Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Buddhism and Hip Hop?


I am really busy at present with other projects so am left to squeezing out a few short novalties once and a while. If you follow this blog and are waiting for the second part of Right Effort. I'll get there eventually. For now, there's this...

I love Hip Hop. Have done since my teens growing up in a peak period of its development in the 90s. For those who can’t stand it for its violence and glorification of guns, etc, don’t be too quick to judge. Hop Hip just happens to be one of the most creative, and original artistic forms of the last 30 years. Amongst the ego-trippin’ you can find some real gems. You can also find some Buddhists!
Below are two links to interviews conducted by the Shambhala Sun Buddhist Magazine with two rappers, one a Buddhist, named Born I Music, and the other a sort of Buddhist. He’s actually more famous, his name’s Rza and he produced the soundtrack for the film Ghost Dog , quirky film by Jim Jarmusch that interwove the story of a black Samurai in Brooklyn who liked to quote from the Hagakure. He has recently been acting in Californication alongside David Duchovney of X-Files fame, who also has dabbled in meditation himself at a Zen monastery. Buddhism is really getting around!
There are also two links to tracks by Born I Music. The first one is better musically, but not so Buddhist. The second is less rappy and was made in aid of Human Rights and covers some Buddhist themes.  Enjoy.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Six Words of Advice

In celebration of this humble blog having surpassed ten thousand views, I present a rather fine morsel for readers to chew on: the Six words of advice from Tilopa. Translation and comment from Ken McLeod.

Don’t recall.
Don’t imagine.
Don’t think.
Don’t examine.
Don’t control.

This advice consists of only six words in Tibetan. The above translation was developed to capture its brevity and directness. Some years ago, I also developed the translation shown below, which some people prefer:

Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

Tilopa’s instruction constitute the heart of Mahamudra; non-dual pristine awareness. Here is a link to additional material: 

These are instructions taken from Ken McLeod's Unfettered Mind site. These teachings are often misconstrued, or taken as instruction to give up doing anything. Like all instruction they are appropriate to an individual when the time and context are right.  Some non-dual practitioners are great at following similar instruction, but do so by avoiding engagement, in a more complete sense, with the messiness of existence. It becomes a sort of refuge from the uglier dimensions of life. This is in part one of the reasons why Mahamudra and Dzogchen teachings are considered the pinnacle of the Indian and Tibetan Buddhist traditions and were given in secret or only in the dynamic of 1:1. To arrive at such simplicity of instruction, one has to have cleared out a whole lot of manure before the experience, as Tilopa intended,  is genuinely met. Below is my own reflection :)

To be is to do.
To do is to be.
To unite the two fully is to live. 
Experience is all we have, and it is only ever found in the immediacy of the here and now, within the great flow of the process of life and death, of pulsing and contraction. Beyond hope and beyond fear.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Buddhist Geeks Conference! 9-11 August

Free Live Stream of the Buddhist Geeks Conference!

The Buddhist Geeks are doing great things and are directly responsible for radically improving my understanding of Buddhism, and its place in the contemporary West, and also my hope that Buddhism will manage to evolve into a truly radical form of practise, able to meet the needs of serious, western practitioners.
Living in Europe and having too many commitments of my own, attending their conference in person has been out of the question. This year there sense of generosity has sky rocketed and they are sharing the results of their efforts by broadcasting a live stream of much of the conference content. Many of the talks will be broadcast at a reasonable time for those of us living in Europe, so follow the link below and sign up. It doesn't cost a penny. 

From their site: 
'The Buddhist Geeks conference is almost sold out – but you can attend online, right from the comfort of your own home. To make this historic event even more accessible to our global community, this year we are happy to announce our complimentary live streaming and on demand video feeds, which will give you access to many of the extraordinary talks and moments that make our annual conference so geeky and special. Sign up today to receive access to #bgeeks12 online here!'