On The Way…

the contemplations of an aspiring writer, burgeoning Bodhisattva, and lover of all beings…

Sangha

Dear all beings,

Thanks for being indispensable conditions for my happiness!

It fills me with joy to see people filled with joy, working together to create beautiful sounds and images and experiences. I have a special karmic connection with the Swell Season -Marketa Irglova and Glen Hansard (stars of the movie Once) – as well as Neutral Milk Hotel, whose song they cover in this clip. Here comes a long winded story explaining all the conditions that compound and result in me glowing and crying and laughing and tickled deep down by this recording:

Stella dot com

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of turning yourself into a brand. Is it all ego or can it be done skillfully? Interestingly enough this contemplation has now taken on two heads – not only am I thinking about myself as a brand but also the website where I am currently working as a content editor. I have been spending more hours than I care to admit on the computer working on my personal website and the other (which should go nameless for now…mysterious). Part of my work recently has been “research.” Basically looking at other zines, blogs, and social networking platforms to see what is out there and how people use these sites.

I have friends with websites who have a blog that is loosely tied in with their work or field of study. Their sites also feature a resume and a short biography. It looks like the intention here is to sell themselves in a sense – get a job! That is certainly an aspect of my mission here at wordpress. I would love to write for a living and this is a platform where I can word spew and try and find my voice. I have a voice that I use for poetry and for academic writing, but what about my blog voice?

In a lot of the zines I have seen the person who writes an article has a particular voice and style. I have a funny fear that the articles I am posting on the site aren’t a good representation of my voice. Really this boils down to that age old fear about how others perceive me. Despite attempts to squash, outsmart, and reject these thoughts they return, so I wonder how I can transform the concern about what others think about me into a beneficial meditation.

I represent Dzogchen, and my teacher Khenpo Choga Rinpoche. I represent the Dharma. I represent my family. I represent my thinking. How I interact with the world, my conduct, effects people; therefore, my I need to be aware and mindful of the messages I am putting out “there.” I’m pretty sure this is not something to obsess over, but as long as my face and my name are out there (or “here” rather) I need to use this opportunity to spread virtue rather than vice.

So, that said I will continue to explore this idea of branding myself. Who and what am I? How do I want to represent myself and my community? How do my relative goals mesh with my absolute goal? This could easily become a place to decorate my ego-clinging with graphics and words and a pretty template. I don’t want to fall into that trap. Thankfully I have three awesome tools in my toolbox:

1. Recollection – remember Buddha’s teachings

2. Mindfulness – speak and act with awareness

3. Vigilance – ensure that my body, speech, and mind are not harming myself or others.

I vow to keep undertake my blogging and branding efforts with recollection, mindfulness, and vigilance for the true happiness of all beings!

First things first, what the heck do I put in these funny little boxes that ask for a bio in 5 lines?! Let the branding begin.

“I’m a yoga teacher not a cow, why do I need a brand?”

If you find yourself facing a similar dilemma, maybe this article can help. It helped me by giving my a chuckle and some great insight.

 

 

Feelings are truthless, Mind is groundless

If the above statement is true, then I’m running around like a chicken with my head-cut-off, pursuing every whim and impulse without recognizing that these pursuits are futile. Truth has a certain ring to it and to my ear there is a distinct ring of truth to this statement. Oh the irony! Even that feeling is truthless and that thought is groundless!

The contradictions uncovered when you start dancing with absolute truth, truly keep you on your toes. It is refreshing though, to be reminded that what I perceive as permanent, real, and important – both self and phenomena – are actually more like apparitions in a dream.

Source: thelilbee.com via Stella on Pinterest

I wander around this weird world grasping at appearances as real and suffering for it. According to absolute truth there is no one grasping, nothing to be grasped, and no action of grasping. They appear separate, but they are not. They appear real, but appearances are deceiving. This then brings me back to the impetus for this whole blog, thinking thus how do react to the appearance of beauty?

Looks like “don’t cling” and “offer it” are good answers, but what about the view. All is beautiful, blissful, luminous wisdom and I am not separate from it. How does one hold this view in the world, when flowers and feces appear to be different? I repeat, appearances are deceiving. The perception of pure and impure and the feelings of like and dislike are symptoms of ignorance. I aspire to cut the root of ignorance and enjoy this beautiful universe with equanimity wisdom and the realization that I am not other than it.

All That Is Created Will Be Destroyed

While on this earth what do smart and powerful humans do? Build buildings….and on the way destroy wilderness. Are they aware when they construct gorgeous academic cathedrals like this one at Harvard that like their body, this too shall pass away?

I am shopping for grad schools right now and Harvard has just arrived at the top of the list. Not because of the beauty, though this image is pretty compelling, but because of the reputation. What a funny thing. There are amazing professors and courses there, and I do adore Cambridge, but really I like to imagine saying that I got a Ph.D. from Harvard in Tibetan and Himalayan studies. Sigh. I’m glad everything is impermanent because my ignorance and worldly goals won’t last forever. Just as beauty can go from an object of clinging to an object to offer, worldly goals can become transcendent. Just add Bodhicitta. For the true happiness of all beings I will become Buddha in this very life, therefore I will study Tibetan Buddhism, language, and literature at Harvard. Emaho!

I used to hate cities but I have changed my mind (shocking! minds change?). They really are amazing. Though I stand by my previous assertion that when human beings are divorced from nature they devolve slightly. This is demonstrated in the way that people treat one another in cities, whereas in rural areas you find more of a community atmosphere. Of course, I am somewhat of an idealist to perhaps my perception is distorted. It is strange though that at this juncture I am contemplating moving to THE big citiesĀ  – New York and Boston – to study a tradition that was largely cultivated in solitary Himalayan retreats. Ironic maybe?

Human Body Is Amazing

Though this human body gets ill, requires all sorts maintence, and ultimately will decompose it is a rare and precious gift. According to Buddhist teachings, human birth is a real achievement because it is better suited for practice than others. Hell-beings are too suffering. Hungry ghosts are overcome by hunger. Animals are too obsessed with survival. Demi-gods are ruled by their jealousy. And Gods are blinded by their good fortune.

If taken care the human body can do many amazing things. And according to my perception the human body is beautiful…inside and out!

Why?

This world is full of beauty. So much beauty that I could spend the rest of my life chasing after and basking in all that is beautiful. So, what is stopping me? Where would that get me?

This question dawned on me recently and it opened such a deep well of wonder that I decided to open my contemplation to the public. As a student of Buddhism, the teachings certainly inform my contemplation but according to Buddha’s advice I need to investigate for myself if the teachings are true. I offer this blog to all beings, that we may together discover the truth in Buddha’s teachings and find the swiftest path to the realization of our nature.

On the way, why not take in the sights? As a Buddhist, how do I best enjoy all the beauty that crosses my path everyday?

I will use this blog to share beauty and reflect beauty and contemplate beauty. May my love for all beings expand in all directions just like the beauty that permeates this world.

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