Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Bodhisattva, Bodhicitta and Refuge: Isaac David's thoughts

Dear all

Here are some thoughts from me on my path in this particular life and particularly since taking Refuge with Akong Rinpoche in 2010, when I had "just discovered" the Kenilworth Kagyu centre and miraculously Akong Rinpoche arrived shortly thereafter.

This is my experience. Feel free to use it or throw it away.

For me, my Bodhisattva path:

A Bodhisattva is someone who achieves enlightenment and then returns time and again to help other people achieve enlightenment.

Initially I thought that this is something that would take me cosmic eons to achieve. And yet, I find myself on a "Buddhist" path at a Kagyu Centre in Cape Town, in the 7th year of a Bodhisattva Project learning with such esteemed leaders as Mark, Jessica, Bill, Richard, Rob, Ken, Akong Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, many other Lamas and Rinpoches, and indirectly The Karmapa, The Dalai Lama, and so many other teachers, coaches, mentors, guides, and alchemists in many walks of life, and with my various Sanghas who have accepted me, and who have and are helping me achieve Buddhahood. And so I say to myself that these are not coincidences, but rather miracles, and that I am happy to wake up every morning and have another day to practice Bodhicitta, compassion for my fellow (sentient) beings.

It is apparent to me that I achieve tiny enlightenments on a daily basis and I make it my responsibility to share these enlightenments with others, helping them on their road to finding their souls.

In 1998, Rabbi David Hoffman "discovered me" and asked to help found a new Synagogue in Cape Town; in 2002, I bought "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying"; in 2004, I wrote a book on The Torah called "The Torah as an Enlightenment Toolkit"; and in 2010 I became a JuBu, a Jewish Buddhist. Akong Rinpoche was very happy for me to be "both". Little did I know at the time that both "Judaism" and "Buddhism" encompass each other and with deep meditation and learning I am discovering so much depth and encompassing beauty all over the place on our abundant planet.

Akong Rinpoche said that it wasn't necessary for me to leave my Jewish "identity" behind in order to have a Buddhist "identity". I have found that these external identities only allow me to relate to other people, and really don't tell anyone much about what is going on inside me.

See my titles video on YouTube to see what I mean.

And so my search has made me into an alchemist, guide and Bodhisattva, and my task has been illuminated as "guiding guidées to emerge their incipient value".

This illumination or emergence happened because I accepted an invitation from Chantel Oppelt to do a new course that she had invented this year following on from the following invitation I received in October 2015:

"The guidance that was given per person is that you are an alchemist in your world and everything that surrounds you.  You are the type of individual that believes that there is more to life and that you have a desire to see a different world filled with different values.  None of this information is meant to pressure you instead these are things that you already know about yourself.  This methodology will provide a framework and a level of emotional scaffolding that will enable you to take your work to another level.  It will require stamina and discipline."

The journey this year has been an incredibly intense one with me spending between three and four days a week immersed in the journey. Incredibly I found the time by removing attachments, deleting emails, deleting old data, getting off all social media except Facebook, unsubscribing from almost everything, getting rid of books and stuff that I thought I could never part with, and all this has been helped by being on the Bodhisattva Project course and especially the topic of Mind Poisons this year.

And yet, I remain detached from all this without an agenda and without any expectations. In fact I have resigned as a member of my Synagogue, and changed a "taking relationship" into a "giving relationship". I am not stopping the money flow to these organisations. I am changing the energy flow, which must be bidirectional. I finance them and they must finance me, financially and energetically.

For me, my Bodhichitta path:

For me Bodhichitta is always giving someone else the benefit if the doubt, ultimate "charity".

Our minds close off as we hear half-truths. Mind poisons poison our minds and we don't hear the full truth. Bodhichitta needs to be cultivated, ie practiced using (Buddhist) mind training or mindfulness techniques that keep the mind present and stop it from being defensive or attacking, ie attachment and aversion on the ignorance continuum.

Although I have found the deepest meaning in the Sangha component of David's Circle, I have also read "Jewish Meditation" by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, and I follow Jewish as well as Buddhist meditation practice.

For me, Refuge:

Last week the Bodhisattva Project people watched a video of Pema Chodron talking about Shenpas, and she mentioned Righteous Indignation.

People are talking about "the Buddhist Way", or "the Jewish Way" or "the Way", like it is the only way.

Every morning before I mediate, I take Refuge. How can I do this if I took Refuge with Akong Rinpoche in 2010 and become a "Buddhist".

Every morning I say "I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha." I don't say that I take Refuge in Buddhism. "Buddhism" is just a convenient way of explaining a particular group that I subscribe to.

The Dharma are the Buddha's teachings. The Sangha is a representation of all the communities that I finance and that finance me, ie that take me as a brother into their midst and which share with me and with which I share. Deeply. Trustingly. Loving, and knowing that by loving and trusting, I open myself up to attack, but also knowing that as a Trust Generator, this is my path. I will be attacked as I move people from their "Comfort Zones" to "Where the Magic Happens".

The valley between these two circles is called "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" and it is a very scary place, even though the Psalmist says in Psalm 23, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil."

In order to walk this valley, one needs a Buddha, a Dharma and a Sangha to help you across.

