lördag 21 mars 2015

"Teachers"

Hi.

Several people have said that i, apparently, is a lot like the character ”richard from Texas” in ”eat pray love” played by Richard Jenkins, who is one of the ”teachers” that Liz gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) meets.
So i thought i'd write something up about the teachers we meet in our practicelives.

Just so we get one thing absolutely clear, there are many teachers out there.
Some who claim they are and some who don't, some good some not so much...

Here are some general ramblings in the topic of teachers from this old fool.

  1. The teacher is not there for himself or ”no ego”.
A good teacher is there for everyone. She is in it for the sake of everyone getting a benefit out of it. A good teacher respects. She's not in it just for her own fame and fortune, if she were then she would just suck up all the energy in your relationship and then leave you dry while moving on. Don´t forget that fancy names are good on paper, and a good teacher never leaves you, she's always with you...

  1. Where does she come from?

Finding out the backpack that she is carrying can be important. If you don't know what she brings, you don't know what you're gonna get. That can be a bit like a box of chocolates, but not nearly as nice. And don't be fooled by fancy wrappingpapers and such, often the simplest things are the best.
You don't always need to know everything, but its good to keep in mind, the backwater of the raft.
  1. Behaviour
How does she behave?
Does she behave accord to what she preaches?
Does she produce a lot of onesided clones or spirits free to live?
If she is nice, flexible and helpful it's all good. Watch out if she goes ballistic, goes into rages, tries to manipulate and other bad behaviours. If she only wants her ways and not listening to others, opening up possibilites asf i would watch my back, slowly walk out and run.
This does not mean that a challenging behaviour is bad. If done with the correct intent, that is necessary. Being challenging is quite different than being abusive.
She might be the best teacher in the world but quite abusive in her manners and where would that leave you? Abused. And do we want that?
We do not always realize that we are being abused either. We can continue the relationship happily thinking that it is a soaring one, while, in reality, it is a parachutejump where there is only one who has an parachute.
So what do you do?
You live.
You learn.
You stumble and fall.
Sometimes you will be the teacher to, then be the best teacher you can.
In the meantime, leave the bad and cling to the good and remember its all good practice, groceries.

Thank you for your practice.

Mtfbwy
Fugen

Bookreview: Why i am a buddhist

Hi.

The book takes a grounding in the life and thoughts of the author Stephen T. Asma. 
From there we go through the Buddhist basics in a ”no-nonsens with redmeat and whiskeyway” as the frontpage of the book says.Asma is professor of philosophy and interdisciplinary humanities at Columbia College in Chicago. He has written extensively on Buddhism and taught it at the university level.

Asma does a good job laying out the basiscs of the basics of Buddhism in a very elegenagt punchy style which will attract people of all ages. Providing just enough technical language to educate the reader without getting bogged down in Sanskrit terms or doctrinal details is another one of the upsides. 
His chapters on Buddhism and science and Buddhism and the arts are good. He deconstructs the quantum mechanics mysticism that seems popular in New Age thought and demonstrates the connection between Zen and the arts in a nice way. 
He puts forth the notion for thinking about Buddhism in terms of a "first language" (cultural Buddhism) and a "second language" (learned Buddhism). He also makes a great deal of the difference between what he terms "Chicago" Buddhism and what he sees as a more New Agey form of California Buddhism.
Asma also talks about how there are two main groups of Buddhists, all variations aside. There is the group which grows up with Buddhism and a a second group which comes to Buddhism later in life, seeking it out. A topic he covers fairly well in the exposee.
He also talks about the attraction of Buddhism and Buddha, and does a good job about it.

The author teaches philosophy at a Chicago college which makes me wonder why he wrote this book as he did, maybe as some sort of textbook to be used at his lectures, as there is plenty of anecdotes who would work there. But then comes the question on why would he then leave so much out that needs to be in a comprehensive  book about Buddhism and why does he include writings the way he does.
He attacks views of spirituality and schools of Buddhism and dismisses them right off, which makes no sense.
His discussion of cravings, for example, is all about romantic love, which could be a good start to the chapter, but where's the rest?
The chapter on parenthood leaves a lot, even though he showes he is protective of his kid, there is not much buddhistparenthooding in the chapter. His ending chapter, in which he looks at Buddhism and the global stage, he both outlines the attacks on and uses of Buddhism but includes an assault on Islam in favor of Christianity. It makes for an final example of the uneven quality of the sections in the book - some are very good and others are not. 
 
