Art, Dharma, Outfit, Spirituality, Tattoo, Yoga

Wrathful

Absolutely adore my new tiny chest tattoo😍 It’s a buddhist phurba/kīla (wrathful sword, dagger)🌸 All of a sudden my chest feels a million times nicer, and I don’t feel as hesitant or overly self conscious to wear cleavaged tops/dresses anymore. Thought about doing it for so long, last week it happened! At Pounding That tattoo studio in Tromsø by @guillaume.arzon.tattooer (instagram) 🙏
Close up, fresh 😊

Düdjom Lingpa depicted holding a phurba in his left hand and a vajra in his right
Phurba/kīla
Crystal phurba

The kīla is one of many iconographic representations of divine “symbolic attributes” of Vajrayāna and Hindu deities. When consecrated and bound for usage, the kīla is a nirmanakaya manifestation of Vajrakīlaya.
He is embodied in the kīla as a means of destroying (in the sense of finalising and then freeing) violence, hatred, and aggression by tying them to the blade of the kīla and then transmuting them with its tip.”

Dharma, Photography, Spirituality, Yoga

Dedication prayer

Dedication prayer by Pema Tashi:

For as long as this deluded mind identifies with this impure, illusory body, everything you do is a cause of saṃsāra, and the results never transcend suffering. Even though occasions of prosperity in mundane existence do occur, it is obvious that these unreal, illusory deceptions lead you astray. So here is advice on the meaning of identitylessness to be followed by those who recognize this and seek liberation. If you do not realize that all phenomena in saṃsāra and nirvāṇa are simply your own appearances, with no basis or root, by merely knowing a superficial emptiness, you will not achieve the Mahāyāna ārya grounds.

If you do not realize how to transform into the path the spontaneously actualized appearances of the radiance of pristine awareness of the essential nature of original purity, you will be overcome by the dust of transmigration among the three appearances, failing to see the original nature of existence.

Therefore, the sole protector of all beings, which is unrivaled in the realms of mundane existence and ultimate peace, is this one supreme path that has been and will be followed by all jinas. By the power of the blessings of great compassion and the great fortune and good deeds of disciples, this appears only this one time, so it is difficult to find and is even more rare than the udumbara flower.

If it is said that by merely hearing its name, even great sinners are freed from the miserable realms of existence, it is certain that those who practice by hearing, thinking, and meditating will become bodhisattvas who reach the end of mundane existence. Careful examination of this reveals the great significance of finding it, which surpasses finding a wish-fulfilling jewel.

Those who unwaveringly devote themselves to this day and night are exalted as the foremost of all Dharma practitioners. Although there is nothing more profound than the Dharma of the Great Perfection, for those who fail to connect with it and who arrogantly denounce cause and effect, it is a cause for miserable rebirths.

Until you have reached a high level of realization, such that you experience no pain even if you are cut with a weapon, with great devotion apply yourself to the profound practical instructions on what to abandon and what to follow in terms of cause and effect. Although the meditative equipoise of the Great Perfection is ineffable, when first entering the practice as a novice, even if you express your opinions to others as if you were accompanied by visions of texts and reasoning, it is important to gain certainty regarding explanations that do not contradict the profound nature of existence and the vast nature of appearances, so that you know how to properly teach what does and does not exist, what is and is not, and what is to be avoided and what is to be practiced.

If you are a courageous practitioner of this discipline, you will not be overcome by adversity, but immature people discriminate against others in terms of comparing their class to others’. In a pleasant, wonderful place of solitude, which pacifies outer and inner distractions, abandon pointless and trivial concerns and activities and apply yourself to practicing the essence of that which is greatly meaningful.

Come to know the ultimate nature of existence, like the space of the sky, and abide in displays of practice. The wisdom of an ordinary person lacking inborn and cultivated virtues does not go far, like the flight of a honeybee, but once you have found delight in the garden of excellent meaning, the melodious explanation of whatever you have understood will hum forth. Those who taste this sweet essence again and again perfect the power of blessed confidence. Those who divulge secrets incur problems, and those who despise or disparage this path will be tormented by duḥkha; it is inadvisable to divulge anything even upwind of such people. When perceiving this path, suitable vessels feel great devotion and confidence in its explanation; even if they are from a low class and poor, it is said that they should be taught without reservation.

