The Illusory Nature of Phenomena

When we look around us, we can see that nothing exists in isolation, which is another way of saying that everything is interdependent. Everything depends upon an infinite number of causes and conditions to come into being, arise, and fall away moment by moment. Because they are interdependent, things don’t possess a true existence of their own. For instance, how could we separate a flower from the many causes and conditions that produce it —water, soil, sun, air, seed, and so forth? Can we find a flower that exists independently from these causes and conditions? Everything is so intricately connected, it is hard to point to where one thing starts and another ends. This is what is meant by the illusory or empty nature of phenomena.

Dzigar Kongtrül Rinpoche, “The Theater of Reflection”

The Thirty-Seven Practices of the Bodhisattva by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

I found this teaching by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama on Lama Yeshe’s site.

After reading it, I knew I should share this wonderful teaching. Here is a snippet of what you will read:

‘You have come a long way to be here, from various countries, and often with much difficulty and trouble. There are the strikes, and there are many of you, and it is not easy to get here. And you have not come here with the intention of going to a festival, for entertainment, or to do a good business deal, or for any personal glory. You have come here to hear the Dharma, more precisely Mahayana Dharma, to receive a tantric initiation, more particularly that of anuttarayoga, and among these Kalachakra. To some completely samsaric people, this may seem strange and even comical. Never mind… Even if we have not come with a perfect motivation, this is already something very great, the goal is an excellent one.’

So remember when you read…’Even if we have not come with a perfect motivation, this is already something very great, the goal is an excellent one.’ 🙂 Namaste

 

 

 

 

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

Praise of Awakening Mind, verse 1 of The Bodhicaryatara, by Santideva

Praise of Awakening Mind, verse 1 (24 seconds long)

I am testing a new type of post (for TBLC): an Audio post. This idea has been tumbling around in my mind for a few weeks.

‘The Bodhicaryavatara’ by Santideva (Shantideva) is a most wonderful jewel. I hope to write a review in the next few weeks, but for now….I can only hope my voice does some justice to this treasure.

Om Mani Padme Hum