May 31 2016 – month of daily flower & buddha photos – Day 31!
acrylic on canvas ©
“Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about the need for world peace. Nevertheless, it is not happening. Why is it not happening? Because no matter how much people talk about it, as long as minds are still dominated by such mental distortions as attachment and anger, peace is an impossibility. You can drink all the tea you like, and still the anger is not abated. You can eat as much as you want, but still the anger is not abated. Anger and the other mental distortions decrease through the practice of the Buddha’s teachings. Here, we have the possibility to do something efficacious for world peace by subduing these mental distortions in our own minds. Further, while engaging in the practice oneself, if one encourages other people to enter into the practice, this is also very helpful and important to do.
“One of the responsibilities for those of us who are practicing Dharma is to avert war, especially world war, by continually offering very strong prayers that such an event may be avoided. Let us do so!
“One further point is the importance of having the company of other people who are following spiritual practice, sincerely engaging in practicing spirituality every day in their personal lives. This can be very helpful. In contrast, if one becomes very intimate with those who have no regard for spiritual practice, this tends to harm one’s own practice. Therefore, where possible, associate with people who are following the path.
“There is an account of two men in Pempo, an area to the north of Lhasa in Tibet. One was a heavy drinker and the other was not. They split up. The drunkard went to Reting Monastery and there encountered a very fine lama who told him of the disadvantages of alcoholism and taught him how to follow spiritual practice. He gave up drinking and became a very fine practitioner. The non-drinker went down to Lhasa, and there he got into the company of a bunch of drunkards. He stared “hitting the sauce,” and made a big habit of it and became, more or less, an alcoholic. This indicates the strong influence of people with whom one associates.
“To give one more analogy, if you are in a place that is all black with soot on the walls and you move around, you end up all black. Whereas, if you are in a place that is all white with whitewash on the walls, as in India, then you end up all white. Likewise, if one associates with smokers, one becomes a smoker, if one associates with tobacco snuffers, one becomes a snuff-inhaler. Generally, bad qualities tend to be contagious. If you can associate with people who are following good practice, it is very helpful.”
—Ven Gen Rinpoche (Geshe Lharampa Ngawang Dhargyey, 1921-1995), Seattle 1982
Thank you for following me on my project of posting a photo every day this month of a flower, real, or symbolic, and of a buddha image, abstract or figurative. The naturalist John Muir was raised to believe that, in the person of Jesus, GOD had become man, ie had incarnated or embodied as a God-man. Muir loved flowers and felt the presence and essence of the Divine embodied in flowers. Why, he wondered, if there could be a God-man such as Jesus Christ, why could there not just as likely be a God-flower, embodied in the form of every flower? I feel much the same way, often finding Buddha-nature manifest, emanant, in a humble, beautiful, innocent, natural flower. Quite often this evident presence and expression of the “original face” or essence of Buddha-nature is more evidently present in the form and face of a flower than in a statue or painting of the historical Buddha, or an image of a celestial Buddha or bodhisattva. While, at their best, such images of buddhas are often very flower-like! Flowers are buddhas, buddhas are flowers. And of course the same can be said of clouds and trees and birds and bees, and seas, …and human beings. –Skyblue Greenstone