The Practical Buddhist Blog – Practical Advice on Integrating the Practice of Buddhism in Contemporary Life

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These two oxymoron’s may seem to make no sense, to be internally inconsistent.   And yet they are at the heart of living a fully human, spiritual life.

For much of my practice, the emphasis has been, had to be, to learn to see things as being just the way they are, that it’s all ok, that I will be ok regardless what life throws my way because I have returned home and will always return home to my true Buddha nature.   To view myself and the world around me directly, with dispassion, free of labels, free of the intervention of my ego-mind.  It has been about gaining the wisdom of acceptance.  For there is no ending of suffering without acceptance.

I have achieved that state and it has been a source of peace to me and great comfort.   I have also learned to take joy in each passing moment regardless what is happening, by being aware of the light, nature, all that I am grateful for, the gift of being alive.

But I have been aware that although I feel very strongly about the work that I do, I do not experience joy in it.  And last night when I was reading a book titled The Map about manifesting, I realized why.   Because something inside me said that my work was not going to amount to anything in that my books wouldn’t sell, my life coaching business would to take off, etc,; I would not make any money because I was no one, I had no name recognition.

I also realized that I feared that if I did put emotional energy into my work that I would become attached to it and I would once again be subject to the disappointment and frustration that is part of our samsara.   I would no longer to able to view my work with dispassion; to say, “If it happens, great; if it doesn’t, that’s ok too.”  I believed those oxymorons were inherently inconsistent.

These two things worked in combination to hold me back and deprive me of taking joy in what I do, in what is important to me, each day.  In meditating one recent morning, I was aware that there was a time when I took great joy in what I did, that I believed not only that it had value but that people would find value in it.   And so I pursued and achieved goals that most people said were unrealistic.

But one day I sent my first book to an agent, who was the agent of a well-respected NPR personality with whom I had a mutual friend.   That agent told me, after reading my book, that no one would be interested in what I had to say because I was no one, I had no name.   

I was devastated, but I persevered.   I sent the book to a well-respected journalist, a cold call, who gave me a strong endorsement.   And so I continued to pursue my dream, but nothing came of it.   

And so it has been with everything I’ve done since then.   What that agent said to me turned out to be my experience.   Why this difference from my former life and efforts?  According to The Map the reason is that I absorbed that negativity and it became one of my false core beliefs.   Somehow this pronouncement by a total stranger, but someone with authority, was enough to change how I viewed myself and my prospects.   I did all the right things to have success, I went through all the motions, but the inner conviction, the faith, was no longer there.   That was the energy I was sending out to the universe, and that was what I received in return.

And so today I have started a new day, fresh.   I have started affirmations regarding my belief in my projects succeeding, being valued by others.   I am endowing my efforts with excitement; I can feel the books selling, the requests for life coaching coming in, and my financial situation being restored.

But back to the title of this post.   While I am investing this kind of energy in my work again, I remain not attached; I can honestly say, if it works, great; if it doesn’t, that’s ok too.  I have faith in my work, but I also view it’s success with dispassion. 

​But beware: it would be very easy to slip into being attached.   Your non-attachment and acceptance must be firmly rooted.



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The Practical Buddhist Blog – Practical Advice on Integrating the Practice of Buddhism in Contemporary Life

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I recently watched a spiritual video on YouTube that was all about rejoicing, praising the Lord, being grateful for being alive and all the good things in your life, past, present, or future.   The video was by a charismatic Christian and I was originally put off by the display; it was over the top.   I couldn’t relate to it.   But after listening to Sister Sharon (Firm Foundation Radio Ministry) for a while, I realized that she was expressing her true faith, her connection with God.   She had incredible energy and it was wonderful to be in her presence.

There has been nothing in my practice that even approximates the energy that she had.   And I realized something.   To successfully counter the influence of the ego-mind and all the emotions we have in response to the things we experience consistently, it would be extremely helpful to have that energy, that joy as part of our being, our spiritual life.

I certainly couldn’t see myself doing what she did.   But I tried reaching back into my background to find something that had a similar energy, in a prayer-like setting, that I would therefore be able to do and feel natural doing it.

In one of my meditation images, I visualize me joining hands with my true Buddha self (the toddler) and my unborn Buddha mind on the “other shore” and dancing a joyful Jewish dance I learned as a child/adolescent.   As I was searching for something in my past, that experience came to mind, and specifically one song we would sing as we danced the Hora – Hava Nagila.   It certainly had the right energy,  And when I looked up the lyrics, found that they translated as (which I never knew), “Rejoice and be happy, sing and be happy, awake my brothers and be happy.”  I couldn’t have found anything more appropriate.

And so now, at the end of my morning meditation, before I get off my cushion, I sing Hava Nagila.   What a wonderful way to start my day.   And come back to it throughout the day.   I also have connected with Sister Sharon’s energy numerous times.   A real blessing.

