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Like The Sun Shining

--by Tenzin Palmo (Jul 27, 2009)


Sometimes people don't understand how Buddhism can talk about compassion and love in one breath and non-attachment and all these qualities of renunciation in the other breath. But that's because we confuse love with clinging. We think that if we love somebody, the measure of our loving is that we want to hold on to them. But that's not love, that's just self-love, attachment. It's not genuinely loving the other person, wanting them to be well and happy that's wanting them to make us well and happy. This is very important, because we confuse it all the time.

When I was nineteen years old I told my mother, "I'm going to India" and she said, "Oh yes, when are you leaving?" She didn't say, "How can you leave me, your poor old mother, now you've got to the age when you're earning a living, how can you go and abandon me?" She just said, "Oh yes, when are you leaving?" It was not because she did not love me, it was because she did. And because she loved me more in a way than she loved herself, she wanted what was right for me, not what would make her happy. Do you understand? Her happiness came by making me happy.

That's love, and that is something which we all need very much to work on in our personal relationships. To hold people and possessions like this (hands outstretched to indicate holding something lightly in the palms) and not like this (fists clenched to indicate holding something very tightly). So that when we have them, we appreciate and rejoice in them, but if they go then we can let them go. Change and impermanence is the nature of everything.

You see, when we lose something we love, it's our attachment which is the problem, not the loss. That's what causes us grief. And that is why the Buddha taught that with attachment comes fear and grief. We have the fear of losing, and then we have the grief when we lose. Buddha never said that love causes grief.

Love is an opening of the heart. It's like the sun shining. The sun just naturally shines. It doesn't discriminate, shining on this person but not on that one. It just shines, because it's the nature of the sun to give warmth. Some people go inside and close the doors and windows; that's their problem. The sun is shining anyway. And it's that quality of heart which we have to develop. That quality of open, unconditional loving, no matter what. I'm going to love you if you do this but I'm not going to love you any more if you do that parents do that, when their children don't obey.

--Tenzin Palmo


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14 Previous Reflections:

 
On Aug 9, 2009 shane wrote:

Yeah the relationship we have with the father god helps us to do manythings.For me is to be able to love my children through the eyes of god also to be patience with them.  were the scripture comes to mind teach them in the way they should go. well up to them were they go but i trust gods hand is in it. But also the unity between my wife an i its like a triangle that with the gap. God becomes the connection.

Im reminded of a whakatauki. (proverb)

aroha mai, aroha atu .love from within. an love going out.

so yes its is really somthing to feast on an to take with to hands. So ano te pai, ano te ahureka, o te noho tahi o nga teina me nga tuakana, i runga i te kaupapa nei (whakaaro kotahi) which in short thank you that i can sit an reflect on this knowlegde shared from god.

arohamai



On Aug 6, 2009 Somik Raha wrote:

 The piece evokes some words. "Open" - an open palm. Open to possibilities. Open to discovering I have something to give. Open to discovering I have something to receive. Open to discovering who I am. "Expectations" - a closed fist. They are the chains that prevent our progress. If there is one thing we have no right to have, it is expectations. The two paradigms apply not just to relationships with others, but also to a relationship with myself. Who am I? Am I open to discovering this? Or do I have a self-image that prevents honest inquiry and shackles me? Finally, this piece paints a picture of the author's mother, and I think there's more to that picture, from the lens of the interaction with my own mother, who is very similar. All my life, whenever I've wanted to do something, she has unquestioningly supported. I remember as a child growing up in a Catholic missionary school with a strong musical culture, I had a desire to participate and sing. Wit  See full.

 The piece evokes some words. "Open" - an open palm. Open to possibilities. Open to discovering I have something to give. Open to discovering I have something to receive. Open to discovering who I am.

"Expectations" - a closed fist. They are the chains that prevent our progress. If there is one thing we have no right to have, it is expectations.

The two paradigms apply not just to relationships with others, but also to a relationship with myself. Who am I? Am I open to discovering this? Or do I have a self-image that prevents honest inquiry and shackles me?

Finally, this piece paints a picture of the author's mother, and I think there's more to that picture, from the lens of the interaction with my own mother, who is very similar. All my life, whenever I've wanted to do something, she has unquestioningly supported. I remember as a child growing up in a Catholic missionary school with a strong musical culture, I had a desire to participate and sing. Without any preparation or training, I enrolled straightaway for the annual music competition. I announced this to my mother, and told her that I had picked Julie Andrews' lovely song, "Raindrops on Roses" from Sound of Music. I needed the film so I could practice. My mother did not once question my decision, or point out that in living memory, no male in the Raha family was known to sing or have any participation in music, or that here I was singing a girly song in a Boy's school, or any other objections that I can now think of. Instead, she promptly rented the film from a store and never passed judgment on my practice. My music teacher kept checking on me, and telling me to improve my pitch (I had no idea what she was talking about, and understood that to mean that I just had to sing louder). Finally, on the day of the event, she called all the participants aside and had us all sing. Then, she disqualified me (I remain in gratitude) to prevent embarassment. What I cannot forget in this story is the unconditional love and support my mother gave me to support my fancy.

