Guru Rinpoche | The Conflict Between “I” and “Me”

Guru Remborchhe

We seem to be like flies caught in honey. Because life is sweet we do not want to give it up, and yet the more we become involved in it, the more we are trapped, limited, and frustrated. We love it and hate it at the same time. We fall in love with people and possessions only to be tortured by anxiety for them. The conflict is not only between ourselves and the surrounding universe; it is between ourselves and ourselves. For intractable nature is both around and within us. The exasperating ‘life’ which is at once lovable and perishable, pleasant and painful, a blessing and a curse, is also the life of our own bodies.

It is as if we were divided into two parts. On the one hand there is the conscious ‘I,’ at once intrigued and baffled, the creature who is caught in the trap. On the other hand there is ‘me,’ and ‘me’ is a part of nature—the wayward flesh with all its concurrently beautiful and frustrating limitations. ‘I’ fancies itself as a reasonable fellow, and is forever criticizing ‘me’ for its perversity—for having passions which get ‘I’ into trouble, for being so easily subject to painful and irritating diseases, for having organs that wear out, and for having appetites which can never be satisfied—so designed that if you try to allay them finally and fully in one big ‘bust,’ you get sick.

Perhaps the most exasperating thing about ‘me,’ about nature and the universe, is that it will never ‘stay put.’ It is like a beautiful woman who will never be caught, and whose very flightiness is her charm. For the perishability and changefulness of the world is part and parcel of its liveliness and loveliness. This is why the poets are so often at their best when speaking of change, of ‘the transitoriness of human life.’ The beauty of such poetry lies in something more than a note of nostalgia which brings a catch in the throat…

For the poets have seen the truth that life, change, movement, and insecurity are so many names for the same thing. Here, if anywhere, truth is beauty, for movement and rhythm are of the essence of all things lovable. In sculpture, architecture, and painting the finished form stands still, but even so the eye finds pleasure in the form only when it contains a certain lack of symmetry, when, frozen in stone as it may be, it looks as if it were in the midst of motion.

Is it not, then, a strange inconsistency and an unnatural paradox that ‘I’ resists change in ‘me’ and in the surrounding universe? For change is not merely a force of destruction. Every form is really a pattern of movement, and every living thing is like the river, which, if it did not flow out, would never have been able to flow in. Life and death are not two opposed forces; they are simply two ways of looking at the same force, for the movement of change is as much the builder as the destroyer. The human body lives because it is a complex of motions, of circulation, respiration, and digestion. To resist change, to try to cling to life, is therefore like holding your breath: if you persist you kill yourself.

