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Thread: When opportunities present themselves...

  1. #1
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Rural Queensland, Australia

    When opportunities present themselves...

    Good evening Comrades
    I've been presented with an opportunity that is relatable to my Practice that I wish to share.
    I currently struggle to breathe and it in this struggle where I see a Practice opportunity.
    My Practice is not a hobby. My Practice is not a weekend activity. My Practice is not sitting facing a wall every morning.
    My practice is every minute of every day, the good bad and ugly.
    Today while being reminded to breathe deeply and slow down my speech and calm down by my partner while talking with my GP an practice opportunity presented itself within this struggle.
    Deep Breathing. Slow Talking. Focus On Deep Controlled Breathing.
    These words now are writ large where I can read them even without my glasses. These words along with gentle reminders from my partner are where practice opportunities have been identified.
    I'm naturally someone who doesn't take rubbish from anyone. I won't back down from confrontation and don't hesitate to defend those who are less able to defend themselves.
    I see these traits as valuable to have in my toolbox and for positive and negative they have served me well.
    But...
    I have taken Jukai and vowed to live my life in accordance with the Bodhisattva Vows.
    This means that elements of my past that have served me well need to be tweaked, blunted or eliminated in order for me to fulfill my obligation to the Vows I've taken.
    This is where practice opportunities are always sought.
    Comrades, breathing really is a challenge at this time and the words written on the signs above and guidance from my partner are the identified practice opportunities.
    Gentle speech that comes from a place where thought has gone into it before speaking in my opinion are positive traits that can serve me well on my Zen Buddhism journey. So as I struggle to breathe focusing on Deep Controlled Breathing and Slow Talking I am hoping that this period of recovery will turn these much needed current tools into positive habits that will carry through to my daily practice upon recovery.
    Be well comrades and look for opportunities to be better and do better.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  2. #2
    Thank-you for this reminder, Onka.

    Be well and happy workers day!

    Gassho

    Heiso
    StLah

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Thank you for sharing Onka, I hope one day to take Jukai, and reading your posts are a great inspiration and reassurance that I'm currently on the right path. I too try to live by the precepts, but when one has lived a large part of their life in stark contrast to these precepts, sometimes learned behavior tries to take over. I then sit and breathe and I get up and realize that I'm human, and that the most important thing is moving forward and bringing as much light and love into the world as possible. I appreciate you sharing your hardships and your practice with everyone here. Much metta to you and yours my friend.

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH

  4. #4
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heiso View Post
    Thank-you for this reminder, Onka.

    Be well and happy workers day!

    Gassho

    Heiso
    StLah

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk
    Thank you Comrade.
    May 1 is also the day my partner and I decided should be our anniversary. 15 years! Then again what other date would 2 anarchists have as the perfect anniversary date?
    Be well comrade
    For Anarchy and Peace
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  5. #5
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlappyPenguin View Post
    Thank you for sharing Onka, I hope one day to take Jukai, and reading your posts are a great inspiration and reassurance that I'm currently on the right path. I too try to live by the precepts, but when one has lived a large part of their life in stark contrast to these precepts, sometimes learned behavior tries to take over. I then sit and breathe and I get up and realize that I'm human, and that the most important thing is moving forward and bringing as much light and love into the world as possible. I appreciate you sharing your hardships and your practice with everyone here. Much metta to you and yours my friend.

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH
    I'm humbled by your words Joshua.
    I'm a new follower of the Buddha Dharma myself and although pretty far from perfect and even further away from being Dharma savvy I'm pleased that the way I express myself via barely coherent word salads resonate or are relatable.
    Life isn't pretty and never has been for me. Trying to live every day according to the Precepts isn't easy. We live in real life not Zenny online life and as such we're challenged and challenge ourselves every day.
    For me, I knew that something significant in my life needed to change. I needed to do better and be better. Jukai was a challenge. A process. Nothing more. Nothing less.
    Yes I felt that I had achieved something positive in that process, something that would benefit others as a result of benefiting me but that was what I needed.
    I didn't give a fudge about getting a fancy Dharma name, in fact Jundo will tell you that at one point I asked for my name to be reverted back to my real name Anna.
    In typical Jundo fashion he replied "Sorry. No take backs".
    My Dharma name is perfect and this is reflected by the fact that during the ceremony when names were read out a couple of our cheeky Unsui reached out and with a wry smile suggested that they knew that it was me who was bestowed On Ka - Calm Fires.
    As for Jukai itself Joshua and its relationship to your journey I reiterate what Jundo and others say regularly... I'll paraphrase... Jukai, Ordination, fancy robes and weird Japanese names are just that. If you identify with the Precepts and feel comfortable on this Path then it's what you carry in your heart and how you try to manifest the teachings with every interaction you have with the world that matters.
    The strength of Treeleaf is that we really are all equal. Many more experienced than myself but just as equal.
    Fun fact: I even took Jundo our beloved Roshi to task on a few things during my Jukai study haha. I'm sure I provided a few interesting conversations behind the scenes but this demonstrates how things roll around here.
    I'll finish this barely coherent word salad by saying that I love that you use the phrase "moving forward". These words are ones I tell myself aloud every single day. Every day is an opportunity to learn something and to do and be better. I take ownership of the past but I am always moving forward.
    Be well comrade.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  6. #6
    Oh Onka, I do hope you will be able to breathe easy soon. I have never had so much trouble