When you are in this space, you are able to experience the benefits of faith being one with mind and mind being one with faith.   Here there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today, there is only the present moment.   This is the only reality; all else is thought.

And when you are in this space, there isn’t a felt need to manifest anything because you are filled with joy and gratitude and faith.   But it you do manifest, it will be coming from a pure place; your heart not your ego-mind.    

Actually, one morning recently when I woke up, the words of Hava Nagila instantly came to mind, and I couldn’t believe what popped out of my mouth next, “I manifest abundance and know that I will want for nothing.”  It felt totally natural coming from within me.   And as a manifest should be, it was totally undefined, unspecific.   What that abundance will entail, how it will come about, what “I will want for nothing” means – it could mean that I have so much money that I can have anything I want or it could just as well mean that I will be in a spiritual place where my wants are modest or nonexistent.   

And this manifest, as compared to other manifests, did not provoke any push back from my ego-mind, at least not initially.   It did later in the day, questioning how I could achieve abundance financially given my circumstances.   It took me out of my energized space and slapped me down.   Only the next morning when I meditated was I aware of what had happened and said “no” to my ego mind and returned to my heart, my faith, and to Sister Sharon’s energy.



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The Practical Buddhist Blog – Practical Advice on Integrating the Practice of Buddhism in Contemporary Life

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One of the fears that all of us have is being alone– particularly in an irreversible existential sense. So for instance, we fret that if our enjoyed one passes away, and we have no close household, that we will be alone, not simply in the sense of not having somebody to provide assistance, particularly in aging, however not having anybody to speak to, to share one’s sensations with.

When I was at Shambhala when, somebody asked the instructor what to do when whatever breaks down. The instructor stated that your self, your real Buddha self, will talk to you and state, “You are not alone.   I am here to help you. “

Since I do think that I have a real Buddha self within me, I believed just recently why not develop a relationship with my self? Why await catastrophe to strike? Why wait till you desire assistance from your real self?

In your self, you genuinely have a pal. And a pal who will constantly exist. I never ever had a fictional pal as a kid, as many kids appear to do. Despite the reality that I was frantically in requirement of pals, that I understood that I was not liked by lots of, I think I did not even have the creativity that some fictional individual might be my continuous buddy and pal. Or maybe I was simply doing not have in creativity, which I believe was more the case.

But that is the past. Although today I feel that I still have little creativity in that notice. So this will be a genuine difficulty, to develop a relationship in between my real Buddha self (the avatar of which is me as a young child) and me.

Interestingly, this belongs to one of the ideas I had when I reworded my youth story. In that narrative I developed a fictional pal to keep me business and play when I was left alone in the evening.

How do I develop a relationship with my real Buddha self? A relationship suggests that you experience and share things with each other. And so I have actually begun talking to my real Buddha self, sharing my observations, whether of nature, individuals, whatever, and my sensations with him.

And what I am finding is that due to the fact that I am speaking with a young kid, a young child, my interaction is filled with the happiness and marvel and energy that you would interact when speaking with a kid; really various from speaking with a grownup. And so I am in impact experiencing things now through the eyes of that innocent kid.

In so doing, I am raising myself from the ordinary, strained aircraft through which we usually experience daily life and rather am seeing things through the eyes, the aircraft of my Buddha self, my magnificent essence. This is genuinely providing myself happiness, experiencing happiness.

At some point, my real Buddha self will share its observations and ideas with me. Although the possibility is strong that he currently does this, however I am not mindful that he is the source of my own observations. Indeed, if these observations originate from my heart and not my ego- mind, then they would be originating from him.

In that occasion, a huge part of the relationship currently exists. What it stays for me to do is interact frequently with my real Buddha self. Make him an existence by my side at all times. That is my intent. I will manifest the existence of my real Buddha self at my side at all times.



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Global Ambedkar Buddhism | Global Buddhism Blog

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In a recent article, the Northwest Dharma Association reports on Lama Choyin Rangdrol, a Seattle-based African American lama in the Tibetan tradition, who was talking at the B.R. Ambedkar International Conference in Bangalore, India. In his talk, Rangdrol draws parallels between the experience of African Americans and so-called ‘untouchables’ in India.

Lama Rangdrol said participating in the conference was very powerful, because he saw so many parallels between the experience of African Americans and Indian people who fall outside the caste system, who traditionally were called untouchables. […]

“I’m a changed person. It changed me because I saw the passion and the compassion of the entire Earth coming to find out what’s going on,” Lama Rangdrol said of the conference experience. “It was a deep experience to witness the grand politic of India vie over who will address the tremendous suffering of caste, and how.”

The conference theme was a “Quest for equity—reclaiming social justice, revisiting Ambedkar” and attracted around 9,000 participants from around the world.

About Jovan Maud

I’m a lecturer in the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany. Interests include: transnational religious networks, popular religion in Thailand, religious tourism and commodification, and digital anthropology.

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