Onward several years, I had gotten admission into an engineering college in a field of my choice (Computer Science) and everyone at home was thrilled. My mother spent all her time getting me setup to leave home for the first time. Not once was there any talk of missing me. On the day of departure, for the first time, I saw tears in her eyes as she hugged me. In those tears were also this struggle - her tremendous attachment to me, and her firm resolve not to weaken me - she blessed me and asked me to take care of myself. I would call home every weekend, have normal conversations, and during vacations, only on the day of departure, get to see her tears. Many years later, my mother's sister told me, "Do you know how much your mother used to miss you? She would sit on the steps outside your house and cry her heart out. She didn't want you to know."

My mother dealt with her attachment in her own way, releasing them through her tears. But she never once confused herself on what was more important to her - it was always my welfare, my education, my progress. She knew to retreat into her space to deal with her attachment without putting chains on me. And that to me, is a very human picture that I can relate to. In the piece, Tenzin does not tell us what happened on the day of departure, or what her mother's close friends know about how she dealt with her attachment, but I suspect we will find a human being.

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After hearing others' thoughts on this piece, a deeper opening followed, one that now finds its way into this blog.
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Detachment is a terrible idea. It is negative, and sounds cruel. Moreover, I think it is not a skillful way of getting beyond attachment. On the other hand, we can attach to a higher ideal. Instead of being content with loving myself, I can love one more person, then another, and another. By stepping it up, I am putting all my energy attaching to more and more, and soon, the smaller, lower attachments automatically fall by the wayside without even a complaint. My mother was attached to me, but she attached herself to a higher ideal - my welfare (as did Tenzin's mother). The lower attachment could not compete with the strength of the higher attachment. It did not go away, but it could not win.

This way of looking at things was shared by a certain hero who lives these days at Olema. That hero remarked, "You cannot really solve a problem. You can only dis-solve it by going to a level where the problem does not exist." If attachment+fear is looked upon as a problem, then we have to go to a level where it does not exist - strive to attach to every being that exists.

Finally, I remember another hero who said that the ideal attachment was that of a nurse. She gives all her love and nurtures the child in her care as though it were her own. The day her employer terminates her services, she packs her bags without a word and goes to the next place, ready to love the next child with all she has.

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On Aug 2, 2009 Susan Bradley wrote:

Since 2006 I have been on an new life journey that brought me back to the bay area and to come to be introduced to Charity Focus... Ms. Palmo's writing reminds me of so very much in my life, and our Wednesday gathering and sharing inspires me. After Pavi read the reading  aloud on Wednesday evening one of the attendees spoke about our attachments in love as representing lessons we still have to learn, another spoke about holding on to memories and people and things and needing to learn the lessons of letting go, others spoke about loss of loved ones by death or distance and letting go or celebrating their lives... I found I could relate to all of those thoughts and behaviors and feelings. More for me though, I found myself realizing the lessons of love I learn each day from my daughters that are 12 and 14.  Since my oldest daughter, Madeline, was 7 years old she has asked me to meditate with her, to create a sacred space in our home and to sit quietly together.&n  See full.

Since 2006 I have been on an new life journey that brought me back to the bay area and to come to be introduced to Charity Focus... Ms. Palmo's writing reminds me of so very much in my life, and our Wednesday gathering and sharing inspires me.

After Pavi read the reading  aloud on Wednesday evening one of the attendees spoke about our attachments in love as representing lessons we still have to learn, another spoke about holding on to memories and people and things and needing to learn the lessons of letting go, others spoke about loss of loved ones by death or distance and letting go or celebrating their lives... I found I could relate to all of those thoughts and behaviors and feelings.

More for me though, I found myself realizing the lessons of love I learn each day from my daughters that are 12 and 14. 

Since my oldest daughter, Madeline, was 7 years old she has asked me to meditate with her, to create a sacred space in our home and to sit quietly together.  I'm just now finding the ability to allow myself to slow down, to stop and sit in quiet with myself!  Madeline has always had a quietness inside her and has loved and forgiven easily!

My youngest daughter, Eleanor, is the most gregarious and loving person I think I've ever met.  Eleanor makes a friend wherever she goes and has the courage to stand for the underdog in any situation.  She is not the quiet one, but her energy and character propel her to engage with people and to love them for who they are and where they're at in life.

