Monthly Archives: February 2009

Sinless

1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
3. I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct
4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from intoxicants that cause heedlessness.

I used to think the Buddhist precepts were something you swore to uphold, not quite like the 10 commandments, but similar. They seem like pretty good things to aspire to, and maybe if we all “did” them then the world would be a better place. Of course its explained right away in most literature that these are more suggestions than rules, in fact it is understood that there may be times when it is more proper to break a precept than to uphold it.

However, these days Ive come to a sort of realization about the precepts, and as usual I’m finding that my notions about how they ‘work’ was a bit backward.You see, in Buddhism there is the implicit understanding that we know right from wrong, we don’t really have to be threatened by divine punishment because karma isn’t some supernatural force of punishment and reward, its simply the natural effect of a natural cause. So the precepts aren’t there to teach you how to behave, they are there to show you how Buddhas behave naturally!

All of us are Buddhas, unfortunately most of us aren’t aware of it. The Buddha (literally translated as ‘the awakened one’ or ‘the enlightened one’) isn’t some mysterious or mythical persona, its me and you when we see the truth as it really is, its us when we are living honestly in each moment without the bullshit and biases.

I realised that the precepts are an example of how all of us act when we are no longer deluded by greed, aversion, or ignorance. Naturally, without having to be told! The formal precepts aren’t the Buddhist way of saying “hey you, do this OR ELSE!” rather, it is the Buddhist way of saying “See these precept things? they are the way the world works when we are at our best” You don’t need someone to tell you not to kill, you already KNOW not to kill, in fact, every fiber of your natural being tells you not to kill. It takes a lot of delusion (in the form of years of conditioning) to even be able to kill. The precept against killing  just reminds you of this fact, it isn’t there to force you to do anything.

The precepts are a way to act ‘as if’. As if you are already awakened, enlightened, whatever you choose to call it. Its a way to reconnect with that natural part of ourselves that wants to live in harmony with the rest of the universe. Once you get a little taste of the real you its damn near impossible to go back to being deluded again, by taking the precepts seriously you are giving yourself a sample of a more profound and honest part of yourself.

Categories: Buddhism and life | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Killbot 5000 and PEDAL!

I got to do this Skullbot a couple of weeks ago and the customer came in the other day so I got a healed picture of it. I love doing stuff this bold and graphic. Maybe I’m a little kid at heart but I am strongly drawn to bold contrasty work that just reaches out and grabs your eye! If I hadn’t had the great fortune to discover tattooing I’m sure i would have been doing gig-posters or t-shirt design.

skullbot

anyway, one of the side benefits of being a tattooer is the occasional ability to hook up a friend. Yesterday the guy behind all our awesome Black Cat tattoo t-shirts , Bert, was hanging out lending emotional support as his girlfriend got her giant sleeve worked on (this thing is coming out amazing, i cant wait to show it here once its finished!) And we were talking about bikes. Bert has been one of my ‘bike-advisors’ having been one of those guys who started competitive BMX as a kid all the way tothe  huge 70 mile rides for charity he does now. Bert  was mentioning that when he does those long rides for most of the trip he ends up looking down at his knees pumping away. He jokingly mentioned that his next tattoo should be the words “Pedal” on each knee. I love the chance to do fun tattoos, i love the chance to hook up a friend, and I love the chance to do new tattoos ive never done before, so the next thing you know. . .

pedal-knees

BAM! Notice that they are designed for Bert to read them as he piles on the miles! i LOVE THIS KIND OF STUFF! How do i know this is an awesome idea? Well 3 or 4 tattoo friends have already decided that it will be their next tattoo.

Speaking of Bikes, lady Cara and I got our KHS Urban X cycles, finally! (and as predicted, it got colder than a witches tit the day they arrived. . . ) still, I finally got to put a little distance on them. Yes we got the same bike and yes we are dorks, tough titty, at least we’re happy dorks.

Some things were immediately apparent. First of all, bikes are fun as shit. I totally forgot the feeling of flying along, the wind in your face and that feeling of unity with the road as your own body provides the power to push you and your bike along. I haven’t had a bike since I was a teenager and i forgot how fucking fast it gets you from point A to B and in a city its often faster than a car! I also didn’t realise how badly out of shape I was cardiovascular-ly speaking. My legs seem totally up to the challenge, but my heart and lung capacity goes to shit after a very short period of serious riding, I can do steady and slow for some time, but if I want to push it a little I run out of gas pretty quick. I look forward to seeing some progress here!

