Tag Archives: Tibetan Buddhism

Being a vegetarian


“You have recorded my conversation, so you should relate it to the people.  We are here at the place of Guru Rinpoche’s cave.  At this place, we are exchanging questions and answers.  It will be nice for other people to hear this.  When you make your book, put my interview at the beginning.  Thank you.”

Chatral-prayer

COMPASSIONATE ACTION – Chapter Two

Chatral Rinpoche’s Steadfast Commitment to Ethics

Chatral Rinpoche is renowned in the Tibetan community for his peerless spiritual discipline, especially when it comes to refraining from eating meat.  Meat eating is an entrenched aspect of Tibetan culture and there are very few who can do without it for long.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama became vegetarian in 1966, but when he got Hepatitis B the Tibetan doctors who support him insisted he start to eat meat again, which he continues to do today in moderate quantities.  A few contemporary masters—such as Kangyur Rinpoche—were also known for being strict vegetarians, but they are the exception.  When I was on the University of Wisconsin-Madison College Year in Nepal Program in 2000, I was studying how Tibetans view the cultural convergence of Buddhism and meat eating and Chatral Rinpoche was one of the main people I interviewed.  Here are some excerpts from that interview:

Question:  Why did you decide to stop eating meat?  How old were you when you made this decision?

Answer:  It is written in many Theravadayana and Mahayana texts that one should not eat meat.  There is also a Vajrayana text that says the same thing, that one should not enjoy meat or alcohol.  Because of this I am following the instructions of Shakyamuni Buddha.  Being a religious person, I don’t take meat or alcohol and at the same time I try to tell other people not to consume these things.  This is my reason—I’m just trying to motivate other people.  I was 47 years old when I went to Bodhgaya and made a vow to all of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to give up meat and alcohol.

Question:  Why do you think vegetarianism is an important aspect of practicing the Dharma?

Answer:  If you take meat, it goes against the vows one takes in seeking refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  Because when you take meat you have to take a being’s life.  So I gave it up.

Question:  Some claim that one can help the animals one eats by praying for them, and thus eating meat is compassionate.  Other than for the most accomplished yogis and lamas, what do you make of this claim?

Answer:  With supernatural powers gained through certain meditations, it is true that there are some realized beings who can revive animals from the dead and help them reach a higher rebirth or Enlightenment by consuming small amounts of their flesh.  But this is not done for sustenance, only for the purpose of helping that animal.  I personally do not have that power and because of that I never eat meat.  Eating meat in one’s diet is much different than eating flesh to liberate a being through supernatural powers.  I am just an ordinary practitioner who really doesn’t have these qualities.  So, if I ate meat it would be the same if you or any other lay person ate meat.  I would be committing sin and I would be getting negative karma.  I don’t pretend as if I have special powers and eat meat, I just avoid it altogether.

Question:  Do you know other lamas who are vegetarian?

Answer:  I know many of them from Tibet.  There are Nyingma, Sakya and Gelukpa vegetarians in Tibet. Compared to the many meat-eating lamas, vegetarian lamas are very few though.  I’m 88 and during my experience I have come across many lamas in Kham, Amdo—all parts of Tibet—who don’t eat meat.  There are lamas who eat meat and those who don’t.  At my monastery in Tibet there are also lamas who take meat and those who don’t.

Question:  Many Buddhist practitioners in the United States eat meat because their Tibetan lamas eat meat.  What do you make of this?

Answer:  Many great siddhas in India drank enormous amounts of alcohol and developed magical powers.  One of these mahasiddhas (Virupa) kept drinking alcohol all day and suspended the sun in the sky and kept it from setting.  Naropa, Tilopa—these were great masters.

If you can acquire supernatural powers, you don’t need to follow the same standards of normal people and you can drink alcohol and eat meat.  Those who have supernatural powers can still give great teachings and benefit all sentient beings.

So, if the teachers in America are of that level, ask all your friends to join them in drinking alcohol and eating meat (Rinpoche was being sarcastic with this response).  It all depends on the level of realization one has achieved.  A lama who enjoys meat and alcohol can still bring people on the right path, so long as they have developed supernatural powers.

