The Source of Milk ~ Rumi

Don’t look for it outside yourself.

You are the source of milk. Don’t milk others!

There is a milk fountain inside you.

Don’t walk around with an empty bucket.

You have a channel into the ocean, and yet

You ask for water from a little pool.

Beg for that love expansion. Meditate only

on THAT. The Qur’an says,

And He is with you. ~ Rumi

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As I read these words…I felt they were saying look at the gifts/strength/blessings (whatever you would like to call it) within yourself. For me, I look inward for the Buddha nature. The answers of why this or that is always within. May your day be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. ~ Debra

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

By This Merit…

Golden statue of Nagarjuna at Samye Ling Monas...

Image via Wikipedia ~ Nagarjuna

By this merit may we obtain omniscience
Having defeated all the enemies of wrong-doing
May we liberate migratory beings suffering in the ocean of existence
From its stormy waves of birth, old-age, sickness and death.

~ Nagarjuna’s dedication of merit

Book Review: Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom

Rebel Buddha: On the Road to FreedomIn Rebel Buddha, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche gives us a guidebook for leaving behind the status-quo and becoming the rebel that’s inside you.  No, not like a ‘James Dean’ rebel but a rebel from the world of illusion that we create.  DPR drops all the tradition Buddhist lingo and lays out the path to achieving freedom in a more accessible language.

I have to admit I initially was having difficulty resonating with the book but about halfway it started to click and after re-reading it,  I really appreciate what he wrote much more.  The book offers a challenge to our normal habits, traditions, view of self and practice. It allows us to truly discover the ‘why’ of Buddhism.

What frees us from being stuck?  What cuts through our psychological blockages?  We need the courage of our rebel buddha heart to leap beyond forms, to go deeper into our practice and find a way to trust ourselves.  We must become our own guide.

The book has a wonderful appendix with an incredible explanation of meditation.  He describes mindfulness and analytical meditation practices and how to work with problems during the session.  He ends with some great poems like the following:

You are so creative
And your tricks are so original
Look at your magic
So deceptive, real, and endless

You are a great storyteller
So dramatic, colorful, and emotional
I love your stories
But do you realize that you’re telling them over and over and over?

You are such a dreamer
And you’re tirelessly so passionate
For your dream characters and the world
But do you see that you’re just dreaming

You are so familiar
Yet no one knows who you really are
Are you not called “thoughts” by some?
Are you really there-or simply my delusion

Are you not taught to be the true wisdom mind?
What a beautiful world this could be
If only I could see through this mind.

Well, it doesn’t really matter
Because I don’t exist without you!
“Who am I?” is perhaps the right question
After all, I’m just one of your many manifestations!

review by Digging the Dharma (Philip)

Stages of Meditation…excerpt

[In listening to teachings one] of the defects is to listen in a way that is like a container with holes. This means that even though we are listening to the teachings, we do not retain their contents. In this case, we lack mindfulness and memory. Practice of Dharma means that we should be able to benefit from what we have heard. It is not a pastime, like listening to a story. The teachings give us guidance on how to live meaningful lives and how to develop proper attitudes. So in order to benefit from the teachings, we must retain them with mindfulness.

In all kinds of learning processes, listening, reading, etc., we must pay full attention and should endeavor to remember their contents. When our interest is halfhearted, we only remember half the points, and we retain them for only a short time. We should reflect and think about whatever we have heard, over and over again. In this way, the knowledge will stay in our mind for a long time. Another technique for remembering instructions is debate as it is practiced in the traditional debating schools. (p.22)

from Stages of Meditation by the Dalai Lama, root text by Kamalashila, translated by Geshe Lobsang Jordhen, Losang Choephel Ganchenpa, and Jeremy Russell, published by Snow Lion Publications

Book Review:The Bodhicaryavatara by Santideva by Debra Saturday

As I have just finished reading a translation of ‘The Bodhicaryavatara’ by Santideva (Shantideva), I wondered, ‘how will I retain all this great wisdom?’ . For me, re-reading a book will give me more insight…for invariably I will have pass over some of this and some of that….but also…at times my mind is not ready to understand the full depth of a verse or a passage…and then the next time I read it …a light goes off…’Ah! Now I see better’.

The Bodhicaryavatara by Santideva

From the back cover of this edition:

‘Written in India in the early eighth century AD, Santideva’s Bodhicaryavatara became one of the more popular accounts of the Buddhist spiritual path.’  One could ask ‘why this writing is so popular?’

Here my dear reader is an example: Perfection of Meditative Absorption, verse 135 – ‘If one does not let go of self one cannot let go of suffering, as one who does no let go of fire cannot let go of burning.’ With this single verse…if our mindstream is ready…we can make a direct connection between burning and suffering. but if you are me….it will take many more readings and many meditations to fully release.

So do I suggest this book to read? Yes. Make that a large caps Yes. 🙂 I had borrowed the book from our Monastery library…loved it so much bought my own copy from a used book store.

A last bit from the back cover: ‘Important as a manual of training among Mahayana Buddhists, especially in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the Bodhicaryavatara is still used by modern Buddhist teachers.’ I agree. This book is a manual and that is how I read it. It is not always pleasant to read …some verses are grisly…’meat from skeleton’  …yet it is meant to be an awakening…to how reality is…not how we perceive it.

Enjoy! ~ Debra Saturday

Book Review: ‘Buddhism for Beginners’ by Ven. Thubten Chodron

Buddhism for BeginnersIn answering the most basic questions, this book will help new practitioners dispel confusion and gain a realistic, down-to-earth approach to the Buddhist path...”  Alexander Berzin, The Berzin Archives ~  I think that quote sums up my feeling on this book that I have gone back to numerous times during my fledgling practice.

The book is an overview of all the central concepts involved in Buddhist practice.  The book’s question and answer format made it very easy to return to again and again for answers that I was unclear on. Ven. Thubten Chodron‘s explanations are concise and easily accessible.

I find myself using it to answer questions that non-Buddhists ask me. Ven. Chodron explains the answers in such simple but thorough manner.  This book was recommended to me when I first started investigating Buddhism.  Since then I have found great wisdom in Ven. Thubten Chodron books and online resources. ~ Digging_the_Dharma