Pulse of the Country

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Image: of a bright double rainbow appearing over at the time of writing of this article, may it be auspicious!

Pulse of the Country

-Where to go, or just follow the artists?

Let me pretend to “take the pulse” or,

Is there such a thing as too much writing about nation-wide trends? I believe not.

For the simple reason that no single piece of writing or even a good number of these can describe all unexpectedly “Oh, soo good”, even if ever-so-slight turns in the point of view.

While it is my goal to promote a very niche idea of going on a spiritual (Specifically Buddhist) retreat in a rural setting, the roots of the procrastinations in this article are all drawn from the current economic trends that are very visible if one have encountered websites dedicated to phenomena of what can be called vanishing of locally based neighborhoods. We all remember the earlier trends in that direction, when the often global big chain stores were to blame for closures of local bookstores and coffee shops. Well it is clear that we have entered new phase when even these big chains of brik and mortar stores are under threat from even harder to define internet suppliers of everything to your door. While people of past decades may have looked with a frown towards Barnes and Noble it is what we are losing to amazon.com that has organically grown to be a marketplace for everything delivered to your door, overnight if so desired. And so many landmark business of my home town of NYC that provided a network of my life, defined my days are now gone.

This is a very well covered phenomenon with this website as one of the flagships: http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com

A stroll north from Canal Street legendary art supply store: Pearl Paint, up the West Broadway in SOHO part of New York City with visits to all the storefront galleries and a number of bookstores, we had Rizzoli Books and Spring Street Books to pass hours of our lives looking at many books and looking within in contemplation on various philosophical issues. Now-a-days, Pear Paint building is turned into a luxury condo apartments and the Spring Street books is just not there anymore. While Rizzoli Books managed to move with the times somewhere in the uptown by opening up in a new, different location, the SOHO neighborhood is no longer same, or ever will be again, or so  it feels. All in large part due to the popularity of these parts and NYC as a whole and obviously the raising rents and a very substantial increase in demand for space of every kind. These types of trends are possibly even more visible in the Williamsburg part of Brooklyn where in the past local anchors for the community varied from Polish Sausages shop to small Coffee shop (The L Café) to the dive-like bar on the corner. Whole blocks and now gone, demolished and are replaced with new construction and in the center of it all we have the Whole Foods, Apple Store and Trade Joe’s, none as we know are family owned or unique or possibly geared towards anyone on a limited income.

Writing above I do not have a sense of regret as many may have for obvious reasons. More of a sense of: That was then & This is now. Although it may feel as in so many ways unwelcome push to the personal move, I also have recognition of necessity of such.

We read all over the place about Renaissance that Cities like Detroit are undergoing when it comes to the flourishing Art community and how everyone expects to have increase in the population of writers next. And so I can see this idea of why people that create, which by definition is not necessary a healthy business idea, sometimes it is just for this elusive increase in art, philosophy and ideas to contemplate on in forms of visuals, architecture, sound, for all of us. This is why these people would happily move to a completely different city all in order to live in a very affordable set-up. Their focus is that: the art and if art is the focus a condition of affordable place, nearly free from worry of overwhelming bills becomes a major support in it’s creation.

Here is a story of how City of Detroit is giving writers housing:

https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/why-detroiters-are-giving-free-houses-to-writers

Coming into focus on the issues that I saw as central for my life of now over 25 years, in the Buddhist community of nearly all countries where Buddhist ideas took up we have this idea of stepping back, to refocus, to contemplate, to do a “retreat”. About 22 years ago I have rented a small apartment in above mentioned neighborhood with a huge feel of back-water, the Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The starting monthly rent was $525, about 15 years into my stay I was told by my landlord that his goal for that apartment is to bring the rent up to two thousand a month. All because I suddenly found myself in the middle of a very popular part of most popular city. And in fact it felt possibly low, if compared to the overall development.

After moving to the quiet upstate NY town of Binghamton I found out that this town comes as (surprise!) first in the list of comparative prices on real estate to the tax rates.

And while it is possible to complain about taxation pretty much always, Binghamton taxes are not remarkable, it is the property values that are low. While taxes for a major local town, a county seat with popular University considering these real estate values can be lower, it is these actual prices for the houses that could come up.

Here is the article that gives this conclusion: bargains are all over here and with abundance:

http://www.pressconnects.com/story/news/local/new-york/2017/04/06/binghamton-leads-us-taxes-compared-home-values/100088892

Considering that this is a very non urban type of town with a lot of trees, surrounded by totally rural farms and forests. It is nothing short of a perfect place to sit in the back yard or the front porch, listening to birds and breathing fresh air as minimum or doing any sort of retreat one may want to engage in. Provided housing bills are even if existent are possibly lowest in the whole country.

