Notes at the end for this ongoing study:
This is the twenty-third weekly installment. To start at the beginning go here.
“17: Practice the five strengths,
the condensed heart instructions.”
The first of the five strengths, is strong determination. Trungpa describes
this as “determination to maintain absolute bodhichitta (awakened heart-mind)
and relative bodhichitta (tenderness), to maintain awareness and compassion.”
All good things to do, AND they felt overwhelming.
When I first started tonglen I was a year sober and really was just trying to deal with my emotions in any form without numbing out, which is what the alcohol did for me.
I was sure I would fail at maintaining “absolute bodhichitta (awakened heart-mind) and relative bodhichitta (tenderness), to maintain awareness and compassion.”
Pema Chodron and Brugh Joy, a wonderful teacher, emphasizing an open heart
above all else, offered me a way in to overwhelming situations.
I made a commitment to open my heart and drop the armor in difficult situations.
I was determined to relate instead with openness and to use difficult encounters
and difficult people as an opportunity to practice all these new tools.
Ani Pema calls this an “appetite for enlightenment” and I knew I had that!
I commit daily to keeping my heart open in difficult situations, to breathing deeply and sending and taking with the breath, to offering up for the sake of all sentient beings.
Every time I walk through the slogans, I hear something a bit different.
I really could not relate to Trungpa’s instructions on the five strengths. Now, as I write this — and by the way, copying pithy sayings in longhand is my best study method, as it combines auditory (my worst sense) with visual and kinesthetic — my strong learning senses — I see clearly that the very thing I earned from Ani Pema and Brugh was embedded in the slogan: “the condensed heart instructions.”
Some have asked me about my ongoing studies of Weeping Buddha. What is now called “Weeping Buddha” felt to me as a humbled figure before I heard the common name. I like “Buddha Ball’, and regret his common name — but for this writings and images to be found I comply. I would rather not name him and let you feel his emotion for yourself. Images are drawn in an OE or OKINA NOTEBOOK (my favorite journals, also known as Cadic). Drawn with a Preppie pen, Super5 Australian ink, Neocolor Crayons and waterbrush.