Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nepal Earthquake: How to Help Right Now

The first question people ask is, "Where do I send money, and how do I make sure it will reach people in need?" The answer to this is simple. You rely on an organization with a track record in the region, operated with total transparency, under the direction of Kyabje Tarthang Rinpoche.

Please, if you want to make an immediate difference, click this link now.

These are the people who have already concluded legendary restoration projects. This is a registered NGO, with deep links in the region, and a scrupulous record for honesty.

Help now. Please.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Earthquake in Nepal Brings Buddhist World Together

Whatever was broken, we will fix. Whatever was destroyed, we will rebuild. We will care for the living and attend to the dead. As Buddhists, we will rise to this occasion, and give good account.

Buddhist organizations the world over are being asked to mobilize immediately. This is a catastrophic event touching the lives of millions.

Key steps to take are as follows:

(1) Establish and maintain reliable lines of communication.
(2) Coordinate what you are told by government agencies with what you are learning from local informants.
(3) Determine status of airport closure. Is there damage to runway? Will airport remain closed to all but military traffic? Will military assist NGO in region to place personnel? When are press flights allowed?
(4) Establish financial links so that hard money can reach the hands of your trusted person on the ground.
(5) Then, and only then, set about to insert your organization's troubleshooter from overseas.
(6) Learn who the lead press people are on the ground, and coordinate with them. You want something. They want something.
(7) Learn who else is doing what you are trying to do and help each other.
(8) Work according to a definite plan, with definite goals. Don't be sidetracked into "mission drift."
(9) Operate for the benefit of all beings.

Om Mani Padme Hum

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Nepal's Bhimsen Tower Collapsed, "100s" Feared Trapped

Kathmandu's famed Bhimsen Tower is completely down, and "hundreds" of people, perhaps as many as 400, are believed trapped beneath the rubble.

The earthquake struck at 11:11 a.m. on Saturday.

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Patan Durbar Square "Completely Destroyed"

Unprecedented destruction and loss of life follow a 7.9 earthquake near Kathmandu. Many scared structures are down, many lives are touched. Buddhist organizations the world over are being asked to mobilize assistance immediately.

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BREAKING: Nepal Earthquake Destroys Region

A 7.9 earthquake centered 15 km from Kathmandu struck around noon Saturday, major news organizations are reporting. There has been considerable loss of life throughout the region, and many sacred structures have been utterly destroyed.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tree Practice

While Padmasambhava was engaged in high deserts enroute to Samye, another traveling magician was engraving his own solutions into a rock in the West Mojave.

An ancient American, who stopped at a rock not far from here. "American," as in north, central, and south: the Americas. 

When we fully explore the Americas, we will re-write world history. Those coca leaves in the mummified Pharoah's mouth didn't get there by accident. They were delivered there to deliberate purpose, on account of known effect. To ancient Egypt, from the ancient Americas. Clearly, the ancient American medicine men were exporters.

So, then --

We write today of Tree Practice. 

It came to me when I was looking at the picture carved in the rock.

From a wish to benefit others, whilst understanding that everything is fundamentally an illusion, we set forth our intention to engage in symbolic, ritual activity centered on Jambudvipa's trees.

What does that mean? For me, it means conducting interdependency analysis of the act of planting trees in the desert.

Contemplating the desert in what promises to be a long drought, the notion of new trees seems somehow counterintuitive. If trees are dying because of the drought, why are we planting new trees? Won't they die off like the other trees? Won't they unnecessarily consume dwindling water supplies? Most all of these questions are already answered when one shakes off the familiar desert stereotypes.

Deserts are not uniform. Rather, they consist of microclimates created from the earth element by wind and the element water. The microclimates can even display abrupt boundaries, such as rain falling on one side of a road but not the other. 

What these microclimates do have in common is the so-called empty jar effect. If you put a ceramic jar out on the ground, it will never fill up with water. The sum of evaporation and transpiration will always exceed surface water gain. Within the compass of that definition, you can include high deserts, low deserts, hot deserts, and cold deserts. 

Thus, as a desert dweller, I speak not of deserts but of "arid regions."

Certain trees are appropriate to the various microclimates of the world's arid regions. The microclimates have specific soils, temperatures, altitudes, and so forth. The trees appropriate to each place will intimately relate to all surrounding life. They will become the habitat for insects, birds, small mammals, and reptiles. 

Quite a challenge, when I look around. Needs to be examined in a sacred manner.

The pictured rock picture, above, is a few minutes away from here. In fact, it isn't far from the oldest living plant on the face of the planet earth! 

And what of "here?" Here is where wild, scorching winds are born. The Santa Ana winds. Southern California's murder wind, fire wind, passion wind. Here is the highest recorded temperature, the lowest recorded point; where you can ride from 85m below sea level to 1500m above sea level in an afternoon, where you can drown in a flash flood, or freeze to death in spring. A complex of arid valleys in the rain shadow of California's Pacific-facing mountains.

The trees dying in the drought are not the trees that are supposed to be here. 

Still, the life that trees support needs to be supported. If that be the case, it seems appropriate, a sane thing to do, to rearrange the set. Make it more authentic. Find out what sort of trees occur here, and support them.

Seems the right way to go about a drought in the desert is to plant native trees.

From a wish to benefit others, whilst understanding that everything is fundamentally an illusion, we set forth our intention to engage in virtuous conduct centered on Jambudvipa's trees.

When we take refuge in the Three Jewels, I and others are able to understand trees as a living instruction in the three bodies. 

In the midst of space:

From what is already perfect, nothing can be taken or given -- by planting trees, I neither add to nor take away from that perfection, nor is the activity itself anything other than sacred activity in accord with time and place.

Calling upon the elements: calling to all tree spirits of all directions, those free, those oath-bound, and all those other beings interested in the welfare of this mandala: see, here, this offering!  The earth, the nutrient, the water, the sky.

Joy, amidst the leaves, the flowers, the branches, the fruit, the shelter, the shade, the resting place, the home: the lessons we learn are limitless.

Let it please you. to the extent thoughts of enough or not enough are dispensed as enough.

Come here!  See this offering where the earth touches the sky.

See this! 

To the teachers before us in the form of trees, I offer all that supports your life. I beg you remain here in peace and harmony, and continue to sustain life on earth. May you be nourished by love and unaffected by mistaken views.

May understanding your sacred reality lead to recognition that all things are indistinguishable from the Guru's mind.

In space, where everything is possible, the aspiration accompanying this conduct will come to fruition in time, so let the time be now, and let the benefit be experienced by those beings in need of beneficial experience.

Those with the ability to travel between worlds have returned to this one from their travels.

Long ago, they brought back the news that among all worlds only ours has trees.

So, that is what we've been up to these days, out here in the long pause we've been given before heat rises. Trying our best to plant a few trees with all of you in mind.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Charles "Chuck" Belyea, 1947 - 2015: The Great Ming Liu

A personal friend and Vajra Brother, Chuck Belyea, known to a legion of followers as Ming Liu, died of cancer last night at Berkeley, California. Known as a master practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, divination, and astrology, upon his death let it be recorded he was also one of the world's finest magicians.

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