Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Siddhearta's Essence of 2013

2013 was a great year.

Writing for me is a practice of clarifying my intention and my actions.  It is a joy to be able to share it with all of you.  I am truly blessed to have so much support in my life and I thank you for supporting me on my path. 

This is Siddhearta's second year of existence, and it has started to take shape and move out of the randomness that is was in 2012.  I look forward to seeing how it continues to evolve and what shapes it assumes in 2014. 

To give you an overview of 2013, here are the top 15 posts ranked by pageviews.

1.  Perfecting Patience
2. A Fruitful Life
3. What do you stand for?
4. A Simple Vessel
5. The Code.
6. Wealth Distribution
7. Legacy
8. Is what you are doing meaningful?
9. The Battleground
10. Gods and Demons
11. Two Faced
12. Dig Deeper
13. Simplicity
14. Your Practice
15. The Lens

I wish all of you a great year, a year of health and happiness.
May you find what you are looking for,
May you share generously,
May your kindness bring light to the world around you,
and may your determination accomplish not only your own aims, but the aims of others.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Blank Slate

Clear you space, your table or desk.
Sit down with a blank piece of paper in front of you and a pen.
Don't do anything else, just sit with that piece of paper.
Sit in the moment with presence, with openness.

After awhile you'll find that the paper starts to fill itself up.
To-dos, ideas, poems, notations, sketches, reminders.

The to-dos come with schedules and deadlines, the poems are tweaked, the notations are expanded upon and clarified, the sketches are refined, the reminders have names and times and the ideas snowball into projects.  All of that comes with their attendants of work and effort, a calendar of events and short and long-term goals.

The list goes on. Your page is full.

So much of the Buddha's teachings focus on the way we exist, on what is the true 'self'.  The Buddha taught that we do not have a truly existing, independent self.  Much can be said about this, but it really comes down to the fact that we do not exist the way we think we do.

We associate ourselves with what we do, how we appear, with our thoughts and ideas.
We associate ourselves with our culture, our credentials, what we like and dislike, with our name.

But that is not our true nature.  That is all writing on the paper.

It is not that we don't exist at all, that we are nothing and nothing matters- that's nihilism.

Our true nature is like the blank piece of paper.  The blank paper is pure potential.  Not being any thing at all, it can appear in any way whatsoever.  It is all-accommodating, completely open and unobstructed, and its nature is to arise in various forms.  Actually, the arising is unceasing, but therein lies the problem.

In the manner of arising we cling to the forms that it takes.  We associate with the content.  We fixate on the to-dos, the ideas and sketches; on what we do, what we think and how we feel.  Then we need to maintain and elaborate those until we are all filled up and there is no more room to doodle.

And it sucks.  We are too busy, overworked, have few moments of opportunity and too many responsibilities and demands to take the time to rest.  Unless resting is passing out in mindlessness.

That is why you meditate.  That is why you need a daily practice.

Meditation is a space to sit and abide in our potentiality, our true nature.  We can wipe the slate clean, rest in its nakedness.  Rest in openness.

And yet there is still arising.

Stuff continues to come up, to appear on our page.  But we don't need to fixate on that, it simply arises, does its thing, and exhausts itself back into our pure potential.  Our whole life is like that, it arises in various forms, does its thing and then exhausts itself and takes a new form.  The problem is that we are usually so bound up to the forms that we hate to see them go, and when they do exhaust themselves and depart we often don't recognize or abide in our pure potential but rather end up just feeling exhausted ourselves.  That is why we need to recognize our true nature.    

Not being anything at all, appearing as anything whatsoever.

ps. the Buddha described this pure potential as our buddhanature.  We all have it, it is fully manifest, right there.  We just need to recognize and abide in it to let it blossom.  Cheers!

Friday, December 27, 2013


I see a lot of weary and disheartened people.
I see a lot of disembodied people.

More than anything, I think people are looking for a sense of authentic presence in their lives.  They want to feel genuine, to feel that their life is full of meaning and purpose.

They want to be embodied.

But to be embodied, you need to know where you stand.  To trust your ground.

You need to know your values, to have integrity in what you do and dignity in who you are.

You need to have confidence, be brave enough to push past your fear and face your uncertainty.

You need to see through your faults and failures, drawing out the lessons and carrying on the wisdom.

You need to be willing to be vulnerable, to care without being callous and to give without expectation.

To be embodied is to embrace the qualities in you, to see the illusory nature of everything you are, were or will be, but to see that potentiality despite the illusions.

Its all right there, embrace it.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

In Search for the Meaning of Christmas

It is interesting how the stories of our life and times form.  Are the events and stories meant to be understood literally, or are they symbols for us to discover a deeper meaning? 

Jesus constantly taught using parables.  These were meant for us to examine and to discover an underlying meaning for ourselves and its significance in our own life.  What if we were to examine the ultimate parable then- the way Jesus lived his life- would that reveal a deeper meaning? 

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel. 

Emmanuel: 'God is with him'
Israel: 'He who struggles with God'

In our quest to find God in our life, we often look outside of ourselves.  In our collective ignorance we search for our salvation and freedom as if it is going to come from the outside in.  We become confused who we are struggling with, what we are struggling for. 

Are we struggling against others, against those who oppose us?  Are we struggling against God?  Are we struggling to find God anew?  Yet time and again in our struggle, we lose it, we separate ourselves from it.  So what is the struggle?

We are told Jesus is born in the town of Bethlehem, meaning 'the House of the Lamb'.  Lamb here could be interpreted as a sacrificial offering to God, but it could also be understood as an intentional offering to others.  In this sense, one is offering one's own body, speech and mind to the salvation and liberation of others. 

So Jesus, meaning 'Yahweh is salvation' was born in Bethlehem, by being an offering to others liberation.  Yahweh means 'I am', 'He who is', or 'to be'.  So salvation lies in He who is.  He who discovers this in himself gains the holy land, Jerusalem.  Jerusalem, meaning 'the ground of Shalem', Shalem meaning 'the morning star'- the dawn of awakening.

One who gains control of this sacred ground, Jerusalem- the ground of awakening, rules with full dominion over the promised land, Israel.  But the struggle is no longer strained by trying to control or gain power over the ground or things outside of oneself, the struggle is to embody the message of 'Jesus'- Yahweh is salvation.

The struggle is 'to be'. 

That is the meaning of Christ-mass, the Mass or 'divine worship' of Christ- the 'anointed one' symbolizing the presence of God.  

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!  God is with him,
Shall come to thee, who struggles to embody the message of Jesus,
Who struggles 'to be'. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

A View as High as the Sky.

Next time you fly, grab a window seat.

From 30,000 feet you can see everything.  Your view is absolutely all-pervasive, completely clear and unobstructed. 

It is peaceful.  A serene tranquility in the spacious sky. 

Down below you can see infinite worlds and environs unfold.  Banks of clouds gather here and there, cities cascade across the landscape.  Cars move here and there, forming tiny chains of lights. You can look down on houses, imagine people going about their day, cooking, working, fighting, falling in love. 

From 30,000 feet you can witness all of these worlds amidst a profound inner stillness. 

As you descend you start to enter into the clouds, you start to feel the winds of turbulence- temporary conditions.  You still have a greater view than from the ground, but you are vulnerable to the winds and obstructed views.

Fear can show its ugly face.  There definitely can be some confusion as to where you are.  It's generally calm, true, but fear and uncertainty are always a moment away. 

As you continue to descend, the landing gear comes down.  Things are getting pretty busy.  You can see cars rushing all over, people passing each other on the highway.  Everything is much more coarse and distinct, that all-pervasive view of space is gone.  Sure, you know right where you are but there is no larger view.  Still, you are above the fray and there is a sense of peace and calm amidst.

Then you land, you are in the fray and can only look up and wonder what is around you, what lies ahead.  Everything is coarse, your emotions surge, your mind is filled with thoughts and plans.  You can't even get off the plane without trying to hurry or be annoyed with others around you. 

