Tag Archives: Religion

2016-12 Shinnyo Podcast Regarding Hope

2016-12 Shinnyo Podcast Regarding Hope

  • What is Hope?
  • Does Hope Go Away?
  • Creating Hope
  • When Is Hope Lost and Found?

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Image of Where There's Life, There's Hope
Where There’s Life, There’s Hope – Courtesy of: http://www.hdnicewallpapers.com/Walls/Big/Thoughts%20and%20Quotes/Beautful_Thought_on_Life_and_Hope_HD_Wallpapers.jpg

If we define hope as wanting, wishing or imagining something that isn’t in our present existence, we could say that hope is an imaginary concept – something that isn’t real.  If we think of hope as a state of consciousness, or the state in which we are visualizing this changed existence, then hope becomes a more tangible idea – something that persists.

The four virtues of enlightenment are expressed as permanence, bliss, self and purity, and in this context, the state of permanence is elusive depending on how we define our concept of hope.  Each of these states is related to embracing the dynamics of change as an ever-present condition. But to also realize that hope becomes ever-present as long as we can imagine a state of improvement beyond where we are today. You give up your imagination, and you can say you gave up hope.

Nature accepts things as they are – whatever happens, happens. People like to change things, like creating clocks to track time instead of watching the sun and moon. We try to move and push our environment around to better suit what we think is easier, more advantageous, or even more efficient.

When facing extreme changes, that’s when humans often resort to despair instead of hope, losing that sense of a better tomorrow. But really, tomorrow is by its own peculiar definition, something that hasn’t happened yet. We may have a less shiny and perfect vision of that which has yet to come, but basically, it still is beyond the present. And until it happens, it’s still not our reality (barring existence in a parallel universe and warpage of time, of course.)

Our reality is how we perceive it. A fish out of water is kind of stressed, and probably certainly not happy about that. But it has relatively little capacity to change its own condition.  We, by comparison, have amazing capability to change our presence, where we are, how we live, and in what manner we decide to co-exist with everything else.  Question is, do you realize that potential?

Hope becomes real as we define and change ourselves, whether that means being content with whatever we have already, or transitioning and developing ourselves to see beyond our self-imposed limitations. In the path of transformation, we materialize our vision or goals into reality.

Looking at the situation in a more pragmatic light might be that we can consider ourselves either “stuck in traffic” or “faced with the opportunity to choose alternate paths to our destination.”  Either way, the traffic is there. It is up to us to figure out how we perceive it and how we deal with it..

My own hope in this case is that you find that hope isn’t something someone else gives you. Hope is what you give to yourself.

I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful. –Bob Hope

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/bob_hope.html

/* That’s it for this session. Thank you for listening. For more information feel free to e-mail me at jlui at jlui dot net, or twitter @jhlui1 With Gassho, James*/

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2016-05 May Shinnyo Podcast – Practice

2016-05 May Shinnyo Podcast – Practice

  • What is a Practice?
  • Why do we Practice (and not Preach?)
  • The Story of Buddha and the 3 Monks
  • Practice is Not Perfect
  • Balance of Time – Working with Karma

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theoryintopractice
Courtesy of creative-remembering-techniques.com

What is a practice? Pretty much anything you do.  What is not practice? Thinking without action, although philosophically-speaking, inaction is still action, as it results in an outcome whether intended or not.

Practice in this context, is not limited to something specific you’re trying to learn, Philosophically, we could say we’re learning throughout our lives, each and every day, so that’s how our “practice” extends throughout our days, indeed throughout our lives.

But isn’t it good enough to be really loud and speak your thoughts like a broadcast?

the-brixton-evangelist
Street evangelism 1950’s Brixton, UK

What happens when you hear such a person?  Is it a moment to stop, listen and contemplate carefully what they’re saying?  Or do you mentally try to block out the extreme noise, and make a mental note to avoid that place in the future.  After all, if it works for cheerleading, why wouldn’t it work for all communication?

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Cheerleading with megaphone

If you observe the difference in context, you can see or maybe hear, the difference between an audience that wants to hear you (and can’t because you’re very far away,) versus one who is trying to tune you out and being viewed as an irritant rather than a example.

Master Shinjo once related how different types of people react to guidance with a story about Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciple Ananda walking home one night. They came across three monks who had been drinking something that was forbidden for monks at the time. The first monk quickly hid on the side of the road behind the bushes hoping not to be discovered.  The second monk averted his gaze and walked quickly past the Tathagata hoping not to be noticed.  The third monk thought that the money he spent was his own and boldly walked calmly right in front of the Buddha without care.  Master Shinjo’s notes on this encounter mention that the first monk represents readily instructable people who are open to new ideas, the second person might need more specific examples and might question reasoning but are motivated by emotional care and compassion, and the third person might need actual correction and regulation in order to learn a new behavior.  Depending on the person, your words and actions might be absorbed readily like a thirsty sponge, or discarded as so much hearsay and opinion.  For those interested in delving further into this story, next month’s podcast will explore the realms of the three areas of Intrinsic, Compassionate and Strict styles of teaching (the 3-Wheel Turning Bodies of the Buddha, Kannon Bodhisattva and Mahavairochana Achala.)

About 2 years ago, I decided that collecting guitars was not the same as actually playing them and signed up for formal lessons.  A long time had passed since I last had something that needed periodic and continued effort to get past my own mental and physical blocks to mastery, and this instrument had become one of those – the kind of situation where you can play “Stairway to Heaven” until people don’t want to hear you any more, but you can’t pick up a random music score and play it because you’re not familiar with how it goes. It’s very similar to saying, “I’m a very religious person,” and everyone nods their heads and thinks, “yes, and one day we’ll see it by actual example.” In this way, you can be doing or saying something quite clear, honest and with great intent, but without reflection upon the outcome of such actions, there really isn’t any measure for improvement or failure.

Just as much as every day we are sedentary, we lose some 1% of our muscle mass per year after 50, the same goes with both our minds, and our efforts to practice. Like that slowly leaking balloon that looks really great floating around, but it’s ever so slowly losing its helium and eventually grounds itself as a deflated rubber raisin, when we don’t do something each day to offset our little sack of karma, it too gets slowly heavier and heavier through natural entropy. To keep our momentum going and that sack staying as light as it can be, it takes daily efforts, and renewed exertion to offset the gentle though persistent waves of sediment that slowly build up over time, and eventually can solidify into much harder to break stone.  This is an example of the same person transitioning between starting out like the first monk described above, and later developing into the third monk even without intent to do so.

/* That’s it for this session. Thank you for listening. For more information feel free to e-mail me at jlui at jlui dot net, or twitter @jhlui1 With Gassho, James*/

2013-February Shinnyo-en Buddhism Podcast

2013-February Shinnyo-en Buddhism Podcast – Your Heart and The Stars http://ow.ly/2v0ltM