cherydactyl: (Cheryl The Monarch)
Via [livejournal.com profile] nuadha_prime
Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate
with you. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given.

He assigned these topics to me:
Buddhism
Well, this is either a very tangled subject or a very simple one. Like many Westerners who gravitate toward Buddhism, I had and have problems with the faith in which I was raised. My birth family attended a Presbyterian church when I was a kid (still do, just a different one), but I have other relatives who tend toward the evangelical. Some parts of Christianity make sense to me, but other parts I find utterly nonsensical, and the nonsensical parts were usually the tenets considered most important and central. I was rather reluctant to actually declare any other religion for a long time. I researched other faiths, but they were all just sources of interesting stories to me. Nothing resonated, even when I tried, sometimes tried hard, to make myself fit into them. I'm not really sure what turned me on to Buddhism, though I suspect it may have been me reading Mark Epstein's Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, which I did about seven or eight years ago. Buddhism, like other major faiths, have lots of different sub-types. Some of those are devotional in nature, like much of Christianity. Some are not. It's quite possible to be a Buddhist and an atheist/humanist at the same time, unless I am much mistaken. And that's what I have gradually decided I am, after a lot more reading, trying out Vipassana ("lovingkindness") meditation, and other adventures in the last several years. I'm still not really "official" in that I don't have a sangha (congragation) and haven't gone through formal training or acceptance. Some of the stories about the Buddha strike me the same way the story of Jesus' conception does, as allegories that have little literal truth in them, but they do not seem so central to Buddhism in the way that the virgin birth is central to Christianity. And the basics, the central points of Buddhism: the Four Noble Truths, the Triple Gem, the Eight-Fold Path...those *do* resonate for me. So there it is.

Kids
I love my kids, and I tend to like kids in general. I sometimes wonder if I relate to kids better than to other adults. :/ I certainly act more like a kid than an adult at times. But, I'm in step with the times on this point, I think. lol.

Board Games
Easier to schedule than role-playing games, these are my major hobby. I only wish they didn't involve so much sitting! I actually got started with cribbage and pinochle as a kid. Dad was a ruthless cribbage player. My sister M and I learned pinochle at age 6 and 7 respectively. It was our evening family entertainment nearly every night for a long time. I didn't really get into the hobby in its present form for me until college, when it became the biggest thing [livejournal.com profile] illyaa and I had in common. They are an easy escape, especially now in the age of online games. It keeps my too-brainy-for-my-own-good self busy when I might otherwise be tearing my hair out. By the way, have you tried BSW? I've been playing a lot of Dominion lately. And Power Grid before that. And I'm teaching my kids to play board games. And other people and other people's kids when I get the chance. And helping run train games tournaments at the major conventions.

Cooking
I have always liked cooking, but it is a love I have been re-discovering the in the last couple of years. I have been using my crock pot more often. I even acquired a second, smaller one, since there have been times that the leftovers, though delicious, were too much. The larger one is the right size for roasting a chicken. The smaller one is just right for a curry for dinner. Too much of our diet had become factory food...pre-prepared foodstuffs with unpronounceable ingredients and no care in their preparation are not good for our health, in my firm opinion. Slowing down to cook also helps fight the temptation to go along with the hurry-up world out there. There are so many great cooking resources on the internet. And I'm very grateful for the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. I'm a rather peripheral member of this group, have not yet contributed to the joint blog, and am grateful to have been included in some of the gatherings.

Mythology
The myriad ways humans tell stories to explain the inexplicable and contain their own fears and doubts are endlessly fascinating. We create gods in our own images, the best and worst images included, to try to get a handle on the big, wide, wild world. And then we re-tell, and morph, and alter and re-combine and tell again. Mythology is storytelling with high stakes.
cherydactyl: (Default)
which is of course a dangerous pastime.

Anyway, it occurs to me that Christianity, Pastafarianism, and other monotheisitc religions require faith in a creator-god-being, aka faith in a personification or agent. Buddhism is about faith in a *set of principles*, starting with The Four Noble Truths (which I will paraphrase as: suffering exists, we create a lot if not all of it ourselves, there is a way to end it--and it's not suicide, and that way is to follow the Dharma, or teachings). Buddhism is about faith in a set of ideas instead of a Being (or Beings, if you're a polytheist). It's no wonder I prefer the Buddhist model.

P.S. If someone gets a Flying Spaghetti Monster applique for my car (like the catholic fish...you've seen those, right?), it will be applied forthwith.

P.P.S. I wonder if there is a Dewey Decimal designation for Pastafarian-related works. Are they in religion or comedy or education or politics?
cherydactyl: (Default)
Some of you may recall back in the spring when I posted about having found The Daial Lama Paper Doll Book. Dover Publications' weekly samples have some sample pages from the book in this week's set. Go see it in the next couple of days or it may be gone; Dover usually only has samples up for about a week. Here's an image of one of the sample pages:



The notes page included in the samples is interesting and informative about the costumes, describing coloring of the linings, symbolism embodied in certain accouterments, and listing ceremonial uses of the garments.
cherydactyl: (Default)
I was browsing around on Dover Publications' web site and came across this:


The Dalai Lama Paper Doll Book:
"Complete with faithfully re-created costumes — yellow benzhida hat, puja worship shirt, and 20 more — this collection features 7 costumed dolls of the revered Buddhist leader and his parents at various periods of their lives. Educational, inspiring, and unique"

I am almost tempted to buy one on the longshot that I might get a chance to have him sign it when he's in Ann Arbor next month, since I am being given a ticket to go see him speak (thanks [livejournal.com profile] sorcycat and [livejournal.com profile] curiouskendra!!).

