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…”

Buddha Buzz Weekly: The Rohingya Face COVID-19

Rohingya refugees face barriers to getting tested for the coronavirus, monks in Wuhan share their surplus vegetable harvest, and Buddhist groups continue to voice support for Black Lives Matter. Tricycle looks back at the events of this week in the Buddhist world.

By Emily DeMaioNewton and Karen JensenJun 13, 2020

Construction site for a section of the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo by Mohammad Tauheed | https://flic.kr/p/NxPq7C

Nothing is permanent, so everything is precious. Here’s a selection of some happenings—fleeting or otherwise—in the Buddhist world this week.

Rohingya Refugees Aren’t Being Tested for COVID-19

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh with COVID-19 symptoms are not seeking tests for the virus because they fear being separated from their families, reported Reuters. Many members of the Muslim ethnic minority were forced to flee their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State after the country’s military started a campaign of genocidal attacks in 2017. In camps with over 730,000 people, only 29 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed since mid-May, but aid workers fear the number of infections is much higher. Only 339 tests have been done, and Rohingya leaders say coronavirus symptoms are rampant in the camps. “People are afraid of being isolated and quarantined,” said a Bangladesh government official. Bangladeshi restrictions on internet and phone access have served to compound these fears. With their ability to spread accurate information limited, some refugees have relied on rumors, such as the belief that COVID-19 patients were being killed to halt the spread of the virus. To combat this misinformation, some refugees have been going door to door showing an educational video with accurate information about the coronavirus.

Buddhists for Black Lives Matter

Many Buddhists across traditions are continuing to voice their support for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality. Today, Buddhists for Black Lives Matter is holding a protest titled the Great Awakening Walk at 10:00 a.m in downtown Los Angeles. Following the success of last Sunday’s “Meditating for Black Lives,” local meditators in New York City are organizing another community sit-in in Herbert Von King Park in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. It will be led on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. by mindfulness teacher Jessica Angima, who is part of an ongoing takeover by black meditation teachers on meditation organization MNDFL’s Instagram. The takeover, curated by Zen teacher and author Rev. angel Kyodo williams, features Buddhist teachers JoAnna Hardy, Sebene Selassie, Dr. Jasmine Syedullah, Kaira Jewel Lingo, and others.

Continue reading
  26 Hits
  0 Comments
26 Hits
0 Comments

A Simple Practice to Move Your Body Before You Meditate

In this video, Cara Bradley encourages us to stabilize the nervous system and settle the mind with a movement practice and seated meditation.

1. Side Sways

Moving your spine side-to-side invigorates your entire body. On an inhalation, reach your arms forward and up. As you exhale, lower your arms down by your sides. Inhale and come back to center with both arms overhead. Repeat for 3-5 breaths.

With your arms back at center and overhead, exhale and tilt to the left. Reach both arms to the left until you feel a light stretch. Inhale and return to center. Repeat on each side for 3-5 breaths.

2. Twist

Hold your arms up level with your shoulders and reach from side to side while twisting your torso. Repeat this motion for 3-5 breaths.

3. Single Knee to Chest

Start by gently stretching your lower back and hips. While standing, inhale slowly and pull your right knee in to your chest. Exhale and release. Inhale and pull the left knee in. Repeat this sequence for 3-5 full breaths.

Continue reading
  20 Hits
  0 Comments
20 Hits
0 Comments

Anti-Fragility as We Train Ourselves to Improve

By Leo Babauta

As I’ve been diving into my Fearless Mastery mastermind program, with some of the most amazing people, I’ve been introducing some key ideas for training ourselves …

These are ideas I’ve been developing in my Sea Change and Fearless Training programs, as I’ve trained thousands of people to shift their habits as well as the patterns that get in the way of our meaningful work.

Here’s the problem when we try to train ourselves to change:

We set out to do something regularly — exercise, meditate, write, create something, etc.We fail at it.Then we fall apart. We might beat ourselves up, get discouraged, and give up.

This is a fragile, non-resilient approach. Maybe we try this half a dozen times, and eventually we think something is wrong with us.

There’s nothing wrong with us. The problem is with the fragile approach of falling apart when we fail.

Continue reading
  18 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
18 Hits
0 Comments

Dancing Tara through COVID-19

Many of us are experiencing heightened anxiety during the global coronavirus crisis. In response, Tricycle is offering free access to select articles during this uncertain time. If you are able to, please help support this offering with a donation. Thank you!

My alarm clock urges me into semi-consciousness on my 53rd day of coronavirus quarantine. I am quickly reminded of my commitment to join via Zoom with a group of people, most of whom I have never met, to participate in my daily Buddhist practice—dancing Tara. 

The dances are a sadhana, a Buddhist practice meant to help us embody a particular deity—in this case, Tara, a female buddha associated with wisdom and compassion as well as healing and protection. I learned the Tara Dances about a year ago from dharma teacher Prema Dasara, who generated them in 1985 with the blessings of her Tibetan lamas. Dasara travels the world teaching workshops that often culminate in a presentation of the dances to renowned Buddhist teachers, and has inspired the formation of new Tara Dance circles. 

During this time of disease, unspeakable anguish, and multiplying difficulties, many spiritual teachers seeking to address suffering with teachings and meditation, both classical and inventive, have turned to Tara for inspiration—and to the webinar for means of communication. Likewise, the Tara Dances have moved online.

Since learning the Tara Dances, I had sporadically integrated them into my personal meditation practice, until COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place order forced me to spend the majority of my life isolated from regular contact. Faced with an undefined amount of unstructured time before me, I decided to perform this dance meditation every day. Then, at the start of quarantine, one of my fellow Tara dancers initiated a daily morning Zoom meeting for our practice. I wanted to support her creative effort and knew it would bolster my own, so I set my alarm. 

Continue reading
  28 Hits
  0 Comments
28 Hits
0 Comments

Why Our Interconnectedness Is Our Greatest Strength

Most of us are familiar with the description of the fight-or-flight response to stress or trauma: our common tendency to perceive a situation as an imminent threat, and react either by gearing up (physiologically, hormonally, and emotionally) to fight for survival or alternatively gearing up to run away as fast as we can.

I felt gratified when stress experts expanded these familiar descriptions to include another common, ready reaction: freezing. It made sense to me as soon as I heard it. We each engage in all three of these reactions, of course, but it seems that each of us has a tendency to gravitate toward one of these more than the others, based on our individual conditioning. I’ll lay claim to freezing as my most frequent automatic reaction, rather than getting ready to bolt or starting to attack.

The reactions of fight, flight, or freeze appear to be more of a chronic state that is starting to rule our patterns of consumption and communication, our media, our use of technology, our relationships, the dimensions of our generosity, and the limits of our imagination. We are more afraid, and we are isolating ourselves more: Not surprisingly, the number of people describing themselves as quite lonely is shooting up, as reported in the United States, in England, in Japan. 

It’s no wonder we’re fearful and despairing, since it can feel like we’re being hit with an avalanche of sad news on many days, while we so rarely hear inspiring visions of the future. Many people, particularly young people, feel trapped. They say that they find themselves participating in, and therefore perpetuating, a system they did not create, that does not reflect their values, and is destructive of the planet and inequitable. How to have inspiration, they ask, when the only game in town feels rigged? There’s a cognitive dissonance that goes along with that kind of trapped feeling. It’s a form of daily moral injury, what journalist Diane Silver described as a “soul wound that pierces a person’s identity, sense of morality and relationship to society.”

Real Change, © 2020 by Sharon Salzberg

Continue reading
  24 Hits
  0 Comments
24 Hits
0 Comments