The Path is the Goal

23 Jul

image

I took this picture not long ago and keep it in my phone as a reminder to walk the path of life.

The path actually does not connect to the lighthouse. Sometimes we think the lighthouse will free us, but only the path and walking it will provide us the strength to overcome obstacles.

There are times we may need to look at the lighthouse for guidance. It may even illuminate the path for us. We praise the lighthouse for its compassion as the road remains infinite for us to visualize, rest, and then continue walking.

Beyond this picture, there is infinity within ourselves. All beings share this quality. When we think of angry, sad, or confused people, we might feel agitated also, but if we remain still and look at this stillness within ourselves, love and compassion may also arise.

This quality of the consciousness, soul, or human emotions rests within all. We are uniquely the same as everybody else.

“You don’t understand me,” some people say.

Truthfully, we do understand. We have empathy. We have the same DNA, although we forget so easily about our sameness and love because of various difficult situations.

When walking the path, realize all others there walking with us. They may be looking at the lighthouse (God, Buddha, and so forth) for illumination, but we can hold their hands on this journey together. We can be friends to our “perceived” enemies and friends even when we cannot nurture them like the great mothers of this world. We can always visualize all beings together on our journey toward love.

–Okiebuddhist

Be

22 Jul

okiebuddhist:

May these words benefit all and free them from suffering.

Originally posted on grevilleacorner:

Be understanding to your perceived enemies.
Be loyal to all your good friends.
Be strong enough to face the changing world each day.
Be weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.
Be generous to those, who need your help.
Be frugal with that you need yourself.
Be wise enough to know, that you do not know everything.
Be foolish enough to believe in the unknown miracle.
Be willing to share your joys, resources, and riches.
Be willing to share and bear the sorrows of others.
Be a leader, when you see the path others may have missed.
Be a follower, when you are shrouded by the mists of uncertainty.
Be the first to congratulate an opponent, who succeeds.
Be the last to criticize a colleague, who fails.
Be sure where your next step will fall, so that you will not tumble.
Be sure of your final destination, in…

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Crush the Buddha! Jesus is Alive!

22 Jul

(Based on a true event from my childhood.)

The mother attends Bible study
Learns about evil spirits in the world
Recalls the small buddha statue
Sitting peacefully in her home

Jesus is alive, she thinks
Buddha is dead, she thinks

At home, she finds the hammer
Faces the statue alone
Prays to Jesus to conquer evil

With full force, she extends the hammer
Its head falls hard upon the statue
The laughing Buddha laughs
The laughing Buddha shatters

The mom says, Amen.
The mom says, I crushed the Buddha.

She sweeps the statue pieces into the trash
Her little child crawls on the carpet
He hears his mother’s voice
He hears the hammer crash.

He crawls near the table to find
A shattered piece of clay
He places it in his mouth and tastes
He tosses it aside, laughs, and crawls away.

–okiebuddhist

The Great Mother

21 Jul

I don’t exactly remember now the childhood nightmare. Instead, I recall the gift I received.

My mother, the gift, entered my room to comfort me. I curled next to her warm body and hands while explaining the monsters in my dreams.

She held me. She stroked my hair.

She is the Great Mother.

She taught me my first lesson of the remedy to suffering: the use of the imagination.

As she calmed me with her touch, she told me to think of the beautiful trees swaying in the night. Look to the gorgeous stars above the trees. Imagine the wind holding me in its gentle breeze.

My life these days sometimes resembles the great nightmare, but I turn instead to the gift of the Great Mother.

She prays continuously for me…for peace…for happiness…for a productive day. Everything! No bond is greater between a child and the mother.

May we aspire to imagine love when affliction arises. May delusions and deceptions from others or ourselves turn into a swaying tree of forgiveness. May we all aspire to be the great mother!

–Okiebuddhist

Myths are Real!

16 Jul

In high school or college, I did not have today’s Internet nor any close links to skeptical thinkers. When I first read the fantastic Epic of Gilgamesh, I was struck with the similarities with the flood story from the Bible. Now, I google flood myth, and Wikipedia spells out an entire mythological relationship between these stories across every nation. Noah wasn’t real; he is a literary character used as a trope to explain the Jewish view of reality.

Now, we have a growing history of thinkers who love to attack all myths as stories, which they are. But, in this sometimes vitriolic attack, we are also losing how we interact with symbols. If, for example, the Noah flood is fiction, then what use is the Bible or any sacred text across history? We move toward a kind of cynicism of emptiness and spend our lives debunking all the falsities history has once taught us to believe.

