Balamadana

Balamadana

I used to write a blog called “balamadana” about Buddhism, management and it was an open exchange between my friend and monk Marcelo and myself. We stopped writing it in 2009, here is the archive.

Introduction:

BALA MADANA

In Buddhism we have “bala madana” which is part of a ceremony for those who have tantric empowerment and they are always together.
That means in a general sense: “body and soul”, bliss and emptiness, union of sutra and tantra.
In 2007 Marcelo Langer and Volker Ballueder met in London.
When they met again after not having seen each other for 12 months, they noticed that they had a lot of things in common. They are both engineers and MBA graduates. Both have a deep relationship to Buddhism and an interest on integrating Buddhist ideas into Management.
During intense conversations they decided to write about Buddhism and Personal Development in their blog. Their idea is to help others to develop on a personal level and introducing thoughts and techniques based on Buddhism, Coaching and Management.
Also, they discovered that living in London, many people are turning to Buddhism to cope with the speed of change and the pace of life! More people seem to be interested in personal development and coaching, seeking some kind of spiritual “back up”.
It is great to live in one of the most vibrant cities, however, being familiar with Buddhism helps oneself to keep stress and strain at bay. Finding one’s way of coping with it – that is the key to personal development, personal growth and success! Buddhism can help with that.
Both, Marcelo and Volker, found their own “oasis” to withdraw from the daily rush and write about the benefits Buddhism can bring to you whether you live in London or if you just want to take a more holistic view on work and life.
In an open conversation on their blog, they write about Buddhism and spiritual topics.
However, in June 2009, Marcelo decided to be re ordained and would not contribute to this blog any longer.

ARCHIVE

December 2009

Merry Christmas
December 22nd, 2009

Dear Readers,
Over the course of 2009 this blog has been dying a bit. My apologies that things didn’t go as expected. You can still find a lot of personal thoughts, including Buddhist and Management thoughts, on my personal blog.
I will try to update this blog every now and then, once I find time and passion to contribute further to the topics of Buddhism and Management. Maybe don’t expect too much but the odd article about how Buddhism can be useful in every day life as well as business and management.
For the festive season, a Merry Christmas, a peaceful and reflective time.
All the best for 2010.
Love and Kindness.
Volker

November 2009

Buddhism and Vegetarianism
November 30th, 2009

I have been thinking for a while on how I can progress with this blog. As you know Marcelo has been re-ordained and he is no longer allowed to write this blog. However, I often exchange emails with him and he gives me good advice and help. One of many is to listen to the answers within.
So I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately. One of them, or two to be exact, is about my life style. Alcohol is one of them, whether or not I should give it up. Living in a country where it is rather uncommon to do so, I believe that 2010 will see some changes of behaviour about me drinking alcohol. Whilst I don’t see myself giving it up 100% yet, I believe that I will reduce it massively. It should be about enjoyment and not about diluting my senses. I experienced the absence of alcohol before.
However, as the title suggest, no Buddhist should harm any sentient beings, including animals. Hence I am contemplating of becoming a vegetarian, or similar to alcohol, abstain during the week and have one day at the weekend to enjoy some meat. More as a special treat. I recently watched a TV show about mechanically processed meat which almost made me throw up.
But why should I become a Vegetarian? There are lists of reasons why you should become a vegetarian to be found online. For me it is mainly about not eating cheap and nasty meat, processed meat, and to live more healthily. Of course I then need to feed my almost 6 months old boy vegetarian food too, and he can choose later in life what he would like to do. I think that is fair, don’t you?
Living healthier means living with less risk to get cancer. I read a book I can recommend on “Eat to beat cancer“. It gives you a good insight why eating meat in moderation is much more healthier. It is similar to me giving up smoking: it is just the healthier option to give it up, isn’t it? There is no argument about it either
According to a Buddhist source, a lot of Buddhists and non-Buddhist eventually lose their appetite for meat out of compassion for the welfare of other living creatures. But vegetarianism is not required in order to follow Buddha’s path. That makes sense. It is more about not killing an animal but there is nothing said about not being able or allowed to eat the meat.
So based on the above and the thought of how animals are slaughtered, I believe that I will step up the game and reduce meat or even stop eating it from next year.
Love and Kindness to you, and all sentient beings out there.
Volker

June 2009

Farewell Marcelo
June 16th, 2009

Dear Readers,
As you have noticed, Marcelo and I have been very quiet on this blog. This is due to some personal reasons.
Volker just got a baby boy, and he is busy with his family and writes a lot on his personal blog about personal development, search marketing and everyday things.
Marcelo, in June 2009, decided to be re ordained as a monk and would not contribute to this blog any longer.
Volker is sad to see Marcelo go away from this blog that brought you and us so many food for thought. There is so much I learned from Marcelo and I will now try to find a solution on how to proceed with this blog. Any suggestions and anyone interested in writing about Buddhism and Management, is more than welcome to approach me.
We want to wish Marcelo both luck and happiness, stamina and good health to find his path. He is so much in ahead of me, Volker, and I will stay in touch with him. However, it is with regret to miss his articles.
Please watch out for updates and follow me on my personal blog.
Love and Happiness,
Volker

March 2009

Sunday Buddhist Thought of the day
March 29th, 2009

We have a responsibility for our own life, a responsibility for our own growth, a responsibility for our own happiness.
Sangharakshita (Peace is a Fire)
This is the Buddhist thought of today – I really like it. I am a bit busy today, so will post more soon. Also wait for Marcelo to join back in.
Please visit my personal blog Volker Ballueder’s Blurb in the meantime.
The above quote is all about personal development and links back to our responsibility to grow ourselves and others in a good and passionate manner.

Buddhism and Reincarnation
March 22nd, 2009

My wife asked me the other day – in Buddhism, do you believe that you get reincarnated straight away or do you hang around for a while before you being reincarnated?
Hmm, I said, I don’t know. So I studied Buddhism and Reincarnation this afternoon and came to the following conclusion.
Whether you are reborn as a human, an animal or any other form of living being depends on your karma. Your thoughts and actions in your current life. The better the karma, the happier the rebirth.
Some teachings suggest that the rebirth is nothing else than a having different stages of your mind, whilst changing your body and appearance. The outer skin is changing, whilst the mind goes through various stages. A cycle of consciousness.
Some theories imply an immediate rebirth whilst some Tibetan tradition say it can take up to 49 days.
I found the next picture, maybe not from Buddhism, but very interesting.

So to summarise, our consciousness or mind will travel indefinitely from one body to the next. The better our karma was in one life, the happier we are reborn. But, happier does not mean with more wisdom, or in a better place. It might just mean simpler, but happier.
Not sure if that is a good thought or not?
Marcelo, what do you think?
L&K
Volker

Buddhism in the snow?
March 14th, 2009

Dear Followers and Readers.
Today I am blogging from Oslo, or to be precise just North of Oslo from a place called Norefjell. I was at a conference in Oslo and we decided to stay a day longer.
So, I am blogging about Buddhism from the snow. I doubt that Marcelo has snow where he is at the moment. He promised me to blog but I know he is very busy, so I send him all my love and energy to find some time to blog his thoughts.
I discovered something new this week. Buddhist Geeks!
Wow, what is that? Buddhistgeeks offer podcasts, e.g. radio shows you can download anytime to your computer or to your mp3-player to listen to. The ones I have been listening to are interviews with Buddhist Monks or Buddhist Practitioners about certain topics of Buddhism. Very interesting and highly recommended.
You find the Buddhist Podcast for downloads on this link. There is the possibility to download older versions too, e.g. you can listen to all podcasts ever made. A great library to look into topics such as meditation, money and Buddhism, Dharma or Vajrayana.
So I highly recommend you check out that page.
I wish you lots of luck, peace and happiness for the next week.
Volker

March 10th Statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama
March 10th, 2009

The Statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama regarding the 10th of March, can be found on his official homepage.
March 10th Statement
Other news coverage about Tibet and the Chinese conflict can be found on BBC News.
Let’s pray for peace.
Love and Kindness.
Volker

Path of Tranquility
March 8th, 2009

Hello,
Marcelo got back in touch and will write some thoughts shortly. He has been busy but will tell you directly.
I got a new book this week, the Dalai Lama’s Path of Tranquility. It contains daily wisdom quotes about Buddhism. I really enjoy reading those little daily reminders just before I put myself to rest at night.
Also, I bought a few CDs with Buddhist chanting on it. They are awesome, because you can have them running in the back ground whilst working and you get all relaxed. It is great and I would almost recommend them to enhance your performance at work.
It is one of those things where your unconscious listens to and relaxes you. The other day I was working on a PowerPoint presentation and put some classical music on. I didn’t even notice how much more productive I was until someone interrupted me.
Having a peaceful mind and a relaxed attitude to things, practising patience, makes you more successful. Another great example on how Buddhist principles can influence your performance at work.
Love and Kindness,
Volker

Ethics, Religion, Buddhism
March 1st, 2009

Sunday Mornings, whilst others might go to church, I was wondering, what I could find online about Buddhism and found this BBC website.
Their description of Buddhism is as follows:
“Buddhism is a tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development. Buddhists strive for a deep insight into the true nature of life and do not worship gods or deities.”
Similar to what I mentioned last week. It is not so much of a religion with a god and the whole fuss about it. It is more for you, your personal journey and your life – focusing on everything around you.
The Kadampa Buddhism tradition where Marcelo and I met, giving local access to Buddhist teaching, was founded in the 11th century in Tibet. Vulnerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso founded the “New Kadampa Buddhist Tradition”, there is a blog about NKT I found, offers the following description:
“In his left hand he holds a heart, which symbolises great compassion and spontaneous great bliss… His round yellow hat represents the view of Nagarjuna, and the wisdom sword in his right hand teaches us to sever ignorance… Dorje Shudgen rides a snow lion …and has a jewel-splitting mongoose perched on his left arm, symbolising his power to bestow wealth on those who put their trust in him… His wrathful expression indicated that he destroys ignorance, the real enemy of all living beings, by blessing them with great wisdom.”

The NKT puts a high emphasis on “Buddhism in the modern world”. I remember when I used to attend the weekly teachings in London, that there is always a reference to daily life. Particularly in London. This really makes a difference to my view of any religion on spiritual thoughts as you have the direct connection to your environment.
You can download a comprehensive booklet about NKT on their website.
Also, browsing, I found a website about chanting.
I hope this gives you enough Sunday reading.
Have a peaceful week.
Love and Kindness
Volker

February 2009

Why Buddhism
February 22nd, 2009

Hello, to welcome the new blog and your feedback about it, I want to recap on “why Buddhism”?
I grew up as a Christian, got baptised and went to the confirmation, e.g. became a full member of the church. Why? Because that is what we used to do. My parents and grand parents have done it and it was a natural part for me. Over time I noticed that I agree with the values but that most of the church activities are not fitting into my life. I started questioning what role “God” could play for me. So I became an atheist.
Can you really become an atheist? Are we all born atheists? I am not sure, but church wasn’t “cool” anymore and I went to the USA for an exchange year. Now, church had to be “in” again as I was living the Mid-West. No way I could have not gone to church every Sunday. However, I only prayed if I felt lonely or was scared. I thought to myself, that is not why I am a Christian.
So lets put it behind us I thought, I think the 10 commandments are great and I believe in the Christian principles, the Christian way of life but for me, I don’t need to go to church to practise to be a good kid, do I?
I came across various religions but Buddhism had a fascination for me. It was a way of life, a way of a moral life and develop a wisdom and understanding of “what’s out there”. It is about being mindful, aware of your thoughts and actions. Wow, that is what I was looking for. This is the idea I had, my personal development plan to be aware of what I do, how I do it and why I am doing it. I had a reason for things now, and if I didn’t, I had to find one.
Buddhism helped me to find a purpose in life and made me understand the purpose of every living being. It gives me guidance to pure happiness, teaches me patience and makes me happy on the way. I care less about my “luxury and my material values” but more about myself, my partner, my other living beings that surround me. Particularly with my first child to be born this year. Happiness for him, my family is priority number one.
Buddhism is placed around 4 noble truths:
1) life is suffering – Buddhism teaches you how to avoid it.
2) suffering is caused by craving and aversion – Buddhism helps you!
3) suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained
4) There is a Noble 8-fold path that leads to the end of suffering. Being moral, focusing the mind on being aware of your thoughts and actions, developing wisdom by understanding the 5 noble truths and developing compassion for others.
Also Buddha suggested 5 precepts:
1) not to take the life of anything living
2) not to take anything not freely given
3) to abstain from sexual misconduct an sensual overindulgence
4) refrain from untrue speech
5) avoid intoxication (losing mindfulness)
That sums up my moral thoughts and my personal development – Buddhism helps me to combine my utterly drive to help others, to eliminate mine and other suffering plus my drive for personal development and happiness. Living by the above helps me to become who I am set out to be.
You find a lot of studies and questions answered on the “Buddhanet” .

