Happy Dharma Day

On the first fill moon in July, Buddhists around the world celebrate Dharma Day.

Dharma Day, a Buddhist celebration, marks the day when the Buddha began teaching.  Celebrated by Buddhists worldwide, it’s considered a time to reflect on the qualities of the Buddha and express gratitude for his teachings which offer humanity a way to find release from its bonds. Dharma refers to the body of the Buddha’s teachings.

Dharma Day is one of the most important dates in the Buddhist calendar as it marks the day the religion was established. It is usually celebrated with readings from the Buddhist scriptures, and is an opportunity to reflect deeply on their content. Also known as Asalha Puja, Dharma Day falls during the eighth month of the traditional Indian calendar.

Dharma day is so sacred to Buddhists as they feel after celebrating this day their spirit has been purified leaving them with peace in their hearts. To Buddhists Dharma day is a day of peace away from the outside world.

Unfortunately, we do not have the fortune enough to have the day off to seek our peace away from the outside world.  Instead, we take what we can get!  After work Eric and I will begin our celebration.  We will prepare our shrine in our meditation/music room and start off with a meditation.  We then read some of Buddha’s teachings to each other and reflect on the meanings and how to incorporate them into our daily lives.  Followed by some relaxing hot tea and more reflection.  No doubt we will go out and gaze upon and appreciate the beauty of the full moon as well.

buddha day2 buddha-quote-proposition-zen

“Here it is – – right now.  Start thinking about it and you’ll miss it.”

“Many people look for happiness outside themselves, but true happiness must come from inside us.”

“Every waking second is a chance to look past who you think you are right through to who you truly are.”

“Hope is itself a species of happiness and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.”

“The greatest part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.”

“Be true to yourself – if something makes you unhappy, try something else.”

“Make it a point to be happy to be here.  The first thought of the day should be positive and special.”

“To have peace, we must first have understanding.  Understanding is not possible without gentle, loving communication.”

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My Newest Artwork – AHIMSA

Ahimsa – Simply stated, Non Violence.  Non Violence in thought, Non Violence in action and Non Violence in speech.  This is a Hindu term which means the absence from violence either by thought, word or deed.  It implies compassion, respect and loving kindness to all living beings.

I knew I wanted my next tattoo to symbolize and embody this as this is how I strive to live my life.  It is imperative to develop a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love.  Compassion is such a major theme in my life and one word that describes me perfectly.

So when I was contemplating my newest piece of artwork, I did not have any difficulties in coming to a decision about this.  It is sanscrit for Ahimsa.  Each of my tattoos has immense meaning to me and represents a certain stage or turning point in my life.  Works of art that I am proud to permanently wear for the eternity of this body.

Here is the outline completed without the shading

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And the finished piece of art!

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This piece of art was completed by Lisa McLeod (click to view her facebook page and other works of art).  She is not only a tattoo artist, she is also an artist.  She specialized in custom work and has many other projects such as children’s books and art for surfboards.  Check out her stuff!  If you are looking for some tattoo art work done in the Hampton Roads area, she is working on her portfolio and has a lot of great good deals!

 

A Different Kind of Celebration – Buddha Day

A Different Kind of Celebration – Buddha Day

Each year, I republish my blog on Buddha Day, with some updates and modifications. 

 

Today, Wednesday May 14th, 2014 is a very special day for those of the Buddhist faith.  Whether you are a Buddhist, or like me and just identify and believe in the loving compassion teachings of the Buddha, today is a day to acknowledge and celebrate.  Buddha Day, also known as Vesak, Vesakha or Wesak, is a celebration that encompasses the birth of the Buddha, his enlightenment Nirvana and his passing away, all on the same day.  This day falls on the full moon of the 5th month of the lunar calendar, varying dates each year.  This year it falls on May 14th.   Many Buddhist celebrations occur during the full moon.   This day is one of the most important observances and celebrations for Buddhists across the world.  Vesak offers Buddhists an opportunity to reflect on the life and teachings of the Buddha and also highlights the potential for inner peace and happiness that lies within us all as well as a day for Buddhists to reaffirm their commitment to living a moral and compassionate lifestyle.  As Eric reminds me, it is not how he died but it is a day to reflect on how he lived and the magnitude of his teachings, and that is the reason we celebrate.


