The great Nyingma master Thinley Norbu Rinpoche passed away last December at the age of eighty. We celebrate his life with remembrances and a selection of the profound Dzogchen teachings he imparted to the West.
Everything is either wisdom or a distortion of wisdom, says Anne Carolyn Klein. Once we see this, we can relax and allow the path to dissolve the disturbed energies that give rise to our habitual reactions.
The Sufi sage Rumi brings us a famous storypoem of adultery and wisdom. He describes a jealous wife who is so careful that, for seven years, her husband is never alone with their attractive maid. Then one day while out with her maid at the public baths, she discovers she has left her silver washbasin at home and sends the maid to fetch it.
Introduction by Jennifer Lauck
I’ve had my share of trouble in this life—abandonment, abuse, and trauma. Just three days old, I was separated from my birth mother and placed in a home where both of my adoptive parents died—my mother of cancer and my father of a heart attack. This left me homeless by ten and kicked me into survival overdrive. The main manifestation was anxiety-driven busyness.
As I emerged from this childhood, I directed all of my energy into creating what I considered a “normal” life. I put my past in the past, as if it would stay, and tried to live like everyone else. I got an education, took up a career, married once, divorced, and then tried marriage again. Eventually I had a son and daughter.
Tenshin Reb Anderson explains why each of the three turnings of the wheel of dharma is essential, and why we must continually cycle through them.
A buddha is someone who sees the way things really are. When we see the way things really are, we see that we’re all in this together, that we are all interdependent. A great surpassing love arises from that wisdom, and that love leads a buddha to wish that all beings would open to this wisdom and be free of the misery that arises from ignoring the way things are.
Genjo Marinello says sanghas must take steps to prepare for ethical breaches and conflicts before they happen.
Since 1999 I’ve been the abbot of Chobo- Ji in Seattle and a student of my ordination teacher, Genki Takabayashi Roshi, and my dharma lineage father, Eido Shimano Roshi. From the perspective of both student and teacher, I have experienced all sorts of heartache arising from conflict within the sanghas where I have practiced. I know what it feels like to be accused of behavior I did not do. I know what it is like to be called on behavior I did do that was unwelcome and misunderstood.
Q. When we meditate, who or what is meditating? Is it mind? How is the brain/body involved? If meditation is ultimately about mind seeing its own true nature, how are we to understand the mind that meditates?
Many people in Vietnam escaped the Communist regime by boat, and many of them died during the trip crossing the sea to Thailand or to the Philippines. Many of their deaths were caused by sea pirates, who’d been born into families of poor fishermen in the coastal areas of Thailand and the Philippines. These sea pirates heard that when the boat people were fleeing their country, they often had their family valuables, like gold or jewelry, with them.
A Torch Lighting the Way to Freedom (Shambhala 2011) is the Padmakara Translation Group’s translation of instructions on Tibetan tantric preliminary practices given by the late Nyingma master Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdrel Yeshe Dorje (1904–1987). In the same genre as Patrul Rinpoche’s classic The Words of My Perfect Teacher, this text details practical guidance on how to engage in the ngöndro meditations that prepare one for the main Vajrayana practice of deity yoga. Like a coach prepping an athlete for heightened performance, Dudjom Rinpoche leads the practitioner systematically through the stages of preparing for tantra. The instructions begin with the routine reflections on turning the mind toward what is meaningful and proceed to give direction on how to set one’s intent on enlightenment, purify negativities, successively gather favorable conditions, and train in visualization. This extensive explanatory manual is complimented by the short recitation text on the Heart Essence of the Dakini for those who wish to seek out this transmission from a qualified master and engage in these practices.
Buddhist and Christian?: An Exploration of Dual Belonging
By Rose Drew
Routledge, 2011$140; 288 pages
Reviewed by Paul F. Knitter
Rose Drew’s Buddhist and Christian? joins a growing lineup of scholarly studies on “religious dual belonging.” But it does so in a distinctive manner: it draws not only on theological and Buddhist scholarship, but on living, struggling practitioners. It is not only assuring in its careful scholarship, it is inspiring as it gives voice to women and men who are trying to figure out what is going on in them as they live out a spirituality that is both Buddhist and Christian. While she records carefully, Drew also assesses creatively. One senses that she is a dual belonger herself, trying to understand her love of both Jesus and Buddha.
by Kiley Jon Clark
The five years I’ve been spreading the dharma among the homeless grew out of hitting rock bottom myself in a dingy apartment in Texas. Hung over after losing yet another battle with the bottle, I headed into San Antonio, intent on staying sober. There, in a used book store, I found a cheap Zen manual, and I couldn’t put it down. That was the start of my journey into building supportive sanghas among the homeless. Some of the folks on the street joined me to talk and practice in parks, alleys, and under bridges, and we started calling ourselves the HMP, for Homeless Meditation Practitioners. Soon we were granted access to two downtown interfaith chapels and attracted some media coverage, including an article in Buddhadharma (Summer 2011). And HMP Street Dharma groups keep on growing even though it’s obvious to me and everyone else that I have no idea what I’m doing. On top of all this, I’m with the love of my life, all our kids seem to be doing fine under one roof, and I’ve got a job at a homeless facility.