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when do you stop just accepting the situation and change it? for instance, i don't like my work, but there's nothing really wrong with it, so do i just keep accepting the situation? the buddha left his palace life and family because he had a burning question. why couldn't he just accept his palace life and family situation?

i spoke to my teacher about this, but i'm wondering what you all think...
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This summer in Russia:

The Second International Bodhisattva Zen-Art Festival «Maha-Upaya-Party»
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I’m a Dutch woman, new on LJ and in this community.
Some recent entries in this community immediately felt familiar to me.
I realize however that Buddhists, like Christians or Muslims, don’t form one community.
That shows on LJ, in different communities involving Buddhism. And after once visiting this community I already got the impression, that   
< what we have in common >,   maybe is not even the core of Buddhism. The overlaps may be even more arbitrary and more detailed than I realized, at first.
People are from different cultures, countries, social standings; have had (or are having- if any -) different levels and sorts of educations, occupations and social relations; have different intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence, taste, aesthetics, ethics, sensory orientation (auditive, visual, etc.); have different reasons for, methods and goals in occupying themselves in Buddhism, have reached different levels of enlightenment, etc. etc.
---  Luckily having no expectations is a Buddhist exercise?

In a haiku- and in a ‘whatiweartoday’-community, I perceived that - due to expectations - there was some understandable, justifiable disappointment in  the - say -  kind of, in fact   < quality of input >    they were getting. Well, let’s name it: there may be people who understandably, justifiably, think that they really know what - like a proper haiku and cool clothing - Buddhism is really about, and/or think that they are really practicing Buddhism like it is supposed to be practiced, according to authoritative holy books or Buddha himself, and/or réally consistent and disciplined. And on the other end of the continuum there are persons - like me - who feel drawn to, and inspired by Buddhism, take it seriously, but share sòme ideas and ideals ‘to an extent’ and practice it merely as a guide for conducting oneself.
---  Are they, am I, less worthy, perhaps? Or in the wrong community? I read the guidelines and ‘About Zen/ …’ by butsz/enclear, and that may or may not include me. I understand the concern.
---  On the surface, these persons seem incompatible. But are they? Or can we inspire each other anyway, because we can learn from various people in various ways?

I’ll introduce myself by indicating  < my connection to Buddhism > : 

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There's a temple in Sri Lanka dedicated to a tooth of the Buddha. The name of the temple is "Temple of the Tooth."

[Source and Details]

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Current Location: Earth
Current Mood: curious curious

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Has no one taken The Precepts/ participated in a Jukai Tokudo ceremony who wouldn't mind sharing their experiences?
Thank you.

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Do any of you write spiritual stories? If you do and want to share them, my wife and I are looking to share them on our website (www.Spiritual-Short-Stories.com).

Or if you know of anyone elses' spiritual stories... parables... koans... that you think would be a good addition to our site, please don't hesitate to let us know!


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If you think of it, could you please use [tags] in your posts from now on? I've enabled them for use by all users.

This will allow us to easily search subjects and review archived posts on any given subject.

Thank you!


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Hello all - It has been a long while since I've posted reguarly on livejournal. It looks like this May I will be participating in the Jukai (Zaike) Tokudo Initiation Ceremony at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center. I've been wanting to take the precepts formally for some time, but because of school I've been away in Nashville and not actually an activie member of the sangha. I'm excited and just wanted to know if any of you all have participated in a Jukai Tokudo ceremony and if you wouldn't mind sharing your experiences. Thank you - paix
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When it came to methods to enlightenment, the Buddha had nothing but meditation.

He had tried many routes, including asceticism, etc... but when he succeeded he was simply meditating.

No koans, no books, no special robes, no dharma, and no sangha.

And he succeeded.

I'm not suggesting we give these things up... after all we take refuge in two of those, I'm just saying that sometimes we get too preoccupied with the wrong things, and forget to simply meditate.


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COLOMBO (Reuters) - A Buddhist monk who applied to join Sri Lanka's police force and carry a gun has been turned down -- because he wouldn't give up his saffron robes.

[link to story]

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I am in some situation, and the matter of it does not matter, as it's always about the mind- and I wrote this to a friend that shares a Path with me, so I thought I'd share with you too and see a little more of what your Path is like...
Here it isCollapse )
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The following has really helped me, so I thought I would share.