Guardians and protective demons of the teachings of secret mantra punish those who violate their samayas, and they support and befriend those who keep them; understand how they do so in accordance with traditional accounts.

May the immaculate collections of virtue, dedicated following the wisdom of Mañjughoṣa, flow like the current of the Ganges. May the experience of the nature of existence by way of this effortless path merge with the ocean of omniscience. In the short term, may unfavorable circumstances throughout the world fully subside, and may our spiritual and mundane bounties be equal to the fortune of the gods of Tuṣita.

Through thick and thin until enlightenment, may we always be accompanied by the unfailing affection and respect of vajra siblings with common karma and aspirations, and may we practice the Vajrayāna.

Dharma, Quotes, Yoga

Being no-one, going nowhere

The way of yoga and dharma is to become less and less until we are like the wind in the trees or the ripples on the water. In reality only a beautiful movement of love, compassion and joy seeking nothing for itself but serving the world with genuine kindness and generosity. Letting go (awakening) of the ever demanding ego (self identity) is the greatest gift we can bring to our own life and the life of all beings. The less of ‘you’ there is, the happier you will be. What a paradox. Becoming no-one, going no-where. A joyous zero, empty yet fulfilled.

Dharma, Yoga

Magical projections


What we understand to be phenomena are but the magical projections of the mind.

The hollow vastness of the sky
I never saw to be afraid of anything.
All this is but the self-glowing light of clarity.

There is no other cause at all.
All that happens is but my adornment.
Better, then, to stay in silent meditation.

– Yeshe Tsogyal

Art, Dharma, Photography, Spirituality, Yoga

Clear mind, pure heart

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What buddhism and the dharma means to me

These past couple of days, my mind has been spinning in the direction of motivation and inspiration towards writing and painting. I feel creative again, after many, many months of having a huge creative blockage in my system. I’m painting and writing letters to people I care about. I’m not feeling as critical towards my own ability to create, and therefore I am able to play around more without being too hung up on the result. I even found the courage to go ask an art studio and a gallery in town if they wanted to display my paintings, and they did! What an adrenaline kick.

Anyway. I felt like writing about my buddhist path. Two nights ago, I was at a small get-together, a moving-in-party at a buddhist friend´s place, and the conversation steered towards spirituality and religion. Me and this friend were the only practicing buddhists in the room, and it became evident to me that there are a lot of assuptions about buddhism that I just don’t find true at all, in my personal experience. For example that the (historical) Buddha Shakyamuni is looked upon as a God, above other people/followers, that enlightenment/buddhahood is something mystical only available to certain people and that spirituality is only empty rituals.

To me, it only makes sense that since we all have a mind, that means we all have the ability to transform it, to step out of the wheel of suffering and confusion. And since we all have a heart, we all have the potential to open it towards all living beings, and develop a compassionate heart without disrimination. The Buddha Shakyamuni showed us it’s possible, and so did many other dharma practitioners and teachers, such as Yeshe Tsogyal, Padmasambhava and Jetsun Milarepa – to mention a few. 

I think it’s important to remember that when we are practicing dharma, it is not to become a part of Tibetan or Indian culture, or to belong to any other culture with a strong tie to buddhism. It is “simply” to be a kind of scientist who looks closely at our own minds, and to be able to use the samsaric (cyclic) mind as a tool to transform it into an enlightened one. Training our minds through meditation. In this sense, I feel buddhism has much more of a spiritual approach to it, than a religious one. There is a lot of religious and cultural baggage attached to buddhism that I personally don’t agree with; for example putting young children in monasteries, away from their families, blindly believing something just because a robed person said it without using common sense to check it for yourself, and the still-existing patriarchy that’s still going on in some areas of buddhism.

