Posts Tagged ‘Dalai Lama’

From Advice for Dying & Living a Better Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

“It is crucial to be mindful of death — to contemplate that you will not remain long in this life.  If you are not aware of death, you will fail to take advantage of this special human life that you have already attained.  it is meaningful since, based on it, important effects can be accomplished.

Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful but to appreciate this precious lifetimes during which you can perform many important practices.  Rather than being frightened, you need to reflect that when death comes, you will lose this good opportunity for practice.  In this way contemplation of death will bring moreenergy to your practice.

You need to accept that death comes in the normal course of life.  As Buddha said:

A place to stay untouched by death

Does not exist.

It does not exist in space, it does not exist in

the ocean.

Nor if you stay in the middle of a mountain.

If you accept that death is part of life, then when it actually does come, you may face it more easily.

When people know deep inside that death will come but deliberately avoid thinking about it, that does not fit the situation and is counterproductive.  The same is true when old age is not accepted as part of life but taken to be unwanted and deliberately avoided in thought.  This leads to being mentally unprepared; then when old age inevitably occurs, it is very difficult.”

Deep gratitude to His Holiness for all of the teachings he has shared with us over the past seven decades, but no teaching more precious than the teaching he has given us of the example of his life.

May His Holiness have a continued long and healthy life.  May He live to see His people politically free and safe from harm.

Blessings, Jennifer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAjCzEAdlng — Peace Panel Pt 10 with Roshi Joan Halifax

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIX3tdFPolg&feature=related — Finding Happiness in Troubled Times

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XFhWI6QOHg&feature=relmfu — 76th Birthday Celebration

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeryKuwHqUU&feature=relmfu — On Birthdays

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYpLaQ56Cdw&feature=related — News clip on Richard Gere going to see HH

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2wZh6wbXJI&feature=related — Clip from the Today Show

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyAoFdx6914&feature=related  — Richard Gere interview from 2007

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxhVvXqBiDc&feature=relmfu — Talk for World Peace

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Take a look at Pema Chodron‘s video clip…


Any nun who can tell you that she joined the spiritual community because she wanted to kill her husband has to be a teacher for today’s world.

I became Buddhist after I watched a video tape, in a philosophy class at a Catholic college, of Thich Nhat Hanh.  I don’t even remember which one as it was so many decades ago.  But I remember thinking, I never met a priest in my parish that had a smile that big and had the outlook of a wise childlike being.

And to this day, I am grateful to Thay’s teachings and to his sangha.  His community in the mid-West was a welcome refuge for me when I moved here.

And Thay has always seemed like an embodiment of the Buddha. . . the loving, sacred heart of the Buddha, much in the same way that HH the Dalai Lama is the embodiment of the analytic mind and compassion presence of the Buddha.  I revere both, but always feel like how they live, their lessons, etc will always be out of reach for me.

And then I read my first book by Pema Chodron.  And I listened to my first audio book and I thought, “Oh, I get this!  Hey, I think she just swore… and oh look, she’s from my part of the country” and Buddhism became real and personal and attainable some how.

Ani Pema was the first female Dharma teacher whose work I was introduced to.  But there have been many others since then and hopefully more and more women will be embracing the Dharma and sharing it within their fields.

I am so thankful to the female Buddhist teachers today.  Tara Brach, Ani Pema Chodron, Roshi Joan Halifax, Cheri Maples, Sharon Salzberg,  and Sylvia Boorstein have made the Dharma accessible for women in the West.  And there are more and more therapists, like Irini Nadel Rockwell, Tara Brach, and Tara Bennett-Goleman are adding to the body of literature in bringing Buddhist thought to Western Psychology.

These great teachers have taught me more about being present to a client and being a compassionate presence to the dying and bereaved than anyone in my academic endeavors.  I honor them and their passion for their respective work.

May the merit of all these women inspire a new generation and help to foster compassion for all sentient beings.

Namaste, Jennifer

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Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...

Brain scanning technology is quickly approaching levels of detail that will have serious implications (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

More exciting news from my back yard…

well, not exactly…. more like up the road a bit. . . at the beautiful University of WI campuses. . .

