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Archive for the ‘Dharma’ Category

I am about to embark on a grand adventure – heading out West for an Asian Bodywork inspired Massage Therapy training at a school in Crestone Colorado.

And I am very fortunate. I have many friends and well-wishers who support and treat me with kindness. So in this spirit, several people have thrown little parties for me (I am abashedly grateful!) and they have wished me safe journeys and great learning and growing.

At one particular gathering, an old yogi friend wished that I would receive all four forms of food – which he also explained.

According to some Tibetan Lamas, the four types of food are this:

  1. Physical food – the nurturance and sustenance that we need, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc
  2. Sleep – we need to rest and integrate and digest what has happened in our full and busy days, so relax and sleep are necessary – and sleep is a form of sustenance as it were
  3. Massage and Bodywork – there is something to be said about caring, compassionate, appropriate touch; something nurturing, vital and it makes us more robust. An important part of sustenance if you ask me.
  4. Finally, a form of food not many people here in the West truly taste: Samadhi – a state of intense focused concentration often only attained by great meditators; I believe that some Tibetan Lamas (like Garchen Rinpoche) radiate vast auras of samadhi as they rest in that state on a constant basis – that is their reality, the union of wisdom and compassion. For the rest of us, we would be lucky to get to that state for a second while we are on a ten-day retreat. 🙂

I love this though. So many people are looking for sustenance from food alone. They are seeking better nutrients, better vitamins, better balance from their food. But maybe they are not aware of the methods available to help them work through emotional knots (which may very well be obstructing their physical digestion in the first place!).

But there is certainly such thing as emotional food – unconditionally loving, compassionate, kind, caring, welcome, appropriate, boundary-laden touch. ❤ There is psychological food of working through our Double Binds – see birth process work or Pre- and Perinatal psychology. There is obviously spiritual food – working with authentic spiritual teachers who know our karmic predispositions and who can lead us to a direct experience of our innate Buddha-nature, the natural state, clear light mind.

May all sentient beings taste the silky deliciousness of all levels of food. May they revel in the bliss of spontaneous joy and effortless being-ness!

Thank you for reading!

~km

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This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Thank you for visiting my site!

As I mentioned in a previous post, the beginning of retreat was tough for me. Slowing down, getting used to a new routine, etc was challenging. However, once I got settled, some amazing things began to unfold.

It was almost a tale of two retreats – two halves as it were. Several people left on day 5, to go back to family, for Christmas, etc. So it was a little disruptive to the flow for those of us staying on, not to mention missing the people who were leaving!

I want to share one or two experiences in particular, okay, maybe three, that were above and beyond normal (for me).

I came down to retreat with my own (idealized, ego-driven?, I-know-what-I-need) agenda for what to work on during retreat. I got permission to skip several sessions / day to be in my room doing my own practices.

So during the first 4 days or so, I did this. I was working to accumulate a particular Dharmapala – that is Dharma Protector or Dharma Guardian practice – to accumulate mantras. I believe that this practice helps / will help to prevent Lyme’s disease for taking advantage of a stressed out immune / nervous system. So I was going for it – doing at least 1,000 mantras a day of this particular practice. For the purpose of humility, I will not mention what I was working on. If you know me really well, then I would have told you perhaps.

Long story short, one evening I was pushing even harder. I think this was day 4. At night, we had two silent sitting sessions after the Dream Play work time to integrate and prepare our minds for dream yoga. So I somehow did 1,000 mantras during one of those hours. As I was doing this, I began to have a lightening feeling – like a light bulb was turning on around my third eye – or pituitary gland in my forehead. It is very difficult to describe, but it was not a typical meditation session. Plus I felt a warmth and potency-increasing feeling which sometimes happens in my Dan Tien or Hara (below the navel) in my belly.

That evening and into the next day, I had some juicy dreams – about helping to keep a secret (in the womb) and other insightful dreams about prenatal or childhood times / issues. And then, when I went to do this mantra some more the following day, after only doing 30 or 40 mantras, I felt nauseous, sick. So I paused, sat quietly and an hour later, tried to do more mantras. Again, I felt sick trying to push through these inner obstacles.

