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Archive for October, 2011

Year of Dancing with Life – Week 4

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Dharma Wisdom: An integral approach to practicing the Buddha's teachings in daily life.
Week 4:
Suffering Is Noble

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Kindness Daily: A Small Gesture Meant a Great Deal

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A Small Gesture Meant a Great Deal October 31, 2011 – Posted by amer
This is just a short story but it really brought home to me how very small acts of kindness and even courtesy have bigger effects than we realise.

I have a bad back which flares up from time to time. Yesterday I was out walking while carrying shopping bags and my keys. My keys slipped from my hand and fell to the ground. The problem was that because of my back I couldn’t bend down to get them. I was just thinking of how to get around this when two teenage girls came up beside me. Without even speaking to me, one of the girls just reached down, picked up my keys, handed them to me and went on her way.

While it was a small gesture and she couldn’t have known that I was in too much pain to bend down, it meant a great deal to me at that moment.

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5 Ways of Spending Time — toward Happiness

Happiness is not a reward — it is a consequence. — Robert Green Ingersoll

~~~~ Good News of the Day: Our search to understand what makes us happy goes back centuries. As does our enduring belief that if we just do the right thing, happiness will follow. Researchers at Stanford and UPenn have recently shown how happiness is indeed a consequence of the choices people make. So what can people do to increase their happiness? Their answer is surprisingly simple: spend your time wisely. But some of the ways people should spend their time are, in fact, surprising. Perhaps not all of them will resonate, but are still worthy of reflection. Their five time-spending happiness principles: “Spend time with the right people. Spend time on the right activities. Enjoy experiences without spending time actually doing them. Expand your time.” Each principle is explained further here. http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AF1B:C3009629A010612C42372E47D7CE682AB4B847859706E37D&

~~~~ Be The Change: Spend your time wisely today. For inspiration, an intriguing short reflection on having a dynamic relationship with time. http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AF1C:C3009629A010612C42372E47D7CE682AB4B847859706E37D&

**Share A Reflection** http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AF1D:C3009629A010612C42372E47D7CE682AB4B847859706E37D&

Karma Kitchen: The Pay-It-Forward Restaurant

The lines of giving are complicated, you never know how it will come back. But you have to give because you can’t let the cord break with you. — Maria Diarra Keita

~~~~ Good News of the Day: Imagine a restaurant where your bill reads $0.00, because your meal is a gift and can’t be paid for — only paid forward for the person after you. How long might the chain of generosity last? At Karma Kitchen, in three cities around the United States, it has gone on for close to 25 thousand people — and is still going. Filmmaker Katie Teague shares a thoughtful and hopeful short video portrait of how this kind of “gift economy” can work. http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AED5:C3009629A010612C447AC8788055348FB4B847859706E37D&

~~~~ Be The Change: An interview with one of the anchors of Karma Kitchen, Richard Whittaker. http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AED6:C3009629A010612C447AC8788055348FB4B847859706E37D&

**Share A Reflection** http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AED7:C3009629A010612C447AC8788055348FB4B847859706E37D&

Kindness Daily: A Charity Shop Pram

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A Charity Shop Pram October 29, 2011 – Posted by wayfarer
A few weeks ago an anonymous Smile Groups friend gifted me £100 to do good deeds with. Since then I have used the money in the U.K. and the U.S. It has helped family and strangers, and generally raised a lot of smiles.

They have warmed my heart, but none so much as the gift I was able to give just an hour ago.

I was in a charity (goodwill) shop looking at the second hand books. It just so happened that the book shelves were next to the toy section.

After a few minutes I became aware of a group of women standing behind me. They were poorly dressed and spoke in what sounded like an eastern European language.

As they looked through the clothes rails a little girl, about three years old, came over to the toy section. Imediately her attention was caught by a toy pram.

What is it about little girls and toy prams? I don’t know, but whatever it is its incredibly cute!

She spoke to her mother and, in halting English her mother asked the shop assistant how much it cost.

£3 was the answer. About $5.

The mum looked down at her child, perhaps calculating what she still had to buy and how much money she would have left. Then she simply shook her head.

The child didn’t react badly as some might. Being told no was obviously not a new experience for her. But she couldn’t keep the disappointment from her face.

I had the grand total of four pounds in my pocket, two £2 coins. A moment later I tapped the mother on the shoulder, pointed to the coins which I had left in the pram and said, "Buy her a dolly too."

I didn’t hang about to see the end result. After all, it’s not about being thanked. I made my way out of the shop and into the sunshine.

The money my friend gave me was an investment in the happieness of the world. Was there any better way, I wondered, to get so much happiness for so little money than to buy a little girl a toy pram? And a dolly to sit in it.

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Smile Cards: do an act of kindness and leave a card behind to keep the chain going.

Smile Decks: 52 cards with a kindness idea on each!