[More or less crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] buddhists.]
cherydactyl: (Default)
In a famous parable, the Buddha imagines a group of blind men who are invited to identify an elephant. One takes the tail and says it's a rope; another clasps a leg and says it's a pillar; another feels the side and says it's a wall; another holds the trunk, and says it's a tube. Depending on which part of Buddhism you grasp, you might identify it as a system of ethics, a philosophy, a contemplative psychotherapy, a religion. While containing all of these, it can no more be reduced to any one of them than an elephant can be reduced to its tail.

-Stephen Batchelor, 'Buddhism Without Beliefs' from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book
cherydactyl: (Default)
OMG I busted a gut.

On the buddhist perspectives on woodchucks chucking wood:
http://community.livejournal.com/buddhists/1828844.html?nc=20
cherydactyl: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] yoga and Second Order Approximation, this is just wrong. On so many levels.

Namaste, as long as we can charge you massive interest!

In metta, we will make you feel good while you are mindlessly charging your venti soy--gotta be vegan to be enlightened, ya know--latte.
cherydactyl: (xmas)
http://tricycleblog.blogspot.com/

Asked about the widespread belief that he had passed away into permanent parinirvana, the Buddha looked around, leaned in close, and whispered, "Publicity stunt." Besides, he continued, he likes to lay low because people are always making demands of him. "I get prayers all day and all night. It's always someone like little Susy saying, 'Buddha, bring me a pony!' And I'm like, 'Listen kid, didn't you get the memo? I don't bring ponies....'"

April Fool
cherydactyl: (Default)
quoting from Zen Is Boring, found thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nearfar in [livejournal.com profile] buddhists

People hate their ordinary lives. We want something better. This, our day to day life of drudgery and work, is boring, dull and ordinary, we think. But someday, someday... There's an episode of The Monkees* where Mike Nesmith says that when he was in high school he used to walk out on the school's empty stage with a guitar in his hands thinking "Someday, someday." Then he said that now (now being 1967, at the height of the Monkees fame) he walks out on stage in front of thousands of fans and thinks "Someday, someday." That's the way life is. It's never going to be perfect. Whatever "someday" you imagine, it will ever come. Never. No matter what it is. No matter how well you build your fantasy or how carefully you follow all the steps necessary to achieve it. Even if it comes true exactly the way you planned, you'll end up just like Mike Nesmith. Someday, someday... I guarantee you.

Your life will change. That's for sure. But it won't get any better and it won't get any worse. How can you compare now to the past? What do you know about the past? You don't have a clue! You have no idea at all what yesterday was really like, let alone last week or ten years ago. The future? Forget about it...
cherydactyl: (Default)
Ancient Pali texts liken meditation to the process of taming a wild elephant. The procedure in those days was to tie a newly captured animal to a post with a good strong rope. When you do this, the elephant is not happy. He screams and tramples, and pulls against the rope for days. Finally it sinks through his skull that he can't get away, and he settles down. At this point you can begin to feed him and to handle him with some degree of safety. Eventually you can dispense with the rope and post altogether, and train your elephant for various tasks. Now you've got a tamed elephant that can be put to useful work. In this analogy the wild elephant is your wildly active mind, the rope is mindfulness, and the post is our object of meditation, our breathing. The tamed elephant who emerges from this process is a well-trained, concentrated mind that can then be used for the exceedingly tough job of piercing the layers of illusion that obscure reality. Meditation tames the mind.
--Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English
cherydactyl: (Default)
A response I wrote to this conversation http://community.livejournal.com/buddhists/1593516.html?nc=52&style=mine
in [livejournal.com profile] buddhists
The original post had to do with the poster being surprised at how many people in the community seem NOT to believe in God, and asked about views on reincarnation.

One of the things I love most about (at least my understanding of) Buddhism is that it appears that it is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT whether there is a god or God or gods. That is, whether an individual believes in some form of deity or not has no bearing on Buddhism. I have seen discussion that if there are gods, then they are stuck in samsara too, and the "goal" of buddhist practice is to reach nirvana and STOP reincarnating...ending the cycle. (Views of sects vary widely though, and I know other flavors of buddhism may well disagree on any of these things.)

