The Journey Of A Christian Reaching For God With The Aid Of Buddha's Teachings

Archive for the ‘Buddhism’ Category

Day 17 – May Meditation

I completed my meditation today early in the day around 9am.  Since my Metta doesn’t take long to say, I first listened to the Metta video from the Current Challenge Page.  I focused on the Pali words as I thought about each group of people from my Metta.  Then, I read my Metta out loud while sitting in a traditional position.  Then, I focused on each group and sent out loving kindness to all.

***Though, I did my meditation early, that does not mean, I cannot recite my Metta at other times.  Today on my walk to work, I brought my Metta up on my cell phone and read it out loud.  I figured sharing some extra loving kindness would help me to feel more loving and kinder while I worked.

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” – Buddha (1)

(1) – http://buddhaquotes.co.uk/All-Buddha-Quotes/?keyword=kindness

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Day 15 – May Meditation

We are starting a new meditation today and I couldn’t be more excited. We are starting the meditation known as Metta, which means to cultivate loving-kindness towards oneself, then loved ones, friends, then strangers, then enemies, and finally towards all conscious beings.  I have chosen to use the video below as a template for writing my own Metta. My Metta is quite similar to the video with some modifications to make it fit for me here and now.  After finishing my Metta, I sat down in a traditional position and read out loud my Metta meditation (below).

My Metta Meditation
May I be free from hostility and danger
May I be free from mental suffering
May I be free from physical suffering
May I take care of myself happily
May my parents teachers, relatives and friends
be free from hostility and danger
be free from mental suffering
be free from physical suffering
May they take care of themselves happily
May all meditators and people unknown to me in this world
be free from hostility and danger
be free from mental suffering
be free from physical suffering
May they take care of themselves happily
May all my enemies, those who have hurt me in the past and those
who have yet to hurt me, those who have hurt people I care for, either physical or mentality
be free from hostility and danger
be free from mental suffering
be free from physical suffering
May they take care of themselves happily
May all beings
all breathing things
all creatures
all individuals
all personalities (all beings with mind and body)
may all females
all males
all noble ones
all worldlings
all humans
all those in the four woeful planes
be free from hostility and dangers
be free from mental suffering
be free from physical suffering
may they take care of themselves happily
May all being be free from suffering
May whatever they have gained not be lost
in the eastern direction
in the western direction
in the northern direction
in the southern direction
in the southeast direction
in the northwest direction
in the northeast direction
in the southwest direction
in the direction below
in the direction above
whatever beings that move on water
may they are free of mental suffering and hostility
and from physical suffering and danger
As far as the highest plane of existence
to as far down as the lowest plane
in the entire universe
whatever beings that move in air
may they are free of mental suffering and hostility
and from physical suffering and danger.
May we all live with peace and happiness in our hearts and share our joy with all beings
all breathing things
all creatures
all individuals
all personalities (all beings with mind and body)
may all females
all males
all noble ones
all worldlings
all humans
and with all those in the four woeful planes

May all be blessed…

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

Mother’s Day – Mary mother of Jesus; Queen Maya mother of Buddha…

Mary the Mother of Jesus

Mary was a young virgin girl, most likely around the age of 12 or 13, who was to marry a man named Joseph.  However, it is written in the Holy Bible that Mary was visited by an angel of God.

“26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God.” – Luke 1:26-35 (1)

In biblical Jewish culture, when a woman is engaged to a man, they are actually officially married, therefore, the fact that Mary was pregnant and the child was not Joseph’s, he could have had her stoned to death.  Nevertheless, Joseph knew that it was a miracle and allowed Mary to live and accepted Jesus as his own.  While Mary was pregnant, a census of the land was declared causing Joseph and Mary to travel about 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  Since many people were traveling at that time and they would have had to travel slowly since Mary was pregnant, Mary and Joseph were unable to find lodging.  Therefore, they found a person willing to let them stay in a barn.  After Jesus’ birth, Mary would have been as any other house wife in that time.  After Joseph died, it would have been Jesus’ responsibility to care for his mother, since he was the eldest son.  For this reason, Mary traveled with Jesus as he preached.

