The Things I Do For You – How to practice the six perfections of generosity, morality, patience, enthusiastic perseverance, concentration and wisdom.

Following on from the 1992 tour of His Holiness to Australia, I began working as a Kitchen Manager at Tara Insitute, in Melbourne, Australia. This is the way I practiced generosity. The Buddhist Centre at the time had many commitments and I agreed to volunteer much of my time, seven hours a day to complete the work necessary as kitchen manager to that Buddhist Centre.

I woke up early at four or five am. Then I would focus on generating the bodhicitta motivation as a reason behind all my actions of body, speech and mind. One needs to look at the seven fold cause and effect method to understand why it is so worthwhile to generate the bodhicitta motivation as the reason behind each action of body, speech and mind that one both aspires to and engages in.

I will discuss this now. Firstly beings need to be recognized as having been like kind mothers. All beings are like this, kind mothers. Then you think of the ways in which these beings are kind. We are fortunate to be in receipt and prescence of such a holy, and pure spiritual, religious, scientific and medical tradition, that is uncorrupt. There are so many ways to recognize the kindness that is on display around us. We can’t really get anywhere without this kindness.

Then we consider repaying this kindness. How wrong to take kindness for granted, or to be greedy with it. Then we develop loving kindness, the wish for oneself and others to have happiness and it’s causes. We need to deeply feel this way at all times to oppose anger and hatred, which is is the wish to cause harm. You need to apply the antidote of loving kindness to oppose and cessate the harmful negative states of mind of anger and hatred. Hatred and anger are always wrong states of mind.

Then you generate compassion, which is the wish for oneself and others to be free of suffering and it’s causes. After this you generate altruism and then you develop the mind wishing to, aspiring to and engaging in the path to Buddhahood or enlightenment. You also need to recognize that all phenomena lack inherent existence, whilst cause and effect and dependent arising are unfailing.

Now, having done this, I worked on preparing the weekly menu. So I would shower and dress thinking this way.

I prepared a three course vegetarian meal for the residents of Tara and the public, over forty people, five evenings a week.

The meal would begin with soup, then a main course, and finally desert. I had to arrange a meal design that offered different meals for about two weeks in a row. Then I did the ordering, keeping within a strict budget. All the meal planning and menu design and ordering was done in my own time, unpaid as a volunteer. I turned up for some paid work five hours a day, five days a week to actually prepare and cook the meals.

My meals were quite well received. People generally liked the soup, which was good. As I was a bit new to vegetarian cooking, I had quite a bit to learn. After four months on the job, the executive committee advertised the Centre’s position of Centre Manager. After consulting with Geshe Doga, I was advised to apply for the position.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

The Things I Do For You – Learning how to be beneficial and not harmful with everything you do.

My name is Vanessa Anne Pollock. I have been working full time as a Mahayana Buddhist for 27 years. I met His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet in Melbourne, in 1992. It’s a nice story. I told this story in Nights in the Moon Lily Garden.

Vanessa, a young arts and business student from Monash University, aged twenty three, went out to dinner with Christian Walsh to a Chinese restaurant in the city of Melbourne, one Tuesday night. From memory we ate around 9pm. We both enjoyed a decent meal, I think you could say. After eating and paying for the meal, we slowly left the restaurant and made our way towards the car. On the way, we walked past the Theosophical Bookstore and stopped to have a look in the window. I glanced at a copy of Freedom in Exile by His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, that was displayed in the window. Christian, who was a young and fit landscape designer, aged about twenty seven, quietly spoke to Vanessa, “I’ve just finished reading this book, Freedom in Exile. It’s excellent. You should read it. His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso is really a man that harmonizes the word. He doesn’t falter. His Holiness is a wonderful leader. I like to be lead by such a holy man.”

“Yes, I quite agree. That’s wonderful. I will read that now,” Vanessa said without hesitation.

Then Vanessa looked with interest at a flyer stuck on the window of the Theosophical bookstore. It had an image of His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, looking wise and compassionate, advertising the 1992 tour to Australia of His Holiness. Christian said, “Oh great what is this?” The flyer announced that there were tickets on already on sale, and the public could, at their discretion, join as a benefactor to the tour, for $1000.00. Vanessa didn’t have much money at the time, but carefully and joyfully spoke up, “Christian, would you like to go halves with me and get two benefactor tickets to support the tour of His Holiness to Australia?”

Christian considered. “Alright then. Do you feel OK about that? We don’t have that much cash at the moment.”

Vanessa didn’t feel too concerned, rather inspired and uplifted. “Christian, I think it’s a good idea.” Vanessa started to memorize the phone number which indicated where to purchase the tickets for the tour. The flyer stated the contact details of Tara Institute, a Melbourne Buddhist Centre, and then after reading, Vanessa said to Christian, “I will go to this Buddhist Centre tomorrow and pick up the tickets. I can get to the bank in the morning.”

