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

 

 

Kindness: Pass It On

Friday, June 24th, 2011

The Adventures of Monk Baldy Part II

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

-by Delphine/Dhammasukha

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.

Present moment

Monday, June 6th, 2011

In terms of timelime, our thoughts can be categorized in either the past, the present, or the future.

I have recently found most of my thoughts in the last category, forgetting about what was around me. The well written post Live Now makes a good point about the importance of the present moment. While thinking of the future gives a sense of direction, it is uncertain, and one cannot experience and truly live in the future. The same holds for the past, as it is already done, and immutable. Both are important, and not to be forgotten, but the present is where we currently are, and is affected by what we currently do.

Living now allows us to fully live and not to worry about what was and what will be. Living now allows us to make the best decisions based on the current conditions. Living now allows us to be more mindful, and be happy, now.

- T

 

METTA? What’s that?

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

The Pali word “metta” is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, fellowship, amity, and non-violence. Metta is a universal, unselfish, and all-embracing love.

It is our motivation of human nature to promote our own interests. So when we transform that urge into the desire to promote the interests and happiness of others, we are promoting our own well-being in the best possible manner. I truly believe that metta makes the world a better place. I’m sure that every single one of us in the Young Wisdom Project try to incorporate metta into our everyday lives, and I would like to encourage everyone else to do the same. :)

-Diane

Boundaries

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

In continuation of Limitless:

 

Get past the artificial boundaries and give to your heart’s content. Observe and accept the continual change in life. Let go of the unnecessary delusionsmeditate when you can, be kind, and most important, live in the present moment. Take care of your own mind and body, and may you all be happy and well!

 

- T

 

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)