The Jade Emperor

Jade_Emperor_(WO3U)On this ninth day of the new year, we commemorate the birth, according to the Taoist tradition, of the Jade Emperor, Yu-huang Shang-ti, who is said to be the Supreme Ruler of the Cosmos.

The Taoist mythos does not embrace the kind of mythological “creator gods”, such as YHVH from the Abrahamic tradition, but instead sees the Supreme Ruler of the Cosmos as an anthropomorphic representation of the compassion, right action and mindfulness with which balance and awakening is achieved, to which we should all aspire. Our understanding of the “creation” is that the universe came into existence from the union of matter (Ki) and movement (Li) which, according to the principle of yin and yang, infinitely alternate to produce the five elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

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Mindfulness… Another of Institutional Buddhism’s Casualties

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One of the casualties of this tendency we have to turn the Dharma into an “ism” (i.e., Buddhism), is that the arts and sciences that make up the Dharma often become homogenised into some sort of “religious doctrine”, stripping away all of the freedom and value the practice once had.

Mindfulness is the art and science of bringing our awareness to the moment. It is the practice of experiencing our True Nature, as Pure Awareness.

The Buddha Śakyamuni is said to have advocated the practice of mindfulness in one’s daily activities, as a means of grounding oneself in the calm awareness of the transitory and impermanent nature of all phenomena, one of the key facets of the path to awakening.

But you see, that’s just it… he didn’t say we need to “believe something about mindfulness”. He didn’t even find it necessary to define mindfulness. He simply said we should practice it.

And that’s where the religion of Buddhism fails in a postmodern world.

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Creating Karmic Spaces

227121_10151220334887585_42901614_nWhen we allow the ego to stand between us and generating bodhicitta, we have created what my Root Guru calls, “karmic spaces”.

Sure, it’s risky to genuinely care about all sentient beings with a full and open heart. You run the risk of experiencing feelings that might hurt… disappointments that might sting… but with practice, it becomes easier to accept those things as they arise, because only when you have opened your heart, as only a Mother can, and accept all beings as entrusted to your tender care, can you truly know the kind of love… peace… and wholeness that is bourne out of Bodhicitta – the Mind of Enlightenment.

Ma Jaya taught, “We know we can use positive intent to visualize happiness and bring it towards us. However, intent becomes a karmic space when the ego gets between the thought and the action.”

Tolerance and compassion

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In order for our “tolerance” to have any merit, it MUST lead to recognition of intrinsic value and compassion for others. This means recognising that we must confront injustice, as it denigrates the value of another, and causes suffering.

This essential recognition frees us from the dualistic notion of “others” and celebrates our essential unity as unique, but undivided expressions of Pure Awareness and Love.

Medicine Buddha Mantra

Sangye Menla is known as the Medicine Buddha – a bodhisattva, who made 12 great vows. Sangye Menla sadhana is not only a very powerful method for healing (both for oneself and others), but also for overcoming the inner sickness of attachment, hatred, and ignorance.

Thus to meditate on the Medicine Buddha can help decrease physical and mental illness and suffering. The vibrational qualities of this mantra is said to ameliorate those conditions and obstacles, which impede our happiness.

Living the Dharma

In this video, Khenpo Gurudas Śuntyatananda, abbot and spiritual director at Sarvodaya Ladrang in Lancaster, PA, shares some thoughts about our indwelling capacity for happiness and healing, as found in the Dharma of Rav Yeshua, the Christed One.

mult-dec2008Directly inspired by the example and vision of Dharma Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s Tiep Hien community, the Contemplative Order of Compassion is a community of monastics and lay persons, who have committed to living their lives in accordance with the Five Precepts of Mindfulness and the Fourteen Monastic Precepts — a distillation of the Bodhisattva Ideal of Mahayana Buddhism.

The Contemplative Order of Compassion (which includes the Spiritus Project Intentional Community and Contemplative Monks of the Eightfold Path) is a non-sectarian, intentional spiritual community, drawing on the Upayayana Buddhist Tradition, Benedictine-Camaldolese and Primitive Franciscan contemplative spirituality and non-dualistic (Advaita) philosophy. The aim of the Order is to actualise the Boddhisattva Ideal by studying, experimenting with, and applying Buddhist Dharma in contemporary life.

Khenpo Gurudas Sunyatananda on Google+