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Yunchen Lhamo

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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

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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.'

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.

Nine Elephants

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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.

Tenzin Norbu

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I had a trip to Koyasan from October 31 to November 2 in order to take an initiation from His Holiness the Dalai Lama 14th. The ceremony of Vajradatsu Mandala Initiation was unforgettable experience to me, but now I want to chat a little about an exhibition that I saw at Koyasan.
I took the Nankai Express at noon and arrived at the dorter inn in the late afternoon. It was already getting dark in that mountain area, but I wanted to walk around the town I visited two years ago. There were souvenir shops and restaurants along the bus street as before. And by chance, I found a small coffee shop where people were gathering and smiling. It seemed they held a small exhibition of some paintings. Being attracted by their happy air, I went in.

tenjin2.jpgThey were displaying unique paintings of a Nepalese. His name was Tenzin Norbu, a Buddhist priest and a Thangka painter from Dolpo, the innermost village in the Himalayas. All paintings were filled with the pure religious zeal, and depicted the fascinating landscape, horses, and people. I felt the cold, transparent air of the Himalayas.

tenjin.jpgWhen I bought the collection of his paintings, the clerk of the shop took me to the painter, Tenzin Norbu himself. Until that time, I did not know the painter was there. He was a stout man with a big smile, and he took a ball-point pen, signed and quickly drew a picture of a horse on the first page of the collection. It was a horse running like the wind and was so real ! I thought this collection book would be my treasure.

tenjin2.jpg.jpegOn my way back to the dorter, I found myself smiling unknowingly, just like those people gathering in front of the coffee shop. Perhaps the painter was radiating happy feelings around him and it was infectious.


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This morning I read:

Do not look for a purpose in life
   but live, and live totally.
Do not be serious and grave
   but turn life into a dance.
Dance--like the waves on the sea!
Blossom--like the flowers in spring!
Sing--as the birds do continuously!
All without purpose, for no reason;
   then purpose is there,
      and all mystery is solved.

     from A CUP OF TEA by Bhavwan Shree Rajneesh

This is exactly what we learned at ASMI. ASMI is a workshop for meditation, Adlerian System for Mental Integration. I went to Tsuruga from 23 December to 26 to attend this workshop. About 20 people had gathered and we did all kinds of meditation from morning till night, confined in a small cosy hotel in snow. The hotel was located in front of the sacred Kehi-shrine and we experienced very good meditative hours. We danced, shook ourselves, wheeled, laughted, wept, shouted, sang, and were reborn. Perhaps "I" of ASM"I" represents illogicalization, or, idiotization.

Living without Purpose

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This morning I read:

Why seek at all for a purpose?
If you seek this you will never find it
   because it is eternally hidden in the seeker.
Life is without purpose --
   life is its own purpose,
      therefore he who lives without purpose truly lives.
Live! Isn't living itself enough?

Do not think in the language of purpose --
   that language is diseased in itself.
The sky exists without purpose.
God is without purpose
   flowers bloom without purpose
and stars shine without purpose --
   what has happened to poor man
      that he cannot live without purpose!

          from A CUP OF TEA by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Naturally, it reminds me of the goal striving theory of Adlerian Psychology. When we are in the equal position, we know that we belong; and when we are pursuing our goals, compensating our inferiority feelings, we do not notice we already belong. In the Adlerian psychotherapy, they say it is difficult for human beings to give up the goal striving, and they recommend us to grow and choose more reasonable goals. But in the spirituality, he simply says we should drop it.

flower.jpgYes, if we can always be in the equal position and never feel inferior or superior, we will be blissed like flowers and stars. Alas, men have language! All sufferings and troubles come from that "he cannot live without purpose!" However, living without a goal will not work as a counseling goal in the clinical situation. And I think what a counselor can do is to align our goals and seek the better way to live, leaving the goal striving as it is.

