Releasing Toxic Anger

FORGIVE Written In Old Metal Typeset

The process of releasing toxic anger is essential if we are going to find peace and forgiveness within ourselves. At times, we might resist doing so, because we somehow feel “justified” in our anger. After all, the indignity with which we believe we were treated was unfair and perhaps even inhumane.

I get it. Having been savagely raped and beaten for more than an hour by four assailants, in 1983, certainly left me feeling violated and angry for many years. But there came a time when that anger no longer served me or any other purpose.

“What is anger?” an enlightened Teacher was once asked. His poignant and powerful response was, “Anger is a punishment we inflict upon ourselves for someone else’s mistake.”

READ MORE

Connection

group sharingOne of the central tenets of the Buddhist philosophy is the concept of interdependence.

The philosophical dimension of this concept focuses on the recognition that nothing has value in and of itself. Everything is composite, and everything is impermanent or transient. Everything undergoes a process of change, most easily evidenced in our own human lives.

We are not today the person we were physically, emotionally or psychologically, five or ten or twenty years ago. Why? Because the notion of “self” is a delusion. “We” are really nothing more than a composite or amalgam of systems and conditions. The “self” that we cherished when we were twelve no longer exists. Therefore, we can say that it had no essential value, since it was actually nothing more than an idea we had.

READ MORE

Moving from Resentment to Forgiveness

CaptureToday, I choose to shift my focus from resentment toward forgiveness. I recognise that forgiveness is a gift I give to myself. It is an opportunity for me to release the energy that holds me hostage, and distracts me from growth. As I forgive myself, it becomes easier to forgive others.

Each moment is an opportunity for me to release a limiting belief or fear, and to forgive myself for holding me back from experiencing the full potential of that moment in the past.

I know that my experiences are the result of my thoughts. And without a need for blame, I recognise that there are times my thoughts take a less productive turn. And that’s alright, because it’s part of the experience of learning. But I also realise that I am free to choose new thoughts.

forgiveAnd so today, I choose thoughts which free me from the decisions of my past… which bring new possibilities and reinvigorate my journey, rather than distracting me from it.

I let go of resentment I have felt toward those who have let me down. I release the need to punish those who have hurt me. I know they were doing the best they could, and their mediocrity and lack of commitment is their business… their lesson to learn… not mine.

I am limited only by the barriers I create in consciousness. And so I release those barriers now, and recognise my essential nature as Pure Awareness.

Today, I allow ease and compassion to guide my thoughts and energise my actions. I celebrate the limitless potential that exists in the present moment, and choose to mindfully turn my awareness to that moment… to live from that place alone… which is the source of my power and potential.

I forgive myself and others effortlessly, and let go of the old stories that held me captive.

The wisdom of the Buddha points out that holding onto anger is like holding onto hot coals, but hoping that the other person is the one who feels the pain. It’s like drinking poison, and expecting the other person to die from it. And so it’s time for me to let go of these foolish endeavors and resentments.

I’ve allowed another to hold the pen that was writing my story. Today, I choose to write a NEW STORY, in my own hand…

And as that story unfolds the joy and abundance that are my birthright begins to express in every experience… every turn.

Forgiveness comes easy and release gently follows.

Letting Go of Boundaries

boundary_fullMaster Thich Nhat Hanh once observed, “Most of the boundaries between traditions are artificial. truth has no boundaries. The differences are mostly in emphasis.” Letting go of the perception of boundaries can free us to experience a deeper, quieter, and more still version of Truth. In the Buddhist tradition, we call that place of letting go, “calm abiding”.

I’ve often thought it interesting that some Buddhists, especially in the Tibetan tradition are so quick to pontificate that “all phenomena are empty,” and yet they get their uttarasanghas in bunch so easily, decrying this monk’s lineage or that teacher’s orthodoxy! If phenomena are empty, then doctrine and dogma are equally empty, and all wisdom paths ought to be given the same respect.

A couple months ago, I was approached by a number of practitioners, who wanted to know if I would consider reinvigorating the Contemplative Order of Compassion as a centre for wisdom and dharma.  And I agreed to give it some thought, as I took into account many of the areas of my work and practice at the end of the year. It is something I am still giving a great deal of thought.

Some have encouraged me to consider incorporating the order back into an institutional organisation, so that we could have access to greater funding for the projects that impact so many people’s lives.

