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BLDC's Home In Webster Groves!

Please visit us in our home in the landmark Desoto Building of Webster Groves, located at the junction of Big Bend Blvd and E Lockwood just west of the Old Orchard Business District. Our new address is 607 E. Lockwood, Suite 106, 63119. Many of you will recognize the building as the location of Cyrano's Restaurant!

Ven. Sha'ul said, "We are delighted be part of the beautiful Desoto Building, which has its own parking lot and is surrounded by plenty of free street parking!  It also has a handicapped ramp and elevator for those in need of these amenities.  And a first-class restaurant renowned city-wide for its fine food, coffee and desserts!"

An Important Teaching From Lama Jigmé Jinpa On Healing:

Elemental Healing in Nepal

It's a terrifying feeling: the ground trembling and rippling under your feet, buildings swaying all around you. Our immediate sense is that this terrible thing, this earthquake, is a disturbance of the Earth element. Yet it is the deeply disturbed Air Element that is the real driver of these violent and powerful movements. A weakened earth force means decay and deterioration, a fading away of structure. While a fault line is a weakness in the earth’s mantle, it is Air. the motive force of all manifestation, that can shake the very foundations of this world.

The Light Side
As part of the five-fold or pentad nature of mind, Wind Element is the force of creativity. Adaptable, changeable, responsive, dynamic, it is pure magic in action. Through this inner force, we can build something tangible from a mere idea, creating beauty, scientific discovery, technological breakthroughs, innovation. Air Element is also the movement of nerve impulses, of thoughts, the winged mercury of personal and global communication.

Yet this refined nature makes it highly sensitive to all kinds of disruption. The majority of physical illnesses are considered Wind disorders, according to both Hindu and Buddhist Ayurveda. When in excess it is also the basis of the kind of anxious, scattered, hyperactive emotions and neurotic intellect that are a hallmark of our modern world. 

The Dark Side
If Air Element is magical in effect, when people create works of dark intent, they swiftly cross into the realm of “black magic.” And while Air is communication, its shadow side is lies and deception, double messages, the trickster. For the first time in the history of humanity, we have an entire industry—worth trillions of dollars—that is dedicated solely to misdirection, false images and “persuasion.” Besides marketing and advertising, public relations and spin are now standard in politics, entertainment, and business, in order to assure the manipulation of public opinion. Creative energy is harnessed to fabricate endless products, most wholly unnecessary and redundant, to fuel our current consumer model. The majority of these exist solely to create profit, and at the expense of the environment, and the welfare of humanity. This is Air Element gone wrong, and all of these actions have tremendous karmic impact, since nothing happens without consequences.

Back to Nepal
This is clearly a global problem, but why might we ask, did this particular disturbance arise in the sacred land of Nepal? Karma is complex, and the karma of whole peoples and nations more so. We can only try to glimpse the historical, astrological, psychological and spiritual influences at play that culminated in an event of this magnitude. And the stature of the obstacles and negative forces that have impacted so many lives are formidable. Yet because of this, even our smallest personal effort is valuable. And no act, however small, is without effect.

An Elemental Approach
While many great Buddhist masters have prescribed helpful meditations, there are a number of ways that we can approach this from a strictly elemental perspective. On a spiritual level, Air Element is known as the Karma (Activity) Family, so any meditation that connects with this dynamic aspect of our inner and outer world will having great healing effects.

Green Tara is the epitome of the beneficent energy of the Wisdom aspect of Air Element. And so her form, mantra and identity are perfectly suited to this particular situation. This practice is well known to a majority of Western Dharma practitioners, as well as being a staple mantra of the devoted lay followers of the East. Om Tarey, Tutarey Turey So Ha echoes through the monasteries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibetan communities scattered across the subcontinent of India. One can also consider meditation and mantra recitation of the enlightened personification of the Air Element, Buddha Amoghasiddhi, and his female counterpart, Arya Tara.

Karmic Purification
Another very powerful practice, while less well known, is highly recommended. Vajrayana practitioners are familiar with the meditation of Vajrasattva and the clearing of karma through this mediation and mantra recitation. But, as with all Yidams or deity forms, the full mandala consists of all five Buddha Families. Thus meditation on the Karma Family aspect has both the karmic clearing effect, as well as pacifying and balancing Wind Element disturbances.

