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Tranquil metta

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Wishing,
longing,
craving for things to be different.
Like a downcast elephant in the corner of the room.
Won't budge
So I gave up trying,
sat with it as a friend.
'Ah! Sadness be at ease.'
And relaxing,
letting go.
It was gone
transformed
into joy.


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Ripples of kindness

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 26 Feb 2022, 19:17

Feeling quite rough today. Have become very shivery. And there's a heavy achiness about the body that seems to reach right into the marrow of my bones. I tried to study, but had to give up in the end and liedown. It is cold here at the moment, but keeping the heating off as can't afford to have it on as much as I would like. The cost of energy has sky-rocketed. Apparently this is because we are currently buying our gas off the US who are charging extortionate prices, and they won't let anyone buy cheaper fuel from Russia. Meaning energy prices have gone up here in the UK and the EU.

I am very touched by how my Upāsikā (lay Buddhist) friends have reached out to me and offered their support. Even though we are long distances apart scattered all over the world, there is a strong spiritual connection between us, which warms my heart. I feel blessed to be on this year's Upasika training program, and feel very fortunate to be part of a good bunch of open-hearted people. It really makes a difference to have good friends on the spiritual path.

I was reading about a 1200 year old Tibetan prophecy called the Shambhala warrior. Which is about a group of spiritual people who will rise up during these dark times to dismantle the weapons and technology of mass destruction and lead the world to a new era of peace. 

A Shambhala warrior uses two weapons: compassion, and insight into interdependence, to defeat the old warring and greedy order and bring healing to the Earth. There are Shambhala warriors everywhere, in every country, in every institution, even in the corridors of power. Some might not even know they are Shambhala warriors, and some would not recognise other warriors if they walked passed them in the street, as each one acts independently on their own initiative. They do not have a flag, badges, or any means of identification, and they are not motivated by greed, hatred, or delusion. 

Some have big tasks to perform, and others seemingly small, but each one effects the Earth in a positive way. As each time a Shambhala warrior acts out of compassion and kindness, it sends an energetic ripple that effects everything due to the process of dependent origination. 

There are apparently a great number of Shambhala warriors here now at this time, (maybe you are one dear reader,) and even though it feels hopeless just now and extinction is inevitable. The Shambhala warriors will through compassion and insight into dependent origination, heal the Earth and bring in a new era of peace and stability for all beings (-:

I don't know if the prophecy is true, but it is a nice thought, and brings some hope and cheer to the mind, which is better than feeling like we are doomed. And if we are all done for as a species well it is better to die performing acts of generosity, kindness and compassion, as these acts help to gladden the mind and that is the state of mind one wants at the time of death, plus that good karma carries over into the next life. So you have nothing to lose and much to gain by practising loving-kindness.

Warriors arise!


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Wisdom of the sangha

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021, 18:28

This is a tough module I am studying (M269). Spent hours trying to understand and answer a question on the TMA. I tried so hard, but had to quit in the end and submit the assignment, leaving the last parts of the question unanswered, I will lose a lot of marks, but I did try my best. I am honestly wondering if I am going to pass this module, it may be that I'll have to resit it again next year if I don't. 

After submitting the assignment, I sat in Zazen over Zoom. I was feeling stressed about a lot of things during the meditation. And felt quite dark in mood while sat there. I was worrying about the assignment; but also anxious about the state of the world and all the crazy stuff happening just now. Sad and mad about seeing species go extinct, something I am witnessing with my own eyes. 

 Then there's the homelessness crisis, in part due to banks kicking people out of their homes due to missing their mortgage payments, not their fault either, these familes lost their income because of the lockdowns. The government is so keen to save lives by treble-vaxxing everyone, yet I can't help but feel if they really were trying to save lives, why don't they help these poor folks trying to survive on the streets in the middle of winter? Why don't they help the old and vulnerable dying in care homes due to staff shortages or dying in NHS hospitals because relatives can no longer afford to pay for their care. I feel afraid of the huge poverty that is coming from the fallout of this pandemic. Why are they doing nothing to help these people who are at risk of death from extreme poverty?

