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

Posts tagged ‘Buddhism’

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 16 – May Meditation

I enjoy the time I have just sitting on my bed with my eyes closed and getting away from the craziness of the world.  It allows me some time to reflect on my behaviors and analyze how I allow others to affect my mood.  Today, I sat on my bed after an inspirational work meeting and I realized that I am not as friendly as I had originally thought I was with people.  So, I sat on my bed and spoke aloud so that I could listen to the compassion and loving kindness I was sending out to the world.  After reading my Metta aloud, I thought about the people I had seen that day as well as the people I know that I do not get to see.  Then, I took some time to go through my Facebook and remove the clutter of people that I do not know so that I could focus on maintaining a relationship with the people that mean the most to me.  I have started going through my friends list in order to make a connection with people that I may not have spoken to in a long while.  Even if it is a simple “Hi, I was thinking about you” or “love the profile picture.”  This helps to keep the lines of communication open with the people I call my friends and family.  No matter how far apart I am from my friends and family, I know that no distance will keep me from their love or keep my love from them.

 


“A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another.  If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But, if these minds get out of harmony with one another, it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.” – Buddha (1)

 

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

 

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

Day 14 – May Meditation

Today, I did something a little different for my daily meditation.  This is the last day of the Anapanasati breathing meditations and the day was so beautiful that I decided to go to the beach.  While I was there, I felt the need to do my meditation right then and there sitting on the sand.  I began at around 3:00pm and allowed myself to take in everything around me  in the here and now.  Here is what my senses told me.

Touch – I felt the feel of the sand through my hands as I pushed my hands into the sand.  I picked up some and felt the sensation of the sand flowing through my fingers.  I felt the feel of the wind blowing on my skin and through my hair as it rushed across the water, up the sand and into the city of Vancouver.  I felt the feel of the sun as it gave its glowing shine on my face and arms.  It felt warm to help balance the chill of the wind.

Smell – I smelt the smell of the salty water as the air pushed the scent of the ocean water across the land.  I could smell the distinct seaweed scent as I slowly breathed in and out.

Sight – I saw the mountains towering over the cities and the waters with snow capping each one of them.  I saw the sand as it was shaped and molded by animal tracks, footprints, the water and the wind.  I saw the waves white capping as they approached the sand and gently rolling up the shallow slopes of the sands.  I saw the boats coming and going delivering goods, people, and giving tourists the joys of the bay.  I saw the people playing and enjoying the beauties and wonders of nature.  I saw the birds searching for love, searching for food, and being as they are meant to be.  I saw the tall blades of grass next to a stump blowing in the wind as if they were waving to the sky.

Hear – I heard the sound of the birds as they called to their loved ones and warned others of danger.  I heard the laughter of people playing on the beach and the playgrounds.  I heard the waves white capping in the water and splashing on the shore.  I heard the wind as it blew pass my ears.  I heard the sound of people running behind me as they become healthier and stronger.

After about 45 minutes, I got up paid my respects to nature and walked home relaxed, peaceful, and with a better understanding of the world around me.

 

“We need to live as the Buddha taught us to live, in peace and harmony with nature, but this must start with ourselves. If we are going to save this planet we need to seek a new ecological order, to look at the life we lead and then work together for the benefit of all; unless we work together no solution can be found. By moving away from self-centeredness, sharing wealth more, being more responsible for ourselves, and agreeing to live more simply, we can help decrease much of the suffering in the world,” from the Buddhist Statement on Ecology 1996. (1)

 

 

(1) – http://www.arcworld.org/faiths.asp?pageID=129

 

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 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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