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[This document can be acquired from a sub-directory coombspapers via anonymous FTP and/or COOMBSQUEST gopher on the node COOMBS.ANU.EDU.AU] The document's ftp filename and the full directory path are given in the coombspapers top level INDEX file] [This version: 2 August 1993] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- SAKYA LOSAL CHOE DZONG THE CLEAR MIND QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER No 8 May-July 1991 First Executive Committee is Elected During the General Meeting held in February, members of Sakya Losal Choe Dzong, the Tibetan Buddhist Society of Canberra elected its first Executive Committee. Congradulations and best wishes to Tim Brennan, President; John Chen, Secretary; Merril Cook, Treasurer; Carol Hall, Course Co-ordinator and Kerry Arthur, Public Liason Officer for their dedication to manage our Centre's affairs. They are currently working on the draft constitution of the Centre which will soon be circulated to all full members before incorporating with the A. C. T. Corporate Affairs Commission. Your working together as committee members of the Centre will indeed make a valuable contribution for the firm establishment of Dharma in Canberra and far beyond. We shall all rejoice in those people of the past whose unselfish dedication to the Dharma have brought the Dharma to most parts of the world including Australia. We also hope that our associating through the Centre will uplift our own spiritual growth and consequently may we always be guided by the Triple Gem to benefit many sentient beings. H.H. Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche to Visit Canberra As we have been hoping, His Holiness Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche has kindly accepted our invitation to visit Canberra despite his tight schedule. His Holiness is the Supreme Head of Drukpa Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and heads many monasteries in the Himalayan region stretching all the way from Ladakh to Bhutan. Accompanied by his parents and an attendant, He will arrive in Canberra on Thursday, 2nd of May. His Holiness will be conducting a weekend retreat at Wat Buddhadhamma monastery for the benefit of Dharma students from Canberra, Sydney and far beyond between 4-5 May. Sakya Tharpa Ling in Sydney is co-ordinating this retreat, please phone Jane Miknius (02) 8183695 for details as soon as possible. His programme in Canberra is: 5. 30 pm. Shared Vegetarian Dinner at 33 Bruxner Close, Gowrie. All members and friends are encouraged to join the dinner and are requested to bring something to share to welcome His Holiness and to recieve His blessings. 7. 30 pm. A Dharma Talk at Shakyamuni Buddhist Centre, 32 Archibald St. Lyneham. All welcome. Invitation to the Joint Vesak Celebration with Canberra Buddhists Ever since the world Buddhists celebrated the 2,500 Anniversary of the Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana (Great Passing Away) of the Buddha in 1956 in New, the full-moon of Vesak month has become the official date for world Buddhists to celebrate this triple sacred occassion. Some Mulim countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have also recognized this and declared public holiday ever since. This year some five Buddhist organizations in Canberra have come together to jointly celebrate Vesak as you can see from the enclosed leaflet. You and your friends are cordially invited to attend this celebration to acknowledge and thank Buddha for His wonderful gift of Dharma and meet many Buddha to bes. Bring some flowers and candles and if you can, please arrive by 7. 30 am. to help to set up the shrine. The Centre need everybody's help. Workshop on the Tibetan Game of Rebirth This is a most enjoyable, educational, psychological and therapeutic game invented by Sakya Pandita in 13th century. By playing this game, it teaches how people are reborn in a particular rebirth by their own thoughts and actions. Throughout the game, players toss a dice after at least 30 seconds of meditation at each turn and make a move accordingly. There are some 104 squares on the game board which represent different states of the mind corresponding to different rebirths. Each move takes a player to one of the squares to indicate the flow of his progress or downfall. At times a player can get stuck in one square for obvious reasons. The aim of the game is to get out of undesireable states of rebirth by making deliberate attempts to toss the dice for appropriate number so that higher rebirth and eventually higher stages of enlightenment can be achieved. While the result of the game does not predict the future of the players, each player will gain a clearer picture of their own minds, attitudes and their potentials. It is a pleasant way of learning the Dharma and can be very therapeutic. Date: Sun. 2 June, Time: 10 am to 4. 00 pm. Cost : $ 50 & $ 40 for members and concession. If you are interested, please register as soon as possible. For enquiries please call Lama on 2928150. Reflections on the workshop on Buddhism in Everyday life i) During this workshop, each of us shared some of our everyday difficulties; for example, with relationships and personality traits, whereupon Lama Choedak proceeded to unflod the eight steps of Eight-fold Noble Paths, which begins with the right view and ends with right meditation. He continued to allude to potential solutions to the difficulties we had mentioned earlier. So once again, the importance of meditation, especially regular meditation each day, was stressed. Developing equanimity towards ourselves and others involves untying the knots of anger and resentments of attachment that bind us to another person, whether we want it or not. Once we have untied the tortous knots of our own emotions through exploration of our mind, then we can choose the most skilful means of helping ourselves and others. In this way, I came to realize that morality is in fact something I choose because it helps me develop a more peaceful state of mind, rather than being something that is imposed on me. Once again the Triple Gem has done it ! Thanks Lama Choedak. Merril Cook ii) As an individual, I gained in several ways from our workshop on Buddhism in Everyday Life. The first came from Lama Choedak's skillful explanation of the Eightfold Noble Path as a framework to encompass the diversity of highly sensitive and personal topics we nominated for discussion. Lama Choedak gave us a context in which we, as lay practitioners, could meaningfully consider everyday matters such as relationship difficulties, divorce or separation, sexuality, alchohol, drug abuse, domestic violence and long-term family conflicts. The second benefit of this experience for me, came from the group's opennness in sharing such personal vulnerabilities and seeing, in others, the same awareness of dilemma I feel sometimes in trying to mold the "reality" of such issues with a growing commitment to a Buddhist way. The trust shared in this workshop have deepened relationships, increased mutual respect and added dimension to my links with our Centre. Carol Hall The Window of Right View to life If you live in a house from where you have a nice view, you are probably happy as far as the location of your house is concerned. The happiness of living in the House of Life depend on what kind of views you have to your life. In this issue you will read my thoughts about ways of applying one's understanding of the Dharma and meditation practice in everyday life by developing the right view to life. Those who have genuinely taken refuge in the Dharma and have developed self-discipline through meditation would have discovered a view which provides a clear understanding of what is going on in their lives and why. The teachings of the Dharma makes lot of sense as it shows how to see things in a correct manner without being obscured by any distorted views of life's confusion. The Buddha taught about eight interrelated techniques that were essential to provide as a guide to sustain one's spiritual inspiration and practice. Practising the Dharma according to its teachings depends on how much understanding we may have of the Eight Noble Paths. Just as we use the prescribed ingredients to prepare a meal according to a recipe, we must combine and integrate correctly all the eight skillful techniques. In this issue we will discuss two Buddhist principles which constitutes main factors to develop the right view. To understand anything and life as a whole, one must not be influenced by any narrow and limited views. If you have strong views, they will bring problems whether you believe them to be right or wrong. The views we hold have no substance in themselves for any change of the circumstances upon which the views were based will prove them unsubstantiated. While we don't like to be misled by others we do not want to be troubled by our own wrong views. Wrong views produce frustration and bring pain and suffering upon those around us. In fact all the sufferings are caused by our own ignorance. Our views or perceptions of any event or our existence in this world mold our attitudes, behaviours and experiences. Regardless of the correctness of our views, they create deep pain as long as we cling to them. So, it is essential to cultivate the right view. If we can associate ourselves with the following principles, we will live a full and wholesome life. In order to be able to see things in a correct manner, one must not forget the four basic and universal principles which constitute correct Buddhist views: 1) All living beings are subject to experience pain and dissatisfaction 2) Everything is impermanent 3) Everything is empty of inherent existence 4) Nirvana (Going beyond suffering) is peace It is important to understand sufferings and difficulties of living since they are part of your every day life. If you can fully understand the meaning of pain, you will not reject it. The best way to overcome pain is by accepting it. The non-acceptance of pain makes you to believe that you are the only one who is having a hard time and cannot have concern over other people. Skillful means of handling sufferings gives birth to compassion but struggle against it intensifies sufferings. The pain of non-acceptance is far more detrimental than the actual pain itself. It may sound unfair to have only pain and suffering when every effort of your life is made to not to have pain. It is natural for everybody to expect happiness, but it is unobtainable by merely avoiding pain. The destruction of pain can be fully realized when you overcome the fear of pain. The purpose of life remains confused until you overcame the fear of pain. The reason why people find difficult to accept pain is, just because they think it is bad and so they shouldn't have it. If there is going to be pain whether you do this or do something else or do neither, the very purpose of any action, is to accept its consequences. Being responsible for what you do and being able to accept its consequences makes a harmonious and productive life. Do not think that you did something wrong when you were undergoing some unexpected difficulties. What would have happened if you didn't do it at all? You would have had a problem of a different kind. Do not consider yourself to be unsuitable to whatever you are doing when difficulties persist, but remember the saying: No pain no gain. Try to cultivate a positive view of pain and its benefits. Do not reject pain for it is there for a reason. Your seriousness and sincerity of engaging to do something is being tested when you face difficulties which derives from your own effort and you are not going to blame your effort. The meaning and purpose of the difficulties seldom become clear until you learn to accept it. Rejection of pain and fear of it give you real trouble and you will not find freedom. This view that the pain is unavoidable and it is a fact of life, is one of the most crucial element in being able to maintain the right view even in extreme conflicting conditions. If you fail to accept things that are at hand, you will