July 3, 2006

“Stumbling Toward Enlightenment”

by Geri Larkin

Synopsis:
Described by the author as "accessible Zen", Stumbling Toward Enlightenment evolved out of the frequent requests which Larkin has received for written copies of the dharma talks she gave at the Ann Arbor Buddhist Temple and the Chicago Zen Buddhist temple in 1995 and 1996. In the book, Larkin shares Buddhist teachings from the Dhammapada which she hopes will help readers "walk a little straighter, fly a little sooner".

Memorable Quotes:
Meditation is our shovel, our walking stick, our mother.

“Truth, salvation, and enlightenment are not separate from oneself. You are the very source of what is true and wise. Buddhists say that all beings are Buddhas. That means that nothing originally is wrong with any of us. You have to trust yourself. You have to believe in yourself as a living embodiment of love and wisdom.” Sami Sumim

Faith breeds wisdom. But faith alone does not make us wise. We need prayer. We need meditation.

The wise man tells you where you have fallen – and where you yet may fall – let him chasten and teach you and keep you from mischief.

“We are all fleas on life's hot griddle.” Unknown

Please learn to lose.

Seen it all, done it all. Can't remember most of it.

“When we are listened to it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life. It makes people happy and free when they are listened to. And if you are a listener, it is the secret of having a good time in society (because everyone around you becomes lively and interesting). Brenda Euland

When we die we are torn out of our world. Love and hate, all of our hopes and fears and all our habits of mind, all are useless.” Pema Chodron

You can forgive anything. And you need to. Not forget – forgive! Forgiveness creates the space in your heart that can then be filled with the divine.

“(With meditation) my mind shifts to a lower gear as my greed impulse, which is always on the lookout for something to play with, gives up, realizing that this is quiet time. My mind takes a break and I am able to find 'now' and with it, peace.” Sylvia Bornstein

...act as though we aren't driven by our egos, until they downsize themselves right out of our lives. It's a good idea to take time to watch tiny children in action – how they play, how they learn to walk, wobbling around link drunks. How their stumbling is just part of the wild and wondrous game of life. How they instantly react to a situation with not thought of how stupid or unskilled they might look. That's what living without ego is like.

We'll never fully understand each other. At best we can only accept and appreciate. As we do, our love will grow, our appreciation will deepen, and we will become better listeners. As our appreciation grows, and our obsession fades, we are thrilled at the best friend that has emerged. Conditions fall away, a community of two forms, and through our love for each other we learn to express our love of all that is around us. In our loving, all the world's seeds get watered.

Our love should bring peace and happiness to ones we love. If it does not, it is not love.

Wealth is not about money, it's about understanding the journey, the lessons we've been given to learn.

No negative emotion can overwhelm the power of a sincere heart and an honest faith in your own possibilities. It never has, it never will.

Four attitudes and actions foster an ability to relay into our spiritual work – Delighting in meditation, delighting in solitude, holding our tongues, and embracing whatever happens to us.

...our life's work. To grow ourselves spiritually until we know, in our bones, that the whole world really is our home. It's time to take care of it, time to make it safe, time to make it whole, time to sing in perfect harmony.


Other books by Geri Larkin:
The Chocolate Cake Sutra
The Still Point Dhammapada
First You Shave Your Head
Tap Dancing in Zen