Integrating practice and life

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby pink_trike » Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:38 am

Chris wrote:Hello Pink,

In my job I sometimes do counseling with women who have new babies in their homes. Often they are in troubled relationships where there is, at the least, verbal and emotional abuse. Apart from traditional counselling methods CBT etc., I often intersperse stories such as my 'version' of the Akkosa Sutta (which has substitute modern names for the 'host' and the 'rude guest' [the partner]) - Walshe trans. below - and they always "get it". It is teaching them that insults and cruel words (emotional and psychological abuse) belong to the perpetrator not to the subject of the abuse. i.e. it can only hurt if she 'accepts' and 'owns' the insults and demeaning words herself.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

I'm sure, with a little thought, you could teach and illustrate any of the Buddha's teachings without alluding to any religious tradition.

I do hope the Buddha doesn't mind being called 'Malcolm' and the abuser being called 'Joe' in the story. :tongue:

metta



Thanks. :smile: I'm going to construct a small practice around this.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby pink_trike » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:15 am

zavk wrote:Hi Pink

I don't really have anything new to add to what has already been suggested. I too find the idea of "experiencing one's present experience as it is" a pithy way of summarising what we are doing in Buddhist practice. I've found it helpful to inhabit my body whenever I'm waiting in a queue or in an elevator or when I'm walking. I do this by bringing awareness to the sensations on the soles of my feet, the sensation of standing, of sitting, the feeling of weight, etc, etc. These postures or actions serve as anchors for me to experience the present moment as it presents itself to consciousness.

Thanks. :smile: I'll probably describe it like this:

"Nobody likes to wait in line, everyone is so rushed these days. Here's a suggestion: every time you see a line that you're going to have to wait in, call it "Time Out!" Waiting lines are a great time and place to take a slow deep breath, slowly let it out, and check in with the mind and body. As you're standing there, note the sensations on the soles of my feet, the sensation of standing, of sitting, the feeling of weight. Note the difference in speed between the waiting line and that part of you that wants to go faster. Don't try to change anything, just hang out and do a reality check. It's a great alternative to hurry sickness. You may even end up looking forward to "Time Out! lines..."

...or something like this.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby zavk » Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:20 am

pink_trike wrote:
Chris wrote:Hello Pink,

In my job I sometimes do counseling with women who have new babies in their homes. Often they are in troubled relationships where there is, at the least, verbal and emotional abuse. Apart from traditional counselling methods CBT etc., I often intersperse stories such as my 'version' of the Akkosa Sutta (which has substitute modern names for the 'host' and the 'rude guest' [the partner]) - Walshe trans. below - and they always "get it". It is teaching them that insults and cruel words (emotional and psychological abuse) belong to the perpetrator not to the subject of the abuse. i.e. it can only hurt if she 'accepts' and 'owns' the insults and demeaning words herself.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

I'm sure, with a little thought, you could teach and illustrate any of the Buddha's teachings without alluding to any religious tradition.

I do hope the Buddha doesn't mind being called 'Malcolm' and the abuser being called 'Joe' in the story. :tongue:

metta



Thanks. :smile: I'm going to construct a small practice around this.


Hey Pink

That's a great suggestion by Chris. Along with Retro's similie, I think it is a good way of getting the audience to reflect on how one's perception of any given set of circumstances strongly influences one's actions. The most challenging bit I suppose is getting them to see how our perception at any given moment is wholly arbitrary--that it need not be so.

If I may share an exercise that I do with my students:

I would tell them to jot down on a piece of paper the first impressions that come to them when I say words like 'dog', 'tree', 'car'. I would then ask them one by one what they have written down. As expected I'd always find a variety of responses. For some people, the word 'dog' reminds them of their family pet. Some of them would think of specific breeds of dogs, some of them would think of specifics parts of a dog like tail, fur, etc. Yet others would experience feelings like love or even fear. The same would go for words like tree (which usually elicits responses like bark, leaf, green, oxygen, nature, fuel, environment) and car (which usually elicits responses like wheels, speed, fuel, crash, red, freedom, Ferrari).

After going through each person's response, I would then point out to them that if language is merely something that describes the world as it exists 'out there'--if meaning is something that exists independently--then everyone would perceive the same thing when they hear or read the words 'dog', 'tree' and 'car'. But as we can see in this exercise, it is not the case.

I would sometimes also add that a person for whom tree signifies the raw material for fuel, construction, etc, would experience a forest very differently from another person for whom 'tree' signifies nature, life, etc.

I use this exercise to get the students thinking about the workings of language, representation, and the meaning-making process. However, I think it can also be used to address Dhammic themes.

All the best.
With metta,
zavk
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby christopher::: » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:32 am

zavk wrote:
That's a great suggestion by Chris. Along with Retro's similie, I think it is a good way of getting the audience to reflect on how one's perception of any given set of circumstances strongly influences one's actions. The most challenging bit I suppose is getting them to see how our perception at any given moment is wholly arbitrary--that it need not be so.


Ain't that the truth.

Pink, do you have any plan to do pair or small group activities, as zavk just presented? That's a great way to keep your audience tuned in to the ideas being shared. You could pass out a story or cartoon, then let them discuss what it means and ask folks to share their thoughts, rather then you explaining it to them.

:smile:
Last edited by christopher::: on Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby pink_trike » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:37 am

zavk wrote:
Hey Pink

That's a great suggestion by Chris. Along with Retro's similie, I think it is a good way of getting the audience to reflect on how one's perception of any given set of circumstances strongly influences one's actions. The most challenging bit I suppose is getting them to see how our perception at any given moment is wholly arbitrary--that it need not be so.

If I may share an exercise that I do with my students:

I would tell them to jot down on a piece of paper the first impressions that come to them when I say words like 'dog', 'tree', 'car'. I would then ask them one by one what they have written down. As expected I'd always find a variety of responses. For some people, the word 'dog' reminds them of their family pet. Some of them would think of specific breeds of dogs, some of them would think of specifics parts of a dog like tail, fur, etc. Yet others would experience feelings like love or even fear. The same would go for words like tree (which usually elicits responses like bark, leaf, green, oxygen, nature, fuel, environment) and car (which usually elicits responses like wheels, speed, fuel, crash, red, freedom, Ferrari).

After going through each person's response, I would then point out to them that if language is merely something that describes the world as it exists 'out there'--if meaning is something that exists independently--then everyone would perceive the same thing when they hear or read the words 'dog', 'tree' and 'car'. But as we can see in this exercise, it is not the case.

I would sometimes also add that a person for whom tree signifies the raw material for fuel, construction, etc, would experience a forest very differently from another person for whom 'tree' signifies nature, life, etc.

I use this exercise to get the students thinking about the workings of language, representation, and the meaning-making process. However, I think it can also be used to address Dhammic themes.

All the best.

Hi Zavk,

Great exercise and important objective. I used to use this technique when I was doing group process facilitation in order to show how people who experience the same circumstances or events can have very different perceptions of it, but I did it with large photographs of human faces. I'd show the group a picture of a face and ask them to describe what emotion the person in the photo was experiencing. The results would vary widely.

This particular presentation I'm doing is in written form so I'm using a variation of the group of blind men and the elephant story, a simple variation of the four main characters in Rashomon, and also The Emperor's New Clothes story. I'm also asking them to imagine describing the color green to a blind person in order to break them out of comfortable and habitual perceptual limitations...the mind without reference points.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby pink_trike » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:51 am

christopher::: wrote:
zavk wrote:
That's a great suggestion by Chris. Along with Retro's similie, I think it is a good way of getting the audience to reflect on how one's perception of any given set of circumstances strongly influences one's actions. The most challenging bit I suppose is getting them to see how our perception at any given moment is wholly arbitrary--that it need not be so.


Ain't that the truth.

Pink, do you have any plan to do pair or small group activities, as zavk just presented?

:smile:

No, this is the same written project I told you about quite a while ago. I'm still plodding along but almost finished with the first draft.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby pink_trike » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:54 am

christopher::: wrote:Brushing teeth is an excellent example, Jack, as I've also noticed that how mindfully i do it directly relates to the health of my teeth and gums. Writing is another activity where mindfulness effects outcome. When I write by hand i do so slowly and carefully. That's how i developed good handwriting. Same with art, anyone who does art will find a dramatic improvement if you cultivate equanimity, slow down and draw mindfully.

With driving equanimity and mindfulness means one is less likely to get into an accident. Cooking is an activity I enjoy doing mindfully. Also washing and waxing the car, exercise... One can use the body and mind as frames of reference while swimming, walking, cleaning, running, yoga, weight lifting, etc...

When communicating one needs to be calm and mindful to really listen to people. As Steven Covey points out one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

You could also make a joke about men, women and toilets at night. Women who complain they sit down on an open toilet seat were not being mindful, they should have looked first carefully before sitting down. And men of course can be mindful to put seats down and observe with care where they aim.

On a different track, I find the short Zen stories are great ways to communicate dharma principles. The story of the professor who doesnt empty his cup, and so the zen teacher pours till it overflows. The story of the monk who falls off a mountain, grabs a branch, sees a tiger below waiting to eat him and then notices a delicious strawberry, etc...

My favorite (and one that a lot of nonBuddhists have enjoyed) is the story of the two monks Tanzan and Ekido where Tanzan picks up a women to help her across a puddle and then Ekido gets really angry, after Tanzan had already put her down... The story provides a nice metaphor for how most of us carry around emotions and resentment longer then we need to.... I told that to family members one year, when there were some family quarrels, and found it hit a cord with them, I heard my aunt actually repeat the story to someone else...

Hope something above will be helpful, PT.

:smile:


These are all great suggestions. I'm going to construct micro practices around some of them. thanks.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Integrating practice and life

Postby christopher::: » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:56 am

pink_trike wrote:These are all great suggestions. I'm going to construct micro practices around some of them. thanks.


Glad to be of service. Good luck with everything!

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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