Sometime during that day, I realized that here I was in a potent retreat where it was very easy to do inner child work – it was happening all around me, especially during the Zapchen Somatics hour and then again during the Dream Play hour. So why was I trying to push when I could be doing my own inner child work?

I realized that the nausea was probably due to my needing to do umbilicus work on myself – on my little one. (Sorry Mom – before I mention anything else here, I need to mention that my mother is a saint, she is helpful and generous and patient and skillful. As a nurse I am certain that she was, retired now, very good at what she did and at connecting people. Seriously, she is an incredible mother, going above and beyond for all of her children!) Now, with that out of the way, there are still ancestral double binds and other toxic beliefs that new babies come into when then descend down into the womb around day 6 or 7 or 8 and begin the process of implanting in the uterus to connect to mother’s nutrient. So this is what I had to work on.

In fact, just thinking about early (think blastocyst – just a collection of 200 cells at this point) Kirby, before being a fetus or a prenate, needing appropriate boundaries, needing to be welcomed into the womb and into the world, needing to have unconditional loving kindness… I feel activated (because all these needs were not met).

So I remember that that was then, and this is now. I differentiate past from present, healthy adult self now from wounded little one then. I compassionately hold little blastocyst part of me in my hands, calling on my wisdom beings support to also assist and add an extra layer of support. And I remind little one that he was so loved, so wanted, and that he can have the breathing room AND connection that he deserves (this is known as an appropriate boundary).

Ahhh… I sigh and I feel better. The sigh is probably a breath change indicating my nervous system is regulating easily again after being reminded of a traumatic early / primal period.

So this is what I started to work on. I spent almost 2 hours every day resourcing, repairing misunderstandings in my little one, inviting these little wounded parts to come forward toward health and robustness and resilience. I stopped accumulating mantras – stopped worrying about formal Dharma practice, and began a radical level of loving-kindness and compassion practice toward myself – radical Metta.

As an aside, I have had three moles removed over the past 10 years from near my navel, and so far we have caught them early enough that they are just abnormal cells (not anything serious). But it is strange that the only part of my body having abnormal skin cell (nevus / mole) growth in near my navel – my umbilicus, the part of me that was connected with the world early on (through Mom).

I fully believe that this is indicative of my having to do some major inner child work around being wanted (I was an unplanned pregnancy), being welcomed, being loved by both parents, having both parents do their own emotional growth work (not many people do this nowadays, let alone 38 years ago!), etc. I am certain I have some suppressed rage and resentment and confusion around ancestral double binds, and this festering of deep emotions is what causes the moles to grow.

Because when we have deep shock or freeze in our tissues, there is the tendency to wall off that part of ourselves, to allow the functional (or relatively healthy) parts to continue growing and living. But if we don’t ever get back around to working on the shitty material behind those walls, then those cells start to do their own thing. And this can lead to cancer and autoimmune diseases, etc. We must work on our shadow material or it will start to go rogue on us.

So this is what I did for the last 5 days of retreat. True Dharma practice – inner work. It was almost as if the Dharma Protector practice I was doing led me to see what I needed to work on. No more spiritual bypass – no more glossing over these vital Good Mother Messages. No more leaving my little blastocyst parts of me in the dark or the cold of frozen / shock-laden tissues. Time to practice true kindness to self in order to truly be kind to others!

Thank you for reading! If you would like to support my blogging efforts, or donate to my training costs, please do so below: (or purchase an astrology or coaching session)

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Comprehensive Natal Chart Interpretation

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I have been leading a meditation group in Charlottesville, which has been attracting a few practitioners and new students to Buddhism. And because of the potential for new people attending, and due to our only meeting once or twice a month, I want to keep doing the foundational practices for a while(!). Not to mention my own lack of realization to do deeper more potent vajrayana type practices.

We have been doing Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen’s Om Ah Hung practice. This is a good beginner’s practice I feel because there are no complicated (at least not terribly so) visualizations, no mantra garland circling the seed syllable at the heart, or deities (yidams) to picture in your mind, and yet it is a potent practice too. It is a purification process and it does plant the seeds for more profound visualizations later.

We have been doing this practice since June, so closing in on 6 months now. I happened to invite my friend who is an older experienced yogi and he had some excellent advice, which deepened things considerably.