I always look forward to spring, but now I really cant wait to get out on the road and enjoy some serious miles without my fingers getting frostbitten. Sweet!

Categories: pittsburgh, random dumbness, Tattoo stuff | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Who’s crazy? We are.

But we love it. So we are doing it again. its fun, its hectic, its financially unrewarding but its some of the most fun i have had tattooing in years. SO. . .

march-friday-the-13-ad

Categories: random dumbness, Tattoo stuff | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bliss

I have a lot to thank my dad for, but if there is one thing that might mean the most (other than helping to give me life) it would be his  introduction to the work of Joseph Campbell. It was the seed that many many years later led me to explore the paths i did. I hope this video can give you some idea of why his work was so important to me.

Categories: Buddhism and life | 1 Comment

Attachment and Buddhists

In the comments of my previous blog PD wrote this:

when I was reading about you getting married (congrats man!). Many buddhists deny themself relationships. I have gathered it is because the fact, that by doing so you dont create yourself an attachment. I once asked a person who was into Buddhism the following (when he told me the 4 noble truths) “You have kids. Do you let go of them because they create an attachment and possibly make you hold onto things when you should let go?” Didnt get a answer.

Have you thought about all this Jason?

Its a good question and on the surface it makes sense. After all, we Buddhists are always going on and on about not being attached to this or that. If you are new to Buddhism it is easy to read this as an admonition not to “get stuff”, material stuff AND emotional stuff (like relationships). I used to believe this myself, I would see a book or jacket I wanted and then I would get mad at myself for wanting that object! How, I reasoned, was I ever going to “get enlightened” if i still craved material things!? As usual, it turned out that I had the entire question upside down. Fortunately, the longer one ‘does’ Buddhism the more these kind of logical fallacies work themselves out. In this case the actual story of the Buddha provides the first part of the answer.

Briefly, when Gautama left his life as a prince he began his journey to awakening using various methods that were already common  in India, these included various focused/guided meditations, visualizations, philosophical pondering, and rituals, but  finding that none of these satisfied his quest to end suffering he next tried Asceticism. He mortified his body with pain and starvation, he gave away all his clothes, didn’t bathe and ate less and less until ( in the legends) he existed on a single grain of rice per day. Statues of him from this period show a frightful picture of a man dying, his ribs protrude, his eyes are sunken and his veins in stark relief against his emaciated skin.

Gautama the Ascetic

Gautama the Ascetic

In an effort to transcend the suffering of the world he was killing himself. Gautama was denying himself  everything, even the very basic sustenance that humans need to survive. He had achieved the “highest” level of asceticism short of death and yet he realized that he was no closer to ending suffering, that in denying himself he had, in fact, made it impossible to think or function at all. After this part of the story he decides to eat again and when a little healthier begins to meditate, a meditation that eventually lead to his awakening as the Buddha (Buddha meaning “the awakened one”).

The story of the ascetic Buddha isn’t just to show us how bad ass Gautama was or to add drama, whether it really occurred or not, the point is to show that the Buddhas path is the Middle Way. Neither clinging to things or rejecting everything will end suffering the tale tells us. When he was a well fed prince, Gautama suffered, when he was a starving holy-man he still suffered, it was only when he let go of both craving and renouncement that he could see the reality of the universe.

So to believe that being a Buddhist means to “avoid attachments” is really missing the real point, which is;

the objects (whether a new car or a wife and children) are not ‘attachments’, they simply are things that exist, the ‘attachment’ happens in YOU! (or me) Without you and me to desire that new car, it is simply a pile of metal, glass, and plastic, it has no inherent ‘attachment-ness’ until one of us came along and decided that we needed it so badly that we suffered.

Buddhism is not about changing the world outside of us to fit our ideals, its about living in the world as it really and truly is without getting so hung up on those ideals that we suffer. To deny ourselves things that we need to exist (and I believe that love is one of those things) is to become the Ascetic. Attachment also doesn’t have to be for an object, the Buddha suffered because he was attached to the idea of transcending his body even to the point that he nearly died of starvation, he was ‘attached’ to his ideal. It was not until he acknowledged that his body was not the source of his suffering that he could work on the real problem of suffering and its causes.