Queen Maya the Mother of Buddha

Queen Maya, also known as Mahamaya or Mayadevi, means illusion or enchantment in Pali language.  Queen Maya was born in Devadha in the kingdom of Nepal sometime in the 1st century BCE.  She was married to King Suddhodana the king of the Sakya clan of Kapilvastu.  The king and Queen Maya were unable to have children for twenty years of their marriage.  One night on a full moon, Queen Maya had a dream about a white elephant. “She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness in Nepal” (2).

Queen Maya was said to be pregnant for ten lunar months. She then began traveling back to her own home to give birth to her baby.  However, the baby came before she reached her home. She walked to a Sal Tree which is thought to be in the beautiful flower garden of Lumbina Park, Nepal.  Queen Maya Devi gave birth standing while holding onto a Sal Tree branch.  It is thought that she died seven days after giving birth.

All mothers are great as all mothers give birth to someone special.

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12 (1)

“Love the whole world as a mother loves her only child.” (3)

(1) – Holy Bible. New International Version.

(2) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_%28mother_of_Buddha%29

(3) – http://thinkexist.com/quotation/love_the_whole_world_as_a_mother_lovers_her_only/296857.html

Homosexuality and Buddhism

With all the issues with equal rights in the United States right now, I thought I would take some time to see what Theravada Buddhism believes about homosexuality. I have heard it said that Buddhist do not judge people since the goal of Buddhism is obtained from ones own doing and not from a higher being. Love, compassion, and respect rule their actions and thoughts. I wondered what other views there were on this subject and what my readers thought as well.

Below is part of an article about homosexuality and Theravada Buddhism that I was reading. It views homosexuality from two different views; the view of the Five Precepts and from the view of karma and social traditions. Read it and draw your own conclusion…

 

Homosexuality in Buddhist Scriptures and Theravada Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism is most commonly found in Southeast Asia, and focuses on the original teachings of the Buddha. In Theravada Buddhism, there are two main ways of life: the life of the monk and the life of the lay person (i.e. ordinary person with a job, a family, a home, etc.)

Buddhist monks are expected to live lives of celibacy, meaning abstinence from any type of sex. There is no explicit rule prohibiting those with a homosexual orientation from monastic life. However, in the Vinaya, the Buddha is recorded as opposing the ordination of those who openly expressed cross-gender features or strong homosexual desires and actions. The Buddhist sacred texts do contain a great deal of instances of loving relationships between unmarried men, which some believe to have homoerotic overtones. No sexual contact is mentioned in these instances, however.

Lay Buddhists (those who live outside the monastery) are expected to adhere to Five Precepts, the third of which is a vow “not to engage in sexual misconduct.” But what is sexual misconduct? Right and wrong behavior in Buddhism is generally determined by considerations such as the following:

  • Universalibility principle – “How would I like it if someone did this to me?”
  • Consequences – Does the act causes harm and regret (in oneself or others) or benefit and joy?
  • Utilitarian principle – Will the act help or harm the attainment of goals (ultimately spiritual liberation)?
  • Intention – Is the act motivated by love, generosity and understanding?

“Sexual misconduct” has thus traditionally been interpreted to include actions like coercive sex, sexual harassment, child molestation and adultery. As Homosexuality is not explicitly mentioned in any of the Buddha’s sayings recorded in the Pali Canon (Tripitaka), most interpreters have taken this to mean that homosexuality should be evaluated in the same way as heterosexuality, in accordance with the above principles.

A Buddhist author of an article on homosexuality concludes:

In the case of the lay man and woman where there is mutual consent, where adultery is not involved and where the sexual act is an expression of love, respect, loyalty and warmth, it would not be breaking the third Precept. And it is the same when the two people are of the same gender. Likewise promiscuity, license and the disregard for the feelings of others would make a sexual act unskillful whether it be heterosexual or homosexual. All the principles we would use to evaluate a heterosexual relationship we would also use to evaluate a homosexual one. In Buddhism we could say that it is not the object of one’s sexual desire that determines whether a sexual act is unskillful or not, but rather the quality of the emotions and intentions involved.

