|Dr. Robert Puff|
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Highlights #1226 - Friday, October 11, 2002 - Editor: Gloria Lee
Time is not primarily a clock, nor is time simply an abstract measurement. A
meditation on the billions of years of the universe's process provides a glimpse
into time as a measure of the universe's creativity."
Brian Swimme, Mathematical Cosmologist
"We Buddhists do not have any idea of material only, or mind only, or the
products of our mind, or mind as an attribute of being. What we are always
talking about is that mind and body, mind and material are always one.."
From the book, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind",
published by Weatherhill
walk in the woods today.. full of families, and dogs
seedpods hanging on just for a bit more
waiting to fall ..
trembling in the autumn breezes.
self portrait by Hakuin
Zen practice in the MIDST of activity
is a million times superior
to that pursued within tranquility."
Hakuin is well known for his commentary on The Blue Cliff record,
a Rinzai Zen collection of Koans.
"Satori, when authentic, is always genuine enlightenment. As such, it is total,
covering the four forms of knowledge, and sudden, in that it is not the last in a
series of steps (any more than infinity is the last term of the number series or
omniscience is the last expansion of limited knowledge). Satori is enlightenment
and is complete as to range. Nonetheless, it only reflects a degree of strength in
respect to life in the world of illusion, and unless fortified by spiritual, moral and
mental practice, it cannot be translated into a universally beneficent experience
which assists all others towards the same goal. This is why Hakuin's own
teachers urged him to strive harder after gaining insight, so that it might be
deepened, strengthened and better translated into every thought, feeling, word
and deed. For Hakuin, real meditation begins after some degree of insight is
achieved, and meditation depends upon deepening the moral foundation in one's
Hakuin taught that meditation can and should occur at all levels of spiritual
wakefulness. It cannot merely be a matter of the meditation hall, prescribed
times or special postures. Whilst there is an important place for formal meditation
in the life of an aspirant, meditation must also pervade every aspect of one's life
until it becomes a way of living. This can occur only in a life hospitable to it, and
so it is necessary to heed the moral law as taught by Buddha. A natural correlate
of this psycho-spiritual care of the soul is care of the body. Hakuin's Zen is as
radical as any Zen teaching, seeking nothing less than a total break with the
patterns of samsaric consciousness, but the life he advocated is pre-eminently an
integrated one. His sermons, poems and discourses all reflect this threefold
concern, but he varied his emphasis to suit his audience. When writing to nobles
and rulers, he emphasized the need for a meditative state of mind at all times.
When speaking to peasants and common folk, he underlined the importance of a
life of principles as the basis for spiritual growth. And when encouraging monks,
he frequently reminded them that a common- sense approach to physical health
and well-being would aid meditation. His concern was that people seek neither
enlightenment nor even worldly gain for themselves alone: true understanding
includes the awareness that enlightenment is for all. The Bodhisattva ideal was
so much a part of Hakuin's thinking that he did not feel required to mention it
I've searched for myself on the therapists couch.
I've searched for myself in 12 step groups.
I've searched for myself in satsang.
I've been looking at old photographs of myself.
I'm not there any more.
I never was.
Gay and Lesbian Buddhist Resources
NEW: "Gay/Straight, Man/Woman, Self/Other: What Would the Buddha
Have Had to Say About Gay Liberation?", An Interview with Jose Cabezon by
Amy Edelstein, What is Enlightenment? Magazine, J16
WIE: Our identification with being a man or woman seems to be our most
primary identification. Freud went so far as to assert that the core of our
personality rests on these gender distinctions. In your anthology Buddhism,
Sexuality and Gender, you yourself wrote, "Our nature as sexual and gendered
beings is a crucial factor that must be taken into account in the analysis of all
areas of human concern." On the other hand, the Buddhist teachings of liberation
seem to point to a condition in which we are not referring to any fixed ideas
about who we are, where we are living in what could be described as a state of
nonduality. How does the seemingly inescapable fact of our gender identity go
together with the Buddhist goal of freedom from all fixed and limited views?
