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we had a lovely day wandering through the sweet smelling wet woods at Nymans NT gardens today.
In the Forest Tradition of Theravaden Buddhism, the notion of reincarnation was always regarded as not significant or important. For the reason that here and now, this moment and who we are now, is far more significant than any notion/idea of who we may be, or who we may have been. That tends towards fascination in the mind, opinions and views which is the very thing we’re supposed to be reflecting on.
The Abbot of the Monastery, a very revered meditation teacher, Luang Por Sumedho would say ‘do you know who you were in a past life because I don’t.’ What is the point – if you don’t know who you’ve been then is it really of any importance whatsoever.
I’ve got no idea if I’ve got a past life or if I have a future life. Anything is Speculation from this point. Speculation about the future and the past are regarded as not something we want to indulge in. The natural speculation in the mind about the past and the future in our own lives give us enough food for practice to bring us back into the moment here and now which is what the true Buddhist practice is, reflecting on the moment, on who we are right here and now what’s going. Karma must have an impact on reincarnation if reincarnation happens. Karma is a fact.
Karma speaks for itself. I think the confusion we have is that the world is so complicated and things are interacting all of the time and you can have faith in this. It’s empirical in that you can actually follow through results, but it also requires some faith. People believe that somebody out there, some God is out there looking for you, check marking you and your due some good because you’ve been trying your hardest. Viewpoints. Buddhist approach is that it is down to you. It’s not down to some world order or force that is going to bring anything about.
The more we look outside ourselves for support and help, the further away we get from practice. We really have got to look to ourselves and leave the deities. The Buddha said I am not a god I’m a human being and so are you and your Buddha nature is within you to find and work with. When we keep it on a simple level Karma is much easier to understand in the way I’ve just explained it. In terms of interacting with the world, it can be very hard to see at times, times you feel you have been dumped on, things aren’t right, why did that person do that to me because I didn’t ever do anything to them.
My husband has been making me these lovely slanted, portable, hinged stools for my meditation groups.
If people find it hard to sit still kneeling or cross-legged for long periods of time, these stools allow you to sit up with a straight back without being uncomfortable.
He’s taking commissions if anyone wants one
The brilliant Mike Howe. This is spine tingly…..
I find people look vaguely concerned when I tell them – and say things like ‘you look great for your age’ and ‘it’s just a number’.
I am actually quite happy to be fifty. Forty was much worse, end of being young etc. Fifty feels like an achievement of some kind.
I feel so grateful that I’m still here and have had the privilege of raising my children to adulthood. I really love my life and all the wonderful people in it. I feel blessed to live in good old Brighton, to be in good health, in a loving relationship and to have interesting work to do.
I like the fact that I have friends of twenty and friends of eighty, something that seems to happen in middle age.
I remember going to a fiftieth birthday party when I was thirty and feeling quite sorry for the bloke. It seemed so old then.
But now, after all, I really feel yes, it’s just a number.
I don’t feel much wiser or much more grown up and there are still so many things to do – might just have to speed up on that one.
It helps being the youngest of four siblings by ten years which gives the illusion of being forever young and irresponsible.
Oh, and I intend to milk the celebrations for all its worth and extend it over at least a week…..
Hmmm and I can join all those over fifty cheap classes and not feel compelled to bend like a pipe cleaner in yoga any more.
So here’s to half a century everyone!
p.s. I’ve dyed my hair since I was fourteen (think it’s been most colours apart from blue) and will be dyeing it for the forseeable future – not quite ready for the grey hair thing yet…..
p.p.s the above photo was taken on a hardcore Autumn family camping trip in the Scottish Highlands in ermm the late 1960s. The bear in this photo was called Grum. I still miss him – he disappeared on one of the house moves. If anyone sees him, please send him home….