8 years old. I did not grow up with a television but instead had a subscription to National Geographic Magazine. How I loved it. It opened up for me new vistas and made me aware of the world that was “out there.” I had my first yearnings to connect with others, different from myself.
It is difficult to select a favorite trip. I remember incredible aspects of each country that we have visited. Below is a poem and a few photos from one of my favorite trips: Machu Picchu, Peru. I was privileged to be able to engage a native shaman while on my trip to Peru. At Machu Picchu my husband went one way and I another to do ceremony with the shaman. Later we met up and navigated the mountain. One of the important things that happened to me while there was that I lost my rapidly growing fear of heights. The only way up the mountain was by bus. The road was one bus-wide. Looking out my window straight down the mountain face was frightening. Really frightening! It was at that point that I said to myself, enough! I will no longer be afraid of heights! By the time that I was on top of the mountain my fear was gone. I knew that this was true when I walked up to the edge of of the plateau and dangled my foot over the edge. I was so grateful for that loss, it was life changing.
Still, stillness now
– Liz Rice-Sosne
© 2013, essay and photographs, Liz Rice-Stone, All rights reserved
LIZ RICE-SOSNE a.k.a. Raven Spirit (noh where), perhaps the oldest friend to Bardo, is the newest member of The Bardo Group Core Team. She is also our new Voices for Peace project outreach coordinator and our go-to person for all things related to haiku. She says she “writes for no reason at all. It is simply a pleasure.” Blogging, mostly poetry, has produced numerous friends for whom she has a great appreciation. Liz is an experienced blogger, photographer and a trained shaman. We think her middle name should be “adventure.”
Our thanks to Laurel D. for contributing this film clip.
The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational stories ever told. 109 year old, Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and oldest holocaust survivor, shares her views on how to live a long happy life. She discusses the vital importance of music, laughter and having an optimistic outlook on life. This powerfully inspirational video tells her remarkable story of survival and how she managed to use her time in a Nazi concentration camp to empower herself and others with music. See the entire documentary at:
IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PEOPLE OF BOSTON
PEOPLE EVERYWHERE WHO ARE SUFFERING THE EFFECTS OF VIOLENCE
There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be used as source of strength.” No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that is our real disaster.’ ” Dalai Lama XIV
Easier said than done, I know.
Photo credit ~ Bobby Makul, Public Domain Pictures.net
Commercial interests with their advertising industry do not want people to develop contentment and less greed. Military interests in economic, political, ethnic or nationalist guises, do not want people to develop more tolerance, nonviolence and compassion. And ruling groups in general, in whatever sort of hierarchy do not want the ruled to become too insightful, too independent, too creative on their own, as the danger is that they will become insubordinate, rebellious, and unproductive in their alloted tasks.” Robert Thurman, Ph.D., American Buddhist, writer, and Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University
We can never share the above comment by Bob Thurman enough as either a wake-up call or a reminder. We are indeed forever being worked by the media, business, and political interests. Here in Matthieu Ricard’s “The Habits of Happiness” is a discussion of the inner conditions for happiness, which help us maintain a frame of mind that is not susceptible to fool’s gold offered by the “ruling groups.” Jamie Dedes
Video posted to YouTube by TEDtalksDirector
THERAVADA SPIRITUALITY IN THE WEST
While the Western contact and study of the Theravāda tradition goes back to the earliest Christian missionaries in Sri Lanka in the sixteenth century and to European scholars in the early nineteenth century, the beginning of popular Western interest in and inspiration from Southeast Asian Buddhism began around 1870. Since that time there has been two peaks in this interest: the first, from 1870 to 1912 and the second, a century later from 1970 to the present. The former was characterized primarily by an intellectual orientation as Europeans and Americans found in the early Buddhist texts preserved by the contemporary Theravāda tradition an attractive alternative to Western religious beliefs. In contrast, the current upsurge in interest centers predominantly around religious praxis, with specific practices attaining great popularity sometimes completely divorced from the doctrinal and religious context of the Southeast Asian Theravāda tradition(s). At the same time however, an influx of immigrants from Theravāda countries, especially to the United States, has resulted in the presence of numerous Thai, Burmese and Sri Lankan temples that replicate the cultural forms of Theravāda Buddhism of their respective home countries. Most of these ethnic temples created since 1970 have had little impact outside of their respective ethnic constituencies.
