Local News : Training in Mindfulness & Concentration – Afternoon Course

Gen Chönden

This short course on training in mindfulness and concentration, will present methods for developing the main mental functions that we use when we meditate.

Sunday 28 October, 2 – 5pm*
Amitabha Buddhist Centre, Bristol, UK

* There will be an opportunity to do a short retreat in December for those who follow the training.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the life force of meditation” – Geshe Kelsang.
It’s function is to prevent distractions, so that we don’t forget what we’re meditating on. It’s that simple, and that difficult!

Concentration

Concentration depends upon mindfulness. It is the ability to focus the mind on a particular object, and remain there without moving away from it.
We use these two mental factors to meditate on an object – penetrating deep into the heart of it, staying with it, and fully understanding it.

Retreat

It is important to study and learn about Buddhist teachings, and to meditate daily. But it is only on retreat that we really familiarise ourselves enough with Buddha’s teachings to change our minds on a fundamental level.

 


Meditation descriptions from ‘Understanding the Mind’, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
For booking information see Amitabha Buddhist Centre’s website
NZ Group photo credit 

Our Energy Follows Our Attention

+ = ˚͜˚

“We always have choice.”

 This is one of the best things I’ve heard Geshe Kelsang say. 
For me, it rates up there with “The things we normally see don’t exist“, and “Our mind appears objects.” 

I love this because it frees us from the normal discomfort of life. It gives us the power to chose what happens in our life. 
And how good is that?
Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given.
And it was personal advice given to thousands of people by
 my Spiritual Guide. *

Modern Buddhism: the flu

I can totally embrace this because it’s 8.30am, and I’ve been up 5 hours already. With M.S. spasticity and early morning wakening there’s no chance of staying in bed, it just hurts too much!
But today there’s also this sore throat, aching neck and a massive headache. Yup! After being run down for days the flu finally hit home on the first day of an unusually busy week.
Didn’t choose any of that.

But what I can choose – and this is the thing – is how I perceive and react to this big dollop of cosmic poo that’s landed on me.
The aspect of this I give my attention to, is what will become my reality. It’s how my day will unfold, what i’ll be able to do, and how I’ll be when I’m with others. It’s wether I collapse in bed when the day’s over in a tangle of raw nerves, alcohol and pain-killers; or in a snuggle of lovely warm furry babies, duvet and prayers.

That’s blissful for me – but everybody’s different – what magic will you choose to make?

We bring to ourselves what we focus on.

M
a
k
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M
a
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Happen
!

¨*•.¸¸.❤

* nb ‘Personal Advice’

Another Buddhist mind-bender? Just how can advice given to a temple full of Buddhists be ‘personal‘?!
My understanding is that Buddha’s advice to his countless followers over thousands of years, is personal to each n’everyone of us – including the casual observer who sees a snippet on a greetings card – because it’s pertinent to our life right now. Try it out ~ see if it fits with where you are :~)

 

Like this:
Your mind creates your life: Energy Goes Where Attention Attention Flows
 We always have choice. We can choose where we want our mind to go: Pay Attention to Peace

Images via Tumblr
 –   mindbodylove

and Facebook
– Kat Day (Starlight Soul)


Click on images to make biG
*Sorry, this works best on a bigger screen again.
(Promise the next one will be gadget friendly.
Honestly, next time….)

Energy Goes Where Attention Attention Flows

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we all live in the centre of our own reality

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+ = ˚͜˚

Really. What if ?…

As if to prove a point, this just tweeted by @TheBuddhaNature:
Be mindful of intention. Intention is the seed that creates our future.
(Buddhist Proverb) Dontcha’ just love synchronicity?!
*nb.  The future includes the next moment ~ ie. where we are now!


Like this:
We always have choice in life ~ we bring to ourselves what we focus on:  Our Energy Follows Our Attention
We always have choice. We can choose where we want our mind to go: Pay Attention to Peace

Images via Tumblr
 – 
 
self-assassin
and Facebook friends

Click on images to make biG
*Sorry, this works best on a bigger screen again.
Promise the next one will be gadget friendly .

Next Post

Compassion and Wisdom Lighten Anger

 ☆ * •. ¸Even just a glimmer of wisdom and compassion in a mind darkened by anger can lighten it.

