maanantai 23. toukokuuta 2022

What external marks can accomplish?


What external marks can accomplish?

I trained with Shodo Harada Roshi in his temple, Sogenji, in Japan. Harada Roshi has been the abbott of that temple for over 40 years and during this time has trained countless people from many countries of the world for longer or shorter periods. Harada Roshi is also the head of One Drop Zen-organization that has monasteries in US, India and Germany and many local groups in other countries. In short, Harada Roshi's teachings – dharma – is and has been touching countless people throughout his teaching career.

Harada Roshi is the dharma heir of Yamada Mumon Roshi, who was a renown Japanese zen master. I'd like to tell the story of the young Harada seeing Mumon Roshi the first time. I think this story is told in one of Harada's books, if you wish to read it in his own words.

Harada was a teenager, one day taking a bus after school, when the bus was boarded by a monk, glad in robes, who had a stunning energy to his presence. Harada noticed that this monk had special energy and presence to him, and secretly followed him to see where he went, perhaps to find out in which temple he lived.

These are the very first events that would develop into teacher-student relationship and Harada's monastic training that lasted 20 years under Mumon Roshi, which lead to Harada becoming a zen master himself, having impact on countless people, myself included.

I have often thought about this story, Harada Roshi seeing Mumon the first time and I come up with this burning question: Would the young Harada had even noticed Mumon, if Mumon had not been wearing monk's robes? Would the young Harada had noticed the pure energy radiating from Mumon had he not been wearing an attire that was different to what everyone else around was wearing? I am sure that the young Harada would have not noticed anything special in Mumon without his robes. It was the robes that initially caught Harada's attention which then lead to him noticing that this monk had special feel to him.

For years I have planned and contemplated ordination in our Pemako sangha. I have tested different attires that would be practical in the Western lifestyle, and yet be traditional, creative and not too stiff. Why?

It might very well be that myself or my ordained students are seen by someone like the young Harada in a shopping mall, in a bus or somewhere else that will then spark something inside that person, which will lead to her or him taking up spiritual practice and so on. I feel deeply that Westerners would benefit seeing practitioners and it is unfortunate that most Western practitioners and teachers keep their practice hidden from the public by not wearing the marks of a practitioner.

The dharma needs to reach Western people to take hold in the West, and one way to make that happen is to show people that you're a practitioner why looking like one because like the story exemplifies, being on display has the power to change the lives of thousands.

-Dudjom Vajra Rinpoche, 23.5.2022

torstai 19. toukokuuta 2022

Sandra's Experiences with Pemako


Sandra's Experiences with Pemako

I was already awakened when I started Pemako practice, but the practice changed incredibly fast and very much.

Before I came to Pemako, I had already been meditating for many years, often for many hours, and had many different meditation experiences. I also had experience with various physical forms of yoga. I even trained as a yoga teacher. Over the years I have learned various breathing techniques and also how to chant mantras. What has changed with and through the Pemako practice?

It may sound strange, but thanks to Rinpoche's and Ugi's guidance, I felt for the first time what real relaxation is. I used to think I had to do an incredible amount of work, sitting for hours and studying instructions, in order for anything to happen in my meditation practice. Since I really relax on the meditation cushion and don't just sit rigidly there, suddenly something happens.

Bhumis have opened up in a very short time. Nothing has changed and yet somehow everything has. I feel much more spaciousness around me, much more clarity, as if someone had vacuumed my aura. Everything around me feels wider and clearer. It's like layer after layer is showing up, with specific issues and challenges, then clearing. Many things and issues that used to trigger me a lot now feel lighter.Of course there are ups and downs, but the rashes don't feel as severe anymore. I can now feel Bodhicitta, the love for all beings, with every fiber of my being.

For years I suffered from pain, depression and insomnia, since I have been practicing relaxed, this has also changed for the better.It feels a bit like a light has gone on that is not going out anymore. I can feel the natural state and realize it is the same from a certain point whether I practice asanas or not.

I carry the practice in my heart and now use almost every moment to surrender to it. I feel like there is nothing left to look for. I just get to practice and let things be as they are.

I was searching and tense all the years before without realizing that it is much easier to let go and really relax the body when I trust my body. That was and is a key point for me.

A very good friend of mine, who is very sensitive and can perceive many things, recently said to me, somehow you feel very different. Your energy is completely different. She said it all feels so clarified and yet grounded. To me that sums up well what I experience through and in Pemako practice, clarity, the natural state and a good grounding.

I am very happy and grateful to be able to practice in this way.

Written by Sandra from Berlin, Germany

Buddha of Compassion Heals Traumas


Buddha of Compassion Heals Traumas

-OK, OK... I hear you, I hear you... I was bullied when I was a teenager for about 2 years by both older and younger kids at the higher elementary school. It really impacted me for decades afterwards, on top of all the other betrayals of trust and lack of emotional support as a child. These things really can and do make people's lives difficult all the way to the grave because typically traumas follow people wherever they go. Fearlessness, it begins to develop with bodhicitta when one's mind becomes more and more of that of Avalokiteshvara. Compassion is the energy and the mani mantra is the sound of fearlessness. The more you grow into it and unite with it, the more your fears and anxieties are replaced by fearlessness and effortless confidence. At some point, you'll notice that those thoughts and stress reactions just aren't there anymore, and you become free of them, free of generations of trauma that was passed on to you. In the process, you'll feel more and more empowered as the old patterns crumble off like hard clay. You should do 300 sessions of A BA HU Mani-mantra with tapping and combing, where you carefully cover the whole energy body with the mantra. In this way you can make the process faster and yet not too demanding.