Question:  Do you see Tibetan Buddhists in exile making a sincere effort to reduce their meat consumption and become vegetarian, or has meat eating become an entrenched aspect of Tibetan culture?

Answer:  In Tibet, there’s only meat and tsampa (roasted barley flour)—there is no other staple food. Tibet is at a high altitude and the climate is tundra-like.  There are not many fruits and vegetables.  After coming to South Asia, you really don’t have to follow the Tibetan custom of meat and tsampa.  There are many types of fruits and vegetables, nutritional supplements—all kinds of good foods.  Everything is available.  So there is really no need to talk about the customs of Tibet as an excuse for eating meat.  From my experience, not eating meat has many benefits.  I’m 88 and ever since I stopped eating meat, I haven’t had any major sickness.

When I sleep, I sleep well.  When I get up, I can walk right away.  When I read religious texts, I can see them properly.  I have very good hearing and can listen attentively.  These are the qualities I have experienced from not eating meat.  I didn’t get sick or die when I stopped eating meat; no negative consequences came to me.  I can travel by vehicle, airplane or train without getting nauseous or dizzy and I never get headaches.

I am a human being formed with flesh and blood like anyone else and am proof that giving up meat does not make one ill like many Tibetans seem to think.  I’m telling you from my own experience; only good things have happened to me from giving up meat.

Question:  Many Tibetans quote a sutra passage that says if one does not hear, see, or suspect that meat has been obtained especially for you, then it is acceptable to eat.  How do you respond to this?

Answer:  If the animal being killed is unseen, then it is something like stealing something without being caught.  That would also be deemed acceptable if you used this rationale. You could say something dirty without being heard—as if you need evidence to judge whether it is a sin or not.  What they say is not right.  Killing, stealing and other negative actions can never be gotten away with.  Even if other people don’t see you do them, the deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas see you doing these things.  There is a Tibetan saying that even if one does not get caught committing a sin, that the gods catch you every time.  It is impossible to do anything without being seen—you’re always being watched by the deities.  They see and understand what you did—they know that you helped to kill an animal by buying meat.  This is my answer.

Question:  Some monks have told me that since insects are killed in the production of rice and other vegetables, then there is really no difference in eating those things and eating meat.  What do you think about this?

Answer:  This would mean that you wouldn’t eat anything and would starve to death. If you say you were going to go for a month without killing insects through the food you eat, then you would die.  If you die, this precious human life is wasted.  So if you just let your body be destroyed, that means you are taking your own life, which is killing in itself.  You can always take the insect from the rice when you see it and let it free outside.  You don’t necessarily have to kill beings to eat.  Although, when we walk we crush many insects under our feet.  We may not see them or observe them, but still we must be killing them.  Not being aware doesn’t mean that we haven’t created any sin, because after all, cause and effect are always there.

After the interview, Rinpoche said to me, “Today you came to ask me these things and I answered them.  It is very good.  I am very happy.  You have recorded my conversation, so you should relate it to the people.  We are here at the place of Guru Rinpoche’s cave.  At this place, we are exchanging questions and answers.  It will be nice for other people to hear this.  When you make your book, put my interview at the beginning. Thank you.”

Rinpoche’s monastery at Yangleshöd has two signs posted on it related to meat eating.  The first is in Tibetan, Nepali and English and is one of the first things you see when you approach the monastery.  The sign, a full four square meters in size, reads:

IN THIS BUDDHIST MONASTERY THE CONSUMPTION OF
MEAT, ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE & TOBACCO AS WELL AS
PLAYING CARDS OR GAMBLING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

One of the principal vows in Buddhism is to refrain from consuming intoxicants, along with refraining from killing, stealing, lying and sexual misconduct.  Not many Tibetan Buddhists outside of the monastic tradition take this vow seriously and Nyingma practitioners are known to drink alcohol.  Rinpoche does not tolerate this at all among his disciples.  There was an incident a few years ago where a photo of a late lama was placed in Rinpoche’s room by the disciples of this lama, who were asking Rinpoche for blessings.  When Rinpoche saw the photo, he said, “This person was an alcoholic and had broken his precepts, don’t leave this photo in my room; take it away!”

