Little Basil is going to grow up to be a great Summer pesto!
I woke up this morning with an idea. How am going to pitch my business, especially with such a long name?
So I did some Tarot Therapy as is customary with my daily devotions. I picked Temperance, the card of mixing, patience, and transformation.
So, with that as inspiration, I renamed my blog and registered it as my own private domain!
I’ve finally done it! My domain! It’s been on my bucket list… Stay tuned! 😉
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ― Gautama Buddha
Full Moon in Sagittarius. Full Moon day of Flowers. Buddha’s Birthday.
Today, also happens to be the day I’ve become an ordained minister.
As a member of the Universal Life Church I am granted the ability to:
- Perform marriages, funerals, baptisms, ceremonial rites, and last rites.
- Start my own church, be it brick & mortar or online.
- Absolve others of their sins.
- Use the title Reverend, Minister, Healer, Educator, etc.
From this day forward, I have vowed to in good conscience to follow the teachings of several of my teachers. I will continue to follow Angeles Arrien’s Four-Fold Way, by being a Visionary, by being a Warrior, by being a Healer, and by being a Teacher. And now, I will also use Thich Naht Hanh’s Five Mindfulness Trainings as good guidelines of practice. The best part about Buddhism is that it may be disciplined, but it isn’t dogmatic.
“The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.”
Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
Loving Speech and Deep Listening
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.
Nourishment and Healing
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol [with the exception of wine for its nourishing properties*], drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.
*”In moderation, wine has many health benefits which include promoting good heart health, shields against certain cancers, builds stronger bones and sharper minds.” -WebMD
Swanya Punhi, the full moon day of flowers, marks not only Siddhartha Guatama’s birthday, but also of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, death and Rebirth (Parinirvana).
Parinirvana is not something to weep over, it is the last beautiful and deeply spiritual act a person can accomplish on the path to enlightenment. It occurs upon the death of the physical body when it reaches awakening.
It is celebrated at different dates and times due to local custom, but for me, I like to celebrate it in conjunction with the Full Moon of Fifth Month, which is also custom in Nepal and Tibet.
Also known as Vesak, Buddha’s birthday is a holy day that encompasses all of life: its beginning, its achievements, and its inevitable end, which leads to more life.
On this day, it is custom to assemble in temples before dawn for the ceremonial hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, his Teachings (Dharma,) and his Disciples (Sangha.) You may bring simple offerings of flowers, candles and joss-stick incense. These symbolic offerings are “to remind followers that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while and the candles and joss-sticks would soon burn out, so too is life subject to decay and destruction.” -Wikipedia.
It is also custom to have a small statue of the baby Buddha in a bowl of scented water, and decorated with flowers. Then, as is the ritual, you pour water over the statue, symbolic of the cleansing of your bad karma, and to reenact when devas and spirits made heavenly offerings to him after his birth.
Devout Buddhists who celebrate try to lead a noble life according to the teachings of the Five Precepts. However, on special days like new moon and full moon days, they observe the eight Precepts to practice morality, simplicity and humility. Granted, these precepts are not like traditional commandments. They are designed as teaching recommendations, and to be used with tact and thought and are applied to the best of one’s ability at at your own discretion. Some seem a bit outdated as the times have changed. Even Thich Nhat Hanh has condensed them down and interpreted them into his 5 Mindfulness Trainings. However, if you were a monk, you would not only follow these precepts but up to about 227. Talk about dedication!
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from …
- …harming living beings.
- …taking things not freely given.
- …sexual misconduct.
- …false speech.
- …intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness.
- …taking untimely meals.
- …dancing, singing, music and watching grotesque mime.
- …use of garlands, perfumes and personal adornment.
- …use of high seats.
- …accepting gold or silver.
(adapted from The Word of the Buddha, Niyamatolika, The Buddhist Publication Society, 1971, p xii)
Celebrating Vesākha also means making special efforts to bring happiness to the unfortunate like the aged, the handicapped and the sick. To this day, Buddhists will distribute gifts in cash and kind to various charitable homes throughout the country. Vesākha is also a time for great joy and happiness, expressed not by pandering to one’s appetites but by concentrating on useful activities such as decorating and illuminating temples, painting and creating exquisite scenes from the life of the Buddha for public dissemination.
Tradition ascribes to the Buddha himself instruction on how to pay him homage. Just before he died, he saw his faithful attendant Ananda, weeping. The Buddha advised him not to weep, but to understand the universal law that all compounded things (including even his own body) must disintegrate. He advised everyone not to cry over the disintegration of the physical body but to regard his teachings (The Dhamma) as their teacher from then on, because only the Dhamma truth is eternal and not subject to the law of change. He also stressed that the way to pay homage to him was not merely by offering flowers, incense, and lights, but by truly and sincerely striving to follow his teachings. This is how Buddhists are expected to celebrate Vesak: to use the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practise loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity.