Friday, July 31, 2009

Mental graffiti [wk 31]

2X flessenwater

(via GOOD)

The Zydepunks (New Orleans Cajun Irish Breton Klezmer Slavic Zydeco)

(The Zydepunks)

Dispatchwork Amsterdam

Iron and Wine - Boy With A Coin

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Buddhism for normal people

(...) for way too long Buddhism has been the exclusive province of a) whiny intellectuals who try and make it as complicated as possible so no one but their friends can possibly discuss it and b) spaced out new age waste cases who haven’t got a single clue what Buddha was on about, but they like that little Om symbol. I’m glad to see it reclaimed by normal people. And by “normal people” I mean, of course, booze soaked heavy metal musicians in leather and studs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

16. The 24/7 love monkey

This is part of the Mind Training series

16. Work with whatever you encounter, immediately.

To do something special you need to prepare in advance. Packing your bags to go on a vacation. Scrubbing up to perform open heart surgery. The right time has to be decided, the right circumstances have to be created.

Training the mind is not like that. In stead of preparing in advance you just have to be prepared. There's a subtle difference there. Being prepared, in this context, means you have "let the mind become", semkye in Tibetan. Raise the mind of enlightenment, or bodhichitta, The Heart That Is Not Fooled Into Thinking That Others Don't Need To Be Happy.

Now, bodhichitta is not something you can force yourself to have. But when it unexpectedly appears (which is does, again and again and again*), recognize it. Nurture it. Don't try to sweep it under the carpet because it feels a bit weak, sad and unmanly. This enlightenment mind is the most precious thing you will ever have.

The lojong, then, is not about doing something special, in a special way and in a special time and place. In most of life's situations there are no real options available anyway. You just do what you do anyway, infused with attention and bodhichitta. Don't fret about getting it right or wrong. Allow yourself to make mistakes. If you make a mistake (e.g. if you notice yourself trying to find something/-one to blame for something), just correct and continue.

Having your bodhichitta at the ready means opening up your mind and pulling away the curtains of expectation and self-importance. Let the birds of your own and others' feelings fly in and out as they please. Have a bed ready for when anything wants to stay. Leave the door unlocked for when anything wants to leave.

Time to take one to the spiritual nut sack, my friends: the real teaching of slogan 16 is that dharma practice is not special. It does not need special circumstances. It will not make you a very special person. (It probably won't leave you a four-armed, luminous freak like Chenrezig [which would have definite social disadvantages, anyway. Imagine trying to find a decent T-Shirt...]). No waiting around for the "right" moment, in other words.

Nope, training our minds in openness will not change the fact we are bipedal, opposably thumbed primates with (most likely) rather unremarkable lives. But it will give us more sanity, relaxation and kindness.

The real bodhisattva is a 24/7 chilled-out love monkey.

*) Like a flash of lightning, revealing all the dark had hidden, as Shantideva has it.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Een jongetje van een jaar of vijf trekt een envelop uit de bijna vergeten foto-ontwikkeltafel, naast de pinautomaat bij mij in de supermarkt, en roept heel luid: Zóóó!! Dát is cool!!

Zijn moeder wist geloof ik niet helemaal zeker of zij het wel zo cool vond.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Clara Bakker - Temptation

Clara Bakker covert Tom Waits.
Book Clara snel voor een optreden. U kunt het nu nog betalen.

Edit 230709: Clara op MySpace

Monday, July 20, 2009

Training the mind 1: get out of the way!

Lojong is not a topic many buddhist practicioners I know find exciting from the word go. Most tend to be drawn to the Jedi-stuff first: mantras, mahmudra, dzogchen, enlightened joy. Meditation is good, too, as meditation will obviously instantly provide anyone the most extraordinary experiences of truth and beauty to be had this side of most narcotics laws.

Lojong, or Mind Training, on the other hand, tends to look and feel like slightly masochistic self-help advice for upstanding citizens who want to make a valuable contribution to society.
"Work on your strongest reactions first."
"Don't rely on sense of duty."
"Don't be competitive."
Not very T-shirt-worthy, ain't it?

But y'all hunker down in the dust now, and listen up to the Turtle: this is the stuff practice really comes down to. Don't be a bastard. Put others first. Don't blame the world for your own silly choices.

I am no teacher or realized bodhisattva or anything, but I feel I can pretty much guarantee that nobody will ever recognize the nature of mind without being willing to sit down and sort through the banana peels and sausage skins of their actual, daily lives. Gettin' the crud of samsara out from under the fingernails of your mind.

Now, much is being made of the fact that the dharma is supposed to make you feel happy. At least two high profile meditators are publicly known as the happiest man on earth: Matthieu Ricard and Mingyur Rinpoche. And it does, mah' friends, the dharma will make you insanely happy. But the practice of the dharma is not always about being happy right here and right now. Often it is about feeling shit.

And then doing something constructive with that.

The very first thing in the Mind Training is simply to get out of the way*. Realise that your life is not about what you happen to think you are or what you feel you want. Usually we spend incredible amounts of time keeping our emotional slacks from sliding down our thighs, becoming too tired to treat ourselves and the people around as the precious, vibrant jewels of life and awareness we are.

