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Does the I-phone App for Zen Meditation Work

  • Posted on August 27, 2012 at 4:06 am

Game or Meditation tool, I say why not both.  Who says what tool is the correct one.  The answer is different for everyone.  The goal is to stop thinking about what your challenges are and let the answer show itself.  This app for Zen meditation will help you achieve that goal.

Product Details

iPhone app for Zen Meditation

“Zenbient” name of the new App which introduce mystic Zen sutra calligraphy with spiritual music combine together for game and education. Presenting most famous Zen sutra “The Heart sutra” (Hannnya Shingyo) Game is dedicated to Steve Jobs, the late legend of Apple’s founder.

This is the game, you write famous Zen sutra “The Heart sutra” like Zen master. Therefor there is a rule of writing order in each of mysterious sutra character. you have to follow and accomplish this rule, in order to reach Enlightenment (SATORI). We as entrepreneur and creator, Mr. Jobs was true visionary and charismatic icon for all of us. His way of living life was inspired us in many directions. we really appreciate and proud of his devotion to Zen culture and use for his life philosophy and creative visions says Tsutomu “moo” Nishimura, president / producer for EEM Japan who is devoted zen disciple for 35 years.

This App is featuring digital Zen sutra calligraphy and original urban Zen music. “When we came up with idea of this App several months ago, we were talking about Zen influence of Mr.Jobs and really wanted to show him this App and expected his reaction of cool praise not because of this is Zen oriented App but because of our creativity and innovation. When we learned of the passing of Steve Jobs, we decided to dedicate this game to him and his soul.

Please learn and feel Zen spirit from visuals and sounds. says Moo. “We made Sutra calligraphy in digital way” says Ryuji Suzuki, creative director for EEM Japan. Usually we use Indian ink and writing brush on paper to do calligraphy in traditional way. but with this App, you can use your finger on I-phone in easy way and learn and enjoy these mysterious syllables from The heart sutra anywhere anytime.

Purpose of doing traditional sutra calligraphy is for purify mind, activate brain function well, strong concentration and great perseverance, we hope this digital calligraphy will serve similar result for you. Even If you don’t understand meaning of each sutra syllables, Don’t sweat. you will feel beauty of dynamism in writing and mysterious sacred powerful world of Zen.

You are performing an act of good deeds. If you achieve until the end of this sutra, please wish your dream come true and pray for the world peace. Also I have to mention that music is from original Zenbient music featuring real Zen monk Moon Jong chanting sutra and mantra along with urban sounds. also using Zenbient instrumental version both produced by Moo Nishimura.

Inside Art traditional paintings are made by artist” Kay Park” which is brightly decorated this unique App so please enjoy these special spiritual music and paintings too” says Ryuji

These Chinese characters are very auspicious and has mystic power itself. even just keep in your I-phone. Please try as many as you can anytime, It will make you close to “SATORI” (SATORI is spiritual awakening and enlightenment).

This App is free for the first version (First step for SATORI) (Will charge from second step , next upgraded version)

“Zenbient” name of the new App which introduce mystic Zen sutra calligraphy with spiritual music combine together for game and education. Presenting most famous Zen sutra “The Heart sutra” (Hannnya Shingyo) Game is dedicated to Steve Jobs,

I really like this app for Zen meditation.  Sometimes when I’ve spent too much time sitting at my computer, my mind goes blank and I start making mistakes.  I just walk away and sit in my sun room and use this app.  My mind isn’t thinking about what I walked away from.  Before I know it I get an idea and I’m back on track.  Give it a try, it’s a great tool to stop thinking so much and let the answers to everything become clear.

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Buy new: $550.00                                                      $359.99
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Buy new:                                                                      $599.00

 

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How a Modern Day Buddhist Lives in a Modern World

  • Posted on May 28, 2012 at 5:14 am

Being a modern day Buddhist is easier than people may think.  When you hear the words everything in moderation you probably think of things like food.  Moderation also applies to the many temptations we come across every day of our lives.  As long as you have good intentions in your heart there is no reason to fret.  

How a modern day Buddhist can live in today’s world

As a young Buddhist, I know that engaging in activities that push us over the edge into crazy town, such as getting drunk, one night stands, expensive shopping, drugs and so on, lead to confusion and recklessness. At the same time these activities are fun to do with friends and give us some sort of social relevance. Is there any way to still be a true Buddhist practitioner and be able to “travel to crazy town”? –F.V.