SourceThe Wisdom of Insecurity, by Alan Watts

Guru Rinpoche | Oldest Buddhist Shrine Holds Clues To Buddha’s Birth In Nepal

There are about 500 million Buddhists worldwide, but it’s unclear exactly when in history this religion began. The Buddha’s life story spread first through oral tradition, and little physical evidence about Buddhism’s early years has been found. Now, scientists for the first time have uncovered archaeological evidence of when the Buddha’s monumentally influential life occurred. Excavations in Nepal date a Buddhist shrine, located at what is said to be the Buddha’s birthplace, to the sixth century B.C. The research, published in the journal Antiquity, describes the remains of a timber structure about the same size and shape as a temple built at the same site in the third century B.C. Archaeologists also found reason to think that a tree grew at the center of this ancient structure, lending support to the traditional story that the Buddha’s mother held onto a tree branch while giving birth to him. “This is one of those rare occasions when belief, tradition, archaeology and science actually come together,” lead study author Robin Coningham, professor at Durham University in the United Kingdom, said at a press briefing Monday. If this study is correct, the Buddha’s actual life could have overlapped with a popularly recognized time frame of 563-483 B.C. But lots of other date ranges for the Buddha have been tossed around — some scholars say 448 to 368 B.C., for instance. (The UNESCO website about his birthplace says 623 B.C.) “We know the entirety of the shrine sequence started in the sixth century B.C., and this sheds light on a very long debate,” Coningham said. A place for pilgrims The Lumbini site in Nepal is one of four principal locations that are believed to be connected with the Buddha’s life. Bodh Gaya is where he is became enlightened, Sarnath is where he first preached and Kusinagara is where he died. Lumbini is located in “a subtropical chain of forests, marshes and grasslands” between Nepal’s border with India and the Siwalik Range of the Himalayas, according to the study. Historical documents from Chinese travelers show that pilgrims made the journey to Lumbini for many centuries. The site was lost and stopped attracting pilgrims after the 15th century — no one knows why — but Lumbini was rediscovered in 1896. It was declared the birthplace of Buddha because of a sandstone pillar there, dating from the third century B.C. The pillar’s inscription states that Emperor Ashoka visited this site of Buddha’s birth. Scholars say the more modern Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini, named after the mother of Buddha, was constructed on top of the foundations of more than one earlier temple or stupa, which is a dome-shaped Buddhist monument. One of those older temples dates back to the third century B.C., from the time of Emperor Ashoka. But there’s also evidence of the even earlier temple, which appears to have covered about the same size and shape as the Ashokan temple, Coningham said. The earliest site Beneath remains of the Ashokan temple, archaeologists found a series of postholes from where timber posts had rotted out. “Indeed, our excavations have demonstrated that the earliest construction at Lumbini appears to have comprised a timber fence or railing marking a cardinal direction,” the study authors wrote. The central, open portion of the most ancient temple appears to have housed a tree, based on the discovery of large fragments of mineralized tree roots. This part of the temple also had never been covered by a roof. To establish the dates of the earliest Buddhist shrine at Lumbini, Coningham and colleagues analyzed charcoal found within postholes, as well as sand. Different techniques used on each of these materials pointed to the same conclusion of the sixth century B.C., but the postholes indicated a range of about 800 to 545 B.C. “If the postholes at Lumbini are indicative of a tree shrine, ritual activity could have commenced either during or shortly after the life of the Buddha,” the study authors wrote. Julia Shaw, archaeologist at University College London, applauded the research but noted in an e-mail that other ritual frameworks existed at the same time as early Buddhism, which could complicate the conclusions of the study. “It would be difficult to determine whether the tree shrine in question was intended for the worship of the Buddha or was part of a distinct cultic context,” she said. But Coningham said that it’s unlikely that this earlier structure belonged to a different spiritual tradition, other than Buddhism, because of the “continuity” of the site between the sixth century B.C. and third century B.C. structures. The Ashokan temple is clearly Buddhist, and the earlier shrine had the same footprint. “Often when you have sites of one religious activity overtaken by another, you actually get quite dramatic changes within orientation, within use of structure,” Coningham said. Moreover, before the sixth century B.C., the area where the site is was just cultivated land, he said. The new archaeological research on the Buddha’s life will be featured in a National Geographic documentary called “Buried Secrets of the Buddha” premiering in February. The National Geographic Society partly funded the research. Buddhism Fast Facts When Buddha lived Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama, in the gardens of Lumbini in Nepal. His parents were wealthy. At age 29, he renounced his family and became a seeker, Coningham said. According to tradition, Buddha found truth when he sat down under a tree, which is now called the Bo tree. The Buddha happened to be born during a period of dramatic change, Coningham said. Coins were introduced, urbanization was occurring and a merchant class emerged. When the Buddha died at age 80, he recommended that all Buddhists visit Lumbini, study authors said. Today, more than a million pilgrims visit Lumbini each year. The new research, in uncovering layers of history, adds new dimensions of interest to the site. By Elizabeth Landau, CNN News Source :  http://edition.cnn.com/ Posted by: http://www.gumbokasung.org

Guru Rinpoche | Buddha | Lotus Therapy

By BENEDICT CAREY

The patient sat with his eyes closed, submerged in the rhythm of his own breathing, and after a while noticed that he was thinking about his troubled relationship with his father.

“I was able to be there, present for the pain,” he said, when the meditation session ended. “To just let it be what it was, without thinking it through.”

The therapist nodded.
“Acceptance is what it was,” he continued. “Just letting it be. Not trying to change anything.”
“That’s it,” the therapist said. “That’s it, and that’s big.”

This exercise in focused awareness and mental catch-and-release of emotions has become perhaps the most popular new psychotherapy technique of the past decade. Mindfulness meditation, as it is called, is rooted in the teachings of a fifth-century B.C. Indian prince, Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha. It is catching the attention of talk therapists of all stripes, including academic researchers, Freudian analysts in private practice and skeptics who see all the hallmarks of another fad.

For years, psychotherapists have worked to relieve suffering by reframing the content of patients’ thoughts, directly altering behavior or helping people gain insight into the subconscious sources of their despair and anxiety. The promise of mindfulness meditation is that it can help patients endure flash floods of emotion during the therapeutic process — and ultimately alter reactions to daily experience at a level that words cannot reach. “The interest in this has just taken off,” said Zindel Segal, a psychologist at the Center of Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, where the above group therapy session was taped. “And I think a big part of it is that more and more therapists are practicing some form of contemplation themselves and want to bring that into therapy.”