Buddhism – Tai Chi
February 14th, 2009

Hello Marcelo,
Good to see you back. Apologies for being not as good in replying as I used to be.
What are the reasons, and what is going on in my life? As discussed with you yesterday, the recession is hitting Britain hard. Whilst our industry is still growing faster than the overall economy shrinks and our jobs are safe, we are looking at longer sales cycles, longer decision making processes and overall more work per individual to get the same income.
Where does that leave me? Honestly. A bit stressed. But I am working on it and will actually soon write about some stress management over at my personal blog. But also, I have been looking into Tai Chi. Do you know why I like it?
I like Tai Chi as for 1 hour my mind is turned off. It is as if I meditate whilst moving slowly and do figures. It is amazing and I enjoy it so much. You know I had difficulties sitting down and meditate even for 10 minutes. But Tai Chi allows me to move and free my mind at the same time.
Now, that does not mean I am not going back to meditate additionally. I believe Tai Chi is just another form to do it, wouldn’t you agree?
Marcelo, it is all about stress management for me at the moment. My baby is fine, I am going to be a dad and I need to re-think my position. You often say I don’t change that much, and maybe you are right. Maybe I think I prepare myself for the big change in June. Then life might even be more stressful.
But, there is another thought. My mother in law does not like the word stress, and to be overly honest me neither. I like to think of it as a challenge. And sometimes this challenge goes above our horizon, our means and our capabilities.
When we have to meet this deadline and do 3 other things at the same time. Or just when we got on top of things we get thrown off the path again. Sometimes, these challenges are overwhelming, just like life itself.
But I believe that we need to counteract it. Tai Chi, Meditation, exercise, family life. The right life life balance, you remember we were speaking about it earlier?
Marcelo, I leave you with these thoughts for the weekend. Don’t forget to check my personal blog and remember that I am trying to move this blog to a new platform next weekend. Apologies in advance.
Love and Happiness to you.
Volker

Helping others
February 8th, 2009

Good morning Volker and All Others
I hope all of you are having a great sunday.
Today is a very beautiful sunny day overhere in my city in Brazil. It remains me that sometimes our mind is clear like a clear blue sky but othertimes our mind and wishes are clouded such as a cloudy sky.
In even both days if we are able to keep our determination to help others that’s the meaningful goal.
In Transform your Life, Geshe-la tells us in its chapter Accepting defeat and offering the victory:
“…In summary, if we wish to help others effectively, we definitely need to be able to accept our problems without getting angry or discouraged. Helping others is not always easy – it often involves considerable hardship ans inconvenience, and going against the wishes of our self-cherishing mind. Unless we are able to accept this, our commitment to benefiting others will be half- hearted and unstable. However, once we develop the ability to accept our own problems patiently, we shall have the strength of mind to practise taking on the suffering of others and giving them happiness. Gradually we shall develop the inner realization of accepting defeat and offering the victory, and nothing will have the power to discourage us from our beneficial activities.”
We can try to meditate on it and afterwards I wish we can become much more able to help others, for we have became much capable to accept our own problems without blaming others for them.
L&K
Marcelo

Balamdana will move….
February 7th, 2009

…but don’t worry!
I know there are only a few followers here at the moment. And, thank you for staying with us.
Marcelo is just back from holidays and I wait for his spiritual input before posting more.
My personal blog, Volker’s Blurb, has just moved to a WordPress CMS on its own URL. So in the near future, e.g. this month, I plan to move blog.balamdana.com to www.balamadana.com. That means the site will be down for a few days. But I will give you plenty of warning!
Other than that I have been very busy with work, nothing new there.
My spiritual development has shifted a bit to Tai Chi. Next week, over on my blog, I will write about my Tai Chi classes and what benefits I hope to get from it.
Stay with us and I am sure that Marcelo will post shortly.
Love and Kindness
Volker

Dalai Lama
February 2nd, 2009

The Dalai Lama has been taken to hospital:
News Article BBC
I will include him in my prayers.
Love and Kindness to everyone!
Volker

January 2009

Meditation – Tai Chi
January 30th, 2009

Marcelo,
Good to hear, see and feel you being back.
Let me tell you about my latest, last night, experience. I joined a Tai Chi class.
Although I was a bit sceptical and did not think I would enjoy it, I was blown away. One hour of moderate exercise, breathing and slow movement. Wow, it took my breath away and really relaxed me. Still, it feels a bit weird and uncomfortable as I need to get used to it, but generally, I really enjoy it.
What I believe is that Tai Chi will help me to concentrate better and help me meditating without falling asleep, e.g. I am moving slowly whilst meditating.
Have you ever done it?
I keep you posted on how things go. Currently I am very excited to learn it properly.
Have a good weekend,
Volker

Meditation
January 29th, 2009

Dear Volker
I am now back to my normal life, after being on my own holidays enjoying a especial time with my daughter, family and lovely friends.
I would like to complement your words about the purpose of this blog. You are all right, and what can I say is, Buddhism is a method to help ourselves to find our happiness and peace within ourselves. Looking inside throughout special and beautiful way.
Normally we try to be happy doing things, doing external things, getting close to someone or something, contacting to our body and health from outside, but Buddha Shakyamuny taught us that our way to accomplish ourselves is just going into ourselves. Everything is there, nothing outside of there.
Our body could get ill, our mind could be controlled by our delusions and we could talk meaningless when we follow ordinary appearences and concepts of life, happiness and peace.
When we look inside we can see our own faults, mistakes and negative actions but also we can find our peace and meaning within ourselves.
Buddha says, meditation is to focus our mind on a virtuos object, such as love, compassion, other’s Living Beings sufferings and generate a positive mind, determination and meaningful wish to help them and ourselves to attain enlightenment for the benefit of others.
If we can apply these purpose on all our daily activities, at work, with our family and friends, at ll time, our life will become meaningfulness. But we need wisdom to do that, otherwise we can make a lot of mistakes in order to attain our own benefit only.
Wisdom is the mind which can see the real nature of all phenomena and persons. By meditating and following Buddha’s words we can find and hold it up always.
Geshe-la in his book, “Transform your Life” he says:
Our human life is precious and of real value only when we use it to train in spiritual paths. In itself it is a true suffering. We experience various types of suffering because we have taken a rebirth that is contaminated by the inner poison of delusions. This experience has no beginning, because we have taken contaminated rebirths since beginningless time, and it will have no end unless we attain the supreme inner peace of nirvana. If we contemplate and meditate on how we experience sufferings and difficulties throughout our life, and in life after life, we shall come to the strong conclusion that every single one of our suffering and problems arises because we took contaminated rebirth. We shall then develop a strong wish to abandon the cycle of contaminated rebirth, samsara. This is the first step towards the happiness of nirvana, or liberation. From this point of view, contemplating and meditating on suffering has great meaning. The main purpose of this meditation is to avoid having to go through all of these experiences again in the future.
I sugest a meditation on the real meaning of our human life using the text above.
Enjoy yourself.
With Love and Kindness
Marcelo

Weekly Thoughts
January 25th, 2009

Good morning, or good afternoon.
I know this blog has become a weekly write up. And, there are several reasons for that.
Marcelo is very busy at the moment and has no time really.
Volker has been very busy but hopes to write more often now.
Maybe, for today, I would like to recap on what this blog is about. It is all about sharing thoughts, spiritual methods and how to use Buddhism in today’s world and in management in particular.
The above video shows an intro to Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, a great Buddhist teacher for the modern world.
I have read some books of his and my aim is to revisit passages and thoughts to improve my understanding of Buddhism and, to apply it more into my daily life.
Where do I see Buddhism fitting in these days? I am not 100% sure but Buddhism helps me to appreciate other thoughts, other meanings of life and perspectives. It makes me almost more tolerant towards people – not that I was intolerant.
But just recently I ran into a lot of differences with people and I decided to keep them happy by understanding their thoughts, needs and appreciate their doing. I was happy to share their thoughts and accept their opinion even if they weren’t identical to mine.
Does that mix with Management? Yes, it does. You cannot always force people to understand you or to work your way and you have to accept their way. You have to accept their opinion, and if you fail doing so, then there is another chance coming up. Is there?
What if we decided to only work by passively guiding people into some work that needs to be done and let them fail over again until they learn. Would that be sustainable business? Surely not. But that is not what I am trying to say. I am saying that you have to realise that your opinion is not always the right one or the ONLY right one. And that you have to find a mix of opinions, everyone is comfortable with. According to that mix, you still have to put the overall guideline on them to make sure things are going as planned. This is to ensure things are going the way they should be and you have to overrule people. But, in an understanding way.
This is the way you should think. Let them fail and let them have their opinion. And, if not too far out, let them make their own experience. Then make sure you can guide them to the right outcome and success.
Also, do not forget the other side. Do not treat your business partner in any wrong ways. Treat them with respect and with respect for their money and their ideals.
We will work on that theory and you will hear from me soon.
In the meantime, please leave a comment.
Volker

Buddhism – weekly blog post
January 17th, 2009

Hello,
Marcelo and I have been very busy. Apologies for that. I try to keep this blog going in this transition period and would like to cover a post a week, mainly at the weekends.
If I say busy, what does that mean. Does not everyone have the same amount of time in a day? Yes, but some have more tasks than others and I for instance enjoy my work to the extend that it is mainly work I am doing. So no work-life balance because it becomes more of a work-work or life-life balance.
Karma, particular at the beginning of a year, pops up in so many discussions. Buddhism teaches us that it is not only our actions but also our intentions/thoughts that result in karma.
On a page about Taoism, I found the following information about Tai Chi.
In Taoism, Tao, roughly translated as path, is a force which flows through all life and is the first cause of everything. The goal of everyone is to become one with the Tao. Tai Chi, a technique of exercise using slow deliberate movements, is used to balance the flow of energy or “chi” within the body. People should develop virtue and seek compassion, moderation and humility. One should plan any action in advance and achieve it through minimal action.
That means by practising Tai Chi, my course starts in 2 weeks, I hope to be able to work my spiritual practise and my body in one way, to create a whole out of the both. I hope that makes sense.
Even years ago, long before I was introduced to Buddhism, I said that one is oneself if the body and spirit are a 100% match. If you are one. If the spirit is 100% inside you. Like Yingand Yang.

On another website I found a very interesting article on Tai Chi. It is meant to bring you self discovery, a part of self or personal development. It speaks about chakras and how your upright spine is helping you to let the energy flow and relax. Anger management comes naturally with that too I am looking more and more forward to this course so that I can get a weekly “workout for spirit and body” at the same time.
One benefit is outlined nicely as “The most important is that it helps you watch your mind. When you can control your mind you will become more peaceful and less likely to get agitated. From this state of mind it will then be much easier to practice patience and compassion, which I believe are the true results for any spiritual practice.”
That is definitely something I am looking for. Patience, Compassion and a mind at ease. A less stressful life.
I guess this is enough reading for a weekend. Have a relaxing one. I leave you with Buddha’s thought:
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
Love and Kindness,
Volker

Buddhism, New Year and Twitter
January 10th, 2009

Marcelo,
How are you? Happy New Year to you.
My new year started with all the things I didn’t want it to start. Lots and lots of work.
Whilst in a recession I should not complain about it, the next 2 weeks will be busy too.
However, Marcelo, I am hoping the New Year brings to you what you wish for. Mine will be very excited with the expected birth of my son the beginning of June.
Also, I get more and more into “micro blogging”, Twitter. I wrote about it quite a lot in mypersonal Blurb Blog. I found a few people on there blogging about Buddhism so I get a new thought of Buddhism every day. That is nice and a nice reminder in this busy and difficult times.
I want to let you into a secret too. My plan is to join a Tai Chi class. I just don’t find the time nor the motivation to go to the gym, or to sit down and meditate. So I thought a combination of both would be good. What do you think of that? I have not discussed that with anyone yet, so not sure how many friends actually read this blog but….och well, if they know they know. Have you ever done that?
Other than that things are going well. If it gets quieter at work, I aim to read some more books and re-read books of Geshe. Any you could recommend.
For all our readers, have a great 2009, may all your wishes come true and please leave a comment on how you find this blog.
Love and Happiness,
Volker

December 2008

Merry Christmas – New Year – New Beginning
December 28th, 2008

Hello Marcelo,
I hope you had a peaceful time around Christmas. I had a lovely time with my pregnant wife, my mother in law and our 2 kittens. It was full of food to be honest. We spend more time preparing and eating food than anything else. It was great. Did you spend a nice time with your family also?
However, Christmas is over, so is the quiet time. I am back to work on Tuesday for 2 days and then full on from 5th of January. It seems weird, I managed to really calm down and unwind for almost a week. I didn’t even realise that a whole week has passed.
Marcelo, a new year starts so soon. There are so many things I want to accomplish. So many things I want to do. How will I be able to fit it all into my life?
So, I was thinking how do we accomplish all of our dreams and all of our ideas for next year or any year? How much can we plan and think ahead?
Would my best bet for 2009 be to “take each day at a time”? To start “not to plan ahead” and actually work on my development on a day-by-day basis?
Let’s look at spiritual development: if I plan to attend classes, meditate 5 minutes a day and 30 minutes each weekend – how would that make me feel if I cannot accomplish it?
Let’s look at workouts/sports: if I plan to do 30 minute gym workout each day and 90 minutes at the weekend – how would it make me feel if I cannot do it or don’t do it?
These are 2 examples. However, I think if we were more content and work more on a day by day basis, would we not be happier if we actually go to the gym or meditate. Then we are more positive about improving our performance and do things more often, as it makes us feel better achieving little steps rather than just “ticking the box to achieve goals” – would that make sense?
Marcelo, lets see what happens in 2009 but I aim to make it one of the best ones ever. But, that could mean anything.
Love and kindness.
Volker

Developing Bodhichitta
December 21st, 2008

27 years ago, today, my Dad passed away, I was very young 15 years old only. The biggest problem was not his forever absences or no phisical presences, because he remains in my heart all time, every day and every single moment – smiling, crying and talking to me.
The problem was to see my family ruins day by day, my mum’s suffering, my brothers and sisters getting lost without knowing what to do to help my mum and each other. It was a hard time but we all survived and it was not so harder as so many other poor people problems. But from our mind full of attachment, self-grasping ignorance and lack of wisdom, it is not easy to understand his death. We have broken down, our hearts, minds, souls were became a wreck.
From the ashes I learnt and discovered myself, even if sometimes it is very difficult to keep this on my mind. And I believe my family did the same – in their ways.
Amazing was 18 years ago my niece was given birth at this same day. Victoria is her name. She is beautiful and lovely, a very special girl. Her heart is full of love and compassion and I am so proud of her existence.
Geshe-la says in his Book Transform your life:
“Although we have developed superior great compassion – the spontaneous wish to take the sufferings of all sentient beings upon ourself – we understand that, despite our strong desire to protect all sentient beings, we do not have the power to do so at present. Just as one drowning person cannot save another, no matter how fervently he or she may wish to do so, likewise it is only when we have freed ourselves from suffering and mental limitations that we are able to free others. If we ask ourself who has the actual power to protect all sentient beings, we shall realize that it is only a Buddha. Only a Buddha is free from all faults ans limitations, and has both the omniscient wisdom and the skill to help each and every sentient being in accordance with his or her individual needs and dispositions. Only a Buddha has reached the shore of enlightenment and is in a position to release all mother beings from the cruel ocean of samsara. If we consider this deeply, bodhichitta will arise naturally in our mind. We contemplate:
I want to protect all living beings from suffering, but in my present, limited state I have no power to do this. Because it is only Buddha who has such power, I must become a Buddha as quickly as possible.
We meditate on this determination again and again until it arises spontaneously.
Since then, I have tried to help my family in many ways, but I cannot do it, I am not able to do it, so I decide to dedicate all my efforts in this life to their benefit and request to Buddha to keep helping them, providing to them all what they need. Not all what they wish for, because their wishes are contaminated by deluded mind – the cause of their sufferings -, but I really request that they could have what they need to, in this life or in the next one, to become free from their samsaras and their sufferings.
L&K
Marcelo