First off, I feel the need to state that Crazytown is one of the greatest things that swept the nation during the ’90s, and their “Butterfly” is a favorite karaoke song of mine.

However, you are asking for Buddhist advice, not song recs. The story of the historical Buddha, our friend Siddhartha, is one which begins with him surrounded by all the elements of his generation’s version of crazy town. There were dancing girls, alcohol a-flowing and basically anything he wanted he could have at any time.

However, Sid outgrew that level of mindless indulgence. Once he realized the suffering that existed in the world, he struck out on a path to find freedom. Unfortunately, that path led him into a state where he was mistreating his body, starving himself, and going through rigorous ascetic practices.

The point here is that Sid realized that in order to truly wake up to reality as it is, he had to find a middle way in between these extremes of over-indulgence and beating himself up. You too have to find your own middle way where you are applying mindfulness but still engaging your life in a way that you feel good about. No one can find that middle way for you; it’s a path of self-discovery.

How would he combine Buddhism and dating? How would he handle stress in the workplace? What Would Sid Do is devoted to taking an honest look at what we as meditators face in the modern world. As a young Buddhist, I know that engaging in activities that

So if your a modern day Buddhist, moderation is the key word.  Let yourself enjoy, just do it in moderation.  Keep your intentions good and live with love.  YOU CANT GO WRONG.

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Let aging become your spiritual journey.

  • Posted on May 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

You’re getting older and you hate it.  You keep asking yourself how, what, why, and you can’t do anything to stop it.  It  is happening to all of us, we age everyday.  It’s our journey though life.  Try changing how you look at aging, see it as your spiritual path.  Let aging become your spiritual journey.

Let aging become your spiritual journey.

I often teach that Buddhism is about how to be truly happy, so I have been studying the new research field of “happiness studies,” which focuses on the objective measures and causes of happiness. Researchers have found three factors that reliably increase happiness as we grow older — gratitude, generosity and reframing (seeing your situation from a more positive perspective). Not surprisingly, the Buddhist tradition offers these same three factors as spiritual practices for cultivating happiness. I would add two more — curiosity and flexibility.

Gratitude. When I ask audiences what they like about being older, people often answer “Gratitude,” and then say what they are grateful for: grandchildren, good health, free time, wearing what they want, the chance to travel, giving back to the community. One person included the ham sandwich she had just had for lunch. I have an exercise I call the “thank you” prayer. People repeat the words “thank you” silently to themselves and watch what comes up. It’s amazing how many and how readily images of gratitude come to mind.

Generosity. One happiness study reported that if giving weren’t free, drug companies could market a great new drug called “give back” instead of Prozac. It’s scientifically proven: giving back and helping others makes us feel happier and more content. Giving is a universal spiritual value taught by every religion, and the desire to give back naturally increases as we age. It is part of our emerging role as community elders — something we can do into our sixties, seventies, eighties and beyond. Giving is truly a spiritual practice, and it naturally lifts our spirits. My new book Aging As A Spiritual Practice: a Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser offers many tangible methods to cultivate a generous spirit. Among these is a contemplative exercise from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that allows us inwardly picture recipients of our generosity and direct compassionate feeling toward them.

Reframing. Aging includes its share of reverses, losses and sorrows. What makes the difference is our attitude about them. If a bad knee means we can’t jog anymore, we needn’t despair; we can take up swimming. If we lost money in the recession, we can cherish what we still have. If we become ill, we rejoice when we recover. I have developed a meditation called “Vertical Time” that focuses on the positive aspects of the present, rather than regrets of the past and worries about the future. We tend to think of time as linear and horizontal, but it is also vertical — one breath at a time. Vertical Time is really breath-based reframing.

Curiosity. Curiosity is an important attitude to cultivate as we age. There’s a tendency to hunker down in our old familiar routines. It’s good to resist that temptation. Physical exercise grows new muscle, mental activity grows new brain cells, emotional engagement lifts the spirit. Curiosity keeps us young; we need to cherish it. If you see an interesting ad for a wildlife class, consider taking it. If you go into a bookstore, try browsing in sections you don’t usually visit. If you haven’t seen a friend in too many years, reach out. Children are naturally curious, and we can be too.

Flexibility. Things change as we age, and some of those changes are irrevocable. Our youthful stamina is gone forever; a dying friend will never return. In the face of these changes, it’s important that we not become rigid and stuck in our ways. With every reversal comes new opportunity. No matter what the issue, no matter how big the problem, there is always something constructive that you can do. Never give up, never let aging get the better of you. This is how the “extraordinary elderly” do it — the ones who have beaten the odds to enjoy their old age to the very end.