Baba, 19.5.2022


keskiviikko 18. toukokuuta 2022

Yuki's Experiences with Pemako


Yuki's Experiences with Pemako

I have been practicing Pemako teaching for about one year in total. Before I met Pemako, I practiced many forms of mindfulness meditations for seven years. Unfortunately, most of them did not work well with me.  They left me with various side-effects in my nervous system and the longer I practiced them the worse they got.  Later, through the writings and Youtube videos by Kim Rinpoche, I found out that these side-effects are called prana-problems, mistakenly called Kundalini syndrome by the spiritual community at large, caused by willful use of attention or pranic energy, often based on "own-power" approach to spiritual practice, and that the remedy is in practices that tune into the energy of awareness instead, which are based on "other-power" approach, such as Guru yoga or even just a simple prayer.  Kim Rinpoche's advice seemed to have struck just the right blind-spot in my practice, and thanks to his advice, the problems I had are now mostly gone.

Interestingly, this was but one of many examples, where Pemako teaching addressed a particular difficulty I faced and provided me with a solution that seemed counterintuitive at first, but actually  went right to the heart of it.  Be it Two-part Formula for someone searching in vain to find awakening, Dynamic Concentration for someone struggling to stabilize the basic state after awakening, or thirteen Bhumi Model for someone uncertain of their extent of emptiness realization, one will find in Pemako teaching the right mix of ingredients that nudge one in the right direction regardless of where one is on the spiritual path that goes all the way to Buddhahood. 

Kim Rinpoche masterfully explains to us the basic principles behind the practices in a clear and pragmatic manner, but most importantly, takes our hands and directly points out our basic nature, so that we are not left in the dark whether in our understanding or in our own direct experience.  Such clear and deep understanding combined with pragmatism and intuitive and direct demonstration seem very rare and I am very grateful for having found Pemako teaching, Kim Rinpoche, and the Pemako Sangha.

Written by Yuki from Tokyo, Japan

tiistai 10. toukokuuta 2022

At the feet of my gurus


At the feet of my gurus

None of us is here forever. One day we will all die and whatever we did or didn't do in this life are just memories from the past. What we realize through dharma depends on a number of things, two of which are one's own effort applied to instructions given by one's teacher. I know that I will die one day but I have practiced well and thoroughly what my teachers and gurus taught me, and consequentially reaped the fruits of practice. For this reason, even when my body dies, I will not. I will be here, everywhere, within the reach of anyone who needs help, just like my gurus were available to me. I don't need to worry about death and or future lives because I have excellent dharmic connections that last forever, even if I voluntarily chose to take samsaric rebirth again. I have handled these connections extremely carefully and with full honesty all my life, and in return my gurus have taken care of me in a way no samsaric beings can. For this reason, even if my practice is finished, I will never stop bowing at the feet of my gurus. I will always be there to make sure that their kindness is matched with my service.

Kim Rinpoche, 10.5.2022

One-sidedness vs Free flow


One-sidedness vs Free flow

Buddhism and the whole spiritual scene does suffer of one-sidedness. This is due to too simplistic interpretation about the psyche of man which leads to an oversimplified view of enlightenment which leads to an oversimplified view of anything and everything, including politics. How spirituality is sold to us is all peace, love and happiness but rarely about discrimination or wrath, even if these expressions are in the most basic teachings of buddhism, hinduism and christianity.

If you look at the lives and actions of the founders and great masters of these religions, and the deities and how they express the enlightened mind, you'll quickly realize that oh, the teaching is about peace and love but this peace and love is and can also be expressed through discrimination, defense and wrathful action, sometimes even offense. Look at Jesus raging around and turning over tables in the temple, look at Padmasambhava sending one of his disciples to assassinate the local lord who was killing buddhists and destroying places of practice. These men, or masters, if you will, had tremendous fire and strong sense what is wrong or right. They were not peaceful sissies or indifferent morons with fixated views. They weren't raging all the time either.

I am not making these examples this up. These stories are told in the Bible and it's many versions and in the traditional Tibetan accounts. If we look at the way how spirituality is taught and presented to us, in that one-sided "peace, love and happiness" way, we can see that there is something missing here. If we contemplate and meditate this carefully, we come to realize that if we look at all things in the relative world through the lense of unconditional love and acceptance, we actually distort the reality (dharma), and so we actually remove ourselves from reality.

Spiritual people need to understand that theoretically spirituality is the solution to all problems of the world but actually it isn't and never can be. Life on this planet is a vast ongoing process involving numberless amount of people who all exercise their free will and resources of power in the way they see best. Politicians and activists, as well as one-sided spiritualists, create and get fixated with their views, parties and missions but unavoidably end up with a limited views and solutions that cannot but make themselves impotent when it comes to finding universal solutions. It's shortsighted, sad and stoopid.

Only free flow works. Free flow means not having fixed views yet knowing all available possibilities.

Kim Rinpoche, 10.5.2022

keskiviikko 4. toukokuuta 2022

It's the Same Mind, Be It Day or Night


It's the Same Mind, Be It Day or Night

Your issue is with emptiness realization not being complete. Besides, as you know I don't emphasize sleep and dream yoga exactly because, like you and many other students tell me their lifestyles are way too hectic, they often have too little sleep and develop insomnia. Our city lifestyle is not suitable for sleep yoga and this is why I don't emphasize it. It is perfectly possible to come to buddhahood without ever practicing sleep and dream yoga because when emptiness realization is complete it covers the whole mind. Both, the mind during the day and the mind during the night is the same mind! Having lucid dreams is great but from the point of view of the main practice, which is sunyata meditation, they aren't more beneficial or useful than being lucid during thoughts and daydreams. Only if some of my students had perfectly balanced and healthy lifestyle, I can recommend dream and sleep yoga but otherwise my advice is to perfect it all from the waking state.