Tag Archives: rebirth

Another Hsu Yun poem…

 

 

Found this poem, thought I would share

The water and my mind have both settled down
Into perfect stillness.
Sun and moon shine bright in it.
At night I see in the surface
The enormous face of my old familiar moon.
I don’t think you’ve ever met the source of this reflection.
All shrillness fades into the sound of silence.
But now and then a puff of mist floats across the mirror.
It confuses me a little
But not enough to make me forget to forget my cares.

 

~Hsu Yun

2 Comments

Filed under Buddhism

Bringing us back to shore

Life is like stepping onto a boat that is about to sail out to sea and sink.

~Shunryu Suzuki

 

The waves will bring us all back to shore. What form we return in depends on how we deal with the currents we face when out to sea.

When the waves come crashing do we try to navigate around them? Do we let them take us where they will? Or do we crash head first into them, waiting with heavy breath for the next one to do its worst, mocking the waves as they come rolling in?

When the sea has calmed, do we float majestically staring at the gulls passing overhead? Or is there a part of us that misses the torrent, so we flail about creating waves where there were none before?

Maybe we make it to the other shore. Shake ourselves off a bit. Take a look around. The ocean behind us, we have only to explore the new experience and the new shore. We may find that this shore is a lot like the one we left a long time ago, the time before the ocean. But our time spent swimming and struggling has changed how we view this new beach. The sand under feet feels the same, yet isn’t. The salty air tastes the same, but doesn’t.

Or maybe we never make it out of the ocean. Maybe we end up like this fish here. Our bodies left on the rocks waiting to feed those about to take the plunge and navigate the stormy waters. Their actions once out there will determine if they will taste the fresh air, or rot in the sun. Our actions become food for the next generation, or their inspiration.

Cheers.

1 Comment

Filed under Buddhism, Personal

Reborn in emotion

(This is one of a few posts I’m importing from another blog I recently closed down)

Yesterday was a veritable roller coaster of emotion and being for me. When I got to work, my laptop arrived via UPS from our corporate office where it had been wiped clean, and liberated from it’s blue screen of death. This was a joyous occasion for me, as I could now do my work much more efficiently. Of course, when I started it up, I found that the IT guys had upgraded it with Office 2007 (had been using 2000 before) which resulted in mixed emotions for sure. While the new Outlook is much improved, Microsoft (as usual) managed to really fuck up one of the programs that they have done really well, Excel. Excel is the near Universal basic spreadsheet program for just about every person and corporation out there, and so you’d think that if they were going to upgrade this program that is used my millions successfully the world-over, they would just make a few enhancements and leave the interface alone, since people depend on Excel’s efficiency. But that’s not what Microsoft does, is it? Ahh….. impermanence.

The rest of my workday was a continued struggle just to find some basic commands, and then a presentation to the district management that I rocked. Then Alex and Corbin picked me up from work (which is always a good way to start my afternoon/evening) and home to dinner. Veggie chili-and-cheese brats with fries while Corbin was occupied with some Sponge Bob (very yummy).

Then we commenced our nightly ritual. Corbin in the bath, while I watched him play with his toys and splash around in the water. Corbin in his PJs, and then Alex brushes his teeth (always an epic struggle) and then it’s time for Daddy story time. We read a few books, and this is really the point where I’m calming/wearing him down. Though lately, story time makes Daddy just as tired as it does the little one.

After he’s in bed, it’s time for Lost. We don’t have TV service, so the few shows we actually like and want to watch we either do on Netflix or just watch on the interwebs. After sufficiently numbing my mind for 45 minutes, I fart around on failblog for awhile and then it’s time for bed. Escape.

Corbin however, had other plans. His sleep patterns have been improving and as of late he only wakes up 2-3 times a night (I can’t believe I said that was an improvement) but last night something kept him up. We were up with him from 1:30am until about 5:30am if memory serves me right. I got frustrated, pissed off, snapped at my wife for no good reason, and managed to fall asleep for 20 minutes holding him in such an awkward position that I can’t move my head to the left well today.

My goal here is not to complain, but to observe. Observe the situation and watch my reactions to the phenomenon. Yesterday was a near complete fail in mindfulness, but that’s okay. It was yesterday. Today I realize where I went wrong, and can kind of laugh at myself.

There’s the concept of “rebirth” which is likened to a wave returning to the ocean (that’s the shortened idiot’s version). Yesterday I was a furious ocean. Each wave that crashed on my little private beach was different than the one previous. Watching the patterns of rebirth I see how closely they are tied to the violent flux of emotions that I experience. My goal right now is to simply ride the wave. Watch my emotional self. Emotions are part of being a human, I have no need to make them disappear, nor do I wish to.

But this is part of the practice. This is why I have chosen this path. Learn to observe the waves in action, and provide a breakwater to keep them from causing more suffering. If I’m tired, I want to just be tired. Not angry or frustrated. Just tired. If I have work to do, I want to just do it. This is the part of the process. Simple. Mindful. Awake. Now.

Cheers.

Comments Off on Reborn in emotion

Filed under Buddhism

Atheism vs(?) Buddhism

Over on Sweep the Dust, John asks “Can Buddhism be completely atheistic?” I replied in the comments there, but I’d like to elaborate a bit here as well.

