TranquilTurmoil

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  1. Thank you for your service, Thich Nhat Hanh

    Skandha-rific x5!!! lol I joke, but yes. The historical self being neither both/neither/both+neither real/nor real. But still. 🙏🏼
  2. I enjoyed the first 4 pages of this thread, realized I no way had the mental stamina to get through the next 5 and figured I'd hop around the second fire I've sat at today, which would be the second fire I can remember sitting at in the past 11 months as well. I am grateful for what the Bums provided to me this summer, even though I have been averse to coming back here since. I don't feel belonging much less true belonging anywhere these days outside the one on one sessions I have with a few spiritual friends of mine, two/three of whom are mentor/mentee + counselor/client dynamics. The rest of the days, my refuges are the wonder-ous and at least seemingly tragic world of nature, my first real romantic relationship in over a decade, and not much else. In one of my last poems I wrote when I was still writing frequently, I rebelliously blurted out, "I've died many deaths, (yet) still very alive".... but now I experience that in a much more somber and yearning cry. It ain't easy being cheesy. And it ain't easy being a stranger in a strange land. I think of the Zhaungzhi lines: "Someone in Sung had some marvelous hats to sell, so he took them to Yueh. But the Yueh tribes crop their hair short and tattoo their bodies: they had no use for marvelous hats." After leaving the world behind zealously for a brief period of time, missing it terribly and painfully within a year of doing so..... which coincided with falling into an 8-year devotional journey to nowhere at all that collapsed in on itself this past August.... add in a three-year stay in a psych ward in between complemented by long-term health deterioration from said 8 year devotional journey.... and finding that the world you returned to doesn't recognize you or you it... it's been a lot. I do hope to find belonging, and stubbornly know it exists somewhere in some place and time, if not in this very moment. I'm glad you all provide the refuge to each other that you do, and encourage you not to discount it's significance. I can't fathom how I could have possibly escaped the trap I was in for those 8 years without all of your unique and expansive perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. Within birth, there is bound to be death, and within death there is bound to be rebirth. And I'm sure there is something birthless and deathless that lies beyond birth and death, and that it is not seperate from birth and death but encompasses it (or at least place my faith in that last informed conjecture). And just as I'm sure I have suffered grief just as strong in incarnations prior to this one, and have still been able to touch profound peace and deep love+kindly joy from time to time in this one, I can infer that such uplifting and transformative change is not only possible in this lifetime but probable. Walking back to my house today I stumbled upon this in my driveway for the first time, who knows how long it had been there
  3. Thank you for your service, Thich Nhat Hanh

    That is a beautiful and touching poem. I would expound on your interpretation, that a combination of themes run through the poem and maybe I'll add some background info: Even though some of his followers/disciples projected onto him that he was a Buddha, Thay/Thich Nhat Hanh never gave the impression that he had ever permanently put an end to suffering. He spoke to his entire audience as is if he were speaking to himself as well, he truly taught non-seperation of self and other. I was struck at the one and only retreat I saw him in person at that when asked what the hardest thing is (either for him or on the path, both, i don't remember exactly)... It was not to get lost in despair. He wrote about in one of his books the bodhisattva from the lotus sutra who would go around saying to everyone he met, "A lotus for you, a buddha to be." I think when he wrote that poem, he saw joy and suffering as not two, as samsara and liberation/nirvana as not-two, and even though he honored the Theravada (and Bhikku Bodhi even stopped by at the retreat I was at), he really was a proponent of the Mahayana... so much so that they would actively encourage people to go back to their Christian roots, Jewish roots, etc. He didn't think Buddhism could save this sectarian world, and that the aspiration of liberation belonging to the realm of adept monks and contemplatives alone was not enough for him or the innumerable suffering inhabitants of this realm. I think the image of setting fire to his brother's hut was his lived experience; he wrote in another poem (paraphrasing), "This Century belongs to fire". He said that he actually only realized the Dharma in the West, even though he tried like hell to spread it and save it/others in Vietnam as well, at the risk of his and his colleagues life and comfort. When he spoke of ultimate reality, he would say, "It is Beyond (with a lot of emphasis on beyond!) Being and Non-Being". He wanted his "brother" in that poem to heal himself sufficiently of his wounds, undertake the path, endure what is impossible to endure, and arouse the aspiration for great compassion. Brother Phap Vu, who I both feared and respected/admired the brief time I spent at Blue Cliff Monastery told me my first retreat there, upon my remarking that I had the sneaking suspicion that Thay told people what they needed to hear when they needed to hear it, responded: "All this nourishment stuff... that's for the people who are really suffering. Monks are supposed to suffer." That remark by Brother Vu made quite an impression on me, both terrifying and inspirational. And as someone who is just realizing how much I have and had been suffering... I appreciate the depth and breadth of Thich Nhat Hanh's teaching, for those who aspire to liberation, as well as though who aspire to worldly happiness (hopefully temporarily! )
  4. Dedication to Thây Thích Nhất Hạnh