In the Om Ah Hung practice, which is a purification practice, we first visualize a white Om at our forehead (I believe it is sitting on the sella turcica or the Turkish saddle part of the sphenoid bone – where the pituitary gland sits – if you want to be specific). This represents purifying the body of sickness and other defilements / obscurations / impurities.

Next we visualize a red Ah in our throat – preferably toward the back of the neck – right in front of the spine (in the central channel). This seed syllable represents purification of the speech – any false speech, whether lying, angry speech, divisive speech, gossip or talking about non-virtuous behavior or black magic (for instance). All impurities of the speech and voice are made pure.

Third, we visualize a blue Hung syllable at the heart level. Again, ideally we visualize it behind our heart, just in front of the spine, again in the central channel if possible. And keep in mind that if we are able to, we want to use the Tibetan characters for Om Ah Hung. If we don’t have those down, then using the Roman letters is fine – literally visualizing a white OM is fine.

See a link to the Tibetan characters here: Om Ah Hung

The blue Hung represents purifying the mind – any thoughts of negative intent, of causing harm (or wishing harm), covetous thoughts or thoughts of wrong view. It can be purified as well.

Lastly, once we ourselves are purified, we might see ourselves as crystal clear “bodies.” Either way – whether we are pure or if we have more work to do 🙂 finally we send out the white, red and blue lights from the three places, wishing to benefit all sentient beings in the world.

Here is a great recording of Khenchen giving these teachings:

 

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Every once in a while (or in my case, several times a year), I come across a rare book in Tibetan Buddhism which I wonder how it made its way to the public.

Personally I am very inspired by some Dharma stories of previous Tibetan Masters – like Dzo Khyentse Rinpoche or his student, Patrul Rinpoche. I love the book by Lama Surya Das – the Snow Lion’s Turquoise Mane. It is full of inspiring stories of Lamas making subtle or abrasive emphatic moral points, while practicing humility and grace. So very inspiring. That is not the book I am going to talk about here though.

I inherited a small library from a Dharma practitioner who recently passed away – early this year. I was amazed and awe-struck by how gracefully she passed through the hellish gates of cancer. And I am sincerely grateful for the Dharma artwork and the books she left for us. May her Dharma activities spread far and wide!

One of the those books is by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu, a Nyingma mater of Dzogchen and Dream Yoga. The title of the book is Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light.

In this particular case, this is not a special retreat book – only for the eyes of people who have received special instructions or special transmissions or initiations. I have been fortunate to see a couple of those books, but the wisdom contained in Chogyal Rinpoche’s book is still vast and precise. It is not a long book. But he covers – very rapidly I might add – the basics of Dream Yoga and the stages that we might pass through as our practice stabilizes and our realization becomes more pure.

He does go so fast through some topics (which I am glad for) that it is very important that we find an authentic teacher to lead us through this complex and potent practice. One of my heart teachers, Drupon Thinley Ningpo teaches Dream Yoga – he is based near Tampa Florida (Drupon is also my root lama, so I am a little biased in recommending him). He is an incredible practitioner, his presence is so compassionate and wise and he is not afraid to tell you how he really feels – like if you are ready for the practice you are asking about. (You might not want to hear it but Dream Yoga is NOT a beginner’s practice. It is quite advanced. Without a foundation under us, we are just wasting our time trying for such a profound practice. It is highly recommended that we finish our Ngondro before attempting such a subtle practice.)

In Dream Yoga (the book), Chogyal Rinpoche talks about several dreams that he had when he was younger. Let me just say it is extremely inspiring to hear what is possible. Who knows, maybe if I apply myself diligently for fifty years or more, I might one day have a dream full of mandalas and dakinis like he describes!

If you can get your hands on this book – it is cheap on Amazon – I would highly recommend it. Even if you are not working on this particular practice, hearing about what is possible is very inspiring and motivating!

Good luck on your journey!

km

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Had a good time this evening on Afton Mountain at a friend’s house.

I led a practice of Ri Wo Sang Chod, which is a bit of a shamanic practice: making offerings to countless beings, most of whom are unknown and unseen. This vast generosity practice helps to purify negative karma or at least karmic debts we might owe to them and others.