Wishing time
December 21st, 2008

My dearest Volker, sometimes in life it is so good to sit quietly and observe our own mind and aspirations.
I believe there are too many things happening to you right now, becoming DAD, job, tasks, duties, family, world economy crisis and all the incertainabilities that might worry you about you life, your family life and your future kid.
Do not worry about commitments over this blog. It is to bring us some peace and help, because as I said before, when I am writting to you overhere, I allow myself to see and realize a huge amount of feeeling that are duelling my mind.
Yes, Brazil is a biggest catholic country in the world, so people celebrates it very much indeed. Unfortunatelly few of them are celebrating the real meaning of this date. But it is still worth because is the time families gather together and dedicate few days for themselves, to share between them some kind of Love and Kindness. So, I believe it is a nice and special time. I only wish that all Human Beings around the world could have less sufferings, less disease, sickness and poverty, also they could have more Love, Compassion, Kindness and Respect.
Have a great time with yourself and your family.
L&K
Marcelo

Merry Christmas
December 20th, 2008

Marcelo,
I apologise for being so elusive the last couple of weeks. Life has been busy.
But what should I say, with the economic downturn and all, we have a great life at the moment and we are very happy and grateful about it. We pray it long may continue.
Marcelo, I have to admit that I had little time lately to sit down, think about life and my spiritual development. It sounds quite stupid to say “it is on my todo list” but that is where it is. I haven’t really had much time to sit down and meditate or think about things.
You know, we all have the same amount of time. I consider myself being quite organised too. That would actually mean I should have enough time – so really: it is the same old excuse. Sorry.
Maybe in the new year I can build it into my routine of things and make more progress. Maybe I can join the Buddhist Centre in Goldners Green or the sessions in Covent Garden again. It surely would not harm and gave me some routine. I don’t believe it will be over a year since I have visited any courses or anything. What a quick year.
Probably Christmas is celebrated differently with you. How do you celebrate Christmas? What are you going to do.
I will sit quiet with the family, the 2 cats and enjoy my peace for a few days.
Love and Kindness to you!
Volker

I am better now…
December 14th, 2008

…Marcelo,
Thank you for your post. I am better now, almost a weeks since I have been ill. But, there was not much time to stop, relax, think and get better. That is what people are missing out on these days.
I believe that illness slows us down and makes us reflect on the real meaning of life. That it is not all about money, career, and prestige but about love, happiness and self fulfilment.
Someone was asking me the other day that he has given so much for a friendship and not seen any return. He seemed really frustrated. I suggested that sometimes in friendships you are always on the giving end and that the friendship would not be sustained unless you get something back. However, the invested time, love and care in a friendship will come back one day, as the whole system works. Your karma will make it worthwhile.
That was difficult to understand for him but it made sense to me.
When you are ill you have to give: you need to give your body/yourself enough time to sort things out and you will get it back eventually. If not from this body, then a body in the future…
Marcelo, would that make sense at all?
Volker

sickness and spirituality
December 8th, 2008

Dear Volker, I hope you can get better sooner.
Good question, why have we always looked inside us when we are sick, having problems or difficulties in life?
Budha gives us some reasons for that.
The main one is because we are afraid of any suffering, we cannot accept any slightly pain. Our attachment to our own things makes us to feel bad about leaving, passing away and let behind our ordinary pleasureable life, our friends, family, work, money, achievements and our afraid of not having time to enjoy all this achievements that we have gathered together but not did it and at the time we´ve got sick we got scared of dying before enjoying all our belongs, money and gains.
Our attachment to our own body and life and mind cannot afford any difficulty, any suffering, sorrow or pain. Immediately it can disturb our mind and request some more care for them. Becoming even more attached to them. In this way the consciousness of our own body, mind and life became stronger and then causes us even more pain and suffering – like a circle, without end… if you tide up yourself even more tightened you will feel even more pain and attachment, nut you cannot let things go, because we want to be attached to something. It is an endless circle of suffering.
Some people has mental pains not just body ones, but those one which are constantly causing them a lot of sorrow, with no peace, their mind, their delusion cause them troubles and unhappiness all the time.
When we have got sicknesses (mental ou body ones) we start to feel more about the real meaning of life, we feel uncomfortable about our pains and more conscious about how distracted or how we waste our time and life in meaningless things.
We just start to look for something more meanigful for our lifes, only when we have realized the drift of being Human Beings. We are all together, love, compassion, kindness, friend, sufferings, pains, sorrows, everything and nothing else, we are one and we are also infinite, we do not start on the bounders of our body or mind, we come and go beyond that, beyond our understanding.
Do you want to find more about yourself, Go and do some meditations, reading and learning more about Buddhism and the greatest Compassion of Buddha.
L&K
Marcelo

sickness and spirituality
December 5th, 2008

Marcelo,
I have been off work with flu/cold symptoms. And, whilst still working from home but coming to a close the end of the week, I was wondering about sickness and spirituality.
Why are so many people looking for spiritual help when being sick?
Are they looking for comfort? Relief? Or is it guilt because they have an illness that is self inflicted.
I remember about 15 years ago, I was about to go to sleep when I heard someone in the corridor saying “I would like to kill Volker…” – that person was drunk and out of their mind, but I was scared. Although I was not interested in any god at the time, I did what came natural to me, I prayed.
Now, I am not feeling close to dying at all but wonder, does this believe in something greater than us give us hope and relief? Are we trying to look for comfort when we are not well?
How does Buddhism treat that? We are looking into the inside of ourselves and try to find energy inside us to help us getting better. Is that not a wiser approach?
Marcelo, I am curious about your thoughts on that one!
Love and Kindness
Volker

November 2008

Career Monk – Career Buddhist
November 29th, 2008

Marcelo and I got an email from someone I will, for confidentiality reasons, call “John” – John asked about a career as a Buddhist and I answered the following, which in all fairness, opened up a lot of thoughts in my head about “how to integrate Buddhism in a career” and “how could we develop a careers as a Buddhist”?
Comments MORE than welcome.
Here we go:
Dear John,
Thank you for your email and the kind words.
I am not really sure how I best reply to your email as there is so much to say. […]
Marcelo comes from a “monk background” whilst I come more from the “non monk” background, so to speak. However, we both are devoted to Buddhism, and as you might read, in different ways.
You are asking for career opportunities in Buddhism. I am sitting here, smiling with happiness, because it sounds like you are aiming to apply for a job as a Buddhist. That is a great thought that stimulates my thinking in 2 ways:
– can we create a path for Buddhism where we can offer that as a career choice outside the monkhood? If so, how could we set up a path like that.
– Buddhism should never be a career as it is a devoted path to happiness
The latter I think is true but can be supportive of the first. What am I trying to say?
In my next life I would not be surprised to become a monk. I had those thoughts many times before but in this life I am a devoted husband, father to be and love my commercial (sales) job. However, I can integrate Buddhist principles in my daily life that will enhance my career. And, therefore, become a career Buddhist. I like that thought.
[…]
Love and Kindness,
Volker

Another week – weekend thoughts?
November 29th, 2008

Marcelo,
It is so good to hear from you. So let me start to wrap up my week?
Better not. I worked a lot. However, there is still some work to be done. As you say, nothing is ever finished.
Why am I saying that? Because I want to give you a feeling for why I don’t have or don’t take the time to meditate at the moment. I don’t go to the gym and focus solely on the current actions – work. The latter is very busy and demanding at the moment but also very rewarding. I truely love my job and would not want to change a bit at the moment.
So I shall almost say, there is no distraction because I only focus on one thing? Would that make sense? Or there is only one distraction and that is daily life and work.

However, thoughts are of course with my baby, hopefully to be born early June. Having the scan this week makes me think how wonderful life is and how much it will change once it is there. It gives me energy to focus on things like work to get things right now, so I have less to worry later on. We shall see.
But, I believe you Marcelo, that the baby will teach me a lot about patience and spirituality. About life, wonders in life and everything related to it. It is such an amazing process, such an amazing thing to think about. One day I cannot wait to hold the little “parcel” in my arms, the next day I am wondering how I will cope.
It will be like with anything else in life – patience, learning and a lot of work. But we are getting there in the end! Just like life itself.
Have a peaceful weekend.
Volker

patience
November 28th, 2008

Good morning Volker and family and all others!
You know, me and Volker, we just have exchanged some words on msn and we have got a little fun about the sex of his baby, and it was enough to make laugh and have a good start for my day.
Well, being a father or parents is a wonderful opportunity to practice patience and uncontaminated LOVE, so, I have found this words from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, wroten on the book “Transform your Life”. Actually your life Volker is going to be transformed by love and care by themselves.
“…Patience is a mind motivated by a virtuos intention that happily accepts difficulties and harm from others. A person with no patience has no stability of mind and is upset by the slightest obstacle or criticism. In contrast, when we develop real patience, our mind will be as stable as a mountain and as calm as the depths of an ocean. With such a calm, strong mind it will not be difficult to perfect the spiritual realizations fo universal love, great compassion, and bodhichitta.
By thinking skilfully in these ways, we can regard even those who harm or deceive us as our Spiritual Teachers. This is a very important point because it means that everyone can be our Teacher. Whether someone is our Spiritual Teacher or an obstacle to our spiritual progress depends entirely upon our mind. In many ways, those who harm us are the kindest of all because they shatter our complacent view that sees samsara as a pleasure garden, and, like a powerful Spiritual Guide, they inspire us to engage more strongly in spiritual practice. By thinking in this way, we can transform the harm we receive into the spiritual path and, instead of being discouraged, we can learn to cherish even those who harm us. It is specially important to have this attitude towards our close friends and family. Since we spend so much time with them, it would be very beneficial if we were to regard them as pure Spiritual Teachers!”
Volker, your baby will be your great Spiritual Teacher, as everyone else also is. All your obstacles, lack of time, distractions and problems are your real Spiritual Teacher, because if you can apply a positive and virtuos mind whenever you face them, you will be learning and developing your Buddha seeds in yourself.
Practicing contentment we can easy become happier and from that happiness we can help all Living Beings.
Have a lovely weekend
L&K
Marcelo

Balance
November 27th, 2008

My Dearest Volker and Jen – you are going to have a child!!! How wonderful your lifes will become.
Congratulations for both of you! I am very happy of your conquerer. You have found thebalance between your energies and opened the gates to let the mind of your positive seedKarma to enter in Jen’s body, passing through the inner channels and all chakras.
That’s a very important time for both of you, your collective Karma is flourishing and giving some fruits.
About your last post, I can say YES you are right we always, every single moment, we get involved and distracted by everyday things, duties and toughts. You are distracted in essence.
And sure, we use all excuses to not do what we want to do, sometimes we use excuses to not work, to not get up, to not exercise, to not read, to not relax, to not meditate and so forth.But can you imagine a Yogui or a Highest Buddha, they can do everything by their minds, they can do everything at the same time, they do not need to finish one task to start another, actualy for them, remember, there is no beggining and no ending. Is it not incredible?
You are so concentrate on the true nature of all phenomena that nothing can distracte us. Without understanding the true nature of all phenomena you will remain forever in the distracted world. Lossing our life, time, wishes, dreams, desires, aspirations by our self-grasping.
From Shantideva book “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s way of Life, we can have this instructions:
“…It is suffering and its causes that need to be abandoned,
And it is the ignorance of self-grasping that causes delusions and sufferings to increase.
“But there is no way to abandon self-grasping so that it will never recur.”
On the contrary, meditation on selflessness, or empitness, is the supreme method for accomplishing this.
Neither the feet nor the calves are the body,
Nor are the thighs or the loins.
Neither the front nor the back of the abdomen is the body,
Nor are the chest or the shouolders.
Neither the sides nor the hands are the body,
Nor are the arms or the armpits.
None of the inner organs is the body,
Nor is the head or the neck.
So where is the body to be found?
If you say that the body is distributed
Among all its different parts,
Although we can say that the parts exist in the parts,
Where does a separate possessor of these parts abide?
And if you say that the entire body exists
Within each part, such as the hand,
It follows that there are as many bodies
As there are different parts!”
Buddha says, there is no body neither its parts, we are not an unit nor a colection of them. The day we start to understand empitness and put its knowledge into practice, we will be permanent happy and there will not be any distraction, because there is no parts to get involved with and also there will be not unit to be stocked in.
You will never get me wrong. Do not worry, if I cannot understand whatever you are telling me it is because my selg-grasping ignorance and my karma, not because you are not being clear enough.
Love & Kindness
Marcelo

Love and Happiness
November 22nd, 2008

Marcelo,
Is that not what I am speaking about – the distraction of every day life to fulfil the purpose you want to fulfil.
Hmm, not sure if that sentence makes sense. Let me try again.
You are so distracted with things that are going on in your life that you are not writing this blog. I am very distracted with things that are going on in my life too, see my other blog for the latest, happiest news!
Yes, I am going to become a daddy next year, and I cannot tell you how happy that make me!!! You are a parent yourself, so you know what it means and how full of joy I am!
But coming back to the blog and life. Are we too distracted to focus? Are we using excused to not do things?
This is general, not related to you or me not posting. But are we getting caught up in the excuses for not posting, not meditating, not pursuing our spiritual development because there are so many other things we put first.
I admit: I DO. I don’t think you do as you are so much more advanced and ahead of the game than I am. You are still finding the inner peace and the happiness from withing. I am happy too, don’t get me wrong.
However, looking at the world I am thinking that we put work, career, money and all of our possessions in a much higher priority than any of our other objectives like spiritual and personal development. We do not put the emphasis on this as much as we should do and let other things like TV, pubs, socialising take over life.
I am not saying we should not be able to relax, watch TV and socialise. But we should not forget – and I admit, I am forgetting sometimes that there is more to life, there is something beyond, there is love and happiness within us. And, I know and I see and feel it.
And, I will develop it. Because I do and because I can.
Have a lovely weekend, Marcelo. As always, good to hear from you.
Love
Volker
PS: I found this lovely picture on this site, thanks for that. Buddha is my god though.