With the exception of the partially westernized Sri Lankan missionary Anagārika Dharmapāla (1864 – 1933; discussed below), Theravāda Buddhism has mostly been introduced to the West by westerners. As can be expected, the importation of Theravāda Buddhism to the West has involved a selection, translation and adaptation process as westerners defined the tradition for themselves. What has been most fascinating about this process is that the twentieth century Theravāda Buddhism that many westerners are encountering in Southeast Asia has been profoundly changed by the nineteenth century Asian contact with the West and with Western interpretations of Buddhism. MORE [Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, California, USA]
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Gil Fronsdal is the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City, California; he has been teaching since 1990. He has practiced Zen and Vipassana in the U.S. and Asia since 1975. He was a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985, and in 1989 began training with Jack Kornfield to be a Vipassana teacher. Gil teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he is part of its Teachers Council.
Gil was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Center in 1982, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center. He is currently serving on the SF Zen Center Elders’ Council.
Gil has an undergraduate degree in agriculture from U.C. Davis where he was active in promoting the field of sustainable farming. In 1998 he received a PhD in Religious Studies from Stanford University studying the earliest developments of the bodhisattva ideal. He is the author of The Issue at Hand, essays on mindfulness practice, and the translator of The Dhammapada, published by Shambhala Publications.
You may listen to Gil’s talks on Audio Dharma.
The Buddha illustration is courtesy of The Buddha Gallery. If you click on the photograph, you will link to a detailed description.
Video posted on YouTube by daryndamae
Well the bear will be gentle,
And the wolves will be tame.
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb, oh yes.
And the beasts from the wild,
Shall be lead by a child.
And I’ll be changed, changed from this creature that I am, oh yes.
From the song Peace In The Valley by Thomas A. Dorsey
Reblogged from Gypsy’s place: The Cat’s Meow.
© Gypsy photo, 2013, KarenFayeth, All rights reserved
Kitty gif courtesy of Cat Stuff: Thousands of Animations
Video uploaded to YouTube by bisonfilms
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī
Sufi Mystic and Poet (1207 A.D. – 1273 A.D.
Born in what is now Afghanistan, Died in Turkey
Your heart is the size of an ocean.
Go find yourself in its hidden depths.
Credit ~ The illustration of Rumi is in the U. S public domain.
Video ~ upload to YouTube by Mevlanaism.
Reblogged from July 2012. J.D.
OUR INTENTIONS — noticed or unnoticed, gross or subtle – contribute either to our suffering or to our happiness. Intentions are sometimes called seeds. The garden you grow depends on the seeds you plant and water. Long after a deed is done, the trace or momentum of the intention behind it remains as a seed, condition our future happiness or unhappiness.” Gil Frondsdal, Teacher, Insight Meditation Center, Redwood City, CA
Photo credit ~ Hana Muchová, Public Domain Pictures.net
Vivekandanda’s Address to the first World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, IL, USA, 1893 excerpt from the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Vol I.
“ I will tell you a little story. You have heard the eloquent speaker who has just finished saying, ‘Let us cease from abusing each other,’ and he was very sorry that there should be always so much variance. But I think I should tell you a story which would illustrate the cause of this variance.
“A frog lived in a well. It had lived there for a long time. It was born there and brought up there, and yet was a little, small frog. Of course, the evolutionists were not there then to tell us whether the frog lost its eyes or not, but, for our story’s sake, we must take it for granted that it had its eyes, and that it every day cleansed the water of all the worms and bacilli that lived in it with an energy that would do credit to our modern bacteriologists. In this way it went on and became a little sleek and fat. Well, one day another frog that lived in the sea came and fell into the well.
“‘Where are you from?’ ‘I am from the sea.’ ‘The sea! How big is that? Is it as big as my well?’ and he took a leap from one side of the well to the other. ‘My friend,’ said the frog of the sea, ‘how do you compare the sea with your little well?’ Then the frog took another leap and asked, ‘Is your sea so big?’ ‘What nonsense you speak, to compare the sea with your well!’ ‘Well then,’ said the frog of the well, ‘nothing can be bigger than my well; there can be nothing bigger than this; this fellow is a liar, so turn him out.’
“That has been the difficulty all the while.
“I am a Hindu, I am sitting in my own little well and thinking that the whole world is my little well. The Christian sits in his little well and thinks the whole world is his well. The Mohammedan sits in his little well and thinks that is the whole world. I have to thank you of America for this great attempt you are making to break down the barriers of this little world of ours, and hope that, in the future, the Lord will help you to accomplish your purpose.”
May all sentient beings find peace.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD PARLIMENT OF RELIGIONS
Video posted to YouTube by parliamentofreligion.
JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI (1895-1986)
Indian writer and speaker on spiritual subjects.
