The Dharma Chakra is the Symbol of Universal and Spiritual Law. Its spokes represent the Noble Eight-Fold Path. In the center is a Double Dorje, the adamantine symbol of sovereign power and indestructible mind.
This traditional print depicts the cycle of worldly states of existence. The pictorial forms symbolize the self-perpetuating process of delusion. At its center are the animals representing the root causes of conditioned existence: ignorance, desire, and aversion. The next ring depicts the successive rising and falling action of Karma. Sentient beings revolve endlessly among the six realms, shown in the large middle circle. The outermost circle depicts the twelve phases of dependent origination (nidanas), links in the causal chain of cause and effect which governs existence. The entire Wheel of Life is in the grasp of Yama, Lord of Death. At the upper right, away from the endless circle stands a Bodhisattva who points toward another wheel: the Wheel of Dharma, representing the teachings of liberation.
The Tiger (Meek) is one of the Four Dignities, symbols of those qualities we develop on the sacred path of the warrior. Abiding in the Southern direction, the Tiger symbolizes unconditional confidence, disciplined awareness, kindness and modesty. It is relaxed yet energized; resting in a gentle state of being that has a natural sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
The Snow Lion (Perky) represents unconditional cheerfulness, a mind free of doubt, clear and precise. Of the Four Dignities the Snow Lion abides in the East. It has a beauty and dignity resulting from a body and mind that are synchronized. The Snow Lion has a youthful, vibrant energy of goodness and a natural sense of delight.
The Dragon (Inscrutable) enjoys resting in the sky among the clouds and wind. One of the Four Dignities it abides in the western direction. The vision of the dragon is to create an environment of fearlessness, warmth and genuineness. It is energetic, powerful and unwavering yet gentle and playful. The Sky Dragon represents generosity, spontaneous achievement, elegance, and equanimity.
The Garuda (Outrageous) is daring and fearless. One of the Four Dignities, the Garuda abides in the northern direction. Possessing great strength and power it soars beyond the beyond - no holding back. It symbolizes freedom from hopes and fears, the vast mind without reference point.
These four animals: the Garuda, the Sky Dragon, the Snow Lion, and the Tiger, are seen in the corners of many Tibetan prayer flags. Known collectively as "The Four Dignities," they represent sacred qualities and attitudes that Bodhisattvas develop on the path to enlightenment; qualities such as awareness, vast vision, confidence, joy, humility, and power.
So, does it require competition to understand oneself? Must I compete with you in order to understand myself? And why this worship of success? The man who is uncreative, who has nothing in himself - it is he who is always reaching out, hoping to gain, hoping to become something, and as most of us are inwardly poor, inwardly poverty-stricken, we compete in order to become outwardly rich. The outward show of comfort, of position, of authority, of power, dazzles us because that is what we want.
"Good man, if one wishes to accomplish the wisdom of all wisdom, then one must decisively seek a true good knowing advisor. Good man, in seeking for a good knowing advisor, do not become weary or lax. And upon seeing a good knowing advisor, do not become satiated. As to a good knowing advisor and all his teachings, you must follow and accord. As to expedient devices employed by a good knowing advisor, do not find faults."
"You make your own dream. That's the Beatles' story, isn't it? That's Yoko's story. That's what I'm saying now. Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It's quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don't expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself. That's what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshiped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be. There's nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can't wake you up. You can wake you up. I can't cure you. You can cure you."
When you asked him to describe his job he said "I do nothing." What did he mean by that? I think the meaning was on several levels. But it certainly took me aback. I mean he's a tireless worker – he gets up 3:30, 4:00 every morning and does stuff nonstop. So on one level there was kind of a tongue-in-cheek element in that he was kind of sidestepping my question. I think part of that in fact has to do with his training as a Buddhist monk. I think they're prohibited from thinking about certain things in certain ways. So part of that was to sidestep the issue and joking around.
But eventually throughout our talks I discovered that there was a level of his response that was very genuine, in the sense that he really didn't think in terms of separating out various areas of his life -- whereas this group of activities was under the category of work and job, and then once 5 o'clock comes along then this other group of activities is my home life and friendships, relationships. And then on the weekends this group of activities is my leisure time. He's so fully present in every activity that he does, he brings his full self with him, he employs all of his strengths and ideas and capabilities equally in every task. So in his mind, in a sense, he has no job -- he has no separate category that's designated as work, it's all just part of his life.
But he goes about whatever's he doing in a happy way. There must be a tremendous amount of freedom in that way of life; if we don't have to behave a certain way in front of our boss, and a certain way in front of a stranger, or a certain way in front of our subordinates -- we just are who we are in any context, we'll have a life of much greater ease and freedom. The downside is that's not easy to do. It's taken him a lifetime of training his mind to achieve that. But I think all of us can aspire to get closer to that ideal, so that the closer we are between who we are and what we do I think the happier we'll be.
I remember when I finally walked into the room to meet him he reached out to shake my hand and so graciously just said, 'Welcome to my home please sit down.' He completely put me at my ease. I was thunderstruck -- I expected somebody very regal, maybe a little bit aloof, on a higher plane than the rest of us. But he seemed so down to earth, so genuine and sincere and humble. He just seemed like an ordinary guy. He relates to people on that level, just like one human being to another.