    Thay's great aspiration, wondrous compassion, and fearless service to others... for decade after decade will not be forgotten by me, or by my friends from Blue Cliff Monastery. He gave up his own homeland following his truth, not just his home before becoming a monk, and he made himself and built a refuge so vast that distraught, insecure, existientially broken seekers like me were able to find the Dharma. And his refuge reached people who didn't even know what the Dharma was or what the word meant, people who couldn't manage their anger and knew they needed help, people burnt out from drug and alcohol addiction seeking meaning and purpose, people who realized that even strong tranquilizers weren't containing their anxiety anymore.... and he taught everyone whatever they could process.... from the simple to the profound, and pointing out when we were caught in dualistic fixations like "basic" and "profound". He embodied the bodhisattva aspiration in a way that was truly inspiring and inclusive, and he is remembered with gratitude, and deep tenderness by those whose lives he touched.
  5. I am wondering from this perspective... that being "called" to something is a visceral, known thing at a certain point? And is being "called" always happening, and it just beyond the cognitive/thinking's mind's recognition, or even being recognized by said mind, being ignored out of fear, grasping/craving, delusion? I say perspective, as I do not viscerally know my calling in any specific way, and can only infer other people's knowledge of an experience of that... however there is somewhere within an intuitive sense that discerns every now and again in a way that "this is not for me", or being pulled towards something... yet it is from what I can tell always blended with the illusory "I, Me, Mine"... and I have come to think that the term "ego" is applied broadly in a non-specific way to parts of the psyche that are much more specific just not intimately known without a trained eye. Is there a deeper part (I would imagine Shen) that is called or knows it's calling, and does Shen have to be manifest deeply in one's mind (or being or whatever would adequately describe) before one can discern for oneself what one is called to? Think I stated that clearly enough, hopefully it wasn't to convoluted, anyone is welcome to respond btw
  6. Mahayana vs Theravada

    The Mahayana teachers I have read seem to either genuinely believe or have rationalized that the Theravada teachings were for an earlier time and/or for practicioners of lesser capacity.... which doesn't make sense to me personally on many levels. A lot of these mahayana teachers seems to genuinely believe/credit the Buddha spoke the Diamond Sutra, the lotus sutra, the surangama sutra... whether or not they think it was the historical Buddha giving these talks to entrusted disciples in his lifetime, or that it was heard in some sort of revelation, or what i'm not entirely sure. Some even believe he never passed into parinirvana i think, and remains with us. As Creation alluded to, I think Mahayana practicioners find the ideal of an arhat incompatible with the bodhisattva ideal. With the attainments of the latest stages of the bodhisattva path being purported to surpass that of an arhat (specifically Great Compassion), and the ideal of saving oneself whilst leaving many others behind being seemingly incompatible with the bodhisattva aspiration, and sectarianism growing stronger as the Mahayana tradition/texts evolved I guess the attitude of labeling the teachings of Original Buddhism as Hinayana took root. Fwiw, Thich Nhat Hanh used to teach some of the suttas, and they would recite it in English at his monasteries on a weekly basis. The ones that come to mind are "The Better Way to Catch a Snake", "The Better Way to Live Alone", The four establishments of mindfulness, and some others. He never seemed to identify what was a Sutta and what was a Sutra, and as far as I remember never referred to the Theravada/Early Buddhism as Hinayana. I have seen him and Master Hsuan Hua make the distinction between the Northern and Southern tradition/transmission instead (which I don't think referred to different lines of Chan/Zen). But the notion of the superiority of the Mahayana or the notion of the Theravada being the pure teachings of the Buddha with the later additions/developments that followed being a corruption seems to be a contentious issue.
  7. Whether or not the Theravada teachings are more “authentic Buddhism” than Mahayana or Vajrayana teachings I cannot know, but it seems like all schools produce many flawed practitioners/people as well as great practitioners/people… as well as the combination of the two. Either way, all of these paths as far as I can discern can lead to great awakening, and then it really comes down to preference, available resources for teachers and community, and ultimate aspiration (arhatship vs bodhisattva). But I share your struggle in making sense of the differences
  8. Oh look, I got covid

