Tag Archives: martial arts

july buddhist carnival: the humble edition

in the last few weeks, i have had many an occasion to think about humility. here, then, is a buddhist carnival dedicated entirely to humility.

this time, i will start with a poem of my own:

ha’aha’a: humility.
beyond this and that,
above servitude,
below arrogance,
not higher not lower –
just that:
here i am.
naked.
let the winds blow …
ha’aha’a.

(ha’aha’a is hawaiian for humility. when the the spirit of aloha is explained, ha’aha’a has a place: a – akahi (tenderness); l – lokahi (unity, harmony, oneness); o – olu’olu (kindenss, being pleasant and agreeable); h – ha’aha’a (humility); a – ahonui (patience and perseverance)


everything is eye level

humility, very simply, is the absence of arrogance. where there is no arrogance, you relate with your world as an eye-level situation, without one-upmanship. because of that, there can be a genuine interchange. nobody is using their message to put anybody else down, and nobody has to come down or up to the other person’s level. everything is eye-level. humility in the shambhala tradition also involves some kind of playfulness, which is a sense of humor….in most religious traditions, you feel humble because of a fear of punishment, pain, and sin. in the shambhala world you feel full of it. you feel healthy and good. in fact, you feel proud. therefore, you feel humility. that’s one of the shambhala contradictions or, we could say, dichotomies. real humility is genuineness.

this is a quote by chögyam trungpa, at art of dharma. the post is about a comparison between buddhist and christian ideas on humility. i love the idea of playfulness in humility, and the paradox of pride and humility. definitely something to investigate a little further.

humility and moral outrage

staying with the theme of christianity and buddhism for a moment longer, paul knitter from how a christian buddhist sees it starts his post on the limits of moral outrage with these words

in these days of widespread – including my own – moral outrage at sacerdotal pedophilia and episcopal cover-up, this sentence from richard rohr’s the naked now stopped me in my moralistic tracks: “moral outrage at the ideas of others hardly ever serves god’s purposes, only our own.” (p. 132)

and later on asks

so, how can we be “outraged” without become “dualistic,” without making it an either/or between good/bad? how can we declare our opposition to something without cutting off our connection with that something?

he suggests

in declaring what we think is wrong or what we believe needs fixing, we have to feel, and we have to enable others to feel, that we recognize our own limitations. we are conscious that in speaking strongly we can never speak definitively. there’s always more to learn. there are always other perspectives. and yes, we may be wrong. we know that. and we must be aware of that as we voice our outrage

and concludes

if we can be outraged but at the very same time humble and compassionate – then, and maybe only then, can our outrage serve god’s purposes.

i wonder whether it’s possible to be outraged and humble at the same time. is it still outrage when we add considerations of humility and compassion? rage implies singlemindedness, even when used outside of human emotion. “the fire raged through the city”, for example, evokes a force that consumes everything in its path, without looking left or right. humility is everything BUT singleminded – it always considers the other.

humility and “i deserve to be treated with respect”

in buddhism … pride is thought of as one of the obstacles to a happy, peaceful existence. pride gets in the way of compassion, and compassion and cherishing others are what buddhists say lead to a happy and content life (more about compassion tomorrow). when you embrace pride, though, you see yourself as higher than others and you value your happiness over the happiness of others. when you embrace humility”the opposite of pride”you see yourself on the same level as others, and you value their happiness just as much as you value your own.

let me tell you, i struggled with this teaching for a long, long time. there was this one part of me that was all like, “i’ve worked hard to get where i am, and i am special, dang it. just look at all of those bestsellers that i’ve penned. i deserve to be treated with respect. i’ve earned it.”

this from alisa at project happily ever after. i still get a little confused over how humility and the idea of deserving/being special etc. related to each other. maybe the idea of equality helps here, too. e.g. if i’m happy to celebrate someone’s small accomplishments, then why not celebrate mine, too. if i’m special, then others are special, too, and vice versa.

shin buddhism, humility and “inner togetherness”

jeff wilson has a guest post at daily buddhism, where he shares some delightful words about shin buddhism. he points to the great importance of relationships when it comes to humility:

for me, shin practice is about humility, gratitude, and service to others. and also good food and dancing, since shin temples are true communities, with many activities for all ages and lots of yummy japanese cooking. … none of us are deluded about our level of attainment-we are ordinary people, prone to foolishness. but everyone, shin buddhist or otherwise, exists within an inconceivable network of support from all things, an ever-changing matrix that provides us with nourishment, shelter, love, and, if we don’t let our egos get in the way, pushes us on toward final liberation. awakening to this inner togetherness which we all share helps us to get a perspective on our karmic limitations, and this engenders humility, patience, and a sense of humor about our shortcomings and those of others.

humility, bullshit and conceit

i am always interested in buddhism from the point of view of martial arts. at dharma-zen blog: martial arts in the modern age we find the lovely zen story of buddha mind and bullshit mind.

the eight winds cannot move me
one fart blows me across the river

maybe you want to go and find out what that’s all about ..

