Uncertain steps...

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Uncertain steps...

Postby Monsoon » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:45 pm

All your TNH books seem...well I would get overwhelmed. I'd put most of them away and focus on just one or two. If you like, I'll PM you some video teachings from teachers who I really love and helped me out a ton.


Initially I have been just reading them through without trying too hard to analyse anything, just to get a feel for some of the concepts. I do find myself quite drawn to the Diamond and Heart Sutras though. Don't really know why, but they speak to me somehow. Visiting Chinese temples I find I am always coming back to the images of Shakyamuni and Guanyin. Once again, I don't really know why, it's just compelling.

The offer of video teachings is very kind. Please send the links via PM.

Thank you. :bow:
Let peace reign!

Metta,

Monsoon
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Re: Uncertain steps...

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:35 am

Beautiful! Beautiful! I'm overjoyed.

Something Pema Chodron first introduced to me, too--always read your dharma texts out loud. (if they are Sutra or Shastra--I.E. they were composed by enlightened beings, so their words are magic!) You will thereby benefit even the insects or animals or invisible beings around you. Another more scientific reason for this is that, whether we are strong readers or not, we absorb text better, slower, and more deliberately when we read aloud because we are using both auditory and visual stimulae.

Initially I have been just reading them through without trying too hard to analyse anything, just to get a feel for some of the concepts.


Once again, you're doing wise things already. You should analyze and scrutinize (after reading--via contemplation), but many teachings/texts that are the most profound are totally inaccessible the first twenty times we read them. We may think they are simple and straightforward, only to realize years later we had only the most cursory, superficial understanding of them. So to read them aloud with no particular agenda, just to marinate yourself in the teachings, this is hugely beneficial. Later, try to set aside specific times (car rides alone, walks, whatever) when you contemplate specific aspects of the text--not practice, but contemplation.

Visiting Chinese temples I find I am always coming back to the images of Shakyamuni and Guanyin. Once again, I don't really know why, it's just compelling.


Again, wonderful. Please please please think of Guanyin again and again. With a willow frond, with the vase of nectar, any form--whatever.

Please find an image of him/her that you find particularly moving and put it somewhere high. These are my sincere requests--- they are not teachings or something--I'm not qualified to do that! I just know that, in my life, no other figure has been as pervasive and powerful. Here are some really cool forms of Guanyin : http://fodian.xinwenwuzhe.com/world/gwo ... agesa.html There are massive amounts of images but all my favorites are under the 33 forms. You may feel leery of this; most of us from the West are raised with a strong aversion to "idol worship" and superstition---but when you understand the motivation behind it--it makes total sense. And reverence for/keeping images of the Buddhas is an indispensable practice.

ANYWAY!

Read those treasured Sutras. Recite Tadyatha Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha whenever, all the time. It's totally appropriate. It's good for toothaches, bad dreams, car accidents, the time of death, orgasms, and earthquakes. It's in a sutra so you need no specific permission or empowerment to use it to full magnitude.

I feel like your Mom rushing you out the door with a million reminders "It's cold, wear a jacket!", "don't forget to tip well!" and "Always wear a rubber!" :tongue: but seriously---its been really awesome to offer you the little that has helped me.


(Don't misunderstand my zeal for being a qualified teacher or something. I'm just really, really excited.)
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Re: Uncertain steps...

Postby Monsoon » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:35 am

:namaste: Nilasarasvati, you are incorrigible! :twothumbsup:

I have been looking for ages on ebay for a good statue of Guanyin to grace my little home altar. However, the prices are steep so I have to get saving. It will sit alongside a photograph of my long departed father who I only realised far too late in life had always had his hand held out in an offer of friendship and support. Alas, too late to tell him that in person, yet his image reminds me to find that quality within myself everyday. I'm not very good at it, though I do try.

I feel like your Mom rushing you out the door with a million reminders...


Yeah, back in the day my Mum was like that, except the reminder was not to darken her door again. :( We're all good now though, and have been for quite a few years. So perhaps I did something right along the way?

Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

I am thinking this right now. Funnily enough when I chant it is all in Mandarin, but one of my other Mnadarin scripts has the mantra in the language shown here. Not quite sure why that is.

As for me doing things like a :sage: it's just beginner's luck! Really!! As the saying goes, all the mistakes are out there waiting to be made. I'm sure mine are grouping together on the horizon, waiting for me to step incautiously into their clutches :)

EDIT: many, many thanks for the links. I will get to viewing/experienceing them over the next dya or two!
:bow:
Let peace reign!

Metta,

Monsoon
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Re: Uncertain steps...

Postby Nilasarasvati » Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:44 am

Ooh! About the statues---they are HARD to come by. You will see them in Asian shops and bazaars but usually they are pretty shitty for lack of a better word. Lumpy mold-pressed things. The Ebay key words you want are these: Blanc-de-Chine or Dehua porcelain. It's usually stupidly expensive, I admit. I would say--pay for a nice print to be made of your favorite and then matte it on some nice gold or black or whatever color paper.
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Re: Uncertain steps...

Postby Monsoon » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:25 am

Nice idea about the picture. With statues I prefer the naturalness of wood over porcelain - just a preference. The annoying thing is that I should have got one on my last visit to China. The cost on the ground (as it were) is completely different to the ebay prices for the exact same items. And you get killed by the postage. I could have gotten a 20 inch high carving for under US$100 and brought it back for free. Damn! Next time perhaps.

Actually ebay really hacks me off sometimes, particularly with the blatantly obvious price gouging that some sellers get away with. I had one offer (if I recall it was $85) that got beaten at the last minute by a dollar. When it came up again the next day, same statue same seller same price, I wrote to them and suggested a private deal at the winning price, but they insisted on going through the whole auction process again. I withdrew from the auction. I don't believe they ever sell them quite frankly, and just because they want to squeeze the extra dollar.

In the meantime I will pick an image that appeals and frame it up nicely.

The YouTube video I sing along to is this one: Heart Sutra

Not exactly traditional chanting but wonderful nonetheless. My voice doesn't reach those keys so I sing it about an octave lower. At first I was truly terrible, now I am merely awful! :rolling:

I believe the statue is in Japan (got to go on the bucket list I think!)... ah it's this one. Isn't that an amazing sight!

Next time I get to travel to China I will be making a visit to Putuoshan. :smile:
Let peace reign!

Metta,

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