Meditation groups host special teaching event

Ed. Note- This is from a local paper, The Cape Cod Times. It is about this weekends “Change Your Mind Day” event, the first of it’s kind here on Cape Cod.

The pace of modern living leaves many of us feeling hurried and harried, and there is nothing healthy about stress or anxiety. It makes sense that a calming practice like meditation would help defuse stress. The medical community regularly recommends that patients try mind-body practices to aid with healthy living, and physicians such as Dr. Herbert Benson at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are actually proving that meditation not only lowers blood pressure, heart rate and respiration, but also changes the body at the level of cellular activity, meaning it may help slow down the aging process.

If you would like to try meditation but aren’t sure how to begin, “Change Your Mind Day,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on the Hyannis Village Green, offers the perfect opportunity to find a meditative practice suited to your temperament.

Nine meditation groups will be represented from across the Cape, with tables set up so people can pick up information and talk to the teachers. There will also be a talk by a different teacher on the hour all day long and there will be ongoing silent meditations all day, consisting of 20 minutes of sitting and then a time for questions and answers.

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If you read a Sutra in the grass, mow it

The other day, I posted the following on Facebook…

“Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon.” ~ Ikkyu

I wasn’t quite sure why I was drawn to it, I just liked what it said.

Over the next couple days it kept ringing in my ears.

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Bringing Anger and Aggression to the Path

Today, I’d like to welcome Craig Mollins from Mindfulness Anger Management. This is Craig’s first time being part of the Buddho-Blogosphere Article Swap, and I am very excited that the magical hat paired him up with me. To be honest, it was odd that the hat paired us, maybe not odd but “meant to be” to add some cliché pizazz here. His post has really hit home for me, and has helped me understand somethings about myself, I hope you gain as much as I did from Craig’s article.

As a youngster and up until about age 21, I got in many dozens of fist fights. I had some natural talent so most of my fights ended with the other guy flat on his back, cold as a fish. My skill came from a number of factors. One was that I had a laser sharp focus and knew exactly where to hit people. Also, I hit with a sledgehammer strength and one punch was usually all it took to get the job done. But I think the most significant factor was that I had a deep aggressive tendency; I had no hesitation in, and indeed took great pleasure in, the act of hitting someone with every ounce of my considerable strength with a desire to knock them fully unconscious.

Thus it was an unlikely and very fortunate turn of events that I would discover Buddhism when I was 18 years old.

My first encounter with meditation was in martial arts training, where we would sit quietly at the beginning of class to let go of the business of the day and calm our mind. Later I discovered an article on the ‘noble eightfold path’ in a martial arts magazine. That article made so much sense to me and I felt deeply connected and relieved to read it. It was like I had finally come home after wandering around lost for such a long time.

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No labels, no judgement…

Recently, it was mentioned to me, one of the most important things is to be myself/ yourself. That means not putting on extra layers, masks, etc. It made a lot of sense, and is something so complex and profound, yet simple and as straight forward as can be.

We, some of us at least, get so wrapped up in worrying about the “me” and “I” or other labels. Many within the Buddhist realm tell us there is no “self”, thus inducing the idea there is no label to be had, but we still do it. The fact of the matter is, regardless of what name we call it, we are judging it, putting it in a box or throwing it from the box.

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Gītassara Sutta: A Brief Commentary

Rod, from The Worst Horse and Shambhala SunSpace, posted this the other day on Facebook. It got my mind buzzing again, as it does from time to time, about the relevancy of music to Dharma practice.

The Gītassara Sutta

Bhikkhus, there are five dangers of reciting the Dhamma with a musical intonation. What five?

Oneself gets attached to the sound others get attached to the sound, householders are annoyed, saying, “Just as we sing, these sons of the Sakyan sing”, the concentration of those who do not like the sound is destroyed, and later generations copy it.

These, monks, are the five dangers of reciting the Dhamma with a musical intonation.

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The Eightfold Path Pt. 1: Right View

This is the first in a series of, you guessed it, 8 parts. Firstly, I am no expert on any of this, these are just my opinions, and I am hoping to hear yours as well, so feel free to comment.

Most Buddhists strive for liberation and to reach the ultimate goal of enlightenment, which means getting rid of all negative states of mind and to end the cycle of Samsara. The Eightfold Path was left for us from Buddha as a way to get there from here. It is obviously much more than that, but it’s a good start to accomplishing our goals of liberation from suffering.

An article on Buddhanet.net describes Right View as this “the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life.”

What does this all mean? Let’s look at it and break it all down. It basically tells us, the layperson, that the way we look at the world is wrong, not that we’re idiots, but that we aren’t seeing what is really going on. Not talking about grand government conspiracies or anything, but just seeing the things that we don’t acknowledge or pay attention to. I’m no expert, but what I gather from this Right View is that we already have preconceived notions (habits) and need to change them. Buddha said that we are all born in original ignorance, and I believe Right View is one of the keys to start unlocking this ignorance we are born with.

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Book Review: Razor Wire Dharma

“Razor Wire Dharma” written by Calvin Malone
Published 2008 by Wisdom Publications

“When we take the time to know people around us, it becomes easier to extend compassion and loving-kindness to them. Those who are in prison and seem different are simply people who need the same kindness everyone else is seeking. No matter what they did, who they are, what they look like, or how they act, like all of us, they want to be happy.”

When you think of a prisoner, what vision does this bring about in your mind? Many people envision a “hardened criminal”, someone who “should be locked behind bars, and have the keys tossed away”. They may also think this same person cannot change, and will not change. This book is a perfect “wake up call” for those with unsafe assumptions, especially to the one’s that believe prison is the be all end all for a “criminal”.

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