At workshops and conferences across the country, students, counselors and psychologists in private practice throng lectures on mindfulness. The National Institutes of Healthis financing more than 50 studies testing mindfulness techniques, up from 3 in 2000, to help relieve stress, soothe addictive cravings, improve attention, lift despair and reduce hot flashes.

Some proponents say Buddha’s arrival in psychotherapy signals a broader opening in the culture at large — a way to access deeper healing, a hidden path revealed.

Yet so far, the evidence that mindfulness meditation helps relieve psychiatric symptoms is thin, and in some cases, it may make people worse, some studies suggest. Many researchers now worry that the enthusiasm for Buddhist practice will run so far ahead of the science that this promising psychological tool could turn into another fad.

“I’m very open to the possibility that this approach could be effective, and it certainly should be studied,” said Scott Lilienfeld, a psychology professor at Emory. “What concerns me is the hype, the talk about changing the world, this allure of the guru that the field of psychotherapy has a tendency to cultivate.”

Buddhist meditation came to psychotherapy from mainstream academic medicine. In the 1970s, a graduate student in molecular biology, Jon Kabat-Zinn, intrigued by Buddhist ideas, adapted a version of its meditative practice that could be easily learned and studied. It was by design a secular version, extracted like a gemstone from the many-layered foundation of Buddhist teaching, which has sprouted a wide variety of sects and spiritual practices and attracted 350 million adherents worldwide.

In transcendental meditation and other types of meditation, practitioners seek to transcend or “lose” themselves. The goal of mindfulness meditation was different, to foster an awareness of every sensation as it unfolds in the moment.

Dr. Kabat-Zinn taught the practice to people suffering from chronic pain at the University of Massachusetts medical school. In the 1980s he published a series of studies demonstrating that two-hour courses, given once a week for eight weeks, reduced chronic pain more effectively than treatment as usual.

Word spread, discreetly at first. “I think that back then, other researchers had to be very careful when they talked about this, because they didn’t want to be seen as New Age weirdos,” Dr. Kabat-Zinn, now a professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Massachusetts, said in an interview. “So they didn’t call it mindfulness or meditation. “After a while, we put enough studies out there that people became more comfortable with it.”

One person who noticed early on was Marsha Linehan, a psychologist at the University of Washington who was trying to treat deeply troubled patients with histories of suicidal behavior. “Trying to treat these patients with some change-based behavior therapy just made them worse, not better,” Dr. Linehan said in an interview. “With the really hard stuff, you need something else, something that allows people to tolerate these very strong emotions.”

In the 1990s, Dr. Linehan published a series of studies finding that a therapy that incorporated Zen Buddhist mindfulness, “radical acceptance,” practiced by therapist and patient significantly cut the risk of hospitalization and suicide attempts in the high-risk patients.

Finally, in 2000, a group of researchers including Dr. Segal in Toronto, J. Mark G. Williams at the University of Wales and John D. Teasdale at the Medical Research Council in England published a study that found that eight weekly sessions of mindfulness halved the rate of relapse in people with three or more episodes of depression.

With Dr. Kabat-Zinn, they wrote a popular book, “The Mindful Way Through Depression.” Psychotherapists’ curiosity about mindfulness, once tentative, turned into “this feeding frenzy, of sorts, that we have going on now,” Dr. Kabat-Zinn said.
Mindfulness meditation is easy to describe. Sit in a comfortable position, eyes closed, preferably with the back upright and unsupported. Relax and take note of body sensations, sounds and moods. Notice them without judgment. Let the mind settle into the rhythm of breathing. If it wanders (and it will), gently redirect attention to the breath. Stay with it for at least 10 minutes.
After mastering control of attention, some therapists say, a person can turn, mentally, to face a threatening or troubling thought — about, say, a strained relationship with a parent — and learn simply to endure the anger or sadness and let it pass, without lapsing into rumination or trying to change the feeling, a move that often backfires.

One woman, a doctor who had been in therapy for years to manage bouts of disabling anxiety, recently began seeing Gaea Logan, a therapist in Austin, Tex., who incorporates mindfulness meditation into her practice. This patient had plenty to worry about, including a mentally ill child, a divorce and what she described as a “harsh internal voice,” Ms. Logan said.

After practicing mindfulness meditation, she continued to feel anxious at times but told Ms. Logan, “I can stop and observe my feelings and thoughts and have compassion for myself.”