Smile Groups: share your own stories, make friends, spread the good.

Smile Ideas: loads of ideas that can support your drive of kindness.

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Change Yourself, Change the World

We seek not rest but transformation. We are dancing through each other as doorways. — Marge Piercy

~~~~ Good News of the Day: “There are 4 ideas you have to believe if you seek to “be the change you wish to see in the world: 1. Real change requires patience: It takes time to move others through love (rather than by carrot or stick), but the results are real and lasting. 2. Real change is decentralized/local: The revolution will not be provided by governments or corporations. 3. Real change cannot be traditionally measured: We are a society that believes strongly in measurable cause and effect. However, the world doesn’t work that way — each result is born of millions of conscious and unconscious acts. 4. Real change is never complete: Each person in society is a seeker. As nobody has the answers, it is incumbent on all of us to humbly support each other in being better people.” Birju Pandya shares his ideas for how changing yourself changes the world. http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AE2D:C3009629A010612C2B124166348013D9B4B847859706E37D&

~~~~ Be The Change: Reflect on what it means to change yourself; then take a small but meaningful step in that direction.

**Share A Reflection** http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AE2E:C3009629A010612C2B124166348013D9B4B847859706E37D&

Dalai Lama Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

The term ‘karma’ literally means ‘action’, and more specifically refers to the process of cause and effect, where the intention of an agent or being is involved. So here karma means an intentional act committed or carried out by a being who possesses a sentient nature and who is also capable of having a sentient experience.

…Buddhist texts state that only a buddha’s omniscient mind can penetrate the subtlest aspects of the workings of karma, and know at the most microscopic level which specific causes and conditions give rise to which specific consequences. At our level, we can only recognise that an intimate relationship exists between the external elements of the material world and the internal elements of our mental world; and, based on that, we can learn to detect varying levels of subtlety within our mental and emotional experiences.(p.13)

–from Lighting the Way by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications

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Reflections from a Five Day Walk

Not all who wander are lost. — J. R. R. Tolkien

~~~~ Good News of the Day: “I recently walked about 60 miles over 5 days, from Oakland to Santa Clara. This certainly isn’t anything unique. In a way, I was imitating many inspirations that came before, and probably many iterations will come after. Still, ‘we love to make music of this puzzle’ of our artful work of life. For me, the walk was many things. It was an expression of wandering. It was a pilgrimage […] It was a change of pace, a physical challenge and a mental exercise. And most of all it was simply — a walk. There was no explicit goal other than to put one foot in front of another, and I held a simple, fundamental intention to s l o w d o w n. And once I slowed down, then to listen. And if I listened well enough, then perhaps I could discern how to serve. Here’s what I learned from those intentions.” A pilgrim shares his reflections. http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AC35:C3009629A010612C0544445B0E9785BDB4B847859706E37D&

~~~~ Be The Change: The five day walk was a way of celebrating a birthday; on your next birthday, give yourself a gift that also serves others.

**Share A Reflection** http://premiere.whatcounts.com/t?ctl=169AC36:C3009629A010612C0544445B0E9785BDB4B847859706E37D&

Video of the Week: A Gift Economy at Karma Kitchen

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Video of the Week

Oct 28, 2011
A Gift Economy at Karma Kitchen

A Gift Economy at Karma Kitchen

Imagine a restaurant where you pay-forward for the person after you. How long might the chain of generosity last? At Karma Kitchen, in three cities around the United States, it has gone on for close to 25 thousand people — and is still going. Katie Teague provides a thoughtful and hopeful portrait of how gift economy can work.
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Dharma Quote from Snow Lion Publications

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Dharma Quote of the Week

The root of all qualities of the Bodhisattva vehicle is caring for sentient beings. We admire and respect the Buddha because he has reached the state free of all faults and possessing all good qualities, knows the method to reach that state, and teaches it to us. If we do as the Buddha did, by meditating on love and compassion for all sentient beings, not harming or getting angry with them, we too can become a Buddha.

Our enlightenment depends on the Buddhas and on sentient beings, and from this point of view, they are equally important to us. Thus when we look at any sentient being, we should recognize that she is indispensable to our attainment of enlightenment. Our enlightenment comes from cherishing sentient beings; it does not come from cherishing only ourselves. Understanding this, whenever we encounter people in our lives, it becomes easy to feel, “May this person be happy and free from suffering.”

Caring for sentient beings means freeing them from the suffering of unfortunate rebirths and of cyclic existence in general, teaching the Dharma to those who want to hear it, providing the means for them to eliminate the causes which bring suffering temporarily and ultimately, not harming them, not lying to them, not creating discord among them, not speaking harshly to them, and so on. Through caring about them now, excellent results will follow, for us and for them.(p.179)

–from Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage: An Explanation of the Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas by Geshe Jampa Tegchok, edited by Thubten Chodron, published by Snow Lion Publications

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