Archive for May, 2011

Kindness Beware! We’re Coming to Get You..

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Not too long ago, my friend and I were driving through a residential area which seemed to have a stop sign at every block. We were in a rush and there weren’t too many cars so my friend and I decided to run through all the stop signs. At about the fourth stop sign that he passed, I got a little nervous that the cops might be behind us so I looked back to make sure that there were no red and blue lights. At that exact moment I turned around, I caught a glimpse of an elderly lady who had fallen from her front door steps. Forgetting that my friend and I were late, we went to help the lady get back onto her feet and made sure she was okay.

Fortunately, the lady was okay. Unfortunately, many times in our lives we pass these opportunities of kindness, just like we pass by annoying stop signs. If we rush without paying attention to our surroundings, we miss the potential moments to lend a helping hand. Be aware of what goes on around you because we all can end up doing lots of amazing things if we just stop and look around us.

-S.L

What is LOVE?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Note: Way back at the beginning of April, a few of us in the YWP hosted a Day of Dhamma for the UC Riverside Buddhist Student Association (BSA). The topic for the day’s teachings was the ever popular topic of “love”. Below is a thoughtful reflection from James, one of the participants that day:

love love love

Source:  Hyoin Min, www.flickr.com/photos/nyoin

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LOVE. Love is universal; everyone experiences love, whether with their family, friends (or acquaintances), or in some cases with complete strangers. I had a general idea of what love was, caring for that person and worrying for that person, but I knew that every individual has a different interpretation of what love is. Some people think it’s showing affection, jealousy, worrying for others, taking time for others, buying them things, etc. If you asked me a couple of years ago I would have agreed with people who thought of these concepts about what love is. Upon learning about Buddhism, I have come to understand what true love is.

One day a Buddhist monk asked a group of us, “What is love?” Before I learned about Buddhism I would have answered how most people would have responded to this question—taking time for others, worrying about them, jealousy, etc. This monk advised us that showing compassion or taking time for others is part of love but worrying about individuals or jealousy is not. I was amazed as to why not. He told us that jealousy and worrying about people is actually a “sign” of attachment towards another person. I was lost since I thought that being attached to people was a good thing? It was an expression of my love towards that person. The monk further explained how being attached to things or people leads to suffering because someone day that thing will be gone or the people we love will pass; everything is impermanent in life. He explained that it does not mean that we should be indifferent to people—that is not what it means—we should show compassion to a point where we are not attached to individuals or items. This idea of what love is made sense.

Love is a complex emotion that we experience, but we must shift away from the type of love which leads towards attachment. I have come to learn about metta, or loving-kindness, a pure, unconditional and selfless love for yourself and others. This form of love is something great and a wonderful gift to express to others; hopefully these people will pass it on. So go to a person you love or a stranger and express metta!

~Guest post by James , member of the UCR Buddhist Student Association (BSA)

 

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The Adventure to Tathagata Meditation Center

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Once upon a time…

On the 14th day of the 5th month, the YWP made their journey up north to the Tathagata Meditation Center (TMC) in San Jose to teach a class how to spot and defend themselves from the forces of darkness (Greed, Aversion, Ignorance).

Early morning when the sun barely touched the horizon, the YWP gathered three carriages drawn by well-trained and powerful horses (two vans and one car).Thus the elders, ladies, and lads began their tedious travel along the old northern path. During times when they were not fighting dragons and such, they entertained themselves with books, songs, games, and chatter. At last, while the sun was still high but was covered up with gray clouds, they finally arrived at the majestic temple.

They cautiously made their way around the temple, making sure to explore each and every corner. It is always wise to know the area just in case a quick escape is in need. When they exited the meditation hall, the last area they explored, they were greeted by a soft-spoken nun who lead them to the kitchen. She sat them down and the chief came out with drinks to rejuvenate them from the long journey. After getting acquainted with the residents of the temple, the nun showed the ladies to their room and a lord (manager) showed the lads to theirs. The elders on the other hand would be staying elsewhere (relative’s house).

After getting settled in, once more the YWP headed to their carriages to meet the council of the wise and kind (Nipun and Friends of Charity Focus). They met at an open meadow and sat in a circle. After getting acquainted, the council and the YWP shared stories of their kindness missions. Some had scars (people rejecting free flowers) while others were successful  (acceptances of the flowers). Stories of horrors, happiness, sadness, and enlightenment were passed around. However, their delightful meeting was at its end as the sun hid away.

Coming back from the meeting, the YWP were greeted with a feast. They ate with much joy for the meal was delicious. Having their fill, they were sleepy and headed off to bed.

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On the 15th day of the 5th month, the group ate their morning meal when the sun was just coming out of hiding. Later, some gathered together to prepare for the class that would be arriving in a few short hours. While others, who were more relaxed, decided to play pranks by putting rocks in the others’ clothing! Ah, the time has arrived, the children and elders of the class flow into the meditation hall, awaiting the teachings.

The temple’s monks lead the beginning of the class with a traditional chanting. After that the YWP’s teacher graciously asked to lead the class. He spoke of the forces of darkness, what they were and the dangers they brought. Then, two of the YWP leaders taught the class how to spot them, even in love songs. It was a lot to learn before the noon meal. When the class came back from a filling meal, two different YWP members told of an old tale, with the help of a few volunteers, of a hero and his friends (generosity, loving kindness, and wisdom), versus the forces of darkness. At the end of the session, the group leaves in high hopes that the knowledge they had shared will help people win in this on-going battle with the forces of darkness.

The End.

- Pas

 

How we see

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Continuing with the quotes, here is one that I really enjoy:

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” – Anaïs Nin

 

As simple as many quotes are, I find it full of wisdom. The first idea it brings to me is that, as we all have our own experiences, we perceive things differently from each other. From the simple things, to complex issues, we see things through our own eyes. It is often easy to think that we are right, when we should instead look at how we are perceiving a situation.

 

The second idea is that we can completely change what is around us, by changing our perception of them. Be it situations, objects, people, and even ourselves, we are “coloring” what we see. If we are aware of this, we can start seeing in many different ways.

 

The last idea is that as we see things around us changing, a person we used to like, a taste we used to dislike, an idea that we always followed, it also ourselves that are changing. Then, by seeing the impermanence of the things around us, we can observe the impermanence in ourselves.

 

- T

 

Happy Vesak Day!

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Today, on this full moon day on May 2011, people all over the world are honoring and celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and great passing of the Buddha. The Young Wisdom Project wishes you and all living beings a happy and peaceful Vesak/Visakha/Le Phat Dan Day. May you all grow in wisdom and love.

Check out the inspiring reflection on this very special day below, and don’t forget to check out the full moon tonight!

“There is, however, a mystery that still remains, one whose implications far outweigh any other. That is the mystery of Awakening. The idea, so incredibly powerful, that any ordinary human being can actually perfect themselves. That all of us have the seed within ourselves to realize the perfect, liberating Truth.

In the 2500 years since the Buddha first realized and proclaimed this, not a single person has come up with a more radical or important idea. Freedom: it is possible. We are not trapped in this suffering. There is a way out. And that way out is nothing more than self-realization through the eightfold path.

While our world grows ever more weary and cynical, this is one light that never dims. That shining prince, Siddhattha, whose story and example still exerts such a fascination on us, he realized this for himself. Though he has long been dim and uncertain as a historical figure, behind the clouds of time there is an unmistakable glory. His words, preserved for us due to the unstinting efforts of generations of Buddhists, convey the ring of truth. And his path, though overgrown with weeds, is still clearly visible.

The Buddha would not have wanted us to celebrate Vesak with big ceremonies. He would have looked for those who practice his Way. Each person who takes the path to heart and truly embodies it becomes a light for the world.

May that person be you!”

(from www.sujato.wordpress.com)

“Full Effort is Full Victory”

Monday, May 16th, 2011

“When he was in South Africa, Gandhi sometimes would walk fifty miles a day and sleep only a few hours a night. Even into his seventies he wrote hundreds of letters every week; when his right hand got tired, he learned to write with his left. Once, while he was writing a letter, the lantern failed[.] Gandhi, aware of how much his reply meant to those who had written him, went outside and finished his correspondence by moonlight. That kind of drive gives a glimpse of the wellspring of vitality he tapped every day.

Late in Gandhi’s life a Western journalist asked, ‘Mr. Gandhi, you’ve been working fifteen hours a day for fifty years. Don’t you ever feel like taking a few weeks off and going for a vacation?’ Gandhi laughed and said, ‘Why? I am always on vacation.’

‘Full effort is full victory,’ said Gandhi. You need not be troubled if you have made mistakes, or if your ideal has slipped away. Just continue to give your best. If you fall, pick yourself up and march on. If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot walk, crawl. Nothing in life is more joyful or more thrilling. The effort alone brings a continuing wave of joy in which every personal problem, every suffering and humiliation, is forgotten.”
~by Eknath Eswaran

After reading this excerpt, I felt inspired to first, find out more about Gandhi, and second, to dedicate myself fully. I didn’t know very much about Gandhi the world figure or Gandhi the human being; I just knew that he was a “great man” with great quotes.