So, apart from having the good karma of supporting the cost of the Buddhist teaching tour of His Holiness to Australia, benefactors received two tickets to a number of events in their home city to learn about the Buddhist path.

Vanessa and Christian both consider this to be a wonderful way to learn from experts how to practice virtue the white actions of body, speech and mind, and how to abandon the cause of suffering, the black actions and the delusions which propel negative acts. These are the  delusions of ignorance, hatred and attachment, which must be cessated to enjoy the fruits of higher rebirth, liberation and enlightenment.

 

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019.

War on Terror

Malcolm Turnbull got things a bit wrong, What? Trade with China is what he thought. What? Sell our precious spring water to those fuckwits, who abuse every living being because they never worked out love and compassion, wisdom and so forth?

Darling Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop discussed it. So did John Howard, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and so forth. We couldn’t forget gorgeous George Bush. Has anyone here got an idea of what extremism is? It’s wrong view. It’s seeing phenomena as inherently existent. The wrong view of a self of persons and of phenomena is the root cause of all suffering. A being with correct view understands the selflessness of persons and of phenomena. The I and mine are empty of true existence, whilst cause and effect and dependent arising are unfailing.

There goes your future China, Russia, Neo Nazi Germany and so forth. Oh gosh, and how could I forget the Middle East? You fascists, you communists, you fail to understand the middle way school of thought, of Prasangika Madhyamika, which discerns phenomena correctly. So ram that up your ugly, smelly arse.

Today, sweet children, we are discussing water. We all need water, or haven’t your parents told you that already? Some countries think they have a good water supply. Tibet used to be an efficient, environmentally friendly nation. That was until the barbaric Chinese communists took over and toxified every living being in that region. What shit heads they are. Don’t you agree? Why don’t you pay for a proper education, and pay here?

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What haven’t they, (the extremists) done wrong? First they murdered a lot of the sweet people. They tortured monks, who were motivated and dedicated to the path of full awakening. Not in any way an intelligent thing to do. So you dickheads, all go to hell. Mao Tse Tung became a crab, then after a while of suffering chronically, he went to hell. Perfect.

Do you feel in the mood for me to continue? What happened to the four main rivers that flowed from the Tibetan Plateau into Asia. Well China fucked everything up of course, what with nuclear testing, environmental pollution and so forth. And what, you idiots are still interested in dealing in business with these insane murderous lunatics. Xi Jinping, (who pongs), shut up and stop taking my money. No? Then die better.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

Nights in the Moon Lily Garden – Chapter Five

Grasping At A Self Of Person

Running, terrified. Am I in hell? I told my parents to get a divorce, to sell their holiday house and farm. Now I have no money, no prospects. All signs of sanity have gone. This is what happened in 1986.

It’s a very sad and sobering aspect of my life that I must acknowledge the cruel and unbalanced way in which I have commonly been treated by both my mother and sister. However, to distort the facts and to try and gloss over some of the most painful events of my life would not only be dishonest, but in a way an act of almost acknowledging that abusive behavior, and harmful mental patterns are in some way acceptable, when clearly, they are not, no matter who they are coming from or directed towards.

It is the case that both my mother Grace, and sister Lucy have both convinced themselves absolutely that they are totally within their rights to act in a continuously deceptive, dishonest and profoundly harmful way towards me, simply because I am a daughter and sister. They have both decided that because I am a close relative, that leaves the door wide open for them to do whatever they can to destroy whatever amount of happiness I manage to create.

As far as they are concerned, once they act to destroy the happiness I may create, in the form of a friendship with others, for example, they have no hesitation in covering up their harmful actions by simply lying to others, and distorting the facts about what really took place.

To their minds, when something degenerates into a he said, she said situation, they are confident that the ignorance in humans in general, will do its job in confusing their listeners enough so they are unable to discern just who did the wrong thing in the first place. Therefore, their acts of aggression, hatred, jealousy and greed go unrecognized by the majority, creating a free environment for them to continue on in their efforts to isolate me from the rest of the world and to ensure that their abuse has the most destructive impact and effect.

There was a time, during my HSC year, after I had managed to befriend many of the girls who once used to bully me because I was a high achieving student that I would be regularly asked to stay over at a school friends’ house on a Saturday night. We would usually go to some party, or perhaps just gather a group of friends to watch a video together, as most young people enjoy doing.

On this particular Saturday, I was asked to stay over at Sarah’s house, and my mother agreed that this would be OK. I said I would spend the Sunday morning doing some homework at Sarah’s house, before returning home after lunch to continue on with my studies. As this was the arrangement, I left feeling happy that I could avoid being part of the tense and stressed environment that constantly pervaded my time at home with my mother and sister. Mother was now firmly entrenched in the pattern of breaking down in tears on a regular basis and had the habit of criticizing me for any manner of things, simply because she was buckling under the pressure of her impending divorce with father.