Love is the Key

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The other day I read:

I am here; look into me, feel me, try to imbibe my spirit in you, let my flame come closer to you. Any moment there can be a jump -- my flame can jump and light your unlit candle. Just come close, come close ... and when I say come close I mean be more and more in love. Love is the only closeness there is; love is the only intimacy there is. It is not a question of physical closeness, it is a question of inner intimacy. Be open to me, as I am open to you; be available to me, as I am available to you. Don't be afraid, you have nothing to lose ... except your chains.
   from THE ART OF DYING: talks on Hasidism by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

I read two or three pages of his book almost every day. This is my routine ritual in the morning. I forgot when I had started reading this book, so I looked up my Red Bird's entries and found out that I was reading THE WHITE LOTUS in May last year. If so, I have been reading THE ART OF DYING for about one year, which I will finish reading in a few days.
Sometimes the words of Osho Rajneesh are so impressive and moving that I try to remember. For some hours I keep the feeling in my heart, but alas, my silly brain forget the treasure soon. Optimistically, I guess that I have kept them in my heart, not in my mind. But then, why am I shocked so much by him again and again?
And this time, "Love." Only love can do. Love is the key. I should remember, or this might be the time I should practice.

Tibetan Chants

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For some reason or other, I felt like listening to Tibetan Buddhist chants and bought a CD from Amazon the day before yesterday. Amazingly, they delivered it to me today. Good job, Amazon! It is a collaboration of a Tibetan monk of the Kagyupa School, Lama Gyurme, with a French musician, Jean Philippe Rykiel. Lama Gyurme takes part of vocals and some Tibetan percussions, and Rykiel plays keyboards. The title of the CD is RAIN OF BLESSINGS: VAJRA CHANTS. Again vajra, the holy weapon!
rainofblessings.jpgI played the CD at once. I knew some of the mantras in the CD and some did not, but all chants were fascinating. They had very interesting influences on me. The vibration was still and silent, and I felt the mantras penetrating into me though I did not understand the words. While I listened to the chants, they began to soak into me and shook me at the center. At last, when I listened to the last mantra, I began to shed tears. No emotion, only tears. And I felt hot. I perspired though I was using the air conditioner, and it was very rare. Perhaps the chants purified me to some extent...yes!

Unconditional Love

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As I was wondering how to be a grandmother, one of my friends gave me an answer. "It's simple. Grandmother's love is unconditional." She said it in Kochi, and I was meditating on it during the flight to Osaka. For me, the unconditional love was a religious term, and seemed to be the love from Buddha and Bodhisattva. So it was difficult to identify it to my love to my future grandchild. However, when the plane nearly arrived at Osaka airport, I understood. Yes, every grandparent loves their grandchild without any condition; this is why people ask for their love. People consider it Bodhisattva's love. The smiles of grandparents are smiles of Buddha.
In Kochi, we had a psychodrama workshop based on Adlerian Psychology. One of the 14 psychodramas, there was a play of 5 years old girl and her grandfather. The grandfather's love to her was tremendous. It was very touching and I could not help shedding tears. That was unconditional love. My parents love for my children was the same, and my grandparents love for my brother and me was the same. For all small people, their grandparents are true Bodhisattvas.
Again, I thank to the Existence that I have a chance to become a grandmother and that I have a chance to embody the unconditional love for our descendant.

Psychology and Religion

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Osho Rajneesh leads us to the very high sphere of spiritualism, using many kinds of speeches. Sometimes he talks on Zen Buddhism, sometimes on Tantric Buddhism, sometimes on Tao, Sufism, or Hasidism. And we choose any of them which suits our nature best. I am easily touched by metaphors on ocean, clouds, trees and birds, so I prefer Tantric Buddhism to Zen. This morning I read the phrases below from his book on Hasidism.

Keep quiet. Listen to what the whole is willing -- don't try to have your private goals, don't try to have your private desires. Don't ask anything individually -- the whole is moving towards its destiny. You simply be part of it. Co-operate. Don't be in a conflict. Surrender to it.

Wow! It is very much like a lecture of Adlerian Psychology on the absolute holism. Adler and Dreikurs taught us that while we clung to our private goal-striving, we might not contribute to the society, and therefore, we might not be happy. We are embedded in the whole. And yet, according to Osho, life always betrays you in a secular way. It will never fulfill our desires for belonging to the others, notwithstanding all our efforts of contribution and cooperation.

And life always sends you back to your own reality.... It gives you a thousand and one opportunities to be frustrated so that you can understand that expectations are not good and dreams are futile and desires are never fulfilled. Then you drop desiring, you drop dreaming, you drop proposing. Suddenly you are back home and the treasure is there.

This is the dividing line between psychology and religion, I guess. While psychology tries to make people happy in this secular life, religion turns to inward. The voice of "the whole" is not the voice of the society. To recognize what "the whole" wants, we should meditate and go back to ourselves. What treasure is there, then? I do not know. All I can do is to follow someone who is enlightened. This is the religion.

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