Way of the Bodhisattva (podcast series)

This is a series of talks I gave from Shantideva’s “Way of the Bodhisattva”

I hope these talks give you some benefit.

Shantideva Had No Friends

Benefits of Bodhichitta

Offerings, Refuge, and Misdeeds

Embracing Bodhichitta

Carefulness

Guarding Awareness

Boundless Heart Teachings

I taught a class at the Rime Center called “Boundless Heart”

This was an exploration of the teaching of the Four Immeasurables.

If we can learn how to cultivate Lovingkindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity then we will develop what the Buddha called “The most noble way of living in this world.”

This set of virtues is called “immeasurable” because it’s said to be a list of things that you can never have too much of. They are: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

I wrote a series of articles and recorded a series of podcasts based on the teachings we talked about in the class. I’m linking this series for you below.

Training in Kindness

“Each moment of cultivating the psychological gesture of kindness rather than the impulse of abandonment is learning to inhabit our life in a fearless way.” -Christina Feldman Kindness is fundamental to living an ethical life, with positive thoughts, words, and actions. It’s hard to imagine living a life of virtue that isn’t predominately focused on kindness. I’m using the word ‘kindness’ because that’s easier to use and understand, but what we’re really talking about is ‘Metta’. Sometimes this word is… Read more

Training in Compassion

“Compassion has the power to bring harshness and cruelty to an end; compassion heals our hearts even when pain cannot be fixed; compassion is the root of forgiveness, patience, and tolerance. The seed of profound and immeasurable compassion lies in each of our hearts.” -Christina Feldman Compassion is fundamental to living an ethical and fulfilled life. The original term that we’re translating as ‘compassion’ is ‘karuna’. It’s an attitude we can cultivate in our lives. Compassion is the wish for… Read more

Training in Joy

“Joy has its roots in mindfulness, which sensitizes us to our world of the moment. Mindfulness brings intimacy with all things. With mindfulness we simply learn to make room for joy; learning to see, listen, and attend to all things with a spacious heart.” -Christina Feldman Joy makes us feel alive. It’s part of our innate potential. We can have joyous lives. With mindfulness we can learn to see the roots of our joy and to have some understanding of… Read more

Training in Equanimity

“Equanimity is understanding what it means to stand in the midst of all experience with unshakeable balance, to be responsive yet unbroken.” -Christina Feldman Equanimity is that quality of mind that helps us keep us together when things get hard, our ability to weather the storms of life and to not fall apart. It’s that quality that stops you from freaking out and falling to the floor when there are setbacks in life. We’ve all been kicked in the heart… Read more

Lojong : Mind Training (podcast series)

I did this series of talks on the subject of Training the mind. I hope listening to these will be helpful.

Introduction to the Heart

Preliminaries

See Everything as a Dream

Examine the Nature of Awareness

Don’t Get Stuck on Peace

Rest in Openness

Be a Child of Illusion

Sending and Receiving

Seeds of Virtue

It’s All Sacred

Transform Disasters

Drive All Blames Into One

Be Grateful to Everyone

See Confusion As Enlightenment

4 Practices That Help

Whatever You Meet is the Path

Five Strengths

Practice For Death and Life

Only One Point

The Principal Witness

Joyful Mind

Practice While Distracted

Three Principles

Change Your Attitude

Meditation and Joy

“Joy has its roots in mindfulness, which sensitizes us to our world of the moment. Mindfulness brings intimacy with all things. With mindfulness we simply learn to make room for joy; learning to see, listen, and attend to all things with a spacious heart.” -Christina Feldman


16.
I have taught my Introduction to Meditation Class at 16 public libraries since the end of May. It has been a wonderful experience and I have met and talked about meditation with a lot of people. There is only one of these classes left. So, if you’ve been wanting to go and have missed it so far, this is your chance:

7/26/22. 7:00pm (central): Introduction to Meditation @ North Independence Library. 317 W 24 Hwy. Independence, MO



I have a drop-in meditation group at the Rime Buddhist Center on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 7pm (central time). You can come show up and meditate with me or you can access the meditation group through zoom. I always prefer in person things, but I know many people are unable to attend things like this in person. Meditation is better together. Show up if you can. 

