In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la says "'Self' and 'other' are relative terms, rather like 'this mountain' and 'that mountain ... 'This' and 'that' therefore depend upon our point of reference. This is also true of self and other. By climbing down the mountain of self, it is possible to ascend the mountain of other, and thereby cherish others as much as we presently cherish ourself."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Interdependence Day!

In the U.S. the 4th of July holiday celebrates the new country's independence from England, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on this day in 1776. That document has the memorable line, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Note that it doesn't say "happiness," only the seeking of it.)

Interdependence is worth contemplating. I know it's profound, but don't ask me how.

In the spirit of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, I'm plagiarizing myself with the text of an email. Apologies to those who've already read this.

For years now I've been thinking about how to rely on Sangha. Of the 3 Jewels, I found that one the hardest to understand in a day-to-day way. A Sangha member used to say, "How can you rely on Sangha when they're so unreliable?" - as all of us are to some degree. I've thought about that a lot and asked various Teachers about it. Gen Samten of KMC NY told me in a notably short but meaningful answer, "with wisdom - not like a child with a parent." Unpacking the depth of that takes years.
As Americans we typically don't want to ask for help, as it seems like weakness, and our pride does not like that. You have to give up the idea you are an independent entity who can take care of her/himself. Needless to say, I am happy to ask others for help.
I deeply know how prayers help. I believe in them. I don't think I would be here without them.
Prayers are the best way to support me.
In addition, I may ask you for other forms of support. For example, if I haven't already asked you for a ride, I may ask sometime in the future ...  just to show an example of reliance on Sangha : )
How do you rely on Sangha?
Good to think about and talk about with others, or even reply to in email. That itself is a form of reliance.

Friday, July 3, 2015

I Had the Best Dream

In the dream, a bunch of Sangha friends came to my house and sang chanted prayers and recited the Heart Sutra. It was glorious. Obstacles were definitely removed, blessings definitely received.
A person called Mel had apparently organized it all and played DJ.
All the Buddhas were there, with the female wisdom Buddha Prajnaparamita in the starring role.
It was powerful, like sweeping with a broom rather than just a single broomstick.
Even though it was hot, everyone seemed to go away even happier than they arrived.

A normal person would say that really happened.