Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An open letter to Unfettered Mind and the Buddhist community

I’ve studied Buddhism since the mid-1970s, training mainly in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions. From 1993 to 2007 I attended many retreats led by Ken McLeod, and in 2006-2009 participated in the Unfettered Mind teacher development program. 

I’m not naive or cynical, neither apologist nor disgruntled student. I’m a long-time participant of several Buddhist communities who is concerned about the current conflict in which Ken is accused of boundary violations. No matter what the facts turn out to be, Unfettered Mind should agree to engage in mediation with the support of an organization qualified to deal with boundary issues and conflicts between spiritual teachers and students, such as An Olive Branch or FaithTrust Institute. This should be undertaken not as legal defense or to protect reputation, but as ethical action to prevent harm in the community. 

For some time I’ve urged Ken and the Unfettered Mind board of directors to take this course. I'm now making a public statement because Unfettered Mind's silence and the growing Internet rumors are both fueling further confusion without resolving conflict or preventing harm. I don't advocate sweeping anything under the rug, but surely a mutual exploration with compassion for and by all concerned will be more effective than a scandal that feeds innuendo, rumor and confusion. 

I'm grateful for Ken’s translations and teachings, which have been of genuine benefit to many people. At the core of those teachings is the capacity and willingness to meet and work directly with whatever arises. When imbalances arise in relationships, they need to be acknowledged and brought back into balance. Ken and the board of Unfettered Mind should make a public statement, sincerely engage in mediation to resolve conflict and restore trust, and do whatever is necessary to prevent further confusion and harm. 

We each have an inherent, indestructible ability to know what is arising and to respond in ways that bring balance and peace. Whether we engage that ability makes all the difference. 

George Draffan 
August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Forget enlightenment

"Forget enlightenment... Are you facing in the right direction?"

~ Stephen Levine

Friday, August 24, 2012

Don't Stop at Technique

Meditation techniques might get you to the door of direct experience, but genuine transformation depends on two things deeper and more profound than any technique: A heart-intention more profound than the impulses and motivations that typically choose and drive technique. And knowing in the body that is deeper and more intelligent than thought or reason. Intention is formed by recognizing, acknowledging, appreciating, and honoring genuine aspirations rather than obeying habitual impulses. Knowing comes from including all of one's senses rather than relying simply on conceptual knowledge and narrow logical structures. Don't let fascination or frustration with technique keep you from opening to and relying upon deeper and more profound intention and knowing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

27 sources of mistaken conduct

  • attachment  
  • aversion 
  • to be wild  
  • mockery  
  • pride  
  • self-infatuation  
  • exposing others’ faults  
  • causing dissension  
  • deceit 
  • praising oneself  
  • criticizing others  
  • insulting others 
  • picking a quarrel 
  • desiring gain  
  • desiring respect 
  • desiring fame  
  • desiring a circle of attendants  
  • desiring personal service  
  • wishing to give up working for the benefit of others  
  • desiring to pursue one’s own welfare  
  • wishing to have conversations that are pointless or that incite attachment and aversion  
  • being impatient  
  • being lazy  
  • being fainthearted 
  • being boastful 
  • talking nonsense 
  • being attached to one’s own group 
~ from Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva, 5: 48-53
from the translation at Rigpa Wiki

Monday, August 13, 2012

Even Buddhas can't save us

"Buddhas cannot wash away others' negative potentials, nor remove their suffering like one would pull out a thorn from a foot. They cannot transfer their realizations to anyone. They can only indicate the way by teaching about reality."
~ The Connections Sutra

Going There by Colleen J. McElroy

Going There

by Colleen J. McElroy

we will cross where the border is porous
where deals are unmade and papers transparent
we will cross where everyone can see us
without suspect or hurry we’ll make it
to the other side—we’ll seek a place
of some safety where origins are of less concern
than the craft of what we can offer
we’ll pretend the guards are friendly
and make our way uncertain yet surefooted
we’ll spell home for them in several languages
we’ll observe all of the necessary gods
the prayer wheels and beads we always carry
we’ll turn into the wind and leave no scent
we’ll take it all with us and hope
there is room when we get there
we’ll cross before darkness can hide us
and no one can find us if the border disappears

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Keep it simple

Completely accepting whatever you're experiencing is freedom...

Doing what needs to be done brings benefit...