Chapter One verse Three: ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’

“My Faith will thus be strengthened for a little while,
That i might grow accustomed to this virtuous way.
But others who now chance upon my words may profit also,
equal to myself in fortune.”

You know, sometimes all that we can hope for, is enough strength to make it one more day.

I used to not believe that. But as I look back at my yesterdays, irealize that all i had to do, to get here, is make it through a seriesof ‘One more day’s.’

Shantideva is telling himself,encouraging himself, stirring up his own faith in the Dharma, to makeit just ‘a little while’ longer.

We find , that the more wedo this, the more we focus on the positive, hopeful thinking…the more’accustomed to this virtuous way’ we become.

It gets easierbelieving that things ‘will work out,’ when we have make it a priority,to daily, open ourselves up to the Universe and say ‘Yes!’ to life.

If you have a dream, like i had about starting Buddhist Rally TeachingCenter, then you will find that you will spend a lot of timeencouraging yourself! Wives, husands, girlfriends, boyfriends, mothers,fathers, children, whatever the case may be…do not always see ‘TheBig Picture’ about what we’re up to.

In fact, if you starttalking about being a Bodhisattva that is going to Liberate allSentient Beings from the Ocean of Suffering…They just might ask you,if you are off your meds!

But ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’ wascooking up in Shantideva’s mind for a long time, it was the words heused to encourage himself.

He had no idea that he would one daygive it in a Dharma Talk. And Lucky for us, he did. We are ‘equal infortune’ as he, because we…’chanced upon these words.’

And, like thousands of Bodhisattvas before us, it continues to be a Light upon our Path.

(If any merit is occurring here, let it be devoted to ‘The Awakening’ of all Sentient Beings)

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Chapter One Verse Two: ’The Way of the Bodhisattva’

‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’
by Shantideva

“Here I shall say nothing that has not been said before,
and in the art of prosody I have no skill.
I therefore have no thought that this, might be of benefit to others;
I wrote it only to habituate my mind.”

After you’ve been around Buddhism for awhile, you start noticing that all the Teachers are saying the same thing. And I’m glad, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t hear something until I hear it.

Buddha, himself, told us plainly, ‘I only talk about two things, Suffering and the End of Suffering.’ He also said,

‘Quit looking at my finger! I’m pointing to the Moon!!!’

The analogy he made, was of a man on a long journey, who came to a great river. The traveler found no bridge and no boatman to get him across. So he tied logs together to make a Raft.

After a tremendous effort, the traveler makes a mighty fine Raft. He drags it to the water, and paddles to the other side. Buddha then stopped and asked his monks:

‘What would you think, Monks, if the man said, “I worked hard on this raft, I’m not going to let it sit out here and rot., I will carry this around with me, perhaps I may need it again.’ So, the man lifts that heavy raft out of the water, puts it on his back, determined to carry it for the rest of his life.’

“That would be silly, My Lord. The raft was only to get him to the other side!” said the Monks.

Then Buddha informs them, that his Teachings are the same. Everything that he says and does, is just a raft to help get Beings across the Ocean of Suffering. Once, on the other side, the Raft can be discarded.

Liberation is the ultimate goal. Having achieved Liberation, why would you turn again to Dead Ritual, Religious Paraphernalia, and Superstition. Everything used to get across the chasm, is now useless. Listen to what the Dhammapada says,

‘Better than a hundred years of worship,
Better than a thousand offerings,
Better than giving up a thousand worldly ways
In order to win merit,
Better even than tending in the forest
A sacred flame for a hundred years –
Is one moment’s reverence
For the man who has conquered himself.’
(Yourself)

Even the two main traditions in Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana, are Called ‘Vehicles.’ What are ‘vehicles’ used for? You don’t sit in your vehicle. You go somewhere, and get out.

The next verse is, “And I am destitute of learning and of skill with Words.” I don’t think Shantideva was trying to be modest here. There are countless stories, in all faiths, of people less elegant, and less knowledgeable than their contemporaries, being call upon to do something great.

