Lojong Practice 21: Bread and Butter

I am using Weeping Buddha and the lojong sayings and commentary from Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chogyam Trungpa as a study, together.
I’ve been practicing
tonglen for almost three decades, and it is my main practice.
This is the twenty-first weekly installment.  To start at the beginning go here.

W15 20 LOJONG 2#16: Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.

This speaks to me of the benefits of a long practice, and it doesn’t matter whether it is dance, art journaling, or meditation.  If you’ve practiced the moves, when that lovely (wo)man reaches for you when a great song is played, you are ready to be swept away!  If you’ve painted every day in various situations then you are up to the task when faced with a memory you want to paint.

I’ve been practicing tonglen for so many years that when I am suffering I think of all the others who are suffering and take it all on, breath in the pain from everyone in terms of the pain I am feeling.  This is a knee-jerk reaction now, from years of conscientious practice on the zafu.  It doesn’t diminish my pain — my pain is quite real — or belittle it (after all, if the heat in our home is out for a few hours I may be cold and still, not as cold as the family sleeping on the sidewalk).  It raises my compassion, allowing wisdom and balance.

jai bannerWhen Trungpa discusses joining the unexpected with meditation, he means more than taking on “negative” situations, he means everything you meet in life should be joined in meditation!

Understand the fleetingness of a heart-filling moment:  Jai came in to say hello while I was on the toilet today.  He makes his first pass to get scratched, then turns, and being a male cat, pretends he could care less about my affections, then rethinks it (he really loves the scratches) and goes in for one more round of head-bumping on my leg.  This morning I fully felt the joy of this bathroom ritual — it’s the little things that lift your life.  I wished that everyone could have small heart opening moments.

My husband fills my heart daily.  I tell him, not just “I love you” but how I feel in the moment I feel it, take the time to stop and say whatever is in my heart, make a post-it love note on his computer, write it on a drawing.  I am grateful, and part of this is because I have experienced untimely death and KNOW impermanence first-hand, and part is because tonglen creates an atmosphere of gratitude when practiced fully.

When time is cut short, experiencing the joy of stolen moments of creativity on my back desk (now my art studio at work), and breathing the wish that everyone find ways to fulfill their heart wishes.  I appreciate the small moves, and the community of journalers of various types around the world, of which I am a part.  This fills my heart.

W15 1 1 AJW ITEM CAN'T THROW AWAY 3start where you are pema chodronThis idea of open-heartedness or is not a
loving-ness, necessarily, but a state of mind that accompanies no-thought, just experience.

“How interruptions can awaken us to the
experience of both absolute and relative bodhichittha,
to the open, spacious quality of our minds and warmth
of our hearts.  When something surprises, it stops your minds; catch that gap of a moment, that moment of
big space or bewilderment or total astonishment,
and let yourself rest in alaya. . .
When our mind starts again, practice tonglen.”
Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are

I am interested in hearing about YOUR life or how the lojong
affected you or your practice awakening in some manner. 

Some have asked me about my ongoing studies of Weeping Buddha.  What is now called “Weeping Buddha” felt to me as a humbled figure long before I heard it called that.  I called him “Buddha Ball’ for years, and regret his common name — but for this figure to be found I comply.  I would rather not name him and let you feel his emotion for yourself.
They are all drawn in an OE or OKINA NOTEBOOKS (my favorite journals, also known as Cadic), and this one was drawing with a Preppie pen and Lexington Grey Noodler’s ink.  Daniel Smith Primatek Amethyst watercolor paint.


©D. Katie Powell.  My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back to zenkatwrites.  Art (unless stated) is also by me; please link to dkatiepowellart.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in autobiography, buddhism, compassion, journal, lojong, meditation, sketchbook, spirituality, tonglen and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Lojong Practice 21: Bread and Butter

  1. susanissima says:

    Very clear and beautiful. A perfect message for me this morning, especially “…it’s the little things that lift your life. I wished that everyone could have small heart opening moments.”

    I believe we do, but then sometimes we forget. Walking in the world with an open mind and heart refreshes our joy of the little things, or “Little Flowers,” as St. Thérèse of Lisieux called them. Tiny bouquets of delight. Have a fine day, Kate!

  2. Sammy D. says:

    Lovely thoughts, lessons and practice, Katie. Thank you for telling in your own words – it was as meaningful to learn about taking in the pain of others as being mindful in each moment. Oddly enough my 2015 ‘cadence’ word is giving me all sorts of messages similar to what you speak of here.

    • I look forward to hearing more about cadence as the year moves forward. I am considering pushing a word to the fore for myself as well. Tossing around time, fear, or joy!

      • Sammy D. says:

        You don’t make it easy on yourself, do you? Those 3 words lead you in quite different directions! Will be here for your ‘reveal’ when you decide!

        • They are actually quite related for me right now. Feeling the crunch of time, wanting more, always, has been my issue. Getting old enough to notice the pattern that fear, PERIOD, is an issue for me, and settles on certain things, some for real, some irritatingly crazy. Both of these issues impact my JOY!

          • Sammy D. says:

            You are so right about the connectedness. I think that’s why cadence resonated for me – in one sense I use it as marching through the ‘noise’ of distractions (including fear); in another sense I use it to not stress about how time gets away from me -to focus on moving forward.
            There is so much that can bind us; i hope you find some good tools that lead towards joy 💕

          • and again, cute apps that i don't have . . . envious!

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