A week in Hell #05

A week in Hell #05

Terror, if you subscribe to it, will open up the Gates of Hells. You may be sucked in. For playing along with those living in Hell, or bound to it, will suck you in. There is no need to suscribe to terror, what are you scared of? How helpful is that fear to accessing happiness and liberation? 

What to do then with those exercising torment unto themselves and others? Completely stuck. They believe the only way to escape Hell, may be to dig further into it. That, I suppose, is the delirium of those without groundedness, those who create their own noise. Unaware that silence is the ground of being, and that being silent is to recognise emptiness as empty of a defined, fixed self, freedom could not be further away even though they’re in it. 

There is a large emphasis on what the family of a person, dying and destined for a Hell realm, can do in scripture. Empowered to do. But let’s widen scope, let go of family boundaries and fixed, rigid concepts of death as the only opportunity for rebirth. What can I do now for those of Hell anywhere and anytime? To me, that is more pragmatic, more to the point and of the moment, more useful. The answer, for me, lies in boundlessness…

To sit with love for love and of love.

Maybe one of the best, pragmatic thing we may do living a contemplative life is to meditate on True Love, on the Four Immeasurable Minds “brahmavihāras”.  If we cannot love ourselves first, free of guilt and, and just plainly free. To love is to understand. To understand is to listen deeply, in silence of mind. Listening deeply to ourselves, we learn to listen deeply to others, the cries of the World, the screams of Hell. Then we can act in a way that nourishes ourselves and others, with equanimity we wish to soothe  the torment of those in Hell. 

That’s the aspiration, and there have been moments in my life when I felt I was in some way close to this, but the bar is set. We know what must be done, for as long as there are those suffering in Hell, suffering will beget suffering, and samsara will continue to turn. 

“If with kindly generosity

One merely has the wish to soothe

The aching heads of other beings,

Such merit has no bounds.”

-Shantideva 


Thank you for reading,

-dharmacaterpillar 

Time to Blossom

Time to Blossom

What’s your favourite aspect of Spring? 


Welcoming the Spring, we all emerge from the shadows. Now is a good time to reflect, if we haven’t been already, on what our shadows have been in the last few months. What’s been keeping us from living vibrantly? 

What have we been in the dark about? Our (mis)conceptions and views about ourself and others now have a bit more light shone upon them, we may see them clearer. It is a chance to reconsider things, to see everything that little bit clearer. 

Maybe a time to revitalise meditative practice? In the winter period meditation can be more difficult to keep up, lethargy can set in, we can lose momentum. Now Spring is here, I feel more invigorated, looking upon the blossoming trees in the woodlands, there is vibrancy. Life is once again plainly obvious. Meditation, the act of living life, is easy! 

Don’t let Spring pass you by and lose this grand opportunity to touch the reawakening of vibrancy and colour. So often we can be in winter then to summer, and miss the transition, miss the blossom, miss our own blossoming. I love noticing the tiny green buds emerging on the trees. How many of us in society fail to notice these moments? 

I welcome the Spring, I welcome myself and everyone else to be an active part in Spring. 

Kind wishes,

-dharmacaterpillar 

Just ask. 

Just ask. 

Life can be sticky, it’s easy to get stuck. You feel like there is no way out and this is often accompanied by hopelessness. 

Ask the correct questions and find out the nature of the stickiness. What are you stuck to? And how for how long? I hope that by asking and enquiring into the nature of how you are stuck, you can unstick yourself! 

Why would this be the case? This may happen because what you are doing when you ask these honest questions is that you exercise one of the most magical faculties you have; imagination. The very phrase “I’m stuck” derives from a place of imagination. Extrapolate. By exercising the imagination, solutions become available, and asking is a great place to start this process. 

Who are you asking? You are not alone. No one is. Not truly or absolutely. You may, or may not, feel alone, or experience periods of loneliness. I don’t deny you of that experience. But fundamentally, you are not alone. So when you ask, even if there is no person you feel you can ask and explore your life’s trends with, ask outwardly. Ask the Cosmos. 

Some people would call it prayer. You may also, but you needn’t give it a name. What’s important is the process. Get grounded, sit with a confident and open posture, sit with silence for a while and then just ask “what am I stuck to?”. 

