December 2011 Archives

Mahasiddhas

| No Comments

These days before I go to sleep, I am reading a book of Buddhist Siddhas. The title of the book is "MASTERS OF MAHAMUDRA: Songs and Histories of the Eighty-Four Buddhist Siddhas.(State University of New York Press, 1985) "

Mahamudra is a name of the highest tantric path to Buddhahood, and it is the ultimate goal itself. The eighty-four masters of Mahamudra were the original founding fathers of the Mahamudra tradition who formulated its techniques of meditation, and also the founders' lineal successors who practiced those techniques. They all attained the realization of Buddhahood. These masters were called mahasiddhas ― Great Attainers ― and they lived in India between the eighth and twelfth centuries.

siddha.jpgThe original text is Tibetan "Legends of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas" and is translated into English by Keith Dowman. It has 84 chapters and each chapter tells a story of a siddha; about how he/she meets his/her guru, what is his/her austerity, and how he/she attains Buddhahood. It is interesting that all kinds of people appear and become siddhas. Some are noble and some are of lower classes. The legends tell us that anyone can attain Buddhahood if he/she practices Guru's instruction.
As they are stories, not lectures, I am extremely enjoying. I make it a rule to myself to read one chapter a day so that I can prolong my enjoyment. In fact, I relish reading this book. Tonight I will read the 12th story. Let me see ... if it takes 84 days to complete the book, I will finish it in March. The problem is that this is not my book. Dr.Noda, may I keep it mine until I finish it in spring ?

FM Radio: Classical Music

| No Comments

I canceled the contract with the Cable TV in November and I do not watch television any more. I do not buy newspaper either. It is not at all inconvenient because I can read the newspapers on the Internet. Usually I get handy information by Twitter. I am following some people with special knowledge; for examples, a Moslem, an astronaut, a self-defense official, specialists of Korean and Chinese issues, etc. Perhaps I am out of date about entertainment and sports, but I do not care.
However, I am afraid if any disaster like earthquake or the tsunami happens while I do not even know. So I make it a habit to listen to the radio. They will surely stop the program and announce if something happens. Fortunately, I can receive the FM broadcasting very well. I prefer the programs without commercial messages so I set the timer every morning from 7:20 to 9:15 when the program of classical music is on air. It is nice to listen to Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert in the bed.
kakkou.gifThis morning they played Gustav Mahler: The song from 'Songs of a Wayfarer' and the first movement of the Symphony No.1. Thanks to the cuckoo songs this morning, I could start preparing the New Year's dishes happily.

A Year of Dragon

| No Comments

Next year is the Year of Dragon. I wrote (or rather, made) the New Year's greeting cards. I downloaded from the Internet a picture of the dragon and the lettering suitable for the New Year. I love arranging pictures and letters. Then I added my name and address on the same side. As the color of the dragon is green and yellow, I chose dark green for the greetings. In the end, I printed 50 cards to my relatives and friends. I hope it will be a good year for all people in the world.

nenga2012.jpg

A Story of a Magic Glass

| No Comments

A very impressive anecdote I have read:

☆☆☆☆☆

A king heard that one part of his kingdom was almost in a chaos. People were fighting with each other. They were hurting each other in every way possible. He was worried.
He sent a special messenger to this part with a magic glass. The magic glass had the quality that if you looked through it, you would see things as they are ― not as you imagine, not as you think, not as you interpret. The magic glass would negate your mind and you would see things directly, immediately. Once you looked at things as they are, the experience became transforming. Then you could not be the old one.

☆☆☆☆☆

Do you like seeing this glass ? I do. But remember, we should "look through" the glass.

☆☆☆☆☆

.....The magic glass was placed on a crossroad, so that everyone could look through it and be transformed, so that it was available to everybody.
But this is how people reacted: A great majority gave a name to the glass and worshipped it as if it was a superhuman being. But they never looked through it. They worshipped, but they never looked through it. In fact, their worship was a way of avoiding the magic glass.
Another part of the people were sceptical from the very beginning. They said: 'This is simply foolish. How can a glass help to see things as they are ? It is superstitious.' They never experimented; they never even gave the glass a try. They were the sceptical people ― and the sceptical are superstitious.
Deep down, both groups were the same because they both avoided ― one by worshipping; one by saying that this was superstitious and useless. That's what has happened to the whole world.
Theists and atheists ― both have been avoiding meditation. One by saying that there is no God; one by saying that there is God and only worship is needed. Deep down they are not different.

