tzillah:

Grant decided I should get my birthday present early!
Here’s my tattoo! Yay!
I asked 3 very good friends who have particularly helped me spiritually to give me one design each. I was given the Dharmachakra, a Lotus, and the last person suggested I use the older Sanskrit text to write out the “Om Mani Padme Hum” mantra; I also attribute the circle theme to him based on a poem he wrote a long time ago about finding perfection (drawing perfect circles) within Samsara which continually inspires me in my pracice.
When my body pain becomes relentless, when others push and pull and break off my buttons, when I struggle with a plethora of diseases, neurological disorders, and ailments, when I want to end things, when I feel like I can’t keep going…this little ditty will be here until my body decays, reminding me that there’s a way out of Samsara, that burning building. And the way out, is inward.

At first I thought this was a henna tattoo, since the style is so similar to an intricate henna design. Very nice.

tzillah:

Grant decided I should get my birthday present early!

Here’s my tattoo! Yay!

I asked 3 very good friends who have particularly helped me spiritually to give me one design each. I was given the Dharmachakra, a Lotus, and the last person suggested I use the older Sanskrit text to write out the “Om Mani Padme Hum” mantra; I also attribute the circle theme to him based on a poem he wrote a long time ago about finding perfection (drawing perfect circles) within Samsara which continually inspires me in my pracice.

When my body pain becomes relentless, when others push and pull and break off my buttons, when I struggle with a plethora of diseases, neurological disorders, and ailments, when I want to end things, when I feel like I can’t keep going…this little ditty will be here until my body decays, reminding me that there’s a way out of Samsara, that burning building. And the way out, is inward.

At first I thought this was a henna tattoo, since the style is so similar to an intricate henna design. Very nice.

(Reblogged from tzillah)

Eight Steps to Happiness: The Preliminary Practices

Before we just sit down and do our meditation practice, it is very helpful to do some preliminary practices first. Without some preparation beforehand, our meditation experience won’t be very successful and we are likely to become frustrated and discouraged, and may even quit our meditation practice altogether.

Preliminary practices perform three functions: to purify our mind of negativity, accumulate merit (or good karma / positive energy), and help us receive the blessings (inspiration) of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the holy beings, by making our minds more open and receptive to them. A simple preliminary practice that does all of these is to recite some prayers before meditating.

We know from our own experience that we can never derive pure peace and happiness from material things. No matter how perfectly we arrange our external situation, as long as we remain in samsara problems will continue to trouble us. In fact, it often seems that the more emphasis we place on material development, the more problems we encounter. Pure happiness can only be attained through developing our mind. Through improving our qualities of love, compassion, and wisdom we can gradually eliminate all our suffering and problems, and eventually attain the everlasting joy of full enlightenment.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”
Practitioners of training the mind, however, are like peacocks, which are said to thrive on plants that are poisonous to other birds, because they can transform both attractive and unattractive objects into the spiritual path. They are able to enjoy attractive objects without developing attachment, and they can happily accept unattractive objects, such as sickness and other adverse conditions, without becoming angry or discouraged. Whatever circumstances arise, practitioners of training the mind can enjoy and make good use of them. Since in these degenerate times we are constantly surrounded by objects of attachment and aversion, we definitely need to learn how to transform them into the spiritual path by training our mind.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”
Our lives these days are extremely busy and complicated, filled with an ever-increasing variety of distractions. Even when we have the time to relax we tend to switch on the television or radio and are subjected to a multitude of ever-changing images and sounds. We are so used to being stimulated from the outside that we find it difficult to be quiet and enjoy the stillness of our own mind.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”
These days very few people can see Buddhas directly, and it has become extremely difficult to attain tranquil abiding, clairvoyance, and other spiritual realizations. This is a clear indication that we are living in spiritually degenerate times. Not only is it more difficult to gain spiritual realizations but we also experience many difficulties and dangers that did not exist before. The political situation in the world is now very unstable, and with the proliferation of increasingly destructive weapons human life is more precarious than ever. Despite the advances of modern medicine, new diseases are appearing and old ones are returning. Every year more and more people die as a direct or indirect result of environmental pollution, and even the conditions that we generally regard as helpful, such as cars, electricity, or medicine, are potential causes of untimely death.
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - “Eight Steps to Happiness”

Eight Steps to Happiness: The Pre-eminent Qualities of these Instructions

There are many benefits to putting the instructions of Langri Tangpa’s “Eight Verses of Training the Mind” into practice. The practice helps us to eliminate the ignorant mind of self-cherishing and self-grasping, the root of all suffering and problems. It shows us how to transform adverse conditions into the spiritual path, giving us the opportunity to use our daily problems and issues that would normally be obstacles as our actual daily practice so we can make progress in our spiritual practice.

We live in spiritually degenerate times. Fewer people are able to attain advanced spiritual realizations, and we generally find it more difficult to attain tranquil abiding and other spiritual realizations, or even to meditate at all. We have so many more distractions now, both outer and inner, than our ancestors could even imagine, and as a result our minds are more uncontrolled and conventional spiritual practice doesn’t work as well for modern people. However, by practicing the instructions in the “Eight Verses,” we can learn how to use these obstacles and transform them into the path to enlightenment instead.

Geshe Chekhawa compared the instructions of training the mind in this way to a diamond, to the sun, and to a medicinal tree. Just like even a small fragment of a larger diamond is still valuable, so even putting just a small part of the instructions into practice is worthwhile. Just like the first few rays of the rising sun begin to dispel the darkness of night, so even just a superficial experience of the teachings reduces the darkness of ignorance, and just as full sunlight dispels all darkness, so a deep experience of the teachings completely dispels our ignorance. Just as every part of a medicinal plant has curative properties, so every part of the teachings has the power to cure the mental poisons of delusions.

Who Can Practice Buddhism?

kmctexas:

Buddhism has a timeless and universal relevance, and can be practiced by anyone in any culture, regardless of race, gender, or age.

Anyone can benefit from meditation and other Buddhist practices known to improve the mind! Curious about changing your mind? Ask us questions , or read more about our tradition of Buddhism here.

(Reblogged from kmctexas)