The visualization is similar, but instead of a white figure, we have the glowing green energy form of Green Vajrasattva (Karmasattva) on the crown of our head. Green ambrosia pours down through our body and cleanses form, energy, and mind, while dispelling any dark, smoky toxins. These leave through the lower part of the body and through all our pores. Note that this Karma Family Vajrasattva holds a double dorje in his right hand, instead of the usual single dorje. And for those that are used to envisioning the male and female forms together, all the better.

For this meditation, one can recite the short mantra, Om Karmasattva Hung, or the full length one:

Om KARMA Sato Samaya, Karma Sato Dveno Patishta, Dridho Meh Bawa, Sutokayo Meh Bawa, Supokayo Meh Bawa, Anurekta Meh Bhawa, Sarwa Karma Sucha Meh, Siddhim Shriyam Kuru Hung. Ha Ha Ha Ho, Bhagawan Sarva  Tataghata KARMA, Ma Meh Mucha KARMA Bawa, Maha Samaya Sato AH.

For those who wish something simpler still, yet just as effective, visualize a green semicircle of pure emerald luminosity resting in the sky; From that, effulgent green light pours forth, purifying the inner and outer dimensions.

One could expand this cleansing process to the land of Nepal and to its people. However this is not recommended unless one feels very confident and skilled at “letting go” into pure openness, Meditations have real effects, and one may be confronted with some very tangled and difficult energies. Working on oneself is quite enough in any case!

Remember, when we practice these visualizations and meditations, they do not take place “in our head,” but play out in the vast field of consciousness, the brilliant “dark matter” that is the real spiritual container of this matrix of appearance.

Lama Jigmé Jinpa

“The entire phenomenal world is none other than the  ecstatic dance of the Five Wisdom Goddesses; Of that I am certain.”

July 23, 2013  In keeping with the Center’s mission, all dharma classes are non-sectarian and taught in English by Sha’ul, who has extensive experience teaching Buddhism.  Sha’ul said, “While we feel it is very important to offer traditional Buddhist services accessible to the lay practitioner, BLDC’s primary focus is to propagate the core teachings and tenets of Buddhism.  In our classes, Buddhist terms and concepts will be thoughtfully presented in an understandable sequence, in order to make Buddhism a familiar and comprehensible subject for Western students."

The Center offers a free on-going introduction to Buddhism class called Buddhist Doctrines on Sundays from 12:15 - 1:30 pm following a refreshment break after regular Sunday services (held 10 – 11:30 am). This class introduces newcomers in Buddhism to its major ideas and practices using very simple, direct language in a non-academic, discussion format.  Sha’ul said, “I always encourage lively interaction between students and teachers. It is the best way to learn.  And the most fun.”  Class topics include The Four Noble Truths, Karma, The Noble Eightfold Path, Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels, The Three Dharma Seals, Interdependent co-origination, Emptiness and Nirvana.

There is no fee for the Sunday class series although a dana (donation) of $25-$50 is strongly encouraged in order to help support programming at the Center. Weekly topics, class updates, text purchase and fees (if recommended or required) will be posted on the website’s Schedules Page under the Classes heading.

For those interested in Bodhisattva studies, the Center offers The Seven Point Mind-Training, Class is not currently in session, check schedule and news for updates. Sha’ul said, “The Bodhisattva ideal is the primary path to develop compassion and loving-kindness and is a crucial fundamental practice in Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism." Classes focus on topics related to the Bodhisattva such as the Root and Secondary Vows, Six Paramitas, Seven Points of Mind Training (lojong) with corresponding slogans, and meditative practices like Tonglen. 

Sha'ul said, "Please be aware that this class does require a big commitment – it will meet weekly for nine months. It is very important to attend the classes as regularly as possible as each lesson is built upon the previous. Some make-up classes can be arranged but attendance is very important. Prerequisites and fee: Must have taken Refuge Vows and completed Intro to Buddhism class. Information for ordering the required text will be given to all those that sign up for the class. 

Check the Schedules Page, start dates, updates (when in progress) and details regarding text purchase and tuition.

The Blue Lotus Dharma Center is the result of the Center for American Buddhist Practice and Sha'ul's efforts to build a Sangha and Center in St. Louis for the past eight years.  "The start of formal Dharma classes was a major milestone," said Sha'ul.  BLDC is a Missouri registered non-profit organization and is always in need of tax-deductible donations. However, Sha’ul (who himself volunteers all his services) stressed, “Those who are unable to make a donation for classes or services will never be turned away.  All are encouraged to give as they are able.”