Maitreya Empowerment
November 19th, 2008

Next year Geshe Kelsang Gyatso will be given to us a Maitreya Empowerment at Manjushri Centre in Ulverston, UK. You cannot miss it!
L&K
Marcelo

patience
November 19th, 2008

Dear Volker, sorry I have been quite quiet to you, to us and to myself.
Yes, I have been working this month very hard. Full of tasks to do and 3 subjects are distracting me: my elder brother’s sickness, a job decision that I have to take and a process to change my daughter’s guard as she wants to move in and live with me.
Besides that being a Professor at the Uni it has been a demanding duty.
For many times I sat down here to write some words, but it did not happen because I had got involved with other matters.
I did like the flags I just think they should not touch any surface and they should blown in the wind all the time, to clean up your space, your inner space and external. They are so protectful.
The Buddhas are all happy, sometimes they are not laughing because inside them they are crying about all Living Beings sufferings and also to protect us from the evil spirits.
L&K
Marcelo

Laughing Buddha
November 16th, 2008

Marcelo,
I know you have been extremely busy, so have I. But, I don’t want to forget about you, Buddha or our blog. So, my weekly post and reminder.
Have I been practising? Patience I have been practising and I am also stressed. Should have taken advise to meditate to de-stress but did not. My apologies. So will keep it in mind for next week to meditate at least 3 times.
I had a conversation with my wife yesterday about the laughing Buddha. She asked, why is he laughing? I said because he is happy

This morning I did some reasearch and found some facts.
The laughing Buddha is a Chinese Buddha known as the friendly and loving one, part of theShinto culture. He has become a deity of contentment and abundance. The sack he is carrying is full of rice plants (indicating wealth), candy for children, food, or the woes of the world. He is patron of the weak, poor and children. According to legend, if one rubs the Laughing Buddha’s great belly, it brings forth wealth, good luck, and prosperity.
What a nice story behind it, isn’t it?
And, here is a video to it too – have a blessed Sunday.

Another week?
November 8th, 2008

Marcelo,
How are you keeping?
I was down with a cold this week and had a pretty busy week. Not a lot of spiritual development. You never said if you liked the flags?
I am home all weekend and hope to find some rest, recover and make some development.
Let me hear how you are getting along.
All my love
Volker

Prayer Flags
November 1st, 2008

Hello Marcelo,
Prayer flags, as you know, are there to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom.
• Blue (symbolizing sky/space)
• White (symbolizing air/wind)
• Red (symbolizing fire)
• Green (symbolizing water)
• Yellow (symbolizing earth)
I thought it would be nice to share that in our little garden. Whilst everyone here is in a Halloween fever, I thought it might be nice to put some prayer flags up.
Wonder what the neighbours think
Have a lovely and peaceful weekend.
Love & Kindness
Volker

October 2008

Buddha Air
October 29th, 2008

Marcelo,
Maybe off topic, but a friend of mine visited Nepal and flew with Buddha Air.
I wonder, are there any other airlines named after spiritual leaders?
Will it be a safer plane to fly with than a normal plane? What is the food like on board?
Volker

Sunday, isn’t it?
October 26th, 2008

Marcelo,
Thank you for the rich content and the writing you are doing.
I am well, thank you. Weekend. I have been busy over the last few days, including a great time management/personal organisation seminar. See post in my Blurb!
So, what do I need to do? I need to sit down and empty my head. As simple as that. I need to get my vision/goals and focus where they should be before I get them down to actions, e.g. mediation for one thing.
I need to chill and think. You write so wonderful things but I need a rest at the moment, rewiring the brain before I can start thinking again. This might take a day or two, maybe a week.
Hope things are going well with you?
Love
Volker

Buddhism Teachings – The six realms of rebirth
October 25th, 2008

From the book “Transform your life” Geshe-la teachs about the six realms of rebirth, or the six realms of samsara, or even the six possibilities of rebirth, in which realm we will reborn and what are the causes that will give us that state of rebirth.
“…To form a mental image of the six realms, we can compare them to the floors of a large, old house. In this analogy the house represents samsara, the cycle of contaminated rebirth. The house has three storeys above ground, and three below. Deluded sentient beings are like the inhabitants of this house. They are continually moving up and down the house, sometimes living above ground, sometimes below.
The ground floor corresponds to the human realm. Above, on the first floor, is the realm of the demi-gods – non-human beings who are continually at war with the gods. In terms of power and prosperity they are superior to humans, but they are so obsessed with jealousy and violence that their lives have little spiritual value.
On the top floor live the gods. The lower classes of gods, the desire realm gods, live a life of ease and luxury, devoting their time to enjoyment and the satisfaction of their desires. Though their world is a paradise and their lifespan is very long, they are not inmortal and they eventually fall to lower states. Since their lives are filled with distractions, ir is difficult for them to find the motivation to engage in spiritual practice. From a spiritual point of view, a human life is much more meaningful than a god’s life.
Higher than the desire realm gods are the gods of the form and formless realms. Having passed beyond sensual desire, the form realm gods experience the refined bliss of meditative absorption and possess bodies made of light. Transcending even these subtle forms, the gods of the formless realm abide without form in subtle consciousness that resembles infinite space. Though their minds are the purest and most exalted within samsara, they have not overcome the ignorance of self-grasping, which is the root of samsara, and so, after experiencing bliss for many aeons, eventually their lives end and they are once again reborn in the lower states of samsara. Like the other gods, they consume the merit they have created in the past and make little or no spiritual progress.”
So, which form of samsara’s being do you want to be? Which realms do you want to remain in?
Only human form can help us to attain Nirvana.
L&K
Marcelo

Meditation – relying upon mental stabilization
October 25th, 2008

What do we really want for our lifes?
We want a family, a lovely partner, friendships, good job, enough money for all position or gods we desire, good house, reputation, respect from “ALL” others, happiness, peace, time for living and to enjoying our possessions.
Unfortunately, our infinite desires to get in life brings us only discontentment and unhappiness.
We need to find our balance within us.
Shantideva gives us a Path to achieve a mental stabilization. We just need to get a try.
“…I, who am decaying moment by moment, have attached to others
Who are also decaying moment by moment.
As a result of this, I shall not be able to see
Pure, attractive objects for thousands of lifetimes.
If I do not see someone whom I find attractive,
I become unhappy and cannot place my mind in concentration;
Yet, when I do see that person, I find no satisfaction
But am just as tormented by attachment as I was before.
Having strong attachment to other living beings
Obstructs the correct view of emptiness,
Prevents renunciation for samsara,
And causes great sorrow at the time of death.”
Have a thought about this beautiful words and get a time for yourself meditating on your attachments and what could they give to you?
Remember in certain way, we need to have friends and things in life, but we do not need to be attached to them. Not in the way that their absence or lack of having them could cause us a lot of sufferings.
L&K
Marcelo

Weekends
October 25th, 2008

Great Volker! How have you been? Enjoying your special time in life…your weekends.
It’s the time to get closer to yourself, resting, relaxing, joying friends, family and your special lover.
I don’t mean the other aren’t for that purpose, but We are not wiser enough to realize that. It’s foolish, but we make some confusion in life, believing that everything happens outside of our mind and for that, we need time to make contact to our inner side.
One day we will achieve the balance within our actions and all and everything will become enjoyable.
Have a lovely day
L&K
Marcelo

Laughing on the doubts
October 21st, 2008

Good Morning Volker… from the deepest of my respect to you, you have made me to laugh a lot on this post. Buddhists always laughing and enjoying their life, even when they have got a bad time.
As Geshe-la uses to play with us, he says: I want you to get crazy….
Ok, answering your questions.
First of all, you are still mixing concepts, Karma is not causes and conditions. To die in a aircrash you need to create the conditions, actually you and all other passangers have to gathered together the conditions for the airplane to have engines, electrical or any other problem and then having a crash!
If you have a good karma?, uhhhh… Look at yourself, at now, of course you have a wonderful karma. Your whole is fulfiled by enjoyments, you are a Human Being, you have got a good job, wife, money, friends, family and so on, and I believe good mental state and good minds. Maybe, you have create causes to change this karma in the future, but no one can predicte it, only Buddha knows everything. Because that, is very important to practice Dharma sincerely.
You wont know what will happen to us tomorrow, this afternoon, this lunch time…It is impossible, we are in samsara. But we can weak our negative karma practising virtuous actions all the time.
No, Buddhas wont take any actions to you, they will not establish anything to you. Everything is related to you karma. By your present actions you will create the causes and conditions to ripen a positive karma and not the negative one. The concept of God in Buddhism does not exist in same way as Catholics.
Been honest to you, I want to get you even craisier than now, it’s urgent to let our delusions, previous concepts go, let them go now! Get crazy and find our your own scape from samsara.
I am very glad that you are thinking to get back to Geshe-la. Yeah, take your own time, enjoy the Path, be constantly happy and make others even happier than you.
Enjoy your day.
L&K
Marcelo

doubts and questions
October 20th, 2008

Marcelo,
I have been thinking. Thinking a lot about various things.
I cannot and I do not want to believe that I would not die in an airline crash (using that as an example), if I had good karma. Everytime I go on a longer trip, I donate something to my Buddha, asking for protection, asking to come back as I have not yet fnished what I started.
That is my humble opinion. Maybe I have fulfilled my purpose already and it is not up to me to decide. But, who decides? Buddha is not like a god that is above us all, is he? Is it the law of the universe?
So, given the circumstances, that – and I assume that – I have a good Karma. What would happen if I had been in a crash. Would I die or not?
I don’t even want to picture it, because it is almost like “I don’t mind having an accident, because I have a good Karma”. However, I understand that if we decide to kill ourselves (jump in front of a train) or drink and drive, we are changing our Karma, even if last minute, to die? Did I understand that correctly?
Marcelo, when do I know if I have good Karma. When do I know I have finished what I set out to do in this life? Will I ever know?
I need to go back. I need to revisit Gelshe’s books. I need to visit the centre and I need to find my path. And, I need to do that in my own time. I need to do that whilst I start meditating more regularly.
Thanks for your input.
How are things with you.
Love and Kindness – from a train to Leeds
Volker

Buddhism teachings
October 20th, 2008

Karma – The six realms of rebirth
The seeds that ripen when we die are very important because they determine what kind of rebirth we shall take. Which particular seed ripens at death depends upon the state of mind in which we die. If we die with a peaceful mind, this will stimulate a virtuous seed and we shall experience a fortunate rebirth; but if we die with a disturbed mind, in a state of anger, say, this will stimulate a non-virtuous seed and we shall experience an unfortunate rebirth. This is similar to the way in which nightmares are triggered by our being in an agitated state of mind just before falling asleep.
The analogy of falling asleep is not accidental, for, as explained in the chapter on reincarnation, the process od sleeping, dreaming, and walking closely resembles the process of death, intermediate state, and rebirth. Whil we are in the intermediate state, we experience different visions that arise from the karmic seeds that were activated immediately before death. If negative seeds were activated, these visions will be nightmarish, but if positive seeds were activated they will be predominantly pleasant. In either case, when the karmic seeds have matured sufficiently, they impel us to take rebirth in one or other of the six realms of samsara.
The six realms are actual places in which we can be reborn. They are brought into existence through the power of our actions, or karma. There are three types of actions: bodily actions, verbal actions, and mental actions. Since our bodily and verbal actions are always initiated by our mental actions, or intentions, ultimately the six realms are created by our mind. For example, a hell realm is a place that arises as a result of the worst actions, such as murder or extreme mental or physical cruelty, which depend upon the most deluded states of mind.
Have a thought and let us talk about it later…
L&K
Marcelo

Meditation – Purify Negativity
October 20th, 2008

Dear Volker and all other Mother Beings,
To purify our negativies we created by ours previous non-virtuous actions in this life or in the past lifes, we can apply some methods, such as, regret, patience, acceptance, collection of merits, purification practices, offerings (to the Buddhas and all Living Beings), but we need to that holding up a happy mind.
We can performance these purifications during our formal meditation or meanwhile we are engaging in all other duties of our life.
Shantideva in his book “Guide to the Bodhisattva’s way of Life, tells us:
“… To the Able Ones, the supreme objects of offering,
I offer all the beautiful, scented flowers –
Mandaras, upalas, lotuses, and so forth –
And exquisite garlands, finely arranged.”
” To maintain this precious mind of Bodhichitta,
I make excellent offerings to the oceans of good qualities –
The Buddhas, the stainless jewel of th holy Dharma,
And the assembly of Bodhisattvas.
However many flowers and fruits there are,
And all the different types of medicine;
All the jewels there are in the world,
And all the pure, refreshing waters;
Mountains of jewels, forest groves,
And quiet and jouful places;
Heavenly trees adorned with flowers,
And trees whose branches hang with delicious fruits;
Scents that come from the celestial realms,
Incense, wish-granting trees, and jewelled trees;
Harvests that need no cultivation,
And all ornaments that are suitable to be offered;
Lakes and pools adorned with lotuses,
And the beautiful call of wild geese;
Everything that is unowned
Throughout all worlds as extensive as space –
Holding these in my mind, I offer them well
To the supreme beings, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
O Compassionate Ones, holy objects of offering,
Think of me kindly and accept what I offer.”
Make offerings in this way, holding up a very peaceful and beautiful mind we are applying a powerful method to overcome our attachements to material things and supassing one of our root delusion.
Even, when we go to drink some still water, and at the time we develop a thanksful mind and offer that as a precious treasure to Buddhas and dedicating this to the benefit of all Living Beings, we will be creating such strong causes to receive the Buddhas’ blessings upon our body, speech and mind.
Please, try it! Develop a peaceful mind, take breaths in and out, relax a bit, and imagine as much as you can, the space around and in front of you, full of offerings – beautiful ones, and then make a offering to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Do not forget, after it and after all our virtuous actions, we have to dedicate the merit we have created by performance these meaningful actions.
L&K
Marcelo

causes and conditions
October 20th, 2008

Good morning Volker, hope you have enjoyed so much your weekend.
When you have said “purpose and fulfilment”, in Buddhism we say “causes and contitions”.
Accidents and all phenomena that happen to us in according to the causes we have created for it and the conditions that ripen at the moment it happens to us.
Maybe in time of an accident we could created causes for it to happen, but we did not create enough causes to dye.
If our conditions that we might created at the time of the accident, e.g., is the speed of the car we are driving up is too fast without safe belt or we are driving down after some pits of beer we are creating the conditions to suffer a lot.
Even though, if in the past we did not created the causes to dye, will not dye at that moment, but if those conditions are atrong enough fot that time, we might created a such strong karma by it that could dye in that accident.
Remember conditions we created in the earlier past of this present life or long ago in the previous life, they could ripen right now or sometime in the future.
I hope it’s helpful to you to understand this great Law…
L&K
Marcelo

