Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tao Stories by Ta Wan

The person of Tao

The 'real' person, the person of Tao - truly a Tao master - Is someone
you have met and had no idea of their views, wants, needs, likes or
Religion never came up in conversation, they were good to you but
never made out they were being good. They were calm and collected
but never felt the need to tell you how easy going they were. They
fitted in and blended with the crowd without any loss of
individuality. They were good at all things that came their way, did
there best and had no bashfulness over their poor performance or ego
over their greater achievements. They shone with an inner brightness
and radiated a deep seated warmth but wore no label, no jewels, no
robe, no dog collar, no stripes on their arms, no marks of distinction.
Fitting in and getting along they were solid and dependable - you
could miss them for a day or a year and be greeted the same on
meeting again. Always fit for a good laugh and a joke, they could be
told your inner woes and neither give you advice or break your trust.
If you asked for advice on life they'd tell you something about death,
if you asked for advice on colours they'd play you a song, if you
wanted fine food they'd make you some tea. On every occasion
meeting your needs in the most simplistic, unassuming yet well
chosen responses.
They appeared in your life without you noticing them, and
disappeared softly without a trace. They were your greatest masters
and never asked for thanks. You probably owe them your heartfelt
gratitude but their reward is that you treated them like a completely
normal person.

The wave who wanted to be the ocean

The big wave who wanted to be as vast as the ocean - eventually
gave up trying to get bigger and bigger - it dropped down, forgot
itself and became.
Only an ego searches for enlightenment as an ego is the only thing
that is not enlightened. The only fake in reality is this idea of self.
When ego finds what it selfishly seeks it finds the absence of ego.
Realizing itself as nothing but an idea, it renders itself Extinguished.
What reality finds when it is rid of ego is that ..
You can not become what you already are.

My dogs best jacket

I asked my dog what she'd like to do for her birthday and she said
she had nothing to wear and no money but wanted to have a nice run
by the river and chew a stick or two.
I thought this was a great idea.
I asked my friend and she said her boyfriend had exams, they had
just moved house, work was stressful and she may not get home in
time to even have a rest before her birthday was out.
I thought "and you, human, are the smart one?"

Stories by Ta Wan

"Where Zen and Buddhism will say the truth, enlightenment,
and so on can be reached through dedicated meditation and
practice, a Tao master may sip some wine, fart, and go to sleep."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Letting Go by Gil Fronsdal

Learning to let go of frustrating events, mistakes we all make, and even catastrophic and traumatic events like I experienced many years ago is something we all must learn to do if we are to ever be truly happy. Meditation in one form or another is the only way to achieve this. There are countless forms from ancient times and newer mindful techniques used today in psychological therapies but they all have one purpose - to learn to live in the Present. Below is an article from a Mindfulness Center that pertains to this "letting go". Enjoy!


Letting Go by Gil Fronsdal

Letting go is an important practice in everyday life, as well as on the path of liberation.  Daily life provides innumerable small and large occasions for letting go of plans, desires, preferences, and opinions. It can be as simple as when the weather changes, and we abandon plans we had for the day. Or it can be as complex as deciding what to sacrifice, when pulled between the needs of family, friends, career, community, or spiritual practice.  Daily life provides many situations where letting go is appropriate, or even required.  Learning how to do so skillfully, is essential to a happy life.

Buddhist practice leads to a letting go that is more demanding than what ordinary life usually requires. Beyond relinquishing particular desires and opinions, we practice letting go of the underlying compulsion to cling to desires and opinions. The liberation of Buddhism is not just letting go of outdated and inaccurate self-concepts; it also involves giving up a core conceit that causes us to cling to ideas of who we are or aren’t.  Liberation is releasing the deepest attachments we have.

The practice of letting go is often mistrusted. One good reason for this mistrust is because, without wisdom, it is easy to let go of the wrong things; for example, when we let go of such healthy pursuits as exercising or eating well, instead of our clinging to those pursuits.  Another reason for mistrust, is that letting go or renunciation, can suggest deprivation, weakness, and personal diminishment if we think we have to abandon our views and wishes in favor of the views and wishes of others.

