There are reports of footballers and athletes collapsing from myocarditis on the field and going to hospital, all quite close together in a short period of time, one cannot help but wonder if it is something to do with these COVID vaccines?
I also disagree with the decision to vax kids with experimental COVID vaccines, as the chances of getting myocarditis from the vaccines are much greater in young people, and the virus hardly touches young people anyway, they get it very mild and sail through it. These COVID vaccines don't stop one from catching and transmitting COVID, so I don't understand why the government is planning to vax children as young as 5 years old. Something doesn't feel right and I again feel the need to speak out about it, as the mainstream media is full of misinformation and as it has done repeatedly in the past over other things (such as the Iraq invasion, the Hillsborough tragedy and the blatant lies about and character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn being just a few examples), it has a track record of misleading people into believing things that aren't true to support the government's agenda.
I have a heart murmur, and as these vaccines do carry a risk of developng myocarditis I don't feel comfortable injecting experimental MRNA technology into my arm. Because if something does go wrong noone can help me, or (like what happened to someone locally who had an adverse reaction to the vaccine) the doctors and nurses will fob me off and tell me it is nothing to do with the vaccine. There is this vibe now in society that nobody is allowed to criticize the vaccines at all, and anyone who does so is ostracised and made to feel bad. Things are way too biased at the moment and I don't trust it at all when things get like that.
Besides, I think I may already have had COVID (twice), so does a doctor I saw when I described the symptoms, but I never got tested because it was early in the pandemic during the first lockdown and there were no tests available at the time, so I may already have natural immunity which research is showing is much better than a vaccine. See what is happening in India where it has become endemic and the virus has stopped spreading and mutating due to natural immunity.
There is also strong evidence showing asthma sprays are able to prevent one getting severe COVID as well as vitamin C, Zinc and vitamin D3. The treatments and medical knowledge about COVID is also much better now than at the beginning of the pandemic.
And by the way I am not anti-vax or a conspiracy theorist, I have had vaccines in the past, and I believe the tetanus jab saved my life. I just do not feel comfortable with being coerced into having a new experimental technology injected in me that nobody can possibly know what the long-term effects on my health might be.
There are reports of footballers and athletes collapsing from myocarditis on the field and going to hospital, all quite close together in a short period of time, one cannot help but wonder if it is something to do with these COVID vaccines?
This world is a horrible place. I really hope I don't come back here again in my next life.
So confused, which is a sign that I am holding to a wrong view. I feel the Buddha's presence with me though despite all my failings. Not sure how that's possible when he has gone on to nibbana, and I don't know why he encourages me with his presence. I feel like giving up, it is so hard to train this mind. But then I look at the world and I can't go back to it I feel no joy in the things of the world anymore. It is all so shallow and consumerism is dissatisfying. My ego is changed and no longer finds pleasure in what it used to. The things of the world just bore me now. I care not for the world of man anymore.
I feel a bit stuck on the path and alone in my quest for enlightenment. But the Buddha is with me, I don't know why, I could think of many who are much more worthy of his presence than me, yet he believes in me for some reason. I hope I don't fail in this quest and let him down. I wanted to get enlightened for the sake of mother Earth and all beings. Because things are so dark at the moment here on Earth at this time 2021, and look like they are going to get darker. I wanted to be a light and help preserve the dharma and bring peace and freedom from suffering to all beings, or at least as many beings as I can before this body dies. Though my flame is not bright at the moment and nearly extinguished I will keep persevering on the eight-fold path. By myself if I have to.
Is it wrong to feel so sad? I can't help but feel this sadness sometimes. This human world is so cold cruel and crazy. I am so useless, why is the Buddha with me? I am grateful for his support.
Is this a delusion? I don't know, today I felt so lost and alone. Sat here and I felt his energy support me, it felt real. I don't want to let him down.
I feel the need to speak out against the misinformation being spread by politicians and much of the media.
Both The Lancet Journal and The BMJ have published evidence showing that, “Adults who have been fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 can carry the same viral load of the delta variant as those who are unvaccinated.”
Oxford University scientist Carl Heneghan said that, “the evidence is clear that the viral load of the vaccinated and unvaccinated is very similar, it doesn’t reduce transmission.” Heneghan was speaking to Talk Radio.
Gibraltar and Israel are two of the most vaccinated places on Earth – yet infections continue to increase in both places.
To quote the historian Neil Oliver:
'History shows bad governments often look for people to blame, often some of their own people. Uniting a large part of the population against a smaller part – giving frightened, angry people a focus for their frustrations, and also for their disgust – is as old as the hills.