image by alex de carvalho

josh waitzkin, an inspiring performer

the everyday becomes exquisitely beautiful. the notion of boredom becomes alien and absurd as we naturally soak in the lovely subtleties of the “banal.” josh waitzkin

this quote is from waitzkin’s the art of learning, a book i’ll comfortably put on my all-time top 10 books on personal development. it’s not just a “good” book. josh waitzkin is not content with being good. a world champion in both chess and tai chi, he asks

let’s say we have become very good at something, and we are capable of performing reliably under pressure. how do we become exceptional? how do we make that leap from technical virtuosity to unique creativity?

unlike other material on superperformance, words like these, which pepper the book throughout, do not intimidate me, even though i can think of many situations where i don’t do well under pressure. while waitzkin speaks mainly about his experience as a chess player and martial artist, everything he says is easily translatable to a wide host of experiences.

this book is not about “10 easy steps to success”. there are many passages where waitzkin describes spending hours, weeks and yes, years, on practicing one little thing. and yet the book has a wonderful feeling of lightness and possibility. one of the main reasons for that is that waitzkin, in his writing and in his life, works hard on focusing exclusively on what’s under his control. there’s little “try this, do that”, and lots of “i’ve tried this and this is what happened.” he speaks from his experience, and he works on his experience.

that’s why he inspires me. he’s a man who takes complete responsibility for himself. he inspires me because of his infinite curiosity. he inspires me because of his fervent pledge to working with, not against, his unique talents and qualities. he inspires me with his stories about working with adversity – for example, training himself to think through complicated chess moves while listening to deafening rock music. he inspires me with his love and attention to the accidental and the minute:

rainwater straming on a city pavement will teach a pianist how to flow. a housecat will teach me how to move.

this happens to be my 700th blog post and is my entry to damien’s amazing vision project. if you’d like to find out more about the book, try this:

(this article can be found on the carnival of self-mastery)

a buddhist carnival on father’s day

laughing, imperfect buddhahello friends, and thanks for visiting this month’s buddhist carnival!

before we start, i want to say:

happy father’s day!

and i want to tell you a bit about my father, who passed away 12 years ago. it was my father who awakened my interest in buddhism. buddhism was a philosophy that suited my father well. when i think of him, the first emotional images that arise are of a calm but passionate man, who was intimately aware of the nature of illusion, and who was infinitely compassionate yet unentangled with other people’s suffering. he also had an all-encompassing sense of humour that often seemed to hold the whole world’s vast absurdity in his loving, warm hands. yes, he talked about buddhism here and there, but more than that, he was an example of it. i don’t think i ever heard him use a phrase like “living in the moment” but even in his darkest days (and there were many!) there was always a sense of presence about him; perhaps he often did not live in the moment but he was frequently aware of it, and it showed.

it is interesting that this immediate recall i have of him is always much louder and more intense than the other stuff: like many “gurus” (a very charismatic man, he was a strong influence on those around him, most of them fellow artists), he was fallible in countless ways. he was manipulative and had that impossible sense of entitlement so typical of the european aristocracy that had survived the upheavals of history anything but intact. this man was also addicted to just about anything that caught his fancy, and struggling, for his life many times, with bipolar disorder.

and yet, as i paint this all-round picture, these all-too-apparent shortcomings serve nothing but to enrich the image of my father that i carry in my heart.

i am deeply grateful that i can say “yes” to all that my father was. that, too, comes from him: this fierce doctrine of inclusion and acceptance.

thank you, father. or let me talk to him directly, in german:

pappi, danke fuer all die geschenke, mit denen du mich ueberhaeuft hast. danke, dass du mir den buddha geschenkt has.

***
and now: let’s move on to the carnival:

the essence of the sutra is a poem
i really like opening this carnival with a poem. in this post, the sutra on knowing the better way to live alone – thich nhat hanh we hear

the essence of the sutra is a poem. the buddha wrote poems, but the poems of the buddha were more designed to show us how to practice. the gatha which talks about the art of living alone is called the bhaddekaratta gatha, bhaddekaratta means “the best way to live alone.” many people have mistranslated this title: one master translated it as “practicing for one night.” there’s also another master who translated this title as “being present.” the correct translation is to say “the better way to practice living alone.” this poem says:

do not pursue the past.
do not lose yourself in the future.
the past no longer is.
the future has not yet come.
looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.

all of the essence of the buddha’s teachings lies in these words.

loss
next, a post on loss by our friend chris, the martial artist, who has been a welcome guest here on this carnival quite a few times already. he talks about a topic that i have been thinking about lately, so i was happy to hear more about it. it is called investing in loss, investing in ego

the hero’s journey starts with self-reinforcement, passes through acceptance and internal quietude, to arrive at listening, learning and perhaps, ultimately, transcendence. this is the common path of spirituality and martial arts. to win, one must first be sincerely willing to lose more than just their footing.

as often, i am presenting this carnival in two parts. i find it contradictory to praise the simplicity of buddhism and then at the same time flood you with even more words than i usually do.

the second part will come out in the next few days, some time before june 20.

in the meantime, if you have an article about buddhism you would like to see featured here, please use this submission form.

