Past Life Regression

When NerdyGirl left the immediate environs of the Black Vatican there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth, but she was actually on a secret mission known only to His Sinfulness, Darth Furious, and myself...

Through dilligent effort and painstaking research (mostly on Craig's List and Alt Personals) she has located this, the only known portrait of the Black Pope in a previous life.

As you can see he's always been a looker, and a snazzy dresser too. Nice to know that some things never change.

Happy Halloween

Have an assload of fun!

Lojong #6

#6) In Postmeditation, Be a Child of Illusion

Jamgon Kongtrul:
After meditation, do not allow the experience of resting evenly to dissipate, no matter what form of activity you engage in. Continually foster the feeling of knowing that all appearances, yourself, others, animate or inanimate, appear though they seem to be nothing - be like a child of illusion.

Chogyam Trungpa:
Illusion does not mean haziness, confusion, or mirage. Being a child of illusion means that you continue what you have experienced in your sitting practice [resting in the nature of alaya] into postmeditation experience.

You realize that after sitting practice, you do not have to solidify phenomena. Instead, you can continue your practice and develop some kind of ongoing awareness. If things become heavy and solid, you flash mindfulness and awareness into them. In that way you begin to see that everything is pliable and workable. Your attitude is that the phenomenal world is not evil, that 'they' are not out to get you or kill you. Everything is workable and soothing.

Linus Furious:
Since no one reads these entries anyway, I thought I'd put my two cents in on this one. Trying to take the meditative state with you when you leave the cushions is very difficult. A simple way to begin is to use the labeling practice commonly taught by Tibetan meditation teachers. When something siezes your attention, label it without judgement, and then let it go. So as you are walking down the street you might say to yourself, "tree" or "mailman" or "sidewalk" as these things catch your eye, but you are not making judgements about them. The tree, mailman, and sidewalk are not good or bad or pretty or ugly or anything other than what they are. You can use this to label thoughts as well; when your mind has wandered off, simply label that "thinking" and let it fall away.

If you missed the explanation of the lojong sayings and tonglen meditation, click here.

Fall Warnings

Be careful out there - this could happen to you...

Also, watch out for the Jedi squirrel turf wars.

Lojong #5

#5) Rest in the Nature of alaya, the Essence.

(alaya; 'Source consciousness'. Pure, primary awareness untainted by life experiences, judgements, or preconceptions. Called in Zen 'the face you had before your parents were born'.)

Alan Wallace:
Once we have arrived at this point honestly, with insight and intelligence, the nature of the meditative practice shifts. Now we free the mind of the conceptualizations we were using before, free it of any kind of ideation or discursive thought, any conceptual grasping to past, present, or future. The mind relaxes in the nature of non-grasping, and yet we maintain a state of vivid clarity, free of dullness or agitation.

Jamgon Kongtrul:
Let go and rest, without the slightest idea of a nature existing as something, with absolutely no mental clinging, in a state distinguished by nondiscursive clarity and pure simplicity. In summary, for as long as you are able, follow no train of thought, but rest evenly in a state in which mind in itself is clear and free of discursiveness. This is placing meditation.

If you missed the explanation of the lojong sayings and tonglen meditation, click here.

Quote of the Week

"It's ok to cry."
"But I hate crying."
"Me too, but you have to let stuff out. It's like going to the bathroom - I don't really look forward to it, but I feel better afterwards."
"What the... are you saying that not crying is like emotional constipation!?"
"Yes - crying is just like pooping from your eyes."

Fighting Machine

Who says my blog isn't fun anymore?

The Dark Acolyte Emerges...

The Black Vatican is happy to announce that the sister of His Sinfulness is delivered of a baby girl. The Dark Niece, dubbed Brienna Vivian, arrived last night after a few hours of very easy labor. Mother and little wog are both doing fine, and will be going home from the hospital tomorrow.

Karmic Debt Management

I look about me and see my room, the books and things,
and behind it all in shadow, the relationships and deeds,
making up this lifetime accumulation.
I reckon and tabulate, seeking an accounting of the years so far;
the things I've done and the places I've been crash by in a rush,
every sin and every success is put through the formula
and falls to the floor like register tape,
adding or subtracting from the total.
Jobs done well and goals met
vie with broken promises and outright lies,
pulling the final sum from red to black and back again.

Through it all there's this futility,
like balancing a checkbook you know is overdrawn.
Good deeds just aren't as weighty as transgressions -
they lack that leaden density that sin carries.
It takes a lot of public radio memberships
and donations to the United Way
to make up for shots fired
in the line of a duty you never really believed in,
especially when you hit your target.
How many charity walk-a-thons does it take
to overcome a single broken oath,
a single untruth to a trusting lover?
I don't need to hit the enter key
to know the last number will be printed in red;
I'm not checking to see if I'm in the hole,
I just want to know how far.

More information please...

I have been researching grad schools. Each one has a glossy web page, filled with info on the admission process, financial aid, faculty, housing, and about a dozen other pertinent topics. None of them really answer my questions, though. I think these sites should include the stuff that grad students really want to know. If I designed these sites, they would answer questions like...

