Bodhisattva

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‘Wesak’ Another Painting from my Meditations

Published 29/11/2016 by inspiringyourspirit

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My Dear Friends,

Here, is my latest painting, this one is entitled ‘Wesak’, Wesak is the birthday of Lord Buddha and I saw the image of the flowering Lotus and the monks surrounding the lotus; standing in awe and gazing intently at the beauty during its transformation from bud to flower. The image was very clear in my Third Eye during my meditation a week or so ago ,and I could not dismiss the opportunity of getting the image from my minds-eye and on to paper so to say. I

I hope you like it and gain something from its content?

Namaste with Love

Always

Mark

 

In Service To Others Helps Ones self !

Published 16/05/2016 by inspiringyourspirit

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The four harmonious friends, drawn by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

My Dear friends,

Clearing ones mind, managing our thoughts, opening our hearts, having compassion for others and being in service to mankind, all beings and Mother Earth, all parts of the philosphies of Buddhism, the Darma teachings and the Eightfold Path. In a world like this this in which we live in, we most often become caught up in the importance of our own life , sometime even our own survival. We loose track of who we are, we loose track and forget that all of humanity comprises of our very own ‘Brothers and Sisters’, we push forward relentlessly, chasing the dream and forgetting the important things in life like humility, compassion, loving kindness and love for all beings. The following story talks about the importance of loving kindness, being in service to others and the benefits that these simple acts can bring to our lives.

I do hope you like it?

Namaste, with Love

Always

Mark

The Story of the Four Harmonious Brothers

In former times in the jungles near Varanasi, a pheasant, a rabbit, a monkey, and an elephant lived in friendship and harmony. The four brothers declared that although their minds were harmonious, it was sad that in the world there was so little respect held by the young for the old. They decided to show respect for each other, according to the tradition of Dharma.

Having made this determination the four animals set out to make offerings and pay homage. The younger showed respect for the older by carrying the older on his back. Standing on each others’ backs in this way, the pheasant, rabbit, monkey and elephant reached the first limb of the nyän dro da (banyan tree).

The pheasant taught the others how to follow the moral conduct of not taking lives, not taking what was not given, not speaking deceptive words, not committing sexual misconduct, and not taking intoxicants. Then each animal led similar types of animals to themselves on the path of morality. Happiness and comfort increased greatly in the world.

At that time, the king, his ministers, and the general population had the proud belief that the good times were due to their own merit. In order to determine who was responsible for the peaceful times they gathered together and asked a hermit to tell them the cause of their happiness. Through his clairvoyance the hermit explained that the countries’ wealth was not due to the power of any of the people but to the merits of the four animals in the forest who were keeping the five precepts of moral conduct and leading the other animals on that path. He advised them that they, too, should behave like these animals.

Following this advice most of the people in that region began to keep the five precepts, and as a result, after they died, they were reborn in the deva realm.

It is said in the Vinaya teaching Dülwa rlung and the discourse Do de nä kyang rlung that the pheasant was an incarnation of the qualified destroyer gone beyond Shakyamuni Buddha and the others were disciples – the rabbit was Nyi gyä (Shariputra), the monkey was Päl na kyä(Maudgalyana) and the elephant was Kungawa (Ananda).

It is also said that wherever a picture of the four brothers is displayed, the 10 virtues will increase and the minds of all will become harmonious. There will be respect for elders and auspicious events will occur.

At first, there was just the bird, and the tree was just a little sprout. The bird could scratch around on the ground and find little bits of plant to eat. The bird was unable to fly, so the bird could only eat what it could find near to the ground. As the tree grew, it became difficult for the bird to get enough food to eat.

Then, the rabbit came. The rabbit would eat what was on the ground and would lift the bird up on his back so that the bird could reach the growing tree. In this way, they both had enough to eat. However, as the tree continued to grow, it started to become too high for the bird, even on the back of the rabbit.

Then, the monkey came. The monkey could climb up into the tree and drop the fruit from the tree onto the ground for the rabbit and the bird. However, it was difficult to get to the fruit at the very top of the tree.

Then, the elephant came. With the elephant, if all the animals helped each other, they could reach the fruit at the top of the tree; and, in this way, there was plenty for all of them to eat.