There were six of us. It was chilly – 40 degree F plus a gusting cutting wind. However, I did qigong practice with another friend this morning, which I think helped to open up my channels. (Side note – we did seated qigong, which I did not even know was a thing!) I mention my channels because, other than my fingers, I wasn’t cold at all. It was pleasant to be visualizing Guru Rinpoche above my head and beseeching him to assist in the burnt offerings (because I can’t see any of those non-corporeal beings).

The sun was setting. Some of the rare clouds above were golden hued in the waning light. I was experiencing bliss among friends (who mostly all were shivering or struggling to keep their hands warm). This was one of the first times I did not worry about that. I was visualizing the Om Ah Hung syllables strongly radiating white, red and blue lights from my three places. May I be of benefit to countless beings.

It was fun. Then we went inside where it was warm and had a delicious potluck meal. Good stories, good company, right time, right place, right practice. 🙂

May all beings encounter the precious teachings and put them into action! (And then realize the fruit of authentic practice.)

Another aside – a friend recently commented that I am a Ka-Nying. Meaning that I have many Drikung Kagyu practices and teachers under my belt, however, I also have many Nyingma practices that I do (and maybe even a few Nyingma teachers). Very fascinating!

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I recently started a meditation group in Charlottesville.  So far, we have done Khenchen Rinpoche, Konchog Gyaltsen’s practice of Om Ah Hung.  There is a nice melody I attempt to follow as we do the practice.  I also give a brief Dharma talk about setting proper motivation (Bodhicitta, altruistic mind) etc.  In explaining the practice, saying some opening prayers and actually doing the practice, we can’t fit much more into 90 minutes.

It is good so far though.  People have great questions and having been studying and attempting to practice the Dharma for over 12 years now, I can be ahead of the group without doing much preparation.  Small groups as people are coming and going over the summer.

Speaking of which, I am actually going to be working and then traveling and I must miss 3 of the next 5 meetings.  Nothing like starting a group and then saying, “here is a CD to listen to and follow along with.  Good luck!  I’ll see you in 2 months.”  🙂

Oh well.  I am glad to have some adventures in my life – whether within or without.

The group meets 2 Thursdays a month.  Comment if you are in the area and are interested!

May all beings be able to attend authentic spiritual teachers (I don’t count!) and find inner peace and happiness!

Blessings,

kirby moore

konchog chakchen

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I just recently got back from a trip to Pittsburgh, PA.  It is closer to Charlottesville than I was thinking, so I will try to head up there once a year if it is easy.

On Saturday there was an empowerment by H.E. Tritsab Rinpoche (Chenrezig).  That day was a lot of driving, so I kind of collapsed after that session.  I filled in as make-shift attendant.  My friend who I went up there with is from India – he does months of meditation retreats at a time (he is a bit of a dedicated yogi).  So I was the low man on the totem pole and I was happy to fill in as cook.

Saturday was at a beautiful church about 20 minutes away from the Dharma center.  At least 40 people attended – quite a nice crowd, an interesting blend of new-comers and experienced practitioners, and older and younger attendees.

Sunday was a bit more of a special practice.  His Eminence, Tritsab Rinpoche, is actually a highly regarded Lama.  Way back (like 600 years or so), an earlier incarnation of his was one of the lineage Lamas of the Drikung Kagyu.  And at that time, Rinpoche had a literal face-to-face with the Dharma protectress Achi Chokyi Drolma.  Tritsab Rinpoche was given a small scroll that had Dakini script on it (meaning he received a terma or a treasure text).  The current Rinpoche said that that lineage holder could not actually decipher the scroll – but that when he meditated, the words to the practice came to him.  Therefore it was more of a mind terma (I think).  Also, it is a little complicated in that this is a pure Drikung Kagyu practice – most termas are from the Nyingma tradition, having been hidden by Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal.

Anyway, on Sunday we got the Terma Achi empowerment.  This was held in the Dharma center (see below) and about 25 people showed up for this.  Great group, a little tight, and warm (because Rinpoche speaks quietly, we had to turn off the air conditioner!).  I did not have a seat 😦   until Khenpo said, you sit up here with me.  So I was literally front and center for this empowerment.  I appreciated how Khenpo had Rinpoche do all the technical details for the empowerment – he actually poured water from the sacred vase onto our heads, just a few drops.  There was a delicious pot luck lunch which most of the attendees stayed for.

