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)

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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.

Consider All Phenomena as Dreams

brain-connectivity-130802One of the teachings in the Tibetan practice of Seven-Pointed Mind Training tells us to consider all phenomena as dreams. This enables us to better understand that our perceptions are not always accurate, and helps to break the habituation of being reactionary, based on false-perceptions.

It’s about learning to recognise that at any given moment, our idea of reality is being interpreted through the cloudy, muddled lens of our dualistic perceptions, our fears, and chaotic data, stored on the hard-drive of our subconscious minds.

Think for a moment about someone you dislike a great deal. In your mind, you’ve probably created an idea that this person will be permanently bad, or distasteful, or even evil. Am I right?

As a result, your every interaction with that person is coloured by that perception. But your perception is no different that if you perceived that interaction while you were sleeping.

You see, while we sleep, the dream seems quite real… but the moment we awaken from the dream, we realise that it wasn’t so. These appearances, which make up our everyday experience, are simply our mind’s manifestations of confusion.

Dreams sometimes appear to be totally realistic, and have the ability to cause our pulse to race, our bodies to sweat and shake… even though they are not anything more than our thoughts.

In the same way, as practitioners of Zenkondo, we can train our minds to recognise that those experiences that play out in our ‘waking dreams’ are simply the result of our thoughts… illusions deeply rooted in our subconscious minds.

Viewing each phenomenon as existing by itself, completely independent of its surroundings, causes, conditions, and our mental labeling of it, is the same as regarding dreams as real. By learning to see every experience as a dream – whether good or bad – we organically lose our attachment to them. We relax into the moment, and allow Pure Awareness to arise within us.

On Unconditional Love

Unconditional LoveUnconditional love is a path of service. It seeks nothing in return, and has no expectations or conditions placed on the recipient.

Author Stephen Kendrick once observed, “The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.”

In this video, I share a few thoughts on why unconditional love is so important to your daily practice, and offer a challenge for those interested in cultivating a greater unconditional love for others, as part of their Zenkondo/Bodhisattva path.

“When you plant a seed of love it is you that blossoms.”
– Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

♥ मा मा मा ♥

Reflecting Back Over the Past Thirty-two Years

dc-gmAt times, it seems hard to believe that it’s been that long, but reflecting back over the past thirty-two years since I took my vows, on the night that Franciscan Companions of the Immaculata (which would later become the Contemplative Order of Compassion), has been a bittersweet journey.

I couldn’t imagine doing things any differently, and can honestly say that it has been a humbling privilege to have walked this path for a little more than three decades.

Our lives were entrusted to the Divine Mother, whose embodiment of the Immaculate Heart of Mary would remind us that a life of surrender to the Dharma, and serving those who suffer was the path to which we’d been dedicated body, mind and soul. It wouldn’t always be the easiest path, and it would require untold sacrifices, but it was the only path I could imagine for myself.

1972copyThis special day reminds me of so many people who served along side of us, but especially of the three co-founding brothers, and the fourth, who would join us shortly thereafter. They’ve all left their bodies now, as have the two bishops who presided with me over the community in those earlier days.

A few months after my profession of vows, I met my upa-guru, Lama Thubten Yeshe for the first time (in this life), and it would be some years later, that Lama Yeshe would point me in the direction of meeting my Root Guru, Ma Jaya (Tenzin Yangchen Ma).

Nine years of serving as the abbot six monastic houses, and 29 years of serving as the spiritual director of the Order itself, brought me into direct contact with so many dedicated men and women, for whose service to the sick, the poor and the dying I will always be grateful. Some left us to pursue more traditional paths. Others left because they didn’t find the demands of monastic/ordained life suitable. Still others, lacking the commitment to their practice, couldn’t handle the decimation of ego and the demands of accountability, and felt like they were being “picked-on”. All will remain my spiritual children for lifetimes.

At one time, students fought over who would do what, to personally and financially support the work we’re doing. Today, only one student donates all that she possibly can. The others all have convenient excuses for why they do nothing to support our work. And that has severely limited the reach of that work around the country. Yet through this medium, I can continue to try to inspire others to do what they can to alleviate suffering, and teach them to recognise the causes and conditions in their own minds, which create that experience of suffering, so that they might eliminate them in themselves.

For those precious few who still walk the path in these degenerate times, I thank you. And for the one, precious child, who continues to support our work, I offer my heart-felt gratitude and love.

 

Habituation

Flopping your ass in front of the television, instead of attending to your practice is a pretty good sign that your practice has degenerated.
Flopping your ass in front of the television, instead of attending to your practice is a pretty good sign that your practice has degenerated.

What is habituation, and does it have any connection with suffering and attachment?

The Buddha taught that there were two causes for suffering: the karmic actions we take, contaminated by our delusions; and the delusions themselves. Another way of looking at this is to realise that, as we read in A Course in Miracles, “Whatever is not love is fear.”

Anger, attachment, greed, desire and ignorance arise out of fear. When we seek happiness outside its true Source, then we are acting out of fear. When we experience pain, due to the consequences of external conditions, causes or past actions (karma), if we try to avoid that pain (delusional behaviour) we suffer.

Once we recognise the impermanent nature of things, we learn to no longer grasp at them, or attempt to avoid them. We see them as they are – transient experiences or conditions, which arise as a result of other interdependent causes and conditions.

In general terms, attachment arises from one of four types of grasping: grasping after opinion, grasping after sensory pleasure, grasping after rule and rite, and grasping after the theory of “self”.

In more general terms, we can say that grasping after those things we imagine to bring us happiness, and grasping to avoid those things we perceive as causing us pain are the foundational conditions, which give rise to attachments.

But there is another cause of suffering, and form of attachment that we don’t often think about — attachment to habituation. And that’s the subject of today’s Dharma video. In today’s dharma video we explore the nature and result of habituation in our lives.

When a Buddha Becomes Ill

photo-mindfulnessLately, I have had time to reflect quite a bit on illness, dis-ease, and on the role mindfulness plays in our own and others’ sicknesses.

For much of the past eighteen years, I’ve not awoken in anything less than debilitating pain, living with a burdensome fatigue, intense skin sensitivity that comes and goes for hours at a time, and intermittent, annoying fevers. Since the onset of this hypothyroid challenge, which I don’t believe is anything I will have to deal with longterm, all of these things have intensified.

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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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Radical Inclusion

diversityAs a spiritual path, one might call Zenkondo “decentralised”, in that there is no singular authority, principality or Being at the core of the practice. We embrace the divine principle as being beyond our concepts, and boundless in its diversity.

In many ways, we see the institutional religions of the past two millennia, and sadly recognise that what anthropologically emerged as an expression of the people, has nearly always become a corrupt and clericalist mechanism of control and manipulation. Religion, at its roots is always a folk-religion, but when it becomes institutionalised, the superstitions, traditions, rituals and dogma are generally “reinterpreted” to give central power, control and authority to one person or group of persons.

We’ve seen the result of this kind of corruption in the predatory behaviour of the Roman Catholic Church, and in the centuries of violence and torture of the Tibetan people, at the hands of the Tibetan Buddhist ruling class.

On this nineteenth day of the Chinese New Year, there is often a celebration of “The Hundred Gods”, particularly among certain Zen and Taoist practitioners. This celebration is intended to remind the practitioners that they are to honour the gods and traditions of other practitioners, whether they embrace or recognise such gods themselves or not.

I could not help but think about how virulently Westerners seem to attack those whose beliefs are not like their own; especially those of us for whom the god concept us unnecessary. In their pathetic attempts to define themselves, they become threatened by anything that doesn’t fit into the convenient little compartments our culture and society has created for such things.

For practitioners of Zenkondo, our spiritual path should not only reflect spiritual diversity, inclusiveness and warmth, but should encourage it.

Buddha was not a Buddhist, nor was Rav Yeshua a Christian. And given that seven of the Roman Catholic Church’s popes were Jewish, it would seem that we need to take a close look at the exclusionary, intolerant, sectarian assholes we may have become, in the name of religion!

There will be those who say that our path is heretical, and they may indeed be correct. That has never been of any interest or concern to us. What is essential is that we inspire compassion, accepting all others, and recognise that we need not disparage the practice of another, in order to justify our own. We shall always be there to lend a hand to the poor, the suffering, the sick and dying, and to those marginalised by society, religion, family or the world.

When we encounter another in need, they become the central figure in our practice — an opportunity to serve the indwelling divine principle, and to recognise our essential oneness.

Beginners’ Eyes

Ma Jaya once reminded us that the only things that ever really grow old is our clothes and our limitations. Every cell of your body is constantly being replaced by brand new cells.

forever-youngTherefore your entire body is new, every few months. 

The beliefs you have which limit you are, from the moment you recognise them, old and chaotic data. They come from not being present in the moment. Fear can only arise when we are replaying old stories, false perceptions and memories of the past, or when we are projecting nonsensical, baseless stories about the non-existent “future”. The past and the future are imaginary constructs, created by the ego-mind to give a “context” to the chaotic data, drama and false ideas, it tries to impose over reality.

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