Buddhism is also not about denying reality. In fact, to the Chinese Chan Buddhists to be ‘enlightened’ was often described as “seeing with your original face”, that is, the mind that you had before we added all sorts of conditioning, ideals, and cravings to it. Your Natural Mind. Buddhists understand that part of a natural mind is the desire to mate and pass on your genetic line as children, that we naturally desire enough food, shelter, and company to feel safe. Once again the Middle way is the ideal. To crave too much food causes suffering, to deny enough food is suffering. We need to desire enough food to keep us sustained and healthy and that’s it. Food (or any other object of desire) is not the problem, our attitude toward it is the problem.

So what do we mean by ‘attachment’? Well,  what it literally means, to hold onto something beyond a level that is natural and healthy. To cling to an object, person, or idea to the point where it becomes unnatural is “attachment” (and suffering). In practical terms this means that we can desire a new car so long as that desire doesn’t cause us to feel bad if dont get it, or as long as it doesn’t cause us to desire it so much that we steal in order to have it. In personal terms this means that I can and do love Cara, but not to the point where I become agitated if she is gone for an hour or want to fight every male she talks to besides me. On the other side of the coin if I were to decide that my natural desire for her was ‘bad’ and  then If I began to  try to crush that part of my mind would be the other suffering extreme (like some Catholic monks who whip themselves if they feel any sexual desire)  It means to be aware that desires are natural without clinging to them or avoiding other things, it means The Middle way!

So some Buddhists (mainly monks) swear off romantic love because it is easier to focus on the moment without wanting to run off to the woods with your girlfriend all the time. But in many traditions (like Japanese Zen) monks and priests are free to marry. Being celibate is not mandated except in many monastic traditions. Buddhism is imminently practical, and to deny one of the basic human needs would not only be silly, but would lead to the kind of craziness we see in the more sexually conservative religions.

What Buddhism finally teaches us is that it isn’t the kids or the mate that are the attachment, its our very own grasping minds.

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Lucky Friday the 13th! Valentines Day Action! Stabbing Tigers in their fucking HEADS!

So, the last 3 days in a chronological nutshell. . . .

As some of you may already know, This Friday the 13th we had a special day where we tattooed folks on a walk-in basis for only $13 dollars. A lot of towns have a shop that does this, Friday the 13th being a sort of informal tattoo shop holiday, but no one in Pittsburgh did. Til Now.

Cara and i drew up a sheet of traditional little designs, known in the old days as “porkchop flash”. I’m not sure why but one theory i heard states that the designs were so small that you wouldn’t make enough to afford steak, but you could do enough to afford porkchops. I kinda like that idea.

Anyhow we put out the word quietly on facebook, myspace, and here along with a few other selected forums like tattoodles.com. We wanted a fun crowd not a gang of riff-raff or people looking for a deal. And we got what we wanted! By 2 pm the waiting room was overflowing and the 2 dozen donuts I brought in were going quickly.

The waiting room at 2pm

The waiting room at 2pm

The crowd was an awesome mix of old friends, repeat customers, new folks and people who used the day (as we hoped) to check out the new shop! It got pretty fun and noisy, we banged them out one after another, by 4 pm we closed off the waiting list to new arrivals and were still tattooing folks til past 8 pm! We ran out of tubes, we ran out of paper towels (and one of those waiting went and fetched them for us!) Caras co-worker Chris had volunteered to work the floor for us and did an amazing job of juggling the waiting list, getting everyones forms filled out and ID checked, answering the phone, dealing with questions and keeping everyone laughing and patient as some of these folks waited 3 hours for a 20 minute tattoo! Chris kicked ass and will definitely be manning the helm for us during next months Friday the 13th!

Oh yes i said it bitches! March has yet another Friday the 13th and plan to do it all again! New flash will be drawn, more donuts will be acquired, and a bunch of disposable tubes will be bought ahead of time hee hee! We had a blast, the new shop got some exposure, and we ended up making 25 folks a lil bit prettier with some new ink.

Cara kicked ass all day, coming in after starting her morning opening Starbucks at 5AM!!! She is a trooper and continually amazes me with how quickly and thoroughly she is becoming a solid tattooer. My dumb ass decided to wait til the night before to paint the flash. . .and then in a fit of monumental stupidity stayed up until 3am before waking up at 7 am to get everything ready for the days event. But the energy and fun was so cool that I didn’t sag one bit all day.

