Welcome to the Leaflet

The Leaflet blog provides:
. Innen's weekly comments from a Dharma perspecti
ve
• the up-to-date practice calendar for our Red Maple Mindful Living Centre,
• links to our Tendai family of centres

For more on RMS, or Tendai Canada, visit www.tendai.ca
For more on the Red Maple Mindful Living Centre, click the link on the right border


Sunday, September 29, 2013

IMAGINE

Greetings to all,
      
IMAGINE

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one


    from Imagine, by John Lennon,
    first released this week, 1971  
   

We humans are blessed with two distinct thinking capacities, rational and imaginative. One creates order, structure and predictability; the other creates randomness, possibility and the deliberate toying with and even shattering of our comfortable and reliable world. Most of us have some experience of what life can be like when one or the other dominates. There is need for both to be robust and balanced.
In biology, the ‘imago’ is the last stage an insect attains during its process of growth and development. It is the stage in which the insect attains maturity. Perhaps we can consider that imagination has to do with that stage in our own maturity when, having set out patterns of structure and order, we can enter into play with our world. In 20th century psychology, Abraham Maslow proposed a “hierarchy of needs” for humans, where basic needs of food, safety, shelter and so on needed to be secured for us to develop. He concluded his proposition with a designation of the final stage in our development being one of self-fulfillment, of creativity, the stage of exploring possibilities. Imagination, then, is the central tool for us to achieve what is our full possibility, the capacity not just to think outside the box, but to live and act in novel, creative and meaning-generating ways.
It is only be allowing ourselves to consider what life would be beyond the rigid structures of “nation” or “religion” that we can open ourselves up to possibilities that take our lives beyond the suffering-infused experiences we already have. As Buddhists, we are even called to imagine there is no permanent self, no ultimate distinction between you and I. We perform all of our various practices partly for discipline and structure, but finally, we are reaching for our “imago”, our final stage, where we fulfill our dream, “where the world will be as one”.
              
Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu                      

<Week of October 1  > 
                 
   

Friday, September 27, 2013

ART OF BEING FALL RETREATS

Art of Being Fall Events

The Art of Being, facilitated by Brian Roche, is a one-day meditation
retreat for beginners as well as experienced meditators. The retreat allows
for plenty of direct experience of meditation as well as discussion and
feedback from the group.

Using the most ancient and simple techniques, return to your natural
state... relaxed, alert and still.


All day retreats are held in Eganville at "The Space Between" at a cost of $30.
Upcoming dates are:
October 5 - still some spaces left
November 2

Contact: marjoriemanion@hotmail.com

PH: 613-622-7926

Saturday, September 21, 2013

SHUGYO: BODY-MIND TRAINING

Greetings to all,
      
SHUGYO:  BODY-MIND TRAINING

Shugyo is an important term in our practice, one which distinguishes the methods of ordinary instruction from Dharma instruction. Monshin sensei has noted that shugyo is “mind-body training in which physical training masters the techniques perfectly so that the practitioner's body internalizes the techniques completely as second nature... (it) consists of two phases: repeated somatic training (such as posture and movements) and internalization”.
          
We have this term “muscle memory” , which describes how the repetition of an action, such as how you learn to ride a bicycle, is retained more strongly than reading a manual, for example. Its not that our muscles have memory, but that certain patterns are deeply encoded in our brains and retrieved easily and strongly through repeated performance. The performance then becomes automatic, as it were, by-passing the analytics of reason. We don’t have to think our way through repeat performance, we have to release those rational tendencies and allow the body to communicate directly with the stored memory.

It is for this reason that we understand our pedagogy is not one of lectures. Only the most introductory practice skill can be acquired by reading books or watching videos. If we wish to transform practice into the form of our life’s activities, we must associate with a more advanced practitioner who can transmit their own shugyo to us. Practice grows by this transmission to us and the gradual intensification of our own guided practice until those methods, as Monshin sensei reminds, are internalized as second nature.

Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu                                           
    

.

Monday, September 16, 2013

CALM IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING

Greetings to all,

CALM IN THE FACE OF SUFFERING

I recently spoke with someone who went through a tragic loss in their life and felt they had fallen short of a Buddhist expectation for a calm and peaceful mind. There was a large “should” hanging over them but an equally large pain deep inside. As Buddhists, we aspire to certain virtues. What might come closest is the fourth of the Four Immeasurables, upekkha (equanimity), an even-mindedness amid experiences of pleasure and pain. This does not mean a coldness or indifference, but rather a state of dynamic balance where we are not agitated.