The Spiritual Life. A spiritual perspective on aging is not just for personal transformation; it is a medicine for longevity and health. Research shows that people with an active involvement in church or spiritual community live on average seven years longer than those who don’t.

These five practices for aging well really work; science says so, common sense says so, and every religion says so. Aging As A Spiritual Practice builds on these truths to treat the process of aging as an opportunity for inner transformation. We deserve to enjoy our aging; it is our reward in the continuing adventure of living a whole and fulsome life.

Not surprisingly, the Buddhist tradition offers these same three factors as spiritual practices for cultivating happiness. I would add two more — curiosity and flexibility. Gratitude. When I ask audiences what they like about being older, people often

We can’t stop it but we can change how we feel about aging.   Let aging become your spiritual journey.  Follow your path moving forward one day at a time.

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How to recognize and control your emotions

  • Posted on May 11, 2012 at 5:22 am

Controlling your emotions does not mean ignore them.  It means you recognize them and act on them in a controlled manner, not randomly and uncontrollably.   Once you learn how to recognize and control your emotions, you will stop resisting and start living.

How to recognize and control your emotions

Every patient I have ever seen has come in with the same issue: Resistance. We all have a tendency to resist a multitude of things in various ways. We may resist knowing our relationships are in trouble, resist painful feelings, resist aspects of ourselves that we find distasteful, resist accepting our health status, or resist that certain areas in our lives are not satisfying. The list goes on and on.

We think we should be happy and look happy all the time. So, we may try to push emotions we think conflict with that away by using various strategies. We may use food as a way to shove emotions down. We may use staying busy with work, television, exercise, running errands, shopping, drinking or drugs.

Starting in 2012, what if we stopped resisting ourselves? What if we allowed ourselves to really observe our lives, ourselves and the realities involved, not cut ourselves off from ourselves? When we continue to resist, we cut ourselves off (temporarily) from what is … and ultimately our ability to work with what is. We leave ourselves stuck with what we are resisting, without resolution. While resisting can temporarily alleviate emotional suffering, we end up fooling ourselves into thinking we can avoid indefinitely. However, it always ends up leaking out emotionally or physically.

I use the example of grief because so many can relate. When we lose someone we love, we can resist the grief and fool ourselves into moving on quickly. Another option is to allow ourselves to become engulfed in our grief indefinitely and let it ultimately swallow us. Both those options can leave us ultimately stuck in our grief, and we have seen people in this predicament. The other option is to sit with our grief, allow it to unfold and be what it is, nothing more or less than what it is. Ultimately, we can then work with our grief and help ourselves.

At times we all resist for different reasons. Most of us resist because we feel that sitting with our emotions can be uncomfortable or painful. Sometimes we are frightened by our emotions. We are scared they will overwhelm us or we fear losing control so we keep a tight grip. However, in many cases letting go of the tight grip to see what resides within us might be the answer.

“Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness” (Three Rivers Press, 1999) By Dr. Mark Epstein » “Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective ”(Basic Books, 2004) by Dr. Mark Epstein Every patient

Many times we are at the mercy of our emotions on a subconscious level.  By learning how to recognize and control your emotions, your life will start to transform into something wonderful and stress free.

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Japa Mala Meditation

  • Posted on May 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

For my cousin Terri

 

In some religions Rosary beads are used to count prayers, 10 Hail Mary’s etc.  Japa Mala beads are used to count mantras.  The definition of Japa is derived from the root jap, meaning to utter in a low voice.  Mala is the string of be beads used to count your mantra.    Traditionally the beads are made of wood but any bead can be used.  When practicing Japa Mala meditaion it is important to know that the sound, tone and frequency of the chant is what utilizes the law of attraction.  EVERYTHING resonates with vibrations, our thoughts as well as the objects that surround us.  Another important thing to know is that you do not have to be exact.  The tones in any mantra are powered by your thoughts.  Don’t concern yourself worrying  if your saying it right, your intent will take care of it on a subconscious level.  

10mm Rosewood and Turquoise Prayer Beads Japa Mala (108 Beads Rosary)

 Japa Mala meditation 

You can do any prayers or good thoughts from any spiritual tradition with your mala. It is your thought and good motivation that makes your mala unique for your. Once your mala is used, it collects spiritual merit and considered a Dharma object. Please handle it with respect and treat it as part of your spirituality. Mala can also be used as an offering to any Buddha statues.

