2014 November 20

Gen X – Becoming an Oldster

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Raise your hand if you’re starting to feel your age. If you can lift you arm.

Time’s really marching on. We Buddhists are aware of this on a “we hear, contemplate and study this kind of thing all the time” but when it really hits you – ooof.

There’s a guy that goes to many of the heavier music shows and this guy is righteous. He has a long ZZ Top-esque beard that is as white as snow  and he wears obscure band t-shirts on his skinny rocker frame. He’s into it all. He’s not going through the neuroses that I’ve seen people go through when they hit their mid-life crisis and worry about what people think of them. Whether they’re too old for Manic Panic tinged hair. For skirts that are above the knee. Any of the rules that generations hear and then berate themselves over.

Dude just rocks out and doesn’t give a flip.

I read this Salon article recently and maybe it’s the wannabe sociologist in me but I get fascinated by how others are viewing this life transition. Are we aging in the same way as our parents? Are our values and priorities the same? Easier? Harder? Just different?

I buy up a lot of books and read a lot of studies on my generation because it’s a weird generation. Maybe it’s just me that has that feeling of it being weird or maybe it’s a generational thing that we’re all feeling because we’re Gen X-ers and well *shrugs shoulders.*

From the Salon article I mentioned above, “If you think this is typical Gen X whining, you are probably a boomer.”

Speaking of my generation…. I watched this lovely short film on Dharma Punx NYC’s Josh Korda and think you should check it out.

What do you think of being a Gen X-er? A Gen- X Buddhist? How are you navigating your new old agedness? Does it make you want to start a band? Pick up your skateboard again?

 

2014 November 13

How do the Buddhist Teachings Become a Lifestyle?

Here’s a great video from Tyler Dewar that speaks quite nicely to the non-proselytizing nature of Buddhism. I always liked this aspect of the tradition.

It’s funny how when I speak to being a Buddhist (when it comes up), people expect me to try and convert them. There’s a fear in their eyes that I’m going to get them to twist into a lotus-legged pretzel, do some kind of phlegmey nose breathing exercises and then try to engage them in some greasy, tantric sex as I thrust with a howling deep throat singing eruption of nyan-cat proportions.

Sadly nope. None of that happens.

It’s all pretty chill. You choose your own path friend and I wish you love, peace, blessings and freedom from suffering.

No hard sell there.

2014 November 11

Random Linkage: November Rain Edition

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Polar vortex season is just around the corner and another Canadian winter to grit my teeth through is licking at my Vans.

Not a fan. Yes I know. Equanimity. Yes. There’s likely a sermon about some wise ass who got hit with a boot (it’s beyond sandal weather, so take that Tilopa) for disparaging the weather. Sorry. I’m doing my best. A Buddhist Work in Progress.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a linkage list. Here’s what’s hit my radar as interesting, irritating, passionate, aggressive or neutral. Enjoy!

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2014 November 5

Montreal’s Annual Tibetan Cultural Fair and Bazaar 2014

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Hugo Latulippe is the new spokesperson of ‘A Day in Tibet’

Montreal, November 4, 2014 : ‘A Day in Tibet’ is Quebec’s largest event dedicated to the fascinating Tibetan culture and its presevation. This year’s edition will take place Nov. 8 – 9, at Notre Dame de la Salette Church, in Montreal (3535 Parc Ave).

This annual event brings together Quebec’s Tibetan community and thousands of Montrealer interested in the Tibetan culture, religion and human rights.

This year’s spokesperson is Hugo Latulippe – filmmaker, author and long time supporter of the Tibetan cause. His award winning documentary What remains of us is still a remarkable contribution that brings awareness to the Tibetan culture, in Québec and beyond. His activist art is echoed by the Cultural Fair participants: ‘once you bring objects into the world, through painting, sculpture, film, or anything else, you are an activist’, says Latulippe.

