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About ~riverflow

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  1. The Happiness Thread !

  2. The Happiness Thread !

  3. Named, it is The Mother of Ten Thousand Posts...
  4. The Happiness Thread !

    Sounds like a winner to me! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDGD4mLC04E
  5. This attitude has more in common with Nietzsche's ubermench than any eastern philosophy.
  6. Breaking Down Peoples Practice

    The gathas are cobbled together, sometimes combined, or a variation from a few different sources (Thich Nhat Hanh, Aiken), tailored for myself: GATHA NO. 1 Breathing in, breathing out I vow with all beings to dwell in the present moment letting each moment arrive, letting each moment go. GATHA NO. 2 For all benificent seeds ever growing through me, I give thanks. May this gratitude be expressed through my body, speech and mind: with infinite kindness to the past, infinite service to the present, infinite responsibility to the future. (slightly revised, originally written by Susan Postal) FOUR BODHISATTVA VOWS Numberless beings: I vow to free them. Countless delusions: I vow to abandon them. Boundless reality: I vow to perceive it. Endless awakening: I vow to embody it. METTA May all beings be free of suffering, may we feel safe and still. May all beings be free of discord, may we be loving grateful and kind. May all beings be healthy, at ease in all our ills. May all beings be at peace, embracing all conditions of life. --I sometimes say this in the plural, sometimes I say it with someone specific in mind ("May ____ be free of suffering..."), sometimes I do both. I have been using cones (sticks are just too messy). I've been pleased with Kamini's frankincense. Their sandalwood is quite good too. Potent stuff. I highly recommend it. I get it from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Frankincense-Cones-Kamini-Incense-Box/dp/B00122CMWO/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1HTNQV94TMQNJ&colid=29IRU7SER1707 I burn the incense toward the end for purely practical reasons (incense smoke and zazen don't really mix well, especially with the eyes half open!). But I do think it symbolic too, lighting the incense with the candle (flame = awakening, cone = self). I try to keep it simple, and I've experimented with things over the past year. But I don't have any flowers. I have a cat, so that has been a problem! This is my minimalist meditation space (it has changed slightly since this photo was taken):
  7. Breaking Down Peoples Practice

    Usually, when my erratic work schedule permits, this is my "morning" routine ("morning" meaning when I wake up-- I work strange hours sometimes): 1) Recite a brief waking gatha. 2) A brief, simple improvisation on the shakuhachi (an end-blown bamboo flute). 3) Recite a brief gatha and the Bodhisattva vows, a series of gasshos, lighting a candle. 4) 15-20 minutes (rarely 30 minutes) of zazen (shikantaza). 5) Burn incense, recite a brief metta gatha. 6) 30-60 minutes of book study I am beginning to add to this routine some qi gong exercises-- though I am still just learning from some beginner videos (zazen for meditation in stillness, qi gong for meditation in motion-- that's how I see it!). In addition, I write haiku at times, not merely for aesthetic pleasure, but as a kind of exercise in self-inquiry (or should I say, "no-self inquiry"!). And I keep a journal, much of which I post on my blog as well. And I especially tend to use my job as a place for practice. I work in an emergency room registering patients (and I'm a supervisor). There isn't a lot a mere pencil pusher like me can do to alleviate some people's ills, but I can help in some simple ways with fears. I can also say from experience that the principles of the Daodejing really do work in many different ways. My practice in the ER is just as important as it is on the cushion!
  8. No, that's the very thing he ended up renouncing-- and in fact, he later had to convince his ascetic companions that he had not betrayed the principles of self-inquiry to which he was committed. He was committed to a path of self-inquiry, which certainly requires discipline, but not asceticism, nor the other extreme of self-indulgence. This was why the Buddha originally called it the Middle Way. Don't bother citing the Buddhadharma as an endorsement to your personal ideology-- everything you are saying is contrary to the basic principles of both Theravada and Mahayana, right from the Buddha's very first sermon.
  9. what god do you worship?

    Kannon / Quan Yin / Avalokitesvara = the goddess of comapassion You never know when she may show up, including in your own actions... _/|\_
  10. This is just more dualism. It is more desiring this vs. that. It is more chasing and chasing and chasing. Instead of desiring a new TV or sex, you are desiring a concept rooted in the same dualism you are seeking to escape. The "object" you seek merely has a different name, but the ontological relationship is exactly the same. This is, ironically, selfish, and wholly lacking in compassion. Whatever this is you are talking about, it isn't the Buddhadharma, nor anything espoused by any Daoist sage. The Buddha tried all manner of ascetic approaches to the extreme and came to the conclusion it was a waste of time. Discipline, yes. But not puritanical repression, which only makes matters worse. You can't crush anything. I know you won't listen because you are too emotionally caught up in this Manichean-like delusion that is common to fundamentalism. But hopefully one day you'll finally let go of this very thing that's eating at you. I wish you nothing but peace, Tulku. ~josh
  11. This is along similar lines to the Bible: the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. (though I don't know about it being "all," personally) If we try to externalize the problem, foisting it on someone or something outside of ourselves, then we aren't dealing with the way in which we relate to that person or thing. It is our way of relating to ourselves and the world that matters. Blaming evil on people or things only leads one in circles of harmful repression.
  12. Tulku, I understand your great commitment to awakening, and its something I think everyone here shares with you, though their ways of approaching it may differ (and some ways may be more effective than others certainly). Its obviously of great concern to you, and its commendable-- most people would rather watch TV! But there are ways in which you might be making things much more difficult than need be, possibly even causing more harm than good. All this talk about ego is barking up the wrong tree-- if we are talking Buddhism anyway. The Buddha didn't talk about no-ego, he talked about no-self, which is a very different thing. The Buddha did not teach that "self" did not exist, but rather we are mistaken in thinking that we "possess" an independent and inherently existing self. The Buddha's concern with self was, at root, an ontological one. This is the meaning of emptiness in Buddhism: all things are empty of self-- that is to say, nothing (you, me, clouds, rocks, cats, trees, you name it) exists independently. Instead, everything is contingent upon everything else. The idea of "self" in this sense is pure delusion. We cause unnecessary suffering and confusion when we cling to this delusion. Things exist, but just not in the way we think they do. Any other understanding of emptiness or void as pure nothingness is the very nihilism that the Buddha sought to avoid-- as well as essentialism on the other extreme. And the point is not to eliminate this "self" either, but rather to realise that you never had this independent "self" to begin with. To realise no-self doesn't just mean you see that *you* don't have a self, but nothing else does either. This is why if you don't understand all this Buddhist talk about "self" ontologically, it can be misunderstood as a kind of harsh asceticism-- the very thing that the Buddha disavowed. This is the whole basis for compassion in Buddhism, and why it is so very central to the Buddhadharma. A sort of superhuman puritanical effort to crush one's ego is only another dualistic division and can only further suffering. This is not self-inquiry that leads to awakening, but nihilism which leads only to further despair. peace, ~josh
  13. How odd, but beautiful-- sounds like that was run through paulstretch? I went to university ages ago with a degree in music composition, but counterpoint was-- well, my weak point LOL I had written a few fugal passages in places, but it was never something I was able to sustain for long-- it takes an extra special talent to write fugues! Today I mostly write ambient music these days, and one of my fascinations is slowing things down tempos to the point that time appears to stand still (this isn't entirely new-- Wagner had something similar in mind in many of his more sublime passages). Getting back to Bach though-- I like Glenn Gould's second (1980) recording of the Goldberg Variations, where the opening Aria is taken at a rater unorthodox tempo, much slower than anyone else I've ever heard (he linked the tempi of all the variations together with certain ratios, which actually makes a lot of sense).