Virtual Stupa Walk


The summer of 2015, in upstate New York, the Migyur Dorje Stupa was finally completed at our retreat center.

I uploaded a new video to YouTube and now you can listen and meditate while visualizing yourself doing Korwa (circumambulations) around the stupa to generate a limitless supply of merit.

Benefits:

Guru Rinpoche states:

If there is a man who offered melody music to the great stupa, shall be able to propagate the sound of dharma throughout the ten directions.  If there is a man who offered drum and melody sounds, shall obtain vast wisdom and prosperity.  If there is a man who offer the sound of bell, shall obtain a soft and harmonious voice, which is the voice of brahma.” — The Legend of Maha Buddha Stupa

From the book “Crystal Mirror 12” by author Elizabeth Cook states:

  1. Whoever offers prayers finds immediate fulfillment of his wishes for both himself and others.
  2. Whoever offers flowers to the Great Stupa obtains ease and contentment, prosperity and health.
  3. Whoever offers incense achieves pure action.
  4. Whoever offers lamps has the darkness of unknowing illuminated.
  5. Whoever offers perfume is freed from anxiety and suffering.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama states:

“It has long been the tradition that wherever the teachings of the Buddhas have been revered and practiced, communities of followers have built reliquary monuments known in Sanskrit as stupas and as chörtens in Tibetan.

And wherever they have been built, they have been regarded as sacred, for like religious images and scriptures, they represent aspects of enlightenment.”

The Sutra On The Merit of Bathing The Buddha states:

At that time, the World Honored One uttered these verses:

After my death
You will be able to honor my relics
Some will build stupas
Or images of the Tathágata.
At the place of the image or stupa,
One who anoints that spot of ground
With various incenses and flowers Scattering them over its surface
Uses pure, beautifully scented water
To pour onto the body of this image,
Offers it various flavorful drinks and foods,
Fully maintaining it with oblations,
Eulogizes the virtue of the Tathágata,
Which is endlessly difficult to conceive;
Through the wisdom of skillful means and the supernatural power of the Buddha
Such a one will quickly reach the other shore of Nirvana.
He will obtain the diamond body
Complete with the thirty-two marks of a great person
And the eighty minor signs of excellence.

Video:

Artist: Caitlin – Laxmi’s Dream
Song: Om Mani Padme Hum (track 5)

Video Produced with CyberLink PowerDirector 13:

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Lama Dance


“When a powerful yogi performs the lama dance, he can directly affect the body, speech, and mind of the viewers. All sentient beings have buddha nature, but it is hidden by obscurations. The lama dance is a way to purify these obscurations. Through the samadhi of the three vajras, the expressions of the body, speech, and mind of the deity purify the dancer’s mental continuum.

Just by seeing the Karmapa perform the Lama dance, one can attain the vajra body — Gyaltsap Rinpoche.

If the spectators, imagining and meditating on themselves as the deity, are also able to view it not as ordinary experience but as an expression of the deity, they will receive the blessings of the wisdom deities—it is no different than if the deities themselves actually came. Seeing the dance implants the seed of liberation within the viewer’s being.

According to the Hevajra tantra, the dance eliminates the outer and inner obstacles of the dancers themselves as well as those of the spectators. The dancer gains influence over the world because all that appears and exists is sealed with the stamp of the deity.

It is also said that one will easily accomplish the recitation of the deity’s mantra.”

Summer Retreat:

I posted three different Lama Dances on my Youtube channel.  The one below is the third and final Lama Dance at the Palyul Summer Retreat back in 2015. This one is known as the ‘Deer Dance’.

When we watch these lama dances then SEEDS of enlightenment are planted within one’s mind-stream. Obstacles are also “cut-through” and positive spiritual blessings are spread throughout the environment.

In the beginning of the video, you hear our teacher, Khenchen Tsewang giving a short commentary. He is sitting next to Dragmar Tulku on his left and Mugsang Tulku on the right. Also in the audience are the other “Heart Sons”: His Holiness Karma Khuchen Rinpoche and Gyangkhang Rinpoche.