So, If you don’t get your butts down to Black Cat in March for the 13th then you will have to wait til 2010 for the next $13 tattoo day!

The next day was, of course, Valentines day, and the first customer of the $13 day, Adam, returned for his appointment with his lovely lady Elena. It was to be her very first tattoo, a Japanese inspired falcon on the inside of her bicep. She was very nervous but still game and even during some of the more ouchy bits stuck to her guns and came back again and again til it was all finished. Now fully a bad assed tattoo person she watched as one of my favorite customers ever, Adam, got an amazing traditional dagger going through a tiger head! Behold!

Tiger? Check. Dagger? Check. Bad assness? Oh hell fucking check.

Tiger? Check. Dagger? Check. Bad assness? Oh hell fucking check.

Adam sat, as always, like a rock. He is a true aficionado of traditional style work and lately has been my bike question answerer while I grind away on his poor arms. Lots of my customer begin to feel like my friends after a few tattoos, He is definitely one of them. Tattooing is slow, often painful and expensive, and yet we do our best to make the experience (and result) fun and worth the effort our customer put forth. Trust me on this one, fellow tattooers, if you show some  love to your clients they will show you some love right back.

Cara came in after her Starbucks gig and immediately got to work on an appointment, and right after that did a walk in. Both tattoos came out clean and stylish, i foresee some serious repeat clients in her future.

Still exhausted from the Friday the 13th gala we decided to just go eat and go home. We hit up Sushi Too in Shadyside which was surprisingly uncrowded and exchanged gifts and smooches. After that we got some coffee and looked through Kat von D’s new book. Love her or hate her that lady knows how to make a neat product, be it a tv show, tattoo, make up, or book she definitely knows how to bring real substance into some very flashy style. Anyhow, looking at well done tattoos gave us a great idea!

We decided to head back to the shop and tattoo each others names on each other! Its an idea we had been kicking around for some time and what better time than valentines day!? Is it dangerous to get someones name on you? is it dumb? will you regret it? Maybe. but its also one of the most romantic things I can think  to do and life is too short to always play it safe.

Mines is on my wrist, hers is right above the inner elbow.

Mines is on my wrist, hers is right above the inner elbow.

We drew them up for each other and I did my very best to fancy the hell out of some script and Cara hooked me up with some old school tattoo letters that make a big softy like me look like a hard ass. We even brought Eddie with us, I know it might not be the most sane thing in the world to bring a crazy dog onto your lap while getting tattooed, but family is family.

For some time now I have been planning to ask Cara to marry me. Ive wanted it to be every romantic dream she has come true. Ive shopped for rings, Ive plotted where, when and how I would ask, Pondered whether I should go old school and ask her dad for her hand. But in the end I went with my gut and my heart and I asked her to be my wife as I was tattooing my name on her arm. I wasnt scared, I wasn’t even really thinking of it five minutes before I asked. The moment simply came up and at the perfect time I asked the person I adore more than anything in the world if she would do me the honor of being my wife.

She said no.

IM KIDDING! Of course, she said yes! We’ll get around to a ring at some point, but as far as Im concerned her name on me and mine on her arm is worth more than anything else in the world.

YAY!

Categories: random dumbness, Tattoo stuff | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my Bike.

Here in Gloomsburgh (we only call it that from January through March) we’ve actually had a few nice days, meaning its been in the 40’s and 50’s (or 4 to 10 if you are from metric-landia)  and most of the snow is gone. This naturally turns a young mans thoughts to love. I, however, am an old man. So my thoughts turn to. . . Bikes!

I now live about 3/4 of a mile from work (or 1.207 k  if you are from South Metric-landia) So walking is not a problem, but I like to run around and get things done in the morning and I feel like a bicycle will allow me to do that without having to buy a car and kill the world with evilness. Plus, I’m a cheapskate.

Anyhow I have pretty much settled on one of these bad boys, KHS Urban X , It seems like a nice blend between a burly mountain bike (I’m kind of an oaf and break stuff easily) and a zippy road bike. Cara is still deciding on her make and model, she wants a pretty and functional bike (actually I do to, but ‘guy pretty’ is different than ‘girl pretty’ in these sorts of things. Guys like their equipment to look tough and utilitarian. . . so that we can therefore look tough and utilitarian. . . . even if we really aren’t. . . ) Either way, I have wonderful fantasies of us riding our bikes around the parks and trails exchanging loving glances as bluebirds drop flower petals on us through the dappled sunlight. . . ahhhhhhhhhh.

huh!? Oh, sorry.