As a friend of mine once described it, when you first meet him you expect to see the perfect king, the perfect ruler -- but instead what you see is the perfect servant. In terms of his personal qualities he's very smart -- he has a very quick mind, a very analytical mind, and a great sense of humor. Sometimes he's just broken up with laughter so that it takes a minute or two for him to settle down and stop chuckling so we can move forward and resume our conversation. He just has a very practical down-to-earth approach to life.
Also, he seems to be the same no matter where he is and no matter who he's with. He doesn't behave differently in front of the Tibetans or his staff, differently than when he might be meeting President Bush or leaders of Congress or that type of thing. You know how some people have their professional personality and then their off-duty personality. But he's the same wherever he goes, in any context, in any setting.
What should be done for his disciples out of compassion by a Teacher who seeks their welfare and has compassion for them, that I have done for you , Ananda? There are these roots of trees, these empty huts. MEDITATE, Ananda, DO NOT DELAY, or else you will regret it later. This is our instruction to you."
When the ancient Indians looked into the jungle they could always tell which leaves were about to drop from the tree, because they were either yellow, orange or brown. Consequently, in India, yellow became the colour of renunciation. Monks and nuns robes are yellow so they can act as a constant reminder of the importance of not clinging, of letting go.
Think about the Saints. They are considered as such because they helped others, not because they had a fixation on themselves. So the most important factor is motivation, and the most honest way of thinking is the well-being of others.
We humans have existed in our present form for about a hundred thousand years. I believe that if during this time the human mind had been primarily controlled by anger and hatred, our overall population would have decreased. But today, despite all our wars, we find that the human population is greater than ever. This clearly indicates to me that love and compassion predominate in the world. And this is why unpleasant events are "news"; compassionate activities are so much a part of daily life that they are taken for granted and , therefore, largely ignored.
Remember always that you are just a visitor here, a traveler passing through. Your stay is but short and the moment of your departure unknown. None can live without toil and a craft that provides your needs is a blessing indeed. But if you toil without rest, fatigue and wearness will overtake you, and you will denied the joy that comes from labour's end.
Speak quietly and kindly and be not forward with either opinions or advice. If you talk much, this will make you deaf to what others say, and you should know that there are few so wise that they cannot learn from others. Be near when help is needed, but far when praise and thanks are being offered. Take small account of might, wealth and fame, for they soon pass and are forgotten. Instead, nurture love within you and and strive to be a friend to all.
Truly, compassion is a balm for many wounds. Treasure silence when you find it, and while being mindful of your duties, set time aside, to be alone with yourself. Cast off pretense and self-deception and see yourself as you really are. Despite all appearances, no one is really evil. They are led astray by ignorance. If you ponder this truth always you will offer more light, rather then blame and condemnation.
You, no less than all beings have Buddha Nature within. Your essential Mind is pure. Therefore, when defilements cause you to stumble and fall, let not remose nor dark foreboding cast you down. Be of good cheer and with this understanding, summon strength and walk on. Faith is like a lamp and wisdom makes the flame burn bright. Carry this lamp always and in good time the darkness will yield and you will abide in the Light.
Assemble at one place frequently and continue the habitual gathering.
* Perform the prescribed duties together as the members of the Sangha.
* Adhere to rules prescribed by the state and observe discipline.
* Respect, honour, and make offering to the elders, and listen to them.
* Protect the dignity of women.
Observe the national code of ethics.
* Ensure respect to religious teachers and look after their comfort.
The Buddha asked for observance of these rules for householders or laity. These words have been proclaimed by the Buddha. If these principles and rules are followed, one can lead a peaceful life and attain prosperity. Observance of these rules will be helpful in the advancement towards Nibbana, the supreme bliss of Buddhism.
Sabbe sattva sukhita hontu -- may all beings be happy.
When you cut and polish a stone, as you grind and rub you do not see it decreasing, yet with time it will be worn away. When you plant a tree and take care of it, you do not see it increase, but in time it gets big.
When you accumulate virtue with continued practice, you do not see the good of it, but in time it will function. If you abandon right and go against truth, you do not see the evil of it, but in time you will perish.
When students fully think this through and put it into practice, they will develop great capacity and emanate a fine reputation. This is the way that has not changed, now or ever.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Even the Dalai Lama has no answers about Iraq.
When asked during a talk on the Purdue University campus Friday how to best end the war and bring peace to the region, he said: "The best answer for that, I don't know."
The near-capacity crowd at the Elliott Hall of Music applauded his honesty, a response that was common during his 80-minute talk titled "Cultivating Happiness."
The 72-year-old monk touched on topics ranging from the state of the human race to his favorite color: green.
The Dalai Lama, who became Tibet's leader at 15, was proclaimed the 14th Dalai Lama at age 5. He fled the Himalayan region in 1959 during a failed uprising against communist Chinese rule. His efforts to preserve Tibetan culture and promote Tibet's liberation earned him the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.
Although he remains highly popular among Tibetans and is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, China's government calls him a Tibetan separatist.
Chinese officials lashed out angrily at the U.S. after President Bush presented him this month with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal, Congress' highest civilian honor. The Dalai Lama brushed aside the furor, saying he supports "genuine autonomy," not independence, for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has gained respect for President Bush.
"In spite of my disagreement with some of his policies, as a person, I love him," he said. "We immediately became friends. He's a very nice person."
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born Lhamo Dhondub to a farming family in a northeastern Tibetan village in 1935. Buddhist officials recognized him as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, when he was two years old. Buddhists believe the successive Dalai Lamas form a lineage back to the 14th century.
China, which has ruled Tibet with a heavy hand since its forces invaded the Himalayan country in 1951, considers the Dalai Lama a separatist and traitor for advocating Tibetan self-rule. The Dalai Lama remains immensely popular in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has led an effective government-in-exile based in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959 amid a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.
The Dalai Lama states on his Web site that he does not seek to separate Tibet from China, but rather advocates a “middle-way approach whereby Tibet remains within the People’s Republic of China enjoying a high degree of self-rule or autonomy.”
According to Buddhists belief, the Dalai Lamas are earthly incarnations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the bodhisattva of compassion and patron saint of Tibet. In Buddhist tradition, bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who chose rebirth, rather than the nirvana of afterlife, in order to serve humanity. As such, the Dalai Lama is considered the spiritual leader of Tibet and one of Buddhism’s most important leaders anywhere.
The Dalai Lama traditionally claims to be head of Tibet’s government. He has sought to publicize the plight of Tibetans on the global stage. The Dalai Lama has taken his message to the United Nations and persuaded the world body to adopt resolutions calling for the protection of the Tibetan people on four occasions. He has met widely with political and religious leaders, including the late Pope John Paul II. More broadly, he has worked to boost awareness of the situation in Tibet and promote the preservation of Tibetan culture.
In awarding the Dalai Lama the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Norwegian Nobel Committee praised "his consistent resistance to the use of violence in his people's struggle to regain their liberty."
Senior Buddhist monks immediately begin a search for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, usually a child, after the death of previous Lama. One of the chief signs of the reincarnation is whether the child is familiar with possessions of the previous Dalai Lama. The 14th Dalai Lama has asserted that he was born with his eyes open, which "may be some slight indication of a clear state of mind in the womb," and thus evidence that he was the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama.
According to his Web site, the Dalai Lama considers himself “a simple Buddhist monk. … I feel that the Dalai Lama as a temporal ruler is a man-made institution. As long as the people accept the Dalai Lama, they will accept me. But being a monk is something which belongs to me. No one can change that.”
"That which causes the stupidity and delusion of man is love and the desires." "Man having many faults, if he does not repent, but allows his heart to be at rest, sins will rush upon him like water to the sea. When vice has thus become more powerful it is still harder than before to abandon it. If a bad man becomes sensible of his faults, abandons them and acts virtuously, his sin will day by day diminish and be destroyed, till he obtains full enlightenment."
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Dalai Lama accepted the Congressional Gold Medal Wednesday, joining President Bush and the leaders of Congress in urging reconciliation with the Chinese government that has kept him in exile for nearly half a century.
The world is waiting "to see how China's concepts of harmonious society and peaceful rights" unfold, the saffron-robed Tibetan monk said after becoming the 146th recipient of the most prestigious award bestowed by Congress. He repeated his long-held position that he is only seeking autonomy for the people of Tibet, not independence from China.
President Bush, defying Chinese complaints about the public honoring of a man it regards as a threat to Beijing's control of Tibet, called on Chinese leaders to welcome the Dalai Lama to the communist nation. The president called him a "universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd of the faithful and a keeper of the flame for his people."
"America cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close their eyes or turn away," said Bush, who sat next to the Dalai Lama during the ceremony and personally handed the medal to him.
"Let this man of peace visit Beijing," said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., saying such a gesture would ensure the right atmosphere for the Beijing Olympics next summer.
The 72-year-old Buddhist leader struggled to deliver his remarks in English, but laughed at his own mistakes and joked that politicians, despite their good intentions, sometimes tell "a little lie here and there."
China vehemently protested the elaborate public ceremony. But at a news conference earlier in the day, Bush said that he did not think his attendance at the ceremony would damage U.S. relations with China.
"I support religious freedom; he supports religious freedom. ... I want to honor this man," Bush told reporters at the White House. "I have consistently told the Chinese that religious freedom is in their nation's interest. I've also told them that it's in their interest to meet with the Dalai Lama and will say so at the ceremony."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this was the first time a U.S. president has appeared in public with the Dalai Lama. The Bush administration took pains on Tuesday to keep a private meeting with the president and the Dalai Lama from further infuriating China: no media access, not even a handout photo.
The Dalai Lama is lauded in much of the world as a figure of moral authority, but Beijing demonizes the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and claims he seeks to destroy China's sovereignty by pushing for independence for Tibet.
