from the DruidCast deck
Blessed be for your adornment
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Professor Sarah Jacoby of Northwestern University in Chicago, wrote this astonishingly insightful disquisition that turns the unfortunate current misogyny in Tibet on its head.
Below is Gelongma Pamo. She had leprosy. Shunned by all, she lived alone for many years, developing the Nyunge Ne fasting practice still done today. Behind her is 1000-Armed Chenresig, the Buddha of Compassion, with eyes in each of his hands representing his care of each and every sentient being. Gelongma Pamo healed herself with this practice, as the story says from hundreds of years ago.
How can it be said that the Women’s Lineage is lost, and for this reason women in Tibet can only become novice nuns, not fully ordained as all the men?
I must apologize to you all for neglecting the purpose of this blog. Life calls sometimes. The blog has stagnated out of my lack of discipline in my Dharma studies. And now I wish to revive both—my more-regular posting here for dialogue and my Dharma practice (which are one)—hoping you will be interested in this particular line of thought (the particularity being the telling of the personal experience of a white bi-polar, lay practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism with the Gelugpa lineage for over 12 and a half years . . . a 60-year-old wordsmith who is always a student, and who loves to teach.
Any errors here are mine and mine alone . . . simply my Truth.
I’ve thought to connect the qualities of an accomplished Siddha (one with many siddhis) to the qualities of those in the Autistic Spectrum, which mainstream society labels the many mental “disorders”: Asberger syndrome, bipolar disorder; schizophrenia, ADD, OCD, etc (Google the DSM-IV). I feel the state of Autism to be an umbrella for these “disorders”. I am addressing the previously-unasserted giftedness/healing qualities of all the above socially-stigmatized beings.
And then to bring in the Sacred Clown, the Koshare, the Heyoka, the trickster in the Native American Tradition. She does everything backwards; rides into battle facing where she’s come from. She is revered in her community, and protected, and needed to balance out complacency within the community. She is permitted to be crazy, and revered for it.
I sense there is a connection amongst the three accomplished beings. Do these beings resonate with each other? Is the High-Functioning Autistic person actually a Crazy Wisdom practitioner and a Sacred Clown? I don’t know. Here I am counting on those of you who are more intelligent than me, to run this by their mindstreams and help me out. I believe there is great significance here, but I don’t know that much about either state. Yet the whole subject burns in my brain, and has for years . . . since the Winter Solstice of 2003.
—from Maria Jesus Cerdan via Centro Nayatma
p.s. I think UCI is ICU, intensive care unit
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Because of the blossoming of my current physical and mental frailties, I am wholesomely cared for by my mother. I am unable to do many things. Nearby friends and daily encounters are with non-Buddhist practitioners. And this will continue for at least a year as I recover.
So, I deeply miss any Sangha or sangha community life. They have all fallen away and/or taken away their presence in my life.
Starting with Dec. 1 surgery, will begin my year of ripening old heavy negative karma.
But I have to (and have done already for one year) remained bedridden, and thanks to SSDisability, I am grateful, so grateful for it.
My only core that has kept me from going insane, is the Dharma and my Root Guru in Vermont (while I am in Cincinnati). And I’m still persevering with mindfulness, meditation, mantras . . . all Dharma practices, yet finding it hard to study much because of pain medications.
As this ripens, I know how much stronger an aspiring bodhisattva I will be . . .”What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” I feel stronger in a very deep way with the time to meditate, do pranayama, and say mantras after preliminaries. I’m not yet up to what I want to be my Full Practice. I’m being forced to be more mindful in my movements because of the side effects of many medications which cause physical disorientation.
I know better not to look to the future or the past, and to be present to the moment 100%
I am grateful, so grateful for what I have here: shelter, Disability income, a grace-filled mother who lives just below me, and my greatest advocate, my greatest participation in his creation—my son. All of our extended families are slowly facing each other. Goodness is coming to us, so I spend my time on this blog as well as http://HarknessBallet.wordpress.com.
So, I’m in a cave, often going days without seeing anyone. And I think of this as training my extraordinarily monkey-on-crack mind. The lack of stimulus other than the computer, feels somewhat what a 3 years, 3 months, and, 3 days typical retreat might be. I can more understand the isolation, the deepening of practice without interruption. Someday I wan to be able to do the typical retreat. The physical and Reiki treatments would sustain me. That is my goal anyway, now.
One learns the discipline of daily routine, cleanliness, nutrition; and one persists with Daily Practice, Reiki and is better able to understand oneself, one’s limitations, one’s endless boundaries. I’m being taught how to be alone and not lonely. I feel like I am growing from each day of sickness. This leads me to almost feel capable of being alone for that length of time.
“May I ne’er turn back from just that excellent path praised by Buddha” (Sorry, this medicated mind and brain fog have made me extremely forgetful.)
I request prayers of you all, that I become a capable person who carries her own work (of living the Dharma) and others’ work with grace. Thank you for your virtue . . .
Calming the Fearful Mind: A Zen Response to Terrorism, while written in 2005, offers a wisdom that, had we in the U.S. heeded back in the militaristic era of the Vietnam War, might have diverted the awful consequences of our collective negative karma that was the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.
The Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of many beautifully simple books both lucid and approachable for Western Dharma practitioners. The term “engaged Buddhism” may have originated with his human rights work in his own war-torn country of Vietnam in the 1960s. The Zen monk’s efforts towards peace and non-violence were attempts to actively apply Buddhist tenets of compassion and mindfulness to impact social change. He was recognized in the west in 1967 when Dr. Martin Luther King, himself a student of Mahatma Gandhi Lama, nominated the monk for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In Chapter One, “Uprooting Terrorism,” the monk describes how he was searched by security guards at the Los Angeles International Airport as he arrived with 120 of his monastic students on their way to a retreat for transformation and healing. The extremely personal intrusion led him to realize the guards “ . . . were not looking for my Buddha nature, they were looking for my terrorist nature. . . . When a civilization comes to this level of fear, it is going in the wrong direction.” Yet how did we, the American people, evolve to this extreme of delusion and paranoia in this most prosperous country in the world?
The angered call to America’s youth for retaliation proclaimed a “War on Terror.” An entire generation responded to fill the ranks of the military. Truly now, “we terrorize others so that they will have no chance to terrorize us. We want to kill before we are killed.” This monk claims that what the military training soldiers going to Iraq receive “makes them lose their humanity” and so “the torture and abuse these soldiers engaged in is the direct result . . . [Y]oung men [and women] going to Iraq arrive there already full of fear, wanting to protect themselves at all costs, pressured by their superiors to be aggressive . . . and be ready to kill at any moment.” This statement is affirmed in the deadly cry of marching Marine Corps soldiers as they bellow out the Turkish word for “Kill!”
Thich Nhat Hanh offers hands-on solutions for receding from this collective afflictive state, and continually reminds the reader that the only possibility for social change rests in one’s personal commitment to inner transformation. Deep listening, mindfulness through watching the breath, open the individual to awareness of our complicity in the current epidemic of worldwide suffering. Through these meditative techniques, we begin to understand how our negative over-consumption–via all our senses–has prompted hatred from severely deprived people in other countries. With this understanding we begin to cultivate compassionate generosity, mindful healthy consumption of nourishment and renunciation of our habits of greed.
Listening to those we are attacking, listening to the poor and voiceless, listening to the sages . . . with quiet hearts and open minds: this is Thich Naht Hanh’s precious teaching. O that every soldier chose this little book for protective armor!