The important thing to remember here (and why Lojong ≠ masochism) is that we shouldn't feel we have to let go of our self-importance because it's bad. No, we want do it because it's silly. And useless. And, when you get right down to it, simply not true.

Brad Warner, a bloggin' obnoxious prick and Zen teacher, said something the other day which nicely fits with this premise:
The trick is to see that none of the ways you characterize yourself are ultimately any better than any other.

So, why this "Hello world, meet Lojong. She will be your new best friend."-post? Because, for the coming weeks, I plan† to go randomly through the 59 slogans of Chekawa Yeshe Dorje's famous Seven Point Mind Training and saying stuff about them on Blinde Schildpad. This should not be seen as teaching or commenting on these, actually rather precious, teachings. It's just to see if something interesting will happen. Stuff's happening in this blogger's life which is making Getting Out Of The Way a fait accomplis anyway, so I might as well shed my spiritual dandruff publicly.

What I will try to avoid (as I have done in this introductory article) is explaining stuff. Y'all got the Google if a word seems mysterious and the wise ones among you have teachers if life seems mysterious.

Go ask them.

*) Jetsünma's phrase.
†) "Do you want to make the Buddhas laugh? Tell them you have a plan..."

(images taken from Tower of Garbage, Cambodia, CC by leclercle)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

C'était un rendez-vous

Wat deze jongen doet is natuurlijk totaal onverantwoordelijk. Dit had zóóó verkeerd af kunnen lopen.

Maar het is wel tof.

C'était un rendez-vous (1976) by Claude Lelouch, via Kottke

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Specialization is for insects

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Basic research

Basic research is what I am doing
when I don't know what I am doing.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Like a moving mist

Look directly into your mind!
When looking it is not seen,
           an abscence of material substance.
Rest loosely within this absence.
Rest free and easy without fixation.

When a thought begins to occur
Recognize it directly
and then rest loosely within that.
It is naturally liberated without a doubt.

Look directly at outer objects!
They are the magical illusion of your own perception.
Without fixating, rest in wathever appears.
In between, let awareness remain freely.

Your thinking is inconcrete like a moving mist.
Do not fixate, let the thinking move on.
Be free from accepting and rejecting
           by recognizing your natural face-
That is called
           'thought arising as arising as meditation'.

-Gyalwa Götsangpa
uit: Empowerment and the Path of Liberation, p. 94

Monday, July 6, 2009

7 tonnes 2

(Life. It does not suck.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Continuous sounds [I]

start collecting continuous sounds: the rain.
there’s rain like the sounds of the rain
____on roofing
like the sound the rain on this thatch

or the sounds of the rain on tiles and on metal
and the sound of the rain running
off eaves and pouring through drainpipes

___(or when rain falls on lawns
___or on cold earth
___or in puddles and ponds and
___in ditches)

all the different sounds of the rain
and the sound of the rain on different days
like the sounds of the drizzles and downpours
___when tar
___slow drops
___will linger

and the memory of rain on different days
___this said,
rain is to oceans and great bodies of water
as ashes are to flesh
click to read Continuous sounds [II]

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Victory, schmictory

Het is gelukt, mensen! Sukses! Sukses! Lachsukses!

Eindelijk viert de rede zege in de voormalig oh-zo-logge kolos Europa! De even frisse als verfrissende huidige generatie volksvertegenwoordigers en bestuurders in Straatsbrusburgsel hebben rücksichtloos en met een Scarlet Pimpernel-achtige flair de vuige edicten van de verstofte plutocraten die decennialang (gelukkig onsuccesvol!!!) hebben getracht hun vadzige regenten-aarzen in úw soevereine pluche wortel te laten schieten*.

Het mag weer. Lelijke groente kopen.

Voelt u zich wel dankbaar? Want dat zou wel moeten, hoor. Eigenlijk, eigenlijk heeft uw democratisch gekozen volksvertegenwoordiger wel een blommetje of ansichtkaartje verdiend voor deze foeiharde slag in de ontbureaucratisering, vind u ook niet?

Ehh. Nee, hoor. Nee! Driewerf Nee!

Het kind dat stopt de hond te porren met een stok verdient daarom nog geen ijsje!

De jongetjes en meisjes Europarlementariërs houden hier fijn de gedachte in stand dat zij iets te zeggen zouden moeten hebben over de vorm van groente (nogmaals: de vorm van groente...). Ze bewaren met andere woorden het stokje nog maar even. Gewoon, voor de zekerheid. Je weet tenslotte nooit wanneer je nog's in een porrige bui bent...

Nu is dit nog allemaal niet eens heel verschrikkelijk verwerpelijk. Wat de Verspreide Keizertjes van de wereld (van Brown tot Ahmedinejad, van Canada tot Australië) met het internet en de vrije garing & verspreiding van informatie willen doen is veel, veel erger. Apocalyptically so.

Maar: witte sportsokken op iemand die niet op dát moment ook aan het sporten is, schreeuwen Mafkees! Geen geld aan lenen! Op dezelfde manier zijn dit soort euro-farts (en de merkwaardige jubeltoon waarmee de media d'r over meent te moeten berichten) kraakheldere tekenen dat er iets grondig, grondig mis is met de wereld.

*) Pun intended.
(plaatje: Carrots, CC by Ed Yourdon)