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Stupa Restoration


News-Flash
December 2016

From the Chagdud Gompa Foundation email:

The Stupa Restoration project continued with great progress in 2016, its eighth summer. We’re narrowing in on the completion of five of these Eight Great Stupas with our enthusiastic crew and volunteers. By the end of summer in 2017, we plan to complete stupa two, the Stupa of Heaped Lotuses, stupa three, the Stupa of Many Doors, and stupa four, the Stupa of Miracles, as well as begin the masonry work on stupa eight, the Parinirvana Stupa.

“If offerings are made to stupas on behalf of the sick, troubled, or deceased, these individuals will benefit wherever they are. Life can be extended, effects of harmful actions purified, obstacles pacified, and positive qualities enriched. Such blessings do not diminish over time.”  — H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, an expert in stupa creation, said of stupas: “The oldest of His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche’s students were getting on in years, and had arthritis in their fingers. Yet they couldn’t wait to get to the [stupa] work site. They’d run out there and help in any way they could, scooping up concrete with their bare hands and plastering it on because they were so happy to take part in the work.

We are delighted to announce that through the commitment and generosity of several donors, we have a matching fund of $4,000. This means that every dollar donated up to $4000 will be matched and the project will then have $8,000.

One of the interesting features of stupas is that it’s hard to feel possessive of them. They don’t exist for any other reason except to benefit. With other projects, there may be some vested interest. But a stupa is just a stupa. It’s not something you can personally profit by. It’s a representation of enlightened mind, sitting there, waiting for beings to see, touch, or remember it. In Tibet a lot of the stupas were built at crossroads on high mountain passes, places where nobody would ever go except on their way somewhere else.

“If one participates in a stupa’s construction or honors the completed stupa with an altruistic resolve to benefit all beings, then the blessings are such that the Buddha himself could not describe them.” —  Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche

Tibetans knew that no matter what stupas looked like on the outside, they contained incredible blessings. Just to see them was a blessing. To touch them was a blessing.To hear the sound of the wind blowing around them was a blessing. And that was why they built them–for the blessings, just the blessings.”

Many people visit and are struck by the beauty of Rigdzin Ling, the stupas and the Guru Rinpoche statue and fountain. Whether or not they realize it, they are all touched by powerful blessings, the fruit of Chagdud Rinpoche’s vast intention to benefit beings. Since stupas are the very expression of enlightenment itself, they continuously convey these blessings to all beings. To make any connection with stupas is to make a connection to enlightenment. The merit of this draws one closer to one’s own awakening.

How amazing it is that we have the good fortune to be able to participate in perpetuating Rinpoche’s vision here at Rigdzin Ling. We deeply rejoice that the participation and dedication of hundreds of volunteers and donors, past and present, have made this possible.

Join us! We invite you to participate in this meritorious project by contributing financially and/or by volunteering your time and energy next spring and summer.

Donate to the Stupa Restoration Fund

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Trauma Release Exercise


Dr. David Berceli has come up with a siveteransmple way to alleviate the suffering of those who have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).  He offers a suitable method to induce what is sometimes referred to as “neurogenic tremors” in the human body. 

His technique is called the Tension Release Exercise or Trauma Releasing Exercises or just TRE for short.  It is another excellent way to help re-balance the Autonomic Nervous System and get closer to the root of the problem. 

This method has been used with thousands of soldiers, emergency organizations around the world, areas where natural disasters have occurred, and general populations in war-torn and politically oppressed countries.  It has been taught as a way of addressing PTSD and more programs are being offered in the United States

“Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives.  That’s a suicide every 65 minutes.  As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher.” — Department of Veterans Affairs

The statistics above were taken from 1999 through 2011 in 21 states.  That’s a staggering 8030 veterans dying each year!  David Berceli has found a method that is helpful for anxiety disorders, PTSD, general stress, and the myriad conditions caused by trauma.  It has also been found to help decrease tremors and seizures in conditions like Parkinson’s, MS, restless leg syndrome, and Epilepsy. 

On a positive note, athletes are also finding it to be great way to speed recovery after workouts.  A common response from most people who do TRE’s is sleeping better and feeling more at peace.  The key to the various benefits of TRE is that it is addressing the core reason for these problems and conditions instead of merely chasing symptoms.

