onsdag 23 september 2015

House of mourning part 1 &2


Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not.
-Master Yoda, star wars

For many, a funeral is a day of mourning. Many are sorry for the person in question who is dead and gone, which is understandable, but do not forget to rejoice in life and what that person has done.
In the Bible, pred 7, speaks of the joy of going to a house of mourning.
We gather to celebrate a person's behavior and deeds. We gather to celebrate life.
Funerals, for me, is never a sad event, it is only a step along the way. And like every step of the way, it is an important step. Going to a house of mourning can make you think more on the days you have, and the desire to make the best of them.

The funeral ceremony itself has several purposes, but one of the most important is for those present.
It is an opportunity for reflection and honoring of the dead, each other and life.
When asked what the ceremony would be for, it was, for me, obvious. 

For everyone.
In my take on the ZenBuddhistfuneralceremony, i chose to strip away as much esoteric as possible to put the emphasis on the gathered and the deceased. 

The ritual consists of three parts, the ordination, life history and messages, and leave-taking from the gathered. The ordinations are a standard feature of the Zen Buddhist funeralceremony and is a modified shukke Tokkudo, priest / monk ordination, and contains the same elements as if she were alive, albeit slightly modified. 
The Lifestory makes the person more alive in the ceremony. The leave-taking may look different. Usually it's an individual or several people who go to the coffin and make their own ceremony, whether it is reading a poem or just stand there in silence.  

Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is
a mystery and today is a gift,
which is why it is called the present.
What the caterpillar perceives is the end;
to the butterfly is just the beginning.
Everything that has a beginning has an ending.
Make your peace with that and all will be well

Master oogway, kung fu panda

In Buddhism we talk about grasping, wanting to hold on to something, but also that everything is in a state of constant change. As master Oogway says in kung fu panda "Everything That has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well."
If you have something, it will disappear and you'll miss it, cause and effect. It's fine, it's part of the process, and if you see that, everything will be well.

In the Christian faith they talk about that the deceased is again with God. In Buddhism, the parallel is that of the the wave returning to the ocean.
Both analogies demonstrate the same, you return to the source, who never left you and is always with you.  In a sense, You turn your face to the face that is always turned towards you. And as much as the face is turned to the you, the face is turned to the deceased, and the deceased's face is turned to you. Always. Although the person may seem gone, he never is. So let us rejoice, for the person is always here.

striking bells


Why do we strike the bells as we do?

Maybe we strike the bell 3 times for Buddha, Dharma, sangha.
2 times because we walk on the earth on two legs, putting on foot in front of the other.
1 time to remind us that we are all one.
Or maybe we strike the bell because it can.


torsdag 20 augusti 2015

The ocean


The most important part of understanding “the ocean” is that “the ocean” is not a word.

There are lots of concepts and words.

“Life” is a word, but the experience of it is not.

Something will happen, but not that.

Theres something else going on here besides words.

That thing is one thing, and that thing is you.

In essence, You are the ocean.

Thank you for your practice.



tisdag 11 augusti 2015

No rush

Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
- "Ferris Buellers day off"

Stop and smell the roses once in awhile.
It may not be easy, but if you keep on rushing through life you might be missing a lot of good things, and what a sad thing that would be, as life, after all, is what we are here for.
All to many people rush by these days. 
Rushing to get a lot of things, as THEN life will begin. 
What they are missing is that life is right here, right now, unfolding itself for us as we rush on.


tisdag 7 juli 2015

Carpe diem


Carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.
-Dead poets society

Even in the making of your lives, you make your lives extraordinary. Some Buddhists, if not all, say that you being alive is extraordinary, a blessing even. In the book the tibetan book on living and dying by sogyal rinpoche you have this story.
"Every spiritual tradition has stressed that this human life is unique, and has potential that ordinarily we hardly even begin to imagine. If we miss the opportunity this life offers us for transforming ourselves, they say, it may well be an extremely long time before we have another. 
Imagine a blind turtle, roaming the depths of an ocean the size of the universe. Up above floats a wooden ring, tossed to and fro on the waves. Every hundred years the turtle comes, once, to the surface. To be born a human being is said by Buddhists to be more difficult than for the turtle to surface accidentally with its head poking through the wooden ring. And even among those who have a human birth, it is said, those who have the great fortune to make a connection with the teachings are rare; and those who really take them to heart and embody them in their actions even rarer, as rare, in fact, 'as stars in broad daylight'."

The important moment is now. 
That is the only moment you can do anything about as The past is history, the future is not yet here.

They are both dependent on the now as it is dependent on them. It is a gift and that is why we can call it the present. What you do about the gift you have been given is up to you.

Use it wisely.

Thank you for your practice.



tisdag 26 maj 2015

Bookreview: Cave of tigers


John Daido Loori was born in Jersey City, New Jersey 1931. He was raised Roman Catholic, and only later on found his way to Buddhism and was ordained as a priest in 1983 and later on received dharma transmission in both a Soto and a Rinzailineage and was the dharma heir of the influential Japanese Zen master Taizan Maezumi Roshi. He is the author of numerous books and also the founder of the Mountains and Rivers Order and Abbot of Zen mountain monastery. He died of lungcancer On October 9, 2009.

Dharma encounter is an public interchange between a teacher and student.. The Dharma encounter can happen after a teaching or reading of a text, but it is not required. It has an long history, but can look very different depending on the sangha, although there are some very ritualized, formalised occurrences of its useage. In the book Cave of tigers we are invited to recapture edited dharma encounters (also know as dharma combat or dharma assembly) Zen mountain monastery between students an John Daido Loori.
The dharma encounters we encounter in this book are not the ritualized form, but rather a soft flowing back and forth between two long time friends. The subjects brought forth has something for the whole spectrum of zenpractitioners, whatever their level of understanding is at, presented in an modern context. What unfolds in the mix might sometimes confound you, and might require several readings before you get it, but when you do, it is a gem.

I like these kind of books who do not try to drag a specific teaching out. In the book, Daido Loori gives an short text and then adds an couple of friendly back and forths corresponding to the initial text. This gives the short text, and the Dharma encounters, an extra depth and although that is not really needed, it is very appreciated.
He covers both a lot off different subjects and an important part of the Buddhist tradition, that of the public back and forthdiscussion that is, in my view, a good practice. I only hope that we get to see more of that in the future, and it no be shyed away, because there is so much to be won in presenting it more..
But you don't have to wait that long, you can get engaged right now, right here.

Thank you for your practice.


onsdag 20 maj 2015

1 john 3:18


Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

-1 john 3:18

Buddhism is all about action, or if you want, doings.
Put into words, Buddhism is all about verbs.
Not subjects, adjectives, but verbs.
And if you didn't know, verbs is what you get paid for.

Thank you for your practice.