About this blog

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience of practicing the Kadampa instructions in the context of my formal Dharma practice, my personal life and my professional life in the hopes that it may prove helpful to others seeking to transform their modern lives into the path to enlightenment.  At a personal level, doing this blog helps me crystallize my own thoughts about the Dharma by putting them into writing and it helps me bring my bodhichitta (the wish to become a Buddha for the sake of all) alive.

How so?  At a practical level, the bodhisattva path is the improving of oneself for the benefit of others, in particular the process of gaining Dharma realizations so that we can help others do the same.   By doing this blog, I can view each moment of my normal modern life as an opportunity to gain spiritual realizations which I can then share with those who read this blog.  It gives purpose to each moment of my life:  I must learn how to transform each moment so that I can help others in similar situations do the same.

I encourage the first time reader to read the following posts to have a deeper understanding of my motivation for doing a blog and how a blog can best be related to:

https://kadampaworkingdad.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/my-view-of-how-to-do-a-kadampa-blog-correctly/

https://kadampaworkingdad.wordpress.com/2012/08/11/understanding-the-three-wisdoms-and-the-three-lineages/

The starting point of transforming every moment of our life into the path is to have a unifying narrative that binds every aspect of our life together into a common purpose, or more specifically, project.  In this way, everything we do is directed at and contributes to this singular purpose/project.  If we can accomplish this, then not a single moment of our life will be wasted.  For me, this singular project is “to build my pure land.”  At a very profound level, the project is to transform myself into my pure land.  What is a pure land?  A pure land is a realm emanated by a Buddha within which living beings can take rebirth and enter, progress along and complete the path to enlightenment.  Quite simply, it can be thought of as a bodhisattva’s training camp.  For maximum benefit, this pure land must pervade the entire universe and function to lead all beings from the deepest hell to the highest enlightenment.

The two characteristics of a pure land is there is no manifest suffering and everything functions as a cause of one’s enlightenment.  Suffering is ultimately a state of mind that is dispelled by the wisdom knowing how to accept and use painful experiences for our spiritual advancement.  Thus, the difference between living in samsara, or a world of suffering, and living in a pure land is our knowing how to use every experience, painful or otherwise, for spiritual development.  With such wisdom, we will be able to enjoy every experience as fuel pushing us towards enlightenment, and from an experiential point of view, it will be as if we are in a pure land.

A modern Kadampa life has three main spheres:  our formal Dharma practice, our personal life and our professional life.  This is true for all Kadampas, not just those who are lay practitioners.  A Resident Teacher living in a center, for example, still has their own family and many friendships and engages in all sorts of professional activities in the running of a center.  If the unifying project of our life is to build our pure land, how then do we accomplish this project in these three spheres?  In our formal Dharma practice, we strive to transform ourselves into the Yidam.  In our personal life, we strive to transform ourselves into the Guru.  And in our professional life, we strive to transform ourselves into the Protector.  In this context, the Yidam, or personal deity, is the supreme spiritual doctor who heals the subtle body, speech and mind of all living beings.  The Guru is the supreme spiritual father (or mother as the case may be) and friend of all living beings who leads all living beings from the deepest hell to the highest enlightenment.  The Protector is the supreme spiritual servant-king who forever and always arranges all the outer and inner conditions so that everything is perfect for the swiftest possible enlightenment of everyone.  Practically speaking, this means in our formal Dharma practice, we strive to develop within ourselves the qualities and engage in the actions of a supreme spiritual doctor.  In our personal lives, we strive to develop within ourselves the qualities and engage in the actions of a supreme spiritual father and friend.  And in our professional lives, we strive to develop within ourselves the qualities and engage in the actions of a supreme spiritual servant-king.  If we can do this, then our entire life will be integrated into our spiritual path, bringing both meaning to every moment and unwavering progress towards the final goal.  Over time, these three spheres will merge into one and we will become the embodiment of Guru, Yidam and Protector liberating all beings in our pure land.  We will have completed the path.

Some people mistakenly believe that certain life contexts, such as being ordained in a center doing formal Dharma activities all of the time, are more conducive to enlightenment than other life contexts.  As a result of this ignorance, they either become dissatisfied with the life that they have or they judge others who are pursuing a way of life different than their own.  The reality is all situations are equally empty, in other words created by mind, and so all situations are equally transformable into the quick path to enlightenment.  This blog will attempt to share my personal experience of being a Kadampa Working Dad as my quick path to enlightenment.  Hopefully the lessons learned will prove beneficial to all Kadampas, working parents or otherwise.  It is my hope that through sharing this experience others can learn from my mistakes and that I can live up to my bodhichitta wishes.  Enjoy!

