What elevates your spirit?

Astasähasrikä Prajñäpäramitä (Illuminated manuscript) from AsianArt.com

I just posted another guest post at whatmeditationreallyis.com:

” Every morning when I check my email I begin my day with reading an inspirational message called Rigpa Glimpse of the Day. (You can sign-up for free here.) A few days ago (to be exact on July 22) the message was about how we can inspire ourselves to enter into meditation. It quoted an excerpt from the section on Inspiration in chapter 5 of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche: (continue reading here)

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Catching a cold: a lesson in discovering non-duality!

Angel's stairs...Magical sunset light over the sunflower field

Angel’s stairs by flickr user Katarina 2353

My brother’s Au pair had a cold when I visited a few days ago. A day later I had one, too! Sigh! A vivid reminder, how we human beings share our happiness and suffering in this life with each other. Granted, having ice cream and hot chocolate for desert surely didn’t strengthen my immune system.

I don’t blame the Au pair anyway. Meeting her was just one of the many contributing factors that led to my cold. As a Buddhist I believe in karma, that the main cause for experiencing this cold is my need to resolve a disharmony in my being that I have created through actions in the past. Continue reading

Posted in Contemplation, Freedom, Karma, Turning Suffering and Happiness into Enlightenment, zz Sogyal Rinpoche | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

What is meant by the “inner posture”

Lotus Flowers

I just wrote a guest post on the What Meditation Really Is blog on the “inner posture”:

The teachings on the posture in meditation do not only give instructions about our physical posture but also include advice on our inner posture. There is a reason for this. In meditation openness of both our body and mind and heart are very important. I have found it very helpful for my practice to reflect on what is really meant by “inner posture”

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Medicine songs that can heal your heart

My friend P’o Anyse is finishing her first CD album. It is a collection of healing songs to which she gave the title “Sound of My Mother”. She gave that title because her music is really about discovering the healing power of the earth, our mother.

P’o Anyse

This album has been a labor of love. She compares bringing this album to the world to giving birth. And like a mother she is giving it her everything without holding back. She sees it as a precious gift that was given to her that she would like to share with us to help bring healing and spiritual awakening.

I feel our world badly needs this kind of inspiration and so I offered to P’o to write about my personal experience of her healing work. I am hoping that it may help more people understand her work and inspire them to contribute to raising the funds she needs to complete her project. She has put up her project on kickstarter.com to make it easy for us to help her. Continue reading

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25 favorite quotes on meditation

Me meditating at the Alchemeyez Visionary Art Festival

It’s been a while since my last post. Too many distractions! But I just posted a guest post on the What Meditation Really Is blog. To find out what my favorite quotes on meditation are click here.

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How can we find happiness inside?

In my last two posts What is true happiness? and Do we need to give up the sense pleasures to find true happiness?, I wrote that in the Buddhist teachings looking for happiness outside is talked about in terms of the eight samsaric dharmas. They are hope for pleasure, gain, praise and fame and fear of their opposites: pain, loss, criticism and infamy. The happiness this approach can bring is dependent on satisfaction derived from outer circumstances, like the pleasures of the senses, being successful, getting material things, being praised, feeling respected by others. If we want to be authentic dharma practitioner we need to learn to become free of being controlled by these hopes and fears. Continue reading

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My ten favorite quotes on happiness

The Dalai Lama

I just posted a guest post on the What Meditation Really Is blog. To find out what my ten favorite quotes on happiness are click here.

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Buddhist wisdom applied to ecology

Image by Sue Alexander

My wife Sandra wrote a guest post on the Wisdom of Ecology for her friend’s blog Upcycled Love. It talks about how we can apply to the wisdom of the Buddhist teachings on interconnectedness and interdependence to our environment and the planet. Enjoy!

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Have you hugged your mind today?

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

I just posted a guest post with the title “Does your mind need a hug?” on the What Meditation Really Is blog. It is about finding and hugging your mind!

When was the last time you gave your mind a good hug? My mind loves being hugged and I love hugging my mind! Unfortunately I often forget to do it. Too many distractions! The good news is that it is actually very easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. Here is how one of my teachers Tsoknyi Rinpoche explains how to find and hug your mind. Warning: you might fall in love with your mind and get addicted to hugging it! … but I think, if that were to happen, that would not be such a bad thing!

