Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Book Recommendation

Throughout the course of the last couple of weeks, I've been fighting some sort of stomach bug that finally got the best of me. As a result, I've been on quarters for the past two days. Since one can only sleep so many hours out of the day, I decided to pick up where I left off reading Sakyong Mipham's "Running with the Mind of Meditation".

As military members, we are most likely all running as part of our physical fitness requirements, and as Buddhists we are all probably engaged in a meditation practice. This book, although quite short (less than 200 pages) wonderfully outlines the correlation between the stages in mental development as you practice meditation, and the stages in which you develop your body as you train by running. As the leader of the Shambhala tradition the Sakyong draws heavily from the Tiger, Lion, Garuda, Dragon concept, but the underlying messages of appreciation, cultivation, and progression will not be lost on the practitioner of any Buddhist tradition. I'd recommend it to those who are not Buddhist, and non runners as well, since these concepts can be applied to any activity in which you choose to engage.

In these two short days, this book has had a profound effect me. I share this with you all in hopes that you too may share in its' delight.  Here is the link: 

Ki Ki So So!

- Veronica

Monday, August 27, 2012

Praise and Blame: the Worldly Truth

Recently, there was a young man came to my office and complained about his boss. This man got very angry toward his supervisor because his boss blamed very hardly on him for what he said that he did not make any mistake. This young man was crying and complaining that it's not right to get blamed for what he hasn't done any wrong. I listened to him quietly and gave some advices. One of the advise I gave was that there is no one who is absent from praise or blame. This is the worldly truth. If we accept this truth, there will be no suffering out of this matter. This reminds me of the Dhammapada (the Path of Truth) verse 228:
There never was
There never will be
Nor does there exist
A person who is wholly blamed or praised
Censure, blame and criticism are things no one wants to hear but all are unavoidable at one time or the other. Even a perfect person such as Buddha and etc. could not avoid this worldly truth. Ordinary people must go through adverse criticism on a daily basis. As an inevitable worldly truth, we must learn how to deal with it wisely. Not knowing how to deal with it, we are bound to suffering unnecessarily.
In the Dhammapada, it is advised that if anyone gives you criticism, censure or blame, you should thank him for his time pointing out your flaws to you. If what he points out is true, you should make amends. If not, you should generate loving-kindness toward him. Anyone who often gets angry when berated, censured or criticized should turn his way of thinking around and adopt a positive thought.
We should learn to think positively that censure (including criticism) has more worth than praise, as it makes us see our own flaws, faults, failings and failure, thus showing us the way to self-improvement. If what they criticize is not true, we should remain indifferent, as we are not what they say we are. What we are is the result of our own actions. We should adopt the attitude that a person is not good because of what he says, not a thief because of what he says but we are who we are and word of mouth cannot change that.
Those who are censured, blamed or criticized, if viewed positively, are fortunate and important. If we are not important enough, who will care enough to waste their time and energy to criticize us? The well-known thinker Dale Carnegie must have been well aware of the truth of the matter because whenever he was censured, blamed or criticized, he kept reminding himself that;
“Nobody kicks a dead dog.”

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zen and Pain Management

As a cognitive neuroscientist and Soto Zen Buddhist, I find these studies fascinating (see link). Does anyone have any experiences (on and off of the cushion) relevant to pain they would like to share? Personally, I find that my threshold for discomfort in my hips and feet while sitting in zazen for long periods has increased. I believe that zazen has invaluable potential if applied to our soldiers as a means for managing physical and psychological discomfort (and the interaction of the two).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Buddhist Military Sangha Invites New Authors!

Because I no longer have time (or Right Concentration) to update this blog regularly, and I will be EASing out of the Navy next year, I'd like to open this blog up to new contributors. If you'd like to be listed as a contributor/author, contact the contributors below and let us know! We'd be happy to add you on. We welcome all content, your service stories, reviews, questions, discussions, information, Dharma teachings, etc., in keeping with the spirit of this blog: positive Buddha-Dharma and support and care for all our servicemembers wherever and whomever they are.

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Namo Amida Butsu!
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