The reason the four animals worked so harmoniously together and the reason they were successful is that none of them was primarily concerned with getting enough food for themselves. Each of them was concerned with trying to help the others to get what they needed. Rather than being dominated by selfish concern, they were dominated by cherishing others.

Also, the reason they were successful is that they were willing to ask for help and to receive help. In this way, the bird is considered the hero of the story. The bird was the most fragile and needed the most help.

Because the bird was willing to ask for help and because the others were happy to help the bird, everything worked out very nicely.

In Tibet, in letters of advice to families who were going through some difficult times with each other, the Four Friends were often used as an example of how the family needs to stay together and help each other. Each member is very different and brings different strengths and different weaknesses, but if they work together, they can accomplish things they could never accomplish without working together.

This story is a story of interdependence. It is a story explaining how there is no place for self-cherishing, but rather we need each other and we need to help each other. The worst thing is self-cherishing. This is a story about working harmoniously.

Blessings Be All Beings 🙂

 

 

The 8 Awakenings

Published 02/08/2013 by inspiringyourspirit

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Many people coming to test the waters of Buddhism for the first time often wonder where to start. There are literally hundreds of sutras with each school of Buddhism focusing on specific sutras that are at their foundation.

 

It is clear that Buddhism is about the issue of suffering and how to overcome it. Suffering takes on many forms from severe pain and illness and death to the petty annoyances that plague us on almost a daily basis. Buddhism teaches us to live a supremely happy and value centred life with the means to end the cycle of birth and death which is suffering.

 

The sutra of the Eight Awakenings is a very short sutra. In fact many Chinese monks used to learn this one by heart not only because of its brevity but also because it contained within it the essential of Buddhism.

 

I often call it the Mediators’ Sutra as it is a foundation sutra for all meditation work. It is well worth contemplating these Eight Awakenings carefully examining them in the light of your own life. I have included them here in their entirety.

 

Buddhist Disciples!  At all times, day and night, sincerely recite and bear in mind these eight truths that cause great people to awaken.

 

The First Awakening:

The world is impermanent. Countries are perilous and fragile. The body is a source of pain, ultimately empty. The five skandhas are not the true self. Life and Death is nothing but a series of transformations—hallucinatory, unreal, uncontrollable. The intellect is a wellspring of turpitude, the body a breeding ground of offenses. Investigate and contemplate these truths. Gradually break free of death and rebirth.

 

The Second Awakening:

Too much desire brings pain. Death and rebirth are wearisome ordeals, originating from our thoughts of greed and lust. By lessening desires we can realize absolute truth and enjoy peace, freedom, and health in body and mind.

 

The Third Awakening:

Our minds are never satisfied or content with just enough. The more we obtain, the more we want. Thus we create offenses and perform evil deeds. Bodhisattvas don’t wish to make these mistakes. Instead, they choose to be content. They nurture the Way, living a quiet life in humble surroundings —their sole occupation, cultivating wisdom.

 

The Fourth Awakening:

Idleness and self-indulgence are the downfall of people. With unflagging vigor, great people break through their afflictions and baseness. They vanquish and defeat the four kinds of demons, and escape from the prison of the five skandhas.

 

The Fifth Awakening:

Stupidity and ignorance are the cause of death and rebirth. Bodhisattvas apply themselves and deeply appreciate study and erudition, constantly striving to expand their wisdom and refine their eloquence. Nothing brings them greater joy than teaching and transforming living beings.

 

The Sixth Awakening:

Suffering in poverty breeds deep resentment. Wealth unfairly distributed creates ill-will and conflict among people. Thus, Bodhisattvas practice giving. They treat friend and foe alike. They do not harbor grudges or despise amoral people.

 

The Seventh Awakening:

The five desires are a source of offenses and grief. Truly great people, laity included, are not blighted by worldly pleasures. Instead, they aspire to don the three-piece precept robe and the blessing bowl of monastic life. Their ultimate ambition is to leave the home life and to cultivate the Path with impeccable purity. Their virtuous qualities are lofty and sublime; their attitude towards all creatures, kind and compassionate.

 

The Eighth Awakening:

Like a blazing inferno, birth and death are plagued with suffering and affliction. Therefore, great people resolve to cultivate the Great Vehicle, to rescue all beings, to endure hardship on behalf of others, and to lead everyone to ultimate happiness.