It is also worth noting that Buddhism does not traditionally place great value on procreation like many western religions. From the Buddhist viewpoint, being married with children is regarded as generally positive, but not compulsory (although social norms in various Buddhist countries often have different views).

Despite all this, in practice, Theravada Buddhist countries are not terribly open to homosexual practice. This has much to do with cultural norms, as well as the notion of karma, which remains strong in countries such as Thailand. From this viewpoint, a person’s characteristics and situations are a result of past sins or good deeds. Homosexuality and other alternative forms of sexuality are often seen as karmic punishments for heterosexual misconduct in a past life. Thus far, the gay rights movement has not had great success in Theravada Buddhist countries.

 

http://www.religionfacts.com/homosexuality/buddhism.htm

The Buddha, The Awakened One

As it is Vesak in several countries now, I figured I would reblog this great blog by Panacea today. Enjoy…

PANACEA

This article is dedicated to The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, whose Birth Anniversary is to be celebrated on the full moon of 6th May, 2012. This day commemorates three important events of Buddha’s life, his birth; his enlightenment, i.e., attainment of supreme wisdom and; his attainment of Nirvana, i.e., the complete extinction of his self.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, a spiritual teacher from ancient India lived and died in about the fifth century before the Christian era. Buddha means “enlightened one”, someone who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions, the “Awakened One”, someone who has awakened and seen things as they really are. Because he has awakened from the sleep of ignorance and has removed all obstructions from his mind, he knows everything of the past, present, and future, directly and simultaneously. Buddha has great compassion which is completely impartial and embracing all living beings without discrimination.

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The Beauty of Mindfulness

Mindfulness, in Buddhism, comes from the idea of the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. Right Mindfulness means being aware of our thoughts, words, and deeds. In this video, the nurse is very aware of her every thought, word, and deed as she controls the very life of this newborn baby. Enjoy and my you have right mindfulness throughout your day…

Day 1 – May Meditation

Here we are at the first day of the May Meditation Challenge.  I look forward to see how meditation will aid in my daily life.  As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I know that studies have shown that meditations can help alleviate a variety of health conditions such as anxiety and depression.  Meditation can make a person calmer and happier as it effects brain waves.  This shift in the brain waves aids in decreasing “the negative effects of stress, mild depression and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear” (1). Other key benefits of meditation include increasing concentration, becoming more aware of yourself, and just simply slowing down your body and mind to help you relax.  No matter what your religion, meditation can benefit your spirituality, by benefiting your life.

As stated in an earlier post, I am not properly trained in meditation.  For this reason, I am going to use a guided mediation that helps one focus on specific body areas known as chakras in Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism meditation practices.  As I gain the ability to concentrate longer, I will continue my meditation and focus on Theravada Buddhism meditation practices.  These practices include: Anapanasati (focusing on breathing), Metta (cultivation of compassion and loving-kindness), Vipassana (meditation that aids in insight into the true nature of reality), Mahasati Meditation (form of mindfulness meditation that uses body movements to bring about self-awareness), Kammatthana (a complex advance meditation), Samatha (another complex advance meditation used for concentration practices designed to enhance sustained voluntary attention, and culminates in an attention that can be sustained effortlessly for several hours). (2)

The chakra guided meditation that I will begin with is available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qs_DuZigRzY and attached below.  The chakra meditation is a 10 minute video that aids in being aware of specific body areas of circulating energy from the base of the spine up to the crown of ones head.  It helps in refreshing and energizing ones body.  So, take 10 minutes out of your day today and meditate.

“In this very one fathom long body along with perception and thoughts, I proclaim the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world, and the path leading to the end of the world.” – Buddha  (3)


(1) – http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200304/the-benefits-meditation

(2) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_meditation#Adoption_by_non-Buddhists

(3) – (1995). Sayings of the buddha. (10th ed.). Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia: Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

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