Anyway, this whole buying experience has brought a strange sort of localism out in me. I usually do cheer for the home team and try to keep my money in the local businesses (which leads to some wierd mental questions. . .such as: Cara works at Starbucks part time, thus she is the home team, but working at the away teams store. . . however since I get free coffee there I guess im both supporting the home team (yay us!) AND sticking it to the MAN (boo them!)

Yea, so,  as I was shopping for bikes I went to the locals in the form of Iron city Bikes and the away team of Trek bikes. Now here is where localism gets complicated, because the Trek store is obviously employing local riders and mechanics, and a bike store isn’t like walmart. I mean Trek didn’t move into town and put all the other bike shops out of business and they are helping folks to ride bikes instead of driving everywhere so they really aren’t the MAN (maybe they are just the ‘man’ with a little ‘m’).

Anyhow, I like the KHS bike that Iron City was selling better than the Gary Fisher bike that Trek was selling so its a moot point. I suppose it comes down to the fact that I like handing my money over to guys with tattoos and little dirt under their nails rather than the pretty-boys. The guys at Iron City were super helpful and Ive tattooed a bunch of their friends, they give me money so I don’t mind giving it right back to them.

Ok , with that settled I began thinking about the fact that I haven’t ridden a bike in years. I’m not worried about being able to ride a bike, I mean its just like . . .er. . .riding a bike, but I’m out of practice so I will be sticking to the back roads til I get my two wheel mojo working again. City riding can be scary and this map didn’t help either! I mean, click on the “Reported Accidents” tag on the left side of the map. YEEP! People are getting blasted all over the place!!  Still, I noticed that the vast majority of accidents occurred on very busy, main artery roads that I will be studiously avoiding, at least at first.

Now comes the tricky part, because once I order the bike there is a 50/50 chance that a giant snowstorm will blow in and blanket the area until April 97th. Thus stranding me with a shiny new toy that I get to look at and not use for 3 more months. Luckily, Pittsburgh has pretty mild winter weather in general so, hopefully, Ill get to be that fat guy on a bike you laugh at sooner than later!

Categories: pittsburgh, random dumbness | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Why Pessimism doesnt work

Of course I could also have titled this, “why optimism doesn’t work” just as easily.

Either one of these ‘isms’ is a method. We may not know it, in fact we may identify so strongly with out preferred method that we actually believe that our true selves are formed out of this method! As when someone says “I am a pessimist (or optimist, or relativist, or nihilist)” But, of course, no one can really ‘be’ something that is simply a technique, techniques and methods are employed, they do not create us.

So Pessimism is simply a set of filters one uses to look at the world. The truth comes at us moment to moment and we feel that to make sense of it we need to cast it in terms we control. So if you find comfort in believing everything is fucked you tint all that incoming truth with a pessimistic filter, if you are an optimist you do the same thing only with an happy filter. Either way it  makes us miserable to do this (because when our ‘views’ and the truth dont line up the result  is always suffering) , but at least we feel like we are in control of our lives. And control seems to be the best we can hope for, we crave it because what is the alternative!? Our minds sure don’t know but they are terribly afraid of what happens if you don’t try to run everything. The funny thing is that what actually happens when you have “the serenity to accept things you cannot change” is that life feels so much easier!

So, I can already hear someone saying “ok then, but don’t you look at the world through a Buddhist filter?” and of course the answer is yes, however the point of Buddhism is, unlike any other method out there,  is to do away with all filters. Even Buddhism. It is, as far as I know, the only ‘religion’ which tells you that , sooner or later, you will have to give it up! Over and over in dharma teachings we are reminded that Buddhism is like a boat you use to cross a river (from suffering to non-suffering, from delusion to reality) and that when you finally do reach the other side you will have to leave the boat behind( leave ‘being a buddhist’ behind!) Once you cross the river you don’t lug the boat around with you everywhere, you leave it behind while you go on. So it is with Buddhism.

