Thursday, October 29, 2009

5 weeks and 5 precepts week 2

Welcome to week 2 of discussing the 5 precepts. Thank you Deb for your thoughtful input and contribution to the discussion.
As with week one the same levels of respect still apply with this week and the following weeks. Please and thank you.

The 2nd Precept:
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals and plants. I vow to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from taking that which is not given.

This precept has several levels to it, just as the first and can have many focal points of interpretation. My brief interpretation is to do you work well, do it honestly and respect others along your path. One view is being honest in the work you do and to honor the people you work for and the people who come to you for assistance (wherever you work).

In addition to the practice of respecting one another in our interactions of our employment it also includes the work done to assist the community in which you live. That it can be seemed as selfish to not share of your time, resources or knowledge to create a better world around us. This interpretation can also help in the Buddhist practice of non-attachment. By not being afraid of losing things, money and so on, it helps to not create unhappiness at the possible moment of loss. This is more complicated and a whole discussion of it's own, but none the less here is something to look at.

Take this to the extreme way of looking and thinking of this precept. Imagine if it was okay for us to steal. Let us say that we were like Robin Hood and we were taking from the rich to give to the poor. This does not give any right to privacy and at what point does it become okay to cross to others to steal from. This could then create a state of turmoil and injustice, causing many levels of unrest.

Remember that any look at ourselves and the lives around us in a different way can seem absurd, scary and may seem insulting. I invite you to continue on this journey of looking at yourself and seeing how you can apply the precepts to your life or your current spiritual practice. The key word there being practice, because we are continually in a state of change and self improvement. Our will, is constantly challenged.

Peace and joy,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 weeks and 5 precepts week 1

Those of you who know me, also know that I react to signs. If something crosses my path more than three times or I also use feathers for signs, but either way I got a sign. Something crossed my path now three times and I finally stopped to listen and decided to share it with you. It is not something new, but I recognize it was something I had forgotten.

I also recognize that there is a possibility that it may offend you or not be in your spiritual belief system. I invite you to read on any how and see how similar it is to whatever believe system you have. I have had "The Five Wonderful Precepts" cross my path and over the next five weeks will be sharing each of the five with you and invite discussion with you on these. Please remember as you share your thoughts, that you do not pass judgment on someones belief or try to force your belief on someone. It is a non-biased conversation about a spiritual belief. Maybe offer a similar belief in your spiritual practice.

Buddha gave us the five precepts as kind of a way to live, but they are not considered to be the Buddhist version of the ten Commandments, but ways of which to live our lives and in using a Buddhist term reach Nirvana. This is the simple way of describing without getting into a whole discussion of several other Buddhist concepts that it has been considered connected to.

The version of the precepts I will use are taken from Thich Nhat Hanh after a retreat in 1991, replacing the do not's from the original version to a more positive affirming phrase. Though I will include the original form.
" 1. Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, and plants. i am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking and in my way of life.
Original Sanskrit and direct translation version:
"1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami: I observe the precept of abstaining from the destruction of life. "

This is kind of obvious on some point in that for us all to live in harmony we recognize all sentient beings as having feelings and deserving of respect. A sentient being is someone who is able to feel, basically any creature living or breathing. In Buddhism plants and trees are considered sentient.

In short, we watch after each other and help each other and all of God's creatures out wherever we are able. Remembering that as humans and thinking beings, often times those around us have to go through their own path in life, even though it may be difficult to watch. It is their karmic path for this life, we just offer what we can
We pass this love and compassion and respect onto our pets and family and even friends. One sentient being we often forget is ourselves. Interestingly enough, it took me almost 10 years to realize this myself. Even though I had been practicing non-violence toward others (The practice used by Martin Luther King and by Ghandi)it was not until I was reading a book, until I realized that the compassion I gave others, I was not giving myself. I put myself down, did not give myself the same level of respect I gave others, although I was and am just as deserving. So remember that as a sentient being you have all the right to treat yourself with compassion, love and understanding that you give others.

This is the first of five precepts. All as kind of a "lesson plan" for living a more fulfilled life. I hope you enjoy this glance at the five precepts and it helps you to look at places in your life where you might be able to enrich you and brighten the light within you.

Peace and joy,

Monday, October 19, 2009

October tip too

I hope this finds everyone doing well and enjoying the lovely colors of fall, whereever you are. So far it is proving to be a pretty fall here in Roanoke, VA.

We just returned from the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We had some crazy weather from a random weather pattern going through, twice. So we only one good play on the beach day, but it was still a great trip.

On the return trip I caught myself thinking and even saying, "Are we there yet?". This took me back to the trips with the parental units and my sister, as we traveled all over the place. I purposefully do not talk about the trip to Boston, MA for a reason, though it had fun memories. The moving from point A to point B were not fun. Though I was enjoying our trip back from North Carolina as we planned and chatted about the trip we are planning in March for a 10K race and talking about other random thoughts. I was ready to be home to my furkids that did not go with us, but then stepped back to enjoy the furkids with us in the car and enjoy the moments we were sharing driving back.

Now you wonder, why am I tell you all of this. You see I have a friend, Tammy finally stopped saying it, that says constantly "I see a light at the end of the tunnel". I am always saying that you have to find the light now and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Now here is what I mean.

Let us think of it this way and no I am not telling you that goals are not good, but chasing the "light" is not. Here is why. If you are saying there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you are working toward that, you are saying that you are unhappy with where you are at this moment. Therefore working toward your perception of a happier place, time or whatever that may be. See it as the "grass is green on the other side" kind of thing.

Now back to the light. If you are always waiting to get to that "light" at the end of your tunnel, at what point are you happy or pleased with what you are doing right now? There is the key word, NOW. If you are in the present moment and in the "now", then you are not chasing after something you should be experiencing already. So always working toward that "light at the end of the tunnel" is only exhausting yourself, when all you have to do is look at where you are and find your happiness and find where you have contentment. If it is not there, then be happy that you recognize there are things you wish to change, but stop chasing the light. There is no light, it is in your heart already. All you have to do is sit, look and listen.

Let your light shine bright, right now!

Peace and joy,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October tip'n more

Hey! Happy October! October is a big month for awareness issues.

First off, it is National Pretzel month. Who knew?!

Second it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
This is a very serious issue! If you know someone or if you yourself are in a domestic violence situation, please call 1800-799-7233. Thank you Saffire and the Uppity Blues Women,I'll always remember that number and grateful to not be in a situation any more to need it. Domestic Violence takes all forms, shape and sizes and can reach any type of family very unexpectedly. During financially tight times statistics show that domestic violence to adults, children and pets has been known to rise. Do not hesitate to dial 9-1-1, it could save more than one life.

Third it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Also an issue that is on the rise and increasing. Especially with cancer expected to take the lead in 2010 for cause of death. So sad considering many cancers can be prevented and treated if caught early enough, such as breast cancer. Be sure to get to know the facts about Breast Cancer at or Both sites have excellent information and about treatment options.

In case you didn't know, the Susan G. Komen Foundaiton was started by a sister who made a promise to her sister when she was dieing of cancer. It is now the largest foundation with a single cancer focus. There are all sorts of Breast Cancer Awareness events in Roanoke, VA and beyond, be sure to find an event near you and help build awareness. Guys, do not you are at risk too!
According to the CDC (Centers of Disease Control):
# 186,467 women and 1,764 men were diagnosed with breast cancer.
# 41,116 women and 375 men died from breast cancer.

Get to know the facts and do a self exam once a month!

Be aware!