Testimonial:

Frank B. has one of the most important and inspiring testimonials that I have read.  He tells us that, “I have two military sons that have served in Bosnia and IRAQ.  Both have returned with strong symptoms of PTSD but were unwilling to seek out professional psychological help.  They will not discuss their war time experiences with anyone.”

“After hearing about Dr. Berceli’s Trauma Release Process and learning that physical exercises were the key, not years of verbal dialogue with therapists, I immediately ordered books for my entire family.” — Frank B. 

“Although we have all benefited greatly from the exercises it was the psychological improvement of both military sons that was absolutely astounding.  Being soldiers, they had no problem doing the exercises and both saw improvements within weeks.  What a miracle!  They continue to do the exercises and are amazed at the results.  I can not thank Dr. Berceli enough for bringing peace back into their lives.”

The Theory:

Dr. David Berceli was looking for an easy way to relieve stress and trauma for humanity.  In studying other mammals, he noted that every mammal except for humans has a natural way of relieving tension that is elicited during the fight/flight/freeze response.  He discovered that humans have this capacity as well, only we have used our newer cognitive brain to subdue it. 

From the sunrise website:

“Tension Releasing Exercises elicit neurogenic tremors to release the body’s tension and the resultant physical and emotional blocks that can be causing tension, anxiety, PTSD, and numerous other symptoms associated with holding patterns.” – Rick Stockwell

Dr. Berceli has developed a technique that elicits these neurogenic tremors in the human body quite effectively.  It is said that fear and pain is something encoded in our DNA (if not our subconscious mind) and this method is available for all of us to tap into to find relief.  The results in relieving chronic tension, trauma, and trapped physical and emotional patterns in the body can be amazing when experienced for oneself.

Example:

As anyone who has researched this method in the past knows this information has been almost non-existent and kept more or less hidden.  Recently, Rick Stockwell has taken this program a step further and explains the principle behind this unique methodology in a comprehensive way.  He explains that the best way to understand this comes from observing how animals shake their body after a frightening experience.  If we own a dog, cat, or bird it may be easier to see how this behavior in the animal kingdom works.

“What they’re doing is something all mammals (including humans) have ingrained in their system as a way of ‘shaking off’ stress, anxiety, and fear.  Once they are done shaking, the stress is gone from their body.” — Rick Stockwell

He goes on to say,  “I’ll never forget our poor little poodle when we were huddling under an alcove in Utah as a huge clap of thunder rang out and lighting simultaneously struck just outside the alcove.  The poor thing shook for almost 2 hours as my wife comforted her.  But then she was done.  It was out of her system, and she was back to normal.  She didn’t hold onto that traumatic experience for years or decades like humans do.”

With this simple explanation, it seems quite apparent that animals have an innate ability to heal a traumatic experience and remove it completely out of their system without the pain of having a higher brain/mind that constantly stores that information. 

The Method:

There are two known positions that we can gather from the all-too-brief YouTube videos.  The first is lying down with legs butterflied open and the other is standing with your back up against the wall and sinking down slightly.  For some people it may not be wise to do these exercises on your own.  If you already have a severe trauma and are isolated (without a good support-system in place) then it is best to err on the side of caution and refrain from these exercises.  When it is likely that painful things might come up for you; it is best to work with a qualified therapist to help you get through the heavy emotions together.

Of course, the temptation is always there.  Just make sure this is something you can handle all by yourself.  If you are an intermediate or advanced yoga practitioner it probably would be alright to explore this healing modality.  As always, you are likely to gain more intricate understanding when you reach out for help.

Principle: Two opposing forces are in play here to initiate the body tremors.  For instance, when you let your legs go towards the floor (with the natural weight of gravity) and then pull your legs up in the opposite direction, then an automatic shaking begins.  You just have to find the right balance for it to work.

VARIATION ONE: Lay flat on your back.  Have your feet flat on the ground.  Keep your legs and thighs off the ground but at an angle.  Allow gravity take the weight of your legs (towards the floor).  Next, move your legs in the opposite direction ever so slightly.  You should start to feel tremors kick in spontaneously.  This tends to be isolated only within the leg area.

VARIATION TWO: Lay flat on your back.  Have your feet flat on the ground.  Keep your legs and thighs off the ground but at an angle.  First, allow gravity take the weight of your legs.  Second, move your legs in the opposite direction ever so slightly.  This time add a third element.  Press your feet towards the ground with just a slight force.  This has the most amazing affect of spontaneous gyrations resonating throughout your whole upper body and spine as a continuous shaking occurs.

VARIATION THREE: Lay flat on your back.  Have your feet flat on the ground.  Keep your legs and thighs off the ground but at an angle.  Lift your bottom slightly off the ground.  At the same time, allow gravity take the weight of your legs and move your legs up in the opposite direction.  This is done ever so slightly.  You should start to feel tremors kick in spontaneously.  This tends move the lower and upper body side to side.

To get a visual, the first two variations move the body like a dolphin’s tale does – with an up and down motion.  The third variation moves the body, side to side, like a shark or fish naturally does.

Note: Years ago when I was working on this method, I could feel the neural network being formed and strengthened along the spine.  It was interesting to experience the nerves or channels develop from the bottom of the spine upward towards the head.  With all other healing modalities such as standing stake, chi kung or boading-balls… the nervous system would develop from the top of the head down to the base of the spine.

It is quite thrilling once you get the hang of it.  And with some contemplation, you can figure more ways to work the other portions of your body and limbs as well.

Good luck!
Neo

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Festival of Lights 2015


Every year at the Root Institute in Bodhgaya they create one of my favorite types of offerings to the triple gem.  On July 20th is a special day where the merit we create is multiplied by 100, 000. 

It is on the same day that Shakyamuni Buddha gave his first sermon which we call the “First Turning of the Dharma Wheel” which happens to be on July 20th of this year.

From the flyer that I received in email:

Festival of Lights

“Those who offer one thousand lights will be reborn when Maitreya Buddha shows the deed of gaining enlightenment and receive his first Dharma teaching.” — Arya Maitreya Sutra

  • 50,000 lights – $500
  • 25,000 lights – $250
  • 10,000 lights – $100
  • 5,000 lights – $50

Click here to help sponsor this event and bring some wondrous light it into this dark world:

Root Institute

Thanks,
Neo

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a zen teaching


Huáng Po is perhaps one of Zen Buddhism’s most brilliant Zen masters.  One of the sample teachings (below) from Huang Po’s dialogues brings to light Zen Buddhism’s most esoteric theme concerning Buddha Mind.  Much more vast than the Western concept of mind, Huang Po reveals the transcendent nature of Buddha Mind which traditional Zen Buddhists believe is the source of all things.

Huang Po quote

Brief Bio:

Huáng Po (d. 850) was noted for his outlandish manner of teaching, which incorporating hitting and shouting to awaken his students.  There are a number of instances in the record of Huáng Po slapping students.

One time, the future emperor of China, hiding in the Chan community as a novice monk, received many slaps from Huáng Po for questioning why Huáng Po was bowing to an image of the Buddha.

Another instance was when Linji Yixuan was directed by the head monk to question Huáng Po on the meaning of Buddhism after he had been practicing hard in the monastery for three years without an interview. Three times Linji went to Huáng Po and three times the only answer he got was a slap.

Classic Text:

From “The Zen Teachings of Huang Po”:

“Now we are getting towards the end of the third period of five hundred years since the time of the Buddha, and most students of zen cling to all sorts of sounds and forms.  Why do they not copy me by letting each thought go as though it were nothing, or as though it were a piece of rotten wood, a stone, or the cold ashes of a dead fire?  Or else, by just making whatever slight response is suited to each occasion?

If you do not act thus, when you reach the end of your days here, you will be tortured by Yama.  You must get away from the doctrines of existence and non-existence, for Mind is like the sun, forever in the void, shining spontaneously, shining without intending to shine.  This is not something which you can accomplish without effort, but when you reach the point of clinging to nothing whatever, you will be acting as the Buddhas act.

