Between Misery & Complaints

” It is interesting to me that people don’t see any connection between their misery and their complaints — their feeling of being a victim; the feeling that everyone is doing something to them. It’s amazing. How many times has this connection been pointed out in the dharma talks? How many? And yet because of our fear we won’t look.” ~ Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen, Love & Work

Fear does many things to us. When fear is valid; it keeps us safe. When it is not valid; it holds us back.  ~ Debra

Book Review: Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom

Rebel Buddha: On the Road to FreedomIn Rebel Buddha, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche gives us a guidebook for leaving behind the status-quo and becoming the rebel that’s inside you.  No, not like a ‘James Dean’ rebel but a rebel from the world of illusion that we create.  DPR drops all the tradition Buddhist lingo and lays out the path to achieving freedom in a more accessible language.

I have to admit I initially was having difficulty resonating with the book but about halfway it started to click and after re-reading it,  I really appreciate what he wrote much more.  The book offers a challenge to our normal habits, traditions, view of self and practice. It allows us to truly discover the ‘why’ of Buddhism.

What frees us from being stuck?  What cuts through our psychological blockages?  We need the courage of our rebel buddha heart to leap beyond forms, to go deeper into our practice and find a way to trust ourselves.  We must become our own guide.

The book has a wonderful appendix with an incredible explanation of meditation.  He describes mindfulness and analytical meditation practices and how to work with problems during the session.  He ends with some great poems like the following:

You are so creative
And your tricks are so original
Look at your magic
So deceptive, real, and endless

You are a great storyteller
So dramatic, colorful, and emotional
I love your stories
But do you realize that you’re telling them over and over and over?

You are such a dreamer
And you’re tirelessly so passionate
For your dream characters and the world
But do you see that you’re just dreaming

You are so familiar
Yet no one knows who you really are
Are you not called “thoughts” by some?
Are you really there-or simply my delusion

Are you not taught to be the true wisdom mind?
What a beautiful world this could be
If only I could see through this mind.

Well, it doesn’t really matter
Because I don’t exist without you!
“Who am I?” is perhaps the right question
After all, I’m just one of your many manifestations!

review by Digging the Dharma (Philip)

Book Review: 8 Verses for Training the Mind

Eight Verses for Training the Mind, New EditionSo while reading Rebel Buddha by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, I had to take a detour.  I can’t explain why I am struggling through Rebel Buddha but I think about that later.  In the meantime, I decided to read Geshe Sonam Rinchen’s commentary on 8 Verses for Training the Mind.  Geshe Ngawang Phende at Drepung Loseling in Atlanta is currently in the middle of a series of teachings on root text.
I love to read Geshe Rinchen’s commentaries.  I find them very straight forward and accessible for students of all levels.  This teaching in particular is a wonderfully simple explanation of Langritangpa’s 8 Verses.  He expounds on each verse leading us though a practice to develop our love and compassion.  As Geshe-la explains:

Greater kindheartedness can transform our daily life and make all our activites meaningful.  This is something we can all practice whether or not we have extensive knowledge of philosophy.

The value of these 8 verses in incalculable.  His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama includes them in his daily medititations.  Geshe Rinchen tells us in the book to take one verses that appears to be revelant to our current circumstances and ponder it over and over until until we feel its effect.  By studying all the verses in this manner and putting them into practice we begin to use every circumstance in our lives a chance to strengthen the Bodhisattva qualities, of insight, kindheartedness, and concern for others and result in greater happiness, peace and contentment on our life.

The First Noble Truth

4nobletruthsThe first of the Four Noble Truths is the Truth of Suffering.

What is suffering? Buddhism describes three levels or types of suffering. This is called ‘the suffering of suffering’, the second, ‘the suffering of change’, and the third is ‘the suffering of conditioning’.

The suffering of suffering: the suffering of birth, sickness, aging, and death.

The suffering of change: things we would normally think as pleasurable.

The suffering of conditioning: What is the nature of things? Eveything happens in samsara is due to ignorance

(complied from ‘The Four Noble Truths’ by H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, fourteenth printing – 2009)

Book Review. ~ “What Do Buddhists Believe?”

What do Buddhists Believe?“What Do Buddhists Believe?” by Tony Morris, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2008 – Religion – 112 pages.

When I want to learn about a subject, I seem to go on a mission. I think, ‘what do I want to know?’, ‘what format?’, and ‘look for something readable’. ‘What Do Buddhists Believe?’ answered those questions with ease.

This book was an easy read and yet I came away with a better understanding of where I wanted to go on my journey of learning about Buddhism. It covers general Buddhist beliefs without being overly simplified. I would not recommend it to a person who has more than a general grasp of what Buddhism is for it really is the bare bones. Yet for those who want more than a ‘feel’ but not an in-depth of each tradition I  recommend it. Don’t think this will be the only book you will need to understand Buddhism, but it will be one you can pass on to your non-Buddhists friends when they have more questions.

~ Debra

What Do Buddhists Believe?: Meaning and Mindfulness in Buddhist Philosophy ~ Amazon