Now that I’ve read this short tidbit, I want to explore the wealth of knowledge that a life lived so humbly and fully generated. Hopefully I can begin to understand how Gandhi was always “vacation.” I would like to learn how to pick myself up after I’ve fallen and continue along on my journey, because it is so easy to dwell on the failure than to focus on the solution.

It is also worth mentioning that there are many ways to learn and acquire knowledge. One way is to read about other people’s experiences: it doesn’t always have to be long-drawn theories or in-depth lectures. Experience tends to give its author wisdom.

To read full excerpt, visit www.ijourney.org

-UN

More Wisdom Quotes

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool.
-Robert Bulwer-Lytton

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
-Confucius

Don’t taunt the alligator until after you’ve crossed the creek.
-Dan Rather

A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountaintop.
-Author Unknown

You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.
-The Buddha

~Hubert

Announcement: Vesak Day @ UCR

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Brought to you by our friends from the UC Riverside Buddhist Student Association (BSA), the UCLA University Buddhist Association (UBA), and the Buddhist Association at UC Irvine  – Please join us if you can on Saturday, May 21st, from 10am-2pm at UCR.

 

“Realize, Reflect, and Flourish:
Enlighten your mind and remember to open your heart.”

Join the Southern California Buddhist Student Association in our annual Vesak Day. “Vesak” is Pali for the celebration of the Buddha’s life; it comprises the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and great passing. Come hear from like-minded people and gain insight on how to live a happier life. There will be three speakers covering the topics of “Realize, Reflect, and Flourish”, performances from local organizations, and a panel speaking on their personal experience with Buddhism. This year’s Vesak Day will be a refreshing event, and all are welcome to attend. Lunch will be provided ☺

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Empathy for the Enemy

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Like many Americans, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard about the terrorist attacks on 9/11. I was a 15 year-old high sophomore at my locker, grabbing the books I would need for my morning classes. I can recall my best friend, Richard Kim, running up to me and shouting, “Oh no, Jen! What are we going to do?! They’ve got the Twin Towers AND the Pentagon!! This is bad. This is so bad!” He ran off before I could reply to his hysterical behavior. I dismissed his outburst as an eccentric joke and went to my creative writing class. It was there that I first saw the news broadcast which confirmed Richard’s seemingly outrageous rant.

The world has changed since 2001. Instead of hearing breaking news through friends, we now discover it through Facebook; Osama Bin Laden’s death was no exception. Much like my initial reaction to 9/11, I perceived his death to be a hoax. It wasn’t until I saw news articles and broadcasts that made the event become real for me.

As a practicing Buddhist and as an American citizen, I felt juxtaposed by Bin Laden’s death. Despite the controversy surrounding the involvement of Bin Laden with the 9/11 attacks, we cannot deny that Bin Laden was a “bad” person. (I am using the term “bad” very loosely.) His actions have caused harm to countless individuals and has kept the world in a state of fear and uncertainty for at least 10 years. Dare I say, the world is better place without him. With these facts in mind, I could easily see myself joining the thousands of Americans celebrating Bin Laden’s death in the streets of our nation’s capital. Before smearing red-white-and-blue war paint on my face, I needed to think about the other aspect of this incident. One way to think of this event is “our enemy is dead.” On the other hand, “a human being is dead” also holds true. It is sad when a person dies; it is tragic when a person dies due to the brutality of war. Human life is precious; there is no denying that. Despite Bin Laden being an enemy of my country, we are all members of the human race.

With both sides of the picture in mind, I am not sure how I feel about the death of Bin Laden. Perhaps a better way of saying this is “I am not sure what is an appropriate way to feel about this”. I wish I had a simple answer to give, but I don’t.

How do you feel about this?

Jen/Nita

Limitless

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Memorizing a shuffled deck of cards in less then two minutes or running a 100 meter in 9.58 seconds. These seemingly impossible task have been done before.

Many, including myself, have decided stand on the sidelines and watch people accomplish difficult tasks or even simply ones, like trying new things, because of the belief that one cannot do something or failed at it once. However, creating negative beliefs and fears of failing are holding us back from achieving great possibilities.

“Our limitations and success will be based, most often, on your own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon. ” -Denis Waitley

Do not hold yourself back; break down those mental barriers and achieve. If you still did not succeed, you still succeeded in finding a way that did not work. :]

~Pasadyne