This will indeed be acting in accordance with the saying: ‘Develop a mind which rests on no thing whatever.’  For this is your pure Dharmakaya, which is called supreme perfect Enlightenment.

If you cannot understand this, though you gain profound knowledge from your studies, though you make the most painful efforts and practice the most stringent austerities, you will still fail to know your own mind.  All your effort will have been misdirected and you will certainly join the family of Mara.  What advantage can you gain from this sort of practice?”

many blessings!
Neo

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Mother’s intuition


Here’s a follow up to an article I posted back in 2011 about a lovely mother who had delivered twins prematurely at 27 weeks.  Kate Ogg delivered fraternal twins.  One boy and one girl.  Unfortunately, the doctor told her the baby boy didn’t make it.

In a world where doctors are just in the beginning stages of learning about the full potential of the human body and mind…it makes us realize how important it is to become fully aware of the process of childbirth and all that it entails.

Now, we can say for sure that a baby and its mother should should never be separated at birth.  And we can learn how important it is of having direct physical contact between the two.   And, of course, communicating loving words can not hurt at all.

Jamie’s story:

For Kate Ogg and her husband David, the arrival of twins finally fulfilled their wishes to have their first child and become new parents. However, after a premature birth the couple was told their first baby would not make it.

It only takes one person to change the world as this beautiful story with a happy ending tells us.  Hopefully, it will cause a few people to reevaluate what we think we really know and learn proper birthing principles.

After both mom and dad cuddled, held, and talked to their baby for hours… the doctor was shocked to see him with his eyes open and begin breathing.  Here’s a video every aspiring parent should be required to watch.  Running time 4 minutes with nice photos of the children three or four years later:

 

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obtaining virtue


The Buddha said to Maitreya, “If here in this world you are upright in thought and will, and abstain from doing evil, then you will attain the utmost virtue, unsurpassed in all the lands throughout the ten quarters.

Why is this so? 

Devas and humans in the Buddha-lands naturally do good and rarely commit evil, and so, it is easy to teach and train them.  Having become a Buddha in this world, I now dwell in the midst of the five evils, the five sufferings, and the five burnings.  This is extremely painful for me.

Buddha_Amitayus

I will teach multitudes of beings, making them abandon the five evils, avoid the five sufferings, and escape from the five burnings.  I will train their minds and lead them to practice the five good deeds, so that they may acquire merit and virtue and attain emancipation, long life, and Nirvana.”

Roots of virtue:

“In this world, you should extensively plant roots of virtue, be benevolent, give generously, abstain from breaking the precepts, be patient and diligent, teach people with sincerity and wisdom, do virtuous deeds, and practice good.

If you strictly observe the precepts of abstinence with upright thought and mindfulness even for a day and a night, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years.  The reason is that in that Buddha-land of effortless spontaneity all the inhabitants do good without committing even a hair’s breadth of evil.

If in this world you do good for ten days and nights, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years.

The reason is that in the Buddha-land of other quarters many practice good and very few commit evil.  They are lands where everything is naturally provided as a result of one’s merit and virtue, and so no evil is done.

But in this world much evil is committed, and few are provided for naturally; people must work hard to get what they want.  Since they intend to deceive each other, their minds are troubled, their bodies exhausted, and they drink bitterness and eat hardship.  In this way, they are preoccupied with their toil [and don’t] have time for rest.

The Challenge:

  1. One day – The merit acquired for planting roots of virtue for a day, will surpass those practicing good in the land of Amitayus for a hundred years.
  2. Ten days – The merit acquired for planting roots of virtue for ten days, the merit acquired will surpass that of practicing good in the Buddha-land of other quarters for a thousand years.

To learn more about Amitayus: Infinite Life Sutra

To watch the Chinese video: Amitayus Infinite Life sutra

Many Blessings!
Neo

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Skunk Medicine


Skunk cannabis, along with traditional marijuana, is typically used for recreational use.  However, it is becoming popular amongst the medical community as a form of pain medication and management in such debilitating illnesses as HIV or seizures.

skunk

Skunk weed, similar to every other strain of cannabis, has both physiological and psychological side effects.  These side effects include: rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, increased rate of breathing, red eyes, dry mouth, increased appetite, slowed reaction time, distorted sense of time, paranoia, magical thinking, short-term memory loss, anxiety and depression.