Meditation is to be aware of the activities of the mind – the mind as the mediator, how the mind divides itself as the mediator and the meditation, how the mind divides itself as the thinker and the thought, the thinker dominating thought, controlling thought, shaping thought.” Krishnamurti
Photo credit ~ photograph form the Library of Congress George Grantham Bain collection. Under digital ID ggbain.38863. No known restrictions on publication.
ANDREE GEULEN-HERSCOVICI (b. 1921), Belgian
Saved 300 Jewish children during the Holocaust
LESSONS IN COURAGE AND COMPASSION
With love for her students who would surely face death at the hands of the Nazis, Andree Geulen (then a twenty-year-old teacher) hung the Star of David on her Cross of Jesus and one-by-one walked three-hundred children out of the Holocaust and into life. They called her Mademoiselle. Her story is a lesson in courage and compassion.
There are unsung heroes in this story too. They are the men and women who subsequently took these children in at risk to themselves. They raised and presented the children as their own. They taught them to put on the face of Christianity for safety sake while secretly teaching them to honor their own Judaism.
Laurel D. sent me this video with a song that was written to honor Andree Geulen-Herscovici. The complete story is embedded in the video. The song was written to honor Mrs. Geulene-Herscovici’s 90th birthday, as you will note in the video.
Andree Geulen-Herscovici, May 1998, at the reunion of children who had been saved during the war at Chateau Jamoigne, Belgium: Her comment HERE. (Must read.)
Belgian woman who saved 300 children in the Holocaust gets honorary Israeli citizenship HERE.
© 2012, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Video uploaded to YouTube by ShaulHarel
Photo credit ~ Andree Geulen, Maison des Justes Histoire
This is just in from Br. David’s team at Gratefulness.org. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity and, since the event will be live-streamed by Sounds True, you can attend no matter where in the world you live and at no charge. J.D.
We have long wanted to host a summit at which world-class speakers – friends of Br. David’s through his decades of travels – could mutually envision fresh pathways for the global community to live in harmony and compassion. People from all walks of life could gather at this summit to find renewing insight desperately needed in chaotic times. Now this dream is coming to fruition:
David Whyte, Angeles Arrien, Chungliang Al Huang, Roshi Joan Halifax, Fritjof Capra, Chip Conley, and more than a dozen other extraordinary speakers, musicians, and dancers will be with us at “Pathways to Gratefulness” in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts on Saturday, June 23rd. Your presence makes this event a vital catalyst! We cannot wait to see many of you in person. And no one need miss this opportunity, thanks to live-streaming:
Live-stream footage will be online free of cost until July 31st . Thank you so much to those of you who are offering donations to help make live-streaming available to all.
Please take a moment to forward this message to your friends. This helps us tremendously since, without your help, we cannot reach all the people who would benefit from this event. Your participation in “Pathways to Gratefulness” brings you further in touch with a groundswell of grassroots commitment to keep alive the true dignity and joy of being human.
Photo credit ~ Verene Kessler via Wikipedia and generously released into the public domain with the caveat that the photographer be attributed.
Video uploaded to YouTube by meditativemoments
Br. David ~ is notable for his work fostering dialogue among the faiths and for exploring the congruence between science and spirituality. Early in his career he was officially designated by his abbot to pursue Catholic-Buddhist dialogue. He studied with several well-known Zen masters. He is the author of feature articles, chapter contributions to collections, and books. Among the most notable are Belonging to the Universe (with Frijof Capra) and The Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day (with Sharon Lebell). Br. David is the co-founder of A Network for Grateful Living, dedicated to the life-transforming character of gratitude.
“IF YOU CAN SEE YOUR PATH LAID OUT IN FRONT OF YOU STEP BY STEP,
YOU KNOW IT’S NOT YOUR PATH.
YOUR OWN PATH YOU MAKE WITH EVERY STEP YOU TAKE.
THAT’S WHY IT’S YOUR PATH.”
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
American mythologist, educator, writer
“FOLLOW YOUR BLISS
AND THE UNIVERSE WILL OPEN DOORS FOR YOU
WHERE THERE WERE ONLY WALLS.”
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
American mythologist, educator, writer
Photo credit ~ Zondor via Wikipedia under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 unported license.
Remembering the Buddha and his teachings
with joy, gratitude, and generosity
[I’m sorry that I could not share this letter with you in a more timely fashion. The Buddha’s birthday was on May 6 this year. Nonetheless, the message is an important one. We are committed to supporting this effort and hope to engage your support as well. Thank you for reading …. J.D.]
The most important holiday in the Buddhist calendar, Vesak, is just around the corner. Starting on the full moon day of May, the month of Vesak celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and passing away of the Buddha. It is a day – and a month – not only for joy and gratitude but also for recollection: for remembering the Buddha’s teachings and making a more earnest effort to practice them.