When the attendant removed the photo from the wooden frame, there was another photo beneath.  Rinpoche asked who was in the picture and was told it was the son of the late lama, who was also a heavy drinker.  Rinpoche proclaimed, “Like father, like son. Take away both of their photos!”

In regards to smoking, Rinpoche said,

“The major defect of smoking is that it will close the Brahma’s door at the top of one’s head.  So at the moment of death, it will be extremely difficult for one’s practice of phowa in trying to let one’s consciousness out from there, either to liberate oneself from cyclic existence or to go to the three upper realms.  It is most advisable for all Dharma practitioners—for the sake of both themselves and others—not to smoke at all!”

The second sign is posted outside of the main worship area and reads in Tibetan and English, “How can we practice true compassion while we consume the flesh of an animal to fatten our own flesh?  Stop this filthy habit for your health, for the environment and for the animals.”  This large poster placed in a protective frame was made by an animal rights group at Dzogchen Monastery in South India and shows how highly Rinpoche values this ethic.

The daughter of the great Nyingma figure Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche named Pema is a close friend of Chatral Rinpoche’s family.  She gave me some insights on the importance of vegetarianism in Rinpoche’s practice of compassion in my interview with her in 2000.

She said, “Meat eating is high on Chatral Rinpoche’s spiritual radar.  Rinpoche is so connected with animals.  He loves animals.  He loves watching wildlife videos on T.V.  His great compassion caused him to stop eating meat.  He gives all his money to save 70 truckloads of fish in Calcutta.  It is his most important yearly activity.

He prays for every bucketful he dumps into the ocean, trying to bring them to a higher rebirth.  In the Dharma, it is not just a matter of not doing something—eating meat for instance—but actively protecting life.  Rinpoche lives this.  He is so connected on a vast level to sentient beings and their suffering.”

Rinpoche is drawn to dark, sinful, murderous places—to Hindu animal sacrifice areas.  He took his daughter Saraswati and myself to one once.  It was beautiful on the outside, with flowers and carvings.  He bought some birds in a cage and released them at the top of the roof.  Then we came to the goat sacrifice place.  At first I had my eyes closed, but then I saw it—innocent goats being murdered and blood everywhere.  I was horrified.  Rinpoche calmly walked over the goat blood as if he was doing walking meditation.  He wasn’t a bit fazed by it.  I think he was trying to teach us the lesson of being fearless and patient in the face of suffering.

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Benefits of the Festival of the Tenth Day


Taken in part from the Lotsawa House website:

guru rinpoche

On each one of these successive tenth day festivals, the specific benefits of observing the practice follow in this order:

In the sixth month, all kinds of illness, döns, and obstructors are pacified, and lifespan, merit and prosperity are increased.

In the twelfth month, happiness and sharpness of mind are accelerated and confidence increases, so that humans and non-humans are brought under your power.

In the first month, power, position and wealth will grow, and earth-lords and guardians obey you like servants.

In the second month, harm and damage caused by the lord of death and the eight classes of gods and spirits are pacified, discipline is purified, and unlimited wisdom blazes.

In the third month, you are untouched by harm from inauspicious conjunctions of planets and stars, and from enemies and thieves. At home and abroad, auspiciousness, peace and goodness increase everywhere.

In the fourth month, you will be immune to harm from earth-lords, nāgas and nyens, and dharmapālas and guardians will accomplish whatever activity you have entrusted to them.

In the fifth month, all harm from obstacles, enemies and döns is pacified, and the objects of your wishes are brought under your control.

In the seventh month, chronic ailments, weaknesses of the immune system and the like are purified, the body is healthy, the mind is happy, your entourage and wealth increase, and your aspirations are fulfilled.

In the eighth month, obstacles of the year, month, day and time, as well as evil signs and the like, are all pacified, and any decline in wangthang or lungta is restored.

In the ninth month, sickness and döns caused by the eight classes and jungpo demons, untimely death and fatal accidents all are pacified, serious curses are eliminated, you are freed from sorcery and psychic attacks, and your own body becomes vajra.

In the tenth month, wrongs and downfalls of the three vows such as disrespecting sacred objects, and breakages and impairments of samaya are all healed, and your mind stream is purified.