The event features a handicrafts bazaar, live traditional music and dance performances, as well as Tibetan cuisine. Many other events will take place throughout the two days: book launches, film screenings and debates, with the participation of writers, researchers and activists.

The event is a major fundraising activity for the Canada Tibet Committee, an independent non-governmental organization promoting human rights and freedom for the Tibetan people. The CTC is funded entirely by individual donations and special events. The Tibetan Cultural Association of Québec preserves Tibetan cultural traditions, including performing arts, within the diaspora community in Québec.

Saturday November 8, 10am – 6pm

Sunday November 9, 10am-5pm

Notre Dame de la Salette Church, 3535 Ave du Parc (corner Milton), Place des Arts Metro

Admission: $5; Seniors and students: $3; Under 12: free

More information: the event Facebook page

2014 November 3

Book Review: “Western Lights” | Andrew Furst

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I just finished reading Andrew Furst’s book, “Western Lights” and do have to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s a collection of short essays that he recently published based on some of the blogging Andrew was doing for the Buddhist Meditation Group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading.

From his website:

“It speaks about eastern concepts like Karma, Hope, Attachment, and Emptiness from a personal perspective and in terms familiar to Americans. They’re grounded in subject matter familiar to Americans like Politics, Science, Psychology, Heaven, and Nature.”

“Western Lights” covers a lot of ground with each short chapter and it’s a clear and concise read. It delivers snippets of Andrew’s personal perspectives, his background and his teachings. His childhood, Christian background, work and family all present strongly in how they relate to his approach to the Dharma.

It’s a modern, Western take on Buddhism and speaks a bit to various meditation practices that Andrew recommends as well as the practices within the Pure Land tradition of which he is a part of. Don’t let this scare you off. The book is quite accessible. One doesn’t need to be too immersed in the concepts of Buddhism to get something out of it so it’s ideal for those who are looking for a book that covers a bit of everything- kind of like a sample platter. You get a few bites of some tasty morsels and then if interested, you can then go back for the full meal, or in this case – read, study, examine and practice further (I’m still working on several platefuls of karma over here)!

The book is a clear and easy read. It isn’t too philosophical or advanced and perfect for those who are somewhat aware of Buddhist concepts. There’s a moderate smattering of pop-culture references as is de rigueur with today’s Western Buddhist books.

Go visit Andrew’s site now where you can find out more about “Western Lights.”

2014 November 1

Where does the time go?

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Really. Where does it go?

Yes friends. All I’ve really been doing on this blog lately has been book reviews. None of the mindless grumbling that you fell in love with this blog for. I’m still here. Buried on books for both pleasure and study.

Anyone else reading Nagarjuna AND the new Lena Dunham book? Just me? OK. Moving on….

I’m also busily editing the upcoming anthology for SUMERU which has been on of the best things to pop up in my little life. I do hope that everyone likes it once released although I’m biased and do think you will.

So yeah. Time. Doesn’t seem like enough of it these days. Both for the little piddily tasks and the BIG philosophical holy shit time is passing, a birthday around the corner, sickness, old age, death kind of way. Things are hitting close to home and that’s feeling more and more normal.

It’s funny when I’m hit with shitty news. Like shock you off your seat news. There’s a weird depersonalization sensation. I get blank. Like a black out only I’m fully aware of everything. I’m hearing what’s being said. The words. All clear to me. Your pain. Your fear. I feel it. I’m feeling mine too. Cue a panic attack. Cue the stumbling for words. Oh hey lightheadedness. How are you doing? Heart. Where are you racing off too? Get back in my chest. Woo. I want to run away.

Where?

Sitting down with it.

Exploring it.

Reading everything I can find on how to deal. How to cope. Reading the tough stuff. Watching documentaries that force me to see it. Uncovering all of the discomfort and letting the light shine on it.

You can’t turn away from this Tanya. This is life. And part of life is death.

You knew this.

Where does the time go?

