buddha

Ram Dass, Buddha, Maharaj-ji, and Yoda on non-duality alvin September 17, 2019 - 12:33pm

Inspired by a conversation with a friend recently about “trying to love everyone,” I dug into things a little more and found the following information from Ram Dass, Zen masters, the Maharaj-ji (Neem Karoli Baba), and Yoda.

As I keep trying to figure out what Ram Dass means when he says, “love everyone,” I dug through his book, be love now and found these two quotes:

There’s a pure land where everything is only mind

One day during a speech Hakuin said, “They say there’s a pure land where everything is only mind, and that there’s a Buddha of light in your own body. Once that Buddha of light appears, mountains, rivers, earth, grass, trees, and forests suddenly glow with a great light. To see this, you have to look inside your own heart.”

An old innkeeper who had meditated for many years was sitting in the audience, and when she heard this, she felt a strange understanding of his words. She later told her family, “I feel that happiness is as near as my skin.” When she was awake and asleep she kept his words alive: “Inside your own heart. Trees shine with a great light.”

Creating a prayer that has meaning to me

Once upon a time I lived in Alabama and had a 52-mile daily drive to work at a NASA facility in Mississippi, which gave me a lot of time to think. At one point on the trip you pass eight churches in ten miles — a friend referred to that stretch as “The highway to heaven” — and seeing weddings, funerals, and other gatherings at those churches led me to think about life, death, and spirituality.

I was very aware that I was a spiritual being since I was 16, but despite that I never cared for a religious framework; every church I’d ever been to seemed superficial compared to what I had experienced. That being said, I always thought prayer was a good thing — it helped to create a proper state of mind — so I tried to come up my own prayer, something I could believe in.

One idea I came up with was to write some sort of prayer that would honor the ancestors that led to my life on Earth. But, I thought, a problem with this approach was that my ancestors weren’t all that honorable. My mom is probably the nicest person in the world, so there was no problem there, but without getting into details, my dad, my grandparents, aunts and uncles ... there weren’t many people I was concerned about honoring.

Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”

Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”

He replied, “Nothing!” Then he continued, “However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, and fear of old age an death.”

Mindfulness meditation: Be like a cat purring

If you’re interested in a simple introduction to mindfulness meditation, search the Internet for a free, 25-page PDF booklet named, “Buddha in Blue Jeans,” by Tai Sheridan. Despite that name, the booklet has good, non-denominational tips about meditating and mindfulness (and only mentions the name “Buddha” twice in the main text).

Here’s a favorite quote: “Be like a cat purring. Follow your breath like ocean waves coming in and out.”

The reward in the struggle to find purpose

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” ~ Buddha

Growing up, I used to envy those people who seemed to be shot out of the womb with a purpose, like they always knew what they wanted to do. But these days I think there’s a great reward in the struggle to find that purpose.

(I seriously doubt that the Buddha actually said that, but hey, it sounds impressive, whoever said it.)

“The path I have followed has been dangerous”

“The path I have followed has been dangerous, destabilizing more than calm, excruciating more than pleasant, and hard to integrate (into ‘normal’ everyday life). It has also been profound, amazing, and glorious. Surfing the ragged edges of reality has been easier than slowing the thing down.”

~ A quote from the book, Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, by Daniel Ingram.