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Holyday fathering, financial worries, dharma and friendship sangha

I've been off work for the last week and a half for holiday vacation and have had my little one during the days and most of the evenings keeping him out of daycare so we can spend some quality time together... truth be told I've become a bit weary...but he's more than worth it!
Actually, I'm more stressed over the worry of the overwhelming financial burden my (soon to be ex) wife will pursue to force on me through our next mediation divorce meeting Friday...

Anyhow, I got a short respite today in attending my (formerly) regular silent meditation meeting group. Our wonderful hosts opened their house again and introduced Lama Tulku Karma Gyurme Sonam Rinpoche, a Tibetan spiritual teacher along with his father (also a Lama).
We were treated to his presence in a formal dharma teaching, hearing his and his father's stories and in chanting and meditation practices. All shared in the spirit of sangha!

I'm reading my favorite buddhist author again Stephen Batchelor and thought it would be nice to share some things from the book, Buddhism Without Beliefs.

‘Just as the dawn is the forerunner of the arising of the sun, so true friendship is the forerunner of the arising of the noble eightfold path.’ — Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni, the Buddha)

“Dharma practice is not just a question of cultivating resolve and integrity in the privacy of our hearts. It is embodies in friendships. Our practice is nourished, sustained and challenged through ongoing contact with friends and mentors who seek to realize the dharma in their own lives.
We were born alone and will die alone. Much of our time is spent absorbed in feelings and thoughts we can never fully share. Yet our lives are nonetheless defined through relationships with others. The body is witness to parents and endless generations of forbearers, language witness to fellow speakers, the most private thoughts witness to those we love and fear. Simultaneously and always, we find ourselves alone with others.
We are participatory beings who inhabit a participatory reality, seeking relationships that enhance our sense of what it means to be alive. In terms of dharma practice, a true friend is more than just someone with whom we share common values and who accepts us for what we are. Such a friend is someone whom we can trust to refine our understanding of what it means to live, who can guide us when we’re lost and help us find the way along a path, who can assuage our anguish through the reassurance of his or her presence.

While such friendships occur naturally between peers with similar aspirations and interests, certain crucial friendships are also formed with those we respect for having achieved a maturity and understanding greater than our own. Such people offer guidance and reassurance through each aspect of their being. […] And we too are called upon to respond in such ways. In this kind of relationship we are no mere recipients of knowledge. We are invited to interact, to challenge and be challenged.

These friends are teachers in the sense that they are skilled in the art of learning from every situation. We do not seek perfection in these friends but rather heartfelt acceptance of human imperfection. Nor omniscience but an ironic admission of ignorance. We should be wary of being seduced by charismatic purveyors of Enlightenment. For true friends seek not to coerce us, even gently and reasonably, into believing what we are unsure of. These friends are like midwives, who draw forth what is waiting to be born. Their task is not to make themselves indispensable but redundant.
[…] Dharma practice has survived through a series of friendships that stretches through history – ultimately to Gautama himself.”

Well that’s certainly enough for now, I hope you find some thing meaningful to reflect upon in these words as I have.
as Tigger would say, "TTFN!"
Andy


P.S. here's a link to a talk by Batchelor

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