To read more go here.

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Do we need to give up the sense pleasures to find true happiness?

Light always finds a way...

Light always finds a way by flickr user Katarina 2353

A few weeks ago I wrote about what true happiness is. The Buddhist teachings explain that there are two kinds of happiness: One is an ordinary, fleeting and unreliable happiness which is based on physical comfort and feeling good about outer circumstances.  The other is a deep and lasting happiness which comes from within. This true happiness comes from a sense of mental contentment that is not dependent on external possessions or conditions. Of course, the deeper, longer lasting and more reliable happiness is what I am trying to aim for in my life. In this quest one big question for me is: In order to find this kind of happiness do I need to give up physical comfort and sense pleasures? Continue reading

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The Real Essence of Meditation on Video

Mingyur Rinpoche

I just posted a guest post on the What Meditation Really Is blog:

A recent post on that blog about Mingyur Rinpoche‘s explanation of the  “The Real Essence of Meditation” reminded me of teachings that Mingyur Rinpoche gave in his public talk in Lerab Ling, 11 September 2010 on “Calming the Mind: The Practice of Awareness Meditation”.

Read more here.

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What is true happiness?

I am currently instructing an introductory meditation course for the Rigpa online course program in the United States. This term we changed to a new course called “What Meditation Really Is”. It not only includes teachings on meditation but also presents an introduction to the general basic principles of the Buddhist teachings. In the first week it begins by reflecting on happiness and contentment.

Happiness seems a very appropriate topic to begin our spiritual journey. If we look around we can see that all beings want to be happy. Even the smallest animal will do whatever it can to avoid pain and suffering. Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Eight samsaric dharmas, Meditation, Samsara, zz HH Dalai Lama, zz Sogyal Rinpoche | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

What do lions and dogs have to do with meditation?

Conan the two year old male Chihuahua joins his hands in prayer beside Buddhist priest Joei Yoshikuni at a temple in Okinawa Prefecture Japan

Please enjoy my guest post at the What Meditation Really Is blog. Here is how it starts off:

At first glance, this might sound like a strange question, but actually there are meditation instructions that use these examples!

I recently listened to a collection of teachings called “What Meditation Really Is” by Sogyal Rinpoche. In this 3 disc DVD set Sogyal Rinpoche talks about the lion’s and dog’s approaches in meditation. When I heard this, I thought it would be nice to share this story here.

Read more here at the What Meditation Really Is blog.

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In the Shadow of the Buddha: A must read!

A few days ago I finished reading Matteo Pistono’s just published book “In the Shadow of the Buddha”. I found it an extremely captivating read! It weaves together several fascinating stories. One is Matteo’s personal spiritual journey. He gives an inspiring account of studying with his teachers in Tibet and India, as well as in the West. Two of his main teachers are Khenpo Jigme Puntsok and Sogyal Rinpoche, who are both considered to be reincarnations of the great Tibetan mystic Tertön Sogyal. A second strand in the book is Matteos historical research into the life of Tertön Sogyal and the historical political spiritual happenings in Tibet at the beginning of the 20th century. Tertön Sogyal was a close teacher to the famous 13th Dalai Lama. A third theme is Matteo’s activites gathering information of the heart wrenching violations of human rights in Tibet that have been and still are committed by the Chinese government. And finally you also get an account of what it is like to travel through modern day Tibet.

I think In the Shadow of the Buddha is an eye-opening must read for any Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and I equally highly recommend this book to anyone else.

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What mountain are you trying to climb in your meditation?

This week I wrote another guest post at What Meditation Really Is. This site has a fantastic free 10-Step Video course on meditation. Check it out!

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A sign of an authentic spiritual teacher is devotion

I thought I had said anything I wanted to say about authentic teachers in my first two posts on this topic, but in the last week I had some more “after thoughts”! A question kept coming into my mind: What gives me a heartfelt feeling and conviction that a teacher is authentic?

The answer that came to me was devotion! What touches me most about the teachers I have been fortunate to meet is their devotion to their own teachers.  They don’t only have tremendous devotion and appreciation for their own teachers but also the countless true saints, yogis and masters that have dedicated their lives and endured great hardship to ensure that the teachings are available to us now. Continue reading

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