Mantra to bless your mala beads:
OM RUCHIRA MANI
PRAVARTAYA HUM
(repeat 7 time then blow over your mala)

Mantra that blesses body speech and mind:
Om AH HUM
(repeat 7 times)

Mantra to bless lives in harmony with the law of life (Dharma)
Lotus Sutra (南無妙法蓮華經):
NAM-MYOHO- RENGE-KYO
(Repeat to your heart’s content)

Mantra to purify negative karma (金刚萨埵心咒 )
OM VAJRASATTVA HUM
(Repeat 28 times)

Magnetizing 108 mala is made of 27 wooden beads x 4 sets (108), separated by barrel wooden beads (18mm). Wood and seeds mala is use for.,,

You can get your beads by CLICKING HERE, this is just one suggestion.  Some people like to make their own Mala by purchasing beads from the local craft store.  You can bless your beads by using the mantra provided above.  Remember to use 108 beads for the use of Japa mala meditation.  

Mantras can be chanted in multiple of 3, 7, 9 and 27 times.  Traditional japa mala is made of 108 beads, multiple of 27 mantras in 4 sets.
In traditional Buddhist, people are said to have 108 afflictions.
There are six senses – sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and consciousness
multiplied by three reactions – positive, negative, or indifference)
making 18 “feelings.”
multiplied by two categories – attached to pleasure, detached from pleasure
making 36 “passions”,
Multiple by 3 as each “passions” may be manifested in the past, present, or future.
All the above (6 x 3 x 2 x3 ) makes a total of 108, represented by the beads.

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Zen Relaxation Techniques

  • Posted on March 14, 2012 at 5:56 am

Zen relaxation techniques are what some call a “whole person” experience.  Zen aligns the body, mind and spirit.  Relaxation can be achieved through Zen meditation.  

Zen relaxation Techniques

The key to a balancing life is to create simple practices in your life that will help you manage your stress level. Medical studies have shown that living in a constant state of stress and overload can undermine your physical and spiritual well-being. People who live with high stress levels make more mistakes, have more accidents, get sick more often, experience higher rates of depression and physical pain than others who are able to reduce or manage stress well. I created a list with a few simple stress relief techniques you can use to help you manage your stress during the holidays and all year through.

1. Take a Gratitude walk or hike: Exercise is known to reduce stress and relieve tension. Studies indicate that exercise reduces feelings of anxiety, depression and hostility associated with high levels of stress. When adding a dose of gratitude to your daily walk or hike, it will give you that extra burst of inspiration and happiness. By appreciating everything around you, it will naturally cause you to become more aware and present, thus raising your energetic vibration. Then your higher-level of vibration can attract more higher-level experience. Gratitude research has proven that when we practice gratitude on a daily basis, it releases feel-good chemicals to the brain that aid in our well-being causing us to have lower levels of stress and higher levels of peace and happiness.

2. Listen to something soothing: Create a play list on your iPod with stress relaxing music, sounds of nature, instruments or your favorite positive songs. Listening to an audio book can be relaxing. When you pick music, make sure it’s music that raises your happiness and peace vibration.

3. Practice meditation: Anyone can practice meditation. Meditation gives us a sense of calm, inner-peace. Spiritually it connects us to infinite Love. Meditation benefits our over all well-being. Medical researchers have found that meditation brings down high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, cancer, depression, heart disease, substance abuse, sleeping problems. There are several forms of mediation – find what form best meets your needs. When you need: stop, drop and meditate.

4. Practice yoga: There are all sorts of yoga styles; find ones that work best for you and give it a try. It’s good for the body and mind and a wonderful way to reduce stress.

5. Don’t over-commit: Keep a calendar and never say yes automatically. Time pressure contributes heavily to the experience of stress in our culture. Keep the party planning and gift contribution down to a minimum. Be sure to schedule inactive time so you can just be and relax. Don’t feel guilty because you can’t make it to every holiday party.

6. Do your gift shopping early in the morning or on-line: The best way to avoid the stress of an over-crowded mall or parking lot is by shopping on-line. When going to the store or mall to shop, get there as soon as the doors open. You are more likely to beat the crowds and find a good place to park.

7. Watch spending: Over spending causes a lot of stress. There is never any happiness in more. Create a budget for spending and do not go over it. Find creative ways to participate in gift giving like making your gifts or eliminate gift giving all together this year and opt for contributing to a charitable organization or being of service.

