Posted in diamond sutra

Diamond Sutra, chapter 25

The lord Buddha continued:

“Subhuti, one should realize the egolessness of all things and understand selflessness. Why? because great disciples do not see merit as a personal possession, as something to be gained.”

Subhuti asked, “What do you mean?”

The Buddha replied:

“Because great disciples do not seek merit, they do not see them as personal possessions, but they see them as the common possession of all beings.”

It’s important to remember that we are practicing the six perfections: generosity, patience, virtue, diligence, concentration and wisdom, not for ourselves and our own generation of merit, but for the good of all beings. When one being becomes Awakened, it truly helps all beings and makes the world a better place.

Posted in rime center

A Chapter Ends

I am no longer going to run the Dharma School at the Rime Center.

I have enjoyed running the children’s program at the Rime Center very much. I have met wonderful Buddhist teachers of many traditions (Maezen was my favorite). My association with the Rime Center Dharma School has also helped me become friends with other Buddhist parents.

I’ve heard that if you want to learn something, try teaching it to someone else. That has been my experience. Teaching in Dharma School has forced me to learn a lot more about Buddhism than I might have otherwise. Planning lessons, reading stories, thinking of new and innovative ways to present teachings; I’ve had to do these things a great deal and it’s really given me a better grasp of Buddhist teachings than I had before I started.

For three years I’ve been teaching children how to meditate. People that ran this program before me didn’t put as much effort into the meditation part as I have. Children CAN sit still and meditate. And some of them actually want to.

I’ve also been teaching them values. The six perfections: generosity, virtue, patience, diligence, concentration and wisdom, have been my road-map for teaching.

The kids have helped me develop those values in myself too. (especially patience). And a seventh one: Adaptability. I have had to learn to be so adaptable in this position because many things don’t go as planned.

SO,

I’m writing this because I am leaving this position.

I have been doing it for three years, which means I’ve been doing it longer than anyone else has.

It’s not because I don’t enjoy it. It’s not because my time is precious and I don’t want to volunteer anymore.

It’s because it feels like the right time. It’s because I need to get out on a high note, before I get burned out and start to be bad at this. It’s because my daughter Nissa has told me she’s had as much Buddhist education as she needs. And it’s because I’ve found a replacement that I think will do a better job than I have. I think that’s the goal of any leader or manager. To find someone better to take their place.

Her name is Leslie and I wish her the best of luck.

This has been a big part of my life.

What comes next for me?

I’ll let you know.

Posted in bodhisattva, buddhism, lists, mahayana

Four Ways to Practice Being a Bodhisattva

Mahayana Buddhism encourages everyone to become a Bodhisattva.

What is a Bodhisattva?

A being that is dedicated to working toward the Awakening of all beings. A being who is motivated by compassion and wisdom to help others.

It’s thought that the Bodhisattva ideal was created as an alternative to the monk ideal. In the monk ideal, one would leave the world behind and practice as a hermit in a monastery or cave until attaining Enlightenment. In the Bodhisattva ideal, one stays in the world with the rest of humanity and practices there. This is still debated today. I think disappearing from the world is not all that helpful.

Ram Dass said, “If you think you’re Enlightened, go spend a few hours with your relatives on Thanksgiving.”

Ram Dass is not a Buddhist, but I think his point is really relevant here.

So, here are four methods to help us practice being Bodhisattvas.

1) Cultivate the 6 Perfections: generosity, morality, patience, diligence, meditation, and wisdom. These are the positive, active virtues of the Bodhisattva. Once we have resolved to avoid harming others, the next logical step is to cultivate these virtues in order to help them. To me the cultivation of the six perfections is the central part of Buddhist practice.

2) The art of dharma communication. This means the Bodhisattva helps those who are not Buddhists learn about Buddhist practice, not necessarily so they become Buddhists. We aren’t seeking to convert anyone. We only want to spread compassion and wisdom. Also the Bodhisattva helps those who are already Buddhists to become better Buddhists and engage the path more successfully.

3) Bring benefit to others. A Bodhisattva must be generous and helpful. They must praise and encourage others whenever possible. Help others or at least don’t hurt them.

4) Seek Enlightenment for the self and others as a major focus of life. The Bodhisattva must share awakened awareness with others and not use it for personal gain.