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Presented by Jhampa Shaneman

These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.

Jhampa Dec 20, 87
General talk on religion because of Christmas up coming.
It's funny as the years have gone by I used to be able to sit down quite naturally and spontaneously come up with all sorts of interesting lectures.
With the coming of the solstice and Christmas time, its something that although we can think of ourselves of being fairly intelligent, maybe you have gone beyond possibly what other people term pagan rites, the marking of certain times as being special. There is something special in ritualizing things and in marking time. Because as humans, we do have emotional rapport and do feel special about certain things, having a teacher that you really enjoy and love dearly and going to visit them on a special blessed day and and receiving their blessings, being able to go to a temple, and make offerings or doing a special meditation at a special time or such thing, all these things are special for us.
It is because we are human and we do have things that make us happy and feel so high. So, I think if we look in a broad minded way about our life and our union with the world around, being that this is a Christian holiday, I think that is really immaterial. The important thing is that there is a special day coming, two actually. There is the solstice which is the re-awakening of the end of the winter, the return of the sun. And then also the birth of Jesus, which is Christmas. So, as both of those as being rebirthing experiences, it's good for us to spend time thinking about our previous year and what have we done with ourselves for the year. Just in a light way. And then maybe making some thoughts about what can come in the future and what will be my next year be like?
When you think of it, we have New Years coming up also. So we have three births. So there is a natural birthing around us. Maybe if we were aware enough, we might find ourselves remotivating ourselves for the coming year, which we maybe don't notice in an externally large way, but we maybe start to think of things in a subtle way. Small way. Unconscious way. With our meditation, perhaps we can allow ourselves to have a little more conscious access to the thinking of the rebirthing that maybe we would like to have. And we have ample opportunity to experience.
As I say, going through Tuesday morning is the solstice rebirth, then we have the rebirth of Jesus which is more the main emphasis of love, because his message truly was love for mankind, and then we have the calender re-awakening and generating the first. So it's a time of rebirth and we should try more to shed our old skin and grow a new one. Whatever.
In one way, when you think of yourself, particularly when you are involved in spiritual aspiration, to not sort of reject who you are and think I would like to be so much better than I am, I'd like to be the most incredible... we sometimes get the idea that we would like to be much different from ourselves. And we would like to escape ourself that we have. Maybe our miserly or nasty thoughts, or certain aspects of ourselves we dislike. When you do think of rebirthing though, it's if we reject ourselves, and think we would like to rebirth as some incredible magnificent being, maybe that is impractical. Rather, we should think of ourselves as a sort of very natural organic being.
And in our rebirthing, whatever we have which is not good about ourselves, negative about ourselves, being negative response in the world, whether it's our anger, our uptightness, our miserliness, or attachments, a tight grasping mind, whatever of these that we have, rather than sort of negating them and saying I don't want to know about that, I'd rather be a beautiful person that is full of white light and love, whatever. Is to really allow ourself to be attuned to our anger that we have, attachment, grasping that we experience, and say that those feelings which I have had, they are not very positive, but I understand the pain or the suffering that they bring about. I'd like to actually start to like growing from that place. And in Buddhism, they always say, that you stand up from where you fell down. You don't stand up somewhere else.
So, in one sense taking things of yourself that maybe are not the pleasant things, but that is a really good place to take rebirth. And so allowing yourself to really be aware of your own negativity, but not in a negative way, just being aware that I get angry quite a bit and I express it quite vehemently and I know it makes me really unhappy. So allowing yourself to just go and be aware of that. And then sort of allow the rebirthing process to come from there. Choosing the particular energy you want whether its love, more optimism, more good will, however you feel, to allow that to grow in that so you say, Although I've been a little uptight about some people around me, maybe my children, or people I love. Sort of say alright, I have that, but I cannot sort of run away from it. That is where I fall down periodically. So that's where I am going to take my rebirth.
Motivate yourself in regards to those things so you have a real practice, you have a practice which is holistic. It's taking being aware of yourself. Trungpa Tulku always said, take the dirty parts of yourself and make them manure of your existence, the richness of your existence. Maybe for your meditation, allow yourself to go into the thought of what rebirth is all about. As this is a rebirthing time, it's appropriate to think about what it is in regards to yourself, and then maybe make some decisions. Not sort of fanatical, but a decision which is like, alright, there is a period of the next ten days. Allowing oneself to get into that, the transforming process which just try to be aware of.

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