So, I’ll be doing this one day after my last introduction to meditation class. Here are the details:

7/27/22. 7:00pm: Drop In Meditation @ Rime Buddhist Center. 2939 Wayne Ave. Kansas City, MO. Also on Zoom.



Some Guided Meditations for you:

Mindfulness of Breathing + Loving Awareness

Metta (Loving Kindness)


 I want to tell you about Joy.

Joy makes us feel alive. It’s part of our innate potential. We can have joyous lives. With mindfulness we can learn to see the roots of our joy and to have some understanding of what gets in our way. A lot of things do get in the way of our joy. We get caught up and obsessed with fulfilling our desires. We start telling ourselves stories and convince ourselves that if just one or two circumstances in our lives were different, then we could be happy.

It’s, of course, totally understandable that we would want to strive for getting our desires and wish for things to be different. It’s just that state of mind that says, “I’ll have time to be happy later.” that gets us all mixed up.

Sometimes we keep ourselves so busy that there’s no room for joy. Sometimes we need to slow down and appreciate the good in the world. But we’re often so busy chasing after the next thing, that we don’t appreciate anything in our lives. This doesn’t serve us very well.
 
I can’t take much joy in seeing the mailman get a promotion. But what if I could?
If I can extend my circle and take joy in the success of more and more people, then happiness is always out there for me.

The foundations of joy are Integrity and Appreciation.

Integrity has been described as ‘the bliss of blamelessnesss’. I like to think of that Mark Twain quote, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” When we don’t live ethical lives we get in our way. It’s easy to feel like we aren’t good enough when we aren’t making the best choices. We always know what harmful actions we’re letting ourselves get away with. This is a way to live with less regrets and to have more harmony and trust in our day to day lives.

Appreciation is when we learn how to focus on the positive instead of getting caught up in the negative or the imaginary all the time. There’s an old traditional Chinese saying that is relevant here. It is, “Write your sorrows in sand and etch your joys in stone.”

Christina Feldman says, “Mindfulness teaches us to reclaim our capacity for appreciation. We learn to cultivate many moments when we pause, step out of our busyness and our stories, and truly see what is before us, to listen wholeheartedly, to be touched, and to make room for joy.”When we appreciate what’s happening, we make room for joy to exist in our lives.

WRITINGS

Training in Joy
Training in Compassion
Book Review: The Path to Peace
Book Review: That Is Not Your Mind

Some books I recommend:

Boundless Heart by Christina Feldman

The Path to Peace by Ayya Khema

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events:

6/28/22. 7:00pm: Introduction to Meditation @ Blue Springs South Library. 2220 SW State Route 7. Blue Springs, MO

7/11/22. 6:30pm: Introduction to Meditation @ Claycomo Library. 309 E US Highway 69. Claycomo, MO

7/12/22. 7:00pm: Introduction to Meditation @ Antioch Library. 6060 N. Chestnut Avenue. Gladstone, MO

7/14/22. 7:00pm: Introduction to Meditation @ Parkville Library. 8815 Tom Watson Parkway. Parkville, MO

7/18/22. 7:00pm: Introduction to Meditation @ Blue Ridge Library. 9253 Blue Ridge Boulevard. Kansas City, MO

7/19/22. 6:30pm: Introduction to Meditation @ Oak Grove Library. 2320 S. Broadway Street. Oak Grove, MO

7/26/22. 7:00pm: Introduction to Meditation @ North Independence Library. 317 W 24 Hwy. Independence, MO

7/27/22. 7:00pm: Drop In Meditation @ Rime Buddhist Center. 2939 Wayne Ave. Kansas City, MO. Also on Zoom.

Free Meditation Workshop

I’m co-leading the Free Meditation Workshop for the Rime Center.

May 25 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Meditation has been proven to: lower blood pressure, relieve stress, and help you cope with anxiety. It has also been shown to be very effective with chronic pain, insomnia, and panic disorder. The wonderful thing about meditation is that it can be used anywhere, even on the way to work and has no dangerous side effects. In this one session class you will learn this simple technique that can change your life. This class is based upon the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Register Online

Instructor: Sergio Moreno and Daniel Scharpenburg
Date: One Session beginning May 25, 2022
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: St. Marks Hope and Peace Lutheran Church
Class Fee: Free

Intentions and the Four Immeasurables

I’m going to share with you a meditation prayer that we recite at the Rime Center. I started reciting it in all my meditations at home as well. It goes like this:

May all beings be endowed with happiness;

May all beings be free from suffering;

May all beings never be separated from happiness;

And may all beings abide in equanimity,

Undisturbed by the eight worldly concerns.”