If the 20th century has a lesson for us, a lesson that ought to be as permanent, as indelible as any scar, or tattoo, it is that encouraging citizens to regard a minority of their fellows as unclean, as vectors of disease, generally ends badly, badly for everyone.'
I am not sure what a true Buddhist is but I have always been a bit of a wildcard. I have studied with both the Zen tradition and the Theravada tradition. I will be a lay disciple of Ajahn Sona starting next year in January. And I am a part of several different Buddhist sanghas now. I have decided to be a person of no rank. I dislike authoritarianism, always have and so I won't permanently plant my flag anywhere. I tend to be one who likes to think outside the box. I get a bit of flack for it from some Buddhist teachers and friends, but I think it is a gift I have. I used to think it was a curse, because it's lonely being someone who dances on the edge away from the herd, but it may be that someone like me is necessary, and who knows with the way this world is going, perhaps it will be up to people like me to keep the dharma going in the future, but without being tied to any particular tradition, like an Open Buddhism. If I survive that is, I could die at any moment and I am totally okay with that, I am noone special and I don't feel attached to any aspirations or outcomes, just open to possibilities.
I also have a strong intuitive feeling not to have the covid vaccine, and I have had dreams warning me not to have the vaccine. I trust my intuition more than I trust the government and the propaganda machine of the mainstream media. I don't trust them, they're liars. They manipulate us with fear and have been caught out lying to us over and over in the past. Don't believe the hype. The reason hospitals are struggling is because the Tory government have been practising austerity for over a decade now, leaving the NHS seriously underfunded and at breaking point well before the pandemic started.
If this vaccine is so great why do you need three doses? And why are fully vaxxed people filling up the hospitals? And the argument that the vaccine stops you infecting others is bullshit. If you are vaccinated you can still catch and infect others with the virus. So vaxxing kids is completely unnecessary, the vaccine is actually more harmful to children than the virus itself. There's something fishy going on with these vaccines I feel. I don't trust it.
I also disagree with testing on animals, all synthetic medicine is tested on animals, and that doesn't rest easy on my mind. Every being values their life, and other animals don't want to be experimented on, but they don't get a choice, humans just bully, exploit and abuse them. They are living beings that suffer and feel pain, what right do we have to treat them the way we do? This idea that some lives are more valuable than others is the root of all that is wrong with this world.
Anyway, what I write here makes no difference to what is happening in the world. I am just a tiny insignificant part of the population and governments are getting heavier on the unvaccinated and I imagine I will be increasingly ostrasized by society for refusing to play ball. But I won't be co-erced, and when things get heavier, I plan to turn my back on the world and disappear into the wilderness. I feel alone anyway.
Friendship is impermanent and subject to change just like everything else. One should learn to be fearless without needing friends by their side. I think the Buddha once said (at the time of his death) that we should become an island on to ourselves, we should take refuge in ourselves and the dharma. We shouldn't be dependent on anyone else, we should be our own teacher, our own guru, our own best friend. We should question everything, even what he says.
Don't get me wrong, it is nice to have friends, but life and the nature of change can be a real bitch sometimes and the reality is people aren't always there for you, and there are shitty days where you will feel separated, disconnected and alone. Connections don't last forever, nothing does, and it is everyone's fate (whether we like it or not) to one day become separated from those we love.
The only thing you can really depend on in this universe is that everything is changing, and it is up to you to free yourself from suffering. Friends come and go, but you will always be with yourself. So try to make a friend of your mind, and perhaps that can help ease the pain of separation. Besides one only feels lonely when they think: 'I am lonely'. It is just a state of mind, part of the story we tell ourselves. There are beings all around us, so noone is truly alone. It is all bullshit in the end anyway, none of it is real. At least that's what I am telling myself, I feel lonely as fuck just now, but I don't care anymore.
I am someone who has always liked the fantastical, the magical. In the stories of the Buddha and Jesus I love the miracles. Don't get me wrong and judge me for this, because the wisdom is appreciated for sure, and I understand it well enough cognitively, but sometimes it would be nice to get some simple practical steps to enlightenment, instead of just what we're aiming for. I e. It is all very well talking about nibbana, love, serenity and equanimity, but how does one develop these states of mind? I also feel without the fun of magic and miracles, without the devas and the myriad different realms of existence, the wisdom contained in the scriptures would feel a bit boring. I am someone who likes, (no, needs to alter my consciousness,) and go beyond this reality. I find the industrial scientific money-centric consumer world tedious, dry, empty and dissatisfying. It makes me feel dull, unhappy and alone. I long to expand my consciousness and explore other spiritual worlds, other realities, experience the psychedelic, open my mind to other possibilities, meet other beings in different dimensions, see things that go beyond this mundane grey financial existence of the 21st century, with it's bleak concrete, algorithms and neverending traffic.
