Chan Monthly Newsletter

December Newsletter: Host and Guest

This month's newsletter is titled Host and Guest. This is because I've been a guest on a couple of different shows/blogs this past month, and this has been really enjoyable. Also a new series where I host interesting people is starting this Saturday.

December Newsletter

Dear Bodhi&Bass family,

The holiday season is upon us, and I’ve been in Israel enjoying my grandparent’s Hanukkah latkes (google it. No really, google it). I’ve been here teaching some crazy talented kids, a true inspiration. Here’s something from last summer’s project:

 

In any case, this month’s newsletter is titled Host and Guest. This is because I’ve been a guest on a couple of different shows/blogs this past month, and this has been really enjoyable. (Also a piece on the nature of thinking called Host and Guest is in the works right now.)

Firstly, if anyone is curious about my history with Buddhism, I was interviewed on the Mindfulness and Meditation Podcast, by my good friend Christiaan Neeteson. You can listen to it here:

 

Next, I’ve been kindly asked by the wonderful Daniel Scharpenburg to contribute to The Tattooed Buddhaa really cool magazine/blog. Seeing as there’s been a lot of trouble brewing on the #metoo front in spiritual communities, I’ve been wanting to address the topic of teacher student relationships for a long time now. The result is this piece I wrote for the Tattooed Buddha. (Click here)

Now, there are some changes coming. I want to start moving to video based content, and I’ll be experimenting a lot in the coming weeks and months. There’s also a new podcast series entitled Face2Face with Bodhi&Bass which starts this Saturday on the Ordinary Mind Meditation Podcast. I’ll be chatting with many interesting people from the worlds of spirituality, music, arts and everything in between. I’ve always been fascinated by how people find meaning in their lives, and what role creativity plays in that. The first episode will feature my old friend, Avshalom Ariel, someone very dear to me, whose philosophical and aesthetic vision I’ve not always agreed with, but who is absolutely magnetic. You’ll hear more about him and from him this Saturday on the podcast.

So don’t forget to subscribe, wherever you get your podcasts. We’ve started a new series this month called Dharma Lessons, where I share little talks on philosophy that I hold on the Meditation and Mindfulness Discord. If you’ve wanted to dive into the rabbit hole of Buddhist philosophy, I invite you to listen in:

 

Now, if you’ve been enjoying the fruits of my labor as a prolific volunteer, I invite you to help out by contributing to the creation of content here by donating. There’s actually a whole page dedicated to this: Support Us.

As I continue working on providing more and better content all the time, your help is of utmost importance. Without it, I simply can’t dedicate the same amount of time to these projects. Thank you for you support!

December’s Teachable Moment:

“In the Surangama Sutra, Arya Ajnatakaundinya asks, “What is the difference between settled and transient?” He answers by giving the example of a traveler who stops at an inn. The traveler dines and sleeps and then continues on his way. He doesn’t stop and settle there at the inn, he just pays his bill and departs, resuming his journey. But what about the innkeeper? He doesn’t go anywhere. He continues to reside at the inn because that is where he lives. “I say, therefore, that the transient is the guest and the innkeeper is the host,” says Arya Ajnatakaundinya.

And so we identify the ego’s myriad thoughts which rise and fall in the stream of consciousness as transients, travelers who come and go and who should not be detained with discursive examinations. Our Buddha Self is the host who lets the travelers pass without hindrance. A good host does not detain his guests with idle chatter when they are ready to depart. Therefore, just as the host does not pack up and leave with his guests, we should not follow our transient thoughts. We should simply let them pass, unobstructed.”

Master Xuyun (Empty Cloud).

For all your questions and comments, I’m always here!

May you be content and at peace,

Amituofo!

My first major influence was my grandmother Chaviva Dimenstein, who taught me violin. Even when I switched to guitar, because the violin was annoying to me, and finally to double bass, she still spent many hours every day helping me get better at music. In addition to her, I was blessed to study with many more great teachers, a rare thing to find. Most of them were not bass players at all, but supreme musicians who showed me the most important thing- we don’t learn music in order to play an instrument; we learn an instrument in order to play music. When I started to study Buddhism, I soon found out the same principle applies. Meditation cannot stand apart from daily life. I have been practicing Buddhadharma since about 2008. I started out in a Theravada context, again learning from outstandingly inspiring teachers, then I practiced some Zen, and now I study and practice Vajrayana (Kagyu) and Chan Buddhism (Linji Lineage of HsuYun). My highest aspiration and greatest inspiration is the actual pursuit of happiness- that means my own happiness as well as that of all others.

0 comments on “December Newsletter: Host and Guest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: