Monday, October 26, 2015

Back to basics

Am at present dealing mostly with my daughter's karmic consequences in her work situation at the Merchant Hotel where she is on the verge of quitting for the second time. She had handed her resignation letter once before but it was rejected by her employers talking her into staying on. However now matters are getting worse or so it seems and she has shown signs of deep depression and burn out which is showing in her demeanor. Yes, i told her yesterday it is time to move on in her career as this present one is becoming detrimental to her health. Never do what your heart rebels against doing for all the money in the world, it is a waste of you time at the end of the day. 
My daughter is a rebel who is bound and determined to stand on her feet and not work under an employer, she sees herself as her own boss. I have been trying to make her believe that all that she is going through is part and parcel of being a boss in training. She has had some of the best teachers even if a few were dick heads and ass holes, they make the best teachers sometimes cause they help to bring out the worse in you and you learn best when you are at your worse. But maybe it is time for her to embark upon her own journey of self discovery through her destined career. I assured her that i am right behind her no matter what she chooses to do with her life. As a matte of fact i am proud of her determination and her feisty spirit not to take any crap from no matter who. Now I am beginning to see myself in her and how i can help by simply being aware and supportive of her decisions no matter if they seem negative or would have a negative impact for her especially financially. 
I really don't know  how of what to say to her that would empower her to face all these trials she is facing but I know that I can stand by her in Love, not just because she is my daughter but also because i have just realized how Love is the answer to all in Honesty.
I have no idea where it will all lead to for her and for myself, but I will be as honest in dealing with what may come and accept whatever is destined for us. In the meantime there is a good movie to go to with Vin Diesel I think called "The Last Witch Hunter." And a pizza to go along with should be okay. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Four Sublime States of Mind - Right Equanimity (Upekkha)

Right Equanimity;
Upekkhā (in devanagari: ऊपेक्खा; Sanskrit: उपेक्षा), is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna. ..Wikipedia.

It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego-self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings."

Thich Nhat Hanh says (in The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, p. 161) that the Sanskrit word upekshameans "equanimity, nonattachment, nondiscrimination, even-mindedness, or letting go.Upa means 'over,' and iksh means 'to look.' You climb the mountain to be able to look over the whole situation, not bound by one side or the other."
Thich Nhat Hanh says that Buddhist equanimity includes the ability to see everyone as equal. "We shed all discrimination and prejudice, and remove all boundaries between ourselves and others," he writes. "In a conflict, even though we are deeply concerned, we remain impartial, able to love and to understand both sides. [The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, p. 162]." 

Another Pali word that is translated into English as "equanimity" is tatramajjhattata, which means "to stand in the middle." Gil Fronsdal says this "standing in the middle" refers to a balance that comes from inner stability; remaining centered when surrounded by turmoil.

The Buddha taught that we are constantly being pulled in one direction or another by things or conditions we either want or hope to avoid. These include praise and blame, pleasure and pain, success and failure, gain and loss. The wise person, the Buddha said, accepts all without approval or disapproval.
Here, monks, a disciple dwells pervading one direction with his heart filled with equanimity, likewise the second, the third and the fourth direction; so above, below and around; he dwells pervading the entire world everywhere and equally with his heart filled with equanimity, abundant, grown great, measureless, free from enmity and free from distress.
— Digha Nikaya 13

There are days if not moments in my life when i am doing nothing but wasting my life and all these efforts of keeping an on going record of my practice is nothing but a form of self justification and truly nothing has really changed for the better or worse. I keep stumbling into potholes of doubts and depressions and making the grave errors of comparing myself to others who I see as leading a more profitable and meaningful life. These moments of deviation from my chosen path of practice occurs more often as i get older and more committed into the practice or so it seems. However it is mostly occurring in my mind in the forms of thoughts and not so much as in what I experience externally or physically which at times baffles me especially when things happens according to how I had foreseen it happening in my mind. I find that being patient is also the key that can make things happen the way one has envisioned it to be as opposed to trying or making an effort for it to happen.
Small somewhat in significant episodes takes place that is not worth relating her but none the less happened and I was aware of it and how it is connected to my practice or so I think have triggered some positive reflection upon the validity of my practice, that something is beginning to happen, something out of the ordinary although small but still significant. When this happens I feel a little more uplifted am motivated to move forward with what I am doing. I will never split the sea or walk through fire as result of my practice but the fact that I am not as angry or judgmental over others or the fact that I feel a sense of freedom about being myself is more than i can bargain for.
No doubt my mind still is as busy as a bee whenever i am lax or not consciously aware of my being like waking up from my sleep or after chatting with my friends or relatives if and when I needed to. My mind still clings on to its chatty state of analyzing, judging, accusing and praising until I have to sit to slow it down; it is still subjected to attachment. But I am getting a better handle on it or so it seems of late and am able to tone it down or bring it to become quiet if not still while dropping off al the unnecessary gossips it had attached itself to.
Perhaps i have arrived at being able to stand in the middle of it all, like being in the eye of the storm instead of being sucked by its turbulence in the periphery. Perhaps unknowingly i am approaching the state of equanimity not fully but perhaps to a very small degree whereby i can stand and watch how my mind works within and without, without being attached to what I am experiencing.My doubtful mind still resist from making a full acceptance of this beautiful feeling of being in a state of 'semi-detached', but i still am convinced enough that with a little more perseverance I will be free from my doubts.

Monday, October 19, 2015

IKIGAI - The Reason to Live.

Ikigai is a Japanese concept meaning "a reason to get up in the morning", that is, a reason to enjoy life.
Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one's ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.
The word "ikigai" is usually used to indicate the source of value in one's life or the things that make one's life worthwhile. Secondly, the word is used to to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It's not necessarily linked to the economic status or today state of things. Even if a person feels that today's dark, but has a goal, he may feel ikigai. Behaviours that make one feel ikigai are not actions which individuals are forced to take - these are natural and spontaneous actions.
The term "ikigai" is composed of two Chinese characters : iki and kai. Iki refers to life and kai is a suffix meaning roughly "the realisation of what one expects and hopes for."
People can feel ikigai only when on the basis of personal maturity, the satisfaction of various desires, love and happiness, encounters with others, and a sense of the value of life, they proceed towards self-realization.

As one matures into adulthood having passed through the various phases of growth as a human being, one learns to accumulate eclectically what is worth taking and letting go of what is not of value to one's growth. For a spiritually awakening soul the discrimination between holding on to and letting go of becomes more and more acute with age and development and understanding of the spiritual practice. Unless one is gifted with instant wisdom or insight, like most people we will have to go through the whole process of spiritual growth like one has done in one's schooling or education and upon finally graduating from some higher studies one becomes a master at something or other and with this expertise one is called to put to use what one has learned for the benefit of others.
Th same is true if one is a spiritual practitioner, one becomes more and more of a servant to humanity as one grows in knowledge and wisdom, to serve mankind by elevating their suffering by liberating them from their ignorant views of life. One becomes a teacher directly or indirectly sharing one's accumulated wisdom and applying it by 'skillful means' to help others free from their delusions. There are those who qualified to give physical administration to elevate suffering such as dentists and doctors, shamans and midwives, these after having put their livelihood in order can devote their time and expertise in serving the poor and needy; this is the Bodhisatva virtue that most Mahayana Buddhist aspire to.

Awakening of Intelligence in practicice.

Thank you, Monsieur Bergson. Powerful observation indeed.

To really be in the moment, to taste and touch life in its ever present space and time there must not be a veil in between the observer and the observed. Remove the shroud from your perception, your senses and be in the presence of consciousness itself, become the observed. The only way to achieve this state of consciousness is through absolute silence of the mind, through no agitation in the mental state where consciousness becomes blurry from affected external vexations and conditioning. It is like the mirror image of the pond when a pebble in thrown into the water it causes ripples and distorting the mirror image of the surrounding scene. For so long as the pond is undisturbed the reflection of the surrounding area appears upon the surface of the water as it is, but when the water is disturbed the image becomes distorted.
How to remain in constant  state of complete awareness is the mystery that most spiritually awakened people strive to master. Observing daily life without distortion of the mind is a tough act to follow but it is far from impossible as the ancient adepts, Rishis and Yogis, have proven in their lifetime of faith and devotion to practice and mastery of working of the mind. Stepping out of the box of conditioning is no easy feat but through understanding and diligent practice we can find our own way to the truth. Most teachings have disciplines leading to right understanding in the journey of self discovery and it takes some doing and often intense study for the mind to be subdued and brought to be silent. 
One of the best teachings of the Vajrayana Buddhism or the Tibetan form of Buddhism is the discourse given on Nagarjuna's Text by Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche which is available on You Tube. In this lecture given in Berkeley, California, the essence of the Buddha's teachings is spelled out for lay practitioners and Monks alike, it is well delivered and covers a great amount of information leading to the attainment of Bodhicita -
    Bodhicitta is a spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment motivated by great compassion for all sentient beings, accompanied by a falling away of the attachment to the illusion of an inherently existing self.
    I have shared as much as possible whatever knowledge that i have had the privilege of coming across in my own personal pursuit of self discovery ever since I understood what it meant. As my own personal knowledge is never complete and is more often then not are from sources not of my own original thoughts words or deeds, i employ quotes and teachings of others that deem most effective to follow or best convey what i have in mind. It is my hope that by doing so anyone interested to further their study in these matters have an idea of where or what to look at and in doing so might even venture to discover more sources for themselves.
    The Internet is a God given miracle of miracles to man. For those who live in this dimension, this day and age, this matrix that we call the End of Time, the Kali Yuga, the Dharma Ending Age, al-Khiyamah; have to a certain degree have an understanding of the basic truth that governs our human consciousness, that we are not helpless beings waiting to be taken to the slaughter  house at the end of our days. Collective we have the ability to harness the knowledge and the wisdom afforded us from the ancient till this day of the computerized existence. To die in ignorance and to be reborn in Hell or some heavy karmic realm of existence is not and option. Mankind for whatever it is worth and whatever fault we may have deserves better ending than just subjected to wars and decadence; we have Consciousness, of Love and Compassion and we have Wisdom, if only we are awakened to them.
    "Suffering is the utter ability to see the immense potential quality of a human being and yet never having the possibility to put it into practice."
    ...Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

THe Goal of all Meditational Practices.

Above the toil of life my soul is a bird of fire winging the Infinite.
Sri Chinmoy.

As one stand and watch the sun setting upon the distant horizon with the glorious display of colors blazing the skies, one is mesmerized and transported into the realm of infinity, of complete absorption, transfixed in space and time where not a single thought is present; this is the 'Complete State of Being -Consciousness'; this is who you truly are.
The moment thought enters the picture even as an expression of "Ahh!" or "Wow!": the real you is no more and the glorious sunset is just another sunset out of myriads of sunsets in your daily life. The desire to capture the moment of the sun setting in its infinite glory with a camera comes next and the wish that someone else was there to share it with you and so on further removes the the authentic or the real experience of who you from the actual moment when there was only a glorious sunset before you with all its infinite glory. When the observer and the observed is one without any barrier in any form or consciousness, the Pure Essence of Being manifest Itself, where space and time melts away and the five senses merge in complete unity to become Pure Consciousness, this is called; Satori or Dhyana, Samadhi, or Rapture, Tafakur.

Tafakur is like the bee who at first hovers around the flower and then finally buries himself completely in the heart of the flower, drinking blissfully the sweet nectar. If we continue this practice we will reach the state of continuous tafakur, whether we are alone or with others, whether we are “standing, sitting, or lying down.” We remain centered in the heart and become the arena of open consciousness. Maintain this awareness throughout your day, whatever else you may be doing. Know that Allah is making tafakur upon you and that your tafakur is really Allah’s.

Tafakur of the highest level is the state in which the dervish is completely and consciously absorbed in Truth. The gnostic eye of the dervish is open, gazing upon Divine Reality. At this level, Allah is the One who sees, as only Allah can see Allah. Regarding this state the Prophet has said, “One hour of contemplation is better than a lifetime of worship.” Once you come to this place, the Koran will sing to you, and you will see its teachings and wisdom with your own eyes. Everything in creation will speak to you of Allah. You will see Allah’s face wherever you turn.
 The renowned Rabia Adawiyya had also reached the level of a pure witness, which is the true meaning of shahid. It is reported that her companion, Mariam, once invited her out of her simple dwelling on a beautiful day to witness the splendor of Allah’s creation, and she replied, “Why do I need to look upon creation when I am witnessing the Creator directly?”
 - Technology of the Heart.
Noble teachings of Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufis. (good read)


1. the state of mind resulting from feelings of high emotion; joyous ecstasy
2. (often plural) an expression of ecstatic joy
3. the act of transporting a person from one sphere of existence to another, esp from earth to heaven
4. (tr) to entrance; enrapture

Examples of RAPTURE

  1. We listened with rapture as the orchestra played.
  2. He listened to the wind in the trees, his eyes closed in rapture.
Samādhi (SanskritसमाधिHindi pronunciation: [səˈmaːd̪ʱi]), also called samāpatti, in HinduismBuddhismJainismSikhism and yogic schools is the last stage or ultimate stage of meditation, when the person is out of physical consciousness. In samādhi the mind and soul are in equal balance. It is meditative absorption, attained by the practice of dhyāna.[1] In samādhi the mind becomes still. It is a state of being totally aware of the present moment; a one-pointedness of mind[web 1]. When someone dies in India, it is not uncommon to say, that person has gone to 'Samādhi'. The tombstone area is also referred to as a place of 'samādhi'.

Satori (悟り?) (ChinesepinyinKorean oVietnamesengộ) is a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening, "comprehension; understanding".[web 1] It is derived from the Japanese verb satoru.[1]
In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to the experience of kenshō,[2] "seeing into one's true nature". Ken means "seeing," shō means "nature" or "essence."[2]
Satori and kenshō are commonly translated as enlightenment, a word that is also used to translate bodhiprajna and buddhahood.
To attain to these highest levels of consciousness in our daily lives is the most fundamental of all spiritual practices regardless of religions or Ways of life. It is imperative that we humans are endowed with the highest form of knowledge that can lead us to our very own salvation from the trials and rigors of life. And it is through these knowledge too that we can bring about changes to the very state of humanity itself and save our planet from destruction. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Art of Attention -Rev. Pannyavaro.

To be in absolute silent is the key towards arriving at Complete Consciousness, most of the great teachers and Gurus would expound on the subject of Meditation or Consciousness. It is the key towards attaining to higher levels of consciousness from our mundane day to day routine of thought filled states of mental business. Do we rally need this? Do we really need to make the effort to free our mind from being sucked into the busy highways of life with all its traffic jams and breakdowns. its road rages and concern for higher and higher toll rates imposed upon us for travelling. Perhaps not for most of us as it has become a part of so called living, this is who we have become, we are busy and in order to lead a busy life we have to abide by all that is that makes for life as it is. However if we are among those who have come to accept that enough is enough and agreed upon that we are really getting nowhere in our running back and forth being busy, we need to find an alternative state, an alternate state whereby we can step aside and let the busy world rush by us and we merely observe.
In the Hinayana tradition of Buddhism, developing what is known as 'Bare attention' is part of practice towards bringing to mind to a quiet state. Bare attention is like watching the frog jumping into the pond and creating the ripples in the water while not wondering what species of frog it is or why it jumped into the pond or where it is headed or if it is edible and the list can go on as far as the 'busy mind' is concern. Bare attention is seeing a beautiful young voluptuous lady strolling by and not getting attached to how well endowed she is, or if she is Chinese or Korean or Japanese as they all look alike; bare attention merely sees a being passing by. In the practice of bare attention the adept or disciple is training to curb the mind from getting attached to the phenomenal world and thus not adding more business to itself. It is also a form of withdrawing from the external and looking inwards a step in meditation. Bare attention allows for the mind to carry less baggage or excess food and fodder for the mind to digest while still is present in the here and now of its surrounding.
"A Monk once asked the teacher, " What is the fundamental teaching of Buddhism?" the master replied 'Attention.' The student dissatisfied with the answer said, " I was't asking about attention but was wanting to know about the essential teaching in Buddhism.' The master replied, 'Attention, Attention Attention.' So it can be appreciated that the essence of Buddhist practice is to be found in the word 'Attention'." - Ven Pannyavaro on The Art of Attention.
When we allow ourselves to be involved with other people's personalities, their idiosyncrasies, their soap operas and their dramas whether it is good or not so, we become a part of that scenario and will end up having to play out our rolls in these events one way or another and thus adding to our thinking mind more garbage to chew on and i find this happening to myself as i see myself getting sucked into more than just a passing comment or off the cuff remark simply to keep in touch in my external relationships. It is habitual to do this for me as i like to be in the circle so to speak. That believe that says 'no man is an island', is often taken too seriously and lost in interpretation or understanding.
"The art of this bare attention is to simply register the predominant object in one's experience as it rises without preference or interference, as a witness. That is just registering or noting the changing phenomenon without reaction - be it sensation, sound, thought or mind - state. However if there is a reaction during the observation as is natural for the untrained mind, then that too must be noted."
Ven. Pannyavaro - The Art of Attention  

Spending Quality Time with family and friends.

Spent all day long with my daughter painting a giant Double Cheeseburger on the main entrance of the  Merchant Hotel where she is employed. It is one of her project an so i was there to give a moral support and taking the advantage of doing a little Art.

What could be  a better activity than spending time with two young ladies who calls you Dad.

In a sense I am also leaving my Cheeseburger Buddha trademark right in the Center of Downtown Georgetown.

The girls were in a good mood now that dad was there to help out.

Our friend Raymond Chan was three to keep us company.

Anf karim came by to say hi as he works a block away from the Hotel.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We Are The Masters of Our Destiny.

It is almost impossible to stop the mind from thinking and thoughts will go on rambling for as long as it takes just as this blogging is a manifest of mind thinking itself out and manifesting nit he form of written words. It is said that only in deep sleep is the mind free from any form of thinking where as even in light sleep thew mind is much active in the form of dreaming and we humans can dream of weird things in our sleeping state. The primary teaching of the Buddha hinges upon the cessation of thoughts and its relative processes and this in itself is a long and involved process that the Buddha had laid out for man to practice, however the essence of the Buddha's teaching in the cessation of thoughts and other forms of vexations is through Dhyana or Meditation, as the Chinese word Chan and the Japanese word Zen carries the same derivation of this word. Hence the Right Understanding of Meditation is the key towards silencing the or at the very least bringing it to be quiet and not rattling on and on. If one observes how th mind rattles on, one would often notice that sometimes it is over things or subjects that makes very little sense or irrelevant to one's status at the moment.
In my limited amount of knowledge and understanding i have tried to share what I could of what meditation is and how to go about getting it done right, however today. all one has to is Google it and one will find one needs to learn from the masters modern and ancient.
Ignorance is no more an excuse when it comes to acquiring knowledge in this day and age and laziness or apathy is the cause of suffering next to ignorance. Today more than anytime in the history of man, there is a greater need to have a thorough understanding of the how, why or what of our 'Dual' thinking mind. Dual thinking being the fact that we think of left and right, good and bad, black and white and so forth. The opposite nature of all that we can think of comes into play when we think and this has a great effect on how we see ourselves and others; them and us. We think in dichotomy making every thought a comparison of one as opposed to the other, hence good and evil will always walk as a pair in our mind like the flip side of a coin and one cannot exist without the other; we are trapped in this dichotomy of the dual thinking mind. The Buddha sought to end this bondage by Right Understanding of the workings of our human consciousness transcending that of the workings of the dual thinking mind and thought processes. In most of the Sutras of the Buddhas there are lessons in how one can achieve to this state of freedom from our mental delusions due to ignorance.
As the world spins out of control with all the chaos and wars and destruction starvation and over population, as suffering has become of a grand scale for most of us, the need to come to have a good understanding of who we are and where we stand in the scheme of things as far as the Planet is concern is crucial for our very survival. We cannot remain blind to it all as we are exposed to what is happening around us are being laid out and brought to our awareness; we cannot exist in denial any longer. The ancient Masters had revealed through their teaching methods to overcome our individual suffering  as well as that of of our environment and fellow human and it is up to us to wake up and be aware of these teachings if not put them to practice or be prepared to perish.
While science is still scratching the surface of Consciousness, the human spirit has been made aware of its limitless powers if and when it is put to practice through right understanding. At the highest level of His teachings the Buddha imparted all there is o know about meta physics and how the human mind governs the natural world.READ! REALIZE! REVEAL! Let it be known, let it be heard! The more of humanity awaken the more chances there is of our very survival and that of the Planet's as we cannot fight bullets with bullets nor can we stop the demise of our rivers and forests with power and might, but we can turn our history back into the Golden Age if we can all take a more realistic and serious understanding of our very nature; that we are inherently Divine. We are the Masters of our Universe, our Environment, our Destiny; it is our Birth Right! It does not matter who are black or white, rich or poor, strong or weak, together as a Whole we are a an Omnipotent Being of Collective Consciousness. Today there is nothing more relevant, more important, more significant that to have this Realization for the collective whole to survive.      