"God, it is hot in here!"

Gone is the peace, that spacious calm.  You are the fray. 

You probably don't realize it but we are all trying to gain a better view.  Most of us are content just to get above the fray, which is really just the final descent before we land. 

Having been to 30,000 feet, that seems silly.

If you want to make it to the clouds it is going to take some work.  You are going to need a practice.  You need something to rely on.  Do you think it is going to happen by chance?  It isn't easy to fly. 

Actually, to make it to the clouds is quite an accomplishment.  Think about it, you would have an expansive view of the world, yourself and others.  Undoubtedly you would face fear and uncertainty, get caught up in turbulent situations and dense clouds, but you would also know a profound inner peace and calm.  You would be able to see where people are and be able to help them, or at the very least to facilitate help arriving. 

So how do we get to 30,000 feet?

It requires you to move beyond conditions, beyond your temporary circumstances.  You need to completely transcend fear, eliminate all of your obscurations and the limitations of your view.  You need to move beyond all grasping and fixation, become a master of mindful awareness that illuminates like the sun in the spacious sky. 

The supreme view, the absolute pinnacle, is the view of Dzogchen, the Great Perfection. This is the only view that allows you to bring the experience and wisdom of 30,000 feet, into the fray. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Practice.

Your practice can take many forms, but it should be a practice that lends itself to profound depth.

As you go deeper, layers of meaning unfold.
As you go deeper, certainty dawns.

It should be a practice that lends itself to vast subtlety.

As you become more aware, connections are made.
As you become more aware, implications are realized.

To train in a practice that has depth and subtlety is to train in becoming an ocean of wisdom.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Investing in your Retirement.

Most of us know the rules for investing in your retirement:

1. Start early.
2. Make continual installments over the long term.
3. Delay making early withdrawals.

Sure there are other ways to invest your money, but in this scenario time is your friend.

The Buddha also taught this type of investing in your long term happiness and welfare, he called it the accumulation of merit.  It is based on the principle that right now you probably don't have the resources or opportunity to achieve or maintain the full result, but that you have some resources and opportunity available to you. 

So you should invest and dedicate your merit to achieving the full result in the future.  The result can be a better life, more peace of mind and confidence.  It could be a higher birth in the world, or to be able to bring benefit to yourself and others.  It could be to achieve complete and utter buddhahood, but we don't have to worry about that. 

Either way, the rules for investing your merit stay the same:

1. Start early. 
Now preferably.  I mean what are you waiting for?

2. Make continuous installments over the long term.
The accumulation of merit doesn't need to be grandiose or impressive.  It can be small acts of generosity, random acts of kindness.  It can be tiny acts of virtue, or even a moment of patience.  Whatever it is, have the intention that it bears its fruit in the future and brings countless benefit to yourself and others.  Let compound interest** work in your favor. 

3. Delay making early withdrawals.
Resist those rash temptations and short-term vision.  Don't give up and cash out in a moment of anger or desperation.  Don't get caught up in the daily highs and lows, resist the urge to respond to dramatic swings. 

Following these three simple rules, you can be sure that you will achieve your aims and the aims of others.  You will live a life of great purpose and there is no limit to the wealth and well-being that you will experience.

**Compound interest- your own and others interests

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Plague of Indifference.

We are suffering from one of the worst epidemics in recent human history.  It has the potential to spread to every corner of the land and to infect every person.  It leaves its victims lifeless, like wandering zombies.

It is the plague of indifference.

It strikes those who care.  Those that are trying to make a difference, to bring benefit to others.  It has a slow onset, germinating in those who time and time again go the extra mile.  It reproduces and gains its strength as kindness and generosity are taken advantage of, exploited and disrespected.

The infection starts to display signs and symptoms as the victim gets worn out, angry at themselves for trying so hard and for caring so much.  They may feel guilty for wanting to help others, for repeating this cycle again and again only to end up in states of loss.

