The Miraculous 16th Karmapa

Who was this extraordinary individual with the spiritual signs of a buddha, the Sixteenth Karmapa, Holder of the Black Crown? Norma Levine has travelled to Tibet, India, Europe and North America to record the stories of this memorable man and the impact he had on the people who met him. This book gives us a rare and intimate insight into the personality of the man who was the 16th Karmapa. His mere presence, akin to a powerful force of nature, would deeply affect those around him; his cosmic laughter, like a lion’s roar proclaiming supremacy, could be heard streets away. He was able to teach anywhere, at any time, when the moment was right and was followed wherever he went by his beloved entourage of birds who travelled with him and sang his mantra: Karmapa Kyenno, Master of Activity, Be With Me. This book offers the stories of Western students and prominent reincarnate Lamas who had meaningful contact with the 16th Karmapa in both India and the West. In the context of the freedom and spontaneity of Western culture in the 1960s, the profound mind transmission of this remarkable Master transformed the lives of those whom he encountered. Each story is a spiritual adventure; vibrant, authentic, sometimes shocking, but always inspiring. Norma Levine is a lifelong Buddhist practitioner and the author of Blessing Power of the Buddhas: Sacred Objects, Sacred Lands; A Yearbook of Buddhist Wisdom; and Chronicles of Love and Death: My Years with the Lost Spiritual King of Bhutan. (more…)

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Real Devotion

Real devotion only arises when you have a glimpse of emptiness, some glimpse of the nature of mind. Once you have some very precise insight as to how emptiness helps to alleviate suffering, then devotion is based on a real, embodied experience.

—Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche, “Keys to Happiness”

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Why I love buddhism

If your don´t do buddhism, don´t worry you´re not going to hell.

1. We’re not really a religion. As the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and Science disagree, go with science. As the Buddha himself said, don’t believe anything I say unless it matches with your experience.
We are however a path: there are teachings, meditation practices, rituals with meaning…but it’s all centered on one point. Wake up. Be kind. Be present. Be genuine. Be generous to others.
2. We don’t go to war, much. Historically, when we’re attacked, our anemic joke-of-an-army fights heroically while the rest of wherever we’re at flees, gets burned, looted, raped, pillaged. No fun for us, but at least we don’t fight others in order to spread our religion.
3. Buddhism works. If we meditate, and we meditate some more, and we study, and we work with our mixed bag of a (difficult, incompetent, sycophantic, insecure, kind, generous, gentle, eco-minded, tolerant) community, we’ll naturally begin to soften, and straighten, and enjoy life, and help others enjoy life more, too.
4. Buddhism doesn’t believe in anything. Any Buddhist who tells you to believe in reincarnation or anything that can’t be proven is caught up in superstition, and should be forcibly sent to remedial Buddhist meditation camp, which sounds like a fun camp.
5. Buddhist teachers are transparent. The greatest Buddhist teacher I’ve ever known was utterly human: full of “mistakes,” full of wildness and sweetness, open about just about everything. If Buddhist teachers aren’t transparent…on to number six.
6. Buddhism is non-theistic. In Buddhism, we’re taught to bow with mutual respect, and self-respect. You aren’t any better than me except to the extent that you serve me and others better than I do. Serving is leadership.
Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. To lead is to serve. To lead without serving is selfish and useless and silly. If a Buddhist teacher leads out of arrogance or selfish privilege, they will be slapped in the face, with a grin. It’s happened.
7. Buddhism doesn’t say other religions are wrong or anyone’s going to hell and doesn’t advocate judging others “nonbelievers” from afar, let alone sending them to some sort of eternal damnation. In the Buddhist view, we’re all damned already by our happiness-desiring egos, but luckily we’re all fundamentally aok, and we just can relax and (through meditation, study) begin to be ourselves, and serve others in suffering. And then the joke is we’ll start being happy.
8. Buddhism is of the world. It is wildly enthusiastic about money, sex, family, business, sports, books, education, politics…as long as these things are being used to help us and others wake up and be of benefit, it’s all good.
9. Buddhism is not laissez-faire New Ageyness. While Westerners who embrace Buddhism as a lifestyle may be irritating Portlandiaish parodies of a type, like yours truly, Buddhism is all about tradition, about being a good, dues-paying member of society, about decorum and giving back and the arts.
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The 10th Reason why Buddhism is Better than your Religion is…
{drumroll}

We’re not better than your religion. Your religion has lots of goodness and helpful stuff in it, and you should honor and practice that if you like. If you don’t like, you should become agnostic or atheistic and that’s pretty awesome, too. My grandma is a lifelong intellectual agnostic, and she’s the kindest person I know. As an old Christian saying goes, I can see how close you are to God by how kind you are.

Yoga, Christianity, Buddhism, Republicanism, Libertarianism, any ism…none is better than another. That’s not the point. They’re paths of truth, hopefully. Of finding peace, and true happiness. They are not meant to create further war.
Let’s stop the My Way is Better than Yours stuff.

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The Insight of Impermanence

To those whose knowledge is developed, everything within and without oneself, within and without one’s house, within and without one’s village and town, is an object at the sight of which the insight of impermanence may spring up and develop.

– Ledi Sayadaw, “Meditation en Masse”
These days many assume that Buddhism and meditation go hand in hand—sometimes they are even considered to be one and the same. But even counting Theravadins, progenitors of the massively popular insight meditation (Vipassana) movement, relatively few Buddhists historically have ever understood meditation to be essential. On the contrary, instead of meditating, the majority of Theravadins and dedicated Buddhists of other traditions, including monks and nuns, have focused on cultivating moral behavior, preserving the Buddha’s teachings (dharma), and acquiring the good karma that comes from generous giving.

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A farmer’s donkey fell down into a well

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off! MORAL : Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up. Remember the five simple rules to be happy: 1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive. 2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens. 3. Live simply and appreciate what you have. 4. Give more. 5. Expect less from people but more from yourself. You have two choices… smile and close this page, or pass this along to someone else to share the lesson.

Source Go there

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Looking for it

Looking for it, the vision cannot be seen: cease your search.
It cannot be discovered through meditation, so abandon your trance states and mental images.
It cannot be accomplished by anything you do, so give up the attempt to treat the world as magical illusion.
It cannot be found by seeking, so abandon all hope of results.

Shabkar, In the flight of the Garuda

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