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Archive for the ‘Compassion’ Category

The last week have been very hard for my familly. Last Monday, my youngest son (4 months old) was rushed to hospital with a suspected infection. After several tests, it transpired he had meningitis. We were rushed to a London childrens hospital, where they took very good care of him. I’m happy to say that he is now back in our local hospital and responding well to treatment. We are extremly lucky that the diagnosis was made very early, before the infection became too serious.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every member of all the medical teams that have helped make him better. My familly and I are eternally grateful. We are making plans to repay the kindness by donating money to the three charities that helped us in this very dificult time.
The main purpose of this post, is to talk about something I have noticed this last week. Once the news of my sons condition had spread from family to family friends, we soon received multiple messages of support (which were most appreciated). Most of these messages said they were all praying for us and a speedy recovery for our son. Soon, entire church congregations were praying for his wellbeing. It got the point where I realised the only person not praying for him was me. When at the London hospital, my wife wanted to visit the chapel. It was magnificent! I knelt breifly, and said thank you. But I knew this was not enough. Sunday night, I finally sat and meditated and said thank you. I used the Medicine Buddha mantra (tayata Om Bahgatze, bahgatze mahabahgatze, ragdzad somaghate soha). By the time we returned in the morning, our son had made a marked improvement.
I’ve always known that this was the main aim of praying for someone, but I have never seen it demonstrated so well. Then, whilst we’ve been in hospital, I have been reading Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’. The novel aside, it has some very interesting history and research behind it relating to the Mason’s, mystisism, and Noetic Science, a relatively new branch of science that aims to show that humans are only using part of their brain (amongst other things). The author states that researchers in the field of Noetics make claims that the human consiousness has a measurable mass, and is able to manipulate the physical world, just by thought. The book goes on to mention other bits of research with ‘fantasticle’ claims (I would like to point out at this time that this is all based on ‘The Lost Symbol’ and I have not yet done any research of my own).
Whether I, or the reader, believe in these claims in the book, I can only comment on my personal observations, and from what I have witnessed this week, with so many people praying for my son, that the human conciousness has made a significant impact on me this week. One could put this down to the medicine working, but I find the sudden contrast was astounding.
The concept that the human mind has a measurable mass (a very small, yet measurable mass according to the book), is consistent with the Buddhist notion of reincarnation, where the conciousness will leave the body after death and find another body. The events of the last week have only increased my faith.

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This must be a record for me: two posts in the same month. Great! This post will be a little odd, because I’m going to ask a favour from my readers.
Last night, I sat for the first time in a long time. It was lovely. It cleared my head up, for a while, and relaxed me nicely to get a good nights sleep. I also watched a film last night. It was Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, a film following the life of HH Dalai Lama. It’s a very good film, showing the stuffle between the Tibetan and the newly formed Peoples Republic of China. It gives a wonderful look into the Tibetan world before it was invaded by the Chinese. It always makes me want to meditate and keep my practice going.
The sad fact is that I have become very lax in my practice. I try and keep to the precepts as best I can, but I’m not always able to. I know meditation is not the only way of following the path, but it is a good start. And I like to meditate; it helps me to concentrate, it clears my head, and it’s good for my health (which is a good point at the moment). The problem is, my meditation is very random. Sometimes I sit for several nights at a time, sometimes I won’t sit for months at a time. And it bugs me. What I need is a little prodding. Keeping this blog up to date would be a start. So what I’d like is people who notice I haven’t posted for a while to prod me by leaving a comment, and remind me to keep on track with my practice. I know it’s a long shot, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

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Back at last…

Dear readers:
I would like to firstly like to apologise for my lack of presence recently. I don’t really have a valid excuse, only laziness and life.
Furthermore, I would like to say how THRILLED I am to see that this blog hasn’t died a death, and that it is still being read on a regular basis. I hope that any regular readers will soon return.

Anyway, back to writing…
It’s been a hectic couple of months; my wife and I have moved recently to a new flat, which we actually own now! Well, part own anyway… We are also going to have another baby, which we are thrilled about. Our current son will be big brother, and I’m sure he will be a great big brother.
My topic for my return post today, I wont to talk about something that happened to me about a month ago. I was in town looking for at a new computer, as my old one was showing signs of being on the verge of giving up the ghost. I went to get some money from the cash point/ATM. I was shocked to see that our balance was woefully low. It turned out that £700.00 had been taken from our account. Very surprised, I started talking to my wife on the phone, explaining to her the situation. I also explained that I was stuck in the car park, as I didn’t have any money to pay. As I talked, sitting in the bank’s reception, my mind racing at a 100 mph, a fellow customer, who had clearly been listening to me, leaned over the table between us and left me a bag full of coins. I looked up at her and she said “should help you get out of the car park”. If I’m honest, I started to blub. The complete and utter selflessness of the individual blew me away. Had it been £2, I might not have thought much of it (although I would have been very thankful). That would have been enough to get me home. The fact that my unknown benefactor gave me a whole £10, can only be called selfless.
I doubt that my mysterious benefactor will actually ever read this post, but I just want to officially say thank you. I only hope I can return the favour some way or another someday.
Normal service will resume soon dear readers.

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            This was a phrase repeated about ten times in a single minute by Geshe Soepa at the Jamyang Buddhist centre on Wednesday night, talking about compassion.Wednesday 28th of November was “Just this day”, a day dedicated to stillness.  It asked everyone to be still, meditate, pray or just stop for a moment to feel the energy of the world taking a breather.  Jamyang were participating, and being one of my rare nights off when they were ‘preaching’, I decided to join.Geshe-la was talking about compassion, and I will do my best to repeat what he said.  He started by saying that everyone has compassion for someone or something.  The difficulty is extending this compassion to everyone, even our enemies.  The reason why people become our enemies, is because we make them our enemies (more on that later).  If they do something that annoys us, it is only because they are trying to find happiness, however misdirected, for them selves.  And after all, aren’t we all?  Everything we do, we do because we believe it will, in some little way, make us happy.  This is unfortunately why some people are in so much debt, because they buy things that don’t satisfy their happiness, so they buy more things, try new diets, find other partners, or try different drugs.  This is why the Buddha said “You will not find happiness on the outside.  True happiness is found within”.  In other words, we could scour the globe trying to find the perfect man, woman, car, house or even drug, but eventually, the novelty will ware off.  How many of us have seen children overjoyed to receive the latest fad toy, only to leave it discarded several months later?  This is why we should feel sorry for the office bully, because after all, they are only trying to be happy, however misguided their attempt.  They just don’t see (or don’t care) that they are making others unhappy.  Therefore, there should not be one-sided compassion (as in being compassionate only to the ones we love and care for), it should be equal.  Geshe Soepa gave the analogy that if we have a hundred beggars in front of us, we should not give the first £3, the second £2, the third £5, we should give them all the same amount (and if you can afford to give these hundred beggars equal amounts of money, then I salute you). I hope this little snippet of Geshe Soepa’s teaching makes sense.  When I can remember, I’ll write up the rest.

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