The infection has reached its full measure when the victim no longer cares, when they just go through the motions and do what they are told.

One remedy for this infection is to show appreciation and respect to those who aren't infected.  To rejoice in their efforts.  This remedy can delay or offset the progression of the disease, but it is not necessarily a cure.

The only cure is to protect your own mind, and the only way to do that is to cultivate bodhicitta, the awakened mind.  It is only by cultivating bodhicitta that you can bear the burden of unpleasant and painful circumstances.  It is only by cultivating bodhicitta that you can abandon your own susceptibility to 'woe is me'.

One who cultivates bodhicitta is a bodhisattva, a courageous awakened warrior.

They don't fight others, they fight to establish them in peaceful, happy states.
They fight to bring them benefit.

They fight for those who care, and to help those who don't to regain their purpose.

It is a battle worth fighting for.

As it states in the Heart Sutra:

There is no attainment, and even no non-attainment.  Therefore, Shariputra, since bodhisattvas have no attainments, they rely on this perfection of wisdom and abide in it.  Having no obscurations in their minds, they have no fear, and by going utterly beyond error, they will reach the end of nirvana. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Bug of Perceptions.

Your perceptions affect your reality and your experience of the world.

Go to a homeless shelter infected with bed bugs, or to a school with an outbreak of lice.

Just being there, I bet you start to feel itchy.  You might even be feeling itchy just thinking about the possibility of getting bed bugs or lice. 

What you think and what you perceive to be true (even though it probably isn't) affects how you feel and how you interact with the world around you.  It affects your every action. 

What happens when you think you are more important than others around you? 
What happens when you are angry?  When you are worried?  Stressed?
Need we even mention those who are racist, bigoted or ignorant? 

If you feel itchy because you perceive the possibility of beg bugs near you,
or if you feel that the world is always fighting you because you perceive your situation to be right,
the only way to fix the problem is to correct your perception.

You need to train your mind.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Where is the Magic?

Convenience sucks the magic out of our lives.
Magic lies in simplicity, gentleness and appreciation. 
It only arises in the present, now. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


A bee goes about his day carrying out his work, collects honey and brings it back to the hive.  If you get in his way or threaten him, you might get stung.

Ah, that stings.  I should have known better, should have been more careful. 

We all know that is what bees do.

Have you ever driven in the back country in cattle country?  I'm talking gravel road, wandering herd back country.  The cows just wander about, grazing and eating.  Sometimes they just stand right in the road, minding their own business.  You can sit there and honk, drive up really close, but mostly you just need to wait until they move.  And of course they move.

Maybe you grew a little impatient, but you never really got angry, right?  I mean its a cow, being a cow. 

Ever leave food outside, the birds will get at it.  Or the coons.  You should have known better, should have been more careful.

But why is it that when we get stung by people just going about their business, we get angry.

Why is it that when people get in our way and won't move, we get angry.

Why is it that when people come after what is ours, we get angry and defensive.

Maybe we should have known better.  Maybe we should have been more careful.

Speak nicely and guard your mind. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

We all fall.

We all fall sometimes.

It happens in different ways.  It is almost always unexpected and out of the blue.

When we fall, we know it.  It hurts, we look like a fool and we put in the effort to get back up.

But what does falling look like?

You've fallen when your mind is filled with anxiety and worry, when you are feeling insecure and self-conscious.

You've fallen when fear and apprehension dictate your course, when you feel unsettled.

You've fallen when you are selfish and rude, when your words are sharp and cut at people's hearts.

You fallen when you act with an air of indifference, concerned with only your own comfort and needs.

You've fallen when you fume with anger and jealousy gnaws at your heart, when you mind is caught up in strong wants and mistaken needs.

If you don't listen, don't give a damn and can't stop talking about yourself, you've fallen.

So get up.

Things don't need to be this way, there is a path out of this.  This isn't permanent.  But you have to recognize that you have fallen.

It is ordinary to fall.  It is the extraordinary that can maintain their composure and get back up.

We need you to get up.