Steven Hayes, a psychologist at the University of Nevada at Reno, has developed a talk therapy called Acceptance Commitment Therapy, or ACT, based on a similar, Buddha-like effort to move beyond language to change fundamental psychological processes.
“It’s a shift from having our mental health defined by the content of our thoughts,” Dr. Hayes said, “to having it defined by our relationship to that content — and changing that relationship by sitting with, noticing and becoming disentangled from our definition of ourselves.”
For all these hopeful signs, the science behind mindfulness is in its infancy. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which researches health practices, last year published a comprehensive review of meditation studies, including T.M., Zen and mindfulness practice, for a wide variety of physical and mental problems. The study found that over all, the research was too sketchy to draw conclusions.

A recent review by Canadian researchers, focusing specifically on mindfulness meditation, concluded that it did “not have a reliable effect on depression and anxiety.”

Therapists who incorporate mindfulness practices do not agree when the meditation is most useful, either. Some say Buddhist meditation is most useful for patients with moderate emotional problems. Others, like Dr. Linehan, insist that patients in severe mental distress are the best candidates for mindfulness.

A case in point is mindfulness-based therapy to prevent a relapse into depression. The treatment significantly reduced the risk of relapse in people who have had three or more episodes of depression. But it may have had the opposite effect on people who had one or two previous episodes, two studies suggest.

The mindfulness treatment “may be contraindicated for this group of patients,” S. Helen Ma and Dr. Teasdale of the Medical Research Council concluded in a 2004 study of the therapy.

Since mindfulness meditation may have different effects on different mental struggles, the challenge for its proponents will be to specify where it is most effective — and soon, given how popular the practice is becoming.

The question, said Linda Barnes, an associate professor of family medicine and pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine, is not whether mindfulness meditation will become a sophisticated therapeutic technique or lapse into self-help cliché.
“The answer to that question is yes to both,” Dr. Barnes said.

The real issue, most researchers agree, is whether the science will keep pace and help people distinguish the mindful variety from the mindless.

A variety of meditative practices have been studied by Western researchers for their effects on mental and physical health.

Tai Chi
An active exercise, sometimes called moving meditation, involving extremely slow, continuous movement and extreme concentration. The movements are to balance the vital energy of the body but have no religious significance.
Studies are mixed, some finding it can reduce blood pressure in patients, and others finding no effect. There is some evidence that it can help elderly people improve balance.

Transcendental Meditation

Meditators sit comfortably, eyes closed, and breathe naturally. They repeat and concentrate on the mantra, a word or sound chosen by the instructor to achieve state of deep, transcendent absorption. Practitioners “lose” themselves, untouched by day-to-day concerns. Studies suggest it can reduce blood pressure in some patients.

Mindfulness Meditation

Practitioners find a comfortable position, close the eyes and focus first on breathing, passively observing it. If a stray thought or emotion enters the mind, they allow it to pass and return attention to the breath. The aim is to achieve focused awareness on what is happening moment to moment.

Studies find that it can help manage chronic pain. The findings are mixed on substance abuse. Two trials suggest that it can cut the rate of relapse in people who have had three or more bouts of depression.

Yoga

Enhanced awareness through breathing techniques and specific postures. Schools vary widely, aiming to achieve total absorption in the present and a release from ordinary thoughts. Studies are mixed, but evidence shows it can reduce stress.

Guru Rinpoche In Nepal | Buddha’s Teachings

Soon after his Enlightenment the Buddha had a vision in which he saw the human race as a bed of lotus flowers. Some of the lotuses were still enmired in the mud, others were just emerging from it, and others again were on the point of blooming. In other words, all people had the ability to unfold their potential and some needed just a little help to do so. So the Buddha decided to teach, and all of the teachings of Buddhism may be seen as attempts to fulfil this vision — to help people grow towards Enlightenment.

Buddhism sees life as a process of constant change, and its practices aim to take advantage of this fact. It means that one can change for the better. The decisive factor in changing oneself is the mind, and Buddhism has developed many methods for working on the mind. Most importantly, Buddhists practise meditation, which is a way of developing more positive states of mind that are characterised by calm, concentration, awareness, and emotions such as friendliness. Using the awareness developed in meditation it is possible to have a fuller understanding of oneself, other people, and of life itself. Buddhists do not seek to ‘evangelise’ or coerce other people to adopt their religion, but they do seek to make its teachings available to whoever is interested, and people are free to take as much or as little as they feel ready for.

Meditation Center In Nepal | Who was the Buddha?

Buddhism started with the Buddha. The word ‘Buddha’ is a title, which means ‘one who is awake’ — in the sense of having ‘woken up to reality’. The Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal around 2,500 years ago. He did not claim to be a god or a prophet. He was a human being who became Enlightened, understanding life in the deepest way possible.