“The significance of Vesak lies with the Buddha and his universal peace message to mankind.”
~Venerable Mahinda

Most Buddhist countries declare this day a Buddhist Holiday and a day to remember the significant events in Buddha’s life.  Many Buddhists acknowledge this event by visiting the Vihara, or Buddhist Monistary.  This could also simply mean a secluded place in which to walk, reflect and meditate if there is no Monistary close to visit.  During this visit to the Vihara, Buddhists would be dressed in white and bring flowers and incense or candles to pay respect to the Buddha.  These symbolic offerings are to be a reminder that just as the beautiful flowers wither and die and the candles soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction.  Many devout Buddhists would spend the day in the Vihara, from morning to night, taking a retreat from their daily schedule, meditating, chanting and participating in Dharma Talk or teachings of the Buddha.  In many Buddhist countries selling and consuming of meat and alcohol is prohibited during the week of Vesak and the government will even closes down all liquor shops and slaughter houses.   Birds, insects and animals are released by the thousands in a symbolic act of liberation, giving freedom to those in captivity and tortured against their will.  This is considered an act of generosity, symbolic of generating good karma. The act also symbolizes the Buddha’s compassion for all things.  While many sects of Buddhism typically calls for a vegetarian diet, there are also other sects which do not require this.  During this time Buddhists who are not vegetarian refrain from eating meat. Buddhists make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind and are encouraged to eat only vegetarian food for the day.

To celebrate this day and the life and teachings of the Great Buddha, it is not necessary to go to a temple and participate in rituals if you can’t, don’t have access or would rather not.  Many would prefer a day or even a moment of solitary reflection.  It is not about the specifics in how one celebrates this day or the rituals performed, it is the simple act of recognizing  and expressing gratitude to the Buddha for the teachings he has given.  It is really all about personal preference and what is best for you as an individual.  Maybe some would prefer a simple ceremony in front of a small shrine at home, or maybe a brief reflection on the qualities and teachings of the Buddha along with meditation.

I have always admired and appreciated the teachings of Buddhism.  When I met Eric and two of my most exciting surprises about him was that he loved wine and he was a Buddhist!  He and I begun to discuss some of our Buddhist ideals and rituals and he taught me about the different days of celebrations as well as sharing his own personal rituals and ways to celebrate and give respect to the teachings with me.  He is the one who taught me about Buddha Day and all other Buddhist holidays and from there i researched to find out more.

This will be our fifth year together  and this year, just as last year Eric will acknowledge and pay respect to this tradition and lifestyle by refraining from eating meat for the month prior, taking it a step further than just abstaining for the single day but also the day before and the day after.

We do not have the opportunity to live in a Buddhist country and have the day off so we will begin our evening by having a Buddhist feast consisting of Sushi (vegetarian Sushi for me) and miso soup, just as Eric and I  ritualistically do every year.  Then we will have our own ceremony of reading from our Buddhism books together and meditating  in front of our shrine.     I am thankful, grateful and appreciative that Eric has shared his religion, tradition and rituals with me and we have incorporated this as part of our lifestyle together.

Even if you are not Buddhist or have never studied any of Buddha’s teachings, everyone can learn a lot from the Great and Wise Buddha.  In today’s society we are killing each other, we are killing our planet in which we live.  In my opinion, there is a huge lack of compassion and consideration in everyday human life.    What can we learn from Buddha?  That non-violent living is the way to go.  That we need more peace, love and compassion to create the positive energy our society is lacking, and to help promote good Karma throughout our lives.  We need to expel hatred, greed and stupidity from our lifestyles.

“He who lives only for pleasures, and whose soul is not in harmony, who considers not the food he eats, is idle, and has not the power of virtue — such a man is moved by mara (evil one), is moved by selfish temptations, even as a weak tree is shaken by the wind.”  Buddha

1325 Buddhist Ways to Be Happy – Day Two

Loving

 

“From a quiet, loving place, bless all creation.  Just quiet the mind and send love out to the ends of the universe, unconditionally.  What you give is what you get.  This is an exercise to strengthen your ability to love.”

“Begin right now by engaging love and compassion however you can – not tomorrow but today.”

“Let the people in your life, especially your life partner, be as they are.  They have to go through whatever their life demands of them.  Love them without wanting them to be anything other than what they are.  Love them without controlling them.”