September 2008

Why and how does Buddhism differ
September 28th, 2008

Marcelo,
I know you read the blog and I understand that you are very busy, changing your life.
But let me keep posting some questions and thoughts and maybe attract some questions, comments and thoughts from people reading our blog.
I was asked over the weekend about “Are you a Buddhist” and answered with a classic “Are we not all born Buddhists?” and then decide to worship a (different) god.
Am I a Buddhist, Marcelo? I guess I am. I try very hard to adopt the Buddhist principles, life-style but struggle with a few, e.g. less alcohol, more meditation. However, on both of those as an example I am improving significantly every week.
I chose Buddhism because this “religion” allows to focus more on self development and is not telling you off about how bad you are.
Often I think that the prayer in any “mainstream” Christian Church were, a long long time ago, meant to be meditations. But, we use those words and go through them without anything happening, without a greater benefit for ourselves or others?!
I am not saying everyone is doing that and possibly for some the prayers are still meditation, however, this is based on my experience that the churches I have been to run more of a “ticking the boxes, said the prayer, lets all be good people” events.
Buddhism I find is different. It is about “how can you use medition to be enlightened”, practical advise on how to live, how to treat others and, how to benefit from our prayers and meditation.
I would almost go as far as calling Buddhism a “tool for Personal Development” – would you agree?
Hope you are well, love and kindness from this end of the world.
Volker

spiritual enlighment and sickness?
September 18th, 2008

Marcelo,
In the UK it seems like every other person is ill at the moment – mainly people I know which makes me think
Seriously, I have a cold but not too many symptoms of it. More tiredness, headache, sore throat etc. But, what I noticed, in times of being “ill” there is this “something” you are more aware about your body.
You take more breaks. You work less. Your work life balance becomes more life than work. And, you try to sleep more in order to get your body up and working again.
And, I feel that my spiritual development is progressing too. Why is that? Is that just theawareness of my body, of my self and inner-self? Or would I just pay more attention due to the fact I want to feel my body again in the “normal state”.
Or, another thought for you: If I am not as aware of my body in the “normal state”, could that maybe be the “ill state” or “an ill state”?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
With love
Volker

what we living for
September 9th, 2008

Marcelo,
I just spoke to you. I am glad to hear that you are doing well. I miss you and wish we could sit down in the shade of an “olive” tree and discuss Buddhism.
Our olive tree is this blog – and my thoughts are about death and what we are living for. We discussed that topic before.
Please, do not understand me wrong. I love life, I love MY life, and I love the life of every single living being. And, I will do my utmost to keep every creature alive, which is not always easy if I think of the slugs in the garden or the fly in the bedroom.
However, my thoughts about life are death. For some time there is re-occurring thought that something might happen. More to other people, loved ones, than myself. It is as if I come out as a hero of a situation of death experience. Knowing I still have to finish something here on earth.
The question would be – do you think we leave earth, or the current body, when we fulfilled our purpose on earth? You think we are re-born the moment we have done what we were sent out to do?
I have a little Buddha who I give offerings to, every time I go somewhere. I ask for protection and that I have save return journey as I am not finished with what I need to achieve on earth. And, so far, I have come back from my trips (as an example).
What if I do not come back – selfishly, I am ok. I move on to a better world, don’t I? But what about my loved ones I left behind. Should I not care about them too? How can I make them understand not to worry about me? Would they understand that I am ok?
Marcelo, I wish we had an olive tree…..but I send you my love to Brazil.
Your friend,
Volker

Email conversation
September 6th, 2008

This entry is an email conversation I had with Marcelo, you best read it from the bottom up. Enjoy, Volker
You keep asking/teasing me with mind vs brain – I do not know know where it is. Would it not be above our head. Where is yours?
I know from people reading it because it is different! Because we just write
L&K
Volker
2008/9/3 Marcelo Langer
Am I? That’s good….
Try to point me at where is your mind? I am not talking about brain, I’m saying “mind”…
This is a mere name, mere imputation to cognise something.
Describe mind, soul, “heart”, energy to me?
I love to play with you! Things are not established, they are impermanent,
even the concepts of everything.
You inspire me.
Shall we post those emails on our blog?
Marcelo
3/9/08, Volker Ballueder
You baffle me!
There is no mind from its own side? What do you mean?
2008/9/3 Marcelo Langer
Volker, I am afraid to say to you that I cannot have my life in my hands,
either control it by mind, just because there is no hands and there is
nothing outside of your mind (remember that), how surprise would you be
if I said: there is no mind from its own side.
Is that all crazy, isn’t it?
Marcelo
3/9/08, Volker Ballueder
Hello Marcelo,
Good to hear from you. I had a brief look at the blog, will respond tomorrow.
Your whole life is in your hands but controlled by your mind? Would that suit it?
I reply asap.
Trust you are well,
L&K
Volker
2008/9/3 Marcelo Langer
Volker, I think is better to say that my whole life is in my mind other then in my hands.
What do you think?
L&K
Marcelo

Inspiration or just teasing 😉
September 3rd, 2008

Marcelo,
I spoke to someone the other day who said that my personal blog is not as read-worthy as this one. Responding to my question why that is, he said that we are actually discussing topics and suggest food for thought. My personal blog just writes what comes to my mind.
Here we go M-I-N-D – where, who, which, what and how do we use it?
Karma – every action is provoking another action. There is the “living in the now” but there is also the past and future, influenced by our Karma/Action.
Mind – is something we make up? Like soul? Or, maybe not making it up, but is it something we cannot grasp. Do we need to and why?
The mind is influencing our life, our Karma, as the mind will influence our acting, which is influenced by Karma ?!
Marcelo, you confuse me. What is the difference between mind and karma? I mean, what is the difference between the influence of karma and mind on your action. Would they not both influence our action?
I need to look it up but I read that someone said once that there is “only now”. Living in the here and now, Tolle’s book, the Power of Now, speaks about it. Have you heard about it/read it? I have but do not remember much and need to re-visit the book in detail. It is a way to spiritual enlightment, making use of the now and stop worrying about the past, if I remember right.
We need to train. Train to achieve enlightment, to achieve a good position in work, love and life. I find it is easier to actually train for the job, more hours every day. Instead I should sit down more often and reflect on my personal life – what about time for friends, family and myself?
I am going to see Dan Millman – have you heard of him and his books about the “peaceful warrior”? He is in London in 2 weeks, very exciting!
So, the most exciting question, is your mind in your hands – and if so, where is your soul
Love and Kindness
Volker

karma – destination – destiny
September 3rd, 2008

Hi Volker, I would not say Karma is equal to destination or destiny. For some reason:
I do not believe in destiny and destination is some thing that might happen without any particular condition, or not?
Karma is what you have said: whatever action I take in my past, present and future life will create/determine my actual conditions of living.
Using this analogy: there is no wave or tyde without the previous wave or tyde…
Our actions are not isolated and even the slightly action will reflect and generate some movement forward.
There is no next minute if the minute before hadn’t not passed by. To have the next minute, the minute before should had be extinguished.
Nothing besides our conditions of human beings or whatever have been fixed on our birth – everything will be result of our previous life actions and present actions.
A world championship could not achieve his goals without tranning – trainning overhere means generate actions and creating causes to achieve it. If his actions were good, positives he will be sucessful on his achievements otherwise if his actions were full of lazyness, not that good and some of them very negative, for sure he will not achieve that.
Of course he has to receive from his parents and birth the conditions (phisycal, mental and social) to be able to keep his trainning until reach his personal goals. But who has determine this conditions (parents and birth conditions) – his own karma. Afterthat everything will come from his determinations, actions, decisions, efforts and patience, accepting negative situations, transforming them in a virtuos conditions.
Some friends of us have a deep karma with us and our friendships remains for ever, another has only a shortly karma, so day entered into our lifes for a while and afterthat they gone. That means our karma with people around us are not the same, some of them are very close another ones not.
When we say I am accepting my karma, means I am accepting my actual conditions because they are the results of my own past/present actions. But I can transform it by two 2 ways:
purifying them throughout spiritual practices (meditations) or living and managing them with a very peaceful mind, without creating even more negative karma.
I do not believe in destiny, because it seems to me, that someone is taking my life in his hands and controlling it.
For me, my entire life is im my hands.
L&K
Marcelo

August 2008

Response to Karma
August 31st, 2008

Marcelo,
I keep thinking what Karma means.
Wikipedia says: The philosophical explanation of karma can differ slightly between traditions, but the general concept is basically the same. Through the law of karma, the effects of all deeds actively create past, present, and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one’s own life, and the pain and joy it brings to him/her and others.
Would that mean that whatever action I take in my past, present and future live, I actually create my own destination with that. And, as you wrote, the action of the past can create a strong bond in the future, e.g. you meeting me, or your friend etc.? Maybe we had something in common in a former life?
Maybe everything has been predicted and fixed when we were born, did you hear about thattheory? James Hillman wrote a book about it – the soul’s code.
It is good to have friend who are true friends. The ones you sit down, even if you have not seen them for years, and you just start talking as if you have just seen them yesterday. Being away from many friends in Germany there are only a few that I can do that with. Those are the closest friends I have.
Also, I had a fabulous night with a close friend last night. Isn’t that the best ever time you can have? Or would meditation beat that – not sure yet. I started meditating more regularly but not to the stage yet where I can be confident doing so at any time.
Did I tell you that I went for acupuncture. It was great. I still need to think about what happened but you get an interesting sensation in your body. The person suggested to do a “Heaven, Earth and Man” acupuncture for spiritual purposes. Did you ever hear of that? I found a description here, I think.
I agree with Gelshe that, if you cannot change things, you should not worry about it. Not easy. And, not easy to get rid of all your possessions. Easier to not worry about them, e.g. not being overprotective and share them with people.
If you say you accept your karma – what do you mean? Do you mean you accept your action?
Have a good Sunday and a good start in the week.
Love
Volker

karma
August 29th, 2008

Good Morning Volker, how have you been?
Wow, today is 29th august 2008. Time’s been running out quicker day-by-day or is just my life getting closer to its goal.
A friend of mine was here visiting me last weekend, it was a nice time together since we have not seen each other for more then 5 years.
He is trully my friend, without attachment, without grasping myself to him only feeling love, compassion, peace and friendness meantime we were together.
It was amazing because from the first minute we felt comfortable to each other, like if I had saw him the day before. How can we explain that? There was not hard time, silence time, the talking ran out easily between us, the feelings as well as were great – it was really food for my heart.
We just allowed ourselves to be ourselves.
Where these feelings come from? Why can we have this kind of relationship with someone? Weither sometimes we cannot have a regular relationship with our workteam, colleagues of work?
Some people has just desappeared from my life? I cannot find them anymore even if i tryed it.
Like family, manytimes our relationships are tense and stress out, but another time we just want to be with them, forgiving and forgeting all the hardships.
What is that? Love, compassion, karma, what is the point? Emptiness? Inherent existence? I do not know!
In the same way we have many problems in our lifes, as I had got some few problems with this friend of mine, but afterwards everything has sold out.
Geshe-la says: Why do we get so worry about things? If there is something I can solve it out I will, but weither something I cannot solve it out, I might accept that and let it go, because I cannot fix it.
But we grasp it to ourselves, we develop such strong attachment to it and then we suffer and from this suffering all of our pain, disturbing minds and sorrows come from.
On meditation we can learning how to let things go away, we can learn how to empty our mind and attain tranquil abinding. At that stage we will understanding the real nature of everything, and so, as Buddha Shakyamuni sad: we will be free from our miserable, ordinary life full of suffering, we will be free and trully happy.
Are you ready to try that? Are you ready to abandon all your graspings and attachments? I am not sure if I am, but indeed I want to be permanent happy. So, does it not a contradiction?
When can I really turn the page of my ordinary life down?
When can I fulfil my life of meaningfulness?
I want that and I am trying for that. But I am in the first step: accepting my karma and trying to change my mind only.
L&K
Marcelo

How can we understand emptiness?
August 20th, 2008

Marcelo,
Food for thought that is! Wow!!!
Emptiness is the subtle way of understanding and living? Does that mean inner peace and relaxation? Does that mean the answer to all our questions?
So is meditation the way to move forward and experience emptiness – btw, I started meditating. Not as regular as I want but I got started.
If you say you perceive the wake state with a dream mind, does that mean we run around like zombies? Apologies, do not want to sound silly but are we less caring and less participating in that state? Have you had this state of emptiness?
I will look into the books, here are the links to the respective Amazon sites if anyone is interested:
Heart of Wisdom: An Explanation of the Heart Sutra
Clear Light of Bliss: Tantric Meditation Manual
Ocean of Nectar: Commentary to Chandrakirti’s “Guide to the Middle Way”
I will have to practise a bit more and then come back to more books. There are still a few you recommended. It is heavy stuff, hard to understand but good. It helps me!
You also wrote:
We are here together, you from Germany I am from Brazil, we have met in 2006 in London, Why? How could it be possible? I am very declined to say: Our Karma, we have lived and developed somecommon karma before. Otherwise why can I not have with other the same experience as I am having with you right now?

