Written by Elena Zubulake
My head is on the pillow and my eyes are heavy. Twelve hours ago I stood in the kitchen, asking Andre a question. He looked distracted, and said, “I have to go and give death to a boar”
This has been my life now for 5 months.
I don’t go to supermarkets anymore. And sometimes, I walk out of my Harry Potter barnroom to find the head of a bull just outside my door.
This has changed me.
In theory, I have always cared about the sources of my food. But concept is so different from staring directly into the eyes of death like that day I looked a long long time into that Bull’s eyes.
Until I didn’t catch my breath anymore. Until I could be in relationship with his death.
Everything about it.
His name is Walker.
Words sometimes take a while to catch up with awareness, and I realized a few weeks ago, that being a part of these animals lives, and then being part of the whole process of bringing their bodies to my plate, is incredibly intimate.
Is, at the end of the day, an experience of friendship of the deepest kind.
On one of my rare visits to Lucky’s, I catch a glimpse of the Meet counter, and feel this,
“those are not my friends. Could I still eat those animals, whose lives I have not touched with my own hands, who have not touched mine?”
Two moons ago, we took two goats for a mountain walk in the light of the full moon, before their deathing the next morning.
I fell in love with them, as they looked out at the mists rising from a rocky ledge, standing on either side of me. I didn’t know how to tell them about their death. It wasn’t a concept.
Standing so full of life, under that pregnant moon. Was their death a betrayal of our friendship?
The next day, I stood in the field past the milking cows while they were being slaughtered, and I cried into Emily’s open palms.
I actually grieved for two whole days about those white coated beauties, and when Andre made the kefteh with their fat two weeks later, and I took a bite, all I felt was love.
Through my whole body. Utter. Complete. Direct. Intimate.
A sensation, not a thought.
Yes, this is friendship and no, the mind probably cannot figure out such intimacy.
This is the thing.
Life is relationship. Not Product.
In a store, we buy products.
On a farm, we build relationships.
What I eat. Who I eat. What I use. Where I live.
Is all Story, and when I am living fully in that Story, in those relations, my life starts to sing.
Call it Soul. Call it what you want.
It seems The World now has too many missing links. Too many stories not fully lived, too many relations lost in the complexities of not enough Relationship.
I have been gifted here with so much Relationship.
Tomorrow and hopefully Full Moons to come, I am helping to throw a feast in honor of this.
In honor of living inside of a Story again. In Honor of Being Loved by our Food Again, because we Loved too.
Loved the Seed. Loved the day Zippy’s calf was born. Loved the piglets who died on a cold muddy Beltane Morning. Loved the Dark just before Sunrise that always greeted us from our Dreams before waking to do what must be done.
In Honor of and to Make Space for
Telling These Stories that Make us
And these Stories that help ReMember Ourselves Home.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
The Lioness walks slowly toward the hill. Shoulders moving with the shifting weight of her body, she climbs, looking left and right, ready for that which may spring at her. There are few who follow, some would rather spend time stripping others of their confidence to climb. She leaves them, and moves forward.
After years of attack, this female remains. She protects those who trust her, those who may not have the strength to fend for themselves. She takes the hard hits so others do not have to, many are not even aware of what she is doing.
While she rolls ’round and ’round with those who would tear at the world, others are able to slip by the dark forms who would sap them of their goodness, their light.
She’s been here before. She’s had many such experiences. After all this time she thought it might have changed, but it hadn’t. Even though she is tempted to give in to this poison, to attack, or quit, she knows she cannot. So she musters her inner fortitude and she continues.
She digs deep within her heart and she seeks kindness for those who do not express it. She hopes their journey is not too painful, that they survive what is coming for them with only minor wounds. She turns from them all as they wallow in their self proclaimed glory. She remains silent, knowing they haven’t capacity to understand what they do not know.
There are some though who do understand, who see her battle scars and know they can trust her as they move forward. They know she has put her self in position of receiving harm, they have seen her fight through, and survive, they know she gives everything she has inside to protect what she cherishes.
Caring for others is the best we can offer. Life is a gift to be shared. Time is valuable, and while some waste it on being cruel, others work to counteract it. Stepping on the backs of those who may be perceived as ‘less than’ does not now, nor will it ever, make a hijacker more important. The sensation of the illusion will fade, and reality packs a punch like nothing else in this world. If understanding is desired, give it. If care is needed, give it. If self confidence is needed, block those who would strip it. Do not ever play into the hands that would steal your inner fire.
Tempting as it is to get involved in a back and forth of things, don’t. And if you do, recognize it as soon as you can, notice how it is sucking the positive from you … do not allow it. Contributing to that mess is a violation against self and encourages the behavior to continue.