In the eleventh month, sudden misfortune, such as untimely death, will not occur, and as soon as we transfer from this life, we are born in the pure land of Lotus Light before Guru Rinpoche himself.

Not only are the benefits of observing the tenth day absolutely limitless, but for concentrating on the various practices of gathering merit and making prayers, these occasions are praised as extraordinarily special.

Composed by Jikdral Yeshe Dorje, Kyabjé Dudjom Rinpoche

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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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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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The Buddhist Enumerations


The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism: It’s Fundamentals & History by Dudjom Rinpoche is a must have for serious scholars or practitioners within Tibetan Buddhism.

It is two volumes combined into one book.  The first is the Fundamentals of the Nyingma School and the second is the History of the Nyingma School.  This is where you can find detailed accounts of lineage information and hagiographies of some important and wonderful masters.

One of the most useful parts within the book is the numerical categorization of Buddhism in general.  It sports 181 pages just for this section of the Glossary of Enumerations.  It progress from the two accomplishments all the way up to 6,400,000 verses of the great perfection teachings.

Here are some samples:

TWO:

  • two accomplishments
  • two Buddha bodies
  • two truths
  • two kinds of selflessness

THREE:

  • three kinds of discriminating awareness
  • three kinds of mandala
  • three uncompounded entities

FOUR:

  • four essential recollections
  • four eternalistic schools
  • four extremes
  • four fearlessness
  • four great modes of liberation
  • four guardian kings
  • four kinds of birthplace
  • four kinds of desire
  • four great axioms of madhyamaka
  • four perverted views

FIVE:

  • five buddha families

TEN:

  • ten powers
  • ten sciences

TWELVE:

  • twelve modes of dependent origination

SEVENTEEN:

  • seventeen form realms

EIGHTEEN:

  • eighteen distinct attributes of the Buddhas
  • eighteen schools

AND MORE:

  • twenty-four pure lands
  • fifty-one mental events
  • eighty minor marks of a buddha
  • one hundred treasure-finders
  • two hundred and fifty disciplines of the vinaya
  • 21,000 kinds of desire, hatred, and delusion
  • 84,000 doctrines of the vehicles
  • 6,400,000 verses of the natural great perfection

Ascension of the masters:

One of the most intriguing categories is how a highly realized master dies in Tibetan Buddhism.  It is important to note that this is only explained in Vajrayana Buddhism.

This account has caused other faiths to investigate the dharma to determine the validity of Christ’s ascension into the sky.

Four ways of death:

  1. dissolving into space
  2. cremation
  3. death in the manner of an awareness holder
  4. celestial flight

Described respectively as follows: (1) the body and mind dissolve in the emptiness of the buddha-body of reality, (2) as the space within and without a vase merge when the vase breaks, (3) one passes away like a fire with no more fuel, space is filled with light and one dies like an awareness holder, (4) even though one dies, one need not relinquish the body and so one dies as a sky-farer

You can click here to order the book: The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism

Good Luck!
Neo

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Heartbeat of the Dakini


The following was taken from the Jnanasuka newsletter:

Tsogyal Latso, in the valley of Drak on the north shore of the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River in southern Tibet, is the birthplace of Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, the mother of Tibetan Buddhism.  Yeshe Tsogyal was the speech emanation of Vajra Varahi.  She lived in the eighth and ninth centuries as the disciple and consort of Padmasambhava, the great Indian master who brought Secret Mantra (Vajrayana) Buddhism to Tibet.

She was entrusted with all of Padmasambhava’s teachings which she committed to memory.  She was also the chosen custodian of his treasure transmission or terma.  Her biography is available in English as Mother of Knowledge and Lady of the Lotus Born.

At the time of her birth, a nearby small lake that had existed in antiquity and had been frequented by the goddess Sarasvati, increased in size and overflowed.  Seeing this remarkable event, her father declared:

Since, when she was born the lake expanded, she shall have the name Tsogyal, Queen of the Lake.

The sacred site of Tsogyal Latso has always been a revered place of worship and pilgrimage.  In the 18th century, Rikdzin Jigme Lingpa stayed overnight at Tsogyal Latso. He slept leaning against a tree and in the morning, he saw the impression of his back on the tree.  Then in the next moment, he saw, rippling in its waters, a vision of Yeshe Tsogyal in the form of Yumkha Dechen Gyalmo.  His mind was imprinted with a secret dakini script he later decoded into the Longchen Nyingtik Yumkha Dechen Gyalmo.