Despite this, I still call myself a buddhist, or dharma practitioner, because I feel a strong devotion in my own heart to practice the dharma following the buddhist approach and a motivation to transform my mind using the buddhist teachings. I feel lucky to not live in a poor country and to have time to practice and to be able to go on retreats 3-4 times a year with a wonderful sangha and a very capable teacher. I also feel like the basic buddhist principles of ethics, honesty and being of help and benefit to others is such a beautiful and transformative thing which one can implement in one’s daily life.

Having been doing yogic practice for about 7 years now, I definitely feel like I have a more clear mind and a more pure heart. Still long ways to go, but feeling progress is golden. If you’d like to check out the tradition I am practicing in, go to openheart.fi 🙂

KalosFilter_2017-05-03-10-03-47 – Kopi

Dharma, Spirituality, Yoga

Emptiness

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“A thorough, experiential understanding of emptiness is the only antidote to the belief in an “I,” in a truly existing self. Once you recognize emptiness, all your attachment to such a self will vanish without a trace. Realization will blaze forth like a brilliant sun rising in the sky, transforming darkness into light. At first, until you actually recognize emptiness, you have to gain an understanding of it through deep and careful reflection on the teacher’s pith instructions. Then, when you first recognize it, your experience of emptiness will not be stable. To improve it, blend meditation and postmeditation periods. Try not to fall back into ordinary delusion, but to maintain the view of emptiness in all your daily activities. Meditation and the path of action will mutually enhance each other. Finally, you may reach a point where there is no difference between meditation and postmeditation, a point at which you no longer ever depart from emptiness. This is called the realization of great sameness. Within that great sameness, compassion for all beings will arise spontaneously—for the more you realize emptiness, the less there will be any impediment to the arising of compassion.” – Dilgo K. Rinpoche, excerpt from Heart of Compassion

DKR

Dharma, Landscape, Photography, Yoga

Song of Three’s

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Milarepa’s Song of Threes

Thunder, lightning, and the southern clouds, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the sky itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the sky itself.

Rainbows, mist, and fog, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the earth itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the earth itself.

Forests, flowers, and leaves, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the mountain itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the mountain itself.

Rivers, bubbles, and waves, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the ocean itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the ocean itself.

Habitual tendencies, clinging, and fixation, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the All-Ground itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the All-Ground itself.

Natural awareness, natural lucidity, and natural liberation, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the nature of mind itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the nature of mind itself.

The birthless, the deathless, and the expressionless, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the nature of things itself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the nature of things itself.

The appearance as demons, the apprehension as demons, and the conceptualizing as demons, these three,
Although they arise, they arise from the Yogi himself;
Although they dissolve, they dissolve into the Yogi himself.

– Milarepa

Art, Dharma, Jewellery, Yoga

Mother of compassion

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Tara 💎 ‘She who liberates’

‘She is considered to be the deity of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity; a female bodhisattva.

The word Tara itself is derived from the root ‘tri’ (to cross), hence the implied meaning: ‘the one who enables living beings to cross the Ocean of Existence and Suffering’. Her compassion for living beings, her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother’s love for her children.

The story of Tara’s origin, according to the Tara Tantra, recounts that aeons ago she was born as a king’s daughter. A compassionate princess, she regularly gave offerings and prayers to the ordained monks and nuns. She thus developed great merit, and the monks told her that, because of her spiritual attainments, they would pray that she be reborn as a man and spread Buddhist teachings. She responded that there was no male and no female, that nothing existed in reality, and that she wished to remain in female form to serve other beings until everyone reached enlightenment, hence implying the shortfall in the monk’s knowledge in presuming only male preachers for the Buddhist religion. Thus Tara might be considered one of the earliest feminists.’

Health, Spirituality, Yoga

Tantric yoga and chronic illness

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I got a question in my comment section if I could write a little bit about what effect tantric yoga has had on my health, and this made my head spin with ideas about what I should write because I think I have something to share and I am always happy to talk about my yogic and dharmic practice, it being a big part of my life. I wrote a post earlier this year about my health/illness, but I will just mention again what kind of health struggles I have to make a context.