☆☆☆☆☆

Am I a theist or an atheist ? Every morning I pray and worship a certain deity of Buddhism, but do I try to look through the glass ? Meditation is the key.

☆☆☆☆☆

Then there was a third part of the people ― practical, pragmatic, empirical. They said: 'The magic glass is interesting, but we cannot imagine how it is going to help us in the practical things of the world. It is impractical.' They also never looked through it. They were the scientists, the empirical minds.
Then there was a fourth part of the people. They said: 'Not only is the glass useless, it is dangerous ― because whosoever looks through it becomes distorted.' They were against it, and they were planning to destroy it whenever the opportunity arose. They also had not looked through it.
Then there was another group who avoided it. They stopped walking through those crossroads. They said; 'We are happy as we are.' They were not happy. But they thought: 'It may disturb our usual pattern of life.'
But a few people were there who were simple, innocent. They looked through it and they were transformed. They became totally new beings.
But then the rumour spread all around that they had been hypnotized by that stupid glass, that they were fools. Otherwise how could a glass transform a human being ? They were thought to be mad.

.....Religion is a magic glass.
The secret quality of it is to transorm you.
.....Worship won't help. That is very cunning and tricky.
Logic won't help because it is a question of experience,
not of logical syllogism.
Scepticism is not of much use,
because just by doubting you cannot come to know anything.
One has to pass through the experience.

.....Only those who are innocent, childlike,
who are ready to look through it,
who are ready to be transformed, changed, mutated ―
only they will be helped by religion.
So only very few people have been helped by religion.
Christians are millions; Hindus, millions;
Buddhists, millions; Mohammedans, millions;
but religious people ― very few.
You can count them on your fingers.

To belong to an organization is not to be religious.
To take the jump in deep trust and innocence
is to be religious.

☆☆☆☆☆

I have studied Tibetan Buddhism since fall and have learned many prayers and mantras. I know many ways of meditation both of Osho Rajneesh and of the orthodox Buddhism. However, religious organizations are of little help. To look through the glass, to experience, jump in, and go deep into myself and meditate is immensely meaningful.
Buddhists say we should learn both compassion and wisdom. I think I should become wise, so I have been preoccupied with the logic and the methods. I did not underestimate the importance of meditation, but has been rather skeptical, wondering how to do it. Osho always affirms on what is most important to me now. He shows me the way:The purpose is transformation and the only way is to meditate.

Potala College

| No Comments

santideva.jpgToday I went to attend lectures of Tibetan Buddhism Association, which is called Potala College. The headquarters of Potala College is in Tokyo and they regularly give lectures in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. They work to teach and to spread orthodox Tibetan Buddhism in Japan. Today a Tibetan Buddhist teacher taught us about Santideva's book, THE BODHICARYAVATARA, and about the methods of Guru Yoga meditation. These were my second lessons from him and I became used to learn a little than before. When I started to learn in October, I knew nothing, so it was hard to follow the class. Since then, I have read some books on Tibetan Buddhism, attended other lectures along with learning Tibetan language. I am happy that I could enjoy the class as a result.

stollen.jpgIt was extremely cold today. I brought a bottle of hot tea together with slices of Christmas Stollen. I shared the cake with my friend there. It was a merry Christmas for Buddhists !

Relaxing Holidays

| No Comments

I am spending holidays very relaxed. The weather is very fine though very cold. December 23 is National Holiday of our Emperor's Birthday, 24 is Saturday, and 25 is Sunday. If you are a Christian, you will celebrate Christmas holidays. As I am a Buddhist I do not do anything special. However, when my children were small, I did many special things; I cooked chicken, prepared gorgeous dinner, bought Christmas cake, and gave presents to my kids. Perhaps this year, my daughter prepares such things for her son, and my son spends Christmas with his girlfriend.
Yesterday I read Dr.Noda's old articles that were published in THE ADLERIAN, the Journal of Individual Psychology of Japan. People intend to publish his articles in a book, so I was asked to proofread all the articles they chose. It is a good volunteer and I enjoyed it. I had read some of them and some had not, but all the articles were very impressive.
Today I intended to study Tibetan language. I bought a notebook for Tibetan vocabularies but had not yet used it. After I finished writing this blog, I think I will start studying. Well, but it is very cold tonight and I want to go to bed early....

