Sunday, August 26, 2007

[#38 The Random Factor] Return of the Unenlightened Part 1

Greetings brothers and sisters of Earth!

There and back, the whirlwind in Europe
has come to an end. There is much to
share after a week of fun and a week
of teachings with the Dalai Lama in
Hamburg Germany

First let me say to those who were hoping
for regular updates on my trip, sorry not
my style. Some people like to chronicle,
I'm after the essence.

This requires my to "ERE" Experience,
Reflect, Express, or maybe "APC", Absorb
Ponder, Create. I took notes throughout
but instead of posting these as they come I
prefer to take a step back and look at all
the moments and see the patterns and find
a way to weave them together in more
interesting ways.

Let's see how it goes...

The Dalai Lama was an absolutely joyous being.
He laughed a lot even at times when it
seemed totally inappropriate, such as when
he was asked to provide insight into solving
problems in the Middle East.

His answer was dialogue and compassion. He
finished by saying that he hopes they
can work out their differences, "but maybe
that is just a dream" [breaks into laughter]

I had the feeling that he sees trying to
answer questions on issues such as the Middle
East about as logical as the events themselves.

Key points of his teachings are that life
is suffering and that physical reality is
in it's essence an illusion which is why
it's ultimately unsatisfying.

Yet everywhere he goes people him for logical
solutions that will transform the world of
suffering into something else.

It's like asking a top football (American
football) coach how we can watch football
without seeing the giant men smashing into
each other all the time.

"Peace can come to be only through inner peace "
- Dalai Lama

Therefore, peace manifests on a heart-by-heart
basis. As my teacher says "There will be peace
on Earth when there is peace in the hearts of
all people." You, however, don't have to wait
that long.

A cause does not exist without a result, and
so too a result does not exist without a cause.
Since they are dependent we know that to avoid
a result, avoid the cause. To avoid a cause,
be mindful of the result. To manifest a result,
manifest the cause. - paraphrased

The Dalai Lama started off with a disclaimer.

"If you have a great expectation [for these
talks] big mistake. I have nothing to offer.
No miracle powers, [that's] nonsense."
- Dalai Lama

This was pretty funny considering I went
halfway around the world to attend 5 days of
teachings on a book called "400 verses on the
Practices of Attaining Enlightenment." If
"I have nothing to offer" was in the
promotional material I sure missed it.

But, I was not disappointed mainly since for
me this was a cultural experience and a good
old-fashioned adventure. I never had any
expectation of being enlightened by words.
I've tried it already, if words did the
trick I'd be enlightened already.

This was the motivation for issue #34

The Dalai Lama also had a warning. Generally
speaking, people from other traditions should
not become Buddhist because all religions have
some truth in them and switching religions
later in life often leads to confusion, the
exact opposite of the clarity we are seeking.

He said if one does desire to become Buddhist
because their religion does not serve them
it is most important to still respect the
tradition from which we came and not get
negative on it as it still serves other
people. The tendency is to be critical to
justify your change, this is not good. It
is important to respect all traditions and
recognize that they give hope and comfort to

I never had any intention of becoming Buddhist.
Truth manifests in all forms and realizing this
I guess I am a Perspectivist. I'm not looking
for a religion to explain the way the world works.
I am looking for a world-view that explains why
all religions work for some people and no religion
works for all. I find I get a much better view of
how the world "really is" by looking from as many
points-of-view as possible.

This is, of course, the motivation behind the
"Random Viewpoint Dispenser" at

Of course, it seems obvious that while all
perspectives might be true to some degree,
some are more true than others.

The Tibetan Buddhist way is very peaceful and
loving and the vibe of the event was really
beautiful. The monks chanting to open each day
was one of the highlights for me. Science is
just beginning to recognize the power of
vibrational therapies in healing. They ought
to be taking classes from these monks.

The week was broken up in two sections, 2 days
of public talk, and 5 days study of the 1800-
2000 (conflicting reports) year old text by
Aryadeva, "The 400 stanzas concerning the
practices on the way to enlightenment"

My impression was people connected very strongly
with the Dalai Lama himself and the public talk,
and not so much with the text itself.

This feeling was shared by the people I went
with, and talked to, and supported by the
massive line of people at the coffee stand
during the teachings of the text.

It had never before been taught in the West.
Certainly much of the meaning of the text was
lost in translation as it was written originally
in Sanskrit, a text which was lost but preserved
(re-written?) in Tibetan, which was then
translated for me in English.

Of course, the Dalai Lama has been studying
this text for over 65 years and he said it
is very complicated, some of it even he doesn't

In my humble opinion, if something can not be
understood after 65 years of study, it's
probably time to consider that those parts
just don't make sense.

I was just going to ignore most of the text
and give you just the gems but a good friend
has said I really should give you all a taste
of the text and my actual experience.

So, I opened randomly to stanza 378

"If through flaws concerning emptiness
[things] were established as not empty, why
would emptiness not be established through
flaws concerning lack of emptiness?" -
stanza 378

Eventually I began to understand that
"emptiness" refers to a lack of inherent
existence of objects in conventional reality.

Does that help?

