Meditation Los Angeles

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Hollywood Sign Selfies

If you ever get the chance to get near the Hollywood sign, near a place called Hollywood Lake Park, which for all intents and purposes is a dog park, you will see an amazing number of people taking selfies. They are from all over the world. They are using DSLRs and GoPros (connected to selfie sticks) and smartphones… There must be hundreds of these photos of people hamming it up with the Hollywood sign as the back drop. Below the dogs run around chasing one another.

Which reminds me (I really did think of it just now). I have not sat to meditate yet today.

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Something Else

In his inimitable style, Gary Weber has an information dense, extensively linked post about different spiritual paths. I check his blog about once a month, and the name Daniel Ingram caught my eye, because Daniel has written some interesting stuff about meditation, chiefly his MCTB book (Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha) — a very practical, hands on guide to meditation.

If you find Buddhism too complicated, you might find something of interest there. He also touches upon a point that I’m curious about — that much of contemporary American Buddhism ignores, neglects or outright denies the possibility of enlightenment. Many reasons for this, not the least of which is probably not wanting to scare people off, I suppose. But perhaps also something is getting lost?

What I enjoy about Gary’s posts, is he’s so matter-of-fact and down-to-earth.

Here’s a little quote from the post:

MCTB’s/KFD’s open sharing of experiences about enlightenment was important for many traditional Buddhists.  In the US, the teaching in traditional Buddhist centers was that enlightenment was so unlikely/impossible for lay folk, that it was not worth talking about.  Daniel gave a talk on this @ Brown.  This is, i am told, still true at major centers like the Insight Meditation Society, Spirit Rock and Naropa.

That was not the case in Zen, as they do enlightenment “for a living”, which is what drew me there.  Direct Path and the Zen folk w/whom i worked, discouraged any focus on, or attachment to, experiences, states or levels as they feed the “ego/I”, the principal obstacle to be dealt with in achieving “no self” or “nonduality”.  Attachment creates suffering here just as the Buddha said it would.

Words Coming Between People

I find myself beginning a book about the Dalai Lama at a time when my interest in him, never all that intense to begin with, was pretty well sated. I picked it up largely on the strength of the author, Pico Iyer, whose work seems to come up with great frequency in those Best Essays of 20xx books. And I’m a sucker for an essayist. (Perhaps my favorite in that vein is E. B. White’s One Man’s Meat. Or, if you want the big essay, there’s John McPhee.) But back to the Dalai Lama. The book is The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Here’s the quote:

“We are not talking about Nirvana. We are only talking about how to become a more compassionate human being.” The very words “Tibetan” or “Buddhist” or “monk” can only come between people; his interest, clearly, is in what someone can do who has no interest in terms or theories.

Well, now my interest has kicked up. That bit about words coming between people. Really nice, I think.