Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jung-Joong-Dong of Jungshin Sooyang; "Silence in Stillness, Stillness in Motion": A Study and Practice into Mindfulness


“[T]he more disciplined and cultivated the mind is, the more disciplined and cultivated will be the student's use of Taekwon-do.
A clear pond becomes muddy if agitated and then returns to its original state when allowed to settle undisturbed.
We can attain peace of mind through meditation, by emptying our minds of all petty thoughts and returning to the natural state of man... an active moment to reflect on our past mistakes in silence and in the privacy of our thoughts... to continue our self-improvement towards becoming better men and women. This active thought process in silence is called “Jung-Joong-Dong”.”
Jungshin Sooyang ('Moral Culture'), General Choi (founder of Traditional Taekwon-do), 1999
This is the launching point for me; Jung-Joong-Dong of Jungshin Sooyang.

Where many would continue on the challenging path onto 2nd Dan Black Belt (and upwards!) I have veered off on a tangent to pursue a very different avenue.

This is the natural progression from the finale of my Black Belt Thesis of Jan. 2012.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Tattooed Buddha

What if pain and suffering aren't the same thing?
Is it possible to feel pain without suffering?
The Buddha taught that they were different.

Suffering is not the same as pain, although it is not always easy to distinguish between the two.
What further complicates the issue is our use of vocabulary. When we speak of this suffering we are speaking of it as the noun, not the verb.
We can always say that we suffer (verb) through our pain.
Pain is an unpleasant sensation.
Suffering is a mental and emotional response. 
Pain is an inescapable part of life. It is inevitable.
Suffering is optional. 

It's fine to say this, but what does this look like practically?

I think sometimes people with tattoos may have unknowingly tapped into this buddha-nature (innately knowing the difference between pain and suffering).

Yes, most tattooed people would say that they suffered through the hour(s) of getting the tattoo(s) (but let's remember, we aren't talking about "suffering" as a verb). Most tattooed people will tell you that it hurt and was a painful experience (and it is), but I doubt they would say that they suffered.

I think there's a lesson to learn here.
Maybe - just maybe - tattooed people have inadvertently stumbled across a deep aspect of our buddha-nature; a natural human condition that most have forgotten.

We will inevitably face and experience pain in life, but suffering is a choice.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Illusion of Meditation

I think too often we are 'sold' on the fantasied, romanticized imagery of meditation,  and I think this might be harmful.

My favourite are the pictures and especially landscapes associated with meditation. (Try googling meditation landscapes).

I know I can't sit on a beautiful sunny ocean shore and have any hope in hell to meditate. The sheer beauty of the surroundings are a brutal distraction. (But then again, I could be wrong. Maybe we're supposed to get to a point where we can 'tune-out' the surrounding beauty.... naah).

I think the Venerable Henepola Gunaratana agrees:
"We have certain images of meditation. Meditation is something done in quiet caves by tranquil people who move slowly. Those are training conditions. They are set up to foster concentration and to learn the sill of mindfulness. Once you have learned that skill, however, you can dispense with the training restrictions, and you should. You don't need to move at a snail's pace to be mindful. You don't even need to be calm. You can be mindful while solving problems in intensive calculus. You can be mindful in the middle of a football scrimmage. You can even be mindful in the midst of a raging fury"
Mindfulness in Plain English, pg. 93
My first (chance) encounter with mindfulness (before I even had a name for it) was during my Black Belt Examination. It was quite profound. But wouldn't have described myself or my actions as anything remotely close to quiet, tranquil or slow moving.

I wonder sometimes whether there's an unproductive industry out there that - really - only sells the idea of meditation. All the imagery and trappings; but little to no substance.
I think this might be the illusion of meditation.
I also think we should be careful of this; to be mindful of it.