These two incredible young women teach me daily about loving, letting things go, forgiveness, sitting quietiy, and also a good deal about having plain ole fashioned funnn and enjoying life!  I'm blessed with two incredible teachers living right beside me in example of living and loving well.  And to think I thought I would be the one teaching them about life! ;-)

With love & gratitude,

Susan

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On Jul 30, 2009 RGK wrote:

This passage reminded me of something my friend told  me recently. "You have a partner who is one in a million", my friend had told me. "Without thinking of himself, he was willing to let you go."

I have moved across the country and coasts for the next 5 years from him, and there he is, always encouraging me and giving me nothing but his good wishes,support and love.

Thanks for reminding me of the compassion of people around us, an everyday miracle that we often forget to remember.



On Jul 29, 2009 Pallavi Deshpande wrote:

I would like to share A Nice Article about Love     By Swami Vivekananda   I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said this: "You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love.   “This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand caringly open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to posses it, it will spill through the  first cracks it finds.   This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love ... they try  to posses it, they  demand, they expect ... and just like the water spilling out of your hand, love will retrieve from you. For love is meant to be free, you can not change its nature. If there are people you love, allow them to be free  See full.

I would like to share A Nice Article about Love  

  •   By Swami Vivekananda

     

I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were

sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with

some water and held it before me, and said this: "You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love.

 

“This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand caringly open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to posses it, it will spill through the  first cracks it finds.

 

This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love ... they try  to posses it, they  demand, they expect ... and just like the water spilling out of your hand, love will retrieve from you. For love is meant to be free, you can not change its nature.

If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.

Give and don't expect.

Advise, but don't order.

Ask, but never demand.

It might sound simple,  but it is a lesson that may take a lifetime to truly

practice.

 

It is the secret to true love. To truly practice it, you must sincerely feel no expectations from those who you love, and yet an unconditional caring."

Passing thought.... Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; but by the moments that take our breath away.

 

 

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On Jul 29, 2009 Atul Balshiram Pokharkar wrote:

Love is necessary for living in world. it make a  good connection with human life.



On Jul 28, 2009 Narendra Devadas wrote:

The word detachment is confusing. It applies to monks who have renounced the world and its responsibilities. For the rest of us, unselfishness makes more sense. If one is 100% egoistic or 100% selfish he is 100% non-god or 100% ignorant. If one is 100% unselfish he is 100% God. Most us are in transition in the gray area of Humans.



On Jul 28, 2009 SK wrote:

For most people, the transformation from materially oriented life to egoless state of mind is a slow deliberate process. The ideas expressed in the thought are very logical and appear simple, but are extremely difficult to put into practice.  At my level, I find it more realistic to start with trying to dissolve the ego in less challenging situations of everyday life like anger, disappointments, material craving, jealousy etc. Once the grip of the ego has loosened enough to rein in these negative qualities, the more lofty and challenging goal of total ego dissolution suggested in this thought can become a more realistic goal. Even though I find the goal expressed in the thought as unrealistic for me and for most people around me, it provides tremendous inspiration for pursuing the goals that I find realistic.  See full.

For most people, the transformation from materially oriented life to egoless state of mind is a slow deliberate process. The ideas expressed in the thought are very logical and appear simple, but are extremely difficult to put into practice.  At my level, I find it more realistic to start with trying to dissolve the ego in less challenging situations of everyday life like anger, disappointments, material craving, jealousy etc. Once the grip of the ego has loosened enough to rein in these negative qualities, the more lofty and challenging goal of total ego dissolution suggested in this thought can become a more realistic goal. Even though I find the goal expressed in the thought as unrealistic for me and for most people around me, it provides tremendous inspiration for pursuing the goals that I find realistic.

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On Jul 28, 2009 sethi wrote:

Thks for  a great post . Lots of learning . I had always been possessive of my wife , however having been seperated from her for the past  years , Iam gradually learning the meaning of letting go .

As the old saying goes , when you set a bird free , if it comes back , it is yours , otherwise it never was .



On Jul 28, 2009 Neerav wrote:

Wow this is exactly how I feel right now.  Four days ago my wife left for a 2.5 month trip to Spain to study flamenco dancing.  The interesting reaction from so many people was, "wow how can you do that?  I would never be able to leave my significant other for that long."  Some even ask me how I can manage to do it.  To be honest not managing or dealing with it was never an option.  It was a choice that she made for herself to pursue something that made her happy and I could never live with myself if I got in the way of that.  I believe anyone could do this, but the trick is finding something that you are that passionate about that would give you the motivation. 



