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


Monday, April 28, 2014

THE BODY’S LANGUAGE

THE BODY’S LANGUAGE
We speak to each other using a shared vocabulary and grammar. This makes it possible for us to understand each other. Sometimes we have to learn a new language to communicate with others. I know this to be a difficult challenge from my recent efforts to learn enough Japanese to get by on my trip there. (Note of confession - I was largely a failure in this regard).
Our Dharma great-grandfather, Kukai, the founder of the Shingon tradition, proposed that we cannot know the Divine directly but that we can communicate using three different languages - body, speech/breath and mind. He based his teaching on three practice bases, each one being the language of those modes. Mantra (what we call recitation or chanting) uses the sounds we make with our breath. Mantra expresses sounds of letters, words and collections of words . What we take as the meaning of a phrase is not the mantra meaning. That lies in the expression of a universal sound, which is itself the expression of a particular energy or force, what we call Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. Mandala are cosmic landscapes, which we enter mentally through visualization. Mudra is specific hand positions, that likewise express universal energies.
These stylized and formal languages are captured in specific patterns of sound, movement and imagined space. We can also understand at an even more everyday level, the language of the body. When we touch a surface, when we walk along the ground, when we suddenly notice bright sunlight or the sound of a bird, we are understanding something of who we are. Before or even without conventional language, the body speaks to us, providing information about our experience. Our movement practices, such as the walking and chi-gong we perform regularly, offer us opportunities to hear and speak that language.


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

Read this week’s Ask the Religion Experts column here
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/ask-the-religion-experts/index.html

Monday, April 21, 2014

LOVING KINDNESS

Loving Kindness
In the discussion at this month’s Mahasangha, we examining the Metta Sutra, the Teaching on Loving Kindness. In part I said:
we do not reserve metta (loving kindness)for some and withhold it from others. The practice must be directed to all beings. In fact, this reminds us that our practice is for the service of all beings, not just humans, or people we like, or everyone in Canada. It calls us to serve and work for the liberation of all beings, humans and animals. Even in the world-view of that time it would include beings in the hell-realms, in the heavens as well. Metta begins with recognizing our inclusion in the vast universe of existence, and as with the Vow that has come to define Mahayana Buddhism, we vow to liberate all beings, in all times, in all spaces.

 
We also acknowledged that metta practice is, like nembutsu, is at once the simplest and most difficult of practices. The instructions are minimal and it does not require any particular location, preparation or equipment. On the other hand, it requires we have the sincerity, faith and determination to reach deep into our own hearts and direct our most heartfelt intentions for the benefit of others.


To see the whole talk on the Metta Sutra, click the link above

Sunday, April 13, 2014

RESILIIENCE

RESILIIENCE

During the presentation on resilience I did yesterday , I suggested two preliminary steps for the 6-element model of resilience (for more, see www.resiliency.com ). In addition to the six elements in the description (boundaries, expectations, bonding, etc.), I used a mindfulness lens to supplement two other elements - awareness and purpose.
Before we can engage in what resiliency theory calls “set clear and consistent boundaries”, we must begin with a deep and dynamic awareness of who this person is. This is not learned from a book or received on advice from another. This is only authentic when it results from a personal and rigorous inquiry into our own experience of who and what we are. That knowledge is self-affirming. It also shifts and changes over our lives, so it needs to be an ongoing inquiry - what we call our mindfulness practice.
For us to articulate high expectations, we must use the awareness we acquire to provide us with some clarity on the purpose of our lives, whatever that may be at that time. Expectations motivated by externally imposed shoulds or flawed awareness of our experience or needs powered by the three forces (kleshas) of aggression, greed and laziness, will lead us further down the path of suffering - our own and for others.
The model or framework of resiliency offers us a potent tool to reflect on in building our life competencies. The perspective of mindfulness, in my mind, deepens that frame even more.


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

Read this week’s Ask the Religion Experts column here
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/ask-the-religion-experts/index.html

      
                  
   

Sunday, April 06, 2014

OBSTACLES

OBSTACLES
At the retreat I was leading yesterday, someone asked about dealing with “emotional obstacles”, in particular how does mindfulness practice help. The main thing we need to remember is that obstacles only occur when there is attachment. If we become fascinated with some feeling state, memory or detail of emotional experience, there can be a contraction or compression of attention. This compacting produces the apparent shape and form of the obstacle, it appears to us as something real and permanent. That leads to struggle and more emotional experience as we become frustrated, upset or whatever reactions we get. That then repeats the activity and it becomes the next obstacle.
We can keep in mind the Zen expression, mizuno no kokoro or “heart like water”. Water does not recognize obstacles, its behaviour is that of flow and circumvention. It does not become attached to objects, it penetrates or goes around them. When we experience some apparently unresolvable emotional experience, one which arises as if it were an obstacle, our practice is best when it opens around that experience, like water around a large boulder or island. It is best when it saturates and dissolves the experience, that is, when we come to recognize the transience of that experience.


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

Read this week’s Ask the Religion Experts column here
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/ask-the-religion-experts/index.html