My first Buddhist blog entry

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Recently, at my sister’s wedding, I was speaking with an old friend / acquaintance.  She was struck by my height (6’3″ or so) and continued to say that I had grown in the past few years.  I found this interesting and a part of me wanted to disagree due to what I have learned in biological psychology / human development classes.  However I did not speak my mind.  (I am 30 at the time of this revision, so having grown taller in the past couple years does not seem to fit.  Although it is possible.  Rather, I offer another alternative to follow:)

First, it is typically understood that males have reached their full height by the time they are 21 to 25 years of age.  I am 29 and swiftly approaching 30 years old.  Therefore, how could I have grown much after age 25?  Just a little background, I was a smaller kid in school and I really hit my growth spurt as a senior in high school – leading several of those high school friends to not recognize me several years later (I was about 6 to 8 inches taller then).  I am not purposely denying the existence of possibilities – growth happening after it is supposed to be complete – but I am attempting to be rational and empirical.

A Dharma wheel from Ladakh India, 2008

Second, I did not disagree with her due to the fact that I have been doing a preliminary practice of Tibetan Buddhism called Taking Refuge or Going for Refuge.  I do not want to get into technicalities, but one of the elements of this practice is a form of bowing or prostrating.  I would argue, and quite seriously, that doing at least 10 prostrations a day over a number of months has caused several shifts to happen.  One – I have stretched myself to my full height.  Two – I have come out of my shell and faced some of my limiting beliefs (old gunky stuff) – which might make me seem more present and open (taller) than before, where I may have been collapsing into my old defences.

She recommended I put that in a book at some point – and I plan on doing that if I have the chance – so you heard it here first!  It would need research of course, but I am convinced of the multiple healthy aspects of prostrating.  Here are several that come to mind out of experience, learning and speculation: healthier organs – by stretching the liver, stomach, diaghram, kidneys, lungs and viscera, one can overcome some minor health issues (there is speculation that some Tibetan Lamas have overcome tuberculosis and liver disorders due to prostrating, up to and including Hepatitis and Leprosy); stretching the spine and muscles is good for posture and maintaining height and alignment; doing multiple prostrations in a row can be a cardiovascular activity; and I am sure there are more benefits.

Side note: medical professionals and doctors who examine the Dalai Lama, proclaim that despite his being over 70 years old, he has the heart of a 20 year old.  I think that is due, let me speculate for a moment, to his continual practice of loving kindness and compassion to others, and of course he has probably done a number of prostrations in his lifetime.  So all in all, reason enough to give prostrating a chance.

In a nutshell, if you want to do prostrations, here is a suggestion, not that I am an expert by any means.  Stand facing a sacred object, picture or shrine – it can be anything / anyone you feel is worthy of honor and respect.  Then bow down, bending your knees, touch the floor with your palms and knees and then touch your forehead to the ground.  This is known as a half prostration.  To do a full prostration, same as above, except when you bow down, have your hands touch the floor and then keep going forward until you are fully extended on the floor, face down, legs basically straight.  You can either clasp your hands together and bring them over your head, as you are stretched out, or you can lift your hands up if that is more comfortable.

Footnote: Going for refuge is generally referring to taking refuge in the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma (teachings) and the Sangha (the sacred community of monastics).  When one desires to “become a Buddhist” (in the Tibetan tradition), one makes the request from a Lama to take refuge.  There is a little ceremony and ritual involved, and then one is considered a Buddhist.  There are some vows that you take in doing so, therefore I might recommend investigating the ceremony first.  Unless of course you have a strong intuitive desire to do so (like I did).  Then just do it and honor the vows you decide to take.

For books that I recommend, including books on Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, visit Kirby’s Amazon store – click on the link to the right to support my blogging and Dharma activities.  Thanks for reading!

Entering the World of Blogging

This material is copyrighted by M. Kirby Moore.  Reproduction without permission is prohibited.  To support Kirby in his business and blogging efforts, please visit Kirby’s website.  Thank you for visiting!

I think my first blog post will be about my house.  As I attend UVa, I rent a beautiful house, which is above a Zendo (Zen Buddhist temple).  I am able to walk to all my classes – quite a hike to some – but it prevents excessive driving.  When one first enters my home, a picture of an ancient Quan Yin statue greets you, and you can say “hello Quan Yin.”  In the living room is a picture of Green Tara which one of my teachers generously gave to me – it has been in the offices of healing facilitators for the past 25 years (I hope she benefits many beings while in my “possession”).  Someone said the plant in my living room is a prayer plant – it is thriving whatever it is (yay!).

Next, the kitchen.  I plan on putting up a “The Story of My Life Montage” – pictures and images from my life up to this point – maybe a collage of 15 pics or so.  Also in my kitchen, discretely covering my washer / dryer, is a Buddha which comes with the house – to remind me (the tennant) to be extraordinarily quiet, or to join them, when the Zendo is in operation. Out my kitchen windows is a great green woodsy view – feels good despite being in the city.

Okay… Where are we?  Yes, after the kitchen, go down the little hallway, past the unremarkable b/r, to my bedroom on the left and shrine room on the right.  In the shrine room, there is a tangka painting of Green Tara and a shrine.  There is also a cosmic drawing of a yogi hiking off into the void – I like!  On to my bedroom, where it is simple and watched over by Yama and the Wheel of Cyclic Existence.  Plants are in every room and one of my friends noticed that they are all thriving and he thinks they are trying to fill up the space – I would have to agree.  One plant is even sending off vines, despite the fact that it has not done so in several years…  Maybe it is a Zen plant?

Finally, I have an upstairs!  It is pretty incredible how much space I have.  Upstairs is a finished attic.  I have my office on one side and the other side is storage which will hopefully become a guest bedroom.

Next, I will write about the Zendo (downstairs).

For books that I recommend, including books on Zen Buddhism, click on the Amazon store link to the right to support my blogging and Dharma activities.  Thanks for reading!