I’m not sure that will ever be a good idea, as who and what we are arose from the journey out of institutional religion, to a place where post-denominational expression of ancient teachings and new thought philosophy could be unencumbered by dogma and doctrine.

cropped-zenkonweb31.pngOthers have suggested that we formalise the beliefs and teachings in such a way that Zenkondo becomes a spiritual path itself. And I think we’ve done so already, without allowing it to become another institution or religion.

It may be time to explore the possibilities of forming a greater community, possibly even a physical community again. Time will tell.

In the meantime, let’s simply agree to let go of the idea of boundaries, and begin working toward expanding the work of compassionate service to others. And we will be well on our way to rediscovering what the future holds.

Fire Feeding Upon Fire – The Purpose of Sangha

fireThere is an expression in the Taoist tradition, known as “fire feeding upon fire,” which explains why practitioners of that tradition, like the Buddhist, Hindu and Zenkondo paths, value participation in a community of practitioners, or sangha.

While wood (or another substance) might burn and produce a fire, there is nothing which produces the intensity of energy and illumination that occurs when the fire feeds the fire itself.

Take a single candle, and you can illuminate a room. But bring the wicks of two candles together, that the intensity of the flame grows exponentially.

And so it is with the Dharma path. When we engage our spiritual practice, and begin serving others, with the intention of alleviating suffering and the causes of suffering for ourselves and for all sentient beings, we fill the space around us with illumination — Sacred Light or Pure Awareness — the unquantifiable energy that Einstein refered to as “zeropoint energy” from which all matter arises.

And so the work of the solo practitioner serves the world well.

seshin-tekina_kyokaiBut when we come together and practice as part of an intentional community… When we serve with fuller, more open hearts, because we have united in purpose, in truth and in awareness itself… the space around us, which becomes illuminated is exponentially larger, and we literally fill the multiverse with that Pure Awareness and Light.

The focus of fire feeding fire is not assimilation, but rather integration. Each bringing that which is uniquely their gift to offer, but forgetting the self, and allowing the common good to be served without losing sight of our individual responsibilities, paths, and insights.

The sangha is an opportunity for bring that insight to the table, where we can offer it freely and with pure love, not out of an egoistic need for recognition, but rather as a simple offering… a spiritual tithe, if you will, to be used by the whole community as fuel, or what Ram Das calls “grist for the mill”.

My Root Guru, Ma Jaya, would tell us that the key to longevity of spiritual practice was to learn how to “drink as you pour”.  And that metaphor is simply another metaphor for the Taoist “fire feeding fire”.

“Purify your mind,” Ma would tell us, “with your heart of love.” And when we come together as sangha, that is what we do… We purify our minds, and become One Heart of Love.

During Time of Spiritual Attack

During the time of spiritual attack or psychic oppression, it can be helpful to call upon the Universal Mind in the form of mantrayana, to restore balance.

Each of us is an energetic being — an expression of the One, Beloved, the Ek Ong Kaar — and as energetic beings, our thoughts take the form of energy.

If you find that a person or persons are consistently directly negative energy your way, creating what is called a spiritual attack or psychic attack, this mantra is a simple, but powerful way to reflect that energy back upon the one or ones from whom it originates.

“Alak Baba Siri Chand Di Rakh”

sirichand

Yogi Bhajan would teach us that this mantra calls upon the assistance of Baba Siri Chand, who was the son of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs. Baba Siri Chand was a devoted yogi who renounced the world in favour of spiritual practice. I have always had a special affinity for Baba Siri Chand, from my teens onward.

He would accompany me (in my heart)on my walks around the ashram during the periods between 2 AM and 3 AM, when I would begin Kali puja on the Mother’s Path. He would sit with me in my heart when I sat in the Gurdwara and chanted the Mul Mantra on Kashi’s sacred grounds.

Mindful of what’s taking place around me and mine tonight, I lift my voice and chant, “Alak Baba Siri Chand Di Rakh!”

 

Awareness of the Path and its ultimate purpose

kashiboardwalk

When we speak of awareness of the Path, we sometimes become distracted, and imagine that the Path is all that matters.

This mindset can get us in trouble. We might believe that wisdom, compassion, virtue and service are the foundation of our Dharma practice, and that is as it should be. But we must also realise that these four pillars, when erected upon the bedrock of concentration, are merely the means of getting to what the Guru ultimately desired for his students.

Awakening.