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Life is Suffering - part 2

When the Buddha said that ,"Life is Suffering hes was referring to our physical as well as psychological human form that has evolved throughout the millennium into who we are today. We who claim ourselves to b civilized and above and beyond other sentient beings on this planet. We who have survived all that is thrown at us as a species and lived to see the 21st. century in all its glory and its chaos. The Buddha came into the world to wake us up from our sleeping state of consciousness so that we can be more prepared in dealing with what is to come for our kind. Life is suffering and suffering has a cause and the main cause of suffering is 'Desire'. The need, the crave, the wanting the clinging on to, the greed and the delusion that man is inflicted with. Our very survival thus far is only because throughout the ages we have been forewarned by Saints and sages alike, prophets and Messengers of the Divine so that we turn away from our prone towards self destruction and towards self realization. 
"In this human form, do not waste time!" the Buddha extolled some 2500 years ago, for it is in this form that one is most capable of attaining liberation. One does not need to believe in the theory of Karma and Transmigration of the Soul in order to understand what is Reincarnation and its significance in our human evolution. A well developed conscious mind there is a deep understanding of where we as humans stands in the hierarchy of the evolution of species and we are not just at the top of the food chain but we are higher and above the laws that govern existence itself if we can fathom the mysteries of our Mind and Consciousness that today science in all its infinite glory are only beginning to touch the surface of the extent of its limitless power. Yes it may sound far fetched and bombastic a claim but, why not and how far or how near are we really towards understanding the nature of out limitless Consciousness. The Buddha  was among those who have made this self discovery and transcended life itself to go beyond, beyond that which is the concept of the word beyond itself. 
Having lived for 66 years more or less, i have come to finally realize how little i know of how my mind works and how badly influenced by it I have been and often to the detriment of my being. I have been living with the perception that i am who i thought myself to be and have been enduring all kinds of trials and tribulations the life had to offer based upon this understanding. I set myself up to be at the mercy of my own bloody ignorance and often flaying myself for all kinds of guilt and conscience that I self created through wrong perceptions and faulty thoughts. I was my own judge, jury and executioner and I blamed others around me for my own failures. I lived an ignorant life, blind from the truth that was staring at me all the time until I discovered the true teachings of the Buddha; the teachings that dealt with life itself.
Life is Suffering and the cause of suffering is desire and to have desire there has to be one who desires and when there ceases to be this one then there is no more suffering; how do we end the one who suffers? His final words upon attaining to what is known as PariNirvana or the Great Liberation the Buddha uttered," I, Am No More!" he did not say i am dead or my end has come, he said I, am no more! Like he has ceased being the 'I'. In other words the 'person' is finished, gone, annihilated and so what remains? Hence, when the Buddha said ,suffering Is but none who suffers, this is perhaps what he meant. How can one suffer if  there is no one there to suffer or if the personality is no more there to endure the suffering. Suffering Is, because You are.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Life is Suffering.