“Master Padmakara took as his consort and support for sadhana the sixteen-year-old goddesslike daughter of Palgyi Wangchuk of Kharchen with the name Lady Tsoygal of Kharchen.  She was endowed with the nature of a wisdom dakini.  They remained in the profound meditation practice of Secret Mantra in the gathering hall of dakinis at the Tregu Cave of Chimphu.”  — The Lotus-Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava

Tsogyal Latso is a revered sacred site for the Nyingma.  In the eighth century, Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal was born there and a long, long time ago, it was the abode of Vajra Varahi and Saraswati.  At Tsogyal’s birth, a spring-fed lake spontaneously expanded in size and a naga chief offered her a pillar from a sandalwood tree grown with special elixirs.

In time, the lake became known as a visionary lake. Both the lake and the tree are called la in Tibetan culture–natural forces that sustained and continue to sustain Yeshe Tsogyal’s vitality and presence in the world.  Hence the name of her birthplace–Tsogyal Latso, Life-Supporting Lake of Tsogyal.  We should also mention the two springs that flow with her secret breast milk  and are banked with white flowers that bloom in winter.  Unbelievably, all this has survived the trials of time and tragedy!

It should be no surprise that Tsogyal’s birthplace is so extraordinary.  Ultimately, she is the mother or source of enlightenment, great emptiness herself.  And on the path to enlightenment, she is the enlightened feminine principle, the wisdom dakini who is our direct line to Guru Padmasambhava’s teachings.  Furthermore, in these deeply troubled times, she is the force behind inconceivable activities that benefit beings.

The Tsogyal Latso Fund:

$22,326 raised since 2009
135 donors

To see more beautiful photos click here:  2010 Tsogyal Latso

Please bring the benefit of the nuns into your life by supporting theirs!  Make a Connection

It’s now possible to connect with Tsogyal Latso in Tibet and the nuns living there.  Whether you shop, donate, or stay in touch — you ensure that the birthplace of Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal and the nuns are cared for.

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The Barbara Brennan School


Barbara Brennan offers a generous amount of information that ties psychological patterns of disease in relation to physical wellness and healing.  She is a true pioneer in her field.

With mental imbalance on the rise, it is certainly possible that a fracturing of the nervous-system (scientific term) or its chakras/channels (spiritual term) can lead to a personality disorder such as Bipolar, ADD, OCD, Autism and even Morgellons syndrome.

It is true that the body can affect the mind.  It is also true that the mind can affect the body in ways we are only beginning to realize.  When you understand this principle you can apply the appropriate antidote as you learn how the body-mind works interdependently.

The Barbara Brennan School of Healing is a formal reiki healing-session that goes way beyond the traditional form of reiki.  The fact that it often lasts for 1.5 hours which is forty-five minutes longer than other forms of reiki is an added bonus.  There are three things that make this therapy stand out from all the others:

  • The First thing that makes this healing modality unique is you have information to healing your core psychological issues.
  • Second, you have a method that you can work at to strengthen your hara-line for aligning you with your life purpose.
  • Third, you are taught a specific meditation to heal and improve the function of the core star, soul seat, and lower tan tien.

These meditations will help GROUND you to come into the body rather than being dissociated or disconnected from life.  Due to any form of traumatic incident, we often “leave” the body out of fear or pain.  Psychologically speaking, this pattern of being dissociated means we are not in the present – here and now.  More often than not, the pain has left its mark in childhood and surfaces more apparently in adult life.

The Hara Line:

In regards to the hara-line, which is only briefly talked about in martial arts, we come to know that adjusting it properly will align you with your life purpose.  The hara-line is discussed in depth in Barbara Brenna’s books.  The exercise that follows will help you to perceive if your hara line has any distortions or damage.

I remember reading a book by the Dalai Lama saying if you press the spot, four finger widths below your navel, you should feel heat and bliss.  Hold that for a few minutes and breathe gently, in order to discern what affects this has all over your body.  This is a very important point in your body.  It is often referred to as the lower tan-tien

To use a computer analogy, our nervous system is not “online” until the hara line is up and functioning properly.