China had demanded that the United States cancel this week's celebrations. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing said the events "seriously wounded the feelings of the Chinese people and interfered with China's internal affairs."
"China is strongly resentful of and resolutely opposes this and has made solemn representation to the U.S. side," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a comment carried Wednesday by the official Xinhua News Agency.
"We seriously urged the U.S. side to correct such wrongdoing and stop interfering in China's internal affairs in any forms," Liu said.
Chinese state media declared earlier Wednesday the U.S. "must be held responsible for the consequences."
"We are not willing to see damage done to relations between the two countries, but this event will certainly cast a shadow over the relations," the official China Daily newspaper said in an unsigned editorial.
U.S. lawmakers regularly criticize Beijing for human rights abuses and a massive military buildup and claim that China ignores abuse by unsavory foreign governments in Sudan and Myanmar in its pursuit of energy and business deals.
The Bush administration also finds fault with China but is usually more measured as it seeks to manage a booming trade relationship and a desire to enlist Chinese cooperation in world affairs.
His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. He was born in a small village called Takster in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Dalai Lama means Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshin Norbu, the Wish-fulfilling Gem, or simply, Kundun, meaning The Presence.
Education in Tibet
He began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) when he was 25. At 24, he took the preliminary examination at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was held in the Jokhang, Lhasa, during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, held in the first month of every year. In the morning he was examined by 30 scholars on logic. In the afternoon, he debated with 15 scholars on the subject of the Middle Path, and in the evening, 35 scholars tested his knowledge of the canon of monastic discipline and the study of metaphysics. His Holiness passed the examinations with honours, conducted before a vast audience of monk scholars.
In 1950, at 16, His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power as Head of State and Government when Tibet was threatened by the might of China. In 1954 he went to Peking to talk with Mao Tse-Tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-Lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, while visiting India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti, he had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about deteriorating conditions in Tibet. In 1959 he was forced into exile in India after the Chinese military occupation of Tibet. Since 1960 he has resided in Dharamsala, aptly known as "Little Lhasa", the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961 and 1965. In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a draft constitution for Tibet which assures a democratic form of government. In the last two decades, His Holiness has set up educational, cultural and religious institutions which have made major contributions towards the preservation of the Tibetan identity and its rich heritage. He has given many teachings and initiations, including the rare Kalachakra Initiation, which he has conducted more than any of his predecessors. His Holiness continues to present new initiatives to resolve the Tibetan issues. At the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987 he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan as a first step towards resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan calls for the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace, an end to the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production and the dumping of nuclear waste, as well as urging "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet and relations between the Tibetan and Chinese people. In Strasbourg, France, on June 15, 1988, he elaborated on this Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, "in association with the People's Republic of China." In his address, the Dalai Lama said that this represented "the most realistic means by which to re-establish Tibet's separate identity and restore the fundamental rights of the Tibetan people while accommodating China's own interests." His Holiness emphasized that "whatever the outcome of the negotiations with the Chinese may be, the Tibetan people themselves must be the ultimate deciding authority.
Contact with the West
Unlike his predecessors, His Holiness has met and talked with many Westerners and has visited the United States, Canada, Western Europe, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Nepal, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Vatican, China and Australia. He has met with religious leaders from all these countries.His Holiness met with the late Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973, and with His Holiness Pope John Paul II in 1980, 1982, 1986 and 1988. At a press conference in Rome, His Holiness the Dalai Lama outlined his hopes for the meeting with John Paul II: "We live in a period of great crisis, a period of troubling world developments. It is not possible to find peace in the soul without security and harmony between the people. For this reason, I look forward with faith and hope to my meeting with the Holy Father; to an exchange of ideas and feelings, and to his suggestions, so as to open the door to a progressive pacification between people.". In 1981, His Holiness talked with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities and spoke at an interfaith service in his honour by the World Congress of Faiths. His talk focused on the commonality of faiths and the need for unity among different religions: "I always believe that it is much better to have a variety of religions, a variety of philosophies, rather than one single religion or philosophy. This is necessary because of the different mental dispositions of each human being. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one's own faith."
Recognition by the West
Since his first visit to the west in the early 1970s, His Holiness' reputation as a scholar and man of peace has grown steadily. In recent years, a number of western universities and institutions have conferred Peace Awards and honorary Doctorate Degrees upon His Holiness in recognition of his distinguished writings in Buddhist philosophy and of his distinguished leadership in the service of freedom and peace.
During his travels abroad, His Holiness has spoken strongly for better understanding and respect among the different faiths of the world. Towards this end, His Holiness has made numerous appearances in interfaith services, imparting the message of universal responsibility, love, compassion and kindness. "The need for simple human-to-human relationships is becoming increasingly urgent . . . Today the world is smaller and more interdependent. One nation's problems can no longer be solved by itself completely. Thus, without a sense of universal responsibility, our very survival becomes threatened. Basically, universal responsibility is feeling for other people's suffering just as we feel our own. It is the realization that even our enemy is entirely motivated by the quest for happiness. We must recognize that all beings want the same thing that we want. This is the way to achieve a true understanding, unfettered by artificial consideration."