I have always been agnostic on whether deity exists. The concept of deity and/or a pantheon is obviously comforting to many people. However, I have yet to see any evidence it is a necessary condition for anything. (I am thinking of Douglas Adams' proof of the non-existence of God: involving the Babel fish being so useful that it's a "dead giveaway" that God exists, proof denying faith, and God disappearing in a puff of logic ;-)

Again on reincarnation, I am totally agnostic. Maybe there is literal reincarnation. Maybe there isn't. I see no proof of it, nor do I see it as necessary to explain anything about the world. Why does it matter to you? Should you change your behavior depending on whether reincarnation is actually occurring? Well, I don't think so. I think that being the best you you can be is the highest form of activity whether you get to try again or get some kind of reward or are just done after this round.
cherydactyl: (love)
Compassion means that we do not play the game of hypocrisy or self deception. For instance, if we want something from someone and we say, "I love you," often we are hoping that we will be able to lure them into our territory, over to our side. This kind of proselytizing love is extremely limited. "You should love me, even if you hate me, because I am filled with love, am high on love, am completely intoxicated!" What does it mean? Simple that the other person should march into your territory because you say that you love him, that you are not going to harm him. It is very fishy. Any intelligent person is not going to be seduced by such a ploy. "If you really love me as I am am, why do you want me to enter your territory? Why this issue of territory and demands at all? What do you want from me? How do I know, if I do march into your 'loving' territory, that you aren't going to dominate me, that you won't create a claustrophobic situation with your heavy demands for love?" As long as there is territory involved with a person's love, other people will be suspicious of his "loving" and "compassionate" attitude...

The fundamental characteristic of true compassion is pure and fearless openness without territorial limitations.


-Chogyam Trungpa
as quoted by [livejournal.com profile] dirty_deeds here
cherydactyl: (Default)
I think to some extent we all let ourselves get tied up to the past. Feelings of shame are probably just indicators of things that we need to accept and let go of.

A Taoist teacher once told me that regret was nothing more than a desire to control the past and apprehension nothing more than a desire to control the future, and that both do nothing but paralyze us and deprive us of our ability to control our present.

Let the future be the future, let the past be the past; now is the only time there is.

--[livejournal.com profile] nonhuman in this post in [livejournal.com profile] buddhists
cherydactyl: (Default)
I think that [enlightenment]'s probably like one of those finger trap things — to get it, you have to stop trying.
--[livejournal.com profile] apollotiger in [livejournal.com profile] buddhists, in this thread
cherydactyl: (Default)
Infinite altruism is the basis of peace and happiness. If you want altruism, you must control hate and you must practice patience. The main teachers of patience are our enemies. --HH the Dalai Lama (Apparently from a HHDL calendar, posted by someone on [livejournal.com profile] buddhists today.)

This morning as I was going to my yoga class, two of the other class participants had a shouting match as I was getting out of my car. They had a traffic disagreement apparently. One woman accused the other of 'trying to kill her,' and the other said something about staying in one's own lane. I entered, wondering if I ought to warn our instructor.

Class went off without much hitch as it turned out, but C (one of the women involved) mentioned it after class to Sondra (the instructor), so a discussion of vritis /vree-tees/ (often translated as 'agitations'), dealing with difficult people, and what constituted evil ensued. I was a little put off by Sondra aligning herself with her longtime student C (by calling the other woman, or her actions, it was unclear which, 'evil'), and I tried to insert the idea of anger and agitation instead of actual evil as the cause of the difficulties. The other woman had left already, and was therefore unable to explain or defend herself.
cherydactyl: (Default)
an excerpt from the Foreword of the Tao Teh Ching translated by Dr. John C. H. Wu:

Both Confucianism and Taoism complement each other, however incompatible they seem at first sight to be. The former places a man in his proper relation to his fellow-men, the latter in proper relation to nature. A third philosphy, Buddhism, though introduced from India, deals with the problem of human suffering and with man's ultimate destiny. These three inheritances ... have moulded the thinking not only of the Chinese people but of all Eastern Asia. There is truth, then, in the common saying that every Chinese wears a Confucian cap, a Taoist robe and Buddhist sandals.

Whereas Confucius counseled his people to labor untiringly for the welfare and dignity of man in society, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu on the other hand cautioned them against excessive interference. In their view, the urge to change what by nature is already good only increases the sum-total of human unhappiness. These two urges: on the one hand, to do something, and on the other hand, not to do too much, are forever contending in our natures. The man who can maintain a just balance between them is on the road to social and intellectual maturity.


Arthur W. Hummel,
Former Head, Division of Orientalia
Library of Congress, Washington D.C., 1962
cherydactyl: (Default)
by way of [livejournal.com profile] buddhists, a link: Hack yourself
cherydactyl: (Default)
from http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism/Lighter/shortstories.html by way of [livejournal.com profile] buddhists:

Compassion with an umbrella
A Western Buddhist woman was In india, studying with her teacher. She was riding with another woman friend in a rickshaw-like carriage, when they were attacked by a man on the street. In the end, the attacker only succeeded in frightening the women, but the Buddhist woman was quite upset by the event and told her teacher so. She asked him what she should have done - what would have been the appropriate, Buddhist response.

The teacher said very simply, "You should have very mindfully and with great compassion whacked the attacker over the head with your umbrella."

If you liked that one, try another... )

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