I pray your Path will always be well-lit, by the heart of the Guru. I pray that you are blessed with joy and abundance, and that you will always generously share from that joy and abundance, as you make your way from the Dharma to Enlightenment.

It is my hope that this Path of Zenkondo — the Primordial Way of Compassion — will continue to inspire you to serve with a full heart… to love… and to remain deeply rooted in the moment.

Namasté, Beloved!

By What Spiritual Authority Do I Teach?

DC-Michelangelo-JeremiahThere exists an interesting misconception, in my opinion, about how things in the spiritual realm operate. The notion of spiritual authority is one of those aberrant ideas that illustrate how far from truth our misconceptions can carry us.

This misconception is neither exclusive to the Abrahamic traditions nor to Eastern Thought, and can be found equally among religious fundamentalists, Buddhist sectarians, and even some whom one would expect to be more intelligent than to play this game.

In a most interesting conversation this afternoon, I was asked by a woman (who is notably affiliated with a powerful religious cult, I mean sect, which is fundamentalist and literalist in nature), “By what spiritual authority do you teach?”

She was, of course, attempting to set me up for a debate on how I could be an apostolic successor and Buddhist abbot, but I was way ahead of her little agenda…

I answered that the sole authority by which I teach is my personal experience.

I neither acknowledge nor answer to any spiritual authority, institution, lineage, person, book or tradition, because nothing outside the fullness of personal spiritual experience is capable of bringing about personal and spiritual transformation or awakening.

That said, I have always gratefully acknowledged the lineages from which my teaching is derived, without whose gracious and very generous teaching, I would not have certainly struggled a great deal more in my own spiritual journey. I view my spiritual lineages, as documented backward to the original disciples of some of the Ascended Masters, as the “family tree” from which the download of wisdom was generously imparted to me.

As such, my lineage becomes akin to DNA, rather than being the source of “authority” or “orthodoxy”. DNA establishes us as legitimate human descendants, but doesn’t give us authority over any other beings. And so it is with our “spiritual DNA”, which lend legitimacy to the spiritual paths we travel, but which grant us neither authority nor supremacy over another sojourner.

dharmalineageI don’t believe the answers anyone seeks can be found anywhere but within themselves, and so I am not a spiritual authority myself, nor do I consider myself as being associated with any institution or religion at all, but rather see my role as that of a spiritual “lamp”, whose sole purpose it to help illuminate the way for the seeker, who chooses and creates the path for themselves.

Not a day passes that I do not offer profound gratitude for the gifts given to me by my Root Guru, Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati; from the holders of the spiritual lineages from which I have gained so much, including Robert Danza Sensei, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Swami Dayananda, Swami Abishiktananda, Maharaji Neem Karoli, Albino Luciano (Pope John Paul I), Dr. Louise L. Hay, Dr. Kennedy Shultz, and so many others.

But that gratitude arises from the Ground of Experience, not from honouring some paper or oral lineage, recognition by this Lama or that Swami. And it also takes its foundations from seeing the good that has demonstrated in the lives and hearts of hundreds, possibly thousands of my students, over the past three decades.

Just as the goldsmith refines the metal to separate the gold from other elements, the spiritual path allows us to separate that which is non-essential from our True Nature as Pure Awareness.

You need no authority to enter the path, because you are the creator of the path, and the path itself.

For the seeker of liberation and awakening, there is nothing to do, but to open your heart, serve those who are hungry and in need, and be still.

 

The Secret Message of Yeshua the Nazarene

Understanding the Mystery School Teaching of Rav Yeshua – the Palestinian Dharma Master – on this celebration of Rebirth and Resurrection.


Video: The Mystery School Teaching of Rev Yeshua (Rabbi Jesus)

secretteaching

This teaching is especially dedicated to my Root Guru, Tenzin Yangchen (Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati Santa Maharajni), to my brother monks, Gen Lozang Gyaltsen, H.E. tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Jampal Vajra Changko Braveheart, our novices, Adam Whiteman, Kalisvara Jaya, and my beloved Jampal Choden, as well as with fond thoughts and blessings to former members of the community, Michael and Amy Johnson, and members of our lay sangha, Pema Khandro, Janet McEnany, Sandy Cagle, and the monks, nuns and clergy who make up our extended spiritual sangha.

May this celebration of the spiritual resurrection of the Cosmic Christ within us all inspire new birth and a personal transformation for you and those you touch.