No one deserves your energies more than you. Utilize your inner resilience to unwind any negative thing anyone has ever told you about yourself, they do not deserve this hold on you. Leave them behind, in your dust, and Climb. That. Mountain.
Half notes and serenades.
Aaahhh yes, youth was mine. Indeed it was all of ours. What did we do with it? Did we strive to create something positive and beneficial to life, or did we spend time and effort tearing it down, destroying it?
Personally, it was all too easy to follow in the foot steps of those who came before, who promoted a lack of empathy, who’s actions birthed a selfish thought and action. Yet once older, looking back, it is easy to see.
The question now is, what will we do to break these habits which have plagued humanity for generations? Certainly in life there have been deeds done which do not instill a sense of pride. There may be residue of shame, guilt, and sorrow from the way things played out. Those things are from then … and have no say in what will be.
Do not let yesterday determine your tomorrows. Do not let those who throw yesterday in your face determine your tomorrows. Tomorrow is for you to decide. Will you make the best of it? Are you ready to show your capabilities of creating good, equal to or greater than any of the negative which may have been in your life?
Circumstances will always prove to bring us the most beneficial opportunities. Often, we are forced to dig deep within and find the positive, bringing it forth in order to create peace in a chaotic world. This is a test, a stretching of ability, and while it may not be the most pleasant experience, it will enable your ability far beyond that which comfort level is able to promote in you.
When thinking of the past take only those things which are beneficial into the future. Lessons learned, skills honed, patience developed. All negatives of shame, guilt, jealousy, victim-hood, anger and hatred … leave behind, where they belong. They’ve served their purpose for those times.
Tomorrow is a clean slate, indeed, it is quite early today, so I will include this day as well in that statement. Wake, and begin the day with intention. Determine what today will be, and then act on that thought, that idea, that intent.
Bring compassion with you wherever you may go. Remember your sufferings, but only so that you are able to recognize them in others you encounter. You know how it is, act accordingly. Bring to them what you needed when it was you in their shoes.
You are capable of healing this land.
It is you alone who can bring forth what gifts you came with.
Remember them, what they are, and do what you came to do.
The circumstances we were born into did a great job of covering our abilities, drowning us in the worlds suffering. Shed what it has given you and build the new, the new you committed to before birth, the new you know you are able to gift this world, and all life.
Reseeding the earth is not just about birthing a new body, but about bringing forward and sharing new ideas and ways of living. Imagine the change you wish to see, and let it be … and so it is.
The Dalai Lama is believed to be a manifestation/Reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara aka Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity…
In the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon of enlightened beings, Chenrezig is renowned as the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.
Avalokiteshvara aka Chenrezig is the earthly manifestation of the self born, eternal Buddha, Amitabha. He guards this world in the interval between the historical Sakyamuni Buddha, and the next Buddha of the Future Maitreya.
According to legend, Chenrezig made a a vow that he would not rest until he had liberated all the beings in all the realms of suffering. After working diligently at this task for a very long time, he looked out and realized the immense number of miserable beings yet to be saved. Seeing this, he became despondent and his head split into thousands of pieces. Amitabha Buddha put the pieces back together as a body with very many arms and many heads, so that Chenrezig could work with myriad beings all at the same time. Sometimes Chenrezig is visualized with eleven heads, and a thousand arms fanned out around him.
Chenrezig may be the most popular of all Buddhist deities, except for Buddha himself — he is beloved throughout the Buddhist world. He is known by different names in different lands: as Avalokiteshvara in the ancient Sanskrit language of India, as Kuan-yin in China, as Kannon in Japan.
As Chenrezig, he is considered the patron Bodhisattva of Tibet, and his meditation is practiced in all the great lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The beloved king Songtsen Gampo was believed to be an emanation of Chenrezig, and some of the most respected meditation masters (lamas), like the Dalai Lamas and Karmapas, who are considered living Buddhas, are also believed to be emanations of Chenrezig.
Whenever we are compassionate, or feel love for anyone, or for an animal or some part of the natural world, we experience a taste of our own natural connection with Chenrezig. Although we may not be as consistently compassionate as some of the great meditation masters, Tibetan Buddhists believe that we all share, in our basic nature, unconditional compassion and wisdom that is no different from what we see in Chenrezig and in these lamas.
We might have trouble believing that we are no different than Chenrezig — but learning about the nature of compassion, and learning about Chenrezig, repeating his mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and imagining that we would like to be like Chenrezig, pretending that we really are just like Chenrezig, we actually can become aware of increasing compassion in our lives, and ultimately, the lamas tell us, awaken as completely wise and compassionate buddhas.