Siddhartha was born into the royal family of a small kingdom on the Indian-Nepalese border. According to the traditional story he had a privileged upbringing, but was jolted out of his sheltered life on realizing that life includes the harsh facts of old age, sickness, and death.

This prompted him to puzzle over the meaning of life. Eventually he felt impelled to leave his palace and follow the traditional Indian path of the wandering holy man, a seeker after Truth. He became very adept at meditation under various teachers, and then took up ascetic practices. This was based on the belief that one could free the spirit by denying the flesh. He practiced austerities so determinedly that he almost starved to death.

But he still hadn’t solved the mystery of life and death. True understanding seemed as far away as ever. So he abandoned this way and looked into his own heart and mind; he decided to trust his intuition and learn from direct experience. He sat down beneath a pipal tree and vowed to stay there until he’d gained Enlightenment. After 40 days, on the full moon in May, Siddhartha finally attained ultimate Freedom.

Buddhists believe he reached a state of being that goes beyond anything else in the world. If normal experience is based on conditions — upbringing, psychology, opinions, perceptions — Enlightenment is Unconditioned. A Buddha is free from greed, hatred and ignorance, and characterized by wisdom, compassion and freedom. Enlightenment brings insight into the deepest workings of life, and therefore into the cause of human suffering — the problem that had initially set him on his spiritual quest.

During the remaining 45 years of his life, the Buddha traveled through much of northern India, spreading his understanding. His teaching is known in the East as the Buddha-dharma or ‘teaching of the Enlightened One’.

He reached people from all walks of life and many of his disciples gained Enlightenment. They, in turn, taught others and in this way an unbroken chain of teaching has continued, right down to the present day.

The Buddha was not a god and he made no claim to divinity. He was a human being who, through tremendous effort of heart and mind, transformed all limitations. He affirmed the potential of every being to reach Buddhahood. Buddhists see him as an ideal human being, and a guide who can lead us all towards Enlightenment.

Source: thebuddhistcentre.com

Guru Rinpoche| What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an incomparable resource for all those who wish to follow a path — a path which ultimately culminates in Enlightenment or Buddha-hood. An enlightened being sees the nature of reality absolutely clearly, just as it is, and lives fully and naturally in accordance with that vision. This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.

Because Buddhism does not include the idea of worshiping a creator god, some people do not see it as a religion in the normal, Western sense. The basic tenets of Buddhist teaching are straightforward and practical: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. So Buddhism addresses itself to all people irrespective of race, nationality, caste, sexuality, or gender. It teaches practical methods which enable people to realize and use its teachings in order to transform their experience, to be fully responsible for their lives.

There are around 350 million Buddhists and a growing number of them are Westerners. They follow many different forms of Buddhism, but all traditions are characterized by non-violence, lack of dogma, tolerance of differences, and, usually, by the practice of meditation.

Source: https://thebuddhistcentre.com/buddhism

Guru Rinpoche| Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava’s Day on November 12 at 7:30 pm (Tuesday)

Tashi Delek! We would like to request you all to join us for the Guru Rinpoche feast offering prayers on the “Guru Rinpoche or Padmasambhava Day” which is on November 12 at 7:30 pm Tuesday)

Ones perform the Tsok ceremony to generate immeasurable merit. Guru Rinpoche promised his Sangha that whatever is offered to him on his special day, the 10th day of the Tibetan calendar, the merit will be multiplied immeasurably. The numbers and intention of practitioners, Lamas and other sentient beings participating in the Tsok, the abundance of offerings and the dedication to all sentient beings, all increase and multiply the prosperity and good karma to ourselves and to countless others. Therefore, the vast benefits of participation in Guru Rinpoche Day Tsok are truly difficult to imagine.

When we share in the wonderful and delicious feast at the end of the ceremony, we should try to be mindful and feel true compassion for all those beings who in some way had something to do with the food we are eating, whether the countless insects that were killed in the growing and harvesting of vegetables and grains, or the persons working in the meat industry who have created for themselves the extremely negative karma of taking lives every day as their means of livelihood. We should develop the faith that this powerful ceremony, through the blessings of Guru Rinpoche, can create miraculous positive changes for beings with even the worst karma imaginable.

Those who can attend and those who are not able to attend prayers in person can making offerings, like feast offering (Tsok) flower, Lamp, meal and so on. Other donations are also welcome for butter lamp offerings, flower offerings, meal offerings, and fruit offerings. Any further more information, please feel free to contact Rabjor @ 778-297-6010.

- See more at: http://thrangumonastery.org/2013/11/guru-rinpoche-or-padmasambhavas-day-on-sunday-february-13-at-730pm/#sthash.78arwrAk.dpuf