 

These are the Eight Truths that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and great people awaken to. Once awakened, they even more energetically continue to cultivate the Path. Steeping themselves in kindness and compassion, they grow in wisdom. They sail the Dharma ship across to Nirvana’s shore, and then return on the sea of birth and death to rescue living beings. They use these Eight Truths to show the proper course for living beings, causing them to recognize the anguish of birth and death. They inspire all to forsake the five desires, and to cultivate their minds in the manner of Sages.

 

If Buddhist disciples recite this Sutra on the Eight Awakenings, and constantly ponder its meaning, they will certainly eradicate boundless offenses, advance towards Bodhi, and will quickly realize Proper Enlightenment. They will always be free of birth and death, and will abide in eternal bliss.

 

Namaste

Mark

“Nothing To Attain . . . “

Published 14/04/2013 by inspiringyourspirit

This excellent post is from a blogging friend of mine Rising Hawk http://risinghawkspeaks.wordpress.com

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Bodhisattva Siddhartha Gautama determines that if he’s really going to attain enlightenment, the bowl will float upstream. And so it does… He subsquently attains enlightenment that very night. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why do I do what I do?

Why do I spend my time writing, blogging, risking being labeled as crazy, developing, devising, and suggesting methods to “attain” something which is already present?

I often ask myself this question. The entire premise seems ridiculous when viewed as I just described it. I don’t get paid, I’m not famous, and I have no scheduled appearances on any of Oprah’s programs, or tours with Wayne Dyer. And, “What is he talking about,” you may ask.

It’s one word. The term most often kicked around is “enlightenment.”

This word conjures up images of half-naked sages in mountain caves, or wise ones in flowing robes, and a whole litany of other associated notions. Just for the record, the outward appearance and the actual state itself are not related – at all.

If you come across a half-naked sage throwing dust on his head, or a man or woman in a saffron-colored robe with a bald head, or a person in some other form of “priestly” attire, or a very spiritual title, you are looking at an advertisement.

I do not mean that to be taken in the negative connotation of capitalist commercialism, (though that may sometimes be the case). What I mean is that these people are outwardly presenting the fact that they have a story to tell – specifically, about how they “discovered” what was never missing, how it changed their experience of life in a positive way, and maybe how what they learned could help you, too.

Personally, I find myself less and less interested in the idea of “enlightenment” when it comes to sharing and teaching. I AM enlightened…and so are you. The very moment that we take the position of wishing to attain the state, we “lose” it: You get caught in the trap of looking for something that isn’t missing. But there is a challenge. Although you are enlightened, that fact may very well be hidden from you by that master of illusion – your brain.

This is what ALL of the teachings about “enlightenment,” or finding true and lasting deep peace, or being the embodiment of compassion and so forth, are designed to address. We need a method of “getting around” our brain and selfish egos – and they play AMAZING defense.

You see, if you aren’t worried about anything, and have no expectations, no fear of death or rejection, and move through life without a care – totally at peace with the ebb and flow of existence – well, your ego does not like that at all.

I can recall when I first realized a glimpse of this state. The very first, (and immediate), words that arose in my mind were, “I have to re-think everything about my life now!” And that was quickly followed by a panicked, “You can’t do this!”

What is your brain going to do if you aren’t worrying? What will your mind do if you aren’t thinking everything to death? How can you relate to anyone or anything if the precious “identity” that you have worked so hard to build is no longer valid? What happens when you “die” to self, (as Jesus, Buddha, and practically every other spiritual master has taught us we must do in order to see God)?  I have the answer to those questions: NOTHING changes except your perspective. In that instant, all of your interactions are filled with…peace…and Divine love…and compassion.

So, there are times that I write about methods that can assist you in getting around the brain’s stubborn and relentless defense. I certainly do not do so for fame, or for recognition, (good thing, or I would be sorely disappointed)! I do it in an effort to end the mental suffering and anguish that so many put themselves through every day. And your realization of that dynamic peace will spread like wildfire into every nook and cranny of your existence; even more wonderfully, into the existence of those around you.

Understand, there is nothing to attain – but that “nothing” is hidden from many. Reflect upon this when you have a chance – it may bear you much precious fruit.

Keep Soaring,

Rising Hawk

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