That’s the conundrum of scientific materialism and atheism.

I’m not attacking neither. After all, I am a humanist.

As a humanist, these symbolic stories—true or not—have cultural meaning that goes to the very root of emotion. When I watch an entire congregation move to tears over the resurrection of Christ (a person who may not have resurrected or existed), I see the point of religion not as a falsity but an emotional connection to some meaning beyond history. Redemption and salvation are human qualities some people like myself need to carry forth in this human form.

Unfortunately, many Christians or other religious people are forced to prove God or bodhisattvas (Mahayana Buddhism) exist. Again, something is lost when the argument of truth (what exists or does not exist) becomes the driving force of religion. If a minister focuses his or her entire career on the existence of Christ, then they have forgotten the better argument: “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6.31 English Standard Version).

I call myself these days a nontheistic thinker. I used to be in the following categories (in this order): polytheistic; pantheistic; monotheistic; agnostic; pantheistic again; pantheistic/ethical monotheist; and now nontheistic.

I do not worry about salvation in the next life but redemption now. Redemption occurs in a conversation with a friend who smiles and encourages. Redemption occurs in giving a teenager enough money to buy lunch. Redemption happens by humbling oneself before the entire world. Pride dissolves. Ego disappears for a moment.

In all the arguments, we need mythology and symbols integrated into our lives. The cell phone is not enough! What symbols do we have now?

Most symbols are ancient but steadily modern. Dirt. Grass. Wind. Energy. Crosses. Flags. And so on. My symbols come from my childhood because they are images that still feel real to me.

Water. Not fresh water. But muddy water from lakes and streams.
Sticks and pine cones. Still, I pick them up and place them on my shrine at work or home.
Fire and incense. The burning of wood. The fragrance of transformation.
Rocks. Boulders. Mountain ranges both large and small.

Think of the flood myths. Water. Sticks to build the boat. The same symbols remain with me today but are transformed to modernity, though quite old. I am restless without touching a rock or without holding a crystal quartz in my hand. Science might say that holding such quartz does not transform any healing energy to the body, but science has never recognized the entire sensation of memory from childhood and current sources of pain. Touching anything symbolic may be more powerful than some scientific inquiry. Touching heals!

Scientific materialism and atheism are perfectly fine systems of logic. I have benefitted from modern medicines that ancient medicine could not heal. However, at the mental, emotional, or spiritual level (you pick your own term), I need the rock as part of the antidote for redemption. Without the rock, I am an empty vessel of confusion and madness.

—okiebuddhist

No Easy Answers

15 Jul

Life tears me apart.
When I think I’ve progressed mentally, I recognize my limitations.
The answer?
No matter how depressed and anxious I become about life, I practice.
I meditate, even when it doesn’t help.
When I can’t feel anything, I watch videos of my guru.
When thoughts go in thousands of places, I go swimming and sky gaze.
I used to wonder why people felt stuck in their lives while I always moved forward optimistically.
Now I know.
I’ve lost much.
But I line up 1000 people before my eyes; they have sad stories also.
I sometimes scream in terror with these other suffering beings.
Our cries fill a stadium of madness.
The voices, though, are sounds of healing.
When the tears flow and the body trembles, there is an emptiness left for growth.
In that space, we can walk again.
Slowly. Openly. Harmed but awake.
We are not running any race; we’re walking toward the open sky…scars and all.

–okiebuddhist

The Alligator

7 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muddy water bends
the solar waves.
I hold my stance
On nature’s logs and roots.
Thick skin absorbs
the sparks of the blue
and yellow sky.

The small waves dance
a calm and windy rhythm
before my immovable eyes.
My ears tune to melodious calls.
Birds, hiding behind the thick
branches and clasping wood,
chirp warning signs of  hawks
hunting through a cloudless sky.

I watch heaven and earth
absorb the heat of life
as every sound and soar
swishes a little of its push
toward my mellow calm.
At night, I look beyond sky
at dimensions of distant stars.
When I slowly turn my eyes
the inner light of spinal flares
shoot through me like a controlled jolt.

I am sunlight and moon
the radiant light in vibrant hues
waiting for my caloric flight.
I am everything alive
like silver seagulls
dipping down to hunt,
yet I am also stillness–
the alligator near the bayou
holding steady like a rock

ready to plot and strike
the crawfish, the hawk, or you.

–okiebuddhist

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