For discussion of Buddha Dharma, including teachings common to all Buddhist schools, such as the Four Noble Truths, Dependent Origination, etc., that is not specific to Mahayana or Therevada
And right "back", again.
This -- below -- is not a "Dharma Gem", but...
As I practiced a few rounds of the form in the back today (cool day in the desert, cloudy and a rare drizzly Winter rain, only 18 deg C), it also occurred to me to remember to mention that tai chi can be great also as a help to zazen, or to Vipassana sitting. The reason is the establishment of relaxation, through the working-out of (even subtle) muscular tension from helpful influence of the connection with 'mind' while practicing, breathing, moving.
Yes, we naturally develop relaxation through the practice of any sitting itself; but, if you develop such relaxation to high degree while in the process and action of motion, and standing, as in tai chi practice (where the palms of the hands heat-up and come to vibrate and tingle, and the soles of the feet become very warm, and sweet-saliva flows), by the time one sits down to practice zazen or meditation, there's greater ease of relaxation, and greater depth in relaxation. That's my experience. Not that tai chi is very challenging! But its effects are -- can be -- huge (given time and friendliness with it). Key is to get into a class or practice-group you can stick with for a long while, to learn the forms well and have them corrected over and over (and over) by the teacher.
Last edited by desert_woodworker on Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Many in USA and elsewhere who are disheartened and feel let down or threatened by a US Presidency filled by one 'Trump' are concerned about how to proceed personally during the next four years of the fellow possibly remaining in office: maintain a sense of 'outrage'?; maintain a stance of defiance?; retain a readiness (and tools) for resistance?
Perhaps one has to keep something going as a background or foreground process, in order to be ready to switch into gear when needed to counteract proposed policy changes and to influence initiatives. Almost certainly, we should not just rely on chance, nor just on appreciation of, say, Dharma, alone. Though, to keep up our practice will certainly be 'wise', and needed.
This led me to remember a paragraph by Conze, in his book of 55 years ago, where a topic in a chapter was social relations and social emotions:
"...Buddhism does not believe that our relations to others can safely be entrusted to either chance or metaphysical insight. If they were left to chance, the weeds of the malice [that are endemic] to the human race would soon choke the frail wheat of a hard-won benevolence. If they were governed by metaphysical insight, complete aloofness [might] ensue. For, as we saw, ultimately, as far as true reality is concerned, it is quite impossible to enter into a real relation with other individuals, for the simple reason that separate selves or individuals do not really exist. ***
*** Although 'friendliness' takes beings as they are not, it is nevertheless useful (kuśalamūla) as an antidote to hate."
Further on "friendliness", from a Buddhist point of view, Conze continues:
*** this should really be called 'charity', and differs from other kinds of 'love' in that it is directed to a quite unworldly spiritual essence, and is equally intense in respect of all."
The rest of Conze's treatment of the subject continues in a very interesting and clear way, in this chapter on "The Cultivation of the Social Emotions".
"The Theravādins have dominated Ceylon for two millennia; their affiliations with the sects of the Indian continent are uncertain."
"...as the Hīnayāna had found it hard to believe in an enlightened person who bothers to teach the unteachable, so some Mahāyānists felt that it was impossible for anyone to know the truth without communicating it."
--E. Conze; Buddhist Thought In India (1962; 1967); p. 168.
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