The Adventures of a Buddhist living in an all Christian Town

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Why Obama’s UFO statement just changed the course of history | Minds

Why Obama’s UFO statement just changed the course of history | Minds.

This is an excellent blog post regarding Obama’s UFO statements on the Jimmy Kimmel show a few nights ago. I pretty much ignored the original broadcast because Presidents never fully disclose what we know about UFO phenomenon.  This blog post changed my mind about that. It’s well written, thoughtfully put together and makes excellent points. The fact that Ben Henson, from Fact or Faked fame does the video commentary is also a nice plus.  Give it a watch and let me know (politely) what you think.

Indiana Activist: Don’t Clarify That ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Won’t Allow Discrimination | Right Wing Watch

Indiana Activist: Don’t Clarify That ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Won’t Allow Discrimination | Right Wing Watch.

religious extremists often bleat about being persecuted for not being allowed to persecute others. Which is at the heart of this terrible law. And the sad thing is, is that this very law is being considered in numerous other states, including my own.

Although this law is designed to legally discriminate against the gay community, the implications of this law goes far deeper.

I consider the fact that my husband and I are non Christians in an almost exclusively conservative Christian town. Should (and I could just say, when) my state adopts a similar law, it is quite possible that businesses will no longer let us shop there. It’s possible that the city hall will refuse service to us and cut off our water. Our local pharmacist could decide that filling a prescription to a Buddhist (idolater) is a sin and would let me die from an asthma attack rather than give me my medicines.

A few years ago, a cashier saw my husband’s pentagram and refused to check him out. The manager promptly fired her. The next time, we may not have that kind of protection. I am concerned for my and my husband’s well being as well as others who are either gay or of a minority religion, or female. Can you imagine, being a woman in a managerial position and being fired because your boss does not believe women should hold positions of authority over men?
Welcome to the age of Back Door Jim Crow. And I thought that bastard was dead. I was wrong. All it took was a handful of white supremacists  and religious right extremists to resuscitate him.

Scare Way To Heaven O.o

She is fifteen years old. Impressionable, naieve. She sits on the grass along with her fellow students in Bible camp listening to a teaching by the senior camp counselor. “Do you see the boy sitting next to you?” the counselor asks her. The girl nods and she blushes. The boy blushes also, and the group giggles in adolescent silliness.

“You just committed a sin,” the counselor tells her. “You are lusting in your heart for the boy next to you, and that means you will die and go to hell. All you have to do is think about a sin and you are condemned to hell.”
Horrified, the girl lowers her gaze. During the rest of her stay at Bible camp, she does not look at the boys because she is afraid she’ll go to hell.
As she grows older, and hard core adolescent cynicism settles in, she decides that it doesn’t matter what she does because God will send her to hell anyway.

As a woman in her forties, our heroine is sitting in a Dharma center. The teacher tells the assembly, “If you think one bad thought about your teacher, you will go to hell for countless eons. If you doubt the Dharma, you will go to the hell realms, just with the act of a single thought, you condemn yourself.”
For this woman, the light of hope for enlightenment flickers and goes out. Again, the hardcore cynicism that she developed as a teenager settles on her like a shroud. She has heard this story before. If a single thought can doom me to hell, she asks herself, then why bother? She gets up and leaves the sangha and never returns.
And why should she? If a single thought can send you to a hell realm, how is it possible to ever become enlightened? Ever?
****

A section of the Maha Sattipatthana Sutta describes the five hindrances as Greed, hate, physical and mental fatigue, agitation and fear. So, if fear is a hindrance, it does not make much sense for a teacher to hobble her students by introducing fear based ideas into her teaching program. A good teacher would want to set up her students for every success in order to gain enlightenment. Which is what I intend to do.

SCI FI SATURDAY: The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)

patriciasnodgrass:

today’s sci fi saturday. A monster on a beach. Enjoy :D

Originally posted on The Only Buddhist in Town:

What happens when a lonely lighthouse keeper finds a sea monster and decides to keep it as a pet? It grows up to wreak havoc on the village the lighthouse keeper despises, that’s what.

It’s interesting to note that once again there is a beautiful girl getting hauled off by a monster. Monsters, and space aliens, too, seemed intent on hauling off busty young ladies. It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that I’m sure some film student has spent sleepless nights in grad school trying to turn into a doable thesis before the end of the semester.

Monster, is obviously a K-Mart version of the Creature of the Black Lagoon, but even so, it’s still a fun, campy film,which does have some genuinely startling incidents in it. Seeing the monster carrying out the severed head, for example, as well as the severed head of a hunter in the bottom of a…

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SCI FI SATURDAY: The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)

What happens when a lonely lighthouse keeper finds a sea monster and decides to keep it as a pet? It grows up to wreak havoc on the village the lighthouse keeper despises, that’s what.

It’s interesting to note that once again there is a beautiful girl getting hauled off by a monster. Monsters, and space aliens, too, seemed intent on hauling off busty young ladies. It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that I’m sure some film student has spent sleepless nights in grad school trying to turn into a doable thesis before the end of the semester.

