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
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