Re-blogged as an epilogue to the Equalising Doctor Who & the Daleks series ~
bringing the sci-fi analogy down to earth.   ☽ .•      

  .   * •. ¸          /_\  .• *
                      |'|             ._____
               ___    |'|          |  |....|  .---_|
       _    .-'|"'-..-|'|      .--'|  ||'""| _|"'""|
    .-'|  _.|""|""''||   '-__  |'""|  |''''||''""''|
    |"'| |.... |'"""||      |  |""'|  |""''||""'""'|
 ___|' '-'     '    ""      '-_'   '-.'    '`      |____

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ASCII art by J.G.Stark + Jas

 

Kadampa Life

I have been in New York City for the last ten days, on the occasion of attending the city Temple opening for Kadampa Meditation Center NYC and the North Eastern Dharma Celebration in upstate New York.

The new Buddhist Temple in Chelsea is a three-dimensional peace-space, refuge from the busy streets and lives outside. An enormous

Buddha Shakyamuni seems to float in mid-sky, surrounded by the most ethereal looking statues I have yet seen in the New Kadampa Tradition. I loved seeing a blissful Great Mother Prajnaparamita next to a knowing, smiling Tara. There are a lot of women in this city, and a lot who attend the Buddhist center, and it seems timely and inspiring to have these female enlightened beings in pride of place, perfect role models both.

I love being in New York City. It keeps me on my toes. New York is full of intelligent, creative…

View original post 1,182 more words

Equalising Doctor Who & the Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 2)

Continued from
Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 1)
Dissolving generations of enmity between the Doctor and the Daleks with Buddhist wisdom.

The Doctor suffering from Dalek aversion

😮

 We’re in a Fabricated Reality

~ just like Oswin is.
Having discussed the basics of equanimity and equalising the Doctor and the Daleks in part 1, we can explore them further with Oswin.
We met Oswin when she helped to guide the Doctor and companions safely through the Dalek asylum in episode 1 of the new series.

Poor Oswin, she’s an intriguing character. Self admitted ‘slightly sexy genius’, she’s a cyber geek who can be cleverer than the Doctor.
Reclusive even for a geek, she doesn’t leave her shipwrecked cabin. Oswin’s been hiding there, unscathed for a year. She’s hacked into the Dalek’s hive mind. She has a tongue that’s a little too sharp for comfort.

These and other hints lead us to the chilling discovery that Oswin is actually a Dalek herself – something so unacceptable, she won’t even admit it to herself. She’s made up a whole reality to protect herself from the truth. The shipwrecked cabin she’s living in, is in reality, a mental fabrication.

[* video temporarily out of order]
*  The Doctor tells Oswin how she’s dreamed up her own little world to live in
….as do we all.

Our Reality isn’t Real

We’re all in a similar situation, BTW. Well, we haven’t all become Daleks; but the words you’re reading, the screen you’re looking at, the room you’re in – even the body you’re in – it’s all just a mental fabrication. No more real than the text on Oswin’s monitor or the cabin she’s in. It’s all an illusion created by a desperate mind.

OK, so that’s just TV, made in a TV studio. But the analogy is spot on for our situation. Our minds might not be that desperate, and the mental fabrication we’re living in is a result of our karma, rather than a coping mechanism; but it doesn’t exist outside of our minds, anymore than the soufflé Oswin makes exists outside of her mind.

This is profound Dharma. It takes some thinking about. (Many years, if you want to go down the rabbit hole to liberation ;~) But it’s worth some patient consideration anyway, as it can immediately take the sting out of things.

Emptiness

Buddhists call this lack of concrete, unfindable existence ’emptiness’. It’s how things exist. It’s the ultimate nature of reality. Everything comes from the mind, and even that doesn’t exist from it’s own side. Without even knowing it, we dream all this up – the joys, the pain, the everyday routine – none of it’s real.
As the Doctor tells Oswin “It’s a dream Oswin. You dreamed it for yourself.”

It’s not real. None of it is.  It was never really there.