In basic terms, a sutra is a narrative text generally regarded as a discourse of the Buddha.
The Diamond Cutter Sutra, in particular, is one of the Perfection of Wisdom sutras, and teaches followers that although they "may aspire to attainment enlightenment in order to benefit others, [they] must question whether there exists an actual self that can become enlightened.
The very name Diamond Cutter Sutra refers to the fact that the heart of the text - honing the ability to realize the illusory nature of daily life - is a wisdom that cuts through misconceptions like a diamond. As the Dalai Lama emphasized over and over again, the root of human suffering is being in a state of fundamental ignorance, of having a false sense of self. To attain freedom, we must all cultivate insight into ourselves and rid ourselves of our distorted states of mind. We must also beware the danger of "extreme self-centeredness," and cherish others' welfare as much as our own, although our compassion for others must also be tempered by our knowledge of "not being."
Patience means not retaliating with anger for anger, or harm for harm, and voluntarily bearing up under difficulties in order to progress on the path of spiritual awakening. How do we actually do this?
How do we slow down our conditioned, knee-jerk reactions while speeding up and sharpening our conscious, mindful, moment-to-moment, awareness?
How do we broaden the gap between stimulus and response so that we have time to give the situation a proper amount of consideration?
This takes clarity, resolve, meditation, and practice. I call this gap the Sacred Pause, because it is the only possible source of peace and harmony in our interactions with people or events. By consciously minding and utilizing the Sacred Pause, we can master ourselves and assert leverage over our clumsy, semiconscious, often unwarranted conditioned reactions.
Begin the process by taking a deep breath, smiling, and relaxing. Much of the accumulated pressure and tension may begin to dissipate right away, thus providing more space and clarity for mindful work. Breathe, smile, relax, and center yourself. Then apply what the Six Steps to Anger Management, which also could be called steps to mindfulness, freedom, and authentic responsiveness. Collectively, they are like cool, fresh breaths of mindful awareness that can help you let go of negativity and keep you from falling into regrettable outcomes. To remember these steps, think of them as the six R’s:
Recognizing: Noticing with objective equanimity a familiar stimulus—like harsh words—that pushes a hot button for you, triggering an unskillful retaliatory response.
Recollecting: remembering the disadvantages of returning anger with anger, negative with negative, and the advantages of practicing patience, forbearance, tolerance, and acceptance.
Refraining by restraining and reframing: seeing things from alternative points of view, including that of your antagonist (if the situation involves a button-pushing person); cultivating compassion; acknowledging the law of karma (what goes around comes around); and considering the situation an opportunity to develop patience or the person a teacher who can help you do this.
Relinquishing: letting go of habitual reactivity and impulsive urges in favor of more consciously chosen and intelligent courses of action.
Reconditioning: Going back over what you have done and learned so far—the entire dynamic—to help you substitute a healthier response process for your old knee-jerk conditioning.
Repetition is crucial.
Responding: Addressing the person or situation patiently, appropriately, intelligently, and proactively (rather than reactively). Let spiritual intelligence be your guide.
Applying the Six Steps of Anger Management is an adult version of kindergarten’s counting to ten in order to give yourself time to think before you act. Keep in mind that it is not other people or external circumstances that determine our karma, our character, our experience, and our destiny. It is how we relate to these other people and circumstances that makes all the difference. It is not what happens to us but what we make of it that makes all the difference; this is the secret of autonomy and spiritual self-mastery. The gift of patience is truly the gift of yourself, but not in any way that diminishes you, the giver. Instead, you share your strength with someone and become stronger yourself in the process. Please keep in mind these wise words on patience from the Dalai Lama: When we talk about patience or tolerance, we should understand that there are many degrees, starting from a simple tolerance, such as being able to bear a certain amount of heat and cold, progressing toward the highest level of patience, which is the type of patience and tolerance found in the great practitioners, the bodhisattvas. One should not see tolerance of patience as a sign of weakness, but rather as a sign of strength coming from a deep ability to remain steadfast and firm. We find that even in being able to tolerate a certain degree of physical hardship, like a hot or cold climate, out attitude makes a big difference.
Insight is not an act of remembrance, the continuation of memory. Insight is like a flash of light. You see with absolute clarity, all the complications, the consequences, the intricacies. Then this very insight is action, complete. In that there are no regrets, no looking back, no sense of being weighed down, no discrimination. This is pure, clear insight - perception without any shadow of doubt. Most of us begin with certainty and as we grow older the certainty changes to uncertainty and we die with uncertainty. But if one begins with uncertainty, doubting, questioning, asking demanding, with real doubt about man's behaviour, about all the religious rituals and their images and their symbols, then out of that doubt comes the clarity of certainty.
The Five Precepts are basic ethical guidelines for the followers of Buddhism. They are undertaken voluntarily, rather than as commandments from a god. Essentially, these precepts promote harmony and reduce suffering between ourselves and others. The underpinning moral code has two qualities: compassion (karuna) and loving kindness (metta), which are used as the guiding principles in life.
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicatants.
