What can we learn from Doubt?

“When we doubt ourselves before starting a new venture, a new relationship, or taking the next big steps in our lives, we can reflect on how many others have started businesses, new ventures, new relationships, and done so in spite of doubts. Let it be an adventure, an exploration, and willingly plunge into possibility. This is how we learn and grow. We can say “Thank you doubt for trying to protect me, but I want to live with a sense of adventure and not regrets. Let me follow my dreams, creativity and heart, and see what happens.” ~ Jack Kornfield

Doubt and Monkey Mind
by Paolo Nicollo

Metta practice is the cultivation …

English: Buddha's statue located near Belum Ca...

Image via Wikipedia ~ Buddha

Metta practice is the cultivation of our capacity for lovingkindness. It does not involve either positive thinking or the imposition of an artificial positive attitude. There is no need to feel loving or kind during metta practice. Rather, we meditate on our good intentions, however weak or strong they may be, and water the seeds of these intentions. When we water wholesome intentions instead of expressing unwholesome ones, we develop those wholesome tendencies within us. ~ Gil Fronsdal, “May We All Be Happy” 

Merely understanding the mind is not good enough.

Merely understanding the mind is not good enough. Recognizing it as the source of happiness and suffering is good, but great results come only from looking inward and meditating on the nature of the mind. Once you recognize its nature, then you need to meditate with joyful effort. Joyful meditation will actualize the true nature of the mind, and maintaining the mind in this natural state will bring enlightenment. This type of meditation reveals the innermost, profound wisdom that is inherent in the mind.

Meditation can transform your body into wisdom light, into what is known as the rainbow body of wisdom. Many masters in the history of the Nyingma lineage have achieved this, as can anyone who practices these methods of meditation. The wisdom aspect of our nature exists at all times in each of us. You have always had this nature and it can be revealed through meditation. When you maintain the mind in its natural state, wonderful qualities shine out like light from the sun. Among these qualities are limitless compassion, limitless loving-kindness, and limitless wisdom. ~ by Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, published by Snow Lion Publications

In the Tonglen… (Sogyal Rinpoche)

Practice of  giving and receiving, we take on, through compassion, all the various mental and physical sufferings of all beings; their fear, frustration, pain, anger, guilt, bitterness, doubt, and rage, and we give them, through love, all our happiness and well-being, peace of mind, healing, and fulfillment.

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Tonglen is a great practice. It does take practice also. 🙂 And not everyone feels comfortable doing this…exchange. If you do not feel comfortable with Tonglen, do not worry. There are many ways to help others and you will find one you do feel comfortable with. ~ Debra

Book Review: ‘Surviving the Dragon’ by Arjia Rinpoche

Surviving the Dragon: A Tibetan Lama's Account of 40 Years under Chinese Rule Arjia Rinpoche was born in Tibet in 1950. He was recognized 2 years later as the 8th Arjia Rinpoche, the reincarnation of the father of Lama Tsong Khapa, founder of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism.
As the Arjia Rinpoche, he is the Abbott of one of the largest and most influential Monasteries in Tibet, The Kumbum Monastery. In his book, Surviving the Dragon, he tells the story of his life as first, a monk; second, a Tibetan under the occupation of the Chinese Communist Party; and third, a refugee without a home to return to.
I met Arjia Rinpoche when he came to Atlanta to visit Emory and Drepung Loseling Monastery. I was enthralled with his retelling of the travesties done to the 10th Panchen Lama at his death and the subsequent choreographed Golden Urn Ceremony to choose his successor.
As I read the book, I developed a great respect for Rinpoche as he illuminated the problems he faced growing up under the Chinese abuse. He tells of the times he lost himself in the secular world forced upon him by Communism and the great teachers that gave him inspiration to carry on and return to his roots. His struggles to cooperate and work within the Communist bureaucracy are illustrative of the intentions of the Tibetans and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way solution to the Tibetan problem. It also illustrates the intentions of the Chinese to never truly allow a compromised solution.
“The current regime in China is uneasy with political and social changes of any sort.  But if a federation of autonomous regions were ever to be established, if a democratic way of life were ever to prevail, then His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s dream of the Middle Way, his hope for a genuine autonomy for Tibetans and other minorities, could be fulfilled, At last minorities could be free to follow their particular religious beliefs and celebrate their unique customs.  The five stars on the Chinese flag could truly stand for the equality of China’s ethnic groups – the Han majority and the Tibetan, Manchurian, Mongolian, and Muslim minorities – just as the 50 stars on the US flag stand for 50 separate but united states.  Like those white stars in a field of blue, China’s golden stars would shine for free people’s who share the daunting but glorious duty of governing a free country.  Then the dreams of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will come true for Tibet — and for the world. This too is my dream;  this is my hope;  this is my prayer. “

His Holiness the Dalai Lama asked Arjia Rinpoche to write this memoir. He also asked him not to make any angry public statements against the Chinese despite his mistreatment by them. Rinpoche follows this request perfectly: he describes the abuses and mistreatment without any hatred or disgust, just as you would expect a Buddhist monk to.
Surviving the Dragon is an excellent book: a must-read for students of Tibetan/Buddhist history as well as an inspiration to the practitioners of the Buddha’s teachings. ~ Digging_the_Dharma

Practice Lovingkindness

The practice of Metta [lovingkindness] is, at a certain level, the fruition of all we work toward in our meditation.

It relies on our ability to open continuously to the truth of our actual experience, not cutting off the painful parts, and not trying to pretend things are other than they are.

Just as spiritual growth grinds to a halt when we indulge our tendency to grasp and cling, Metta can’t thrive in an environment that is bound to desire or to getting our expectations met.  ~ Sharon Salzberg/Joseph Goldstein