Buddha explained emptiness emptiness using the dream analogy.
Ever noticed how real the dream appears to the dreamer? “In our dream a whole world appears to us, functioning in it’s own way… completely independent of our mind.” (Geshe Kelsang) When actually, the dreamscape is inseparable from the mind that’s dreaming it. Of course it is. But that’s how our waking world exists as well – inseparable from the mind that’s creating it. And it’s nowhere to be found outside of that mind.
Phenomena’s unfindability is its emptiness.” (Gen Samten)

the Equality of Doctor Who & the Daleks

We can see that there is no difference between the Doctor and the Daleks, in that they all want to be happy, and not to suffer (as do we all), and they’re going about it in completely the wrong way. They see each other as hostile, alien species. But showing a pretty young girl who’s been fully converted into a Dalek, shows us how underneath the metal casing and that  bow-tie; the Daleks and the Doctor aren’t so disimilar as they’d like to think.
As the 7th Dalai Lama said, “Whoever I behold, of high position or low… in essence they are all equal. They all experience problems in their lives.”

How many years have  the Doctor and the Daleks been fighting? And just how much do they hate each other? The Doctor says “I’ve tried to stop.” It hasn’t happened so far, but maybe with this understanding it could.

In emptiness there isn’t even a Doctor or any Daleks.

This is the killer shot that completely equalises them.

They’re all just mental fabrications, dreamed up by their respective minds. There’s no basis for hatred in the space of emptiness – and that’s what’s so blissful about it. Even just a glimmer of this wisdom in a mind darkened by anger can lighten it.
(more to come on this...)
The characters here are fictional – but it doesn’t take too much thinking about to equate it with situations we’re familiar with.
It’s not the easiest truth to get your head around, but so worth it. It’s ‘profound’ because it’s subtle and hard to understand. But as you do, everything rapidly changes for the better.

Credits:
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso quotes from old hardcopies of Heart of Wisdom and Joyful Path of Good Fortune
Copyright of Dr. Who video owned by the BBC, reproduced for educational purposes.

See also:
Equalising Doctor Who & The Daleks with Buddha’s Wisdom (pt 1)
Meditations on emptiness from Vide Kadampa
Discussion on emptiness from Luna Kadampa
Luna’s current article A Temple for this place and time  (as above) reads well with this one

Comments (via You Tube)

☆ Doctor Who & Transforming Bad Situations into Something Better Than They Were Before

¸   . • * •. Sorry ~ this page disappeared into emptiness for awhile, but it’s back now 🙂 * .¸ 

 and, I found a geeky chic picture of the 10th Doctor via Maybe Genius, (worth posting ‘coz he’s my fave Doctor :~) There’s an interesting article there on the Doctor’s character development too.

Crisis = Opportunity? It’s happening for us all the time ~
My “OMG! What happened?! the new article’s not there, and I’ve posted links everywhere for it!” train of thought quickly became
“OMG that picture’s lush  and the article isn’t bad either…”

Why transform crisis into opportunity

The post that so effectively distracted me, doctor who: a character study, was I think written for writers? But what struck me is that the author’s final suggestion (quoted below) for character development isn’t so far away from the Buddhist practice of Lojong, or training the mind, which is a lot of what this blog’s about:

“Take away something your character loves dearly. Cut away their family. Steal their significant other. Annihilate their best friend. Destroy their freakin’ world. Then let them change. Let them grow. Let them become someone with a different outlook on the same past. Let them be stronger for it. And let the story continue.
“Despite everything, despite all he’s lost, the Doctor is still a person who loves humanity. He’s still a person who wants to save the world. Whatever shape he comes in, he’s still the Doctor. But he’s a stronger, more powerful, more beloved character because of what he had to do to stay true to his core.”

I love that!  It’s so true. It’s a big part of the spiritual path is all about, or just making something better out of the crap life throws at us.
From a spiritual point of view, we won’t develop and grow without moving beyond our comfort zone. Sometimes we need to be booted out. (And just as I’m typing this, as if to prove a point, my neighbour upstairs is making some really loud disgusting noises for me to transform.)

On an everyday mundane level, transforming situations with Buddha’s incredibly practical advice makes life more do-able. It improves situations, because our mind-set is different, and that is what shapes the situation.
Think about this.
Play with it.
It’s true.
And it works.

Scene from Asylum of the Daleks, click here for article on equalising the Doctor and the Daleks with Buddha’s wisdom.

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