Monster, is obviously a K-Mart version of the Creature of the Black Lagoon, but even so, it’s still a fun, campy film,which does have some genuinely startling incidents in it. Seeing the monster carrying out the severed head, for example, as well as the severed head of a hunter in the bottom of a cave with a crab crawling on it, gave me the creeps. The monster itself, rubber suit and all, was actually pretty good. Seeing the thing’s face for the first time was also wonderfully startling.  And the ending left the audience with something of a mystery.

Irwin Berbek directs this film. Pete Dunn plays the part of Eddie, the love interest and scientist, Jeanne Cartman plays Lucille, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter. TCM’s fan ratings gives this film 4.33 out of 5 stars.

And here, for your Sci Fi Saturday viewing pleasure, I present The Monster of Piedras Blancas.

The Insiduous Nature of the Spiritual Predator

It starts innocently. You meet him (or her) either through a mutual friend, or at a party. Or you might have met him online. And the meeting is a sweet one. You hit it off. He is funny, charming, caring, generous…and as your relationship with him progresses, he makes sure it becomes all about you. He is so interested in your life, how you feel, what you are doing, how he can make your life better, and he is always there for you. And with all that charm and kindness how can you NOT help but fall in love with him? He showers you with gifts and praise. The gifts are tailored just for you, and he emphasizes they are quite expensive. You are to use these gifts daily and remember to appreciate this gift giving by giving of yourself, whether it is your time, your energy, or your money. It could seem odd at first, but then again, he is doing all of this for your personal well being. After all, he did say that he loved you and cared deeply about you. Didn’t he?

He asks you to do some work for him and you gladly do so. You throw yourself into the little projects he sets out for you. And how could you not? You are helping others and you are repaying his kindness. After all, didn’t he shower you with expensive gifts and lofty praise? And look at how much time and energy and effort he has sacrificed just for you. How could it be a bad thing to spend a few hours out of your day to make him and others happy? But it’s not just an hour or two out of your week, is it? It becomes hours, days and weeks. Sometimes you find yourself working well past midnight and for days on end. You are exhausted, your mind is overtaxed due to lack of sleep, your body is aching from working so long and so hard. Your friends and family miss you and want to know what became of you, but what do you do? To tell the man (or woman) you adore that you are tired and overworked looks like laziness or lack of enthusiasm. At the very worst, it looks like ingratitude or entitlement. After all, he works tirelessly for YOUR benefit and the benefit of others as well, doesn’t he? Surely, if he has the stamina to work Herculean hours and make sacrifices, then what does missing one parent’s birthday or a holiday celebration with friends matter?

He texts you. First it’s one or two texts a day, and it makes you feel so loved, so wanted and special because during his busy day he took the time to think about you, and only you. Then the texts, go from just a few to many, to hundreds, and you start to see a shadow form across his face because he went through so much time and trouble to text you and you didn’t have time to text back and reply to each and every message.

How dare you need to go to the toilet! After all, he took the time out to text you, so why didn’t you have time to return his texts, he could ask. You feel guilty and promise to try harder. As the weeks and months roll on, you find yourself in a bind. You are exhausted. You’ve lost your job because you have been doing so much work for him that you haven’t hadn’t been able to put in any time for yourself. You miss your family, and your friends. He texts you and you have to hop to and answer the damned text or he will be angry and want to know why you didn’t answer instantly. You love and trust him, you are certain that he will understand.

And when you confess your sadness, and exhaustion and beg for a break, just a little one to go out and visit your mother, he will turn on you with surprising viciousness. He will scold you in public, accuse you of laziness, and ingratitude because he has given and given so much of himself, just for you and now you are showing how ungrateful you are. By the end of the browbeating your heart is broken. You are confused and hurt. How could he turn on you like that? Maybe you really did deserve to be shamed. You accept his punishment as a form of love and you abandon the idea of having a night out.

You find that your workload has doubled.

Later on, he will sense your rebelliousness. He becomes verbally abusive. He attacks every one of your flaws whether they are real or perceived. He will attack you privately, he will attack you publicly. He will deride you, shame you, manipulate your mind until you truly believe that what he says about you is the truth. You feel worthless and ashamed to be in the presence of someone who professes to love you so much. At some point, you consider ending the relationship, but he senses that too and he finds other ways of getting inside your head. He turns your fears and superstitions on you, and is now using those fears to terrorize you into staying.

In the end he will become physically abusive. It may start out as a shove, or a slap, then it degrades into full blown meltdowns of punching, slamming and hurling furniture.

He wants your money. Why do you need to spend money on an apartment when you can live with him? He encourages you to empty out your bank account. You lose your job and end up being dependent upon him. You have no place to go, no money and you feel powerless and empty and deeply, deeply afraid. You may even start believing the fiction he’s conjured about you. You may even think that if you left right now, this instant, there is really no place to go. And when you see him for who he really is–when that mask of loving kindness slips off and you see the real monster underneath—and you take that final step and walk out the door determined to never see him again, you consider yourself fortunate that he chooses not to stalk you, but instead goes off in search of other prey.