While skunk weed and marijuana in general can produce negative side effects, it can be beneficial to aid individuals with severe medical conditions.  With that said the debate on whether or not it is beneficial will always be based on you intention and how you use it.

What I wanted to point out is the mythology, origins, and inherent dangers of what this plant does on a deeper level.  Since most people have various strong or weak faculties it is not always easy to determine the truth.  Therefore, a higher perspective is really NEVER shared with someone from a more material point of view.  So those that disagree on these topics will almost always lack any calm sense of detachment and serious reflection.

Since it is now becoming more and more legalized and popular you can take this information to benefit the few loved ones that are willing to listen.  The different spiritual and shamanic views can be discovered in the following categories:

From the Marijuana Syndromes website:

When a young child smells marijuana for the first time, they often share a simple but profound insight: Marijuana smoke smells like a skunk.  Many Mexican shamans agree.  Marijuana shares two main qualities with the skunk at levels of what the shamans call Skunk Medicine.

Positive:

Any interesting book came out in 2012.  John Mini, a licensed Acupuncturist, wrote the book called: “Marijuana Syndromes: How to Balance and Optimize the Effects of Cannabis with Traditional Chinese Medicine“.  The captivating and well-researched book is 824 pages long.  He dedicated over twenty years of research into the effects of marijuana and how to balance them using Traditional Chinese Medicine.  He says that:

Marijuana can help you let go of appearances and materialism.  But if you let it take you too far and you don’t do something to balance it in your life, marijuana can also turn you into a slob that can’t get anything done.  This effect is one level of the shamanic testing arena.  It’s where many of the lessons of plant medicines reside.

“These tests are built in mechanisms, or proving grounds, that only allow those that make it through in a good way to progress further on the path.  The ones who don’t make it are left to the demons and psychotherapists.” — Dr. John Mini

Root origins:

Have you ever wondered where in the world the name marijuana comes from?  It’s not a botanical title.  The word comes from Mexican shamans.  We first started hearing the term marijuana here in El Norte at the end of the 1800s, when Gringo soldiers first had continuing contact with freedom fighters from Mexico, who were mostly Pancho Villa’s supporters in Sonora.

So what does marijuana mean, anyway?  Mari means Mary.  It means Virgin in the Christian sense and all that goes along with that icon.  But a Juana is a whore.  (If you’re deeply aching to verify the truth of this statement, click here.)  This leads us into a dichotomy that is the essence of what marijuana’s medicine is all about.

Ashir Pandey, Cannabis Advocate and Activist, from California says,  “My favorite reference in the book, which encapsulates the major theme of Mini’s research, is the Mexican Shamans who refer to Marijuana as part “Virgin Mary” and part “Whore.”  Meaning that Marijuana’s dual nature is encapsulated in its name.

“When used correctly it can act as beneficently as Mother Mary.  When used incorrectly it quickly has the opposite effect and becomes a Juana …’Prostitute’ over time.” — Ashir Pandey

Negative:

In a recent publication on February 9th, 2015 it is said that psychosis is five times more likely for people who are cannabis users.

London (AFP) – A British study released Monday suggested that the risk of psychosis was five times higher for regular users of cannabis, adding to a growing body of evidence linking drug use and mental health disorders.

The six-year study published in the medical journal The Lancet reported on 780 people living in south London, 410 of whom were being treated for conditions including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Marta Di Forti from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London says:

“Compared with those who had never tried cannabis, users of high potency skunk-like cannabis had a threefold increase in risk of psychosis.” — Marta Di Forti

By continuously breaking the laws of nature, it is rather difficult to become whole again.  Most will never know what is true happiness or a natural state of well-being because it is outside their range of awareness and direct experience.

The Reality:

From a deeper perspective, no illness need remain forever in one’s mind-stream.  Yet, this is one of the hardest illnesses to heal simply because it affects the mind so greatly.  Those that don’t believe in karma and how the subconscious mind imprints everything we experience will never understand.