and don’t forget

do not pursue the past.
do not lose yourself in the future.

in gassho,

isabella

(image by T a k

a buddhist carnival – 3rd edition, part 1

welcome, friends, to january’s edition of a buddhist carnival. like last time, i’ll divide it into two parts, just to make it a bit easier to read.

let’s start with fellow therapist wayne c. allen, who talks about non-duality at the phoenix centre blog.

non-duality … is about loosening one’s grip on “one note being”. life becomes a dance. you notice that you are judging, labelling, boxing things up, and you have a breath and let go of the definitions. in this letting go process, your experience expands, and you see that whatever is going on has many aspects, all equally true.

chris from martial development has more on non-duality. the non-dual perspective on subjective reality shows how one can look at the law of attraction from the buddhist (and hindu) viewpoint of advaita or non-duality. oh, and you might find his link to the video concentrate with xzibit and team ryouko interesting (or amusing, or weird, or even offensive, depending on your level of interest/tolerance for rap).

a surprise was praveen’s article. when i first saw the title, i thought it was one of those submissions that have nothing to do with buddhism (i get quite a few of those). but then … well, see for yourself: the tao of simplicity: speed golf.

ken nubo, on the other hand, takes the opposite track. instead of running with golf balls, he stares at clouds:

i’m sitting here next to the large window and just staring off into the clouds while playing some traditional japanese music. it’s relaxing.

i think it’s a healthy way just to sit for a day and stare at the clouds. and daydream.

let’s allow those clouds to carry us to wayne, who talks about a random enjoyable reading – the book gay-neck, a classic children’s story about a boy, a pigeon, and the wisdom of lamas. wayne gives us this truly inspiring quote from the book:

think and feel love so that you will be able to pour out of yourself peace and serenity as naturally as a flower gives forth fragrance.

these are our featured articles for part 1. two more little tidbits – posts that are definitely interesting but not directly about buddhism: personal development guru steve pavlina talks about one of his passions in why vegan? and charles h. green gives us a better new years resolution redux at his blog with the great name trust matters.

i’ll serve up the second part of this carnival some time during this week. for tomorrow, i have plans on a bit of a twist on  wordless wednesday.

in the meantime, if you have a post about buddhism, please submit it here for the next carnival, scheduled for february 15.

a buddhist carnival – 2nd edition

dear reader friends, here is the new buddhist carnival. i feel very fortunate to do this service to the – buddhosphere?

and dear blogger friends, thank you so much for all the excellent submissions to the buddhist carnival. in keeping with the suggestions in our first post featured here, i have decided to break the carnival up into three sections. piling on lots of information is just as un-buddhist as piling on lots of material goods or overextending oneself during the holidays.

here is the first part, presented by bloggers who speak very specifically about buddhist practices.

zen for the holidays – 10 tips – holidays and family drama

this was submitted by wayne c. allen at the phoenix centre blog. he starts out by quoting good old r. buckminster fuller “how often i found where i should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.” wayne goes on to say that

nothing ups the ante for family drama better than “going home for the holidays.” typically, past dramas are minimized as people play the “this year it will be different” game. people expect normal rockwell gatherings, when “those gathered ’round” more closely resemble the bunkers. there are ways to change the game, but only if you decide to end the old game and replace it with something new.” for example:

instead of having an “i’ve sacrificed the most for the holidays’ contest,” give it all up. then, put back the bare minimum. with all of the hours you free up, spend some quality time, peacefully, with your nearest and dearest.

tibetan shamanic qigong

chris offers qi dao – tibetan shamanic qigong: book review posted at martial development. qi dao – the art of being in the flow is a new book written by buddhist monk somananda tantrapa.

the signature element of qi dao as a qigong style is its emphasis on physicality, unadulterated by the choreography of strictly defined forms. just as jesus christ was no christian and shakyamuni was not a buddhist, lama tantrapa teaches that we should not expect to attain self-realization by staring at the ground and tracing another person’s footsteps.

thich nhat hanh and breaking through the chains of identity

matthew spears, on his blog loving awareness observes that having a strong identity is greatly emphasized in this culture. this article explores what identities are, how they’re limiting, and gives an exercise from thich nhat hanh on how to move beyond some limitations.” it begins like this:

when you meet something, instead of a label which implies separation such as “tree”, “house”, or “road”, state instead that you are what you see. “i am this” is a good phrase, or a statement of “i am a tree” when you meet one. rather than this be something enforced on your mind, expand outward to breath in the essence of what you are seeing.

sand mandalas as therapy

my stumbleupon friend megan bayliss talks about sandplay therapy – mandalas and integration at her blog imaginif…,. she explains that “tibetan buddhist monks create mandalas that are considered a dwelling place for a deity. have a look at one mandala produced by the gyatso monks when his holiness, the dalai lama, visited australia in june of this year.”

 

a tibetan monk creates a sand mandala

this concludes part 1 of this month’s buddhist carnival. the other two parts will be posted before christmas. in the meantime, if you have a post that talks about buddhism, please submit it here on this carnival submission form.

(image by james young)