    As a part of today's retreat I joined you laying down and focusing on deep breathing to get asthma under control. At least I think it's asthma - I'm unwilling to go to the hospital and waste a day in queues to get tested just to be given the same medicine my pharmacist already has me on. In any case, today I spent an unknown time doing deep long breathing followed by a long nap. Going to be taking my medicine now as it's getting worse and I'd like to not wake up at night struggling to get air.

    It's not emphasized so much by most Soto teachers, but as a part of the Thai tradition here, I practice mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) a fair bit. It has proved particularly useful in times of pain and sickness, and indispensable when I'm having trouble breathing. There's nothing like tight airways to make one appreciate being able to breathe.

    May you be at peace in all your ills comrade.

    Gassho,

    Nanrin

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    I'm humbled by your words Joshua.
    I'm a new follower of the Buddha Dharma myself and although pretty far from perfect and even further away from being Dharma savvy I'm pleased that the way I express myself via barely coherent word salads resonate or are relatable.
    Life isn't pretty and never has been for me. Trying to live every day according to the Precepts isn't easy. We live in real life not Zenny online life and as such we're challenged and challenge ourselves every day.
    For me, I knew that something significant in my life needed to change. I needed to do better and be better. Jukai was a challenge. A process. Nothing more. Nothing less.
    Yes I felt that I had achieved something positive in that process, something that would benefit others as a result of benefiting me but that was what I needed.
    I didn't give a fudge about getting a fancy Dharma name, in fact Jundo will tell you that at one point I asked for my name to be reverted back to my real name Anna.
    In typical Jundo fashion he replied "Sorry. No take backs".
    My Dharma name is perfect and this is reflected by the fact that during the ceremony when names were read out a couple of our cheeky Unsui reached out and with a wry smile suggested that they knew that it was me who was bestowed On Ka - Calm Fires.
    As for Jukai itself Joshua and its relationship to your journey I reiterate what Jundo and others say regularly... I'll paraphrase... Jukai, Ordination, fancy robes and weird Japanese names are just that. If you identify with the Precepts and feel comfortable on this Path then it's what you carry in your heart and how you try to manifest the teachings with every interaction you have with the world that matters.
    The strength of Treeleaf is that we really are all equal. Many more experienced than myself but just as equal.
    Fun fact: I even took Jundo our beloved Roshi to task on a few things during my Jukai study haha. I'm sure I provided a few interesting conversations behind the scenes but this demonstrates how things roll around here.
    I'll finish this barely coherent word salad by saying that I love that you use the phrase "moving forward". These words are ones I tell myself aloud every single day. Every day is an opportunity to learn something and to do and be better. I take ownership of the past but I am always moving forward.
    Be well comrade.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    Thank you Onka, I enjoy your word salads! I greatly appreciate non-filtered honesty, and I know there are countless people here for you, to lend an ear, hand, or shoulder. The list is vast I'm sure, but I want you to know you can add my name to that list as well. If you want to chat, if you need a little extra metta, whatever, just let me know.