May each of us find our true path and learn from our mistakes (karma) and accept each other's evolutionary pathway and not feel, show, or express disapproval with the choices the other makes.

May we feel compassion instead of hatred, love instead of anger, and an acceptance not only of others but of ourselves as well. May each of us do all of the above in a mindful way.

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Not surprising, but interesting none-the-less.
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Why we always bashing the ego?
What did the ego ever do that it should deserve
Such aggression, such lack of respect.
Ego lets me know that I am an individual.

While I am a part of the whole, I am also
A unique and distinct expression of the whole.
Ego deserves love and acceptance.
No one should be shunned, or made to feel
Like the very barrier to happiness itself.

I say, ease up on the ego's of the world.
Allow them the right to live, to be free.
Allow ego a voice to express its desires.

Freedom of speech, freedom from violence
Are such basic rights. Why then would we,
The devoted spiritual practitioners,
Express anything other than loving compassion
To all things, including our own egos?

Be good to your ego. Be aware of your ego
And its genuine needs. And perhaps,
With this most generous care to offer ego,
Your ego will gracefully stand to one side
And allow you the view of perfected oneness
That you so deeply seem to desire.

And I say seem to desire because as far
As I can discern, your very desire to transcend
The ego arises from the ego itself.
Keep this in mind and think carefully
The next time you hear harsh words
Being spoken about ego and ego-antics.

Thank your ego for all it does and does not do.
You will be surprised at how powerfully
Transforming loving acceptance can really be.
Even towards the very sense of separation itself.
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I have been interested in Zen since last spring, when as part of my study abroad program I had the chance to live at a temple for a month, but I only just joined this community.

My reason for posting is that I am writing a paper for a class (Buddhist Nirvana and Enlightenment, which I decided to take in order to get some background on some of the things I did at Sogenji) about Zen in the West. I want to know what people who practice Zen in the west (for the purposes of this paper, anywhere not Asia, or non-Asians even if they practice in Asia) see as the ultimate goal of their practice: is it enlightenment, or something else? How do they define enlightenment? If you also want to give me a quick rundown of how you practice/what makes you consider yourself a practitioner, that would be awesome, too.

So, if you have a moment to tell me what you think, I would greatly appreciate it and will send you a dozen home-baked cybercookies.

If you would rather not post your answers here, you can also email me at my username at livejournal.com.

Thanks everyone. :)
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Such pain, but who, who is hurting?
Tears bound by lies, unable to flow.
The whole life unable to flow,
Where is simply being, the great joy
Of just being, pure being with no goals?
A child of this world free to express
One’s self, one’s light, one’s truth.

No one special, no one at all sometimes.
Just the simple desire to be, just be.
Why is it that adults can not play?
Why can they not find the place of smiles
And joyous exploration of the unknown.
They cling to certainty as if anything is certain.
Nothing is certain. Death is certain.

This one moment here and now, is certain.
What else do you really want?
Why do you make your whole life a misery?
What is wrong with being happy?
What is wrong with letting go of knowledge
That produces no joy, no life, no room to breathe?
No room to breathe or make a mistake.

Perfect, must be perfect, can never again
Enter the unknown, might make a mistake,
Might feel pain, might laugh so hard that
My whole film unravels on the floor and
I will be left with nothing, nothing and death.
What a hell you create for yourself, a hell!
I will not participate, do you understand!?

Call me crazy, insane, revolutionary, trouble-maker.
I have been called better by worse.
Kill me with your sorrow, your pain.
I do not care. I will not surrender!
You are wrong to brutalize yourself,
I will not participate.
Silence me if you dare.
I dare to smile and laugh and play.
I dare to cry and weep and shout.

I dare to make an absolute fool of myself
For the sake of a single joke that cures
The entire world of ill favor and bad dreams.
You are a coward to cling to the cobwebs
Of dusty films of yesterday and concepts
Of truth that are stale right in your mouth.

Do not tell me of life, you are afraid because
You have yet to live. You have yet to live!
You are a coward who can not die! Never!
You child! Stop killing yourself with tears!
Stop living by the guidance of lies!
I want to play with you and be your friend.
But all your games involve me assaulting you.
This is not a fun game at all. Not at all.