-How kilt-friendly is the student body?
-Does the administration spend more on football than libraries?
-Are there any good flea markets around for cheap furniture?
-Is there a decent vegetarian/vegan restaraunt near campus?
-What's the going rate for pot?
-How active is the greek community? (and is it easy to avoid them?)
-Red state or Blue state?
-Are there any good local bands in the area?
-How far from campus is the nearest gaming/comic book store?
-Do faculty members sleep with students? (and if so, are they hot?)
-Is there a Zendo nearby?
-Is there an active queer community? (I've grown very fond of my 'mos...)

and most importantly
-What's the wind like near campus?

Lojong #4

#4) Self-liberate even the antidote.

"Now please don't cling to the remedy, to the method... Methods are dangerous only if you are unaware. Otherwise they can be used beautifully. Do you think a boat is dangerous? It is dangerous if you are thinking to carry it on your head for the rest of your life, out of sheer gratitude. Otherwise it is just a raft to be used and discarded.

My approach is : use the boat, use beautiful boats, use as many boats as possible, with this awareness: when the shore is reached the boat is abandoned with no clinging. While you are in the boat, enjoy it, be thankful to it. When you get out of the boat, say thank you and move on."

Alan Wallace:
"The next verse of the root text continues on the subject of ultimate bodhicitta*, or realizing the nature of reality, as a practice during meditation sessions. The direct realization of ultimate truth is the fundamental antidote and ultimate healer of the distortions that afflict the mind. The author is saying that even this realization itself is "liberated in its own place." And here "liberated" means lacking intrinsic existence. Even the notion of ultimate truth is itself devoid of inherent existence."

*Bodhicitta - "Enlightenment Mind." Bodhicitta is the desire to win enlightenment not ultimately for oneself but for the benefit of all beings. This is a key concept within the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions with their emphasis on compassion. Many Buddhists seek to generate Bodhicitta as a means of developing compassion for all living beings without exception.

If you missed the explanation of the lojong sayings and tonglen meditation, click here.

Winter in LA(ramie)

I try to enjoy it, to see the beauty in it. I try to reflect on the crisp air, the turning leaves, and the chance to wear my wool sweaters. I try, I really do... but I'm not so far removed from my LA roots that I don't remember what October can be like.

Current Conditions for Laramie, WY:
40 degrees (31 with windchill).
Wind is NNW at 18-20mph (shitty for kites)

Current conditions for Seal Beach, CA:
95 degrees
Wind is E at 6mph (pretty much ideal for kites)

You do the math.

Lojong #3

#3 Examine the nature of unborn awareness.

Pema Chodron:
"The real purpose of this slogan is to pull the rug out from under you in case you think you understood the previous slogan. If you feel proud of yourself because of how you really understood that everything is like a dream, then this slogan is here to challenge that smug certainty. It's saying: "Well, who is this anyway who thinks that they discovered that everything is like a dream?""

From Osho:
"Look into it, look deep into it. Shake yourself into as full an awareness as possible. Wake up and see! and you will start laughing - because now you will see there has never been a birth, and there is never going to be a death.
This is unborn and undying consciousness. It has always been here. It is eternal, it is timeless. And how afraid you were of death, and how afraid you were of old age, and how afraid you were of a thousand and one things! And nothing has ever happened: all was a dream.

Seeing this, one smiles, one laughs. Your whole life up to now has been ridiculous, absurd. You were unnecessarily afraid, unnecessarily greedy, unnecessarily suffering. You were living in a nightmare and it was your own creation."

If you missed the explanation of the lojong sayings and tonglen meditation, click here.

Long Day

Time is not "marching on."
His gait is not nearly so organized or purposeful -
more like the drunk's surging stumble,
or the aimless shuffle of the homeless.
Some days pass at a dead run,
bulls over tourists in Pamplona -
others linger, refusing to end; today is one of those.
He's like opera when you are ten years old,
this abcessed root canal of a day;
his possibilities have drained away
leaving the bloodless corpse of a fat Valkyrie,
and nothing will make that final aria come any faster.
He leans over the pit of night, arms flailing for balance,
as his light clings to the windows, a syrup ooze,
fighting the long shadows for every inch of darkness.
I'd give him a push if I could.

Lojong #2

#2)Regard all dharmas as dreams.

(The word 'dharma' has a host of meanings in Buddhist and Hindu teachings. In this case, a good translation would be 'effects' or 'phenomena'.)

Jamgon Kongtrul explains...
"Actual phenomena - that is, the world and its inhabitants - are objects that we grasp at with our senses. These appearances are simply our mind's manifestations of confusion. In the end, they are not actually existent in any way whatsoever, but are like the appearances in a dream. By thinking along these lines, train yourself to have some feeling for looking at the world this way."

Pema Chodron tells us...
"Everything you experience in your life - pain, pleasure, heat, cold, or anything else - is like something in a dream. Although you might think things are very solid, they are like passing memory. You can experience this open, unfixated quality in sitting meditation; all that arises in your mind - hate, love, and all the rest - is not solid. Although the experience can get extremely vivid, it is just a product of your mind. Nothing solid is really happening."

If you missed the explanation of the lojong sayings and tonglen meditation, click here.