27 Nov 2016 Leave a comment
13 Feb 2016 Leave a comment
The video begins at the 15:43 minute mark. Please make sure to replay from the beginning.
23 Jul 2015 Leave a comment
in Uncategorized Tags: 35 Buddhas, Bodhi Path, Bodhisattva, Buddhism, Chenrezig, Gendun Rinpoche, Heart of Practice, Meditation, Meditation Retreat, Pasadena, Pasadena Bodhi Path, Seven Circles Retreat Center in Badger, Shamarpa
Some photos of our Summer Retreat at the Seven Circles Retreat in Badger CA.
22 Jul 2015 Leave a comment
During our adventures of “Taking the Retreat on the Road” Lama Khaydroup led us in the recitation of “The King of Aspiration Prayers of Noble, Excellent Activity”.
I must admit, I was hesitant to join the excursion due to ideas of maintaining the retreat mind-set and sacred atmosphere by not leaving the grounds. Lama Khaydroup emphatically informed me that I would be attending and taught me that we need to maintain the retreat community, wherever we are. Conditions change, but we carry the retreat attitude wherever we go. It was a wonderful reminder. And I was very happy that I did make the trip.
Verses from the prayer:
May I always be accompanied by those friends
whose practice and conduct resemble my own.
With regard to our body, speech, and mind,
may all of our actions and prayers be as one.
May I always encounter companions
who exemplify Excellent Conduct
and have my well-being at heart.
May I never let these teachers down.
16 Jun 2015 Leave a comment
Beijing (CNN) – Five years ago, Beijinger Robert Zhao went on a trip to Tibet. What he encountered left him confused but intrigued.
A science graduate from China’s elite Tsinghua University, he had been taught to mistrust superstition and religion, but in the culture and devotion of the Buddhists he met he found something worth knowing.
Now 25, he is considering giving up his job and becoming a monk.
“It means I will have to give up everything of the ordinary world,” he told CNN.
While Buddhism has a long history in China, entering via missionaries from India during the Han dynasty, it was repressed during the Maoist era — many monasteries and temples were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and monks actively punished for believing in “superstition.”
But now, a growing number of Chinese are rediscovering the country’s dormant Buddhist traditions.
Some, like Zhao, are looking for a spiritual anchor in a competitive, fast-changing society. Others take comfort in meditation and enjoy volunteering.
However, it’s not always easy to combine Buddhist beliefs with the demands of modern life.
Zhao works as an assistant to the boss of an environmental company. His religion means it’s difficult to entertain clients and partners — a key part of the role.
“Not drinking, smoking or eating meat affects my socializing. So the company has to send someone else to go with me, which creates extra expenses,” he says.
Zhao has not told his family about his desire to become a monk yet, fearing that they might oppose it.
Treated more favorably?
Fenggang Yang, the director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, Indiana, says it’s difficult to explain exactly why so many young people are turning to Buddhism.
Some discover it at university, where Buddhist groups are active and famous monks and lamas give lectures. Others have devout parents and grandparents.
He also says that the Chinese Communist Party policy has “moved toward treating Buddhism more favorably than other religions.”
Christianity has also been growing in popularity in recent decades but church leaders say there has been a crackdown on Christians, with authorities demolishing churches and removing crosses from skylines.
In particular, it’s the Tibetan strain of Buddhism, rather than the Chan (also called Zen) tradition once popular in China, that is attracting new converts, particularly students, young professionals and businesspeople, he says.
“It appears that both the chanting and the physical, spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism are appealing to some people,” Yang added.
To what extent these new converts are committed to Buddhism as a religion, with its strictures and rituals, is an open question.
A former leader of a university Buddhism group, who didn’t want to give his name, told CNN he thought its members were more interested in the religion as a lifestyle choice.
Activities that his group organized focusing on relaxation and stress relief were always more popular than reading groups and lectures that examined Buddhist scriptures, he added.
Yang at Purdue University says that for most people in China, Buddhism is treated more as culture than a religion.
They may visit temples or read Buddhist books, but few people treat it as a religion that requires serious commitment.
“Indeed, people who identify as Buddhists do a lot of non-Buddhist spiritual things, such as believing in feng shui, consulting fortune-tellers, practicing qi gong and sampling books and practices of other religions,” he says.
On a recent weekend, more than four hundred people attended the annual gathering of Beijing Ren Ai Foundation, a Buddhist charitable organization, at Longquan Monastery on the mountainous outskirts of the capital.
Zhong Ying, the group’s 32-year-old deputy secretary general, said the group’s most active volunteers were between 20 and 35 years old. In the past five years their numbers had doubled to 200.
For attendee Geng Hui’er, a 26-year-old who works and lives in Beijing, Buddhism was something she rediscovered after returning from studying abroad in England.
Growing up, her family had raised her Buddhist although she says she never really “felt it.”
She now regularly attends meditation activities in monasteries or study groups organized by volunteers.
Geng says Buddhism has given her a fresh outlook on life and past difficulties. It’s also helped her establish a network of people she can talk to and socialize with.
“We sit together, sharing things that have happened in our lives and how we dealt with them, which is more helpful than reading books”, she says.
For Zhao, the aspiring monk, Buddhism has been a balm while dealing with poor health, as well as work and relationship problems.
“My life has been tough for years. (Buddhism) keeps me away from the negative thoughts, like a reminder that’s always there, which has helped me a lot.”
22 Apr 2015 Leave a comment
27 Feb 2015 Leave a comment
The idea is that whatever comes up is not a sudden threat or an encouragement or any of that bullshit. Instead it simply goes along with one’s discipline, one’s awareness of compassion. If somebody hits you in the face, that’s fine…
Generally speaking, Western audiences have a problem with that kind of thing. It sounds love-and-lighty, like the hippie ethic in which “Everything is going to be okay. Everybody is everybody’s property, everything is everybody’s property. You can share everything with everybody. Don’t lay ego trips on things.” But this is something more than that… It is simply to be open and precise, and to know your territory at the same time. You are going to relate with your own neurosis rather than expanding that neurosis to others.
In a sense, when you begin to settle down to that kind of practice, to that level of being decent and good, you begin to feel very comfortable and relaxed in your world. It actually takes away your anxiety altogether, because you don’t have to pretend at all… There is so much accommodation taking place in you. And out of that comes a kind of power: what you say makes sense to others. The whole thing works so wonderfully. It does not have to become martyrdom. It works very beautifully.