Isn’t that interesting. We are far apart but so close. I remember first meeting you (sounds like a love story) and I thought “this man is interesting, there is something about him”. Maybe I should confess now, watching you coming into the session at Covent Garden and when you sat down, you prepared for meditation. There is something about the way you prepare that was different to other Buddhist Monks. I cannot put my finger on it.
As if we had met before, in another life?
Maybe you have to teach me things and I have to teach you things so that in the next life we are getting closer to where we should be? Or, there is more to come and we might be able to achieve something for some people in this life.
I often wonder how many people read this blog – I mean I can count the visitors to this blog but I cannot see how many people actually read it.
You out there – do you enjoy what you read?
Marpa left a message the other day, his blog is here. Maybe more people could let us know.
I believe, Marcelo, that we will be up for something good soon – and soon can mean anything before I turn 40
Why 40. Because I have a (master) plan of things I want to achieve before I am 40. And part of it will have to do with Buddhism, Charity and the greater goods in life. But we discuss that some other time.
Love and Kindness from the Big Smoke,
Volker

Understanding emptiness
August 20th, 2008

Dear Volker, good morning!
This is the most complex subject we can have to get in.
Understanding emptiness for us, Buddhists, is the gateway to achieve enlightenment.
Emptiness is not nothing, just the opposite, is everything in a subtle way with a subtle mind. We have many 3 levels of awarenesses, gross, subtle and very subtle.
We can perceive emptiness only when we can have an experience of our subtle mind, meantime everything will be only intelectual understanding of emptiness and a wrong view of all phenomena. We need to meditate, there is not another way.
Self-existence is not nothing. Please forget about nothing. Emptiness is not that. Emptiness is full of life is “the real soup of life”, is the criation, is everything, but again perceived and experienced with a subtle mind.
Is almost like that: experiencing awake state with a dream mind. When we have dreams, bad or good, immediately after we’ve waken up we know for sure, they were just dreams, we do not believe in their self-existence, but we believe we know we have experienced them. But where they come from? I might say they come from our imprints, from the imprints over our minds.
Same it happens in our awake time, everything come from the imprints of our mind, the difference between them we believe these imprints durings the awake time are real, we believe they are inherent existent.
For sure, we have our chakras, these chakras are the place where we have some important energy concentrations, they are essencial for our lifes, but again do they exist from itselves?
What happen to whom doesn’t not believe in chakra?
I am not sure if I’ve understood the picture, because i do not know if the picture you have to add on here, it’s showing me that the enlightenment chakra is outside of our body or it is located on our crow of our head? What do you think?
You have asked what’is going on with us…I can tell you: we are trying our best to attain our true happiness. That is not so simple, so easy, Buddha Shakyamuni spent 12 years on meditation to achieve it, so do not be desapointed if we are going up and down, if we are going on circles… life is a circle of death, intermediate state, birth, growing, ageing, sicking and death again until we attain enlightenment and permanent freedom from all our suffering.
I can ask you, go and get some Geshe-la’s book about this subjetc Clear Light of Bliss, Heart of Wisdom or even Ocean of Nectar. They are complex but i am pretty sure you will can get some imputs.
We are here together, you from Germany I am from Brazil, we have met in 2006 in London, Why? How could it be possible? I am very declined to say: Our Karma, we have lived and developed some commun karma before. Otherwise why can I not have with other the same experience as I am having with you right now?
For sure we are not just pupped or pop in and out to nowhere. We are helping each other…the path is even important as the end.
Love and Kindness (L&K)
Marcelo

Emptiness – is it unreal?
August 19th, 2008

Marcelo,
That is a lot of input.
You are saying that emptiness is the ultimate nature of everything. The ultimate nature ofeverything is emptiness. Does that make sense? Does that mean, we are nothing, come from nothing and go nowhere. Is it that? Why are we here and how are we doing the right things being here (earth?)?
If nothing is self-existent, everything is created from Karma/wisdom – and if there is a greater unconscious (see Jung) where we all have access to, who is it that determines that a certain Karma/thought comes to us. Are we accessing this “bundle of thoughts”?
Pointing you to my mind – that was your other question. Hmm, another difficult one. Did we not speak about it before. Is it in our chakra, the “enlightenment chakra” above our head?

Marcelo, I am not sure if I answered your question, neither am I sure whether I can answer your question. What is happening with us? Are we just puppets that connect via an imaginary cable to the clouds of unconsciousness? And, who determines what we “download” from there?
What do you think?

sequence for reading today’s posts
August 19th, 2008

Volker, please read the real nature before finding ourselves.
L & K
Marcelo

finding ourselves
August 19th, 2008

Dear Volker, another question to you!
Try to point me at where is your mind? Or where is your body.
Be sure you are point at the right space? part? point?
So if you are a part or space or a point how could we be a collective without discriminate its parts?
If you mind is located in your heart space, if it is there, how can we feel our feet? Our mind is not there, is your heart spacelike. And if our mind are not in our feet how can you feel when someone step over them?
How many minds do we have? One, Two, how many? Can you gues?
Ummmm,
Let me know your answers.
L & K
Marcelo

The real nature
August 19th, 2008

Dear Volker, hope you are doing great!
What is the real nature of all phenomena, thoughts, I, body and mind
You said i really wish to have nothing on my mind…
Sorry that is not the nature or source of our real happiness.
Emptiness is not having nothing on our mind. Emptiness is to understand the real, the ultimate nature of everything.
And what’s that? Where is it?
Budha said: the ultimate nature of all phenomena and persons is the emptiness.
So what is it then?
Emptiness is the understanding that everything lack of self-existence even our mind and thoughts are lacking of self-existence or inherente existence.
Everything is create from the results of causes and conditions in accord to our Karma and wisdom.
Our mind, our body, our I, our life, our problems, sufferings, pains, happiness are the results of a rippened Karma, that we have gathered together in past lifes or in the earlier of this life.
In this way we can ask ourselves, where is the beggining or the ending of that? When did I start? I konw my body in this present life starts to exist when my mum and dad had a sex intercourse, but i can not say exactly when my mind, feelings and thoughts started exactly to exist.
Has it started when i was a just single cel or 2, or 4, or 8 or the morula? When i start to attach my mind to my body? Are they different? Are they individual? Or are they one, in the way one need to another to exist?
Emptiness is the understanding of all this things, is the understanding of how connected we are to the universe and where this universe exists? Where is it? What is it? A convencional name? A mere name?
Day by day it has been discorvered differents aspects of it, bigger – smaller, atoms – giants, longer, deeper, higher…I cannot find the right answer. The scientists are creating a wonderful huge machine to try to find the answer, but eventhough the answer by itself will not be enough, it needs some minds and people belienving in it, otherwise the answer it will continue to be a path, a brigde for the next question and its answers.
We must understand emptiness because is onle their we can find the answer.
To find ourselves we need to go deeper inside of ourselves, like a cirurgian cutting and cutting our body in smaller and smaller pieces…chemistries and phisicians go to end (that they believe on it) they go to the atoms, protons, eletrons, neutrons and so forth getting smaller and smaller of some spacelike energy and when they arrived farther they said that smallest part is a probability to find some part of an energy….and then they come back saying that all phenomena and persons are those energies gather together, its colletive.
So you are at the same time the beggining and the end and in this gap we generate our lifes, our bodies, minds, thoughts and soever.
What do you think about it?
L&K
Marcelo

transform life – live transformation
August 14th, 2008

Living in change, isn’t it? Constant change!
Marcelo, it was so good to chat to you yesterday and see you back on the blog.
Yes, the internal change. You need to overcome your inner barrier (Germans call it the “Schweinehund” which literally means “pig’s dog”).
I strongly believe that if you change things in your mind, your attitude and approach to things, you are more capable to accept external change and cope with external change also. What I mean by that?
There is constant change around us. Politics, work, life, relationship, advertisement, everyone tries to get your attention. If you do not have the inner attitude and focus on the important issues in life, you cannot cope.
Where does that tie in with change? I believe that we are all exposed to constant change. “Managing at the speed of change” – blog entry 1 and blog entry 2 – is a book and a great title to understand that e.g. management needs to keep up with change. And, your inner attitude and approach to life is your management, your self-management. This self management needs to be ready for life, for the change in life, speed of life/change, e.g. life is change, isn’t it?
I like the idea of having nothing on your mind. Unfortunately I have not reached that point yet. The point where your chagne is a point in time, as your head is empty. Not literally, I mean your mind is focused on one point, “nothing”, and you would not have to worry about anything, no change, not yourself, nothing.
Maybe it is similar to pressing the reset button on the computer. The one that closes everything, saves it and restarts the system. I used to get drunk (not anymore) just to forget and “press the reset button”. Nowadays, I strongly believe that the way you describe is much more effective as you clean your mind and focus on nothing else but yourself without looking at anything else, no disturbance.
Before I drift away from the topic too much, if we look at the overall picture and the appreciation of us just looking on the good things in life, coping with change, would that not be all we need to do? Is the meditation and focusing on a little bit just a bit extra to get a bit closer to where we want to be?
I send you love and kindness, Marcelo. Speak soon.
Your friend,
Volker

transforming your life
August 13th, 2008

Good morning Volker. Hope you are well as well!
Yes, sometimes we must believe we need to change, unfortunately we also deeply believe we need to promote some external changes in our life, as you have said on your last post.
Actually I do sometime do the same, but in fact all what we need are some internal changes. Just that! Internal changes.
Changing the way we love others; changing the way we conduct our own lifes inpired by our delusions, such as: attachment, ignorance, hatred, jelousy, inpatience, anger, unkidness and so forth. All these delusions are hidrances, obstacles in our espiritual realizations and progress.
Another time we had talk about happiness and I strong believe that our happiness comes from our inner realizations, to become free from our delusions – the root of our all sorrows.
Remember when we talked to each other not to change the side of the rose? Don’t push yourself too much from one side either do not just change the side you are pushing yourself.
We must change our way/path to achieve our permanent freedon from our sufferings and attain permanent Happiness.
It is the method that should be changed and this comes from inside of our mind.
We need to enjoy our life, duties, deed all the time, but intead of we got frustrated within ourselves, with our achievements and then we decide we need to get more, to do more in order to fulfill inside of us. What Geshe-la says is: we need to remain with ourselves more time, keeping ourselves quiet, silent and enjoy to be just with ourselves. NO MUSIC, NO BOOKS, NOTHING AT ALL. Just the absolutely peace from inside of ourselves.
We do not need anything else, we just need to free from our ignorance. The ignorance of the empitness – ignorance of inherent existence of all phenomena and living beings.
Once we can find the truly I within ourselves, we can rest and be at peace forever.
Make changes, but their framework should be inside at first. And make all of them very very smoothly, like the waves and tides in the ocean and a lake, when their are smoothly they keep the lifes in them up, but when their are strong and disturbed they destroy everything around them and after them pass.
Yesterday I opened my precious book – Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of life – from Shantideva, and I got the following mesage for us:
“All things truly exist in the nature of their causes.”
But we have already thoroughly refuted the possibility of truly existent things.
According to you, clothing and the like arise from the general principle, which is a balanced state fo pleasure and so forth;
But this cannot be the case, because we have refuted the existence of such general principle.
Our Happiness or satisfactions do not come from things but from the mind that are perceiving and feeling them.
L&K
Marcelo

July 2008

we need a resting time in life
July 28th, 2008

Dearest Volker
I wish you all the best in your resting time. All of us need this time to recharge our bateries, reassamble our goals and deeds in this short life.
Sometimes we believe we are invencible and powerful all the time, but we are human beings and an organic institutions, that means we have some important and fundamental needs.
One of them, for sure, is our resting time, short or long, we have to have it. We shall have some wonderful time with our beloved family, friends and specially with ourselves. Enjoying the environment (inner and outer space).
Volker, please enjoy your time as much as you can. Remember, there is no perfect time nor perfect conditions from their own side, we must do them special and greatful and their all conditidions remind inside of yourself.
L&K
Marcelo

Vacation Break
July 28th, 2008

Dear Readers,
We are taking a few days off for vacation but will be back to you shortly.
To get a notification when we are back, please use the feed or email info(at)balamadana.com.
Thank you and enjoy the break with some relaxing meditation.
Love and Kindness
from
Volker and Marcelo at Balamada
www.balamadana.com

You puzzle me!
July 20th, 2008

Marcelo,
Thank you for your thoughts. If the leg is not our body and we are not it then who are we and why?
I was in a Christian church this morning where the minister said “the answer to the question (or one answer to the question) who you are is “you are a part of the Christian community”.”. Does that answer my questions. Certainly not.
I am me, myself, my soul and spirit in this body? Is that too simple?
Hawkins wrote “The Eye of the I” – I haven’t read this book yet but read his other book “Power vs. Force“. It is heavy reading and I am not 100% sure if I understood everything he tried to say.
If there are forces out there and things with a higher level of conscious, enlightened people maybe, then is there a way for me to make it too? And if I can make it, do I need my current body or can I move from this life to a rat’s body, to a cat’s body, to a human body and how many reincarnations does it take me to understand and be enlightened?
Who am I?
Can I not just live and act with the “winds”, the forces that change my life and not worry. Would I ever find the right path if I am just a feather in the wind? Or would I prefer to build my own path and by doing so, what would I gain? If I am not me, if what I thought was me, is not me?
Is it very important what our body does and if we live 10, 50, or 100 years because ourselves, e.g. our mind and soul lives for the eternity?
Have a lovely day, my friend.
Volker

what is I?
July 18th, 2008

Hi Volker, a simple question or expression like: let me see!
Who is let to see?
Who is seeing?
Who has to let someone to see something?
What is these “whos” or “who”?
How many who I have?
May I have a who inside me?
I, me, myself…who’s that?
Is that possible a possesor to be a possetion?
How can an I to have a me, a myself, or to be a who?
How I can to have a my body, if I have a body that means my body is not a part of my I, even if I have a mind/soul is that means my mind/soul is not a part of my I? and then an I is compost by three parts: I, my body, my mind – but if this is right, it means they are not the same if they are not the same can you show me where is “I”, where is “my body” or where is “my mind”?
If you point me at some part of my body to say this is my body, be sure you are not point at any part that has a especificaly name such as my head, my leg, my arm, because the same object cannot have two names…likewise I cannot point at my hand and say this is my body, because it is my hand, or even it is a skin, a hair, a pore, a protein, a carbohidrate, an electron, a proton, a neutron and so forth…
So if i cannot point at those part, recognising them as my body, I also cannot say, those part are part of my body, because if i cannot find a body anywhere how can I say that some part of something is a thing? or if i say those thing are part od a big thing and I say they are the collection of something, such as: all parts of a body are the collection of a body, or if i cannot find a body without its parts or the collection of its parts, where is the body?
We can say the body is an expression of our I being selfexpressed by our mind, or the body doesn’t exist itself.
We need the mind to apprehende an image of a body, we need the body to apprehende an image of an I. ummmm….it means we exist only if the mind can apprehende, discriminate, identify and nominate something as I?
So, I am a mind!
All right, if I is a mind, where is it? Please do not point me at your brain! Brain is something physical, we know mind is not that!
Where is it? In occident cultures we normally point at our heart to say, this is the place where my mind is. Are you sure of that? Can you find an inmaterial object in a material place? Can we find air in a room, or is just a mere imputation or mere acceptance there is air in the room where we are.
What is air?
My friend there is nothing from its own side and everything is there perceived by our mind which can apprehende, discriminate, identify and nominate it by recognising it from previous experiences and learnigs (karma). In Buddhism we say the duality: there is no beggining and there is no ending, there is no going or coming and soever.
Tell me, explain to me, what are You, where are You without using another object to help me to try to follow you explanation and understanding what you are saying.
We can say this is a vase, we need our senses to perceive, identify, apprehende, discriminate and nominate it, all this senses come from our mind, we cannot find our mind, it exists from our previous experiences those are held by our mind which is held or belong to someone!
Shantideva says:
“Just as i am familiar with devepoling the thought “I”, “I”,
When perceiving my body, which arose from others’ sperm and blood,
So should I become familiar with developing the tought “I”, “I”,
When perceiving other’s bodies.
L&K
Marcelo