    Not sure if this is helpful/relevant but doubt that it will hurt… As someone who can relate to having suffered severe psychological anguish in isolation for extended periods of time, sometimes it’s more beneficial to surrender effortful practices that are aimed at fixing the temporarily Unfixable and turn the energy you have toward restorative practices, surrender, prayer (as you are doing appealing to the medicine Buddha). I’m not sure If that is already the approach you are taking or if you are trying to will your way to a sense of well being. Sometimes turning extreme adversity into an opportunity to cultivate forbearance is the best we can do. I hope your despondence subsides, your ptsd heals in time, and that you get to reunite or stay United with your furry friends soon.
  9. Yin and Yang

    Very Tao… or is it Zen? 🧐 okay I’m done now lol
  10. Yin and Yang

    @virtue is playing both sides of the fence… he liked both of our posts! Lol
  11. Yin and Yang

    I figured that my advice/perspective was at best a stepping stone, and at worst not correct. However, didn’t Liu YiMing use the book of changes (yi jing)? Was the the “destiny of heaven” to be disregarded altogether or was it to be transcended eventually/ultimately? What does this mean in practical terms. I have no experience or really even exposure to nei dan, and I may only be asking from an intellectual perspective as I’m willing myself toward Buddhism more these days, but then again, who knows?
  12. Yin and Yang

    In my understanding of heaven and earth from my study of the Yi Jing (which I’m not using anymore) is that Heaven/Earth the Creative/Receptive are complements. The good student emulates earth (and heaven at times?) and receives direction and blessings from heaven. Being receptive, open, “empty” , one follows the will of heaven and embodies it in the world of form. I don’t know if this answers questions about the internal qualities of yin and yang and if yin has a place in later stages of development. But you certainly make use of both yin and yang on the path although the tendency is to sort of “make room” for yang. Limited knowledge, limited perspective of course.
  13. Nowadays I can control rain.

    I can’t really discern skillful means from natural impulses to make light of something… I ll give you the benefit of the doubt. However, the people in the hospital who indulged and/or made a mockery of the Obama fantasy were the staff who wanted to enjoy a laugh for themselves, or would rationalize that they were either trying to or actually helping my roommate by doing so. The only person who actually tried to help him were his social worker and one staff member who spoke Spanish… they did their best to talk to him where he was and give him whatever practical advice they could. I don’t think us generating a laugh at his perception of reality is going to instill a similar effect in him. In which case the benefit/merit of generating a laugh loses its value and or becomes corrupted. I know I’m being a Debbie downer but I ve seen this before and I don’t question people’s conscious intention but rather their situational awareness. Maybe I’m not one to do that… but my intuition seems to think it’s important 🤷🏼‍♂️
  14. Nowadays I can control rain.

    Right... But genuine cultivators shouldnt laugh at the suffering of others (I think.) And the most helpful approach to treat delusion is compassionate concern. If that fails all you can do is empathize and/or disengage. Just my 2 cents
  15. Nowadays I can control rain.

    When my roommate who only spoke Spanish realized people were mocking the notion that he was Barack Obama, it was pretty hard to separate that from mocking him too. Either way it led to alienation and increased mania, depression, hostility