Thursday, 17 January 2013

Reflections on my first book class

So last night I went to my first nkt foundation program lesson in which we focus on one chosen text the head of the nkt, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, had written. We are focusing on a book entitled Meaningful to Behold which teaches how to be a friend to the world via dharma.
The evening started ok in so much as I managed to get Haydn to my parents early which meant I should have got to class early.... No, that did not happen! Instead I got distracted with Haydn, my knee high boots broke and I got into a tonne of rush hour tragic - nice.
I eventually got there only 5 mins late, but no one was answering the door! I had images of having to go home cause no one heard me or disrupting the lesson so much with my knocking that pagpa himself had to come and let me in! Luckily an old friend of mine, ste, turned up and he had a key to the centre as he helped out there too, phew!
We rushed in to find prayers had started so I slid as quietly as possible onto a chair near the back n tried to join in with what little I remembered of the prayers from when I did them about 4 years ago.... There was a lot of humming coming from me, like when you forget the words to a song.... Hope no one noticed!
Next was medication then we all read through bits of the book n pagpa gave more explaination. Then we paired off n I was paired with a lovely bloke called Dave to discuss the book. Then break then all again.
Honestly I felt like the new kids in the new school-i had not a clue what was going on! First off, I realised I didnt have one of the books we needed so I just had to listen carefully when they read it out. I was just kinda following everyone else's lead, and luckily ste kept pointing me in the right direction, but it was all abit overwhelming and scary, so I need to look at my fear n figure it out I think.
Things that triggered my fear mind at the class were: when the admin guy of the group asked if we could have a chat after class (which I knew would be about money so I got all worried that he wouldn't believe me that pagpa had said I could have the first few lessons free), when the talk took place and the seriousness of the commitment I needed to make to the class sank it (I get a study partner who I have to give a talk with during the year which scared the hell out of me too!). Also just how long some of the people had been there studying and learning made me look so insignificant in my spiritual development I felt, again, new girl in the class, big fish was in small pond n now is in the ocean!
Looking at these fears, I can see they come from my grasping at my own ego and ideas of myself. I'm scared of what other people think of me, that I'm not going to be the smartest or most spiritual, the best, really.i NEED TO LET GO OF THIS PERSONA I HAVE BUILT UP OF MYSELF and accept that I know very little atm, but that eventually I will know more and more stuff and this feeling will pass. I have visions of me giving a teaching in the class and being laughed at and humilated because i didnt know things or got something wrong, which has happened to me before at high school, but again this whole scene is fantasy created by the evil fear mind who loves to torture me! So this is something I really need to work on.

From the book we are studying at the moment, the most applicable section related to the ranpaging white elephant that is our mind - if he is allowed to run amok in our minds we will be forever distressed and unhappy. Whereas if we take the time to tie down the elephant with the rope of mindfulness and alertness to the pillar of wisdom aka buddhist teachings aka dharma, we can be in control of our mind, and as such me in control of everything as everything comes from our mind - What we think shapes our world.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

White Tara

Just thought I would share this amazing pictue the new kadampa tradition has done of White Tara, Lady of compassion :-) xxx

Visit to 2 Buddhism centre

Today as a family we went to a Buddhist centre in chorlton. The food at the cafe was amaZing,but that is not what is provoking me to write this blog.

I went up to the centres meditation room and had such an intense sense to stay there forever n a sense of deep peace, like falling asleep whilst awake. The intensity shocked me. I asked pagpa about it and he told me it could be a blessing from previous good practice in concentration, and that it was a good thing, so that's good... Still freaked me out though!

We then went to the Buddhist centre in Manchester city centre as my wrist mala (prayer beads) broke and I tried to get one from the first centre but having found they had none we rememebred the centre in the city had some and went there. They had so many gorgeous ones, semi precious stones, glass, bone and wood ones. I was spoilt for choice! The lady on the stall made them all herself too, so talented! So here is the one I went for: cracked glass 27 beaded one (a division of 108, as in Buddhism when you do mantras, which earn you good karma points, you are meant to say each mantra 108 times as this number is a sacred number in Buddhism but I can't remember why atm!):

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Surrender: teething baby vs meditation n study

So I have my first Buddhist study group on Tuesday and as I'm joining the class half way through I've got 6 chapters to read by next Tuesday.
Its Thursday night now, and I'm half way through chapter 2.
And I have a teething baby with a cold.
This is not going well.
Recently I am really learning what the word surrender really means and the benefits of accepting it. Every morning I try to do the morning meditaitons and prayers it is recommended that I do. I start with good intent but by page 2 I can hear the hubby getting a tad annoyed trying to deal with baby and his own tiredness so I stop to help. I try again later but again hear that help is needed and led by the sense of responsibility every mum has I go off my cushion and help again. And so it goes on. When baby naps I feel chores are more important n urgent than study so I do them with a mind to get to study, but then baby wakes up. In the evenings I try to study when hubby is working late but when baby is teething he takes priority.
When this all started I was geting annoyed at first- annoyed at baby and hubby because they demanded my attention and were getting in the way of what I wanted- to study. But lately I have come to realise that if i drop the plans and the notion of what I want, then there is no disappointments or rushing. I just let go and accept that this is happening now and 'be present with it. Tonight baby refused to settle and I had planned to study and do some of my @home phone work. Again the agitation came up, but I soon realised that the more agitated I got the longer settling baby would take, so I worked on accepting and just focusing completely on him, trying to forget everything else but him. It took a while but he is asleep now. Now I'm blogging and then I'll study and then do my phone work I hope.
I think having plans and personal intentions set in stone is impossible with a baby and leads to so much self grasping and disappointment when we don't get what we want. We are effectively servents to our babys, but what better way to learn to cherish another more than yourself and realise that what you want is not the 'be all n end all. :-) 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Death and candles

