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On the Deleting of 300 Emails

"A little statue of Buddha."

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There are several sections in the Buddha’s Vinaya in regards to leaving the past behind. This week I took on the task of deleting more than 300 emails dating back 5 years. As I was deleting them I thought of all the friends and aquantances I once had that I wish I was still in touch with and all the ones I am glad to leave behind. All the work collegues I don’t have to deal with anyone, all the people who lied to me, used me, and abused me. All the  ones I remember fondly and for some reason just sort of fell out of touch with. All the ones I wish I still was in contact with but they decided I was a waste of their time, and some recent emails from people I would rather not have contact me.

The Buddha said in one discourse, that I can’t recall the name of now that says when dealing with people we might not like there are, as I recall four steps. We should try to address our problems with them, try to come to some understanding, and try to make lemonade from the lemons of life. If all else fails we can forget and ignore those who we think wronged us, those who spat in our faces, or for some reason or other we just don’t get along with.

I recall earlier in life that ignoring and forgetting were important. Now that I think I’ve grown a bit in the practice I use some of the earlier techniques a bit more. We should always try to be present in the moment, but this particular week I did recall the past as I deleted those emails. Feelings of joy arose in me at times, thinking, thank goodness I never have to work with ….. such and such again, thank God I am no longer getting those spams…… and thoughts like that. What a strange such and such mr. bla bla is, she was an absolute luantic.

Yes indeed . We all have the practice as our refuge.

When someone asked the Buddha why the monks are so blissful and happy he said they neither grasp at the future, nor pine after the past. This week I enjoyed a little bliss over forgeting the past.

Please buy my book. A Collection of Tales at Amazon’s create space.  

www.createspace.com/3595625

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Tolkien: fantasy, or getting down to what really matters.

Santa Claus with a little girl

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The past few months I have been unable to do much with this blog, having traveled a bit. I have traveled half way around the world to spend some time in Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus. Reflecting about 9/11 and what I expected to be doing ten years down the road I would have never have expected to be here. But, here I am .  I have had a few spare hours though and have rekindled my interest in English literature, especially Tolkien. For me I was introduced to it though my older brothers back in the ’80s when I suppose it was still fairly new.

For me as a realist, and  a Buddhist I can’t help but wonder if the Buddha would approve of interest in dwarfs, hobbits, dragons and the like. Certainly his culture was rich in all sorts of mythic traditions. As I make refrence to in A Collection of Tales The historical Buddha’s teachings were taught in a tradition of myth and legend.

So what about Harry Potter, Hobbits, and the like? Should a Buddhist scholar, or someone claiming to take up the Path be interested in such stuff? On one hand a Buddhist should not really engage in fantasy, or the like. He should concentrate himself on the Truth and finding what’s real. However myth, culture, and all the trappings of human society are in their own ways real. I was reading about Tolkien today at tolkien-online.com as well as other places about how today’s emphasis on realism, and technology brings about new need for writers such as Tolkien. I’ll let you mull that over for yourself. There is plenty of fantasy in the world today, but it seems we may have lost our abilities to imagine, play, and simply be. Potter takes a fanciful approach to the real world, suggesting that anyone can be a wizard, while The Ring was a totally new world in and of itself. Tolkien himself was opposed to modernization in many ways. A fact that may not necessarily be obvious. He described himself as one interest in his pipe, simple good food, and the like.

On one hand JRR escaped into a self-made world, but at the same time was a simple academic who wanted to write good books. Today, as one writer said we don’t have heros so much. In comparison with Harry Potter The Ring is more moralistic in nature and tends to deal with issues of the nature of evil. There are real heros, each of the Fellows in the Fellowship, while in Potter it is one young man’s struggle with his identity. I think this reflects the feelings of isolation that modern society brings. In The Ring there are real heros who strive to make the world better, and each deals with the powers of evil in his own way.

 The Buddha if you’re Buddhist is certainly the greatest hero of them all. While today’s media do have villians and heros, it’s not to the same extent as in the myth and legend of times gone by. In the days of Scandinavian myth people really believed in good and evil. Heros were ever-present and offered real answers to what is right and wrong.

As a Buddhist we have the Middle Path, and as human beings a little fantasy or imagination can help us. We must use our imaginations to see the lifetime of the Buddha, to imagine him along his journeys. We must in someway gain a true adoration of the Buddha and appriciation of what he has done for us as a fellow human. This is all too often ignored by many teachers. So as the Buddha struggled against Mara, not to mention his own human limitations, the Fellowship of the Ring struggled against evil. I don’t think it wrong to read Tolkien as a Buddhist, nor to believe in the struggle of good and evil. However again thinking of the Middle Path, we must not mistake Tolkien for reality. It, like the stories of Beowolf, Thor, and the Jataka Tales are all there to help us in our lives, not for us to live inside of them.

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The meaning of life and the Universe

Professor Stephen Hawking in Cambridge, UK.

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Discovery Channel has a special featuring Steven Hawking dealing with the nature of the universe and the question of if God exists. This is one of the most important questions people have asked throughout the ages. I think overall Discovery along with Hawking did a very stand up job of addressing important issues. Hawking has written a book, much to my shame I was previously unaware of in which he denies God in some ways, but also does open the door of the possibility of the existence of God. he calls much of the belief in God a fairy tale, which in fact I have though of most religion as fairly tales and Middle Eastern myth. It seems that most educated or self-labeled progressives deny God. For me, and I believe Hawking it is all just a matter of perspective.

I myself have just started a new book about the meaning of life and was very happy to see Hawking had done the same. I hope to publish it later this year, or perhaps next. (2012). Through my Amazon Create Space stores.

I think it’s an important and amazingly brave and bold thing both for Hawking and Discovery to not bow to the gods (pun intended) of the mediocrity that plagues television today. So much absolute rubbish is on History Channel, CNN, and the like trying to claim to be educational or progressive when in fact it is little more than the old tyme medicine shows of centuries past.

 Bravo Discovery Channel. and Bravo to you my hero Steven Hawking.

Any thoughts anyone?

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Meaning of Life

Symbol of the major religions of the world: Ju...

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Spirituality has a great deal to offer. Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, etc. take your pick, they all deal with what it is we are looking for. But, how do we know what we are looking for? Many religions offer answers, but are they the answers we not so much want, but NEED?

The post modern, post industrial world is a complex one, and it would seem we are entering a new Dark Ages. With the likes of Desperate Housewives, Kardasians, Big Brother, and Survival on television along with the long list of absolute garbage films made in Hollywood such as Men Who Stare at Goats, it would seem the golden age of the middle 20th century is over. Looking at such a situation we would think that the world, and especially society is gone down the tubes. It would seem that those in the past, Humphry Bogart, Fess Parker, James Arness, and James Garner that stood for the better aspects of humanity are gone.

What can we do? There still is hope. While the entertainment industry is certainly gone to hell, that does not necessarily mean that we have to follow suit. There is an inner voice telling us what is wrong and what is right. It’s just up to us to listen.

www.createspace.com/3595625

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Buddhism: Purely Asian, or Simply Pure

I was thinking today. would Buddhism be Buddhism outside of Asia. Would it have developed as it did outside of it’s native land. Buddhism is very modern, but also steeped in the ancient traditions of Hinduism and Asian culture in general. Buddhism would seem like some post-modern psycotherapy if it were not an ancient technique to find the real truth. It has been adapted and adopted by the likes of Albert Einstein, hippies, scientists, and other forward thinkers. Those who think of themselves as modern, rational, educated, and intelligent accept Buddhism in ways that they would not accept other world religions.

For me, it’s impossible to say if Buddhism would have existed without ancient India. It seems like a very American religion, but at the same time America is not a Buddhist country. Buddhism is democratic, it respects the individual, and while it is not a city on a hill, it does encourage the practitioner in a manner of speaking to be a person on a hill. An idealized, perfect person who has found all the secrets of life and is set not to be reborn.

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Buddhism in America

There’s much talk about Buddhism in America a recent symposium in New York estimated 3 million Buddhists in the USA. Surprising number? Hard to say. The event as reported by AOL did recognized what I’ve been observing for many years: a group that is divided. Orthodoxy, sectarianism, and the like are real issues in the patchwork of American Buddhism.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Uncategorized