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    This above, and every response to every thread I've personally started recently come from contributions of comrades who make up membership of the gift we've been given called Treeleaf Zendo or Treeleaf Sangha.
    THIS is not just an online community of folk trying to out Zen each other, this is real life, real Dharma and real community. More real than any IRL so-called community or group who meet up once a week to sit but hardly know each other, and that's just my experience without necessarily disparaging others. This is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever other social media platform that give you the impression of reality and genuine friendship. Treeleaf is a community. We give a flip about each other. When life is ugly we come together in so many ways. We welcome the ugly painful moments shared as much as we welcome and celebrate the less ugly and painful. The Buddha Dharma brought us here to Treeleaf but it's the real life community and contributions that will keep us together.
    Gassho
    Onka
    st
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    This above, and every response to every thread I've personally started recently come from contributions of comrades who make up membership of the gift we've been given called Treeleaf Zendo or Treeleaf Sangha.
    THIS is not just an online community of folk trying to out Zen each other, this is real life, real Dharma and real community. More real than any IRL so-called community or group who meet up once a week to sit but hardly know each other, and that's just my experience without necessarily disparaging others. This is not Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or whatever other social media platform that give you the impression of reality and genuine friendship. Treeleaf is a community. We give a flip about each other. When life is ugly we come together in so many ways. We welcome the ugly painful moments shared as much as we welcome and celebrate the less ugly and painful. The Buddha Dharma brought us here to Treeleaf but it's the real life community and contributions that will keep us together.
    Gassho
    Onka
    st
    I've been feeling that same way, and another thing I've come to appreciate is that while there is a good amount of content here, it's all worth reading. A lot of social media contains substantial filler and nonsense it seems, but here it feels that when people post they post with their whole selves. The idea of having sat before you post leads to so many good ideas and discussions. I've been practicing shikantaza for quite awhile, but I feel since joining this community my practice has deepened greatly. Thank you my wonderful Sangha!

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday/LaH

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  10. #10

    Smile

    THIS is not just an online community of folk trying to out Zen each other, this is real life, real Dharma and real community.
    Totally agree Onka , and building an honest, caring online community takes much skill. It's difficult and words for me are such tricky things!

    On self-reflection I've become aware of a few things, which I will try to improve on:

    1. I sometimes post ignoring the conversations that have gone before. I will try not to do this, as it is belittling to others. I will focus on positively responding, not gatecrashing!
    2. In my eagerness as a newcomer to be included, I can act over-knowledgeable. I will try not to be pompous!
    3. I can be full of my own thoughts, instead of really listening to others. I will open my ears more.
    4. I will take time to notice the quieter people, as they have lots to offer and need friendship/encouragement too.
    5. I will be honest about my life and practice (no mud no lotus), but I will always aim to post what can build others up, assist practice and enhance community. Plus add some fun!

    These thoughts are totally aimed at me, not others. This is a really wonderful, encouraging community. I will aim to add another light to it.

    Just some thoughts, from a fellow comrade.

    Gassho, Chris stlah
    Last edited by ChrisKiwi; 05-06-2020 at 12:39 AM.

  11. #11
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Gosh Chris.
    I honestly think you're being a bit tough on yourself comrade.
    I was particularly happy to read of consideration of quieter members of our Sangha. Forgive my wanky social work language but maintaining a safe space for all is imperative.
    In all honesty in regards to folk with different abilities we do pretty awesome and I know that behind the scenes there are really impressive folk tweaking and changing policies and mission statements to recognise that language and people's lived experiences are dynamic. If Treeleaf is to continue to grow as a Sangha without (IMHO) peer then we all need to contribute.
    An example not directed at anyone but an example nonetheless is language around non-binary identifying folk. These wonderful contributors to human diversity embrace a huge variety of gender identities, sexual orientations and preferred pronouns.
    I know that some well known Zen Priests are of the opinion that once entering the Zendo all identities should be left at the door.
    Easy to say for a cisgender heterosexual male who is bereft of the capacity to see past their own privilege.
    Sure the Zendo is a place for Zazen and Shikantaza but our engagement with the real world is beyond our weekly Zendo sitting. Our engagement with the Dharma can, again IMHO not include the very real and often ugly and painful reality of our own lived experience.
    So yeah, we punch above our weight here at Treeleaf but like our ugly beautiful lives we can always do and be better.
    This revolutionary project that Jundo and others founded, that is maintained by tech wizards from another dimension that I'll never grasp and we all benefit from is only as good as its commitment and contributions.
    I really want to swear here but will settle for Gosh darn it I love this place.

    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat
    Last edited by Onka; 05-06-2020 at 03:04 AM.
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  12. #12
    Thank you all
    Most humbly

    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

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