This virtue is not an absolute, but an aspiration. The extended training which is our practice will regularly display how we behave up to or less than our aspiration. We must begin somewhere and, like all training, it is a process where we grow and develop over time.
All Buddhist virtues apply, not just calm or upekkha. The most central one is karuna (compassion), our capacity to open ourselves to our own and, more importantly, the pain of all sentient beings. It is this awareness of the common experience of all beings which inspires us, as it does all Buddhas and bodhisattvas to set out on the Dharma path. As with any burden, we will struggle as we come to understand its meaning, we will stumble as we learn to carry it and we will grow to be able to carry it with a calm and peaceful mind too.

Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu    


           
               
   

Monday, September 09, 2013

MINDFUL MOVEMENT MONDAYS

MINDFUL MOVEMENT MONDAYS

Ray is leading a mindful movement series (two of them actually). It will proved time for walking and sitting practice as well as teaching you a very simple tai chi set. Its called the 10-Form Set and its a snap to learn in the three sessions we provide.
 
Sessions are
Mondays  5.30-7.00 pm
WBCHC Site
20 Robertson Dr.
BEACHBURG
 
The sessions are free and in two separate series, 1=Oct 23, 30, Nov 7; 2= Nov 22,29 and Dec 05

I have scheduled it for two sets of evenings. If you would prefer a morning group, let me know and, if we have a committed group of 4 people, I will add a Monday morning series as well.

I’d appreciate your passing this information to anyone who may be interested in either the movement series.
To register 613-582-3685

Sunday, September 08, 2013

BEING A GOOD PERSON

Greetings to all,
       
BEING A GOOD PERSON

People say “I’m not really into religion, all its about is being a good person”.  While I would never disagree on the importance of being a good person, I would point us as Buddhists to the full teaching of the historical Buddha and centuries of our teachers. They tell us the Buddha-path is three distinct arenas - ethical living, wisdom and practice. 


Ethical living is what we mean by trying to be a good person, and it is based on what we call the precepts. Some of us are familiar with our version of these through regular recitation. Wisdom or insight is the deep understanding we have, far beyond any mere conceptual knowledge. It is our penetration into the four Truths that Shakyamuni provided for our study which explain the nature of suffering and our escape. Finally, we are told that we need to engage in a practice. We may strive to be good people, but we also need to enact our insight through some structured activity. Insight is not something acquired once and then placed in a frame on the wall, like a diploma. Insight derives from our moment-by-moment practice and is re-affirmed through the continuing engagement in that practice.


Neither of these three can stand alone. They inform and extend into the others. It would be handy if we could simplify it down to "be a good person", but this begs the question - what makes a good person? That can only be answered from our insight. For Buddhists this means an appreciation of the interconnectedness of all beings, the commonality of our suffering and our awareness of the impermanence of all conditioned existence. Buddhist teaching does not posit any absolute moral principles, like "Love thy neighbour". Moral principles emerge from insight, we enact ethical behaviour from our understanding. Furthermore, we can only sustain and deepen this insight from which we derive morality out of a sustained and disciplined practice.

Yours in the Dharma,                           
from Akashaloka,                   
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Greetings to all,
      
CAUTION PEACOCKS

Like a summer breeze made visible
Luminescent blue peacock tail
Sweeps across pavement


Commuting to work along most of the main roads of eastern Ontario over the past 25 years I would have thought I had seen every conceivable mammal cross the road in front of me. Last week, heading home from my job in Beachburg, I had to skid my brakes to avoid a large male peacock. That was a first!
Week after week and month after month I’ve driven that same road and its easy to get lulled into a mindless ride, same old - same old. This little wake-up suggests a larger lesson. So much of our lives we take for granted, with no expectation of novelty or change. Blurring that which does not fit into our usual view is a favourite strategy of ego. It robs us of the richness and variety of our moment-by-moment experience. Like teenagers we respond to our lives with a yawn and a “Boring”.
All our forms of wholesome attention practice, formal and informal, prompt us to shatter that flatness with the legendary sword of insight. We cut through the tedium and the predictability to let the brilliance of our experience shine through.
The term we know is open attention. This means we adopt a perspective which suspends conclusions and judgements, one which is persistently seeking a wider and a deeper experience. This open attention is dynamic and flexible, stretching and collapsing as we need it to. It will of course collapse spontaneously whenever we become reactive and shut our awareness down. We drift into distant memories, emotion-driven reactions or lumbering ruminations on meaning. Then we must let go and begin again - where is my breath, where are my feet?
In Indian mythology, peacocks are symbols of undying devotion. We are immersed in the ocean of endless and unlimited love that is Amitabha. Keep your eyes on the road, you can’t miss it.

om namo amida butsu 
                 
Innen, doshu