become unable to control your thoughts and speech, and will commit unskillful actions which you will regret later. Even if you meditate every morning, you must not forget this principle that suffering is very nature of existence. Sustaining this view prepares you to cope with the problems and can remain at ease. Learn to smile in times of trouble to prove changeability of the trouble and let go of attachment to happiness. Even if you found what you were looking for, it does not last long, so be prepared to let go. Even if you can make it seem last longer due to attachment, you will not be happy by holding onto a thing that will inevitably part you anyway. Suffering will not go away unless you honestly accept that parting is the ultimate outcome of all meetings. Basic acceptance that pain is the nature of life enables you to lighten your mental worry and anxiety by reflecting on the impermanence of all things. You were born alone and will die alone. You will also have to learn to stop blaming others and be responsible of your experiences since they are result of your own making. If you have a good recollection of past after so many years, why don't you try to remember some good and happy experiences derived from such meetings and then see whether it is going to be the same experiences of the past that you were so upset about. If you do this in relation to sufferings, you will find that you yourself are creating the sufferings based on your inability to let go of the past without having any of the circumstances under which the past suffering arose. So do not trace the past, unless you wanted to go that way. You will not be aware of the best moment of here and now if you are anticipating future. Even if you have obtained something pleasant without facing some pain, examine how long would it last. Appreciate everything when it occurs before it vanishes and do not expect things to stay unchanged as you want them to be. The acceptence of the law of impermanence will enable you to free from clinging and it provides a swift and smooth parting into freedom. You do not have to make deliberate attempts to change things but accept the changes that are occurring in and around you effortlessly and respect this course of nature's law. Do not try to stagnate your growth by holding onto things that are no longer part of you. You cannot have control over other people's actions to make you happy if you have difficulty controlling your own. Set yourself free from clinging, bitterness and unforgiveness as soon as the parting takes place, and do not wait to occur anything that is not yet due. Although it may not be obvious, parting is not only inevitable but it is extremely necessary as much as the meeting. Learn to see the movement and change of things when they occur and do not assume what should or should't happen to it. Do not be hard on yourself, take care of yourself. Do not appreciate only when good things that come to you but also when they go away from you so that you remain receptive. You will also set him free if you would let him go. Observe the fleeting nature of your own thoughts and attitudes which projects things on to changeable objects and yet you are trying to make them stand still. Do not have doubts of the result of an action if you are doing it right. Even if you did something wrong, why should you be upset if you can understand that it is not happening now and will not happen again. If you have helped somebody in the past, do not think when and how they should repay you since he or she may be busy helping someone else. If friends have become what they were not, check what the foes will become if you don't hold them to be so. When trees grow taller to provide you shade, energy and coolness, examine what are you giving to the world as you grow older. When the busy hours of a worker's day turns into nothing more than a sleepy night, let him sleep soundly for it may be the only thing he can enjoy for himself and so that he can be ready for another hard day. When chopping woods, do not hold an axe tight unless you do not want to use it again. Do not try too hard in the beginning, for you may loose interest in your goals. Do not speed for a short distance as in a race to exhaust yourself but walk slowly and steadily to energize yourself wherever you might be going. Just talking to myself. L.C. MAY - JULY 1991 SPIRITUAL CALENDAR May Thurs. 2, 5.30 pm. Shared Vegetarian Dinner to Welcome H. H. Drukchen and his entourage 7. 30 pm. A Public Dharma Talk at Shakyamuni Buddhist Centre Sat. 18, 9. 30 - 4.00 pm. Joint Vesak Celebration, Albert Hall, Yarralumla Sun. 19, 7.00 pm. White Tara Practice Tue. 28 6.00 am. Full-moon Precept Ceremony and 16 Arhat Puja (Actual Tibetan Vesak Day) June Sun. 2, 10 am. - 4. 00 pm. Workshop on Tibetan Game of Rebirth Sun. 16, 7. 00 pm. White Tara Practice Wed. 26, 6. 00 am. Full-moon Precept Ceremony and 16 Arhat Puja July Sat. 6, Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Sun. 14, 7. 00 pm. White Tara practice Fri. 26, 6. 00 am. Full-moon Precept Ceremony and 16 Arhat Puja Sakya Losal Choe-Dzong, 33 Bruxner Cl. Gowrie, ph. 2925622 ----------------------------------------------------- MEMBERSHIP AND COURSE REGISTRATION FORM Treasurer, Sakya Losal Choe Dzong, Centre For Tibetan Buddhist Studies, P.O. Box 3430, Manuka ACT 2603 Name.................................................... Address....................................................... Phone .................................. I wish to subsribe The Clear Mind Quarterly Newsletter $ 15.00 " become a Full Member to support the Centre $ 50.00 P. A. " sponsor a Tibetan (Monk, nun, girl, boy) $ 25.00 P. M. " be registered for the Workshop on Game of Rebirth $ 50/40 " contribute for the Dharma Building Fund $.............. Herewith my cheque /money order to S. L. C. TOTAL $.............. If undelivered return to: Sakya Losal Choe-Dzong, Centre For Tibetan Buddhist Studies P. O. Box 3430, Manuka A. C. T. 2603 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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