Here’s a short article about Dr. Richie Davidson’s research on the brain and well-being. . .


Very exciting work.

Want to know more, check out the Mind Life Institute  or any of the books that have been inspired by the meetings with HH, the 14th Dalai Lama —  http://www.mindandlife.org/publications/

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His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama brings togeth...

“If you are not aware of death, you will failure to take advantage of this special human life that you have already attained.  It is meaningful since, based on it, important effects can be accomplished.”

~~  HH the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

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Well, but not this year. . . .

Here is a link to find out more about Losar.

But this year, instead of celebrating a new year, a new beginning, we stand together to mourn for all those who have taken their lives in protest of the Chinese Occupation of Tibet and for all of those who have been killed, tortured, and have fled from their homeland.

During the past year, we have witnessed countless reports of young people who have died by self-immolation and more uprisings in the tortured country of Tibet.

I take a moment as Losar begins by to recite The Four Immeasurables for all those who have known pain and suffering during these decades of occupation and cruelty:

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes

May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes

May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss

May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger

from www.bodhichitta.net

Here is a Q&A from His Holiness that I found on the net asking about how we deal with those groups who have committed unspeakable acts. . .

From www.viewonbuddhism.org:

“How does a person or group of people compassionately and yet straightforwardly confront another person or group of people who have committed crimes of genocide against them?

His Holiness: “When talking about compassion and compassionately dealing with such situations one must bear in mind what is meant by compassionately dealing with such cases. Being compassionate towards such people or such a person does not mean that you allow the other person to do whatever the other person or group of people wishes to do, inflicting suffering upon you and so on. Rather, compassionately dealing with such a situation has a different meaning. When a person or group of people deals with such a situation and tries to prevent such crimes there is generally speaking two ways in which you could do that, or one could say, two motivations. One is out of confrontation, out of hatred that confronts such a situation. There is another case in which, although in action it may be of the same force and strength, but the motivation would not be out of hatred and anger but rather out of compassion towards the perpetrators of these crimes. Realising that if you allow the other person, the perpetrator of the crime, to indulge his or her own negative habits then in the long run the other person or group is going to suffer the consequences of that negative action. Therefore, out of the consideration of the potential suffering for the perpetrator of such crimes, then you confront the situation and apply equally forceful and strong measures. I think this is quite relevant and important in modern society, especially in a competitive society. When someone genuinely practices compassion, forgiveness and humility then sometimes some people will take advantage of such a situation. Sometimes it is necessary to take a countermeasure, then with that kind of reasoning and compassion, the countermeasure is taken with reasoning and compassion rather than out of negative emotion. That is actually more effective and appropriate. This is important. For example my own case with Tibet in a national struggle against injustice we take action without using negative emotion. It sometimes seems more effective.”

Let us hope that it is with this New Year that we find continued hope and renewed action in saving the Tibetan people and their hertiage.  Maybe this will be the year that the world leaders say, enough, we won’t stand by and watch innocent people die.  Maybe this will be the year that we help others selflessly rather than for what they or their country have that we can benefit from.

Perhaps this will be the year when the individual will matter more than the state and we will embrace our interbeing with all sentient beings and learn to live compassionately and congruently.

Metta, Jennifer

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Longaker has a wonderful book, “Facing Death and Finding Hope:  A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying“.  She has worked for years with Sogyal Rinpoche, Tibetan teacher and author.  Christine helped to establish two important institutions in our country . . . Hospice of Santa Cruz County and Rigpa Fellowship (US).  She also helped Sogyal Rinpoche to develop the Spiritual Care for Living and Dying Program.

She has an incredible poem in the abovementioned book that she wrote shortly after the death of her husband.  Next week we celebrate love and relationships.  Maybe we’ve gotten to a place where it is pretty commercialized, painting everything pink and red or getting “the” reservation at the hottest restaurant or the perfect getaway spa weekend but when it all comes down to it, none of that really matters.

What matters is our connection, our ability to be present, our desire to be compassionate, and our earnestness in trying to understand and love.