One thing that I have noticed is that when all the proper conditions come together then mental illness will occur as a matter of consequence.  When more than one of these conditions are met: such as meditation, fasting, occult study, conspiracy theories, and bad diet coincide with marijuana-use then results such as bi-polar or schizophrenia have a greater chance of happening.  We all can agree that a trip to the psych-ward or hospital is no fun.

Once marijuana is used, most love to experience the high or euphoric feeling it gives.  This is what is grasped onto the most.  Yet, most forget that there was also a sense of paranoia that came with the trip.  And this is the key-point.  This deep feeling of paranoia becomes imprinted on the subconscious mind.  Later, this feeling of paranoia can be triggered many years later.  Sadly, as one’s life spins out of control and the mind races and fear overwhelms the person…a sense of what the Buddhist scriptures describe as “unbounded joy” and what psychologists refer to as “manic-behavior” is produced.

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the two paths


It’s always nice to come across any type of work by the great Zen Master Bodhidharma.  His truth hits home because he effortlessly sums up the whole path in a condensed and simple manner.  Here is one such teaching:

Bodhidharma2

MANY roads lead to the Path, but basically there are only two: reason and practice.

To enter by reason means to realize the essence through instruction and to believe that all living things share the same true nature, which isn’t apparent because it’s shrouded by sensation and delusion.  Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason.  Without moving, without effort, they enter, we say, by reason.

To enter by practice refers to four all-inclusive practices:  Suffering injustice, adapting to conditions, seeking nothing, and practicing the Dharma.

First, suffering injustice.  When those who search for the Path encounter adversity, they should think to themselves,

 “In Countless ages gone by, I’ve turned from the essential to the trivial and wandered through all manner of existence, often angry without cause and guilty of numberless transgressions.

Now, though I do no wrong, I’m punished by my past.  Neither gods nor men can foresee when an evil deed will bear its fruit.  I accept it with an open heart and without complaint of injustice.  The sutras say “When you meet with adversity don’t be upset because it makes sense.”  With such understanding you’re in harmony with reason.  And by suffering injustice you enter the Path.

Second, adapting to conditions.  As mortals, we’re ruled by conditions, not by ourselves.  All the suffering and joy we experience depend on conditions. 

If we should be blessed by some great reward, such as fame or fortune, it’s the fruit of a seed planted by us in the past.  When conditions change, it ends

Why delight in its existence?  But while success and failure depend on conditions, the mind neither waxes nor wanes.  Those who remain unmoved by the wind of joy silently follow the Path.

Third, seeking nothing.  People of this world are deluded.  They’re always longing for something-always, in a word, seeking.  But the wise wake up.  They choose reason over custom.  They fix their minds on the sublime and let their bodies change with the seasons.

All phenomena are empty.  They contain nothing worth desiring.  Calamity forever alternates with Prosperity!

To dwell in the three realms is to dwell in a burning house.  To have a body is to suffer.  Does anyone with a body know peace?  Those who understand this detach themselves from all that exists and stop Imagining or seeking anything.  The sutras say, “To seek is to suffer.  To seek nothing is bliss.”  When you seek nothing, you’re on the Path.

Fourth, practicing the Dharma.  The Dharma is the truth that all natures are pure.  By this truth, all appearances are empty.  Defilement and attachment, subject and object don’t exist.  The sutras say, “The Dharma includes no being because it’s free from the impurity of being, and the Dharma includes no self because it’s free from the impurity of self.”  Those wise enough to believe and understand these truths are bound to practice according to the Dharma.

And since that which is real includes nothing worth begrudging, they give their body, life, and property in charity, without regret, without the vanity of giver, gift, or recipient, and without bias or attachment.

And to eliminate impurity they teach others, but without becoming attached to form.  Thus, through their own practice they’re able to help others and glorify the Way of Enlightenment.  And as with charity, they also practice the other virtues.  But while practicing the six virtues to eliminate delusion, they practice nothing at all.  This is what’s meant by practicing the Dharma.

 The Great Master Bodhi-dharma’s Teaching on the Two Enterings and the Four Practices  

By Bodhi-dharma
Translated into English by Red Pine, 1987

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