Aye magic, I feel very drawn to magic, not the spell casting kind, just the boundless feeling that this crap material existence isn't all there is to life or the mind and that one can transcend it.
Sphongle - Divine Moments of Truth (DMT):
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.
I completely fail sometimes, like yesterday, I got triggered into an unhelpful emotional state. The key then I am learning is to try to become aware of what is happening and then work at abandoning the negative state of mind. This can be tricky, especially with feelings of guilt or regret, or the feeling of loneliness. One must remember they are not alone. Our connections are always with us wherever we are. Our ancestors are also with us. I am with you dear reader, and I certainly don't judge you. I will be your friend at the gate if you need one. You are not alone.
Drop any guilt or regret about the past, learn what wisdom you can from the experience and let it go. Try again, persevere. That's how you honour it.
These struggles are like the guardians at the gate, they were put there to keep one out of the sacred space. The guardians are not bad energy and can become useful allies, but first one must enter the sacred space, and to do that one must tame and go beyond the five guardians at the gate:
(AKA the five hindrances.)
One should remember that one does not have to face the guardians alone. We can do it with friends by our side. We are energetically connected, even over great physical distances, we are still with one another on some level, and can share energy - step through these dharma gates together.
An abstract depiction of the mycorrhizal web that lies beneath ancient woodland, it lives in symbiosis with plants and is used as a communication network by trees; connecting tree-roots together to form a woodland wide internet.
A bit under the weather today. Woke up with a touch of sickness this morning. Didn't feel comfortable lying in bed as had sweated a lot in the night. So I got up and had a bath. Then sat in meditation with a Zen group I sit with regularly. Felt quite unwell whilst I sat, and have an annoying cough which kept interrupting the flow of meditation and stopped me getting into a deep state of concentration. At first I wondered why on Earth I was sitting meditating with others on Zoom when I just wasn't feeling it. But I remembered a story about a monk who got sick with malaria, and he carried on sitting and meditating with the sangha every evening, and even though he felt like he was on death's door, and felt gravely ill, he kept meditating and it was hardwork, he struggled; but he also persevered and eventually managed to reach a flow state known as samhadi (A profound deep stillness, lucidity and unification of mind) and from then on his sickness turned around and he got better. I have heard other stories like this, so I think there is something to it. There's something powerful and healing about getting into a state of samhadi. I didn't manage to do that today, after 30 minutes I felt like I had had enough and left the sitting to lie down for a bit.
But it was not a wasted effort, there was merit there. I think just sitting with the sickness and learning how to flow with it and be kind to myself was a helpful experience. I tried to remain aware and mindful throughout and learn what I could about the mind and how to be okay with ill health and pain; not reacting, accepting things as they are, letting them be, without the suffering.
I can't seem to generate the energy of metta (loving-kindness, goodwill, friendliness) today, feel a bit weak and fatigued, athough I will persevere with that as I have found doing metta practise for the bacteria/viruses causing sickness in my body has powerfully turned things around for me in the past. I can't seem to bring up that feeling just now though, so am spending a lot of time in equanimity. I may listen to a playlist of dharma talks on metta later, as using the voice of another can help to generate the feeling of metta when I am struggling to be able to.
Remembering the five wise reflections oddly brings me comfort, and seems to help the mind to accept the way things are. It reminds me that the first four reflections: ageing, sickness, death, and separation are natural, and happen to all living beings. The last reflection reminds me to show kindness to myself and others, and develop a generous heart and try to give in whatever form I can, even if that is just silently practising metta for myself and others, it still helps. As these are actions that can bring one good karma.
The Five wise reflections
I am of the nature to age; I have not gone beyond old age.
I am of the nature to get sick; I have not gone beyond ill health.
I am of the nature to die; I have not gone beyond dying.
Everything I hold dear and everyone that I love,
Will become separated from me due to the nature of change (of impermanence).
I am the owner of my karma, heir of my karma,
Born of my karma, related to my karma.
My karma is the ground on which I stand.
Therefore should I frequently remember:
Whatever actions I do for good or for ill,
Become the karma I inherit.