The me inside myself
July 16th, 2008

Are you saying there is no me in myself? There is nothing that is me because all there is – is just me?
Someone once said that there is no such thing as “my leg” because it is part of me, not my leg, your leg, it is just me. An extension of myself and not something that belongs to me but is part of me.
So therefore, the me inside myself is just me and not some object, isn’t it?
The soul, the thoughts are me and not the not something de-tached?
What do you think, Marcelo?
Volker

me, myself and I ?
July 15th, 2008

Hi Volker, ummmmm
the you in you?
That’s a deep question….in budhism Geshe-las always asks us: What is myself? Where is “I” or “me”?
You said you in you, is that meaning there is someone inside us? (soul, mind, heart and soever).
What’s that?
For me, following Buddha’s speech: it just a mere imputation, mere name that come from our need to have some object to input it on it and also it comes from our attachment over our self.
L&K
Marcelo

Losing a loved one
July 12th, 2008

Marcelo,
As you know I lost a loved one this week. And, we emailed non publicly about it.
Now, a week on, I thought maybe we should put our emails (maybe not direct copy paste but similar content) in this blog as well.
Therefore, maybe you can answer me this question, for me to see, whether I got it right:
When you die, the you in you (soul) loses all attachment to the body and the world. Thisattachment that causes suffering and we all go through all day. The little things, the big things.
All that is what you are losing but you are not losing out because ultimately you try to avoid the suffering anyway, don’t we? We trying to avoid suffering and when it comes to the point of dying, ourselves (the one who dies) probably enjoys letting go.
But why is it always so hard for the closest friends and family to let go and to see that the person that passed away is better off. Why is it easier to understand if someone is old and not when someone is young?
How long does it take to be reborn? What are we reborn as? Does it make a difference how young and in which way we die?
Marcelo,
I am sorry for all those questions. But I would like to know.
Love and Kindness from London
Volker

Mysterious Ways
July 7th, 2008

Hello,
Life goes mysterious ways. I am sorry to hear that your work has been destroyed. However, you know better than me, that most things are stored inside yourself. You do not need to have the laptop, the documents and office to make things work. They only make things easier. And, yes it would be good but your karma will get you back on track.
Some people say that things in life happen with a purpose. A purpose to learn from. About a year ago I drove a car through deep water thinking it would be fine. The 9 day old car (used car but 9 days on the road with me) did not survive, e.g. I had to get a new car. There was financial problems but overall I think I was grateful for the experience. Guess it sounds silly? Probably not, because I am 100% sure that this situation learned me something about how to deal with water, cars and cars in water in the future. It might save my life one day.
Your experience, any of our experiences, will have a positive outcome and it is not always obvious and not always easy to see that. I believe that today, when I got 4 new tyres for the car and a new exhaust, spending most of my day waiting in a garage, it was for the greater good. The greater good of me not having to fix a blown up tyre on the road side or an exhaust falling off during a day trip to the country side. We need to prepare for the unexpected. But we cannot get rid of the unexpected. Our washing machine had a part needing to be fixed and ran out in the kitchen. Little damage and easy repaired. It could have been worse.
We can be grateful to have enough water, food, drink and a roof over our heads, a job, someone who loves us and that we are alive. A lot of people are missing those basics. Moments like those remind me of how well we are off. But still, how quickly do we get used to our standards.
Marcelo, I hope you quickly recover from the incident and from your pain.
I will continue to enjoy a day off.
Love
Volker

hope, actitude and motivation
July 7th, 2008

Hi Volker, good to hear from you as well.
My weeked started very well but finished not that good.
Someone had broken in to our office and stolen all out computer, money, and many of the most important documents of our business.
Well, now i am trying to learn a lot of things from this phenomena.
About my body, about my actual professional situation, Buddha says and talk to us about impermanence, empitness and I am deeply trying to apply those knowledges on my present causes and conditions.
About my body I can easily understand and extend these actual sicknesses from things that happened to me in the past of this life and previous life. So, today I have got pain on my body, those pains didn’t not exist yesterday and sooner they will desappear from my feelings and experiences.
From my work experiences, I can say: I must learn and accept that this situation is consequences from my Karma (same as my body’s condition), even if this flourished Karma is utterly hard and painful to accept. We have been working very hard this past semester and in one day, one hour, eveything goes a way from you.
Now is time to apply all my techniques, my knowledges, my background, my core competences to supperate it. It will not be easy but We will win this present obstacle. I am sure we will surpass all these negative Karma.
I will improve on my motivation and I will guide and help my colleagues to overcome those troubles and difficulties, with love and kind on my heart and not by any negative or destructive wishes or thoughts. I will not blame others then myself, these was a collective karma that hippening right now. Tomorrow it will end and new life will start.
L&K
Marcelo

Love and Happiness
July 6th, 2008

Marcelo,
The poem is nice. I slowly start re-charging my batteries and had a great weekend away in Scotland, attending a friend’s wedding. It was great to see people that are in love, people who love each other, cherish and share the love with a group of family and friends.
It was good to get away – although coming back to a broken washing machine – and I am off tomorrow. My aim is to charge batteries all day and work as little as possible. I need to find some time for myself and treat/re-treat myself spiritual wise.
Not good was is happening to your leg. I hope you feel better soon.
People often say it is only my body and that if you die, your body will return to the soil. However, even if you try to be detached from your body and if the body does not seem to be important for your spiritual development, the pain and suffering form it still influences your state of mind.
You cannot just cut the flesh away from your mind, even if you sometimes would like to. You need to look deep inside the body though to find yourself.
I hope you had a good weekend.
I send you my love!

June 2008

energy levels….recharging batteries
June 25th, 2008

Hello Marcelo,
It is so good to hear from you. I have been quiet because I have been very busy with work, traveling and moving.
Currently I am running on the last set of batteries, e.g. I need some sleep, some comforting food/wine and a good thought of Buddhism, e.g. some meditation. I sometimes feel that life takes over and gives us this feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed which then results in us feeling drained and running low on energy.
Can we stop that? Can we keep life at bay?
With love from London,
Volker

Pleasure and happiness
June 23rd, 2008

hi Volker, good morning! Hope your weekend was great and full of meaningful pleasures. I also hope your resting time served to refil your energies and determination to reach the top of the hill.
Sometimes we use our problems as steps to achieve our goals in life, but another times those same steps are used as obstacles and difficulties to reach there.
Shantideva says:
And being overjoyed by meaningless pleasure.
Not finding happiness, they suffer; and in striving to fulfil their wishes
They quarrel, fight, and hurt each other with weapons.
Thus, they consume their lives in the commission of non-virtue.
What do you think?
L&K
Marcelo

Compassion and Kindness
June 22nd, 2008

Hi Volker, I hope you are very well and enjoying your new house.
I can imagine you and your lovely wife enjoying the garden, the new space, your new plot…specially at this time of the year (SPRING), flower growing up and blooming in your garden and life, friendships flourishing and love, compassion and kindness spreading throughout all you life.
And from those feelings I am sure in your heart there are so many good wishes to other and I can say to you, because I believe you are like that:
“…Therefore, just as I protect myself
From anything unpleasant, however small,
So should I become familiar with
A compassionate and caring mind towards others.” (Shantideva)
Enjoy your first spring sunday with your wife and flowers.
Ah! I have forgotten…holding a cup of tea or wine…
L&K
Marcelo

work until you drop dead?
June 18th, 2008

Marcelo,
Writing from my “home office”, I am not surprised what you write there.
Have you ever watched that movie about the wall street banker who works until he drops dead (literally). What I am trying to say, we are in this spiral and we go on and on and on to succeed, earn more money but what we forget is happiness.
We do not stop and think. But we should stop and pause – patience. Do not do more than you can. Do not do more than your body can cope with.
Often people refer to their body as “this body” – it is not “a” body, it is OUR body. That is us. Our body is not exhausted, it is us who is exhausted.
We need to find a good balance, a good break, a pause to stand still and re-cap on things. Otherwise we drop dead ….
Hope you are well.
Love
Volker

when our body stops us
June 17th, 2008

Volker, thanks for your nice and kind words. I am feeling better and already accepted my illness, something that I should treat and look after many years ago, at least 15 years ago, but I didn’t.
Almost the time of our life we are looking outside of us, small pains do not receive any care from us and afterwards they become part of your body and life…until the day…they got worse and stop us, making us slow down our way, life, work, career, dreams and wishes…forcing us to take time and get a new goals in life. I think that is balance, when our mind our our actions are not observing the big picture of our life, small things but not less important, make us to change our directions and determinations.
Yes I have taken sometime to see properly what’s going on with my leg and health…and afterwads I have got a better understand of it and much more tranquil mind, being able to breath and enjoy my life again as I know my problem, its consequences if do not look after it and what i have to do to keep my pace in life, work and pleasures, besides the big sock put on my left leg and taking medicines for the next 6 months at least.
As my mom always said to me: if we do not find our balance…the life itself will provide it to us, but in this case it wont happen in the way we want it.
Now my great chalenge is to improve even more my patience.
L&K
Marcelo

well deserved break
June 16th, 2008

Marcelo,
That sounds like a well deserved break. And, it reads like a new healing process for you. I wish you all the best for that.
My thoughts are with you. Once you have some spare time for some spare thoughts, be in touch.
Love
Volker

little drops of happimess
June 16th, 2008

Hi Volker, I am very happy of your achievements! New house, our own house is a very special ocassion. Congratulations and please celebrate that very well…
I am in south of Brazil right now visiting my family and friends, also i am seeing some doctors to get a good and reliable diagnostic about my leg.
Despite my leg actual health and condition are not ok, I am fine…I am taking medicines and the doctors was great, gaven me a good view of my leg´s problem (thrombosis) so now I will take the medicines regurlarly/daily to keep normal my blood circulation.
Here in south of Brazil is cold like in UK completely different from Mato Grosso state, where i have been living since i ve got back from UK. But I love this city it is very special for as I grew up and took my forestry degree overhere.
So talk to you sooner
L&K
Marcelo

Paradise
June 15th, 2008

Marcelo,
How are you? You have been quiet, and I hope you are ok.
This weekend I moved house.
Finally I have my own place – with my wife of course. A garden, nature, beautiful weather – it is almost like heaven/Paradise compared to having a flat.
Isn’t that great? I am very happy.
I now have to make it our home with a little Buddha and a little shrine to celebrate peace and happiness in our walls.
I send you love.
Buddhism helped me being patient, staying focused and help me managed getting through 2 days of hard moving….
Volker

Balance out of determination?
June 9th, 2008

Marcelo,
Apologies for taking that long to get back to you.
Is balance resulting in determination, e.g. do we need to practise patience and balance to keep up with UPs and DOWNs?
I think so. Yes.
As an example, I went to an event this weekend and if one has a great time, you do not find the determination to go to leaved, e.g. you carry on and on and on. And that is not a problem then. However, you do not think about being tired the next day and the day after. Things carry on.
What I mean, if we have an UP and really power ourselves out (a party, in the gym, at work) then sooner or later we feel exhausted, DOWN (hangover, exhausted, not concentrating enough).
So if we use determination and willpower to bring balance in our lives, then all we do is practising patience and being sensible. The “golden path” is in the middle. Being sensible not to drink to much at a party, not to overdo it in the gym and not to work at work until you collapse. The middle ground with the power to realise the UPs and DOWNs would be the way…
Would that answer what you mean?
Volker

circle of life?
June 4th, 2008

Dear Volker, despite i liked very much your answer my question was more about why we get sad when we are down in life and why we become happy when things are going very very well for us?
First of all, we understand that the circle of life is made by ups and downs, right? If that is the nature of out life, why we can understand that and exchange and moving our mind and feelings towards the sadness and happiness when things happened to us in that way and wee know that way is the only reasable way. There is no other way. Or we are UP or we are DOWN, when we are in the middle of those stages…we are in balance! But balance or peace are normally afterwards percived by us as a borrings stage, we want to go UP again and from there we know we are going down to the bottom of the circle of our life.
From my point of view, when we are down, as you said we are more capable to be patience and when we are UP we feel as an invencible, a Super Man, able to win and attain everything. That’s ok! I can see and understand it.
Let we think about attachment using that previous sentence:…we are down when the product is bad, i am not selling right and finally I have to change but in which way may I promote this change?and when we are UP we feel as an invencible, i can sell everything and even more, so, my questions are why i am developing those feeling?
In Buddhism we say that happen because we are attached to our I, our Image of ourselves, our reputation, we have to be productive, to be the best…and after all, whilst we are in the top we start again to become unconfortable and because things are going smoothly we think we haven’t been productive, we need to change, we have to change it!
Why can we not enjoy it as long as we can? Why we can harvest the fruits of our plantations and share it with everyone? Why can we not remember that and accepting the circle of life is composed by UP and DOWNS, then we will not get upset with it, we will just look forward to move and change our conditions (internal manly and external).
You said, we should try to not be bothered by it…be patient, so my question is: Why or How can we not be bothered by it? How can we be patient? Is it a meditation factor or anyelse? Definetly Meditationcan help us, but I believe we need determination as everything in life.
Ummm, Is balance a result of our determination then?
What do you think of it?
L&K