Basically, these are people who would much rather follow someone else’s lead, but for lack of anybody showing the way to this particular insight or revelation, they must go it alone, deficits in many ways, but inspired.

Moses tried to get his brother, Aaron, to do all the speaking for him in the Old Testament. Paul, killed Christians before he himself was converted by a flash of light. And he never felt adequate at preaching the Gospel of Christ nor did he feel comfortable around the Disciples who had been with Jesus before his death.

I, myself, know that I don’t pronounce many of the Buddhist Words correctly, because I rarely hear them said aloud.

But we push on with what we got, and try to share this most precious gift with others. We are all learning how to make a Raft out of the Three Jewels: The Buddha, the Dharma, and Sangha.

The last verse in Chapter One, Verse Two:

“I therefore have no thought that this might be of benefit to others, I wrote it only to habituate my mind” or ‘Sustain my understanding.’ (Trans)

I love this verse. Shatideva is telling himself, and us, that whatever we focus on, is what we become. Again, Buddha taught us the same thing in the Dhammapada, saying: “We are what we think, all that we are, arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the World.”

I can see ole Shanti out there talking to himself, mumbling around, trying to make sense of the Dharma and learning how to apply it to his own life.

I’ve found, that when I really want to understand a difficult part of Buddhist Philosophy, I start teaching it to myself out loud. I mean, I really get myself around the neck and saying, ‘Looky here, Boy! This is what this means, right here! It’s like this……”

Shantideva was rehearsing this speech, that we are reading, in his mind for who knows how long? Never even knowing that he would one day share it with the World. He was just habituating his mind or Sustaining his mind on his Goal, to get Liberated, so he could Liberate Others.

When your mind is focused on something. And you really enjoy what you’re doing, Joseph Campbell calls that, ‘Following your Bliss.’ He says, that when you are excited about something, other people get interested also. If a kid is hiding in the back of class, really concentrating on coloring a picture, sooner or later, the teacher and the other kids wander over there to see what he’s up to.

The story goes, that the other monks used to make fun of Shantideva. They thought he wasn’t very good at his studies and didn’t take school very seriously. Shantideva was always running late for class, and often didn’t do his homework. So the monks teased, that Shantideva was only a Master at “Eating, Sleeping, and Pooping!”

But you know, he was running this Bodhicharyavatara around in his mind constantly. And to his surprise, they picked him to give a Dharma Talk to the whole University. Some say, it was to embarrass him. Maybe looking like a fool up there in front of everyone, would cause him to put more effort into his studies.

But Shantideva was following a Bliss they knew not of. He had been preaching the Way of the Bodhisattva to himself, over and over, encouraging himself.

That kind of determination attracts others, even though they didn’t even know it yet, that in asking him to speak, they were fixing to get one of the Greatest Teachings anyone could ever hope to receive.

It reminds me of something I once read about Billy Graham, the famous Evangelist. It seems that he had a strange habit while in Bible College.

Every day after school, he would take a long walk. And during that walk, he would roll-over in his mind, all the things that had been discussed that day in his classes. He would take the long, winding path down to the River.

And by the time he got there, he would have the basic principles worked out for a sermon on those certain topics. So, he would preach it, right then and there.

He preached it to the river, to the rocks, to the trees, to all the living things up and down the river. No human heard him, but he was Habituating his mind to the Teachings. Soaking it all in, putting it into his own words, then saying it loud and proud. What a wonderful way to Learn!

They say, that the Great Teacher, Patrul Rinpoche, (Words of My Perfect Teacher) committed passages of ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’ to memory, and recited them outside, so that the tiny insects, birds, and animals could hear it, and by so doing, they would obtain a better birth in the next life.

So, hopefully, by doing this study, we are habituating are minds to Shantideva’s most excellent Dharma.

(If any merit is occurring here, may it be transferred to all Sentient Beings-Thanks!)