Homemade Sweets

| No Comments

Yesterday I held a self-help group of Adlerian Psychology. Eight people gathered and we spent two hours and a half together, discussing and learning. I did some workshop on the family constellation and early recollections in this study group last month, and one of the members wanted to talk about her early memory again. She had been thinking about what she could do in her bad early memory, but she said she could not find the answer. So we tried to discuss her case. We could find her private feelings and her private logic from her inferiority feelings and her behavior. Finally we found the new way with which she would communicate with her family better.
kiwi.jpgThis was the last meeting of our group this year, and one of the members brought a lot of bottles of the kiwi jam which she preserved ! She said her father had sent many kiwis to her family. It must have been a very toilsome job to boil such amount of fruit, sterilize many bottles, and divide the jam into the bottles. I was glad that she felt belonging with us.

cookies.jpgIn the evening, a parcel from Switzerland was delivered to me. It was a Christmas gift from Heinz and Yvonne ! Ms. Yvonne Schuerer baked Christmas cookies as usual. Last year in November she baked the same type of the cookies in Dr.Noda's kitchen; this year perhaps she baked in her house with her dear granddaughter. Can you see Santa Clause at the center of the box ? Don't you think it resembles Mr. Heintz Schuerer ?
I am very grateful to these homemade sweets. I have already tasted a bit each and I love them !

Osechi Preparation

| No Comments

kinton.jpgYesterday my mother taught me the recipe for Kinton (mashed sweet potatoes) and Kuromame (sweet black soybeans) for New Year dishes. She is a very good cook and I love to eat her Kinton and Kuromame. These dishes need a lot of time and some art, so I have not cooked by myself up to this age. In every December, my mother says she will not cook them because she does not have enough energy, and she always changes her mind.
kuromame.jpgThis year I have at last decided to cook by myself even though my mother cook them. I asked her about the art of cooking and she told me the detailed recipe. She gave me a cup of good black soy beans, and sodium bicarbonate which makes Kuromame soft, together with several good sweet potatoes, and the fruit of the gardenia which dyes Kinton vividly.
Today I went shopping to a nearby supermarket in preparation for the New Year dishes. I bought one bottle of the candied chestnuts, a pack of white miso, some herring roe, and a bag of white sugar. Though I intend to make just a small amount, I always make a lot of Osechi (New Year dishes). Perhaps I am the same as my mother.

Praying for Their Health

| No Comments

I went to my parents' house in Kobe today. Whenever I go to Kobe, I feel nostalgia. The view of the Rokko Mountains seen from the train windows is so beautiful. Especially in winter, the sky is pale blue and the clouds are gleaming. I feel the air and the light in Kobe differ from Osaka.
My father is suffering from low back pain and it has become serious this fall. He disliked to go to the hospital (though he was a doctor!), but he started treatment last month as he could not endure the pain. The doctor decided to give him the nerve block injections. I heard the injections hurt very much, but his back pain had gone down after the second injections. We were all relieved. My mother is very glad because she was very much anxious about my father. However, his blood sugar level was found to be somewhat high, and the subject of concern of my mother has shifted to the calories of the meals.
Anyway, I am very glad their health condition has improved. This year will end soon and I will see them next in New Year holidays. I know it is an impossible wish, but I hope they will be healthy all the time.