I like playing games where everyone wins.
You play serious funerals where everyone
Wants to die, wants to die, wants to really die!
You are dying of boredom and fear.
How is that even conceptually possible?
One would figure that fear is quite stimulating.
One would think that boredom creates stillness.
Yet you scream with the agony of your own presence.

How will this attract the bliss and acceptance you
So very desperately desire? How, how, how?
I will not accept this anymore. No, no, no.
You can go to hell if that is your choice,
But I will not play the saint or the demon
Any longer, no more, no more, no more!
I hate this game. I am just a peanut.

I am not good or bad. Just a peanut.
I like roasting and sunsets and pretty ladies
And children who play fun games and draw pictures.
I like to drink nice tea with nice people and laugh
At absolutely nothing in particular.
No more stupid dramas about issues I simply
Do not understand. Boring, painful and stupid.
No more, no more, no more.

And no more trying to be spiritual when all
You really want is not to suffer anymore.
Spiritual is for when you are ready to give up
Your life, your drama, your whole being
To the divine, to the light, to the transcendent.
Otherwise, you are simply deceiving yourself.
You want to be happy so go out and do the
Things that help to remind you of your bliss.

Very simple, very direct.
Where is the problem, really?
Go outside and play nicely with your friends.
Be good to yourself and others.
Share your toys and sweets with others.
Play with those who play nicely with you.
Avoid the bullies and don’t be one yourself.

When you are ready to die, then and only then
Can you be spiritual. Not to gain something.
Your can not be spiritual if it is a bargain.
You must be ready to give everything up.
Everything, everything, everything.
Not to gain, but to give up all you know and are.
To give up all desires, all life, all memory.

When you are ready to surrender to death,
Then you can be spiritual. Only then.
Otherwise, follow your heart and just be yourself.
Be yourself, for God’s sake, just be yourself.
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The heavy log
slumbering in moss and rusty fog
sinks into mindless soil
crying dragon wells, a sliver of milky moon
festival of ghosts carnival in the deep
a shy thirst that wrenches with undefeat

With a winter kiss the morning frost danced
dozing seeds stirred and sang
a sun as mild as Jasmine tea
smiled upon the lazy log
and plum bossoms rolled out like clouds
to once again greet royal clarity

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Hey, at a retreat I attended recently, the teacher read a short pamphlet on the nature of Zen. It was so perfect! Although I've been a Buddhist since the Nixon administration, I've never read anything by him. I'd be really thankful to anyone who could recommend a few good titles by him.
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Hi folks,
I just had to write to tell someone about the wonderful retreat I attended over the weekend. I dropped out of the Kwan Um School of Zen 6 years ago because of an unscrupulous teacher. It was a really traumatic experience for me and several dozen others. After years of processing, and talking with other expatriots (and a year on anti-depressants), I traveled to a retreat in another city. It was such an amazing experience to sit with another 20
Dharma brothers and sisters. The chanting was especially moving... such powerful "together action"! The teacher we had interviews with wonderful and very understanding since he had lost his teacher under similar circumstances. It was a really cathartic experience for the four old Sangha-mates who had traveled together.

If you have never practiced with a group, or sat a retreat with a group, I would highly recommend it. It was especially moving for us because we had done without for so long. But it is such a wonderful thing. If you don't know the chants, be patient. It will be worth the effort. Now I understand (or understand again) why Sangha is included as one of the Three Jewels.
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Hello all.

Well it seems that if one wants to pro-actively take responsibility for one's habits and actions then there is no alternative to Zen Practice that is as effective. Does anyone know of alternatives? I am sure my ego would love to hear about them, just so that it can hide away in some dark recess, un-fettered.

If there is indeed no alternative to 'becoming who one is' through a type of Zen Practice (i.e, Ch'an, Tai Chi, Meditative Yoga, Christian flame-gazing, Tantric sex, etc.), then how does one deal with one's most intimate of relationships?

When two partners come together in an intimate relationship which has the potential of producing children, and therefore all the responsibility-generating factors that come with it, it seems that if both partners do not actively pursue Zen Practice, then there are already 'storm clouds on the horizon' so to speak.

Of course there are always some people who seem to have an instinctive sense of balance and generosity, but I believe the way the modern World works with it's Capitalism and addiction to the ego means that bad habits are subconsciously seeded by the way we are allowed to work, eat, travel, etc.

It seems no one can escape the negative karma of their society unless they are actively taking steps to break those karmic bonds.

Charlotte Joko Beck in her book 'Everyday Zen' says something akin to "Zen practice is a terrifying thing to undertake which puts one's ugliness before one's eyes, if you can avoid it by doing something creative, like art, then I would strongly advise going down this route instead". OK, so it seems some experienced practitioners suggest there are alternatives, even though I am still in the dark as to how a creative practice single-handedly cancels out the need to meditate.

How do other people approach their intimate relationships if they are the only one who practices? And especially so in the cases where children are involved, or look they will be in the future.

I can not see myself with a partner who does not have a practice of sorts, because for me this just spells 'irresponsibility', and I would prefer not to have children if they are to be harmed at the hands of someone who does not have respect for 'Buddha-Nature', and also does not wish to take steps to tackle their irresponsibility.

A bit of a heavy post this one I know, but any thoughts?
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I've never posted here before, but I think I've commented a couple times. Thought this might be a good time to share my recent experience:

I've been following the zen path now for about 2 years, but only lackadaisically. My reticence to really dive in was due to being raised in the Mormon religion; it had been suggested to me by an atheist friend that I refrain from reinvolving myself in any religion/tradition until I've been able to experience life unfettered.

For a good couple months now I had been pondering upon resigning the church (for numerous reasons), and whenever I sat in zazen, I had these "visions" come to my mind of me running along a deadly precipice: To my left was this sunny land representing everything I know, and to my right was a dark void that seemed to call me out to it. I spoke about it during daisan and compared it to a need to leave the church; a point he agreed with readily.

I just received a confirmation letter from my bishop about 2 weeks ago, coldly telling me that I am no longer on the church's rosters. Now my "vision" has changed to me having leapt and instead of falling, I'm gently floating in the vast emptiness of space, curled in a fetal position.

About the same time as getting that letter, I went in to Roshi and received Shoken... wasn't quite sure if I was truly ready for it (and Sensei would say "ready" is essentially never), but I felt I was ready for it. I've yet to tell him about my experience; not sure if it'd be appropriate or if he'd really have anything to say about it.

Not really looking for anything in particular (i.e., advice, sympathy), but I'd love to hear feedback, or peoples' experiences with anything similar.

Your brother in the Dharma-path...

Current Mood: peaceful peaceful
Current Music: Tool - Wings for Marie

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Here is an interesting site for those of you with a hunger for Buddhist film. There are full length movies, documentaries, animation and children's films. Check it out:


Current Music: IZ: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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While i'm not very new to this community, i tend to lurk and observe more than anything. However, i'm finding that due to certain circumstances as of late, it's difficult for me to focus on lovingkindess and compassion towards a certain individual.

This cannot be a singular experience...so i wondering, how have others handled similar situations...how do i best channel my thoughts and feelings in order to simply 'let go'?

Please feel free to comment at the above link if you prefer.

(very possible cross posted...i'm at a loss)
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I visited an internationally-known zen monastery for Sunday services this morning. Even though I've been sitting for about a year now, I took beginner's instruction since it was my first time at this monastery. Things were hunky-dory, and I felt really good about the person delivering the instruction.

After the instruction, we joined the main group for zazen. Mid-way through this, monitors began walking around and delivering whacks with the "zen stick" to those who asked for them. This made me absolutely furious and soured my experience of the monastery as a whole. I see in that action the same idea of the "non-cooperative" body – the body deserving penance – that I find so repulsive in Christianity; it meshes with nothing else that I know about Buddhism.

I'd very much like to hear others' thoughts about the "zen stick."
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Another storm washes over my life
and I am left homeless and without
even skin to clothe my naked awareness.
But I am alive. I am truly alive.

Another bridge burns in the night,
a casualty of a dysfunctional relationship
coming to crashing, inevitable conclusion.
But I am free. I am truly free.

Another life comes to an end suddenly;
Nothing wants to die, not even our most
self-destructive impulses and addictions.
But I am filled with hope. Truly filled.

I have made many mistakes,
I have suffered many wounds,
I have hurt many friends,
I have betrayed those who trusted,
I have been abandoned repeatedly,
And I will not change my vow
to live my life to the fullest extent.

I am alive!
I am free!
I once again look to the future with hope.
I have shed enough tears and laughter beckons.

Ego-centric to the end,
but I am what I am
and I make no apologies.
Be well my friends,
I love you all.
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