8. Schedule self-care day: Go to a day spa, get a message, facial or treatment. Allow yourself to rest and rejuvenate. If you can’t afford the spa, opt for a manicure or pedicure or do your own holistic natural home day spa. Read a good book or go see a movie. Gardening is also wonderful way to relax.

9. Make yourself laugh: Medical research has shown that laughter actually has therapeutic effects within the body. Laughing speeds up your heart rate, releases endorphins into your system and helps relieve stress. So put on a funny movie or think of something silly somebody you know did and laugh and laugh and laugh.

10. Release expectation: Release expectation and attachments. Learn to go with the flow. Do not try please everyone; that will just create stress. Let go and go with the flow. The holidays can bring out a lot expectation and issues with family and friends. Set an intention to release all that and trust and commit to stay present and in the moment.

11. Keep a Gratitude Journal: You can keep a gratitude journal, gratitude board, gratitude photo album or write your gratitude on post it note. Counting your blessings is a wonderful way to self-express your appreciation. Find quiet time during your day or evening. Make your favorite tea or warm drink and reflect upon what you have in your life to be grateful for. Gratitude is the attitude and it is a beautiful way to live. It’s a natural life sweetener. Researcher has shown it lowers stress and has many wonderful medical benefits. It can raise your happiness level by 25%.

Life is stressful enough and then when you add all the holidays’ festivities to the mix you can get into stress overload. The key to a balancing life is to

Zen relaxation techniques can come easy for you if you follow the steps and take one day at a time.  Relaxation can be achieved regardless of what the world is throwing at us.

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What is The Lighter Side to Zen?

  • Posted on February 8, 2012 at 6:50 am

This is 20 Zen techniques that you probably haven’t considered.  Don’t just see them as a joke, these technques really are the lighter side to zen way of thinking.

The lighter side to zen

20 Zen Teachings

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact, just leave me the Hell alone.

2. Sex is like air. It’s not that important unless you aren’t getting any.

3. No one is listening until you fart.

4. Always remember you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

5. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

6. If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive or dead, try missing a couple of payments.

7. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

8. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

9. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

10. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

11. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

12. Some days you are the dog, some days you are the tree.

13. Don’t worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

14. Good judgment comes from bad experience … and most of that comes from bad judgment.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Neither one works.

17. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.

18. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

19. We are born naked, wet and hungry, and get slapped on our ass… then things just keep getting worse.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

20 Zen Teachings. 1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow.

Living with a zen point of view does not have to be “deep”.   Living zen is also seeing the humor in life.  What is the lighter side to zen, anything that makes you feel good and uplifted.  

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A Buddhist Ecology of Self

  • Posted on January 31, 2012 at 9:11 am

What is self, who is self?  As we become educated in modern society, we grow outwardly to to create a social identity.  We forget who we are.  Here is a Buddhist ecology of self.

A Buddhist ecology of self.

The ecological self:

The philosopher Arne Naess was a co-founder of Deep Ecology. He observed that people who are mature in their relationships can spontaneously identify with all living beings. He proposed that humans have an ecological self, which consists of that with which we identify. To take one pressing example, the Earth in all its splendor and biodiversity is now at risk of runaway global warming caused by our burning of fossil fuels. It will not be spared this devastating fate unless many of us realize and express strong identification with the whole community of life.

Self-realization:

Naess believed that as we develop and mature through the fulfilment of our inherent potentialities, the self deepens and broadens. This process, which he termed self-realization, is not the one-dimensional, narcissistic fulfilment of ego trips. Genuine self-realization leads us to see ourselves in others. We take pleasure in their self-realization as well as our own. In fact, there is awareness that the self-realization of others is not separate from our own.

That understanding provides a much sounder basis than moral exhortation to help us accomplish something beautiful, resilient and environmentally sustainable. It has a special relevance for our response to the global ecological crisis, because both environmental science and ethics have (so far) failed to overturn the deceits of consumerism.

The consumer self:

When “self-realization” is misinterpreted as a lifetime of ego trips, we gulibly identify with the simulated realities of the media, and the consumer goods its advertisements promote. The weaker our intrinsic self-esteem, the more likely we are to develop what social psychologist Clive Hamilton calls a consumer self.