The first step of Buddhist practice is giving, and the most basic gift is the gift of food. The importance of food can be gauged from the Buddha’s own life story. In the Middle Length Discourses, he tells us that before his enlightenment, he undertook long fasts that reduced his body to a tent of bones. When he saw that the true path to awakening requires deep meditation, he also realized: “It isn’t easy to meditate with an emaciated body.
Let me eat sustaining food such as rice and porridge.” It was only after he regained his strength that he could reach his goal.
Not only is it hard to meditate with an emaciated body, but when one is malnourished it’s hard to do anything – except wait intently for the next meal. Yet close to a billion people around the world endure this fate. It’s to give such people a fresh chance at life that BGR came into being, and this purpose has inspired our work through the years.
We don’t just give handouts. Rather, we seek to make people productive and self-sufficient. We do so in diverse ways: by supporting the education of poor children, especially girls; by creating right livelihood opportunities for women; and by supporting ecologically sustainable small-scale agriculture. In just four years, we’ve already sponsored fifty projects around the world, in Asia, Africa, Haiti, and the U.S. Some of our recent projects include:
Today BGR plays a major role in representing Buddhism on the stage of global giving. In fact, in late April we participated in a historical conference at the White House that brought representatives of the “Dharmic religions” into contact with government agencies in a common commitment to humanitarian service.
We hope to continue our mission long into the future, both in the U.S. and abroad. However, we can’t fulfill our goals without help from friends like you who share our ideals and resonate with our values. Your donations are the key to everything we do: to combating malnutrition, educating poor children, and helping those who cannot help themselves. And because we’re an all-volunteer organization, we use the funds we receive prudently, with care and discretion, to ensure that 85-90% of every dollar goes directly to finance projects.
So, remembering the great compassion the Buddha extended to us, let us extend compassion to others. This Vesak season please bring forth a heart of generosity and support the work of BGR. When you give, you become part of our mission, our partner in giving a helping hand to those who need help. And you experience the joy of knowing that you are truly making a positive difference in this world, a difference that’s transforming lives.
May all blessings be with you and your family, on Vesak and beyond.
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Founder and Chairperson
Buddhist Global Relief is a 501(c)(3) organization. Gifts are deductible to the full extent allowable under IRS regulations. You can either donate online via PayPal on the BGR web site or send a check to:
Buddhist Global Relief
PO Box 1611
Sparta, New Jersey 07871 USA
If your company has a Matching Gift Program, please enclose the necessary forms as well.
THICH NHAT HANH (IN BROWN) AT HUE CITY AIRPORT, VIETNAM (2007)
“The situation the Earth is in today has been created by unmindful production and unmindful consumption. We consme to forget our worries and our anxieties. Tranquilizing ourselves with over-consumption is not the way.” Thich Nhat Hanh, 2010, Tricycle Magazine
The Guardian UK posted an article in February that was written by Jo Confino and in which the dear Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn, discusses his views on current environmental challenges and the need for a spiritual revolution to address them. I hope you will link through and read the article today or watch the interview video below in honor of our ultimate Mother, Earth. In Metta on Mothers Day, J.D.
“Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has been practising meditation and mindfulness for 70 years and radiates an extraordinary sense of calm and peace. This is a man who on a fundamental level walks his talk, and whom Buddhists revere as a Bodhisattva; seeking the highest level of being in order to help others.
Ever since being caught up in the horrors of the Vietnam war, the 86-year-old monk has committed his life to reconciling conflict and in 1967 Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, saying “his ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.”
So it seems only natural that in recent years he has turned his attention towards not only addressing peoples’ disharmonious relationships with each other, but also with the planet on which all our lives depend.” MORE
And here is the video of the interview:
Photo credit ~ courtesy of Lu’u Ly via Wikipedia and generously released into the public domain.
Video ~ uploaded to YouTube by NiemPhatThanhPhat .
Delivering I Have a Dream, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
No one articulated the dream of human dignity with quite the same poetry and passion as Martin Luther King, Jr.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Editorial Note: We humans struggle for freedom in many circumstances and many places. In November of the same year that Dr. King delivered this speech, the first world-wide Prisoner of Conscience Week was honored. Such events remind us that no wo/man is truly free until all are free.
MAY ALL SENTIENT BEINGS FIND PEACE
The photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr. is in the public domain and is viewed here courtesy of Wikipedia. The video of Dr. King was uploaded to YouTube by sullentoys . The Joyful Noise gospel acapella group was uploaded to YouTube by LadyKej.