Practice

Taking Refuge in the Sangha: Growing into Peace

The prevalence of technology in modern society presents us with a dilemma: the more dependent we become, the more we begin to see technology as a sort of savior, as something that will become our ultimate friend, our source of joy and comfort. Our love affair with technology increases day by day, and we rely on it far beyond its original, practical application; it’s place in our lives is at this point beyond our control. At this moment, human society is at risk of losing its moral and ethical basis as we work less and less with one another as fellow human beings. Unless something changes dramatically in this co-dependence between people and technology, the isolation between fellow human beings will only increase. The prevalence of technology in modern society presents us with a dilemma: the more dependent we become, the more we begin to see technology as a sort of savior, as something that will become our ultimate friend, our source of joy and comfort. Our love affair with technology increases day by day, and we rely on it far beyond its original, practical application; it’s place in our lives is at this point beyond our control. At this moment, human society is at risk of losing its moral and ethical basis as we work less and less with one another as fellow human beings. Unless something changes dramatically in this co-dependence between people and technology, the isolation between fellow human beings will only increase. 

Living Life in Accordance with Natural Power: Part 1 - Resistance, Surrender & Karma

Power, in it's many forms, affects our daily lives.  It exists both in nature and in our man-made systems -- political, social, and economic.  It is important for us to be able to distinguish natural power, from power that is man-made.  In this way, our responses to power can be beneficial rather than harmful.

Cultivating Aspiration Bodhicitta: Part 1 - Generating Great Kindness

To cultivate the intention to be of benefit to all sentient beings , we must have an immense amount of loving-kindness and compassion. We are not talking about delivering mundane happiness, although that is not excluded, but here we want to deliver the potential to be enlightened to others, single-handedly through our own effort. It takes a vast amount of kindness to think of all beings’ happiness in this profound way.

Dropping the Show Business: Shrinking Our Persona

Wherever we go we carry the "bigness" of our persona. We take up so much space with all the things we do not want to give up, whether it is our aggression, our pride, our critical mind and all the other things making up our persona. Anything else in our space threatens us, and makes us feel unwelcome, so problems arise continually. We need to think how to actually shrink our persona and be an ordinary, decent person. Some people come to the Dharma and manifest in such grandiose ways, it is all about being attractive to others.  But being a practitioner is about being peaceful with with yourself, not about constantly being noticed by others. That is what showbusiness is about, being attractive and recognized to others. There is a lot of confusion around this. 

Life Release Commentary

When we are able to acquaint ourselves with others and sensitize ourselves to the pain and pleasures of other beings, that is truly the starting point of our spiritual development, and it is the true practice of all religion. The significance of the life release practice is that it truly responds to that call to do something for another being whose life is in grave danger.

Working with Attachments: Part 1 - Facing One's Mind Before Facing One's Situation

There’s not much point to recognizing your suffering if you have no path to work with it. If holding on won’t affect the outcome, if a situation is destined to go in a particular direction, then such hanging on is useless and misguided. First you must face your own mind and emotions before you face one's situation. In doing so, a sense of acceptance and willingness to face situations will arise, along with mental stability.

You Are Not Your Reactions - Part 3

By cultivating a detached awareness to our emotional reactions; by not viewing the emotions as “black and white". We gain a balanced perspective. We no longer feel a need to react aggressively or judge our own behavior. By remaining present with our sensations that are based on our emotional reactions, we stay connected to this wakeful energy. Sensations don't become such a big deal. So don't be so afraid of allowing sensations to occur.

You Are Not Your Reactions - Part 2

As we develop a capacity to work with the mind in a mature way, we can discover how to relinquish the need to react, as well as the need to suppress our emotions through a sense of self-judgment. When you get rid of the grasping, the attachments, the rejection you start to feel an incredible sense of energy inside. Even though you began by feeling horrible, it’s almost as if you begin to feel like a mountain or a warrior.

You Are Not Your Reactions, Part 1

It is very important to recognize that the reactions we feel are not necessarily who we are. When emotional reactions occur, we need to have the capacity to dissociate ourselves from the reactions that are happening. This is especially important for a meditator. What sense is there in being a meditator without being able to look at our reactions or neurotic behavior in this way?

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