 HMP is an Outreach of YTDR floresville

http://www.kens5.com/news/local/San-Antonio-man-takes-meditation-to-the-streets-to-help-homeless.html

(YTDR Dharma Center Floresville, Texas is headquarters of Homeless Meditation Practitioners(HMP)

http://homelessmeditationpractitioners.blogspot.com/

What does meditation do for you?

“In Tibetan, the word for meditation means, ‘To become familiar.’ We are trying to become familiar with how our minds work. It all starts with being here, in the present moment. It can be very unsettling, when you realize just how frantic your mind really is. Just try it. Stop, sit down, stay in the present moment, and think of nothing else but your own breathing. You may find, like the Buddhist Elders have said, ‘the mind is like a ‘crazy monkey’ swinging from thought to thought and from the past to the future! Our brain does not know how to relax.”

How are you able to reach the homeless?

“We had been doing a Meditation Group inside the Downtown Shelter for several months, but it was just an hour a week. And to be honest, the Christian management didn’t feel comfortable with us there. So we are going to the streets to the Chronically Homeless. It will provide more freedom to just be ourselves and make friends. Interestingly, this is what both Jesus and Buddha did. Although, they both held services and preached, they spent the majority of their lives simply ‘being the message’ of Love and Compassion. They lived ‘with’ the poor ‘incarnationally.’ Both Buddha and Jesus listened to, sat with, talked with, ate with, and shared in the grief of the people. Also, we would like to be invovled in Prospect’s Courtyard at the new ‘Haven For Hope’ facility. HMP wants to be there for the Homeless that do not want to go inside or be a part of the program, and that will be quite a few.”

Some people would think the homeless don’t have the frame of mind to meditate if they are in a critical emergency situation?

“Our main aim of working with the homeless, is just being with them. It is just about common everyday interactions. But those who ask for Meditation Instruction, will gladly get it. Like most of us, the Homeless have been listening to the same ‘soundtrack’ going on in their heads for years. “I’m so stupid.” “I’m such a mess.” “I can’t do this anymore.” “I wish I were dead.” We have this subconscious ‘Mind-Chatter’ going on all the time, and don’t even recognize it. But once it is exposed by meditation, you say, “Oh, I don’t want to say those negative things to myself anymore.” and “I’m not going to chase that ‘old thought’ down the rabbit hole again, that incident happened thirty years ago, why am I still worried about it?” So, once we start being present with our thoughts as ‘The Observer’ of them…old thought patterns get broken…and things begin to change in our lives.”

What’s your experience?

“I’ve been through a lot in life. My story is a long one, way too much to tell here. But the short version is, I was raised in an alcoholic home and became one myself. I’ve dealt with clinical depression, divorce, death of loved ones, and jail. But, in 2006, I met a Tibetan Lama at the San Antonio Airport, of all places. This meeting would change the whole course of my life, bring me under the teachings of this Great Lama, and lead to something that I’d never known before, a ‘peaceful mind.”

Do you feel like this helps them deal with their situation?

“This helps them in at least two ways. They come to realize that people outside their peer group care about them. And secondly, it is an influx of new ideas. None of us grow as people without positive, fresh ideas. A body of water that doesn’t move, stagnates.”

I assume this is all done for free?

“As you can imagine, hanging out with the Homeless, teaching meditation, and discussing Buddhist Philosophy doesn’t pay a whole lot. People can contribute to this work by going to YTDR.org and making a donation: ‘for the homeless.’ We are acquiring the experience to go out and teach others about ‘being’ with the Homeless. Perhaps, we could travel to different cities and teach them how to start their own HMP Groups. So, It would be lovely if Meditation Centers around the world, would get behind and support this work, but as of right now, I believe, that if your intentions are pure, you will always have what you need.”

Can you talk about what motivates you to give this service to the homeless?