The British Library has discovered sensational manuscript fragments the potential significance of which for Buddhist scholars is comparable to that of the Dead Sea Scrolls for Christianity and Judaism.
The manuscripts, birchbark scrolls that looked like "badly rolled-up cigars" when first shown to the Library, are believed to be the earliest surviving Buddhist texts. "These will allow scholars to get nearer to what Buddha said than ever before," said Graham Shaw, deputy director of the Library's Oriental and India Office Collections. They date from the end of the 1st century AD or the beginning of the 2nd century AD. Buddha, who inspired disciples to spread his teachings, died in 486 BC. "With these", said Mr. Shaw, "we're within 500 to 600 years of his death." Apart from bringing scholars closer to the original language of Buddha, this could corroborate the authenticity of teachings and sermons recounted in later texts.
The manuscripts include 60 fragments, ranging from Buddha's sermons to poems and treatises on the psychology of perception. Seen in a new light, their value is "incalculable", Mr. Shaw said. "How would you put a value on the Dead Sea Scrolls?" Years of study lie ahead before the text can be deciphered, analysed and compared with existing texts. The fragments include tales told on the banks of Lake Anavatapta at an assembly of the Buddha and his disciples.
Buddhists believe in reincarnation and each explains his deeds in a former life and how they influenced this one.
Just getting a peek at the text proved difficult. Those involved had to uncurl the "cigars" whose fragility was a conservator's nightmare. Mr, Shaw said: "It is fiendishly brittle material. The first question was, 'will these ever unroll or will they simply crumble into many pieces?' "There have been reports in old excavations of things like this having been found and the moment they were touched literally crumbled to dust." "We put them in a bell jar overnight and allowed them to be slowly moistened. Then one of our conservators used tweezers and began unrolling, and another applied more moisture, without saturating it." Mr. Shaw stated that the exact origin of the scrolls is unknown beyond the fact that they were probably found in Afghanistan in earthenware jars. These, too, may be original pieces, but tests have yet to be conducted on them.
Long ago in the dense jungle near Kashi (Varanasi) lived a grouse, a hare, a monkey and an elephant. They dwelt together in peace and harmony. Wishing to know which among them was the eldest so that they might accord each other appropriate respect, the grouse asked each of them to tell how they first remembered seeing a particular tree. The elephant and the monkey recalled seeing it when it was the same size as themselves, the rabbit had drunk dew drops off it when it had but two leaves, while the bird said that he had eaten some seeds and that the tree had sprouted from his droppings. Discovering their proper order of seniority in this way they went about with the monkey riding on the elephant's back, the hare on its shoulders and the grouse perched on top of the hare.
They decided to enter the path of virtue by observing the five basic moral deeds, avoiding: killing, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, lying and taking intoxicants. Having made these the basis of their own conduct, they set out to teach them to the other animals in the forest. The resulting harmony brought great peace and prosperity to the kingdom.
One day, the king and queen and their ministers asked a clairvoyant hermit to tell them the cause of their good fortune. He explained that it was because of the animals' good conduct. When they expressed a wish to see the animals, the hermit told them it was unnecessary for they could achieve the same by following the same precepts. This they did and the kingdom enjoyed great wealth and prosperity. Subsequently they were reborn as gods..
NEW YORK, Sept. 25 — President Bush announced today that the United States was taking a series of steps to tighten economic sanctions on Myanmar’s leaders and their backers and would impose a visa ban on the leaders and their families. Mr. Bush, who has spoken out frequently on Myanmar, was addressing the opening day of the United NationsGeneral Assembly here in New York. His remarks coincided with the eighth day of peaceful antigovernment protests in Myanmar, led by Buddhist monks in the main city of Yangon and in other cities. “Americans are outraged by the situation in Burma where a military junta has imposed a 19-year reign of fear,” said Mr. Bush, using the former name of the country. The protests in Myanmar are taking place under the shadow of the possibility of a violent crackdown. In 1988, some 3,000 people were killed when the military crushed larger pro-democracy protests. Although some reports have said that truckloads of soldiers moved into position at one point during the protests in Yangon today, the day’s protests have dispersed without incident.
Since 1988, Myanmar has become the focus of international condemnation for its abuses of human and political rights and its treatment of the pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Yangon for 12 of the past 18 years.
Dharamshala, 24 September, TibetNet: His Holiness the Dalai Lama conveys his sincere appreciation and admiration to the large number of fellow Buddhists monks for advocating democracy and freedom in Burma.
In his message on 23 September, His Holiness said, "I extend my support and solidarity with the recent peaceful movement for democracy in Burma." "I fully support their call for freedom and democracy and take this opportunity to appeal to freedom-loving people all over the world to support such non-violent movements," His Holiness added.
His Holiness further said, "As a Buddist monk, I am appealing to the members of the military regime who believe in Buddhism to act in accordance with the sacred dharma in the spirit of compassion and non-violence."
"I pray for the success of this peaceful movement and the early release of fellow Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi." His Holiness further said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE AS-231-2007 September 23, 2007 A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
The protests that began in Burma during August to voice public frustration and discontent over sharp price rises have in the last week fast accelerated--under the guidance of the Buddhist clergy, the Sangha--towards an uprising to end the country's military dictatorship.