Then in the afternoon, we did the Terma Achi practice.  I had heard of this before, but had never done the practice.  It is most fascinating because we can take Achi Chokyi Drolma as Lama (Guru), Yidam (deity) and Dharma protector (Dharmapala) and these are all included in the practice.  This is a short practice, so we finished early.

Then members of the center took the four of us to Mount Washington.  By the way, Pittsburgh is a very interesting city geographically – with the rivers and valleys and hills and tunnels, it would be a nightmare for a city planner (just saying!).  Also, I heard a quote I liked: “Pittsburgh is the city where you can’t get there from here.”

And it turns out that evening, that quote could not have been more accurate!  There was a gay pride parade downtown, and the Penguins were about to win the Stanley Cup (hockey tournament) and there was a big concert downtown as well.  On top of that, many of the roads were under construction.  So after driving around in circles for about half an hour, we finally found a way across the bridge to get to Mount Washington.  [side note: being stuck in a car with a serious retreatant and 2 authentic Tibetan lamas, even when lost and driving around frivolously, is still remarkably enjoyable!]

Mount Washington is a large hill (and I guess neighborhood name as well) that overlooks Downtown Pittsburgh.  It was quite beautiful – seeing the 3 rivers coming together, looking down on the concert and the parade and the sky scrapers.  It was well worth the journey!  Plus we had dinner up there as well, so we got to see the city as the sun was setting.

Monday, we went to the Pittsburgh Zoo.  This was actually a great experience.  As we were walking in, Khenpo Choephel, being a tougher Khenpo (which means Abbot) told us to chant mantras for the animals’ liberation and freedom from suffering.  He suggested we do Chenrezig or Vajrasattva mantras.  Therefore, at least for the first 30 – 60 minutes, I was mindful about how the animals’ might be suffering (although for the most part, the animals looked to be well taken care of).

There is an aquarium in the zoo as well, so we stayed for close to four hours total (including a long relaxing lunch).

I’m not quite sure, but I think we had some curious karma going on as a group (the four of us – Kirby, Ryan, Khenpo C and His Eminence) because on Monday we got stuck on a tight road that road construction forced us to detour onto.  I was literally pinned in (as a car) as I waited for several large trucks and garbage truck to creep by, praying they would not scrape the side of my fenders!  So Sunday we had driving obstacles, along with Monday.  It took us about 30 minutes extra to get to the zoo.  Which was fine!  I had great company around me in the car  🙂

Khenpo Choephel reminds me of a solid, modest, serious practitioner and teacher.  I suspect he has great levels of realization (and as a Dharma practitioner, I do my best to see him as Vajradhara or primordial Buddha).

The center is quite interesting though.  It is in a poorer neighborhood, but the neighbors are awesome, friendly, diverse and a few are curious about the Buddhadharma.  The house itself is very narrow – so there are only 3 rooms per level.  Ryan and I stayed on the 3rd floor, which was a little unfinished, which was completely fine!  I was just happy to have a bed and a roof over my head!  The nice thing about the location though is that the members were able to buy the house right out, meaning no debt to worry about.  They did have to put in about 1000 hours of labor over 3 months though as it was a serious fixer-upper.  But it gets the job done.  It has a beautiful shrine room with dozens of thangkas (Tibetan scroll paintings of deities and lineage lamas and Dharma guardians, etc).

I am very satisfied with my trip to Pittsburgh and I would go back in a heartbeat.  I received several impromptu Tibetan language instruction sessions as my Tibetan is okay (I probably speak at a 1st grade level, whereas I comprehend at a 6th grade level).  They were very happy to assist me and point out words that I was getting mistaken.  Plus, Khenpo even gave me a transmission of a specific practice at 11:11 pm on the night before we were about to leave – I had asked him for it a day earlier, but we hadn’t had time.

Oh – and the funny thing was, Khenpo is big into watching the local sports.  Apparently Pittsburgh is a huge sports city (which makes sense), and they have even gotten a Tibetan lama hooked on hockey and basketball!

Thank you for reading!

~km

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