2014 October 13

Wisdom

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2014 October 8

Book Review: “The Buddha Walks Into the Office”

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This book came to me at the ideal time having started a new job and all of the neurosis that can follow from this kind of  transition. Oh yes. It’s easy to get caught up in all kinds of thoughts, feelings, emotions, fears and habits.

“Will they like me?”
“Am I doing good work?”
“Can I keep up?”
“What if I fail?”

This job market is flip-flopping-floopy crazy, so it’s no wonder we’re all either scrambling to keep the job we have, grasping for that elusive dream gig, or spending our 9-5 in samsara and silently cursing our bosses and co-workers. No matter how Buddhist you are, however compassionate you feel that you are, when confronted with deadlines, egos and unreasonable demands, you are bound to suffer. Suffer hard.

Lodro Rinzler is that cheerful, bespectacled, bow-tie wearing classy chap who writes for the Buddhist millennial set. He’s written a book titled, “The Buddha Walks into the Office: A Guide to Livelihood for a New Generation” that seeks to help readers navigate through the common issues encountered at work. Jerkface bosses. Loud-mouthed colleagues. Killer deadlines. The ever-present question of “What is Right Livelihood exactly?” It’s all in this book and – more.

With the familiar format many Buddhist books take in moving from Hinayana to Mahayana to Vajrayana teachings, the book is a call to action for a bit more mindfulness, compassion and fearlessness at work. Lodro explores many of the teachings from Shambhala, it’s founder Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and it’s current head, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche as he explores how we can be good Buddhist workmates. The book is funny, charming and smart. Lodro’s warmth and compassion shines brightly as he delivers insight and explores what it means to be a leader even when we aren’t holding the title of CEO. 

Many of Lodro’s personal life experiences help illustrate the concepts presented within “The Buddha Walks into the Office” – some are hilarious, others are quite touching. Ever present in the book is the inherent desire that Lodro has for people to find their calling and live a life of purpose when it comes to work. This is very much a part of his life as the founder of the Institute for Compassionate Leadership, an organization that helps develop young, compassionate leaders (hence the title!).

The importance of meditation runs heavily throughout this book as do many Shambhala terms and teachings such as that of basic goodness and wakefulness. Bonus points for several geekier and pop-culture based references such as the chapter titled “Wielding Your Speech Like the Hammer of Thor”.

Topics such as deep listening, Bodhisattvic activies, the lojong slogans, the six realms, the paramitas and yes, karma are all explored skilfully and with the goal of showing how they apply in our cubicles.

The thread of hopefulness is woven through this book despite Gen Y’s seemingly dreary job prospects. I’m heartened by Lodro’s optimism. This book is the ideal gift for the Millennial in your life who is going through a career crisis.

Shantideva’s wisdom figures prominently within the pages. How can you go wrong here? I especially love Lodro’s mention of how the workplace “is the perfect battlefield for unleashing your personal weapon: the bomb of bochicitta.” I want the t-shirt now. “Drop bodhichitta bombs. Not F-Bombs.”

While there are a few practices offered within “The Buddha Walks into the Office“, this isn’t the sole focus of the book. There are several exercises for self discovery and details on several meditation-based, contemplations and Buddhist-inspired practices, but the majority of the suggestions relate to actually practicing while at work. He writes, “If you can shift your view so that your work is spirituality, then you can bring your meditation practice off the cushion and live your hours at work with meaning and purpose.”

I REALLY enjoyed Lodro Rinzler’s The Buddha Walks into the Office,” but I’m a bit biased in fangirling over all of his writing. It’s authentic, fresh and delivers a fun take on the Dharma which helps it to be accessible to all. Do pick it up. It’s a delightful and fun read with quite a bit of substance to it. If you’re a boss, you need to read it. If you’re an employee, you need to read it. It really does offer new insight into what it means to be a worker and leader. This book could very well make us happier at work and in turn, make the world a much better place.

Yes, the book is that powerful!

 

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