“Neglect is something most children of Alcoholics feel, so I think my childhood made me ‘super-sensitive’ to the loneliness and suffering of others. Among other things, the Homeless also suffer from personal neglect. When you have lost everything, it is easy to lose yourself. As a Buddhist, my life should reflect my beliefs and practice. Our lives are usually wasted, driven by unfulfilling things and desires. Why not be completely motivated by generosity, loving-kindness, and wisdom? What’s the alternative?”

How did ‘Homeless Meditation Practitioners(HMP)’ get started?

“My Teacher is a Tibetan Master. His name is Lama Tulku Karma Rinpoche. He runs a Monastary for Tibetan Refugee children in Mainpat, India. It serves as an Orphanage, a Nursing Home, and a hospital. Daily, the aged and the young are dropped off on his doorstep. They would have no place to go, and would starve to death, if he was not there. He has been my guiding light and inspiration. When he asked me to start a Dharma Center in my hometown of Floresville, and provide an outreach to the Homeless of San Antonio..well, it just confirmed what I was already feeling, but hadn’t spoken about.”

Can Non-Buddhists be involved in this outreach?

If you would like to become a Homeless Outreach Worker, Buddhist or Not, feel free to contact us. We will be visiting with our Homeless friends every Tue. Weds. Friday. & Saturday on South Medina St. San Antonio, TX 78207 under The Buena Vista and Commerce Street Bridges. We will be Living, Learning, and Practicing Together. And if you would like to Support our efforts, please go to www.ytdr.org/home and make a donation for ‘Homeless Meditation.’ I don’t know where the funding for this ministry will come from, but I know it is right and what our hearts are telling us to do.”

“Better than bowing a thousand years to the Buddha, is one day lived as the BOW-
become a Buddhist Outreach Worker.”

http://homelessmeditationpractitioners.blogspot.com/
Yours for Peace,
Jon Clark
Speakerjonclark@gmail.com
PO Box 71
Floresville, Texas 78114
830-484-7403
Donate to YTDR.org

Our first meeting was 1-07-10

We were blessed to have Chad, Julie, Diane, Noah, and myself there. We had a good discussion about Tibetan Buddhism, our Teacher, and the vision we have for YTDRfloresville.

It was really cold! But all is well.

If you missed it, please come on down next Thursday @ 7pm

to 1006 C street

Floresville, Texas

‘The Buddhist Capitol of the World!’ lol

jon

830-484-7403

Dharma Center in Floresville

December 26, 2009

As you can see….we like to take things easy and have a little fun at YTDR Floresville. This is a picture of our Lama ‘hanging around’ and visiting with one of our dear friends.  (yes, he is really that big…our lama is normal size!)

Our sweet Lama Tulku Karma Rinpoche was just in Floresville a couple of weeks ago, and he surprized us with a request. He wanted to Bless and Empower Diane and I to open a Meditation/Dharma Center here in our little hometown of Floresville, Texas. What could we say?

We will start meeting every Thursday Night at 1006 C Street in Historic Downtown. It is called the Tiger’s Den and used as a teen hangout on the weekends. We’ve asked the fella if we can uses it on Thursdays…he said yes. It is actually a very beautiful building inside.

So, we will start giving Buddhist Teachings and doing Meditation sessions there on Thursdays at 7pm, starting the first thursday in 2010.

Please join us. It should be very exciting starting a Buddhist Fellowship in Floresville! And even non-buddhists can attend…if you just want something different to do.

Come visit us!

Thursday Nights 

Starting Jan. 7th 2010

 7pm

 1006 C Street in Historic Downtown Floresville

Jon Clark

Speakerjonclark@gmail.com

http://homelessmeditationpractitioners.blogspot.com/

830-484-7403

HMP is a Buddhist Mission.

Networking with other Buddhist groups in the San Antonio Area, we go out into the streets as Homeless Outreach Workers. We do meditation and counseling with the Homeless.

Our blog is devoted to encouraging other Buddhists to get engaged with the plight of the Homeless and provide them with Spiritual Services and fellowship.

Jon

830-484-7403

http://homelessmeditationpractitioners.blogspot.com/