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Teacher certification

becomeaguruThis article came about because someone with considerable public statue with whom I am connected on the facebook asked a question and at times all it takes for a huge discussion to start is but one question.

Here is paraphrase of their question.

In their opinion it can be important to actually mention or so to say “list” where have you received your teacher training. As they said to see more and more teachers of raising prominence that do not list any teacher training however do list their meditation training. One of the parts of the question mentioned something like: “Should persons without teacher training actually teach?” -Paraphrasing this question I am attempting to write it in a “wider” way, to open it up a bit and while the original poster may have had a very well thought through answer it is obvious that my answer either not as well thought or just different and it is the reason why I am writing this into a more extended post.

On with the show,

It seems that ever and even more today no one wants to be a student, no one wants to start anything. Everyone wants to “be done already” to obviously have a result attached to their effort: “at the end of this course you will be teacher”.

And it is good, what is the point of wasting time on this learning? If as a student one could leap-frog all that directly to the elevation of becoming a master. It in some way would equate to the idea of a “quick learner”.

However there are several issues that will present themselves. One is over-objectification of the goal of becoming a teacher. This title of Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa’s book that points to the idea of the whole path, it is: “Journey Without Goal”. In a way the goal is “no goal” and when one is able to embody that it is then that they are getting closer to the point where they are more like a teacher. So in the beginning one may want a journey with a goal and the goal is to enroll as a student and graduate at the head of one’s class. But the goal of no goal, is the goal.

However,

The situation that we have, that is very common it is:

The so called teacher training courses are more popular then just regular courses.

It is no more then traditional American ego stroking and snake oil salesmanship. The best result guaranteed (at this point read the fine print of: “past results not guaranteeing future performance”), -no experience necessary, -apply now!

It’s really a shame that I have to write something like this about something as wonderful as some one wishing to become a Buddhist Teacher, a Buddhist Master, a Leader of Beings to the ultimate liberation. The general rule of the thumb is that you should be able to teach anything that you yourself have learned from some one, then practiced and accomplished. Some teachers actually at times say: “I have received these instructions from such and such and now I am giving them to you”.

Also, Buddhist path is not a path replete with certifications because it is all on the inside, within. And at some level if there is some one who has accomplished something then the reaction can also be “good for them” and then: “let me see where I am, myself at”.

At this point, ultimately if you are while armed with your current, limited starting knowledge are able to locate a teacher who you understand to be realized, and possibly not even learned, then you are in luck. Because they do embody these teachings that you want to get yourself, they have that first hand experience with these teachings that keeps Buddhist transmission alive all these years. And such a teacher will be able to teach from that fresh, first hand experience, rather then from the notes of courses that they may have taken in the past.

As it is also known to say in the title of another famous book: “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” In this instance it again does not mean one can not be a Master, however it is important to have an open mind of a beginner to start on anything and obviously, pertinent to this discussion put the instructions into practice, embody them in your experience, mature in that experience to the point of realization. -Which is only possible with an open mind of simplicity of a beginner. Not some one training for a certificate of a teacher.

Passage of Time

Passage of Time by Sherab Gyatso Alex, on the heartfelt effects of meeting with Penor Rinpoche, the grand lama of the oldest lineage of Buddhism in Tibet. -An article published in LEVEKUNST art of life. And a small write-up on the picture from 2004.

Passage of Time by Sherab Gyatso Alex, on the heartfelt effects of meeting with Penor Rinpoche, the grand lama of the oldest lineage of Buddhism in Tibet. -An article published in LEVEKUNST art of life.
“I journeyed upstate to ask with my head bowed and palpable taste of angst: “Rinpoche, I really would like to become a monk and there seems a lot of obstacles to that”. With very happy air Rinpoche bowing his head in approval again and again spoke smiling, telling me that I should not worry, for it is clear to him that over time, slowly, slowly all the obstacles will be resolved and everything will be better.”
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About the picture of Kyabje Penor Rinpoche (1932-2009) in the armchair outside the main temple of Palyul NY Upstate Retreat Center.
2004, or according to the Tibetan lunar calendar year of the Wood Monkey and Rinpoche turned 72 it was an interesting experience in the Upstate Retreat Center. Up to that point we were instantly used to Penor Rinpoche leading all chants with the deep voice, coming to the Temple often, offering empowerments and teachings, even if you did not experience this for long this was instant polaroid-like picture of your “mental image” of how things are. In 2004 however, Rinpoche came to the retreat center at the time of Summer Retreat but was said to be unwell, resting at the residence and was seldom seen in the Temple, everyone was alarmed and in the same time it felt like Rinpoche is watching us all ever more attentively, there was a great sense of happy calm and in the same time of profound sadness. It was raining quite a bit and was also colder the usual. Palyul Tulku Thubsang Rinpoche offered most of the retreat’s empowerments. The picture is taken on one of the last days of this month long retreat when Penor Rinpoche came to the temple and people were taking pictures. Kongpo Lama Sonam Wangchuk (1959-2007) followed Kyabje Rinpoche with the camera and made a whole roll later giving me the roll to develop he told me that I can have any pictures I like. This one stood out because even 10 years later it reminds me perfectly of the these feelings of great calm and concern that permeated that time.