Near the end we come back to the message of balance. 
Buddhism is all about the middle road. 
Buddhism is a practice of both mind and body, you cant just read/write or just sit your way to it's core. 
But with a bit of practice, and/or editing Asma might might get it, just as you can.

Thank you for your practice.

Mtfbwy
Fugen

lördag 14 mars 2015

Unbuttoned

Hi.



One of my favourite words is unbuttoned.

A good, storytelling word. 
A word that makes you think.

Unbuttoned.

There are words that really can tell a story.
Unbuttoned is one of them.

“He unbuttoned his jacket and laid back in the chair.”

“She unbuttoned the top button”

Just taste it, Unbuttoned.



Next up we have life...



Mtfbwy

Fugen

söndag 1 mars 2015

To serve is to love

Hi.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
-1 Peter 4:10

To serve another, to really serve, is the ultimate act of love.
To really serve means that you do everything you can for that person/s you are serving. The mindset should be much like that of faithful stewards. Once you really commit to that which you do for them, you are truly serving. Serving can take many shapes, we are all different, much like the drops in the rain, as different as they are, serve the earth with the rain. Much like the raindrops, we can all serve to the best of our ability
Life is our temple and its all good practice. 
Thank you for your practice.

Mtfbwy
Fugen

fredag 27 februari 2015

Treeleaf 2015 swedish summer retreat

Hi.

The Treeleaf 2015 Swedish summer retreat will be an  6-days retreat right in the heart of the Swedish natural park of Tiveden at Rödjorna retreatcenter.
Welcome!

http://www.retreat-sweden.com/Retreat-Sweden/Zen_Vandra_engels2.html

Mtfbwy
Fugen

fredag 30 januari 2015

Bookreview: Mahayana Buddhism, the doctrinal foundations of Mahayana Buddhism

Hi.

This is a book about a branch of the Buddhist tree, the Mahayana Buddhism. 
It covers not only the branch and leaves of the tree, but also takes a look at the root, and the stem holding the branch up.It is an scholarly book made by an scholar. And it shows. 
The reference pages alone is 30 pages long. 
Do note though, this is not an introduction for the beginner. 
Each side in the book is crammed to the max with facts, names, dates, terms, and sad to say, his own views.
The author, Paul Williams, is a Professor of Indian and Tibetan Philosophy and Co-director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol. 
That means he's a scholar, used to reading scholarly texts, which is why I again and again, ask myself, why?!?
Don't get me wrong, its a very good book. 
His writing is good, clear and the issues are discussed in an interesting way which gets me, as a reader, interested in reading more. He presents the history, central texts and teachings, and disputes of the Mahayana with more or less well-focused discipline.

He presents a core text and then adds the rest as notes to the text, which gives 120 (!) pages of notes. 
And that in a book of 440 pages. I don't see that as an problem, it is actually helpful sometimes when you read. It gets you some kind of flow in the storyline. Alas if you are not used to reading books like these I can see a problem...

The problem I have with this book, is that, now and then, he puts in his own thoughts and views in the mix and muddling it up. If this had been any fluffy pinkcloudbook about Buddhism, I can see some people doing like that. But this is an scholarly book on Buddhism done by a Buddhist scholar in an scholarcontext. 
You don't do that. 
Period.

Despite some minor setbacks this is by far the best allcovering introduction on Mahayana Buddhism in english out there. It is not something you begin with but as you feel the need to get your feet wet, this is your perfect companion on the trip.

Thank you for your practice.

Mtfbwy
Fugen

söndag 25 januari 2015

Drama and Dharma

“ What is drama and what is dharma?
I guess you could say that drama is illusion that acts like truth and dharma is truth itself- the way things are, the basic state of reality that does not change from day to day according to fashion or our mood or agenda. To change dharma into drama, all we need are the elements of any good play: emotion, conflict, and action – a sense that something urgent and meaningful is happening to the characters involved.”
  • "Rebel buddha on the road to freedom", dzogchen ponlop, p. 2

The dramas in our lives can happen on both an big and small scale.
They often start out with “facts”, then concepts, emotions and “truths” gets added to the storyline and we are really getting ourselves ready for the big stage.
The thing is also that the more time we spend in this storyline, the more hooked we get by it and we begin to think about it as “The TRUTH”, rather than just another imaginery play.
The important things to remember is that we can, at any time, realize that we are in a play and look out over the theatre to see the real truth, that these stages of life are just that, stages.
And, also, that it is all good practice, because without the theatre, the storyline and the stage, we can never realize our starpotential, that yes, YOU are a star.
Deal with it, kiddo.

Thank you for your practice.

Mtfbwy
Fugen