This is how we set our intention to cultivate what is called “the four immeasurables.”


I used to think these kinds of things were silly. But setting an intention is important. It motivates and inspires us. It reminds us what’s important. In my opinion we all spend much of our lives on auto-pilot. Living in a more intentional way is a good thing. When we set our intentions we are helping ourselves to remember what direction we’re trying to go in. In this case we are inclining ourselves toward having open hearts.

In ‘A Fearless Heart’ Thupten Jinpa says, “When we set an intention in the morning, we’re making a choice about what kind of day we want to have. We’re taking life into our own hands instead of waiting for it to happen to us.”

This set of virtues is called “immeasurable” because it’s said to be a list of things that you can never have too much of. They are: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

Thupten Jinpa goes on to say, “We all have these qualities; they’re part of – the best parts of – being human.”

All of these are about wishing it for all beings. That can be hard. It’s easy for us to wish for our own happiness and the happiness of our friends and family. This is much more broad. We are called to cultivate the wish for all beings to have these things because that will build a better world. It’s easy to say, “No one gets left out” but that can be very hard to really embody. If we suggest everyone is deserving of kindness and compassion, this can be a tough thing for us to relate to. Every one of us stops and thinks, “Even that person?” if we’re really reflecting on this. And the answer is yes, even that person. Opening your heart helps you…and everyone else.

May all beings be endowed with happiness

This is what we call loving-kindness. Some prefer the term loving-friendliness and some just call it kindness. The original word is Metta. Jinpa calls it, “The pure wish for someone to be happy.”

May all beings be free from suffering

This is compassion. I imagine some people wonder “what’s the difference between kindness and compassion?” This is it. Loving-kindness is wanting others to be happy. Compassion is wanting others to not suffer. They are not far apart, but they’re a little different. Kindness is wanting good things to happen to people. Compassion is wanting bad things to not happen. The original word is Karuna. Jinpa says, “Our concern, if it comes from genuine compassion, is based on the recognition that, just like I do, this person wishes to be free from suffering.” and also, “In the Tibetan tradition we recognize compassion as both the highest spiritual ideal and the highest expression of our humanity.” This is what makes me like the Tibetan tradition.

May all beings never be separated from happiness

This is sympathetic joy. What if we can really be happy when someone else succeeds? I’m not talking about when we just say empty words like, “I’m happy for you,” because that’s what you’re supposed to say. What if we can take real joy at someone’s success? And I’m also not talking about just your kids or your partner. What if we can apply this kind of joy to everyone? Then there will be no end to where we can feel joy. The original word is Mudita. Jinpa says it is, “Experiencing happiness at someone else’s happiness and good fortune.” To me this is probably the most challenging one of the four to really reflect on and embody.

And may all beings abide in equanimity, undisturbed by the eight worldly concerns.

This is equanimity. It’s our ability to weather the storms of life, to keep it together when things are falling apart. It’s that quality that stops you from freaking out and falling to the floor when there are setbacks in life, as there are for everyone. The original word is Upekkha. Jinpa describes it as, “Staying calm no matter what life throws at us – pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes, praise and blame, fame and disrepute – and it lets us relate to everyone as human beings, beyond the categories of friend, foe, or stranger. With equanimity we are free from the habitual forces of expectation and apprehension that make us vulnerable to over-excitation and disappointment.” Those pairs he listed are called ‘the eight worldly concerns.’ The point of reflecting on those is that we can get carried away by being blamed too much, of course, but we can also get carried away by being praised too much. Equanimity is what helps us keep an even mind whether things are going very well or very badly.

So, these are the four immeasurables. Learning to cultivate these four qualities helps us to open our hearts and deepen our relationships to ourselves and others. They’re sometimes called ‘divine abodes’ which is not a term I like that much. But it does convey that they are considered important things to cultivate.

=============================================

Click here if you want to help support building a new Buddhist temple in Kansas City.