 

 

Buddhist Ways To Be Happy – Day One, Dharma Day

Today, the full moon in July, I acknowledge and celebrate Dharma Day.  What a fitting day to start daily posts from “1325 Buddhist Ways to be Happy”  by Barbara Ann Kipfer

Finding Peace, Page 47

“Peace begins with us.  You are not powerless on this planet; you can embrace a spiritual path that brings tranquility to your heart and mind, which is the first step toward bringing peace to the world.  Cultivated inner calmness will beget gentle speech and moral actions, such as gentle caring for others.  When you bring the qualities of peace to your communications, you will radiate peace out into the world.”

“Here it is – – right now.  Start thinking about it and you’ll miss it.”

“Many people look for happiness outside themselves, but true happiness must come from inside us.”

“Every waking second is a chance to look past who you think you are right through to who you truly are.”

“Hope is itself a species of happiness and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords.”

“The greatest part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.”

“Be true to yourself – if something makes you unhappy, try something else.”

“Make it a point to be happy to be here.  The first thought of the day should be positive and special.”

“To have peace, we must first have understanding.  Understanding is not possible without gentle, loving communication.”

 

 

Dharma Day

Dharma Day, a Buddhist celebration, marks the day when the Buddha began teaching.  Celebrated by Buddhists worldwide, it’s considered a time to reflect on the qualities of the Buddha and express gratitude for his teachings which offer humanity a way to find release from its bonds. Dharma refers to the body of the Buddha’s teachings.

Dharma Day is one of the most important dates in the Buddhist calendar as it marks the day the religion was established. It is usually celebrated with readings from the Buddhist scriptures, and is an opportunity to reflect deeply on their content. Also known as Asalha Puja, Dharma Day falls during the eighth month of the traditional Indian calendar.

Dharma day is so sacred to Buddhists as they feel after celebrating this day their spirit has been purified leaving them with peace in their hearts. To Buddhists Dharma day is a day of peace away from the outside world.

The Meaning of Life… or, What Love Means To Me

Two separate titles for one single blog.  I had a hard time deciding between the two titles and it addresses both, therefore the double title.

A question that everyone asks at least one point in their lives… What is the meaning of life?

Here is my take on it.  I believe that the answer to this question is different for each person.  And I also believe it is different for each life you live.  As one who fully believes in reincarnation, I believe that each life you live you have a different mission or goal in life to accomplish.  Some main goal or issue to reach and address in an attempt to reach your ultimate nirvana.

For some people their goal for this life is to obtain success, freedom, peace, confidence, family, love, or a plethora of other personal attributes.  Others it may be to reduce anger or temper issues or hatred.  For others it may be a religious aspect.  But rather than get into a huge, long philosophical religious rant, I want to tell you what it means to me.

To me, in this life the answer to that question is… Love.

From a young age, people search for and seek out someone to share experiences with.  Whether it be friends or romantic interests, heterosexual or homosexual, just about every single person has the same major goals in common.  Shelter, nourishment, and companionship.  People spend their lives looking for companionship, for the perfect man or woman, for their soul mate.  Few are lucky to find that person early, to share their lives with.  Most go through one after another, searching most of their lives for the perfect compliment to themselves.

Love is the most important thing.  It can be the best thing you have ever experienced and alternately the worst.  It is like trial and error.  You go through several different kinds of people, learning what you want and do not want out of that perfect partner.  When you finally do find him or her you create a relationship.  You grow and nourish it, and fight to keep them.  It takes daily effort.

When I love, I love with my whole heart, mind, body and soul.  I put everything I have into that relationship.  When something causes stress or turmoil in that relationship it turns my entire world upside down.   I am a very emotional person by nature, and when something happens to test my emotions even further I am even more of an emotional roller coaster than typical.  I become more vulnerable and much more sensitive to things that may not bother me as much on a normal, typical day for me.

 

 

My Challenge For “This Life”

Maybe I need to look at this whole thing more as a challenge.  As a test of my strength.  Of all the things that I have learned over the years and all the lessons I have had to teach myself.  Maybe it is meant to be a reminder to me of the strong independent woman who I am.

In my life, my biggest weaknesses/areas for growth are my patience and my inability to control my emotions.  This is a test of both of those things.  In order to become my best self, I must overcome all obstacles, especially those that are the most difficult to me.  If I am unable to achieve that goal in this live, I am subject to dealing with these same struggles in my next life, and each life after that until I finally am able to overcome.

I do believe that each life we are given (because I fully believe in reincarnation) we have a goal to work towards.  An area within ourselves to overcome and perfect.  Maybe this is my goal for this current life here on earth.

I have strength, I have spirit, I have persistence, dedication and determination.  My thoughts are what can become destructive.  This too, is a challenge I can overcome.