It is possible to let go either of a thing or of the grasping we have to that thing.  In some circumstances, it is appropriate to give something up. In others, it is more important to let go of the grasping.  When someone is addicted to alcohol, it is necessary to renounce alcohol.  However, when someone is clinging to the past, it is not the past that needs to be abandoned, rather it is the clinging. If the past is rejected, it can’t be a source of understanding.  When there is no clinging to it, it is easier to learn the lessons the past provides.

At times, it is important to understand the shortcomings of what we are clinging to before we are able to let go.  This may require investigation into the nature of what we are holding on to. For example, many people have found it easier to let go of arrogance when they see clearly the effect it has on one’s relationships with others.  When we see clearly what money can and can’t do for us, it can be easier to let go of the idea that money will give us a meaningful life.

Sometimes it is more important to understand the shortcomings of the grasping itself rather than the object of grasping.  Grasping always hurts. It is the primary source of suffering.  It limits how well we can see what is happening.  When it is strong, clinging can cause us to lose touch with ourselves. It interferes with our ability to be flexible and creative and it can be a trigger for afflictive emotions.

By investigating both the grasping itself and the object of our grasping, it becomes possible to know which of these we need to let go of.  If the object of grasping is harmful, then we let go of that.  If the object of grasping is beneficial, then we can let go of the grasping so that what is beneficial remains.  Helping a neighbor, caring for your own health and welfare, or enjoying nature can be done with or without clinging.  It is accomplished much better without the clinging.

The Buddhist practice of letting go, has two important sides that fit together like the front and back of one’s hand. The first side, which is the better known, is letting go of something.  The second side is letting go into something.  The two sides work together like letting go of the diving board while dropping into the pool, or giving up impatience and then relaxing into the resulting ease.

While letting go can be extremely beneficial, the practice can be even more significant when we also learn to let go into something valuable. From this side, letting go is more about what is gained than what is lost.  When we let go of fear, it may also be possible to let go into a sense of safety or a sense of relaxation.  Forsaking the need to be right or to have one’s opinions justified can allow a person to settle into a feeling of peace.  Letting go of thoughts might allow us to open to a calmer mind.  By letting go into something beneficial, it can be easier to let go of something harmful.  At times, people don’t want to let go because they don’t see the alternative as better than what they are holding on to.  When something is clearly gained by letting go, it can be easier to do so.

We can see the Buddhist emphasis on what is gained through letting go by how the tradition understands renunciation.  While the English word implies giving something up, the Buddhist analogy for renunciation, is to go out from a place that is confined and dusty, into a wide open, clear space. It is as if you have been in a one room cabin with your relatives, snowed in for an entire winter.  While you may love your relatives, what is gained when you open the door and get out into the spring, probably feels exquisite.

One of the nice things about letting go into something is that it has less to do with willing something or creating something than it does with allowing or relaxing. Once we know how to swim, it can be relaxing to float by allowing the water to hold us up.  Once we know how to have compassion, there may be times when we not only let go of ill-will, but also let go into a sense of empathy.  Letting go of fear, may then also be resting back into a sense of calm.

A wonderful result of letting go is to experience each moment as being enough, just as it is.  It allows us to be present for our experience here and now with such clarity and freedom that this very moment stands out as something profound and significant.  We can let go of the headlong rush into the future, as well as the various, imaginative ways we think, “I’m not enough” or “this moment is not good enough”, so we can discover a well-being and peace not dependent on what we want or believe.

A fruit of Buddhist practice is to have available a greater range of wholesome, beautiful and meaningful inner states to let go into.  In particular, one can come to know a pervasive peace, accessible through both letting go and letting go into.  The full maturity of this peace is when we let go of our self as the person experiencing the peace.  With no self, there is just peace.