Archive for May, 2006

Rub a dub dub, OM in the tub

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

I decided to take a long bath today. 

I figured I could sit back , enjoy a song or two, read a little bit, soothe my yoga stretched hamstrings and clean myself up in the process.

So there I was, surrounded by bubbles..

what a great song….

I then later thought…

what a touching story.

As I put down the yoga magazine I was reading, it seemed that all the right conditions to create a Moment of Presence fell into place….

The very act of applying the body wash to my bath sponge was art.  I observed the soap which I poured in no particular pattern become absorbed into the sponge.

As I lathered my body, I was aware of each and every sensation. I circled one way, than the other, noted the difference between the two and moved on. The water flowed off my arms and disappeared into the soapy depths from where it came.

I reached for the shampoo noting the weight and feel of the bottle in my hand.  I soon became totally engulfed in the massaging of my scalp, noting that the scent of the shampoo was overpowering the aromatic bubbles in the bath.

I leaned back and felt the water embrace my head.

A moment of silence. Complete darkness.

Then a heartbeat, a breath…inhale….exhale.

The beating of my heart sounded like a drum, my throat spontaneously became the gateway for …

OM

The sound and vibration was the only thing in my awareness.

There was only OM.

From that OM everything seemed to manifest…there “I” was again. I noted the subtle breath as it caressed my vocal chords, I felt the tone and strength of the OM vibrations change with each beat of my heart.  The lungs were emptying, the sound growing more and more feint.  I slowly raised my head out of the water, my eyes opened…

Wow!.. what an experience, how long did that last?

the Moment of  Presence was gone.

April’s winner for the meaning of life contest! Part III

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Well, as per my recent “meaning of life contest” blogs, the last batch of honourable mentions have been very questionable by my standards.  However the latest email that landed in my inbasket has a bit of a redeeming quality to it.

The entries are a little bit better and half of them are from Canada. My comments are italicized.

“The Meaning of Life is…smiling because we feel it, not because we were supposed to. Happiness is internal and when it bubbles out of us, we are truly living.” ~Jennifer Stone, Woodland Park, CO

Spontaneous bubbling up of happiness.. I like it Jennifer.

“The Meaning of Life is…we all must survive the circumstances in which we are born, this is neither good nor bad. Your journey is your life.” ~Scott Brooks, Manitou Springs, CO

Somewhat fatalistic and nihilistic sounding. Yes Scott, our journey is our life, but what I think is lacking in this definition is found in Jennifer’s quote above. If I could elaborate, I would suggest that if one can start to move beyond the ingrained concepts of good and bad then consciousness begins to become more spontaneous and creative. As consciousness is released from the confines of habit and routine we begin to harmonize and integrate a larger understanding and from there the journey becomes much more than just surviving the circumstances of ”your” life.

On that “note” (pun intended)…take it away Jonathan Aaron…
 
“The Meaning of Life is…clear to anyone whose music of the soul is louder than the mind chatter of the ego.” ~Jonathan Aaron, Surrey, British Columbia

 
“The Meaning of Life is…. to find someone you care about, have kids, a good job and be kind to everyone you meet and then die together. ~Charlene Lafleur, Ottawa, Ontario

Someone from Ontario!!

Now I’m not sure how many people read this blog, and of them, how many are located in or near the Toronto area, but I would like to let you know about a series of interesting lectures taking place in July.

Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche at the University of Toronto, July 17-22, 2006

One of the oldest living Tibetan Buddhist teachers, Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche began his training at the time of the 13th Dalai Lama in Tibet, and he is presently senior advisor to the 14th Dalai Lama. He has taught Tibetan Buddhism around the world for the last 60 years and has been teacher to many prominent Tibetan and Western scholars and practitioners. One of the most prolific Tibetan scholars today, he has composed more than twenty volumes of text. His book, Tantric Practice in Nying-ma, addressing foundational practices for the Great Perfection or Great Completeness (Dzog chen) tradition, has been translated into several languages. His most recent book, Fundamental Mind: The Nyingma View of the Great Completeness, has just been released in English.
Rinpoche has been invited to Toronto by the Nyernga Ngakde Buddhist Centre, and he will offer a lecture series at U of T.

For more information, contact http://www.ngakde.com/ or
http://www.religion.utoronto.ca/English/Lectures-on-Tibetan-Buddhism-Series.html

 

What is the Triple Gem?