May 2008

commitments and intentions
May 29th, 2008

Hi Volker, i know and so sorry about my silence and lack of words, but i am promising to you i will recover and redeem myself with you…sooner my friend, i ve been reading your posts this past week and days and I so proud of you, you can see things well, even when you are not sure about that. That’s important, i can say very important…starting to see with wild open eyes is the first step to any improvement.
I am actually engaged in promote and work against the ” international amazon – rain forest”, i do not know if you had heard something about it, but the problem is huge..
Look at this video I will send it to you. If we can forget or not see that that company is aiming or really looking after the biogenetic resource in Amazon only, i could accept innocently this video.
Watch the video and tell me what do you thing about.
L&K
Marcelo

1. Reverence for Life?
May 28th, 2008

Marcelo,
Reverence for Life: is that all about not killing minerals, animals and humans? Any living being and being nice to them, feeding them and giving to them. Respecting life – is that so simple?
Volker

I am more….
May 28th, 2008

…than I appear to be, all the world’s strength and power rests inside me!
Marcelo,
I know you are very busy.
Just today I am about to finish “For a future to be possible, Buddhist Ethics for everyday life“, by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Have you read that one?
It speaks about the Five Mindulness Trainings:
1. Reverence for Life
2. Generosity
3. Sexual Responsibility
4. Deep Listening and Loving Speech
5. Deit for a Mindful Society
For me it is hard to sum up the book in a post. And, whilst I could imagine eating less meat, drinking less wine, giving it all up would be hard to imagine.
Maybe you have some thoughts and inputs on that? Would you like to start with 1. Reverence for Life?
Love and Peace to you,
Volker

work life – life work – life life – good life
May 25th, 2008

Today is a rainy day. Nothing like yesterday, it was sunny and we went to an animal park in Kent. Today it looks like a day in the gym and at home, catching up on laundry.
Why am I writing you about that?
I am a little philosophic today, catching up on work and thoughts. Thoughts are that like life – life can be in balance one day, it sometimes is a rainy day, then a sunny day. Sometimes we need to accept that we enjoy the sunshine and one day we enjoy the rain and make the most of it.
Marcelo said that I improve in my Buddhist views. That inspires me as I believe that my thinking slowly gets more and more into the direction I would like it to go. However, it is similar to studying an MBA. You get all the theory but you need to link it to the practise. I promise that is my next step, practising meditation.
What I already practise is life-life balance and the idea of patience and helping others. I try to not get angry and control my thoughts. Not too easy living in a 10 million people city going through probably the most stressful time of my life. But latter I keep saying for year, lol.
As Marcelo likes to point out, Buddha Shakyamuni spent 12 years in a retreat to understand his mind and attain enlightenment – so give me some time and patience and I promise I will improve.
I send my love out to everyone reading this and hope to hear back from you, Marcelo, soon.
Volker

balance – between life and death
May 20th, 2008

Marcelo,
I am not sure if I can follow you?
Are you saying that the only force opposing life is death and that all other forces that we think oppose us, are from within?
The day we are born, we face the ultimate, we know we are dying. Which is not a bad or scary thing, it just prevents our bodies from continuing?
So does meditation help us balancing our inner thoughts to re-gain balance in life?
Is enlightenment nothing else than balancing ourselves with life and then life with death?
My apologies for all those questions.
When I said to you yesterday, that my life is fast pace and I need to catch up with the speed to balance, you said that maybe meditation could help but also that we can meditate anytime anywhere. That would mean, no matter how fast life is, how much out of balance we are, we can practise to re-gain balance anytime and can succeed. Because balance comes from within?
Looking forward to your thoughts!
Volker

Life x Death
May 20th, 2008

I only can start this post with the followed question: Is there anything else between life and death? Is just that Life or death? What is dream state or what’s happening when we have falled sleep? Wich kind of state of mind have we got during a sleeping time? What’s the difference between death and sleep? Is there any activity going on our mind while we are sleeping besides the dreaming time? That is a subject from the whole civilization history
Can we have a dreaming stage meanwhile we are awake? Let we see previously…what is a awake state of mind? Some one can says it is a alert state of mind or another ones can also says it is the time you are using our mind and processing/creating thoughts. Is that true?
Not being simple or superficial, but do we remember the movie Matrix?
Ok, let we get back to Volkers words “oppositing forces” that we have in our life and the wikipedia say it is something will bring us to the balance in life.
Where are this oppositing forces? Outside of our mind or inside? All phenomena that happened to us externally where are we feeling them? Outside? Is our feeling of pain, outside of our body our mind?Umm! From the Buddhism side when we have got this understanding we have attained enlightenment.
Opposing forces means to me some kind of duality like as hatred, attachment, pride, prejudice, self grasping, selfness, cherishing oneself, ignorance and love, kindness, compassion, humbleness, open minded, freedom, deattachment, cherising others, selflessness…
I believe to get this answers we need to walk down deeper into our mind almost the the time I see myself being very superficial, not keen of get a further understanding about what’s going on into my mind or other people’s mind. From these superficial judments I have got my assessments and their results, judging, analysing, stablishing and labeling people and things in: good/bad, positive/negative, life/death. But where are the middle? the centre of all these things?
Volkers used to say “within” ourselves. Buddha Shakyamuni went to a retreat for almost the time of his life until the day he reached the answers and he got his freedom from all the sorrows, pains, doubts and sufferings, until the day he achieved his enlightment and understood the happiness is within inthe balance between us and others, because there is no others or I to be watched, persived, attached or prayed. We are one…we are the balance, there is no ending nor beginning time, there is no coming nor going neither happiness or suffering…
Maybe we will find the balance of our life in the day we will find the truth of our existence, meantime we are unbalanced, we are unstable, we are in the circle of life and death, passing by, birth, ageing, sicking, death and birth, ageing, sicking, death, and birth….again and again until the day we will attain enlightenment and freedom from this unbalanced circle…and…we will become balanced.
There will be no death either life, it will come the continuun of ourselves within ourselves.
Going for a retreat and finding ourselves, I am not saying specificaly goinf foa a physical retreat but be in a silence and go into a deeper inside retread, find our essence, our internal and inner energy. We can use some tantric teaching or practices to help ourselves.
I am afraid we are not interested on it, we normally prefer to stay and be in a superficial understanding and knowledging obout ourselves, but if we have some questions or not being sure about some stablished question, go to some another of finding your own answers.
L&K
Marcelo

balance – another definition
May 20th, 2008

Hello Marcelo,
I am on my lunch and thought to look up Balance on Wikipedia – interesting a “position between two forces which favours neither one of them”.
Balance is keeping something in equilibrium. Like keeping the work as important in life as life, e.g. living a personal life.
Now, my argument, having a life-life balance, does that mean we keep our life in balance with itself? Where are the opposing forces to that?
Could there be a balance between 2 things that are the same, or what do we mean by having an equilibrium in life.
Lets say we do not differentiate between work and life, or we do not differentiate between life and other activities, then to have an opposite force to life we either have to have death or to have ourselves, questioning life. However, as we are an integral part of the process I’d suggest it is death.
So having a life-life balance we aiming to be between death and life (being alive) and having equal forces on each side. But why not having more forces on the living side?
There are a few articles out there:
• Six Steps to quality of life
• 9 Steps to balance life
• Wealth and the Quality of Life
Not sure about some of those. Not a friend of those magic “7″ or “9″ things to do before you gain balance.
Let me know what you think.
Volker

balance – Volker’s opinion
May 16th, 2008

Hello Marcelo,
My apologies for not writing this week. This week was great, I had a great balance between work and work and life?
Or is that me saying, I worked too much or did not have enough life?
I jump straight in.
Work-Life Balance: there we go, if you read the HR and Management Books, and that is where I am coming from, then you know that there should be a work life balance. What that means is a different question, as it is and can be a very personal attitude and question.
3 Examples:
a) A friend who work about 80 hours a week, never stops unless he is told to or ill. He was ill and now recovers but is already back at work. Why? He enjoys it and it is something that fulfils him.
b) A story I heard last night about a doctor who works 8-8 most days, one operation after another, helping people, being passionate about his job. Great, it must fulfil him.
c) My old job: 9-5, 1 hour lunch.
3 examples that come down to – nothing really. Whoever is passionate about what they do in their work do not regard it as a burden, do they. They do not see it as work?
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) would suggest that they re-framed work as being part of their life, their personality.
Why my example of my old job? Because I was not happy. I am someone that needs doing, work, something similar to a) and b), I need to be passionate about what I do. My current job for example, I love working long hours, help clients and get things done. I am passionate (I hope my boss reads that). Also, I like my time off, too
Bottom line is that if you really enjoy what you are doing most of your time, e.g. what you are doing during working hours, and you enjoy the people you are with, e.g. your colleagues, then this is the best thing for you. As me, as you, as the examples above you can integrate it into your life and you do not mind having a life-work balance.
Your work becomes life, becomes passion. It goes beyond the perception of work being theactivity you need to do to pay the bills. And that is where you want to be.
We at cb consulting, sorry for more advertisement, offer career and personal development coaching. Why? Because people want to be in a job, a position that is a fit to their personality, their passion and drive in life.
Now, what has that to do with Balamadana?
Easy: we have to look on the inside and see whether our decision and our balance is coming from within. Again, something cb consulting looks at, performance from within!
If everything inside you corresponds to everything on the outside, then you are in balance. Not sure who said that (someone famous anyway) and there we go – but how do we get thecorrespondence, the peacefulness inside to make us peaceful on the outside?
Meditation is the key? Balancing your life by sitting down in peace and quiet and looking into yourself. Discover yourself. Is that not right, Marcelo?
And, from the balance within, we can look at the balance on the outside. Work-Life, Life-Life. You are right, if we are 100% enjoying and integrating work into life, there is no such thing at work. It does not matter how much you earn (as long as it is enough) and you are happy.
Things like ill health, a problem in your partnership, a bad day at work (again), a bad day in life (see where I am coming from), anything like that can throw you out of your path of balance. You need to create a tool, e.g. meditation, sports etc., to actually bringing balance back to your life.
Another, not recommended way, is to take drugs, drink and smoke. A lot of people do, Marcelo, they bring balance to their life by poisoning their body, by oppressing their feeling and pain. We need to reach out to them and help them.
You take care, enjoy your weekend and speak soon.
Love to you.
Volker

balance
May 16th, 2008

Good morning Volker, hopefuly you have been great and having a fantastic friday…tomorrow is weekend and this is part of the balance in our lifes.
Balance life-life or balance work-life, that was the point Volker has asked me about?
This is a further question, is there any difference between life/work? Is not work part of our life? is it not the same as having dinner, relationships, cinema, sleeping time…?
What is work? what is work-life? what is balance in work-life?
Ummmm, I am not sure, but this question, I believe, is not just mine, many people say is work apart of my lilfe? Other people say work is work, life is life??? I am really not sure about it.
My work is life, my personal issues and matters in life affect my work and vice-versa, or not?
Balance, is like my mum said to me when I was 18 years old: we need to have time to pray, to enjoy the nature, to work, to study, to love, to have fun with our friends, to walk, to sleep, to eat, to do nothing.
My Guru the Buddhist Monk and Master of my tradition Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says: We cannot stop and do nothing, we are not able to sit down and close our eyes to enjoy ourselves any longer, we have a sense of obligation to be productives, to have our minds fulfill of every and anything all the time, we cannot be by ourselves in complete inner silence, even when we are reading a good book sudenly in a second our mind runs out to another point or object. We are so distracted and there is no balance on it.
Shantideva (AD687-763) a Indian Buddhist Master says:
The defining characteristic of guarding alertness
Is to examine again and again
The state of our body, speech, and mind
And to understand whether our actions are correct or not.
What do you thing about it? Let me know…
L&K
Marcelo

balance
May 14th, 2008

Somedays a go I wrote about balance in life, but first of all let me tell all you what this blog represents to me. Having a blog is an opportunity to talk to me and to other about my feelings, views, understandinga, expectations in life and for my career. Specially this one that I am developing it with Volker, we have held a discussion between us about many subjects, this time our focus is on the stages of our lifes or just islands for us. We both agree that island are like stages on our personal development or as Volker said: stones on our path.
This is another answer, now i will talk about balance… All my life I have watched myself, inner and outer, my actions and reactions, trying to get a balance in life…I became a Buddhist and that helps me a lot, because make me see and understand that everything starts and happen inside myself, in my own mind – the phenomena and my feelings about them.
I have been trying all my life since I was a child -believe you or not – to find my balance, my way, my convictions, my space. I have refused the labels or the belongings, like you belong to this group so you are that… or even something like: you think and behave like that, so you are that…
I have never accepted that. Life is much more than that we are much more than that. We are unlimited, our brain is not used more than 1% of its potentiality, my limits are my believes or what I believe i can do or cannot.
For me balance much easier is about to understanding what’s going on. For example, right now I have got a problem in my left leg as consequence of something I did wrong or just as a consequence of my genetics or even from 1991’s my car crash. To be in balance is to respect its pain, to respect that limit but taking some actions and understanding these actions need a time to heal my body.
Last week I wasn’t balaced because this pain clouded my sky/my mind and it did not allowed me to work and live in harmony i decided to be in silence, like an internal assemement and being honest to myself and others I was afraid of my leg and as my body and my mind were in pain I became utterly depressed.
So I went on meditation, I went deeper into myself and realised things about my pain and found my balance on there. Because I understood my sorrow, my fear I could accept it and restablish my balance. Normally we do not go deeper and we don’t pay to much atention to our soul/mind/wishes – this is sinonimous of weakness, for me is just going back to the ocean deeper than before until find another island, or even the same island but with different aspects on it.
Now, to conclude, balance is to understand that life is an arrangment of bad and good things, negative and positive, realisations and frustrations, pain and relief. Accepting the dualities in life!

April 2008

contentment in the job with Buddhist thoughts
April 30th, 2008

Hello,
I would like to start and post about something I just wrote on my own blog.
Ballueder’s Blurb
Is it possible that if you strive for success and for more possession (not only monetary) that you get to a point of contentment?
And if so, would you actually be able to reach this point without
• self monitoring
• personal development
I strongly believe that contentment at any point in life is like coming to a place where you can build a home, settle down and enjoy what you have – job, career, family. Instead of going out in the rough sea, seeking for more islands. Follow that link for some thought on that. I will shortly publish an essay on that and will let you know.
Marcelo, what do you think this is all about?

Welcome
April 25th, 2008

Welcome to our blog.
We will be starting here shortly!