Archive for the ‘personal reflection’ Category

It’s a Trap

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

My Daily Battle With the Internet

WWW (Internet) : If you want your willpower back, give me your time!

Rabbit: D: Here!

Will Power: No don’t give it to him!!

WWW: *Evil Laughter* Now I have both your willpower and time. *runs off*

_________________________________________________________________

 Moral of Story: Don’t give into Greed! It will keep on Taking.

 

 

If I Ever Need a Reminder

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

 

This post is dedicated to B.L. on the occasion of his 22nd year of life (this lifetime anyway). May you continue to grow in joy, loving-kindness and wisdom, and helps others to do the same. May you be free from suffering, and one day realize the supreme peace of Nibbana.

The following is a slightly revised version of an old journal entry written on Friday, August 13th, 2010:

“If I ever need a reminder of how my being a Buddhist monk is somehow helping other people, or somehow making a positive difference, I don’t have to look very far to find it. I simply need to bring them to mind – T., C., P., S., D., H. and now B.. Seven amazing young people, bright, kind, open-minded and open-hearted, sensitive, intelligent, curious, and very endearing.

For about four hours today, I sat outside in the patio near the kitchen talking with D., S., P., and S. and P.’s big brother B., who I had the honor of finally meeting for the first time today. It was a lovely summer evening in Southern California, with a nice cool breeze, kittens playing down the way from us, and a dinner of instant noodles, bread, and cream cheese  (for them, not for me of course), courtesy of the kind laypeople at the monastery and joyfully received and eaten by the young people.

Among the topics that came up during our discussion: life in high school, peace as boring and the monastery as a “peaceful library”, the Buddha as the “most perfect human being”, the joys and challenges of life as a) a monk, and b) a young person, and also the possibility of enlightenment and liberation in this mad world of ours. It was a positive and wonderful gathering on a summer evening to remember, in the heart, as the five of us shared with and listened to each other.

How inspiring it is to be around these young people, and this seems to be just the beginning.”

~Guest post by ST

 

 

Desires

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

In Buddhism, desire, or craving, is considered the main source of suffering. This is due to the impermanent nature of all things. We may get what we hoped for, but as with anything, it cannot satiate us forever, and we risk falling into a cycle of desiring-having. Or, we may not get it, and be disappointed.

Desire is a strange thing. We want something, for one reason or another, and more often than not, we don’t realize why we want it, and how craving it affects us. From the simplest cravings, such as for a particular type of food, to the strongest ones, as in a crush, an ambition, or an idea, we sometimes just appear to be puppets of desires. If we can pause, and observe them, we can better understand their effect on us, and see what is the best path to go forward with. Or just put them on a leash!

- T

 

Make the Unseen Gift Seen

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The present is consistently with everyone; it stands beside one like a friend, never flaunting ahead like an inept child one must watch with a careful eye, while never slinking behind where one might think it is an obsessive stalker. However, the present is only noticed a few times before one’s attention returns to the future or past.

How can you stay in the present?

These are three ways to help you live the moment:

1. Breathing.

This technique is the simplest way to stay present and can be done anywhere except in the water (that is just dangerous).  When your mind starts to wonder to the future or past, take a couple of breaths and focus your mind on inhaling and exhaling.

2. Be aware of the environment.

Use the five senses. Listen to the sounds around you, notice the way things feel, when eating or drinking pay attention to the flavors, etc.

This awareness includes your body, out and in. Is the clothes making your skin itch? Can you feel the your heart working hard to get the blood circulating or your stomach acid churning?

3. Experience things as if it was the first time.

This ties in together with the previous way. However, it helps when there are difficulties on being aware with your surroundings. For example, when eating a gummy bear. Take the role of someone who has never seen or even heard about the gummy bear. Look, smell, and touch the gummy bear carefully. When eating the bear, instead of chewing it up, let it marinate on your tongue before chewing. There will be new things you will find within the gummy bear or anything else.

The present is like the thin piece of cheese surrounded by the past and future as slices of bread. Though it is the bread that makes up the majority of the sandwich, it is the flavorful piece of cheese that is the real essences of a grilled cheese sandwich. Enjoy it.

-Pas

 

 

Good-byes have been said

Monday, June 13th, 2011

The truth of impermanence is one of the Three Universal Characteristics. Understanding that nothing lasts forever is not an entirely difficult task – living with the truth of impermanence can often feel like an unbearable feat.

I think people best understand the how bittersweet impermanence can be when they have to say good-bye. Currently, I am facing two terribly difficult, but necessary good-byes.

In less than a month, I will bid my teacher, Su T. farewell as he begins his journey to a foreign land. In the short time that I have known my teacher, I have learned priceless lessons that have made me into a better person. Not only have I expanded my knowledge of Buddhism through Su T., I have gained a moral compass and a spiritual friend.

In a somewhat ironic set of events, I will also say good-bye to my own students. For the past few months, I have been working as a tutor. However, I have been accepted for an internship and, as a result, can no longer continue working at my current employment. Although I haven’t worked there all that long, the good-bye will still be a difficult one for me. There have been several students that have taught me how to be more patient, understanding, and compassionate. There are others that make me laugh and some that truly make me excited to see what the future generation will deliver.

Impermanence is not an easy truth to embrace, but denying it altogether will only cause more suffering. Instead of fighting the inevitably of impermanence, take the time to savor every moment.

-Jen/Nita

Kindness Beware!! Hippos Are Coming to Get You

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Just this week, i had been lucky enough to go the the LA Zoo to study animal behavior with one of my classes, where i chanced upon a couple of gargantuan hippos.

So thats just one of them lying there and looking like a rock, but back to my story.

While observing the hippo, one of the zoo workers had placed a plate of food away from this sleeping hippo, and next to the more active one. The eating hippo then proceeds to take food into its mouth but, it walks right over to the resting hippo and places its food right in front of its dear buddy, and the moving hippo does this until around half the content of the food bowl is left.

I had never thought animals could be so considerate to each other. Maybe it might be because i don’t see animals everyday, but this surprising act of kindness really caught me off guard. If a hippo can do this once a day, then i know the 7 billion people out there can set aside a little time and manage a simple kind task once a day too.

-by S.L.

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

——————————————————————————————-

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)

 

Tags:

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.

———————————————-

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