The week coming up is, for me, always bittersweet.  2/13 is my grandfather’s birthday and he would be 98 years old.  It is also the birthday of a beloved family friend who died before I ever left Connecticut.

2/14 is when my brother was put into a coma 17 years ago and when my mentor and dear friend Lois began the process of helping him to relax into his dying with a white light meditation and relaxation.

2/15 at 10am was when the doorbell rang and Michael’s home health nurse was at the door to tell me to come to the hospital; Mike was ready to transition.  I “knew” about 15 minutes before that he was slipping away but he had the gift of being with our parents for the last time. . . just the three of them, just as he had started out in this world before I came along.

The American Psychiatric Association and other people, some in my own professional organization, would give us two weeks to grieve before giving us a diagnosis.  I guess the lot of them have never really loved anyone.

During the week to come, spend extra time being present to those who you love the most.  Listen to the quality of their voice, how the sun shines on their hair, the pitch of their giggle, the wrinkles on their hands. . . spend less time searching for that card at Hallmark and spend that time giving your loved one that mindful attention.

You will not always be together, as we change, age, grow ill, and die, as Longaker experienced with her husband.  Create memories now and enjoy the moment-to-moment love you share.


You Can Grow Less Beautiful

Your hair is falling out, and

you are not so beautiful.

Your eyes have dark shadows,

your body is bloated:  arms covered with

bruises and needlemarks;

legs swollen and useless.

Your body and spirit

are weakened with toxic chemicals

urine smells like antibiotics,

even the sweat,

that bathes your  whole body

in the early hours of morning

reeks of dicloxacillin and methotrexate.

You are nauseous all the time —

I am afraid to move on the bed

for fear of waking you

to moan

and lean over the edge

vomiting into the bag.

I curl up fetally

withdraw into my dreams

with a frightened back to you —

I’m scared

and I’m hiding

but I love you so much;

this truth does not change.

Years ago,

when I met you, as we were falling in love,

your beauty attracted me;

long, golden-brown hair

clear and peaceful green eyes

high cheekbones and long smooth muscles

but you know

I fell in love with your soul

the real essence of you

and this cannot grow less beautiful.

Sometimes these days

even your soul is cloudy

but I still recognize you.

We may be frightened

and hiding our sorrow

it may take a little longer

to acknowledge the truth,

yet I would not want to be anywhere else:

I am here     with you

you can grow less beautiful to the world

you are safe —

I will always love you.

~~Christine Longaker for her husband Lyttle.

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English: President Barack Obama meets with His...

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Book review: ‘Beyond Religion’ by the Dalai Lama.

For decades, when HH the 14th Dalai Lama has been asked about his religion, he has smiled and stated, “I am a simple monk and my religion is compassion.”

I love that His Holiness is shedding the ideas of things like “-isms” and getting to the root of what matters — nothing but compassion.   And you know what I mean, Catholicism, Buddhism, nationalism, absolutism, capitalism, patriotism, materialism, etc.

I wish this idea would spread like wildfire through all of the leaders of countries throughout the world and through the world’s religions. . . and maybe it could start with our own leader here in the U.S.,  whose lack of attention to the Dalai Lama and the plight of the Tibetans is truly worth grieving over.

How often do we hate, fear, and start war because of “-isms”?  How often do we create policy and law based on “-isms”?  How often do we make others suffer because of the things we believe?

The author of this review shares this:

“Some may disagree with the Dalai Lama’s perspective, but he does a credible job of arguing why we should “move beyond our limited sense of closeness to this or that group or identity, and instead cultivate a sense of closeness to the entire human family.”

I would hope if anyone can sell the idea of the nature of the human being and the need for what is essentially important it would be Tenzin Gyasto, the Dalai Lama.

Note:  Want to know more?  Read, The Mind’s Own Physician by Jon-Kabat-Zinn and Richard Davidson soon to be out on Kindle.  This book is about neuroscience and explores the question — how does meditation affect human’s pain and suffering.


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Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama) 2008, 2005 & 2...

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Check out the LA Times review of HH the Dalai Lama’s new book.

Book review: ‘Beyond Religion’ by the Dalai Lama.

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