Imagine a room as vast and huge as the world, filled with millions of candles aflame, one for each person of the world. In this room walks death only. As he brushes by a flame, it flickers and the person linked to the flame has a heart attack or stroke. Then death simply blows out a flame, and that person just dies as quickly as the flame goes from burning to nothing, so suddenly n without any warning.

Best make today a good day, earn good karma and work to get rid of the bad karma, as who knows when death will blow u out!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Good Start to 2013

Buddhist Stuff

Today I took my first big positive step towards my goal of becoming a Buddhist Teacher.

Dan, Haydn and I went to see Pagpa at his centre in Preston as I really wanted Dan to met him, and Dan really did too as he knows how much of a big influence Pagpa was on my life. Haydn absolutely loved the centre and was so much more vocal that usual, and he seemed to really like Pagpa too, and so did Dan which meant alot to me. Anyway, I got talking to Pagpa and asked if I could join the Foundation Programme course at the centre, and he said YES! :D.

Some basic info on the course from the site:

Foundation Programme

The programme comprises the following five subjects based on Buddha's Sutra teachings and the corresponding commentaries by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:

 - The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, based on the commentary Joyful Path of Good Fortune;

 - Training the Mind, based on the commentaries Universal Compassion and Eight Steps to Happiness;

 - The Heart Sutra, based on the commentary Heart of Wisdom

 - Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, based on the commentary Meaningful to Behold; and

 - Types of Mind, based on the commentary Understanding the Mind

The class takes place on tuesday evenings at 6pm to 9.30pm. There are two sessions, 6pm - 7.30pm and 8pm - 9.30pm with a break in the middle for refreshments and socialising. Each session consists of chanted prayers, meditation, teaching and discussion. 

Taught by Gen Kelsang Pagpa

Please contact the centre for more information if you are interested in joining.

So yeah, I'm really happy about this! It starts on 15th January and I'm studying the Meaningful to Behold book which I bought today - I have lots of homework as the class is up to chapter 5 already, better get swatting up! It works out at about £23 a month which is abit steep for us atm, but I'm going to give it a month and see if we can afford it ok. 

Job Stuff

So, after much deliberation with Dan and my friends, and after much searching on the internet for a job thats 2 days a week, we have decided that I'm going to carry on doing my web-based sales job which is boring but it brings in loads more than any other part time job would, and I'll be self-employed too (which means I'll need to have an accountant! oo errr!). I'm gonna do it for 1 days a week in jan when haydn goes to grandmas, then 2 days a week when he goes to nursery for a day too. I just hope I can make enough for nursery, buddhist classes n all the bills! 

As for my legal stuff with my previous employer, it seems they have gone into liquidation which is not good for me, as i dont see to be getting my maternity pay any more and also it may mean that i get nothing from the court case either ;( O well, i will live in hope that the liquidation company will give me the 1k in maternity money i will be owed by 22nd Jan


Thursday, 27 December 2012

It's all going to hell: it's just something else to let go of

Things are challenging atm. This bit of the road is bumpy. I'll summarise.

I have a current case against the company I used to work for as they made me redundant whilst I was on maternity without any notice and I only found out via my colleagues Facebook update. It's been going since August and its been a struggle and very unprofessionally handled. The date for the tribunal is end of Feb, but I found out a few days ago that the three companies in the consortium I worked in have gone into liquidation and insolvency. This means even if I win the case I may not get anything if there is nothing left.

The one company who I was on their payroll for my maternity pay has gone.into.insolvency so I have not got any maternity pay this month and I don't know if I'm going to get anything for this or next month.

Boxing day was spent with my parents watching my old school plays.which really embarrass me and also brought up.loads of bad memories of my being bullied. Also, I discovered that my parents, who have been spending like the clappers recently and for a good while beforehand and said it was their savings, had huge amounts of savings, 35k of them from my.grandmothers death 8 years ago which they did about, share with me or offer me a penny when times were hard for us, especially now.

So yeah, this bit of the ride is very bumpy.

Bill hicks, my favorite comedian, said this,'s my most loved quote ever:

It's Just A Ride

It's Just A Ride

"The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride..."

...It's just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace."

-- The Late Bill Hicks, Comedian

Ajhan Chah said, in Jack Kornfields 'After the Ecstasy, the Laundry':

"Its just something else to let go of."

I meditated on this tonight and as clear as day I heard my.teacher Pagpa's bells he used to cleanse the ritual rooms which helps the inferno of my mind just clear suddenly.tonight. he just let it all go into the river as it will all come back, just give it all to the river n let it go...