I regularly sit in Zazen with a Zen group via Zoom. And there is a chant we do at the beginning of the sitting called the verse of the robe. And I have a pet jackdaw, and she has recently started chanting along with me and the group, and it made me laugh today whilst I was chanting. But in hindsight I hope it didn't upset or offend anyone. Obviously we are muted, so it was my Zoom self laughing away on the screen whilst we were chanting, which may have looked inappropriate and odd to anyone looking who couldn't see the context of my situation. Still, it did help me to generate some joy and gladness in meditation today. Something I feel is an important and necessary step in training the mind. Joy can help one work better and stop becoming too dry, dark and grim in thought.
In my experience whatever the mind focuses on tends to snowball.
There is the middle way where one is neither excessively happy or sad, but I am not someone who likes to be dead-centre in my emotions. I imagine equanimity as being like a dial, and for me the ideal spot is where the needle is a bit off-centre to the right towards joy and pleasure, but not completely all the way, because if that gets too excessive that is not helpful either. But I find without any joy or pleasure I feel a bit like a stone Buddha, so for me a bit of joy and joviality brings the mind to life I find.
Ah well enough of my crap, back to my studying. M269 has been the most challenging module I have studied yet, but is stretching my brain in good ways I think. Very chewy module, so have to study in bit-size chunks and have regular breaks.
Anyway have a good day wherever you are, at whatever point in time and space you are reading this.
May all beings know profound peace and wellbeing.
This is a nice practise I learnt in Buddhism. It is called sharing your merit with all beings. Merit being your attainments, virtue, knowledge, wisdom, benefits of spiritual practise, wellbeing... all the good wholesome stuff. And you share that freely with all the beings around you. Both seen and unseen. It can help bring a nice vibe I find, especially when out walking. I feel the presence of many different beings, and some I call Devas, (we in the West call them spirits.) I feel them all around me at times, and they bring good energy, and I have found they really appreciate it when we share our merit with them.
We of course lose absolutely nothing when we share our merit with others, what you give out energetically comes back to you exponentially. This means your merit will grow from this practise, and then you will have more to give, and the more you give, the more comes back to you, and so on, it grows and grows.
However, the intention behind giving is also important, as it is our intention that will be the flavour of what comes back to us energetically. What we reap is what we sow. As a rule of thumb, right intention tends to come from the belly or the heart, intentions developed in the brain and our thoughts can generate the wrong kind of intention.
I think it is a blameless practise, that causes no harm and nothing bad can come from it.
It has also helped me a couple times with grief. Where I offered to share my merit with loved ones who had crossed over this past couple of years. I felt their presence as I did this and that they really appreciated the merit. All spirits appreciate it when we share our merit with them, I think it can really help them out where they are.
I think this practise is also a good training for the mind in developing generosity, good will and friendship with other beings. It can be done silently in one's head, and nobody has to know that you are practising this at all. You don't have to be wealthy, you can be in poverty and still practise sharing your merit. We have all had moments of genuine kindness, there's some merit right there that can be shared. Share your entire life's worth of merit with all the beings around you in all directions, and dimensions throughout all time and space.
Keep doing that as often as you remember to.
In Buddhism this energy is known as metta or loving-kindness. It also means friendship, warmth and joviality.
Compassion is a form of metta, it is metta towards another who is suffering.
Empathetic Joy is also a form of metta, this is where one feels joy in another's happiness. You could say (for anyone who has encountered object-oriented programming) that compassion and empathetic joy are both subclasses of metta (;
Equanimity is also very valuable, and compliments metta perfectly. Ajahn Sona describes metta and equanimity as being like a knife and fork. They work well together.
Equanimity is welcome for times when generating metta feels impossible, when the grief is too much, and for the times when you make mistakes and fail, when things don't go to plan, for the things you can't change in the world. Nobody can solve all the world's problems, neither me nor you are responsible for solving the world's problems, that's an impossible task. We also should not suffer with other beings. That just leads one to sadness and the complete wrecking ball of depression, which doesn't help you or any other being. The best help we can be to other beings is to practise keeping our own minds bright and lucid, keep our spirits lifted up so we can offer support and friendship, compassion, and uplift others. This world is going to need that now more than ever. One can also radiate equanimity energetically, which can help bring calm to a difficult situation.
This practise takes a while though, lots of repetitive practise, lots of failures, but don't beat yourself up for those, just learn what you can, pick yourself back up and try try again.