Be patient, be diligent, be receptive. 

Kind wishes,

dharmacaterpillar 


Abhyāsa

Abhyāsa

Are you committed to your practice? 

  • Many will say they are, and many of those will be committed to a headache. 
  • Many will say they are not; for they do not want it to become a rigid thing.
  • Many will say what practice? That has got to be a joke?!

Abhyāsa is the coming back, with gentleness, to the breath, to the cushion, to the Buddha within and around us, at every available opportunity, with regularity. 

More than we commit to act out the desires of our egos, good effort put in can help us commit to practice. 

Why practice? We practice for a whole number of reasons, each of us have different ones, but when it comes down to it our healthiest, and truest answer, is surely “to practice”. In this way, the difficult times in meditation don’t make it feel wasteful, or make us question it’s assumed efficacy, and our successes can be enjoyed but not expected; appreciated and not taken for granted. 
The cushion awaits

And expects nothing. 

There is no extra burden here,

In the Land of the Do-to-do. 


Thank you friends for reading,

Be well, be aware,

– dharmacaterpillar 

Get your hands dirty

Get your hands dirty

When was the last time you got your hands dirty? 

I mean in the literal sense; your actual real hands covered, layered maybe, in actual dirt, mud, earthly Earth. 

How many of us can actually say that by the end of the day we will have, at least, touched the Earth, the real ground beneath our feet? 

What has this got to do with your inner transformational process? Everything. 

Feel the cold Earth beneath you with the palms of your bare hands, get down on your knees and feel it. Embrace the Earth as much as you like and are able to, and open up as much as you can to receive the Earth’s embrace back. In my experience this is Zen. A great paradox. The safest of feelings, protected but not claustrophobic in any way, life giving, life affirming, but at the same time; the most powerful beating of the heart is induced, because it cannot be contained- a beautiful, living, huge (hearted) Bodhisattva’s presence is felt. 

There is nothing like becoming One with the Earth, by actually (for a few minutes at least) rooted your  body, mind and heart into that very Earth. 

And besides that, isn’t the smell of soil just exquisite? The perfume of life. 

You’re not going to Nirvana 

You’re not going to Nirvana 

Is there some special train ticket you may buy? 

For a special train you may ride? 

From a special platform that may reside, 

In some special place up into the skies? 



You may be a meditator, you may call yourself a Buddhist, and when people ask why? You may answer, there are many answers, that you long for liberation, and what you may say if you were to add some technical jargon is Nirvana

Not the rock band. But the place, right? 

Nirvana is not a place with some location in the heavens. You will never go to Nirvana. 

What is happening on one’s unfolding into the nature of things is best described as  Nirvanaring or Nirvana-ing. Because what is happening is indeed a happening. This is interesting. 
It is interesting because instead of asking questions like “What would it take to be a Buddha and be in/got to Nirvana?” or “How does one get to Nirvana” or “Where is Nirvana/ How do you know when you get there/find it?”, one may ask different questions, which may sound similar but in my humble opinion I am inclined to say the following questions are more helpful; “Is Nirvana something that happens to me, or do I happen to Nirvana?” or “Is Nirvana always happening? Do I just need to realise it?” or “Is realising the Nirvanaring a question of refinement of discernible qualities, increased intellectual knowledge, oral dissolving of the idea I hold about my self? Or all, or none?” 
 

Is Nirvana something that’s happens to me? 

If Nirvana is a happening, does it happen to me? Someone once asked me this precise question, and I like it. I like it because it’s a good question to ponder over and to probe into. The process of Nirvana here is assumed to have an effect on an object, which is the me.

By suggesting Nirvana is a process, a happening, as oppose to a place/Buddhist Heaven, it seems to straightaway suggest that it must happen to us, like a sickness. This is because of the fallacy of the self as a separate, unchanging entity, which grips societal thinking. Nirvana is not happening to you. Nirvana is happening with you (or as you are happening). There is Nirvanaring and humaning; there is nirvana-human-ing.
Nirvana is not a place; you aren’t going there. You are not a separate unchanging object hanging in the Universe; Nirvana isn’t coming to you. Like torrents maintaining each other’s power, but in actual fact connected intimately as one, there is happening happening. 


Thank you for visiting Only Yoking, 

-dharmacaterpillar