(In late October 2011, I gave a day course in Geneva, explaining in more detail these ideas.  For those interested, below is a link to the lecture notes from that course.

Modern Kadampa Life day course lecture notes)

 

14 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. I rejoice! Kadam Ryan is a bright light illuminating throughout samsara who is a tremendous inspiration for many. His teachings are wonderfully simple and direct and his advice is direct and practical. His great example of putting the Kadampa teachings into practice in daily life is encouraging and i look forward to finding more hidden treasure in the blog. As a lay practitioner, I have never met anyone as inspiring as Kadam Ryan. I for one am glad that this Blog has appeared. Thank you.

  2. Dear Ryan, hello fellow Dharma practitioner. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the time, effort, and sincerity that you put into your blog. In many ways, the depth and genuineness of your words, shared experiences, and your own unique personal experiences, for that matter, have been direct and practical, indeed (as James Morgan stated). I enjoy these glimpses into your thoughts and personal observations. Your true audience is your Dharma brothers and sisters (i.e. The Sangha) who honestly embrace you without a doubt, I’m sure. And speaking especially for myself, I view you as an inspirational and wonderful person. Each and every time when I’ve been inspired by people from all walks of life, I become much more grateful for the Buddha within all sentient beings. Please, brother, continue sharing and inspiring through the blog and your daily life activities (Kadampa, family, career, everything).

    In your most recent blog entry you described your concerns about the “dharma fading in your mind…” etc. No, my friend, it is not; if you will kindly accept the gift of constructive criticism…Dharma or your Buddha-nature cannot fade in you. It does not really matter if you are too far from a meditation hall or your home altar or even a fellow Buddhist for that matter. The temple, the meditation hall, The Dharma is in you. I’m positive all your brothers and sisters will support what I’m saying. It is a wonderful thing that the much maligned and negative aspects of a sometimes sinister and unsafe world wide web cannot overshadow the benefits of human connectivity and interaction (vis a vis digital technology). And as such, I’m very thankful that I also have a way of connecting to you to express my heartfelt feelings and solidarity.

    In closing, thank you thank you, keep the blog working for you, and please know that you are appreciated. It would be an honor to sit with you one day and drink tea, watching children play and just enjoying this life in the moment.

    Aloha from the island of Maui, Hawaii

  3. Hi Ryan,
    I’ve been reading your posts for some month now and have found them very helpful and inspiring. I’d like to thank you for what you do for us.

    • Practically speaking, you can’t help somebody who doesn’t want to be helped. The more we try, the more they reject our message, which actually just creates obstacles for them. The approach to take is “when you decide you need help with this, know that I am here for you.” In the meantime, pray to Dorje Shugden that their alcohol problem becomes a powerful cause of their enlightenment. They may have to go through hell before they come out on the other side, but with Dorje Shuguden’s blessings you can know with certainty that no matter how bad things become, none of it will be wasted. All of it will be channeled into his eventual enlightenment. But you must be prepared to make this prayer for many years, perhaps even his whole life, without any obvious results. From your side, show the example of somebody who actively seeks to identify one’s own faults and to strive diligently to overcome them. Honest acknowledgement of faults without guilt (I am sick, I am not bad), combined with a joyful confidence that with effort we can get better is the best example you can show.

  4. Hi Ryan,could you tell me where the picture at the top of the page was taken and where the actual mandala is and if it is possible to get a large photo of it,
    Many thanks,
    Tony

  5. Ryan,
    So glad to find you again Ryan. I woke up from a deep sleep and thought I need to Google ripen and liberate. As a working Kadam for dad, I am looking forward to reading your blog.
    Jack

  6. So here is Facebook serving Dharma. I hadn’t realised that you had a blog Ryan, but now I do and i can get bits of Geshe la’s wisdom through you every day! I’ve missed your wise words since NKT chat vanished, (although I still have some saved away) Just what I needed, thank you..

  7. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful wisdom! I have a question about garden Buddhas, which have become culturally popular. I read that whenever you see a Buddha statue you should regard it as actual Buddha. Also, I was going to buy a t-shirt with a Buddha printed on it and someone advised against it because the shirt would get dirty. With this thinking in mind I cringe whenever I see a garden statue of Buddha (especially the decapitated heads!) because I wouldn’t want the statue to be damaged by or subjected to the weather. Am I wrong to feel this way?

    • The issue is we ourselves have a refuge commitment to treat Buddha images with respect. That can be hard to do when we put it in the laundry, etc., so usually it is not a good idea to have t-shirts and the like. For the garden statues, it might not be something we would do, but we shouldn’t feel like others are doing something wrong by doing so. They are probably happy to have a Buddha image in their garden, so it is fine. We never impose or project our moral discipline onto others, we just look at our own behavior. So be happy for them, and be careful yourself.

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