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Given my website and company name, I’m often asked one of 2 questions;

1. What is Triple Gem?

2.  Why triplegem?

While seemingly similar, these questions have two very different answers. 

For now, let me just start by attempting to answer the first.

The Triple Gem is also known as the Three Jewels, the Three Treasures or the Triple Refuge

Triratna (Sanskrit) / Tiratna (Pali)

Triple Gem is the collective term used to describe Buddha, Dhamma (Pali) or Dharma (Sanskrit) and Sangha. 

A practicing Buddhist takes refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha and often begins their spiritual path by formally declaring this intention during a brief ceremony.

There are slight variations on how these Three Refuges can be defined and as such I will summarize each according to my layperson understanding/interpretation and then list a number of scholarly and more in-depth references for those who want to penetrate deeper into the teachings.  

Buddha fully awakened, enlightened or liberated one

By taking refuge in Buddha I acknowledge the existence and follow the teachings of the historical Siddartha Gautama also known as Shakyamuni.   I also seek refuge in the wisdom and teachings offered by all the Buddhas that have and will follow.  By doing so, I  recognize that all sentient beings have the potential to awaken and be liberated from suffering. 

Dhamma in the context of the Triple Gem, represents the teachings of a Buddha or the Law of Truth

By taking refuge in Dhamma I seek refuge in Truth. Truth that is not based on faith or dogma but based on my own direct inquiry and investigation into the nature of existence.

Sangha  a community of monks or nuns, or a group of individuals that have achieved a certain level of understanding, or can simply apply to a group of  individuals that share a common practice or set of values

By taking refuge in the Sangha, my intention is to share and contribute to creating a harmonious community where its members support each other in the understanding of Dhamma

I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dhamma
I take refuge in Sangha

Resources and References

http://www.accesstoinsight.org
http://www.buddhanet.net
http://www.vri.dhamma.org/archives/
http://www.nibbana.com/ 

May all beings be free from suffering

April’s winner for the meaning of life contest! Part II

Monday, May 15th, 2006

As some of you, (actually since i’m probably the only one that really reads this blog), as I recall, I was voicing a small concern over the quality and a possible US bias towards the submissions made to the meaning of life in 25 words or less contest.

While I am still holding out for a special email that lists all the wonderful entries (especially mine) coming in from the commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia, I received a new email which seems to make light of certain submissions.

Although the submissions below may speak to many people and really touch a special part of them, I can’t say they resulted in any mini satoris for me.

excerpt from the email…

Here are a few entries from people who like to EMPHASIZE important truths
through repetition, capitalization, and exclamation!

-”The Meaning of Life is…learn all you can, do all you can, love all you can, live all you can.”  –Elizabeth Fekete, Bell, Florida

-”The Meaning of Life is…to love God, love others, love yourself, and build a legacy you are proud to leave behind.”  –Lori Bowman, Nashville,
Tennessee

-”The Meaning of Life is…grabbing the brass ring.  What you do with it is your responsibility to the universe and yourself.  In other words, GO FOR IT!”  –Liz Cooper, San Antonio, Texas

-”The Meaning of Life is to experience love, life, tranquility, and showing others your amazing destiny!!!!!!!”   –D’Ayre LeBlanc, Sacramento,
California

April’s winner for the meaning of life contest!

Thursday, May 4th, 2006

So I received the email with last month’s finalist for the meaning of life in 25 words or less…

again it wasn’t me.

But before I get to the winner, I must admit I was getting kinda skeptical of who the judges were and I started to wonder if any of them harbour some sort of prejudice towards Canadian submissions?

However, as per usual, it seems I may have jumped the gun.  As I read along i came across this…

“Lately some of the best entries have been coming in…..from Canada and Australia. I’ll be sharing some of those with you in coming weeks. And stay tuned, yours may still be chosen as the winner of the grand prize!”

woo hoo! They must be talking about me right? Good to see that they’re aknowledging some of the commonwealth countries.

ok now to back to the winner…

The April finalist

“The Meaning of Life is…to give the best of your unique self to the world around you.”

~Jeannette Arangua, El Monte, CA

To be honest.. its nice, its simple, but out of all the submissions they receive.. to pick this one?

At this rate, I might as well submit my next one as..

“The Meaning of Life is…a tear and a smile”  wait.. that seems to ring a bell??  :)