JC: It's one thing to say that the Buddhist path ultimately requires a
transcendence of gender distinctions and another to say that it requires ignoring
gender distinctions. There's a difference between those two things, and I think
that the latter is not the case. Buddhism makes a distinction between two levels
of reality: the conventional level and the ultimate level. At the conventional
level, the distinctions that we normally encounter in the worldmale/female,
Buddhist/non-Buddhist, self/otherare operative. They are valid and useful
distinctions at the conventional level. But, like all distinctions, they tend to limit
our way of understanding the world. They can become reified and breed
ignorance. In the traditional Mahayana texts, there are arguments put forward for
breaking up these dualisms and thereby achieving greater levels of insight. But
even when one engages in these types of analyses that eventually give rise to
what's known as nondual awareness, it does not imply that the dualities
themselves are invalid at the conventional level. The conventional world is
Tom Moon, MFCC
Lately gay people have been quite a pain in the ass at church.
It seems that increasing numbers of us area actually participating in the
goings-on there on the outrageous assumption that we have every right to do so.
Worse yet, we just can't seem to be polite and tasteful about it. We do things
like hold hands with our lovers right there in front of God and everybody,
demand that the churches bless our unions and even expect them to ordain
openly gay ministers. In times past even conservative churches were willing to
let us in, as long as we were closet cases or abject penitents struggling with our
sinful natures. But most churches haven't a clue what to do with gay people
who see no reason to be sneaky or guilty about it.
We have become a visible influences in every single form of new and traditional
Opinion is split as to the value of all this. Critics remind us that the churches,
more than any other social institution, have reviled and attacked us. Isn't it
self-destructive and homophobic, they ask, for us to keep returning, like moths
to the flame, to organizations which despise us?
There is an analogous split within psychology about the value of spirituality. In
the "scientific" camp are those who see it as a relic of our prescientific past. The
most well-known proponent of this point of view was Freud, who argued that
religion is a neurotic symptom -- a projection of infantile fantasies of the
all-protecting parent onto the cosmos. He believed that maturity was only
possible for those who renounce such delusions and face their essential
aloneness in a meaningless universe.
The dissenters in psychology argue that the need for spiritual life is not a form
of pathology, but an innate need in the human psyche, and that true maturity
requires that we develop it. The most articulate proponent of this point of view
was William James, whose classic The Varieties of Religious Experience,
attempted to study spiritual experience empirically.
James' studies convinced him that the "sense of presence" of a spiritual reality
beyond what the five senses reveal is a common human experience.
Experiences of personal revelation, communion, sense of meaning and oneness
with a larger whole are common among all peoples. And he believed that these
events have powerful effects. They unify the personality, create a sense of
safety and peace, lift people out of despair, and confer a capacity for zest and
for heroic action. James concludes that the need for spiritual fulfillment is as
fundamentally biological as sex and hunger. Philosophically, he argues that
where there is smoke there is fire. That is, something which exerts such a
potent influence on us must itself be real and potent. He saw the power of
spiritual experience as evidence for the reality of a spiritual dimension in the
universe. Prayer and meditation, in his view, are not empty rituals but "a process
wherein work is really done, and spiritual energy flows in and produces real
effects, psychological or material, within the phenomenal world." Whatever we
think of this point of view, it does have the merit of encouraging us not to
dismiss our spiritual needs contemptuously.
~~Tom Moon is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco.
for more information see:
Kundalini in a Minor Key
it is a pealing...
that slinks into the ears.
one could listen for hours.
one could listen for hours.
such an exhalation it is.
such an elevation it is.
harmonics that speak
so plaintive and clear.
an undertone of darkness...
those overtones of light.
the snake uncoils...
glissandi and chords and runs.
an arpeggio of bliss that kneads the spirit.
here a syncopated duel...
there a mournful dirge.
a jazzy romp in a grassy field.
dance in the sky.
the march of the giants
then bends those notes so low.
contrapuntal duet resolves into joy
arising ever so high.
dissonance all gone.
those notes of grace
swirl round and round.
minor resolves to major
and flowers burst...
a garland from the Crown
it is appealing...
one could listen for hours.
one would listen for hours.
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|Dr. Robert Puff|