Monday, March 17, 2008

Manifestations and Mindfulness

Is there a paradox between living in this moment and manifesting a future? Is it possible to view the universe just as it is without any individual perceptions? I have been struggling with these two questions recently. My Sensai Monshin Naamon, from the Tendai Buddhist tradition has said that he does not believe in manifestation. Yet, there is a time in our meditation service where we focus our, "thoughts and prayers" on those who are sick, or having some other type of problem. But if you do not believe that people have the ability to manifest happiness, health and prosperity, then what are we doing when we are giving our, "thoughts and prayers" to these people or conditions? Obviously, I have to ask him this question, and hear what his answer is.
I understand how one attains Buddha hood by giving up our preconceptions and prejudices, and to see life as it is. I know every aspect of life is impermanent and that all suffering comes from our desires, and fear of change. I know that my perception as an individual is a false perception, and there is nothing which separates me from everything else in the universe. I know we train our minds through meditation and chanting mantras. Yet, I also know 500 Buddhist monks praying for non violence in Washington D.C. cut the homicide rate down by a third, and that experiment has been demonstrated before with the same results in different places. What caused the homicide rate to go down? Did the monks visualize peace in Washington D.C. and manifest that outcome? I don't know, but I suspect they did.

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