So, in 2010 I came down with a serious viral infection (mononucleosis caused by Epstein-Barr virus) which left me very ill. I have had some health issues almost all my life (IBS, migraine, eczema), but this was a big blow to my immune system and gave me lots of symptoms: brain fog, muscles pain, headaches, worsening of IBS (more stomach problems), sleep problems, weight loss, hair loss, extreme fatigue, vision problems, terrible memory, numbness in certain areas of my body, dizziness, mood swings, adrenal exhaustion, thyroid imbalance, dry itchy skin, cold extremities….the list goes on, but lets just leave it at that 🙂 Losing my energy and health also made me lose most of my social life/relationships and this of course made me very isolated. So no doubt it affected my mental health/mood as well.

Hatha-Yoga

In 2011 I started doing physical yoga, more specifically hatha yoga. I signed up for a course in town and I remember feeling really good afterwards! It was like I found back to an old activity I had done many times before. I loved the asanas (poses/movements) and the pranayama (breathing exercises), and I came in touch with my body for the first time in….well, forever. What is also so great about physical yoga is that you work with the body and not pushing it too much like you would pumping iron in the gym. I adopted the exercises to my daily routine, even if I was bedbound I could do something simple like yoga nidra (systematically going through and relaxing the body in your mind) or just moving hands or feet to make the blood flow.

I did hatha yoga on and off for many years, until I stumbled upon awakening and tantric yoga in January  2016. It was quite different from the yoga I had been doing so far; mostly focusing on the body and not so much the mind. As I understand tantric yoga in my own experience, you work with mantras and vizualisations to transform the dualistic mind. You ‘invite’ energy  into your body, mind and aura through specific practices so that karmic imprints, patterns and subconscious mindstates can be processed and thus cleared. This sounds strange at first, at least I thought so. But still, there was no doubt that it worked, and still does, as I do the practice every day.

 

After I started doing tantric yoga, the illness has been easier to handle; it’s like I see it from a very different perspective because doing these kinds of energetic practices transforms a lot of my feelings around the illness, but also deeper stuff. And as the lid of fear and feelings about being ill slowly has been lifted, the illness itself is easier to address. It is also my belief that chronic illness is not necessarily forever. “Chronic” means “long term”, and I don’t think or hope I will have these health issues for the rest of my life. I also think that the practices has a direct impact on transforming how the illness acts in the body, as I have felt lighter and not as fatigued after starting tantric practice.

When it comes to long term illness and dharmic/yogic practice, I’m going to very cliché and say that balance is key. If you feel too sick some days to practice for 2 hours then maybe 15 minutes is enough. But I feel it is very important to do at least a little bit every day, not lose practice completely (which I have in some periods) and to always keep in mind why you are doing it. I often think about my own motives for doing anything, perhaps sometimes also overthinking it, but I feel when it comes to this, it is becoming easier to find the discipline to practice as the years pass because I see the benefits and my motivation is simple and clear: I wish to get well so that I may benefit others. And I don’t wish to be ill anymore.

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Mon 🙂

Everyday life, Yoga

Routines

Lately, I have not had much routines in my life; sleep has been either poor or way too much. Like 14 hours at a time. Always waking up with a headache and needing a nap after a few hours awake. Procrastinating things and not eating often enough/not had much appetite. Hasn’t been a full-blown ‘dark night’ – at all – but still not functioning as well as I know I can.

I started doing hatha yoga in 2011, but the last few years I’ve been doing much more sitting meditation than asanas (poses), but been wanting to start again because I know how beneficial it is. So today I started 🙂 Did a few sun salutations (surya samaskara) and some simple stretching. Not too much at once. When I saw my own video I see how stiff I am and not much flow in my movements. This will improve, I know, if I keep it up. Which is my plan!

Four years ago, when I was bedridden, simple yoga movements was something that really helped. Just sitting up in bed moving my joints or doing yoga nidra on my headphones, getting the blood flowing and getting the body into deep relaxation has been a life saver when it comes to chronic fatigue and chronic pain.

Very happy to have finally started again! I know posting this will make me more motivated to write/film an update later on 🙂
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