Why did the Buddha declare that life is suffering?
I am going to look back in revision of my understanding of the Buddha's teachings from the beginning simply because I have the urge to have a deeper look into what I have learned over the years and see if i am still on the right track. The Buddha's words has always been my guide through out my adult life ever since my father told me of the Triple Gems and taking refuge in the teachings of the World and Time Honored One. Perhaps this is also my final analysis of the teachings and my way of saying thank you and farewell to the Great Teacher whose Way had helped me seen through many a great hurdle in life, pulled me out of many deep wells of delusions and saved me from my own self destructive nature. Yes, I have had my share of tumbles and had it not been for the light shed upon me by the teachings of Buddhism I will not be where I am today.
My first real encounter with the Buddha's teaching was through the works of D.T. Suzuki and later followed by the works of Alan Watts followed by the works by Sunryu Suzuki and The Dalai Lama and many more great contemporary teachers like Trungpa Rinpoche and Thich Naht Hahn. I took upon myself to study the religion as far as it would take me to fully comprehend what it is all about and it brought me to the San Francisco Zen Center at Green Gulch Farm also known as, The Green Dragon Zen Temple where I was a student for over two years. At the Zen center I became acquainted with all those who were looking for their understanding of what the Buddha's teaching was all about and they came all walks of life like myself lost and was looking for answers. I read all i could and sat as much as I could in meditation the Zen Buddhist style. While at the Monastery i let go of myself although not as easily at the beginning but slowly but surely the teachings got to me and got me settled into its comforting rhythm and I was hooked.
There reason for this revision is also because, this was when I first experienced to the awakening of my understanding to the the nature of my consciousness and what it meant to me.
I was a drug addict and an alcoholic, I had many broken relationships and my life was in a shamble and I when I walked inot Green Gulch Zen Community I could barely take three steps without gasping for breath as i was suffering from Pleurisy - 
The signs and symptoms of pleurisy might include: Chest pain that worsens when you breathe, cough or sneeze. Shortness of breath — because you are trying to minimize breathing in and out. A cough — only in some cases. A fever — only in some cases.  
Death would have been a blessing but i was not going to allowed to escape so easily and my only hope was to surrender my heart and soul to the Zen Community as i had no where else to turn during the time. Yes I was suffering and in every form and meaning of the word when i stood at the gate of The Green Dragon Zen Temple facing my later would be Zen teacher by the name of Paul Discoe.
Oakland, California - ‎Founder / Chief Designer at Paul Discoe Design Studio
I am a Japanese master builder and Zen Buddhist teacher. I studied architecture as a Buddhist temple builder in Kyoto, Japan for five years during the 1970s.
I was on the verge of going down on my knees begging him to allow me to enter the Monastery and recuperate and he was not too eager to allow me to stay as i was not in any shape to survive the rigorous life of the GG Zen Community, but he relented in the end and thus i began my life as a Zen Buddhist student. Paul Discoe became my task master and put through rigorous work schedules along with the other students who were doing the practice period. I became his assistant or more like helper spending time at the wood shed cutting up large timbers into planks and later turning them into some of the finest woodwork i have ever seen including beautiful altars and rostrums for the City Zen Center and a Kaisando, or Memorial Hall at Tassajara -
The Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in the Ventana Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest, southeast of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, is the oldest Japanese Buddhist Sōtō Zen monastery in the United States. Wikipedia.
Within a year of my stay at Green Gulch I was cured of my Pleurisy and became a rough tough farm worker growing organic food which supplied most of San Francisco's organic restaurant and produce markets. I worked alongside Peter Ruddnik and his wife Wendy Johnson, both the original community members of the Zen Community and are masters at what they do.-
Wendy Johnson lived and trained at Green Gulch Farm from 1975-2000. She is one of the founders of the Organic Farm and Garden Program at Green Gulch, a lay dharma teacher, and the author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate (Bantam, 2008). Wendy is a garden mentor to the Edible Schoolyard program and a College of Marin instructor in the Environmental Landscape program at the Indian Valley Organic Farm and Garden project.

I cannot write enough of how much I owe to this couple who took me into their lives and their home and helped me heal my wounded soul, cure me of most of my neurotic tendencies and kept my mind in the soil. They helped me cultivate my spirit from that of a lost and angry soul into one that saw no mountain too high and no ocean too deep to overcome. 
At Green Gulch I met the Buddha in many shapes and forms, heard him in voices in the wind as it blew cold from the Pacific ocean up through the valley all the way up to Hope Cottage. At Green Gulch I met the Buddha in the form of an ancient Japanese Tea Master by the name of Nakamura Sensei who called me Shampoo instead of Shamsul and there I met great men and women who gave it all their mind and spirit in their practice of Zen Buddhism. At green Gulch I was healed of my fear of dogs by an elderly white Labrador by the name of Sierra aka. 'Sea Dog' as she loved to dive into the cold Pacific every chance she got.
To be Continued: 


Thursday, October 08, 2015

When I was Fifteen.

I feel like a fifteen year old trying to act like i am 66 without even knowing it sometimes. Realized this a few minutes ago when i made a comment to a friend's Face Book posting of him and his younger sister visiting him in Berkeley, California. I assume she was his new girlfriend and made a funny remark added a sticker with it to emphasize the effect. Now on looking back I realize how my mind is every so often very childish and often looks for ways to express itself like a fifteen year old taking pokes at others and not caring much for the consequences it might have incurred. In other words every no and then i also find myself reminding me that i am now and old man and should be more weary of how what i say to people; should I?
What a shame to loose that freedom to be able to express spontaneously like a fifteen year old who has just discovered the freedom of speech, or how words can make others feel about any given situation in life. A fifteen year old more often than not looks obn the brighter side of life and his or her comment is often mad to cheer things up rather than to mellow things down like 66 year old, at least this has been my unwritten assumption. Now that i have been brought to my attention of this one habit of mine, I feel like i am growing old, ageing is a process of natural arrests of one's habitual actions and tendencies? I should stop doing this or doing that because i am no more fifteen, I should wear this and not that because i am no more fifteeen...I should grow up and act my age!
What was I like when i was fifteen? I was busy reading novels like, "The Carpet Beggars" by Harold Robins, "Fear is The Key", by Alstair McClain. "The Before Midnight Scholar" by LI Yu Tang and D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chartterley's Lover." I was a voracious reader and still am and thanks to my eldest brother I had ample supply of books to read, books by the likes of Wilbur Smith and later on Eric Van Lastbader and Robert Ludlum series.
Along with the myriad of novels that i consumed in those days of the early sixties into seventies, I listened to Jazz and Folk Music and was familiar with the likes of, Miles Davis and Ela Fitzgerald, to Cannonball Adderley and Louis Armstrong, Ahmad Jamal and Nat King Cole. I was exposed to the younger Joan Baez and Peter Paul and Marry, to Bob Dylan and soon followed by the Beatles; i was only fifteen by then living along the shores of the South China Sea with so much to do which by comparison today would be the envy most teenager. I would go snorkeling just about every weekend with the adults of my time all over the islands off the East Coast of Terengganu. Islands like Kapas and Perhentian, Bidong and Pulau Yu and Pulau Lima where in those day there was hardly a soul on some of them, unlike today. We, my brothers and my school teachers, my mentors and my martial arts instructors had the run of the State where recreational activities were concern albeit in the forest or the seas.
When I was fifteen, the house i grew up was located along the Padi fields and a soon as I woke up to take a piss I was looking at the long stretch of rice fields filled with birds that you seldom or don't see anymore today for as far as your eyes can see from the water way in front of you to the foothills in the far distance. The waterway was filled with fresh water fish of all kinds that you can rarely find today as most are becoming extinct due to modern ways of rice cultivation that employs chemicals. Like the birds, the fishes too have become rare and hard to find anywhere in the country except where civilization has not yet engulfed the environment. When I was fifteen, man and nature still coexisted in harmony; I was blessed, I had the best of both worlds, East and West.
Hence how can i easily give up my age of fifteen and settle for a grouchy and weary old man riddled with anger and frustrations, worries and anxieties?