Buddhas are (perhaps) difficult to find, and so one can use one or more guides to help on this journey. The guides could include healers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and of-course our Rinpoches and teachers at our Kagyu centre.

The Refuge that I took with Akong Rinpoche in 2010 helped me to be absorbed into a very special circle of energy. In order to immerse myself in the energy, I need to take refuge at least once per day and meditate as often as possible, even all the time if possible.

This is similar to becoming a Reiki Master and being admitted to that Sacred Energy. Admittance is great. Practice makes perfect, or a little bit more perfect each day.

D a v i d Lipschitz
guiding guidées to emerge their incipient value074 119 3246


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Do our titles define us?

Pinchas Commentary by David Lipschitz

Pinchas: Numbers 25:10 - 30:1

I believe in studying all the sacred texts as I believe that there is value in all of them. At the moment, I am studying: Jewish (Torah), Christian (Bible), Buddhist (Dharma), Muslim (Qur'an) and Tao Te Ching (Dao) (The Way of Life by Lao Tzu) texts. I believe that everything else is commentary ...

The Parasha (portion of the week) that the Progressive Jewish congregation is reading in the Torah (The Five Books of Moses) this week is Pinchas. The Progressive Community are currently a week ahead of the Orthodox Community, in the annual reading cycle of the Torah, and we can discuss why this is, if anyone wants to know.

And it says that "God is a jealous God." But this goes against all my learning. How can God be Jealous? Isn't God above jealousy, above hatred, above coveting, above anger?

My Jewish and Christian translations on this portion translate the Hebrew word Kina (קנא) as Jealousy. This word קנא is also used in the Ten Commandments. My Christian translation keeps קנא meaning Jealousy, but my Jewish translation of קנא in the Ten Commandments is Passion. God is a Passionate God.

And if one delves into the Etymology of Passion, one finds a reference to Jesus's Passion and then one finds that Jesus's Passion was the Suffering of all people, and then one gets to Samsara, if one is in a Buddhist frame of Mind.

And then one gets to the core of being a Bodhisattva and Bodhicitta: Achieving enlightenment and then returning time and again to help other sentient beings achieve enlightenment. Jesus is potentially an emanation of Chenrezig! Chenrezig is the embodiment of Compassion.

And then I searched for "Kinah Gematria" and I found this:

Gematria is about looking at the numerical value of a word. Each letter in Hebrew has a numerical equivalent. Once one knows the numerical equivalent of a word, one can do mathematics and find other words on the Torah with the same value and do some mental arithmetic.

And the link contains a very good meditation which I would like to do with the class.

In the linked article, one of God's names is spelt as (א-ק-י-ה). In religious "dogma" one doesn't write God's name unless one is praying, so one writes a ק instead of a ה. ie a K instead of a H. If one writes a H, one gets the Hebrew word Ehiye, which is used in the phrase "I am that I am". Moses asks God "who are you?" and God replies "I am that I am". See Exodus 3:14.

Note that many people write God as G-d. This is done in case the paper that the word God is on is destroyed. But God is not God's name and none of us really knows what God's name actually is. "I am that I am" is possibly the closest we will get.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Online friendship

A post I just made on Facebook:

Dear friends.
Over the past few weeks, I've been realising that I've been spending way too long on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Part of the reason for this is because of all the time I put into "friendships".
I thought I could reduce my number of Facebook friends from over 1,000 to 150 in one go, but after 3 go's last night I am at 473 friends.
The 150 comes from one of Malcolm Gladwell's books where he says that it is impossible to have a true relationship with more than 150 people. For example a "company" in the army is usually 150 people for this reason.
Well maybe 150 was the optimal number when the book was written or when personal relationships required physical presence and time.
This is the 21st Century and who knows, maybe things have changed? Maybe 500 is workable now. And especially bearing in mind the approximately 8,000 contacts I still have in total on all my networks.
But on Facebook I want to have my real friends, the people I share personal stuff with, whilst my other networks can be business.
I know that for me the lines between business and personal are blurred. My life is my work. But I don't live to work. And I don't work to live. I have "become". And I do tend to share personal stuff at work, so who knows what I'm really saying here? Perhaps just that I want to put more time into fewer friends.
So I'm happy to be under 500 on Facebook.
I'll see how this works out and then if necessary I'll go through the reduction process again.
I only want to be friends with people who interact with me. Not just because you are my family or my cousin or my friend from school, who perhaps I talk to once a year or see at parties.
So if you want to unfriend me because you feel that "I'm not contributing to our relationship" then that's ok with me.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Protect The Past: letter in the Cape Times on Thursday 18th February 2016

Letter in the Cape Times on Thursday 18th February 2016 after the students burnt paintings, art and other objects at the University of Cape Town:

Protect The Past

One of the reasons we know so little about the past is because it has been destroyed and burnt so often. And then we have people who spend huge amounts of time trying to find out about their past or the world's past or the universe's past.
We should be past destroying the past, so that we can fully understand the present, and always remember the good and bad of the past. And one person's "good" past might be another person's "bad" past.
If we are to grow and eliminate racism and other challenges in our society, we must protect the past, perhaps move it to a special museum, but never destroy it. It will always be there!