On Jul 28, 2009 supun wrote:

I guess to me, non-attachement is a state of mind and Love is a 4 letter word... Just kidding. I was telling my friend about a great rap "Love's Gonna Get ya" and it's about material love("I love my chain, my car, that girl over there that I don't even know"). And the moral of the story is that if you find yourself plotting and scheming for "love," it'll get you and the people you love into trouble. So if that mother in the previous post is trying to plot and scheme to passive agressively break up the couple, it makes me think she's closing the doors. Maybe the son should just keep shining until she comes back. He should let her go and not be attached to her and both of them will learn something :-). The 3 of them should just talk about what they don't like about each other and have a big fight and have faith that they'll make up again -- easier said than done, or is it? let natural feelings take their course... Also... I'm pretty sure Mary Magelene was N  See full.

I guess to me, non-attachement is a state of mind and Love is a 4 letter word... Just kidding. I was telling my friend about a great rap "Love's Gonna Get ya" and it's about material love("I love my chain, my car, that girl over there that I don't even know"). And the moral of the story is that if you find yourself plotting and scheming for "love," it'll get you and the people you love into trouble. So if that mother in the previous post is trying to plot and scheme to passive agressively break up the couple, it makes me think she's closing the doors. Maybe the son should just keep shining until she comes back. He should let her go and not be attached to her and both of them will learn something :-). The 3 of them should just talk about what they don't like about each other and have a big fight and have faith that they'll make up again -- easier said than done, or is it? let natural feelings take their course...

Also... I'm pretty sure Mary Magelene was NOT a prosititue. She was a gnostic that may have believed "in the teaching that humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect god"

Anyways... I liked this reading. It reminded me not to think too much. My favorite sentance in it is "Her happiness came by making me happy." It's not our strong feelings for other humans that causes us grief, but maybe our own insecurities and our want to control others or others wanting to control us that makes us have all this emotional suffering. It takes a bit of effort and understanding to seperate the resulting feeling from the different causes, but we all can do it if we take a moment to check it out.

 

 

 

 

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On Jul 28, 2009 jane wrote:

This article is an eye opener, most times we want to believe loving someone is not letting the person go, wanting the person to always be by your side and all worth not.

Just as the rain falls on every person without giving a condition or giving preference to some persons that is how our love for people should be and even the bible encourages that too,  when Jesus saved Mary Margdalene from been stoned, despite her promiscous acts. So we are all encourage to love and let go.

 

 

 



On Jul 27, 2009 Peggy wrote:

Ooops...sorry about the previous note with my friend's name! I hope the administrator can delete it for me. Anyway, my friend's mother is attached to my friend (37 years old) in every which way, and has to know his every move. The mom and son share the mortgage on the house together, and won't allow the girlfriend to come into the house. The mom throws a fit if she finds out that they're together that he often has to lie to his mom about everything related to the girlfriend. The girlfriend is pregnant girlfriend (due in Dec), and wants nothing to do with the grandchild. I stayed with them for a few weeks, and she confided in me that she hates the girlfriend, and has threatened to leave the country because they are about to have a baby together. She thinks her son will follow her if she does decides to leave, and it's sickening. My friend is being controlled to a point that he's afraid to stick up for his pregnant girlfriend. I tried to convince her to see how ridiculous her behavior  See full.

Ooops...sorry about the previous note with my friend's name! I hope the administrator can delete it for me.

Anyway, my friend's mother is attached to my friend (37 years old) in every which way, and has to know his every move. The mom and son share the mortgage on the house together, and won't allow the girlfriend to come into the house. The mom throws a fit if she finds out that they're together that he often has to lie to his mom about everything related to the girlfriend. The girlfriend is pregnant girlfriend (due in Dec), and wants nothing to do with the grandchild.

I stayed with them for a few weeks, and she confided in me that she hates the girlfriend, and has threatened to leave the country because they are about to have a baby together. She thinks her son will follow her if she does decides to leave, and it's sickening. My friend is being controlled to a point that he's afraid to stick up for his pregnant girlfriend. I tried to convince her to see how ridiculous her behavior is, and she only responds, "I don't care..." It's actually quite frightening how unreasonable she is.

At this point, I can't relate to her thinking-process, but wish that I could somehow help my friend.

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On Jul 27, 2009 Liz, iJourney Audio Editor wrote:

Reading this passage I thought of raising my children.  To me, Like The Sun Shining represents total surrender of ego...letting go of even the tiniest crumbs of my will so that my children can grow and flourish into all of whom they were meant to be.  I've got the vision -- of myself being this big, bright, ever-burning sunshine for them and all who enter my life.  I pray that I can live this way when I get up from this chair and turn to plan the day with them.  I pray that I can maintain this vision as we gear up for another school year.  Sometimes it seems the line is blurred between what is my will vs. what is their path, but I do know how to tell the difference and this is good news.  I can tell the difference because of how I feel inside.  Prayer, journeling and my husband's feedback also help me get clarity.