Jakuchu Calendar

| No Comments

Yesterday I had my hair done in the hairdresser where I usually go. The hairdresser is a jolly woman and yesterday she talked about her cock she was keeping. Her children, when they were very young, began to keep a chick which was sold in a night stall of the festival. She thought it would die soon, but the chick grew big until it told time at five every morning. They called it Pea-chan and it was a member of the family. She washed Pea-chan's feather with shampoo ! They had to bid good-by to Pea-chan at last because the owner of her apartment forbade them to keep the cock. They sent Pea-chan to a small zoo. Since then, they do not eat chicken.
jakuchu.jpg
There was a magazine named "Waraku" on the table. A 2012 calendar was attached to the magazine. It was a calendar of a Japanese painter, Jakuchu Ito. As I am very fond of Jakuchu paintings, I shouted "Oh, Jakuchu !" My hairdresser asked me who Jakuchu was and I told her he was a famous painter of Edo era. She said she disliked the calendar because Jakuchu drew a lot of cocks and hens. His paintings are so descriptive and super realistic that they remind her of her dear Pea-chan. So she offered me the calendar. Very nice timing ! I kept it very gratefully. When one person throws something away, another takes it.

Pickles, Pickles

| No Comments

My mother likes to make pickles: In summer she makes rice bran pickles of cucumbers and eggplants, and in winter she makes salt pickles of Chinese cabbages, Japanese radishes and turnips. My mother's pickles had soaked into my taste so deeply that my favorite meal is a bowl of warm rice and some pickled vegetables of the season.
Though I used to make pickles when I was a housewife with my family, after divorce, as I live alone, I became too lazy to make them. But I found out the tasty pickles in the market were very expensive. When I spare money, they contain much chemical additive and the taste is not satisfying.
Therefore, after six years blank, I started to make pickles again this summer. To mix the rice bran paste every day and keep it in the good condition is rather troublesome, but it was my supreme pleasure to eat the hand made rice bran pickles at home. When I was away from home for two or three days, I kept the rice bran paste in the refrigerator. When I had a trip to my daughter's house, I brought the pickled cucumbers for her family. When my son came to my house, he enjoyed the pickled vegetables too.
otsukemono.jpgNow the season of the rice bran pickles is over. I feel it very absurd to buy pickles after enjoying my hand made pickles. When you make vegetables pickles of salt, you need an adequate weight. I used to use a stone of my fist size for a weight, but this time I decided to try a new device, a pickles-maker called Picre. You put some vegetables and salt in the container, and can put an adequate pressure on them by tightening a screw of the lid.
otsukemono2.jpgYesterday I tried a very small amount of turnip for the pickles, and it was exceedingly tasty ! It took only four or five hours whereas rice-bran pickles needed almost one day. I will make various salt pickles this winter. I am looking forward to seeing my son and daughter enjoy my pickles.

Weekend for Study

| No Comments

Yesterday I went to a study group of Adlerian Psychology which is held two or three times a year. I was lucky to see two of the qualified teachers demonstrated their counseling techniques. They did the 20 minutes counseling each on the same problem of a client. It was very interesting to see the atmosphere of the interviews differ depending on the counselor's character. I guess it was the client who had been the toughest because he should reset his story on the second interview. The goals of the counseling were slightly different, but both enhanced client's gemeinshaftsgefuehl !
To see the model was fun, but it was difficult to do ourselves. After lunch, we were divided into groups and practiced counseling. Our client gained a new insight in the end, but I think we did not do well if it were a clinical session. We should improve our skill....
In the evening, I went to Umeda for shopping with my friend. I was too tired and felt sick. My fatigue from the Tibetan lesson had been lingering and the downtown was much too crowded on Sunday evening. My friend massaged my shoulder muscle and I became better. And after taking a hot bath at home, at last I recovered. Wow, it was a tough weekend for learning !

A Perfect Day for Tibetan Lesson

| No Comments

Today is the day when His Holiness the Dalai Lama 14th received the Nobel Peace Prize, and I started learning the Tibetan language on this Memorial Day. My tutor is a lady who had lived in Dharamsala, India, for nine years. She is a professional Thangka painter too.