The above scenario could describe an abusive romantic relationship, regardless of gender. Women, as well as men, in the past have abused men. Gay relationships are also not immune. But this also could describe the relationship between a teacher and a student. The methods are very similar, and the results are the same: to use fear and intimidation to control and overpower the other person for egotistical gratification. It has nothing to do with Buddha, it has nothing to do with enlightenment. It has everything to do with a power hungry sociopath and his own agenda.

And these sociopaths will do anything to get into your head, and into your checking account. Some of them even use a time old practice of guru devotion to achieve this. The fundamentalist logic behind guru devotion is this: Without a teacher, one will never come to the Dharma. So the teacher becomes exalted and is sometimes even considered to be a Buddha in his or her own right. This is a dangerous fallacy that is often propagated by spiritual predators. The reason being is that, guru devotion, by its very nature, is so easy to abuse. Even The Dalai Lama has mentioned this and in his book The Great Path to Enlightenment, which I highly recommend reading. If a teacher is sincere and truly loving, he or she will not abuse or exploit their students. The very concept of striking out at a student is unthinkable. If we read the Mahasattipatana Sutta, it is easy to see where Buddha points out a path of non violence. Devotion, Lama Jigme Gyatso tells me, is a trap, and for all the reasons mentioned above. It certainly is, especially when you put your devotion into a person, no matter how attained they claim to be, or how great sounding their credentials are. The Sutta of the Kalima’s Dilemma points that out beautifully. A dose of healthy skepticism is very important, and it should be used, especially when dealing with those who could become your teacher.

Last year, I considered the usefulness of wrathful compassion, but now that I have spent more time studying and reflecting, and talking to my own guru, Lama Jigme, and reading the suttas and other texts, the more I realize that wrathful compassion is an oxymoron, and has no real place in Buddha’s teachings. If a teacher has to hit, threaten or intimidate an adult student in order to ‘purify’ their karma, you can take it to the bank that this is NOT something authentic rational minded Buddhists teachers do, and they are not doing it to purify anything. Instead they are on a power mad trip and YOU are his target.

My personal rule of thumb is this: If you feel as if you have been abused, it’s because YOU. HAVE. BEEN.

I have been Lama Jigme’s student for nearly ten years. During that time, I have never, ever seen him raise his voice to a student, threaten them and he certainly never struck one. I recall an incident during our webinar class a few years ago, when an unstable student had a complete meltdown and disrupted class. Lama Jigme tried to calm her. When she started screaming and swearing, he simply expelled her from the class. He never raised his voice. He never harmed her. But he didn’t let her harm anyone else, either.

Later that year I attended a dharma teaching from a different sect and I was astounded to see the lama verbally abuse a student in public. I was horrified Needless to say, I didn’t stay in that sect for very long.

I once watched a video clip of a day in the life of the Dalai Lama. As he was eating breakfast one morning, the interviewer persisted in asking him questions. His Holiness did not get angry and abuse the man, but he told the man sternly, “Now is not the time for talk. Now is the time for eating.” The interviewer stopped talking and let His Holiness eat in peace. These are just a few examples, but I think you get the idea.

NOTE: This essay was not written about any particular teacher or center in mind. I wrote this from the perspective that every religion on the face of the Earth has its spiritual predators and its fringe elements. Buddhism is no different. It too has its fundamentalist and liberal sects. And it is not immune to spiritual predators who prey on those whom they consider weak. Be safe.

Our Evaluations – 5 Minute Mindfulness – The Five Aggregates – 2015-a03-25 Friends – YouTube

Our Evaluations – 5 Minute Mindfulness – The Five Aggregates – 2015-a03-25 Friends – YouTube.

Here’s the latest version of the Five Minute Mindfulness series. Can you name the five aggregates? I was having issues this afternoon and Lama Jigme called and offered to work with me through my difficulty. We practiced the Five Aggregates together via the phone. And I gotta tell ya, I feel MUCH better.

Enjoy.

 

13 Things to Remember If You Love A Person With Anxiety

13 Things to Remember If You Love A Person With Anxiety.

This is an excellent article in regards to how to deal with a person with anxiety. I know, there are some people who will say that depression, anxiety, etc, are caused by ‘bad karma’ or you are somehow a bad person, you are lazy or faulty in some way or (and here’s my personal favorite) some how you deserve it and you are being punished by God, or whoever…

Or…again another personal favorite…you just need to suck it up and get over it. Everyone is anxious, depressed, etc. Live with it.

In the past, I’ve had teachers tell me that, (NOT lama Jigme, he’s been a tremendous help for my anxiety issues) and I’ve had psychologists tell me that. And those people are what I like to call…

WRONG….

If you are anxious, depressed, etc, don’t make the problem your fault.  Take responsibility, yes, indeed do, but do so in a constructive life affirming way. Mindfulness meditation is a powerful healing tool for these sort of problems. I know, this for a fact.

Get medical help. Find a doctor or a clinician who will listen to you and help you.

 

Lama Jigme’s 5 Minute Mindfulness Series

I created a tab just for this series of videos. Enjoy.

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