(Excerpt from Living Buddha, Living Christ. I read this on my phone, on the train, in the mornings. Sets the day. -MT)
5. Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self-transformation and for the transformation of society.
In modern life, people think that their body belongs to them and they can do anything they want to it. When they make such a determination, the law supports them. This is one of the manifestations of individualism. But, according to the teachings of emptiness, non-self, and interbeing, your body is not yours alone. It also belongs to your ancestors, your parents, future generations, and all other living beings. Everything, even the trees and the clouds, has come together to bring about the presence of your body. Keeping your body healthy is the best way to express your gratitude to the whole cosmos, to all ancestors, and also not to betray future generations. You practice this precept for everyone. If you are healthy, everyone can benefit from it. When you are able to get out of the shell of your small self, you will see that you are interrelated to everyone and everything, that your every act is linked with the whole of humankind and the whole cosmos. To keep yourself healthy in body and mind is to be kind to all beings. The Fifth Precept is about health and healing.
Hanh, Thich Nhat (2007-03-06). Living Buddha, Living Christ 10th Anniversary Edition (Kindle Locations 1117-1122). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
Buzzing through the train tunnel today, on the way to the Shuttle to the east side, and it’s rush hour, and gazillions of people, and this guy is stopped to help out a very old Vietnamese woman, who was begging. I wanted to show the buzz of people, only got off one frame; 8 second exposure handheld, so it’s blurred. But if you get a chance to see “I Am”, on Netflix or whatever, you’ll get it about this picture.
My friend Tamara Reynolds recommended this film. I watched it tonight. Very powerful. Not sure what to even say about it, (other than I need to watch it a few more times). Stream it on Netflix.
Good (excerpt) interview with Thich Nhat Hanh, done by Oprah Winfrey. Trying to just focus on him, and his message. I had no idea he is in his mid-80’s. A good reminder for me today. (Full interview here, in text).
We moved into the new Dharma center a few weeks ago. Dave brought in Noah Levine this past weekend, for a short talk on Friday night, and then an all-day meditation on Saturday. More information on the center and the schedule here.
Powerful documentary on the country of Myanmar (Burma), next to Thailand. Buddhist, but military government. Complicated. Stream on Netflix.
I was sending this podcast link to a friend, and noticed that someone actually videotaped this program. So you can see his face and hear his voice. About an hour long, and worth it, if you find an hour over the holidays. I like his gentle manner and also his humor.
I went to Kentucky today, to check on my mother. I got her in the car, and got her to Walgreens to get a Flu Shot. Also got her leaves raked out to the street.
The drive is almost exactly one hour, which ironically, is the length of an average Tara Brach podcast. I listened to a good one today on the way up, and it hung with me, so i repeated it again on the way home. It usually takes me twice, for it to really sink in and hit home. This one is dated September 12th, 2012, and titled “The Freedom of Yes”.
Several highlights from this podcast:
#1: “I’m going to ask you to pick times when you go past your toleration point, and we’re going to examine some. The content of the mind is usually judgement or blame, and the mind is panicking. There’s a rigidity; we can no longer plan on how to respond best to move things toward healing. We’re in really old conditioning.”
#2: “In any moment when we’re focusing our attention on ‘You’re wrong; you should be different’, we’re arguing with Reality. In those moments we are not able to access our resourcefulness. Deep empowerment, deep access to your wisdom — not possible if you’re blaming the other person.”
#3: Poem by Kaveri Patel:
“There’s a monkey in my mind swinging on a trapeze,
reaching back to the past or leaning into the future,
never standing still.
Sometimes I want to kill that monkey, shoot it square
between the eyes so I won’t have to think anymore
or feel the pain of worry.
But today I thanked her and she jumped down
straight into my lap, trapeze still swinging
as we sat still.”
#4: “People don’t want to be bad. They don’t want to be hurtful, deep down. Everybody’s got their leg in a trap if they’re causing Suffering. If you’re struggling with food addiction, or your own anger, or your own insecurity with other people, it’s not your fault — it’s genetics, or early history. It doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to wake up from it, it just means that up until this moment, the causes and conditions are in action”.
#5: Poem by Danna Faulds, “White Dove”:
In the shared quiet, an invitation arises like a
white dove lifting from a limb and taking flight.
Come and live in truth. Take your place in the
flow of grace. Draw aside the veil you thought
would always separate your heart from love.
All you ever longed for is before you in this moment
if you dare to draw in a breath and whisper “Yes.”
Made the full trip back from North Carolina tonight. If you are into Buddhism practice, or Tara Brach, this is an especially powerful one. I listened to it twice, on the drive back. The only link I could find that’s linkable is a video talk; actually I prefer just listening to the audio version from iTunes; the video is actually sorta creepy to me. You can subscribe to her podcasts for free. This one is dated September 28, 2011, titled “Causing No Harm”.
Noah Levine’s podcasts are pretty good, as well. Sometimes the audio quality is lacking. But I like that there’s a Nashville connection, to Dave Smith, here at Against The Stream Nashville.
We had a great time with Dave Smith, from Against The Stream Nashville today. A diptych portrait; 8″x10″ wet plate collodion on black metal. Good stories; lots of laughter. Dave is a very admirable guy; he’s done the hard work.
Update: Here is Dave’s talk from last night’s practice, (Sunday night, Sept 30, 2012).
Dropped by Gillian’s Yoga Carnival last night, in the old Whiteway Cleaners complex. It was a warm night; they had fires built in the courtyard, and it was a packed house. Henna applications, bellydancers, music, and an amazing display of strength, discipline, and commitment by Gillian, Jessica, and their friends.