The monks leading the latest events have declared the formal "overturning of the alms bowl" boycott of the military regime successfully completed--it must be initiated within a three days--and have called upon the monkhood to implement the boycott in accordance with its disciplinary code until lifted. This means a total ban on all religious activities relating to the military government: no donations, no preaching, no funeral rites, nothing.
Meanwhile, members of the public have come out in increasing numbers, despite attempts by some in the Sangha to discourage them for their own safety, to support openly the monks' demonstrations. In recent days monks in main cities walking through flooded streets chanting verses to spread loving kindness (metta), have been joined by human chains on either side of the road, and elsewhere around the country by crowds of delighted onlookers. In the ancient city of Amarapura around one thousand were met by elderly citizens who tearfully paid their respects and called upon them to lead them out from the poverty and misery induced by the nation's "bad kings"--a reference to one of the five enemies against which refuge is sought when paying religious homage.
The monks are being joined by more and more prominent persons from other walks of life. The famous comedian Zarganar is reported as saying that the entertainment industry should also back the protests. Important writers have joined his call. And on September 22 hundreds marched to the front of the house of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the democracy leader who has been under house arrest since 2003, where she was able to come outside the gate and speak briefly to at least one monk. A monks' group has in a statement of September 21 also urged all citizens, including farmers, workers, soldiers and civil servants to join in a new phase of protest beginning from 1pm on September 24.
For the first time since over two decades ago, the cry of "our aim!" is being heard on the streets of Burma. Whatever happens next, the facade of national and religious unity that the regime has sought to build up over the past two decades, since last cracking down on protests by monks in 1990, has come crashing down. Seventeen years of reorganisation, repression and manipulation have utterly failed. Neither it nor its supporters and apologists can go on pretending that it has any legitimacy upon which to take a place at the world table, or speak with any sincerity or authority on behalf of the population that it has utterly impoverished and degraded for so many years, and is utterly sick and tired of it.
In view of the recent dramatic developments in Burma, the Asian Human Rights Commission again calls on the international community to recognise the significance of what is happening there today, and lend meaningful support-- not mealy-mouthed words--to the aspirations of its people for real, lasting change. To do so now will be of benefit not only to the people of Burma but also to people throughout Southeast Asia, the wider region and indeed the entire world.
"That which causes the stupidity and delusion of man is love and the desires." "Man having many faults, if he does not repent, but allows his heart to be at rest, sins will rush upon him like water to the sea. When vice has thus become more powerful it is still harder than before to abandon it. If a bad man becomes sensible of his faults, abandons them and acts virtuously, his sin will day by day diminish and be destroyed, till he obtains full enlightenment." - Buddha
When Buddha was about eighty, a blacksmith named Cuanda gave him a meal that caused him to become ill. Buddha forced himself to travel to Kushinagara, and laid down on his right side to rest in a grove of shala trees. As a crowd of followers gathered, the trees sprouted blossoms and showered them on Buddha. Buddha told Ananda, "I am old and my journey is near its end. My body is like a worn-out cart held together only by the help of leather straps." Three times, Buddha asked the people if they had any questions, but they all remained silent. Finally Buddha said, "Everything that has been created is subject to decay and death. Everything is transitory. Work out your own salvation with diligence. After passing through several states of meditation, the Buddha died, reaching Parinirvana (the cessation of perception and sensation).
"To satisfy the necessities of life is not evil," the Buddha said. "To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom and keep our mind strong and clear." Buddha then taught them the Dharma, which consisted of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The five holy men and others soon joined Buddha, accompanying him everywhere. As more joined, Buddha organized the Sangha, a community of bhikkus (dedicated monks and later nuns). The Sangha preserved the Dharma, and allowed bhikkus to concentrate on the goal of Nirvana. On raining seasons they would settle in Viharas (resting places in cave dwellings). Upasaka, followers who believed in Buddha's teachings, but could not follow the stict rule of the Sangha, were taught to follow the Five Precepts. Buddha returned to his birthplace in Kapilavastu, and his father was mortified to see his son begging for food. Buddha kissed his father's foot and said, "You belong to a noble line of kings. But I belong to the lineage of buddhas, and thousands of those have lived on alms." King Shuddhadana then remembered the Brahmin's prophesy and reconciled with his son. Buddha's wife, son, and cousin (Ananda) later joined the Sangha.
Buddha went to the city of Sarnath and found the previous five holy men that deserted him earlier at a deer park. When they saw Buddha this time, they realized that he had risen to a higher state of holiness. The Buddha began teaching them what he had learned. He drew a circle in the ground with rice grains, representing the wheel of life that went on for existence after existence. This preaching was called his Deer Park Sermon, or "Setting in Motion the Wheel of Doctrine." Siddhartha revealed that he had become the Buddha, and described the pleasure that he had first known as a prince, and the life of severe asceticism that he had practiced. Neither of these was the true path to Nirvana. The true path was the Middle Way, which keeps aloof from both extremes.