On this occasion, I had a reasonably settled time away, and the next day, on the Sunday, just after lunch, there was a phone call at Sarah’s house. Sarah answered the phone and soon informed me that Mrs. Wong, the mother of another friend of mine at school, wanted to speak to me. I answered the phone, a little curious as to why she would be calling.

Mrs. Wong, “how are you,” I said.

“Listen to me, you disgraceful child,” seethed Mrs. Wong on the other end of the phone.

“How dare you run away for the night without informing your mother of your intention to leave. You have made her worried sick. She has been on the phone crying hysterically to me all morning. What sort of a daughter are you, that you could do such a thing to your mother?”

I was aghast. “But Mrs. Wong, I told Mum yesterday I was staying at Sarah’s. She agreed that it was OK for me to do this. She knew I wasn’t coming home til after lunch today.”

“Don’t lie to me,” screamed Mrs. Wong. “You get yourself home immediately young girl. I never want to hear of you doing such a thing like this to your mother again.”

“But I’m not lying,” I cried, now on the verge of tears myself. “I told mother what I was doing, I promise.” I was so shocked by the anger Mrs. Wong was directing towards me, a feeling of having the wind knocked out of me soon prevailed.

Mrs. Wong snapped. “I can’t believe you are now trying to lie about this, Oceané.”

Mrs. Wong refused to accept my version of events, and I quickly realized that mother had managed to convince her of my guilt, even though the reality was that I had done everything I was supposed to do as a responsible daughter in this situation.

I got off the phone. I turned to face Sarah, but my heart sank further into despair as I immediately saw that she too had been sucked in by the drama. Glaring at me with a rising temper, she said. “You’d better get yourself home, Oceané. I can’t believe what you have done.”

Shocked by the rapid change in atmosphere, I looked upon Sarah in disbelief, sickened, feeling totally isolated and confused.

“How can you believe that I would do such a thing,” I responded, the words barely audible as they passed through my lips. “I am telling you all the truth. It is mother who for whatever reason doesn’t appear to remember or want to acknowledge what really happened. She is very confused at the moment because of the divorce. Didn’t you know since her nervous breakdown she rarely makes any sense?”

“Just go,” snapped Sarah with blind irrationality. “Go and get your bags and get yourself home before any more damage is done.”

I left knowing full well that things were only going to get much, much worse for me once I arrived home. There, I knew I would be greeted by a mentally unbalanced and aggressive mother, and an equally unbalanced and jealous sister, whose only interest would be to further deepen the divide between me, my friends and whatever fragment of a family that remained, further intensifying the heartache and pain, and virtually destroying any opportunity for reconciliation and peace.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2019

 

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The downside of anger and the upside of patience

I am going to talk about why anger is negative. Anger is a deluded state of mind that causes suffering. Any action motivated by anger causes harm. Anger is the mindstate that wishes to harm or cause destruction to either oneself or others. You need to think well about your motivation before engaging in any action of body, speech or mind, because when you engage in actions of body, speech or mind you create either virtuous or non-virtuous karma. Karma means action and the endless round of action motivated by ignorance or wrong view causes cyclic suffering, cyclic existence or samsara.

Any action motivated by anger is considered to be negative by all beings really. No-one wants to be harmed. Everyone is wishing for happiness and it’s causes which is virtue. There are so many things to say here. Anger is ugly. It makes you look stupid. It has no valid basis. It is caused by ignorance. The three root poisons of anger, desire/attachment/lust and ignorance drive the process and experience of suffering. Anger/hatred also destroys merit that is not dedicated to the path or result of full awakening.

There are three types of suffering. There is the suffering of suffering, like getting wounded or having a headache. There is the suffering of change, where things could be going well for a while, then change occurs and you find things are doing less well, or there are more problems. Then there is the pervasive suffering. As long as your mind is afflicted with the ignorance of a self, as long as you falsely impute inherent existence and you grasp and an inherently existent I or mine, you have the three types of suffering. Pervasive suffering means things are never really perfect. Why? Because you are ignorant of the way phenomena actually exist.

All phenomena are empty of inherent existence, whilst cause and effect and dependent arising are unfailing. When you realize the thought of the Buddha, you will understand this is the actual reality on a conventional and ultimate level.

There are three types of patience and I have explained this in a previous post. Patience has many upsides. It’s a virtue, it’s one of the six or ten perfections of body, speech and mind and it causes oneself to appear more beautiful, than those afflicted by the delusions of samsara, or anger, attachment and ignorance.