The reason pessimism doesn’t work is simple, as long as we keep filtering out the truth there is always dissatisfaction within us. Suffering. And it doesn’t matter how often you are ‘right’ or how many people agree with you or how strong you conviction is, as long as you are tinting the truth there is a part of you that knows it, doesn’t like it, and aches for pure unfiltered truth. Your body and mind know it is there, even after a lifetime of setting up elaborate beliefs, patterns, and conditioning.  It is like a Hollywood set, flimsy and 2 dimensional. When I began sitting I was amazed at how rapidly and completely all my ‘cherished” beliefs and views simply crumbled away.

I had always believed I was a depressed person, i believed I was angry and self-righteous, I believed I enjoyed arguing and pointing out other peoples faults, I was a stone cold atheist and nihilist, I believed i was unfairly put-upon by the world and resented it for making me feel freakish and unwanted. I truly thought I WAS these things and that nothing in the world could change that because it was “the Real ME”. Within months of my first zazen, however it all began to fall away and it tripped me the fuck out! All my cherished personality ‘traits” began to unfold one by one, all my deeply held biases and habits began to feel like a badly fitting suit, I had to take them off. The less I clung to them the better I felt!

I’m am FAR from perfect, believe me i know, and yet the ‘me’ who emerged was so much more true that it felt like I had been a drowning man finally coming up for air. All my ‘isms’ became like weights clanking  and dragging behind me and I had to let them go. It wasn’t easy either! I spent 30 some years of my life forming those patterns and views and filters, and I was really afraid that I would lose some fundamental part of my ‘personality’ at times, and yet the more I let that shit go the more I realized that it really was shit! Stinky smelly poop that I just couldn’t stand the smell of anymore. So I flushed it.

The fact is, I cant get rid of all my ‘isms’ yet, I’m trying but its slow going. However, I do have the benefit of knowing that sometimes what my brain coughs up is simply the result of my lifetime of conditioning and not to take it too seriously. I now realise that viewing the world through a filter or a method strips away a large chunk of its wonder and amazing truth.

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Doing the impossible

In many Buddhist sects there is a thing known as the Bodhisattvas Vow, a Bodhisattva being one who has achieved (or can achieve) enlightenment/awakening/nirvana/the great whooptie doo. However when we take the vow we swear to delay our own enlightenment/nirvana until all sentient beings also arrive. It goes a little something like this;

Beings are numberless; I vow to awaken with them.
Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.
Dharma gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.
Buddha’s way is unattainable; I vow to become it.

Now it should be obvious that such a vow is an amazing thing to declare if for no other reason than it is clearly impossible. The beginning of each line is a statement of how impossible it is and then the second part is us declaring that we are going to do it.

It would be easy to dismiss this as simply a set of ideals, goals that no one aims to actually achieve. Like a coach telling you to give 110%, it isnt actually something that can be done. Right? But in Buddhism we say it with total conviction in the literal sense of the words. It is sort of (though not exactly) like a Christian vowing to refuse to enter heaven until all other beings can enter too. The difference is that we dont just vow this to happen, we know in our hearts that it will! The impossible is, in the end, nothing more than just another thought and what we have learned in the 2500 years since the Buddha is that thoughts are not to be believed.

If you go back in time you find that what was considered impossible has time and again been achieved and then, eventually, surpassed even to the point of no longer being remarkable. Everything from flight to disease eradication to scientific exploration into the very core of what makes us human were once considered, without a doubt, to be impossible. Yet here they are. Somehow the unbelievable happens over and over and over. The borderline of what is impossible keeps getting pushed further and further until we realize its an arbitrary line in the sand we draw like children at the beach who then declare “the ocean cant pass this line” but then the tide comes in and washes it away. What is possible, in the end, is beyond our ability to conceive. I think we would save a lot of energy if we stopped trying to decide what couldnt be done and simply got on doing what needed to be done right now.

When we meditate, Dogen says, the entire universe is meditating with us, when the Buddha realised his true nature his first awareness was that all beings are capable of realising the exact same thing. Its a truly inspiring thing to know that all of us are capable of ending suffering and doubly so when we realise that doing so free the entire universe from suffering as well! When we sit and live in the moment we bring everything and everyone along with us, when we realise this it doesnt seem so far fetched that we could all achieve the truth at once.

So the Bodhisattva vow is ‘impossible’, and like so much else that has been declared impossible it will be achieved, by us, right now, every moment we awaken even a little.

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