Jogen contemplates the challenge of integrating meditation into daily life, emphasizing the importance of carrying awareness beyond the cushion. He recognizes the difficulty of maintaining mindfulness amidst distractions and reactive tendencies, especially in the digital age. Jogen advocates for a continuous embodiment of practice, staying present and cultivating wisdom in each moment.
In the Zen tradition, Jogen underscores the significance of being present moment by moment, manifesting practice in daily activities. He acknowledges the intention as the key to sustaining awareness throughout the day. Jogen shares practical methods to reinforce mindfulness, such as writing reminders on his hand, placing signs, or using discomfort (like a pebble in the shoe) as prompts to pay attention. He stresses the need for creativity in reinforcing mindfulness, even in a monastic environment.
Reflecting on the power of intention, Jogen suggests incorporating daily rituals and prayers to set conscious intentions. He encourages imagining scenarios where increased sensitivity, kindness, or wisdom are needed and making prayers for those intentions. Jogen believes that the repetitive reinforcement of intention creates a lasting impact, tapping into the energy of mindfulness and cultivating a habit of conscious living.
Rachel reflects on the integration of her meditation practice into various aspects of her life beyond the cushion. Recognizing that the practice extends beyond a few hours per week, she emphasizes that the key lies in the continuous engagement with the practice rather than its duration. Initially drawn to meditation for mental health and recovery reasons, Rachel found immediate benefits in working through significant grief, complementing her twelve-step recovery practice.
Her early meditation practices primarily focused on tranquility and concentration, but a shift occurred when she started sitting with Dave, who emphasized heart practices like Brahmavihara. Despite finding these practices challenging for about three years, Rachel navigated internal resistance and confusion, witnessing a tangible impact on her overall life.
The promise of recovery—being happy, joyous, and free—became not just a concept but a lived experience for Rachel. Meditation played a crucial role in transforming her from a traditionally anxious and high-strung person to someone who experiences a sense of relaxation. As she became more at ease in her physical body, this newfound well-being began to permeate her relationships with others, illustrating the far-reaching effects of her meditation journey.
In contemplating active bodhichitta, Ben expresses that being actively beneficial takes various forms, extending beyond conventional acts like running a Buddhist center. He highlights the importance of embodying this altruistic mindset in every interaction, both within and outside the spiritual community. Ben reflects on his role as an engineering manager in the steel industry, emphasizing the intention to foster human development within his team rather than merely focusing on financial objectives.
Viewing his job as a means to support his broader aspirations, Ben aims to infuse his work with Buddhist principles, prioritizing the growth and development of his team members. He stresses the significance of approaching every situation as an opportunity to be useful, aligning with the Buddha’s example of working selflessly for the benefit of others. For Ben, the essence of being a Buddha lies in consistent usefulness in all aspects of life.
Ben encourages integrating Diamond Way teachings into daily work, seizing opportunities to assist others and fostering a supportive environment. He believes that genuine engagement with the world, rather than seclusion in a Buddhist center, is essential for embodying the principles of Buddhism. Ben aligns his understanding with the teachings of Diamond Way, emphasizing the importance of action as a core element of the spiritual path.
Dennis shares insights into his corporate career, advising his daughter to playfully describe him as a high-powered middle manager in a Fortune 100 company. Despite acknowledging the ego-driven nature of the corporate world, he expresses contentment with his career choices and credits Zen for allowing him to release unnecessary concerns about status and possessions.
Reflecting on the corporate environment, Dennis discusses the importance of giving credit to others, embracing inclusivity, and fostering an open mindset. He believes that Zen practice enables individuals to let go of ego-driven ambitions, acknowledging the collective effort of a team. Dennis emphasizes the human desire for a good life and happiness, encouraging a shift towards inclusivity and understanding in both personal and professional spheres.
Furthermore, Dennis discusses the value of being open-minded, especially in areas where passion might lead to zealotry. He advocates for a balanced perspective, considering different viewpoints, and encourages individuals to be more open in various aspects of life, from political views to environmental concerns. Ultimately, he suggests that Zen and meditation can contribute to a more compassionate, understanding, and open-minded approach to life.
Karen finds the discipline of Chinese calligraphy to be profoundly meditative, offering a unique satisfaction in expressing words. Initially approaching it with a Western mindset, trying to understand characters intellectually, she later realizes the Eastern philosophy behind it—letting go of the mind and embracing body repetition. This shift becomes a key element in her artistic expression.
Karen recognizes that the mind plays no role in artistic expression. This realization frees her to create without overthinking. Her artistic journey includes seven years as a ceramicist, designing costumes and capes, exploring multimedia, and delving into photography. She draws inspiration from her father’s literary influence, incorporating unconventional materials like feathers and tree bark into her creations.
Despite the various artistic pursuits, Karen acknowledges the significant time commitment that her passion for dance demands. This multifaceted exploration of art reflects her journey from intellectual understanding to a more intuitive and embodied approach, ultimately enhancing her artistic expression.
Annual update on progress of project.