Let me try again. Since multiple people
perceive a single object differently, it's
characteristics must be in the mind of the
observer and not the object itself. Objects
in conventional reality then is said to have
no inherent existence.

The fact that all phenomenon share this lack
of inherent existence is the Buddhist meaning
of "emptiness," which is not to be confused
with nothingness.

So, then... stanza 378

"If through flaws concerning emptiness
[things] were established as not empty, why
would emptiness not be established through
flaws concerning lack of emptiness?"

Make sense yet?

Well, you can see my challenge in extracting
the essence from these teachings, but I will
try my best.

There is one sneaky possibility that may be
the real reason for the abstract and "subtle"
nature of this book. Perhaps like the Karate
Kid's wax-on wax-off this text has an
ulterior motive. Instead of training the body
and mind as wax-on wax-off did, this text
pacifies the mind in a sort of philosophical
stupor keeping the mind occupied on harmless
pondering rather than leave it open for more
destructive thoughts of violence, envy, and

If you find it hard to believe that the mind
should be pacified this way, pay attention to the
final quote I've included, and to the teachings
in general.

My belief is that meditation is either the
only or the fastest path to enlightenment.
Yet, the mind will do what the mind does,
so while students aren't meditating perhaps
these teachers have found a good way to keep
the mind busy... just a thought.

Certainly, meditation doesn't seem so difficult
when compared to understanding this text.

After looking at the nearly 15 pages I've
written so far, I've decided to break this
into, at least, 3 sections.

Part 1: Overview, and some random quotes

Part 2: Dive into the teachings in detail

Part 3: My experiences, my missions
including your(?) awesome gift, and the
really great folks I met on this trip.

-------------Random Quotes--------------

The Dalai Lama told a story about a monk who
escaped after spending 18 years in a Chinese
prison. The monk said "There were times when
I faced danger." The Dalai Lama asked "What
kind of danger?" And the monk responded,
"there were times where I almost lost
compassion for the Chinese."

One attendee asked, "How can we expect to
love our enemies when we often don't love
ourselves." The Dalai Lama laughed and said,
"First you must love yourself, then love your
friends, then love your neighbors, then you
can learn to love your enemy."

"Compassion with wisdom and you are ok,
compassion without wisdom can still be foolish."
- Dalai Lama

"Desire based in wisdom is ok." - Dalai Lama

"Once we practice compassion, understanding
comes." - Dalai Lama

"When one is focused on compassion, what room
is there for anything else?" - Dalai Lama

"The best thing you can do is provide the
maximum affection to your children."
- Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama told stories of monks who at death
did not begin to decay, according to the Dalai
Lama a result of having a most powerful mind.
One monk is said to have simply evaporated into
nothingness... or should I say into emptiness,
wait, he must have disintegrated into
"ultimate reality."

"90% of anger is projection, how we feel about
what has been done, not what has been done."
- Dalai Lama

"Human beings are in doubt thanks to the
powerful ability to think." - Dalai Lama

I love that one...

love and light,

Some Guy

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The Random Factor at

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[#37] [The Random Factor] Rejuvenative Foods & the Dalai Lama

Greetings brothers and sisters of Earth!

It's been quite a month. My favorite brother
got married on 7/7/07. I love you bro, thanks
for the sister! I guess I owe you one...

Then I spent last weekend at Energy Park a
gathering of individuals, non-profits and
commercial organizations providing expertise,
knowledge, and materials on renewable energy
at the Oregon Country Fair.

There were groups showing off everything from
electric cars and bicycles to green building
and passive solar home design that minimizes
the amount of energy required to heat and cool
homes. Energy Park promoted everything from
wind-power projects for villages in Nicaragua,
to solar (PV) panels, to tons of information
on organic agriculture.

Let me know what you'd like to hear about first,
I'll probably cover a bunch of these topics in
the months to come. Why?

Renewable Energy Is Homeland Security!

However, today I am getting ready for the trip
to see the Dalai Lama in Germany and also attempt
to personally deliver him some Ambrosia...

I want to thank the 5 (out of 2,724) who
made contributions to this trip. For you the
awesome .00183% who showed me some support I
have some good news... and some bad news.

The good news is you have a great chance of
winning a gift from my trip.

The bad news is it will most certainly not be
lavish : )

It's perfectly fine by me it's worked out
this way. I AM GOING! I felt a little like
a tool asking for contributions in the first
place, I learned of the ongoing problems in
Tibet and felt like a machine shop.

Bottom line is it's pretty ridiculous for me
to not be selling ANYTHING after so long...
so I'm working on that. I think I have a pretty
good idea, I'll tell you about it sometime.

In the meanwhile I feel good knowing that those
of you kind enough to support me are probably

Those of you who were in it for the prize,

By the way, if you want to help the Tibetans,
remember passing on information is hugely valuable
folks! Help me out at the same time by passing on
the last issue of the Random Factor now online

The biggest thanks goes to Rejuvenative foods
which, thanks to a work-trade, helped me to
manifest this incredible experience.

It's a great excuse to look a little closer at
raw food and the fascinating human machine

Sources (mostly copied) from:
Rejuvenative foods
American Heritage Stedman's Medical Dictionary


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The Random Factor at

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