This is a quick test to tell if your nervous system is functioning properly.  I would say that if you feel an absence of heat or bliss then you have some work to do. Sometimes you may press that spot and feel pain in other areas of the body.  What that means is our whole body is interconnected with other parts of the body in an intricate web-like fashion.  It is interesting to note that with the ‘push of a button’ you can determine the health of your body-mind system.

Tsa-lung:

Furthermore, if you are fortunate enough to find a qualified lama to empower you to practice Tsa-Lung (yogic exercises for the channels and winds) then healing can move into something much deeper and progress will become swifter.  Within the tsa-lung system there are movement exercises called Yantra Yoga (Sanskrit) or Trulkor (Tibetan) which will help you achieve the quickest and most thorough way to heal your nervous system.

As you dive deeper into Tibetan Buddhism (supervised by a qualified Lama) and complete a Tsa-Lung retreat for a month, it will help you break apart the psychological armor that you have been carrying with you all your life.

In the meantime, it would be wise to investigate the Barbara Brennan School of Healing for those with a serious physical trauma, mental imbalance, or core abuse issue you would like to get a handle on.

Books:

I’ve gone through about eight months worth of this type of healing on a weekly basis.  It was definitely worth visiting a Barbara Brennan Healer once a week to learn about the many facets of our psyche.  If you are serious about having a stable, healthy state of mind then check out the two books she wrote.  The first book is Hands of Light and her other book is Light Emerging.

As one Barbara Brennan Healer put it nicely:

“When people connect to this Core essence aspect of themselves they stop participating in negative patterns and stop putting up with abusive or destructive behavior.  Old situations transform into new ones.  Sicknesses heal.  People heal cancer, auto-immune disorders, thyroid problems, heart problems, digestive disorders and more.”

The first book is a must have.  Both books are well written and explain a path towards health with such in-depth information and illustrations that you can put it to good use for becoming whole.  Since the school has grown internationally, it should be easy for anyone to find a practitioner to work with no matter where you live.

Three important meditations:

For immediate information on how to perform these meditations for more advanced healing purposes click these links:

  1. The Core Star meditation to ground and expand your energy
  2. The Hara Line meditation to ground and align you with your true purpose
  3. The Soul Seat meditation to develop this compassion and inner peace center

The website above is not a substitute for working directly with a healing practitioner or reading her books which will give you much more exact and detailed information.  At the very least, it is something you can start with right away if you are inclined to do so.

Hope that helps!
Neo

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We are all the same


Every once in a while you see a video on YouTube that will make you smile or bring tears to your eyes.  This one accomplished both for me.

Have you seen the video that went viral with 34 million hits? 

It’s called “Where the hell is Matt?” as he dances a graceful, amusing step in forty-two countries around the world.

While watching it, I couldn’t help seeing people all over the world having a good time and saying to myself: we are all the same.  Of course, we each have our own unique qualities and differences about ourselves.  But at a very deep level…at a core level we are all similar.  According to Tibetan Buddhism they talk about developing five wisdoms.

Five Wisdoms are:

  1. All-pervasive wisdom
  2. Mirror-like wisdom
  3. Discriminating wisdom
  4. Sameness wisdom
  5. All-Accomplishing wisdom

One of the wisdoms is called Sameness Wisdom.  Through this video it is apparent that each of us equally shares the same desire to be joyful and have fun.  It doesn’t matter what part of the world we are in.  We all are inherently seeking the same thing…a ray of sunshine and a piece of happiness.

Here is the video:

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Feldenkrais Movement Therapy


At the core of enlightenment there is no distinction between Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism.  I have always noticed that within Zen you are solely given the wisdom of the scriptures to work with and they leave it at that.  Zen Buddhism will say something like this:

“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” ~ Zen proverb

Within Tibetan Buddhism you are not only given a set of wisdom-like principals but also a complete set of skillful methods to bring more mindfulness into our body, speech and mind. In the same way, Feldenkrais Movement therapy is a wonderful and skillful method to bring more awareness into every action our body makes.

From the Into Feldenkrais website:

“Limitations in movement are often due to the unconscious habits of muscular holding we develop through our lifetime.  Most of us have experienced physical or emotional trauma at some point and though our body may have absorbed the effects of this at the time, stresses and strain remain stored in the muscles and held as pattern in the brain.

This creates bad posture and movement which make more stress and strain.  It’s a vicious circle.  Feldenkrais sessions break this circle, helping people recognize habits of tension and discover alternatives to eliminate limitations and restrictions.  As a result we learn better body mechanics and discover ease through natural flexibility and new-found coordination.”

I remember working with my Feldenkrais therapist over ten years ago.  She taught me that just to get up from a seated position and walk across the room is not so easy…but with full awareness one could move with innumerable variations.  After a few months of working with her I came to feel my hips were unlocked – like a swing moving along a cradle.  It was amazing to experience that level of freedom of movement.

She told me that one of her lamas saw Moshé Feldenkrais walk across the room and the high lama looked at her and said “Rinpoche”.  Now, Rinpoche is an honorific title in Tibetan Buddhism that means precious one.  I was a little disturbed when I heard this because he never taught the dharma in a formal sense and his books lacked the clarity that I had been familiar with.

However, only years later do I understand how it is quite possible that Moshe impressed the lama through the profound awareness he brought into the way he moved his body.

The dharma teaches us that there are many thousands of emanations of Buddhas all over the world doing various works to relieve the suffering of sentient beings.  We just don’t know who they are because they look so ordinary – just like us.  Likewise, a bodhisattva with a good intention can bring profound benefit to others when one has an aspiration to help all sentient beings and a skillful method to accomplish healing.  When we look at the results of his or her work the truth becomes readily apparent.

“Through awareness we can learn to move with astonishing lightness and freedom.” — Moshé Feldenkrais

To show how beautiful this process can be… here is one simple method I found on YouTube that has its basis in movement therapy.  This particular gentleman of 4 Season Fitness has a one minute exercise to quickly remove pain or stress.  See if you can notice the channels or nerves opening up in various parts of your body such as your back or neck.

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Centerpointe research


One of the better programs I have come across is something called Holosync technology at the Centerpointe Research Institute.  When karma ripens and subconscious feelings of pain, stress and fear start to surface sometimes the suffering can be too much to bear.  If that begins to happen, it is wise to seek help from a qualified lama or reiki healer that you can begin to place your trust in to assist you.  Getting out of your comfort zone is so important because when you work with someone else they can more easily see the problems you are facing.

There are times when we go through so much pain and suffering and depression that it can be quite overwhelming and we need immediate relief.  I considered this the lazy way to get back on track in that you can lay in bed and allow the guided meditation to work on you.  It is a really great, emergency tool to have.

From a Buddhist perspective this practice is very good at fixing and repairing broken or damaged channels.  In western scientific terms, that means your nervous system can get an upgrade!  Here is an excellent explanation of how this sort of technology works from Bill Harris:

While you are listening to the Holosync® soundtracks used in the program, your brain is creating new neural pathways between the left and right hemispheres. After approximately four months of practice with Awakening Prologue, the initial level of the program, the brain will have completed its creation of the new neural structure needed to handle the stimulus it’s been receiving.  (It is the creation of this new structure that is responsible for the positive changes in mental abilities, emotional health, stress level, and self-awareness people experience in the program.)

Just as a runner running a mile each day for several months reaches the point where running that mile will no longer push him into better condition, the Holosync® stimulus from Awakening Prologue will no longer push the nervous system to further changes once the brain has created the structure necessary to handle the input it is receiving.

It should be noted that this therapy does NOT take the place of your regular meditation practice and working on your core issues.  It is what Tibetan Buddhists would call a “branch practice”.  One’s root practice should always be something authentic like shamatha (concentration) and vipashana (insight) meditation.

As you learn new skills and methods of healing you come to know yourself.  Whatever went wrong in the first place happened for a reason.  When you step forward to receive authentic help you can begin to see progress being made and get your life back in alignment.  I hope you can take these tools to heart so you can quickly discern the real causes and conditions of your problems and heal much faster.

Good luck!
Neo

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Filed under Emotional Health, Mental Health, Physical Health, Spiritual Healing, Tibetan Buddhism