Simplicity - An Introduction



There are uncountable facets to our mind.  Life is complicated and confusion can be great.  Buddhism offers a simple path to discerning what is important and reducing suffering.  It offers a path to creating a world of peace and harmony.  In particular,  the six paramitas (perfections) offer an easy to understand process to awakening.

1.  The Perfection of Generosity: Begin with generosity and learn to see others as your equal. Being generous includes not only your money but your time and attention as well.
2.  The Perfection of Ethical Conduct teaches us to respect all of life.  The five basic precepts are a good beginning.
     a.  Do not kill - respect life.
     b.  Do not take what is not given - respect other's property.
     c.  Do not abuse sexual contact - avoid the emotional and mental turbulence of sexual misconduct.
     d.  Do not speak falsely - promote trust and honesty.
     e.  Abstain from intoxicants - remain clear headed.
3.  The Perfection of Patience prevents us from committing regrettable acts due to anger and rage.
4.  The Perfection of Joyful Effort keeps us going.  Gratitude and enthusiasm help to shield us from the draining effect of negative emotions.
5.  The Perfection of Concentration prevents us from getting lost in the samsara and distractions of the world.  Our thoughts and emotions can be overwhelming when we are unable to focus and concentrate.
6.  The Perfection of Wisdom allows us to see clearly how the world operates.  We begin to see that we are responsible for our world.  The world doesn't happen to us, it come from us.


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.





Starting with Generosity

Starting with generosity, we learn to loosen our identity.  We learn that there is more to the world than our "self".  In doing so we lessen our suffering and our heart begins to open to the suffering of others.

Eventually we learn that the self is empty and fictitious. Upon full realization, it is said that suffering ceases.

“All the suffering there is in this world arises from wishing our self to be happy. All the happiness there is in this world arises from wishing others to be happy.” ~ Shantideva

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.






Point of View

Events have no inherent reality.
Things line up, depending upon our point of view (mental karma), to form our experience.
From one view a row of fence posts are in line, from another angle they are not.
Point of view = emptiness.
Mind = view = perceived reality = experience.
We can change our view.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living

Thich Nhat Hanh on Dependent Co-Arising and emptiness.
20121129 from Plum Village Online Monastery on Vimeo.


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.




Immeasurable


Due to infinite causes and conditions, many things come to pass.
Be patient.  If everyone got their wish, there would be no suffering.
No one sets out to suffer, all beings seek happiness.

Please have compassion.






May all sentient beings have happiness
     and the causes of happiness;
May all sentient beings be free from suffering
     and the causes of suffering;
May all sentient beings never be separated from
     the happiness that knows no suffering;
May all sentient beings live in equanimity,
     free from attachment and aversion.


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.






Thats Who I Am

Immersed in our thoughts, we often believe them.  New thoughts we may challenge.  New thoughts we may look at. Old familiar thoughts, those are the dangerous ones.  We've revisited our old thoughts again and again and become comfortable with them.  We then allow them to form beliefs.  Even worse, we use them to define ourselves and believe "that's who I am".

Be careful how you define yourself, or better yet, don't define yourself at all.

Thoughts are empty - empty of inherent reality.  They only exist in our mind and with our participation, but they can cause great suffering.

Be careful who you think you are.


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.




Falling off

The best way to clean a rug is to lift it up, give it a shake, and let the dirt fall off.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.




On Your Worst Days

Whatever generosity, 
Whatever offerings to the Buddhas and the like,
The positive deeds I've amassed over thousands of eons,
One moment of hatred will devastate them all
                                                                       ~ Shatideva

We all have bad days and our bad days can be more important than our good days.  One act of passion, one act of anger or hatred, can destroy a relationship forever.  For this reason it is important that we are not slaves to our destructive emotions.

Along with deep mindfulness, vows are a great way to keep from performing regretful acts or creating negative karma.  When you take vows, when you make a promise to yourself and the universe, you and the world you experience begin to change.  It may start slowly, you may not notice at first, but everything changes.

Today I will be generous.
Today I will not criticize,blame, or judge others.
Today I will seek  to have understanding and compassion.
Today I will not act out of fear or selfishness.  I will not create negative karma.

Repeat your vows when you wake and repeatedly through the day.  Repeat them until they are ingrained in your mind.  When you feel a destructive emotion, stop.  Do not act from this place.  Breathe deeply, say a mantra; whatever, just do not act from hate, fear, or selfishness.  NO BAD KARMA. Try keeping the vows above for a minimum of at least 21 days.  21 days of new behavior can create new habits and rewire your brain.

Continue to bring mindfulness to every moment and come from a place of love and compassion. Focus upon the last vow.  No matter what happens, even on your worst days, no matter what you think or feel....DO NOT ACT OUT OF ANGER, FEAR, OR HATE.  If someone disrespects you, breathe deeply and choose love over anger.  If you feel hurt or fear, breathe deeply and choose love.  If you feel self loathing, choose self compassion and love.  

Not every day will be great, not every day will feel warm and fuzzy, but when you stop reacting from your fearful ego you will stop creating more chaos and things will begin to settle down in your world.
No bad karma.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.




Like a Rainbow -Emptiness



It can be very confusing when we first start learning about the Buddhist concept of "emptiness."  It's hard to imagine that nothing has solid existence in the way that we normally see it.  Some jump to nihilism and assume that the term means nothing exists at all and is only in our minds.  That is not what Buddhism teaches.  Some argue that emptiness isn't describing what reality is at all, it is only saying what reality isn't.  Reality is the way you see and experience things.

Another way of looking at the world, a skillful means, is to see things much like a rainbow.  When you see a rainbow you are very plainly seeing an arch of colors in the sky.  If you were to take off towards the rainbow you would never reach it or be able to touch or feel it.  It doesn't exist in that respect.  Light rays are refracted through water droplets to give the appearance that we call a rainbow.  The rainbow exists in our minds.

Quantum physics implies that elementary particles have no firm properties or existence until viewed by consciousness.  Electrons exist as fields of possibility until viewed or observed and are empty of an independent or inherent existence.  Many Buddhist teachers teach the same.  Objects are empty, not to say that their is nothing out there, just that they do not exist independent of mind.

Do we paint the universe with our minds?  Does your view determine the world that you live in?


Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.




Walls and Strength

We build walls because we feel weak or insecure.  This is true in the physical world and in our mental-emotional worlds. Fearful people build large walls and take on grandiose personas to hide their insecurities.

Walls provide short term protection. Walls don't make "us" strong, in the long run they make us weak because we stop freely interacting with the world and developing our selves.

Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living


If you find my ideas helpful, please donate below so that we may share more freely.


Please support Zen Presence by making a small donation below.