Dying Every Single Day for Months in Manhattan…

IMG_9929_statueA brilliant monk held a motley crew of us dharma students in thrall for many years in the Big Apple. All right, he’d drawl as his eyes lazily scanned the room. So you’re all so cool with your stylish black wardrobes and your sophisticated friends. You live in the hippest city in the world and you think you’re doing great. And in the eyes of the material world, that’s true—fat paychecks, nice apartments, great social life, lookin’ good, lookin’ good.

He’d pause for effect then continue into rapt silence. But tell me: what’s the one thing your bosses can never recompense you for? Ah! You got it, smart people—it’s precious human time! Some of you are doing wonderful things for the sake of humanity. Yes, there are literally thousands of good things you can do with your lives—but, if you listen to the great mystics, the highest goal of human life is permanent liberation from suffering—which is why everyone in this room has chosen to take the Bodhisattva Vow: to seek enlightenment for the sake of all beings.

To enter the Spiritual Olympics you need not just a clear mind but a strong body and perfect commitment—and if you believe that before you begin this inner journey you must first amass money and tie up all your relationships and assets into neat packages that look oh so pretty, there’s a good chance you won’t have those assets when you’re free to discover who you really are—which also means that day of liberation might never come. So, folks, if you really do want to start the greatest journey of all, start it NOW! Continue reading

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The Impermanence of All Things – Samsara’s Seven Flavors – #5/12

impermanence-cartoonFlavor #1: Impermanence. Great sutras teach us that all people and things inevitably vanish, like dewdrops evaporating in the radiant morning sun; however, while intellectually we may accept that all that is born must eventually die, in our daily lives we ignore the stark fact that not just our intimate relationships and material possessions, but also our bodies and minds, are hurtling inexorably towards destruction.

Let’s say my lover presents me with an exquisite magenta orchid in a delicate porcelain bowl. I are aware that all flowers die, and yet I simultaneously perceive this orchid as having permanence. When I wake up next morning, my precious orchid is wilting, and by evening, it’s dead — bursting the bubble in which I first saw it as solid and permanent. Continue reading