A transformation in the meaning of consumption from “meeting needs” to a way of “acquiring identity” has been going on for decades. Contemporary advertising builds up powerful symbolic associations between products and attractive psychological states. Compelling as they are, neither the products nor their associations provide any genuine identity or fulfillment.

At the core of the consumer self is a gnawing dissatisfaction that keeps it addicted to getting and spending. Economic growth, Hamilton points out, no longer creates happiness. Unhappiness sustains economic growth. The consumer self is a victim of corporate psychopathic fiction.

The universal Self:

What the Buddha calls the real, foundational and unchanging self in our beginning quotation above is termed the Self in Advaita (non-dual) Vedanta. For the Buddhist non-dual system of Dzogchen, the Self is a synonym for the Buddha-nature and the ground of all.

Gandhi, the great proponent of nonviolent social activism, saw no distinction between non-duality and social action: “I believe in advaita. I believe in the essential unity of all that lives — What I want to achieve is self-realization, to see God face-to-face, to attain liberation. All my ventures in the political field are directed to this same end.”

The version in the early Buddhist Pali Canon, like other texts of that tradition, denies that there is any real self. The citation above is from the Mahayana Buddhist sutra (first two centuries CE) that offers a quite different view of human self.

We vibrate at different frequencies as we go through life.  We become unaware of our self.  This article, a Buddhist ecology of self is to remind us that we can be modern day Buddhists.

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Giving, The Buddhist Practice of Dāna

  • Posted on January 4, 2012 at 1:58 am

The Buddhist practice of Dana is the practice of cultivating generosity.  Dana, or giving is one of the essential preliminary steps of Buddhist practice.  When practiced, it is the basis of karma.

The Buddhist Practice of Dāna [Giving]

The traditional religious life in ancient China, Korea and other Buddhist countries includes an emphasis on the mutually dependent relationship between lay people and their spiritual teachers.  This relationship is characterized as being  “spiritual friend[ship]” (Sanskrit: maitri).  This spiritual relationship is embodied in the tradition called dāna, a sanskrit word which means ‘generosity’ or ‘giving’.  In addition to having a religious value (the “perfection of giving” [dāna pāramitā]) it also embodies a social value of keen interest in this modern age; it leaves the control of the role of spiritual teaching in the hands of those who are the purported beneficiaries of said teaching.  In other, more free market oriented, words;  the consumer sets the value of the service, not the ‘vendor’.  Were this idea to catch on in society, many professions could be affected.

Typically,  a Zen monk’s sojourn in a monastery is a temporary thing. Historically, the vast majority of Zen monks leave their monastic community and lifestyle and return to lay life. Most simply return to regular livelihoods such as farming or manufacturing but some find a special place within the spiritual life of their communities as a teacher; and those who value the role make donations to sustain a teacher.  These donations are generally anonymous, completely voluntary and intended as a direct expression of gratitude.  Zen monks are not entitled to charity.  Monks who have little to offer of an intrinsic and widely acknowledged  value will not receive any donations because there’s no special value; at least in theory.  I know ssomething called dāna is often routinized and practiced automatically, but in my opinion any formalized remuneration, such as  titheing, ought not to be called dāna.  I’m not saying it’s wrong, I just say it’s not that subtle religious idea; Buddhist dāna.  True, everyone’s free to take it or leave it, but that is not a spacious enough sentiment to contain the depth of the spiritual friend relationship.  Plus, it leaves out anyone who wants to hear the Dharma but cannot afford the price.

As a Zen monk living in the world I want very much to teach meditation in a way that ordinary, intelligent people are able to see a real value for themselves in their real, everyday life.  I believe that people will recognize that value and reflect it by giving what their means allow toward retaining that value.  Alternatively, the teacher will become unavailable through the need to work a regular job.  My coaches in the business world disagree with me on this, by the way.  They consider me hopelessly naive.  They say that people will just take the value and pay nothing even if they can afford it and even if they would cheerfully pay other counselors’ large fees.  My experience so far proves this common but cynical analysis to be only sometimes true.  This is encouraging, and one cannot help but wonder how professional relationships with lawyers and accountants would be affected if consumer-determined value became the ethical norm.

The traditional religious life in ancient China, Korea and other Buddhist countries includes an emphasis on the mutually dependent relationship between lay people and their spiritual teachers. This relationship is characterized as being “spiritual

The Buddha gives a simple answer on how a person could practice to be a real good Buddhist.  The answer lies in The Buddhist practice of Dana.  Give what you can when you can.  Help when you can and live with love.

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