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…”

How Being Held Accountable Is an Experience of Vulnerability

Increasingly, my mindfulness practice has been about learning how to take personal accountability. That means accepting the feedback I receive from the world around me, regardless of whether or not it agrees with my perception or intentions. As I extend my awareness beyond my own experience, and begin to recognize the suffering that exists in the world, some of which I perpetuate or cause, I experience intense shame and sadness. And when I allow myself to sit with those feelings, I’m overcome by the urge to run, turn away, or even strike out. 

Mindfulness practice has taught me that whatever turmoil or emotional storm I’m experiencing, I can trust that eventually I will be able to weather it and start again. The more I practice, the more confident I become in my ability to experience my own vulnerability, as well as the vulnerability of others. And being accountable is an experience of intense vulnerability.

When we are called out for being wrong or for hurting someone, we fear we will be deemed unloveable. But we are all worthy of love, and with accountability there is no blame. We can face the consequences of our choices or actions, of our engagement with the world, and we can grow and learn, communicate and do better. Accountability allows us to not have to hide from having done wrong, and we are then able to connect with others, and be connected with ourselves.

1. Recognize blame for what it is. Brené Brown says that blame is just the release of discomfort and pain. Accept that accountability requires courage and time, and learn two important insights on this toxic behavior

2. Let yourself feel shame. We defuse the power of difficult emotions when we explore them with mindful compassion. Get curious about the bodily sensations that arise as you lean into those emotions. And when shame rears its head, Patricia Rockman says in this guided meditation, we can learn to stay with the difficult feelings and survive them.

Continue reading
  29 Hits
  0 Comments
29 Hits
0 Comments

Not to extend our natural compassion and kindness to others makes us a ‘world killer’ – says the 17th Karmapa

“One of the most important and tragic killer is the lack of compassion and kindness in our hearts.” We all have a natural feeling of kindness, a natural compassion. “But it seems that we can turn it on and turn it off.“ If we don’t extend it to others, if we don’t nurture it, if we don’t break free from the prison of our self-centredness, we become ’world killers’ – says the 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje. 

When the 17th Karmapa gave that speech during his first visit to Europe in Berlin in 2014, I found it mind blowing and convincing alike. So much of the sufferings in this world come from a lack love and care, from a lack of extending our love and concerns to others and from continuing to be prisoners of our own selfishness and self-centredness. 

Of course, also the sufferings of those who have been abused in the context of Buddhadharma, their experiences of being left alone, ignored, defamed, gaslighted, ostracised, manipulated, bullied, shunned or accused as liars etc. are caused by that lack of extending loving and compassion to them. Also the deeds of the manipulative perpetrators are based on the lack of love and compassion. And also the communities and Sangha members, who enable the perpetrator to perform his harmful deeds and the victims to be harmed, acted because their kindness and compassion was turned off.

You can extend these thoughts to any place or any people in this world. Of course, including the history of racism and violence against black or native people in America or Australia, or South Africa, the Holocaust of the Germans … The whole history of brutal oppression, torture and violence is a history of a lack of kindness and and a lack of compassion.

So, what do we do to prevent that our natural kindness and compassion is blocked or does not extend to others?

Continue reading
  26 Hits
  0 Comments
26 Hits
0 Comments

Buddha Buzz Weekly: Buddhists Saying Black Lives Matter

Buddhist centers and teachers respond to demonstrations against racial injustice with messages of support, the Myanmar army is accused of war crimes against Rakhine Buddhists, and a man returns to a very different society after entering silent retreat in mid-March. Tricycle looks back at the events of this week in the Buddhist world.

By Emily DeMaioNewton and Karen JensenJun 06, 2020

Protestors hold their hands in the air in front of police protecting the Justice Center in Portland, Oregon, June 3, 2020. | Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Alamy Live News

Tricycle is offering free access to select articles at this time.

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

Buddhist Groups Issue Statements Denouncing Racial Violence

Thousands of people gathered in cities and towns this week across all 50 states to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Police forces across the US have tried to quell the mostly peaceful protests with curfews, tear gas, physical violence, and mass arrests. In response to the ongoing unrest, Buddhist teachers and sanghas have issued statements online condemning the violence and calling on sangha members to reevaluate their relationship to racism. Tibetan teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, head of the Tergar Meditation Community, expressed “solidarity with the message ‘Black lives matter,’” and encouraged followers to “take good care” of themselves in these “challenging times,” remarking that “[w]e cannot be effective agents of change unless we come to this work with our mental and spiritual fuel tanks full,” according to a Facebook post published on Wednesday by Tergar Madison. Insight Meditation teacher Sebene Selassie expressed a similar message on Instagram on Monday, encouraging black people to take steps toward self-care during this time: “Rest. Eat well. Drink water. Meditate. . . . Feel your feelings but don’t let social media and the news dictate how you feel.” 

Continue reading
  33 Hits
  0 Comments
33 Hits
0 Comments

I Am Racist, I Vow to End Racism

Tricycle is offering free access to select articles during this uncertain time.

I’m probably racist. I don’t think I am, but that’s probably what makes me racist. After all, I never used to think that I was racist until I became a little less racist, at which point it became glaringly obvious how absurdly racist I used to be. 

I don’t want to be racist, but I am. How could I not be? I grew up in an almost all-white suburb within a country that was built on racism; almost every day, I was presented with racist imagery and speech—sometimes implicit bias and ignorance and other times explicit hate. Even as I write this, I have to admit that I’m only doing so because a cop killed George Floyd—or rather only because so many people spoke out and took to the streets that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Racists like me have the privilege of forgetting about racism.

I look back on the times when I was racist and didn’t know it, and I am ashamed at my lack of compassion. Sure, I voted for Barack Obama and decried the most vile forms of hate. But when activists and thinkers of color made claims that challenged my worldview and my self-image, I didn’t really listen. I had some common white-person reactions: Isn’t this a slippery slope? Isn’t that reverse racism? What about free speech? Appropriation and microaggressions—aren’t we splitting hairs?

It’s easy to see now my unwillingness or inability to extend the sort of compassion that would allow me to see the situation from another perspective. This conversation is nuanced, and being told, for instance, to listen to black people one moment and that black people shouldn’t be burdened with educating us the next can feel like a catch-22. But from another point of view, it’s totally reasonable to expect people to listen when you speak and not to demand that you speak on command.

Continue reading
  28 Hits
  0 Comments
28 Hits
0 Comments

It’s Time to Change the Status Quo

By Leo Babauta

This is a painful time for so many of us. There is anger, outrage, pain, fear, racism, injustice, sadness, exhaustion — and it’s not just a recent thing, it goes back generations, as far as our country has existed.

It’s heartbreaking.

We need to let our hearts be broken by how minorities, but especially black people, are treated in this country. Let our hearts be broken by the fear they have to live through, the injustice they’ve suffered, the way they’re perceived by everyone else, the way they’re put down, incarcerated, stomped on, segregated, outcast, spit on, villainized, criminalized, demonized, slurred, patronized, marginalized, rejected, and put into poverty … and then blamed for all of that. Let our hearts be broken by how long this has been allowed to go on, how exhausted they must feel from all of it.

We start with the heartbreak, and then let this move us to finally take action.

Let’s end this now. Change is possible faster than we usually believe, if there’s a will. Gay marriage, decriminalization of marijuana, and a black president have proven that, just to start with. Change is possible now, if we decide it needs to happen.

Continue reading
  45 Hits
  0 Comments
Tags:
45 Hits
0 Comments