tibetanlang.jpgAt nine in the morning, she came to my house and began the first lesson on Tibetan. The Tibetan alphabet consists of 30 consonants. There are four vowel signs, [i][u][e][o], and when the vowel is unwritten, vowel [a] is considered to be hidden. You may think the structure of Tibetan language is simple and resembles Japanese language. Well, so far, yes. However, Tibetan has three superscribed letters, four subjoined letters, five prefixes, ten suffixes, and two post-suffixes. These letters and suffixes attach to a root letter and change the pronunciation. In other words, one syllable may consist of more than one letter, up to four. Moreover, there are always exceptions !
TibetanSyllable.jpgWe continued studying, having the break several times, for six hours, and I felt my brain was overloaded. At a half past three, my tutor asked me if we went on or ceased. I begged her to make it an end today. I was so tired that I needed much time to read a syllable. Naturally, she said. Because we packed in many new things for one lesson, it was natural I was overloaded. Thanks to this hardworking personal lesson, I became able to understand the meaning of some prayers and to read it very slowly.
After saying good-bye to my tutor, I slept for two hours very very deeply. Our second lesson will be next spring because she will soon go to Ladakh, the northeast region in India. She is a nice person and I hope I will make progress in Tibetan before I see her again. Oh, I wish my brain capacity will grow !

Yunchen Lhamo

| No Comments

Yunchen Lhamo is a Tibetan singer who was born in Lhasa. She learned devotional singing from her grandmother. Her talent was recognized and her name was given by a Tibetan lama after the deity Sarasvati, the goddess of knowledge and the arts. In 1989, as a teenager she walked from Lhasa over the high Himalayas to Dharamsala. From then she never saw her beloved family except her sister. Parents in Tibet send their children to the unknown, knowing they can never meet again in this life.
Arriving in India, Yunchen visited several Tibetan refugee camps and saw His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who encouraged her to go to the West. "When I left Tibet, I lost everything," Yungchen says. "The one thing I didn't lose was my voice. And this I carried with me to the West." She moved to Australia in 1993, and her CD won an award.

yunchen.jpegI bought her second album TIBET, TIBET. Her voice is so pure and spiritual that it pierces one's soul. Her voice is often described as "angel voice," but I guess she is an angel with deep love and sorrow. Try to listen. Although it does not calm you down, it leads you to deep meditation.

Talks on Hassidism

| No Comments

This morning I read a beautiful story. Not to forget this impression, I cite the whole story here. I found it in the discourse on Hassidism by Osho Rajneesh, October 1975.

☆☆☆☆☆

It happened that a man was in search and he came upon a man on the path who said: 'There is a well hidden in the caves. Go there and ask a question. If you sincerely ask, the well replies. It is a miracle only known to great adepts.'
The man searched. It was difficult to reach to the well, but somehow he reached. Leaning down in the well, he asked: 'What is life ?'
No reply came. The well only echoed. He repeated his question, and the well repeated: 'What is life ?' But the man was really sincere, so he continued. It is said for three days, day and night, he asked again and again: 'What is life ?' ― and the well only responded his own voice. But he was no tired ― he continued.
If you work with the mind for many many days, years, the mind will not give you the key; it will simply resound you. But a sincere seeker goes on and on and on; he is not tired.
After three days it is said the well realized that the man was sincere and that he was not going to go. So the well said: 'Okay, I will tell you what life is. Go to the town nearby. Visit the first three shops and come back and report.'
The man was puzzled because what type of answer was this ? But, 'Okay, if the well says it has to be done....' He went to the town and visited the first three shops, but he was even more puzzled and bewildered. There was nothing.
In the first shop there were a few people working with some metal pieces. He went into the next shop; a few other people were there, and they were preparing some strings. Into the third shop he went; it was a carpenter's shop, and people were working with wood. He said to himself: 'This is life ?'
He went back to the well and said: 'What do you mean ? I went there, I visited. This is my report, but I don't see the point.'
The well said: 'Now, I have shown you the path. You travel it. Someday you will see the point. I have indicated the way, now you go on it.'
The seeker was simply angry and said: 'This has been a deception ! What have I gained by asking this well for three days continuously ? What have I gained by putting my heart with such sincerity before the well ? This has been a deception. I have not gained anything.' Frustrated, he went away.