Atheism is tricky to pin down now ‘a days. There is the “extreme” atheism that denies the existence of anything supernatural whatsoever, including karma and rebirth. And then there are those that identify as atheists simply because they don’t believe in god/gods. Either one is fine by me. I can embrace the atheistic idea of no deities, but I choose not to define myself by what I don’t believe in.

I believe Buddhism to be largely apatheistic in its approach to deities. It doesn’t really matter if god/gods do exist, because they obviously don’t care about ending our suffering. It falls upon us to end the cycle of samsara (though we may call upon the bodhisattvas to aid us).

But as for “complete” atheism, no, I don’t think it’s really compatible with what the Buddha taught. The Buddha spoke for kalpas upon kalpas about karma and rebirth. It’s kind of hard to deny this, isn’t it?

I think the Buddha addressed skeptics when he states that it takes a noble version of right view to correctly see how karma and rebirth work. So for us, it takes practice, and a little faith. Yes, faith. It takes a bit of faith that yes, we walking a path that results in liberation. It takes a bit of faith to plop down on that zafu for the first time. It takes a bit of faith that the Buddha and the teachers that followed him knew what it was they were talking about. It takes a bith of faith to put into practice the teaching of the Lotus Sutra before you see any real change. It takes a bit of faith to get us on our path (and sometimes to keep us going) because we aren’t fully enlightened. We are unable to see reality as it truly is. But we work towards it, strive towards it.

Now, before you start quoting the Kalama sutra, hold on. First, he was speaking to a particular group of people about a particular set of circumstances. Much of what he said there rings true today and should be applied to one’s teaching. However, no where did he say that one shouldn’t trust wise teachers, or that one shouldn’t trust in (what later became) the sutras. Remember the 3 jewels? It takes trust and faith to walk this Buddhist path. If not, how on earth did first you come to practice Buddhism? You had to have a little faith and trust before you started practicing. You had no direct experience beforehand.

If one wishes to remain skeptical towards karma and rebirth, I think that is healthy. It isn’t taking something on blind faith, it is remaining skeptical while working through it in your practice. Though I think a strong disbelief in either is a form of aversion and craving/attachment. It seems like a thick wall to put up in front of you and your practice. Some may say that Buddhism requires no belief in karma and rebirth. That may be true. Your average practitioner doesn’t have to believe in either. But if we are to believe what the Buddha had to say, and that what he achieved was real, then we also should accept that when we get to that point, we won’t need to believe in either, we will be able to discern it for ourselves.

Karma and rebirth are still tricky for me, as I’ve posted before. But thanks to some helpful dharma bums here on the interwebs, I’ve read a little more, and things are starting to almost make sense for me. I suppose I’ll just not worry too much about it, and focus on what set me on this path in the first place; becoming more mindful, attaining a “quieter” mind, breaking habits, and living more compassionately.

Cheers.

7 Comments

Filed under Buddhism

On Karma and Rebirth

I promised a post on my thoughts on Karma and Rebirth. Here you go:

Yup. There are some ideas that aren’t reconciling with each other in my head. Karma and Rebirth are clashing, and I can’t seem to wrap my head around them. But maybe it doesn’t matter much. Maybe it isn’t something I need to spend much time worrying about. Although they are central concepts to Buddhism, trying to figure them out fully isn’t going to help me right here, right now. It’s just going to make my mind look like this Jackson Pollock painting.

After the next couple of books that I read (review copies that I’ve received), I’ll be diving into The Wings to Awakening, so maybe that will help shed some light. And if not, maybe it will just take some time. If anyone out there has some recommended reading, it would be much appreciated. Also, feel free to leave your thoughts regarding karma and rebirth in the comments section here.

Cheers.

15 Comments

Filed under Buddhism

A life of impermanence/embarassment

Today is my birthday. I am 27 years old. I don’t need to meditate on a dying corpse to see the truth of impermanence. I can see it in my own life, in my constant death and rebirth. I am lucky to have lived 27 years and I am thankful for each day.
 
For the past 10 years or so, I’ve had a series of (mostly)extremely uneventful birthdays. I’m usually broke (as our my friends/family) and have managed to move residences a bunch of times right around my birthday. Who moves in January? So my birthdays have become less of a day of celebration, and more of a day of nostalgia. A day for me to look back to the past, remembering some of the good times over the years (of which I have had plenty).
 
For fun, I figured I would show you all a little history of the “me”s that have come and gone over these 27 years. They have all since died, but a part of them continues on always. So have fun sharing in my nostalgia/embarassment!

Just a couple of weeks ago when it snowed here.

A week or so after my son was born.

A week or so after my son was born.

My wife and I before the baby. I kind of hate myself here. He looks all rested and full of energy. Jerk.

Enter the Gut (and yes, I was hammerd here)

My best Bill Brasky impersonation after a dozen or so drinks. No, I don't remember college.

oh to be 18 again. I'm sure my father's hairline wishes he was 18 again too.

I was about 16 here. On a tractor, clearing our 4 acres to make a go-kart track.

Puberty was a cruel bitch.

Oh the Nostalgia! I'm the one on the right.

No comment.

I've been a little bit metal my whole life.

Hope you enjoyed. Cheers. 

6 Comments

Filed under Personal