Avalokiteshvara Mantra Long Version;
Namo Ratna Trayaya,
Namo Arya Jnana
Byuhara Jara Tathagataya,
Arahate, Samyaksam Buddhaya,
Namo Sarwa Tathagate Bhyay,
Samyaksam Buddhe Bhyah,
Namo Arya Avalokite
Tadyata, Om Dara Dara,
Diri Diri, Duru Duru
Itte We, Itte Chale Chale,
Kusume Kusuma Wa Re,
Ili Milli, Chiti Jvalam, Apanaye Shoha
Homage to the Three Jewels,
Homage to the Ocean of that Superior,
Exalted Transcendental Wisdom,
The Appointed King, Vairocana,
The Tathagata, the Arhat,
the Pure and Complete Buddha,
Homage to All the Tathagatas, the Arhats,
the Pure and Complete Buddhas,
Homage to the Supreme Avalokiteshvara,
the Bodhisattva, the Great Being,
that Great Compassion,
Thus, Om, Apprehending the Deity of Sound,
Apprehending the Deity of Form,
Apprehending the Deity of Sign,
and the Surrounding Entourage.
* Please note this is the long version, the more commonly known Avalokiteshvara Chenrezig Mantra is the short verison which is known as ” Om Mani Padme Hum”
Mantra of Avalokiteshvara by
Margot Reisinger, Lama Tenzin Sangpo
On the meaning of:
OM MANI PADME HUM The jewel is in the lotus or praise to the jewel in the lotus by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet It is very good to recite the mantra OM MANI PADME HUM, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast.
The first, OM, is composed of three pure letters, A, U, and M. These symbolize the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; they also symbolize the pure exalted body, speech and mind of a Buddha. Can impure body, speech and mind be transformed into pure body, speech and mind, or are they entirely separate? All Buddhas are cases of being who were like ourselves and then in dependence on the path became enlightened; Buddhism does not assert that there is anyone who from the beginning is free from faults and possesses all good qualities. The development of pure body, speech, and mind comes from gradually leaving the impure states and their being transformed into the pure. How is this done? The path is indicated by the next four syllables.
MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the factor of method- the altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassion, and love. Just as a jewel is capable of removing poverty, so the altruistic mind of enlightenment is capable of removing the poverty, or difficulties, of cyclic existence and of solitary peace. Similarly, just as a jewel fulfills the wishes of sentient beings, so the altruistic intention to become enlightened fulfills the wishes of sentient beings.
The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom. Just as a lotus grows forth from mud but is not sullied by the faults of mud, so wisdom is capable of putting you in a situation of non- contradiction where as there would be contradiction if you did not have wisdom. There is wisdom realizing impermanence, wisdom realizing that persons are empty of self-sufficient or substantial existence, wisdom that realizes the emptiness of duality (that is to say, of difference of entity between subject and object), and wisdom that realizes the emptiness of inherent existence. Though there are may different types of wisdom, the main of all these is the wisdom realizing emptiness.
Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable, HUM, which indicates indivisibility. According to the sutra system, this indivisibility of method and wisdom refers to one consciousness in which there is a full form of both wisdom affected by method and method affected by wisdom. In the mantra, or tantra vehicle, it refers to one conciousness in which there is the full form of both wisdom and method as one undifferentiable entity. In terms of the seed syllables of the five conqueror Buddhas, HUM is the is the seed syllable of Akshobhya- the immovable, the unfluctuating, that which cannot be disturbed by anything.
Thus the six syllables, OM MANI PADME HUM, mean that in dependence on the practice which is in indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech and mind into the pure body, speech, and mind of a Buddha. It is said that you should not seek for Buddhahood outside of yourself; the substances for the achievement of Buddhahood are within.
As Maitreya says in his SUBLIME CONTINUUM OF GREAT VEHICLE (UTTARA TANTRA) all beings naturally have the Buddha nature in their own continuum. We have within us the seed of purity, the essence of a One Gone Thus (TATHAGATAGARBHA), that is to be transformed and full developed into Buddhahood.
(From a lecture given by His Holiness The Dalai Lama of Tibet at the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center, New Jersey.) Transcribed by Ngawang Tashi (Tsawa), Drepung Loseling, MUNGOD, INDIA
Humans and all life on this earth, are made up of 50% or more water. In heat we can find shelter, yet in the cold we freeze. In love we bloom and in hatred we die.
We must care for this earth, and each other.
During your morning meditations, or prayers … feel the pulse of life that flows through your hands. Imagine the planet there, between the cupped palms of your hands and feel the pulse of compassion emanating from them into the planet … ending suffering for all life, allowing a realization of compassion for each other, allowing the love for all of the animal kingdom. The contribution you make to this cause is much more powerful than you may have been taught to believe. YOU are a healer of the world.