 I also feel so sorry for the refugees. it was horrifying to hear on the news about that large fishing boat that purposely put itself in the way of drowning refugees and the lifeboats trying to save them. How could they be so heartless and cruel. I cannot understand why people can become like that. 

And I am sick to death of all the happy clappy fake plastic smiley corporate advertisements. Sick of all the celebrity bullshit, blah blah blah so what. All this being broadcast while the Earth is in a major crisis right now. I wish the governments of the world would show more enthusiasm, effort and coordination over reversing the sixth mass extinction event than this mass-vaccination campaign. If they can put so many resources, logistics, academics and energy into vaccinating everyone, surely they could do the same for turning this terrifying mass extinction event around, and also help all those suffering from poverty and homelessness. The governments are so fake, them and the media.

I spoke of all my concerns with the Zen group today (one can stay and have a discussion with the group after meditation). They were all very kind and said a lot of helpful things to cheer me up and help me feel better. Reminding me there are lots of good people out there. And although it all seems futile at times, whatever small way we can help others means something to those we help. That one needs to fight back with compassion. They advised me to read about someone called Joanna Macy, saying she was someone who may be a kindred spirit for me in these dark times, and might help me feel some hope and rekindle love and compassion in my heart.

 I also stated to my friends in the sangha that I had made a vow to never take my life no matter how hard things get. After confessing to them that I had felt like doing so. Mainly because I couldn't bare the thought of seeing any more species go extinct, or witness any more refugees drowning at sea, any more war, poverty or suffering, I didn't want to live in the Orwellian, dystopian world we seem to be heading towards. They were happy to hear that I have made a vow to never commit suicide. I feel publicly making this vow and the painting I made to seal it is a kind of protection for me. Because the thoughts do constantly whirl around my head at times, but seeing my painting and remembering my words can help me stay alive I think.  

One bit of advice that stuck out for me was to try and see my negative mood cycles as like being in a womb, a state of becoming. A time to retreat, nurture and take care, not get too overwhelmed with the sorrow of the world, but care for it with a tenderness like one would a growing baby, and all that sorrow can give birth to something beautiful if one is patient and gentle with it. It can become love and compassion instead of anger and hate. The bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshivra has many many hands and eyes, and those who have taken the bodhissatva vow are her many eyes and hands in this world.

I was so glad that I sat with them today and that I stayed to chat at the end. I nearly didn't, my mood was so negative I didn't want to bring it into the online zendo, but at the last minute I decided I would sit with them. And it did help, not just me, but the other people there were grateful for the discussion we had at the end, as the words of wisdom shared by the different members of the group seemed to help everyone. 


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Light and darkness

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 The world just seems to get more and more strange.

One where I continually find myself questioning if anything is real?

It feels like we are heading more and more towards a tyrranny orchestrated by those passionate about Greed, Hatred, and Delusion. And when the world becomes dominated by wrong view, nothing good can come of it. 

There's a lot of suffering in this world just now, and a lot more to come I wager. Sometimes it gets right into my depths and I wonder how I can help. What can I do? Me a tiny droplet in the sea of humanity. 

I help those I can, in the ways I can (I am not good at everything); but I can't stop the collosal tidal wave of Dukkha (shit) coming for us from all directions.

 I just hope that love wins out in the end and not fear. Perhaps if we show compassion and warmth to those who are suffering. And not judgement or shame, but forgiveness, warmth and friendliness  not distorted by differences of opinion. If we look out for and help one another. Maybe that's our best defence against the coming darkness. 

I have found studying difficult lately, and having problems with my memory and fatigue, struggling a bit with the current module. Will try my best though, if I work hard enough hopefully I will get a pass, but it is challenging.

Did some painting. I think painting helps train my visual sense. I sometimes leave things deliberately untidy in my room and can see patterns in the scrumples and textures. When out walking I sometimes see an intricate weave in everything, and interesting shapes and patterns in the cracks of the pavement and walls. Lights reflected  in the water of puddles and rainsoaked tarmac. The colourful orange yellow patterns of the fallen leaves on the ground. And if I get really calm and centred there's a beautiful soft ethereal light emanating from everything, and I see  Buddha/deva shapes in the stones, trees and sky. And rippling portals to other worlds in the ocean waves.

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Self compassion

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 11 Sep 2021, 22:20


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