Zen Blog

This blog collects various internet feeds aimed towards information, experience and technique exchange in support of our shared spiritual journey.....

”Namaste - may the light in me, honor the light in you…”

Two Embattled Buddhist Leaders Pressured to Stop Teaching

Two prominent Buddhist teachers accused of sexual misconduct are facing new actions from their communities, which have urged them to stop teaching after internal investigations found the allegations against them credible. Shambhala International head Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche announced that he would be stepping down from teaching for the “foreseeable future” in an email sent out to students on February 21. A day earlier, the Spirit Rock Meditation Center released a statement withdrawing authorization to teach from Noah Levine, who founded the now-shuttered Against the Stream Meditation Society (ATS).

While the Sakyong and Levine have both been accused of abusing their power, the details of the allegations and how they were handled differ in many ways. Most notably, Levine was removed from ATS, which closed its centers soon after, while the Sakyong has remained the lineage holder of Shambhala.

The Sakyong had previously announced that he was stepping aside while a law firm hired by Shambhala, Wickwire Holm, investigated the claims against him. The investigation, released this month, found that the Sakyong “more than likely” engaged in sexual misconduct in at least two cases. Earlier this week, a group of the Sakyong’s former kusung, or personal attendants, released a statement further detailing decades of inappropriate and harmful conduct.

In his email on Thursday, the Sakyong said he will continue to step back from his duties now that the investigation has concluded. He writes that he made this decision after receiving a letter the day before from Shambhala’s 42 acharyas [senior teachers] asking him to do so.

The Sakyong also apologized for “all that has happened,” adding, “I understand that I am the main source of that suffering and confusion and want to again apologize for this. I am deeply sorry.” The statement did not specify what exactly he was apologizing for or admit any guilt. Following another message of apology on June 25, 2018, the Sakyong’s attorney, Michael Scott, clarified that the statement “should not be misinterpreted as a validation of the accusations.”

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A Mindful Pity Party: Meditating While Sick

It’s a beautiful weekend. Probably the first beautiful weekend we’ve had in a while and…I’m sick!

A kindly friend gently reminds me it’s only a throat virus, and I internally combust: NO, it’s not ONLY a throat virus, pal, it’s MY throat virus…it’s happening to me…which makes it the most horrible, insufferable thing, ever. Idiot.

Anyone’s suffering can be hard to bear, but when that anyone is me it can feel apocalyptic. “Alas,” I cry out, “It’s ME everyone! I’m sick!”

After so many years of practicing mindfulness, what I notice is that YOUR suffering sucks and I really feel for you, while MY suffering blots you out entirely.

When I’m sick and sulky, the last thing I want is to do a mindfulness practice. Sometimes, choosing to sit on the cushion and follow my breath can feel like I’m being eaten by army ants. During those times, a very sensible-sounding inner voice is shrieking at me to bypass mindfulness altogether and go directly to “how unfair it is to be me!”

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Reclaiming Ceremony for Myself

I was a resident at the Upaya Zen Center in Sante Fe, New Mexico, for one and a half years. By the time I left, I was accustomed to bowing to everything—to people, to Buddha statues, to my food, to my meditation cushion, to grief, to the people I didn’t like, to my anxious mind, to the stars, to my basic goodness. And I had come to love practicing collective silence; I’d never experienced feeling so alone together.

When I returned to lay life, moving to Portland, Oregon, there were many things to relearn. The transition back into “normal” life after residency is like coming home after a long time abroad. There’s reverse culture shock. Many of the hardest adjustments were at work, where there are fluorescent lights and gossip culture and where meditation can be considered woo-woo.

But the thing I miss the most about residency is ceremony, which was built into daily life at Upaya and created the feeling that ordinary things are sacred.

At Upaya, ceremony was in breakfast, which I thanked before I ate. Ceremony was in the silence, which allowed me and others to just be, without performing our personalities. The carrots were sacred. The sound of a bell was sacred.

I don’t mean this as fluff or Pollyanna preciousness. This sacredness was ordinary, useful, boring, sometimes dirty: even the limp mop rag that I used to clean the temple floor was sacred. See, when doing soji, or temple cleaning, you hold a gray mop rag at eye level with three fingers as you walk in and out of the temple or whenever you are not cleaning with it. The gesture is one of respect toward the rag. Even though it smells like a sock, here you are bowing to it, respecting it as an incredibly complicated object with its own history. You recognize that the rag is made of cotton, which grew hundreds of miles away and was harvested and shipped by human beings each with their own dreams and dramas. Then that cotton was processed on machines designed and operated by more humans. You know that those machines were built from material harvested from the earth—harvested by people speaking dozens of different languages. So you see that this rag has touched a thousand lives, and now here it is, in your palm cleaning a temple floor in Santa Fe. And you see that the hardwood floor has a legacy, too—that its wood grew because of the sun and the rain and was harvested in a specific place and time. So that rag touching that floor touched a million things at once.

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This Quick Meditation Will Bring Financial Abundance Into Your Life

Believe in the power of intention setting.

Join Claire Mark in this quick, guided meditation to bring to life financial abundance and open up to everything your heart desires.

See also YJ Tried It: 30 Days of Guided Sleep Meditation

Original linkOriginal author: Claire Mark
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Feeling Angry—And Can’t Seem to Let It Go? This Sequence Can Help

Anger needs to be felt before it can be released. Liz Arch shares a sequence for releasing anger by truly feeling it first.

Collin Stark

One of the biggest pieces of healing from my trauma was making peace with my anger, a necessary process that was, unfortunately, stunted by all the spiritual bypassing I encountered within the yoga community where I sought healing.

I was searching for ways to find peace within myself and was consistently told that anger was bad and forgiveness and love were the true answers. Well intentioned as this advice may have been, it’s bullshit. You can’t bypass anger and skip ahead to forgiveness. Anger is a necessary and appropriate response to situations in which we’ve been physically or emotionally harmed, manipulated, or deceived. To deny ourselves the right to feel angry when we’ve been hurt is to deny part of our humanness. Anger needs to be felt before it can be released.

Thanks for watching!

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