After many years of wandering he came near a garden one day. It was a moon night, a full moon night, and somebody was playing a sitar. He was enchanted. The magic worked. As if pulled by a magnet, he came into the garden. He didn't ask permission. He went up to the player and the man was deep in his meditation, playing on the sitar. He sat there, he listened. In the moonlight he looked at the man, the instrument. He had never seen that instrument before.
Suddenly, he realized that those carpenters were working on things like this. They were preparing sitars. And the people who were working on metal ― those pieces were also on the sitar. And the strings.
Suddenly, as if the clouds disappeared and there was a breakthrough, he started dancing. The musician became aware; he stopped the music. But now nobody can stop the dance of the seeker.
The musician asked: 'What is the matter ? What has happened to you ?'
The man said: 'I have understood.
 Life has everything.
 Just a new combination is needed.
 I looked into three shops.
 Everything was there, but there was no sitar.
 Everything was separate.
 An order was needed; everything was in chaos.
 Everything was there; whatsoever was needed was there.
 Just a synthesis, just a unity was needed ―
 and such beautiful music comes out of it.
 Life has everything ― now I have understood.
 Just a new order is needed.'
sitar.jpg.jpeg
☆☆☆☆☆

We have everything we need. But we do not know how to arrange things. We need to learn an order, a unity, a synthesis. For me now, it is the Tibetan Buddhism, and I hope it will reveal the truth of life. However, learning the order is not enough. At the same time, we need to feel life. We need to jump in, touch, taste, live and love life, in full awareness. Both wisdom and meditation, mind and heart, knowing and compassion are needed on the path, as all sages say.

I Saw a Rainbow

| No Comments

I went to Tottori from Saturday and returned this afternoon. Dr.Noda had an Open Counseling Seminar and a Lecture on Parenting near Kurayosh this weekend. I attended both and stayed at my daughter's house. My daughter and her husband attended the lecture on Sunday because they are in the midst of child rearing, and it was their debut to the Adlrian society in Tottori.
kosuke201112-2.jpgWhile they were listening to Dr.Noda's lecture, I played with 1 year old Koosuke, my grandson. He could walk, sometimes crawled, and liked to speak some words such as mamma (food), nya-nya (cat), mo-mo (cow). He spoke more but unfortunately I could not understand his vocabularies. His parents enjoyed Dr.Noda's lecture very much and became interested in Adlerian psychology. I hope they will learn more and build happier communication than before.

rainbow2.jpgThey drove home, and I had lunch with the members of Kurayoshi Encourage Group and got on a train from Kurayoshi. It was a local train and I soon fell asleep. When I awoke, the train was already near Tottori City, and there, I saw a huge rainbow in the sky. There were few buildings, so I could see the whole big arch ! It was astonishingly clear and beautiful, moreover, it was a double-rainbow. The east sky clouded over whereas the west sky was shining. The whole heavens were very dramatic ! It is rare to see such a beautiful rainbow. I was so grateful to something which showed me this spectacle.

rainbow1.jpg

Nine Elephants

| No Comments

I started Guhyasamaja meditation method from July and started learning Gelug-pa Buddhism founded by Tsongkhapa from October. My house is now decorated with pictures of Thangka (pictures of the Tibetan deity), together with Indian master's pictures, the Shinto talisman, the icon of a Christian archangel.... I have read many books about Tibetan Buddhism both in Japanese and in English. Moreover, I am going to learn Tibetan language. You see, my style of life has been changed much during the months I stopped updating this blog.

elephants2.jpgThis is a picture I found on the Internet which is called "The Nine Stages of Mental Development." They say as the mind develops through the practice of meditation, it goes through a series of stages or levels. In the Tibetan tradition, this process of mental development in which a monk gradually tames his mind is depicted like this.
The mind is represented by an elephant, whereas in the Japanese tradition, it is usually a bull. Whereas Japanese stages of mental development is divided into ten (Ten Bulls), Tibetans is Nine Elephants!

elephants.jpgThe meditator in the initial stages controls his mind (elephant) by holding rope and hook. While he goes up to the higher stages, the elephant gradually strips off his blackness and changes its color to innocent white. In the highest level, the meditator has halo himself and the elephant is completely under his control. I am of course in the lowest level, but hoping to reach the higher, I set the picture on my desktop :-) You can enlarge by clicking the pictures.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2011 is the previous archive.

January 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.