One day, Siddhartha realized that his years of penance only weakened his body, and he could not continue to meditate properly. When he stepped into the river to bathe, he was too weak to get out, and the trees lowered their branches to help him. In that instant, a milk-maid named Nandabala came and offered a bowl of milk and rice, which Siddhartha accepted. The five holy men left Siddhartha after witnessing this. Refreshed by the meal, Siddhartha sat down under a fig tree (often refered to as the Bo tree, or Tree of Enlightenment) and resolved to find out an answer to life and suffering. While meditating, Mara (an evil god) sent his three sons and daughters to tempt Siddhartha with thirst, lust, discontent, and distractions of pleasure. Siddhartha, unswayed, entered a deep meditation, and recalled all his previous rebirths, gained knowledge of the cycle of births and deaths, and with certainty, cast off the ignorance and passion of his ego which bound him to the world. Thereupon, Siddhartha had attained enlightenment and became the Buddha (enlightened one). His own desire and suffering were over and, as the Buddha, he experienced Nirvana... "There is a sphere which is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air...which is neither this world nor the other world, neither sun nor moon. I deny that it is coming or going, enduring, death or birth. It is only the end of suffering." Instead of casting off his body and his existence, however, Buddha made a great act of self-sacrifice. He turned back, determined to share his enlightement with others so that all living souls could end the cycles of their own rebirth and suffering.
Siddhartha then wandered through northeastern India, sought out holy men, and learned about Samsara (reincarnation), Karma, and Moksha. Attracted to the ideas of Moksha, Siddhartha settled on the bank of Nairanjana River, and adopted a life of extreme self-denial and penances, meditating constantly. After six years of eating and drinking only enough to stay alive, his body was emaciated, and he was very weak. Five other holy men joined him, hoping to learn from his example.
At age 29, Siddhartha asked his charioteer, Channa, to take him out of the city two times without the consent of the king. During these two trips, Siddhartha saw "Four Sights" that changed his life. On the first trip, he saw old age, sickness, and death. The second trip, he saw a wandering holy man, an ascetic, with no possessions. Siddhartha started questioning the holy man, who had a shaved head, wore only a ragged yellow robe, and carried a walking-staff. The man said, "I am... terrified by birth and death and therefore have adopted a homeless life to win salvation... I search for the most blessed state in which suffering, old age, and death are unknown." That night, Siddhartha silently kissed his sleeping wife and son, and ordered Channa to drive him out to the forest. At the edge of the forest, Siddhartha took off his jeweled sword, and cut off his hair and beard. He then took off all his princely garments and put on a yellow robe of a holy man. He then ordered Channa to take his possessions back to his father.
Later when Queen Maya was going to her father's home to prepare for the birth, she stepped off her chariot in the Lumbini Gardens and held the branch of a sal tree to rest. In that instant, Siddhartha emerged from her right side without any help. The infant walked seven steps each in four directions of the compass, and lotus flowers sprouted from where his foot touched the earth. Then the infant said, "No further births have I to endure, for this is my last body. Now shall I destroy and pluck out by the roots the sorrow that is caused by birth and death." Seven days later Queen Maya died. Mahaprajapati, Maya's sister, looked after Siddhartha. King Shuddhodana shielded Siddhartha from all kinds of suffering and hardship. When Siddhartha was about 20, he married Yasodhara, daughter of one of the King's ministers, and one year later they had a child named Rahula (meaning "fetter" or "impediment").
Siddhartha (Buddha) was born around 563 B.C.E. in the town of Kapilavastu (located in today's Nepal). Siddhartha's parents were King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, who ruled the Sakyas. His history is a miraculous one... One night, Queen Maya dreamed that an elephant with six tusks, carrying a lotus flower in its trunk, touched her right side. At that moment her son was conceived. Brahmins (learned men) came and interpreted the dream. The child would be either the greatest king in the world or the greatest ascetic (a holy man who practices self-denial). The future child would be named Siddhartha, which means "he whose aim is accomplished."
There are countless stories in the Buddhist scriptures about the expression of limitless compassion. None expresses this better than the following story from the Zen tradition.
Once there was a simple Buddhist monk by the name of Ryokan who lived in perpetual retreat in a small hut at the base of a mountain. One evening a thief broke into his hut only to discover it was empty. Ryokan returned and caught him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift." The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away. Ryokan sat naked looking at the full moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon, too."
Some might say that Ryokan was letting the thief take advantage of him by giving him his clothes. But the point of the story was that Ryokan was so compassionate and so non-attached that he genuinely didn't mind giving the thief his only possession - his clothes. This is best expressed in the words of Shantideva, who said:
"All those who suffer in the world do so because of a desire for their own happiness. All those happy in the world are so because of their desire for the happiness of others."
Bookmark this blog as you pass by it. When you are down, lost or lonely. When you are angry, violent or depressed. Come back and find something that will make you see life and the world in maybe more of a relaxed comfortable and inspirational way. "We are all connected".
On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life nothing can destroy him; if he has conquered greed nothing can limit his freedom. – Buddha