WordPress Share: An Historic Description of Awareness Holders of the Great Secret Mantra who are Resplendent in White Clothes and Long Hair

A brief oral commentary by Kyabje Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche

“…Ever since the time of the meeting of the three masters, Khenpo Shatarakshita, Lopon Padmasambhava and the Dharma King, Trison Detsen in 8th century Tibet, there were two divisions of sangha, known as the sangha of monastics with shaven-heads and the saffron robes…”

Source: An Historic Description of Awareness Holders of the Great Secret Mantra who are Resplendent in White Clothes and Long Hair

For the “facebook tele-evangelist Buddhist missionaries”

To all the wonderful facebook tele-evangelist Buddhist missionaries. I would like to congratulate you on having made it to the point where you see it to be very important to share quotes of other’s writing on facebook.

But only perhaps you maybe missing a minor point of actually “liking” these quotes yourself. The idea of posting them “for benefit of others” is much, much farther removed from your own well being then actual contemplation on these things yourself in order to change your own life.

And often there is a quite intense discussion started by these quotes. Today I blocked two people because they told me that I am commenting too much. And although I did it respectfully, without taking it to the personal level, my ideas and fact of commenting was very much not welcomed.

So, if the quote is nearly “stolen”. My idea was that actual discussion could be that “original” material that could justify it in some small way. As it would mean that we are in a way giving the ultimate credit to the author by absorbing their ideas and rewriting them in our own words?

On  a day when it is discouraged by two people, guess I write this and if you have read it, hope it is thought provoking in some good way.

There is the obvious point of posting long excerpts from book. If book is for sale it is possible to infringe on the copyright. So, I personally like to share only quotes that I myself like very much. Without need to justify my posting by possibly benefit of others. And own the book it comes from 99% of the time, often recommending others to get the book as well. Still posting any of these quotes is expressly not allowed by the publishers most times, on the copy right page, something along the lines of “without written permission from the publisher”.

One of the possible mitigating factors is to give good credits, like Title, Author, page # and online for sale link. But it does not change the fact.

Guilty thief,

-Alex

2016 September 11th is also 7th month, 10th day of lunar calendar

Today is the 9/11 that coincides with the monthly celebration of the Guru Rinpoche day, the 10th day of the 7th month. 1142615015-hr-37

“…

5th Month. Guru Rinpoche is known as Guru Sengye Dradog in Sanskrit Guru Simhananda which means Undefeated Lion.

Guru Rinpoche is in North East India state of Bihar at Nalanda monastery.

When a great gathering of non Buddhist yogis and scholars came to challenge Buddhist monks of Nalanda on the instruction of the Lion Headed Dakini that came in a dream overnight to all monks simultaneously,

They requested Guru Rinpoche presence with the Immutable Seven Line Prayer, which is used ever since as most popular way to invoke mind of the Guru Rinpoche in Tibetan transliteration and English translation:

  1. Hung, Orgyen yul gyi nub jyang tsam

Hung, In the northeast country of Odiyanna,

  1. Pema gesar dongpo la

Born in the pollen heart of a lotus,

  1. Yatsen chog gi ngo drup nye

Endowed with the most marvelous spiritual attainments,

  1. Pema Jung ne she su drag

You are known as the Lotus Born.

  1. Khor du khandro mang po kor

Surrounded by retinue of Dakas and Dakinis,

  1. Khyed khi je su dag drub kyi

Following in your footsteps,

  1. Jyin gyi lab chir sheg su sol

I pray to you, please come forth and grant your blessings!

Abbreviated prayer, paying homage and requesting blessings in a form of short heart mantra:

Guru Pema Siddhi Hung

Commonly used heart mantra:

Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung

 

Guru Rinpoche arrives and assures that all debate is won and none of the followers of Buddha Dharma have to convert.

6th Month. Guru Rinpoche is known as Guru Pema Jungney.

Guru Rinpoche as prophesized by Buddha Shakyamuni appears on the lotus in the lake Dhanakosha in Odiyanna.

Giving teachings to the Dakinies that surround him.

7th Month. Guru Rinpoche is known as Khading Tsal.

When tirthikas throw Guru Rinpoche into the Ganges Guru Rinpoche reverses flow of the river and dances in the sky above, inspiring devotion in all.

…” -page 93. of the “What’s What” by Sherab Gyatso Alex

https://www.amazon.com/Whats-What-Hearsay-Buddhist-perspectives/dp/1534887237

vajraMantra