Practicing loving kindness and patience, wisdom and compassion is the way to cessate the causes of samsara or cyclic suffering. Abandon anger and adopt virtue wherever you are and no-matter what you are doing. The hellish types of consequence that arise from being non-virtuous have long been thought of by the Buddha as something the individual or community create out of stupidity. Anger never brings any benefit. It is always wrong. You need the validity of a valid cognizer to understand why you have been suffering since beginingless time and how to cut the root of cyclic existence with the wisdom realizing emptiness and compassion or the bodhimind that aspires to and engages in the path and of course causes of Buddhahood.

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Unfortunately you can see the negative effects of anger all around the community. People do not drive these days with enough care. What I am saying is that people’s driving is crazy, stupid and of course, ridiculous. People are rude and aggressive, angry and hateful. Just look at the speed people travel with on the highway. 100km per hour is too fast for a calm mind and a virtuous mind. Anger hurtles people down the road, sometimes headlong into other objects, causing death and destruction and injury. There is a gross lack of patience and concern for one another.

Walking down the street along the pavement is difficult. Humans don’t walk in an orderly way. They push and shove. They don’t adhere to the side of the pavement that works the way cars travel in the traffic. Instead, they just barge into one another, refusing to get out of each others way. There is no patience, there is no respect.

This is the ugly way anger manifests. Of course, hatred has caused many conflicts and wars. Anger has no upside. It is a faulty and malicious state of mind that must be abandoned and cessated.

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2018

A Captain’s Logbook – Journey into Love

January 9 2017

2017-kalachakra

It’s lovely waking up early in the morning, having just enjoyed a beautiful nights sleep. How to live well. How to relax well. How to teach well the principles of the Lord Buddha. Ethics, concentration and wisdom, the six perfections, these are such awesome topics and subjects to consider and abide with. The writer sits, dressed in pretty cotton nightwear, sipping on a sparkling natural mineral water, planning her day.

Having just completed the recitation of the deity, there is just a pot of tea to consider. Spaciousness of mind here, there and indeed everywhere is essential. Devoid of true existence am I, are you? The preciousness of this human life is obvious don’t you think, so today is the turning of the wheel of dharma and the first union of Kalachakra.

His Holiness is so kind. Bodhgaya is so moving. Many people gather to listen, contemplate and to meditate. What is this love story I think about? There are many fine characters. His Holiness and his retinue lead the way, inspiring others with such brilliant examples of ethical conduct, love, compassion wisdom and joy. There is quite a bit of paper on my desk. If I were listening to my children, they might think, oh Mum, when are you going to file all that paper, or wouldn’t I have taught them to worry. Administration is a good skill to learn. I have an in-tray, and out-tray and they are looking settled enough for the time being. No point looking nervously at this paper. Bills have to be paid don’t they. You wouldn’t want to live on the streets. What a horrible place that is. Then again, a house is on the street isn’t it, or is it a mansion of the deity, to be revered, respected and taken care of.

What is my point? Each day is precious, every moment presents us with a wonderful canvas upon which to paint the most glorious of virtuous works and gift of freedom. Don’t waste it being negative, getting caught up with the confusion of ignorance, jealousy, lust, pride, hatred, attachment or wrong view. How do you make your life a work of fine art, something to be admired and treasured? It, as you might well tell me, concerns principally the subject of meditation, the familiarisation with virtue.

Time now to make that tea.

Or I could just be grateful for the mineral water.

Maybe it’s just a good opportunity to release, to meditate upon emptiness of a self of persons and of phenonmena. Don’t get caught up in the busyness of worldly attachment and concern. This is what all truly great masters dream of.

If you commit to living in the present, not worrying about the past, not delving into the non-inherently existent future, just live to enjoy and be at peace with the day and night that unfolds each twenty-four hours. Does it have time? We are discussing the Wheel of Time Kalachakra. The possum outside barks in pain, reminding me of how much better it is to be a human and not an animal, who appallingly appears to lack the eight endowments and ten freedoms necessary to complete the stages of the path to enlightenment.

Anyway, I was mentioning tea, so best go to make it, don’t you think?

2017-2-kalachakra

Copyright © Vanessa Anne Walsh 2017

OZ Never Did Give Nothing To The Tin Man

Listening to some great music, this Monday evening.

Today, we were set for a scorcher, 39 degrees was the prediction, by I for one, spent the morning in the lovely coolness of the sea baths, doing my laps and then later basked in the cool sea breezes down near St Kilda Pier. All those fears of a scorcher amounted to nought. How our mind and fears can deceive us. Or maybe, it’s just an out of whack forecast. Who knows?!

Tomorrow brings a new day and a new promise. The song I was just listening to, Tin Man, by America, reminds me of the importance of recognising the real wealth we all have within us. We can search forever for the answers from without, however the real truth and peace lies within.

I am going on holidays for a week. I am going to explore the beauty of the Great Ocean Road, before heading back to work and a year of study. I hope everyone who has just returned from their summer sojourn all had a good rest. I know I am in need of mine.

Take care all.

 

Copyright © Bodhi Gyatso 2016

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