It is good to try and find something that invokes that feeling in you. Can be anything: a loved one, a pet, any person, a mythological figure, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, an animal, a tree, the ocean, something neutral like the snow, water, air, colours, can be something imaginary. Use anything that brings up that feeling of love within you. Even if you get just a finger snap of the feeling, that's good enough, it snowballs. And the mind will find its way back there again, and again, and get better at finding its way back there. And sometimes it will do it without you consciously invoking it. Once it gets the hang of it, the mind will get quicker at finding it, and the amount of time the feeling lasts for will also grow both in intensity and duration.
Remember that what we practise now is what we will become. A way I have found that can help to keep fuelling the determination to practise, is to imagine having compassion for my future self and others. It is a gradual training, much like learning any other craft or skill in life, but with repeated practise it can be done, and the beneifts will blow your mind. Your future self (and all the people around you) will be glad that you did (-:
Neither going toward nor backing away from.
Not grasping nor pushing away.
I breathe in and train my mind to focus on dispassion.
I breathe out focusing on dispassion.
A creeping feeling,
A voice says:
"Brace yourself for the darkness".
But I don't care for it much, I will fight.
By keeping my mind lucid and bright.
I am no use to the Earth or anybody else
When I'm depressed.
There's a place the air touches
Where magic is real
Where people really do fly
And a myriad Buddhas
In the myriad worlds
Welcome you and
Say well done!
Internal combustion broken beyond belief
Opened up the heart but still no relief
Pain, and a feeling of disconnection
Alone, but don't feel like conversation
So me go deep inside
far far within
away from this place
to another space
where I forget who I am
and that's the best
to forget my self.
Leaves leave shadows
through dusty stained glass
musical rhythms make the
static shadows dance.
Mind and outer
a unified flow
I am enjoying this module so far. This year I will be learning about problem-solving and creating algorithms. We are working with something called Jupyter notebooks, which I like using. The module is going to be challenging, but it is re-activating my logic circuits and hopefully doing them some good, they were getting a bit dusty from neglect.
At the moment I alternate between studying and painting. So the left and right hemispheres of my brain are getting plenty of exercise anyway, and the rotation hopefully keeps them happy, might even help with problem solving, we will see.
I have also got one of those daylight bulbs in my room, which I am using to help with low mood, as the nights are drawing in now and the days are getting shorter. It also has the added benefit of making it easier to see the colours when painting, so proving to be a good idea to get one of those.
Ah well, enough of my blurb, back to my studies.
I have decided I really want to make a go of the Buddhist path and learn as much as I can. Now my son is 16 I have more time to devote to spiritual practise, obviously inbetween studying at the OU, right livelihood is part of the path, so studying this degree is also part of my spiritual practise.
I feel the Buddha's teachings are important, especially now in these turbulent times, and they should be available for everyone. Even though not everyone will be interested, they should be available for those that are. There are some really knowledgable experienced teachers out there, some of who started practising before I was even born. They are currently sharing what they know freely online, running free programmes, events, Q&As and practise discussions. I had the sobering thought that one day in the future these teachers will no longer be with us, so I should make the most of them and learn as much as I can from them. Then the scary thought came to me that twenty years from now it could be up to people like me to carry the torch of dharma forward. When that happens I hope I'm up to the task. I do wish to freely share what I know - I don't want the dharma to be lost. I have found the practise of buddhism has helped me a lot and I am keen to preserve it for future generations.
Still, that's a long way off in the future, hopefully if I keep practising now, and I don't die any time soon, the Richie in the future will have enough experience, knowledge and wisdom to keep that flame burning, and hopefully be able to pass that knowledge on to the next generation and so on. If it wasn't for all the people in the past who shared what they knew and passed on the teachings of the Buddha, buddhism would have died long ago. The fact it is still so well-preserved 2500 years later is testament to how powerful these teachings are.
Feeling a bit under the weather today, think it is just a cold. Spent some time with a few drops of olbas oil in a bowl of boiling water and a towel over my head, breathing the vapours in for as long as I can stand it. Also drinking plenty of chamomile tea as that is good for the immune system, (at least I believe it is, always seems to help me recover quicker anyway).
I am lucky to have a robin that perches in the bush next to my window and sings his little heart out. The sound transports my mind into some otherworldly peace that is hard to put into words.
Seeing some interesting colours, shapes and patterns in the walls and floor, I wonder sometimes if there are many worlds that overlap in the same space, this material one we inhabit being just one of many. Perhaps there are ways to tune our consciousness so we can visit the other realities - that would be fun.
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