Friday, January 30, 2015

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (21) - Having Fun

In my own humble opinion I believe that all spiritual paths that embrace Love and Compassion lead to the top of the same mountain. There are no exclusive paths. All paths contain the elements required for spiritual realisation.

Each path speaks in spoken and written language, image, symbols and metaphors pointing in the direction of the same truth. When we choose a path and seriously practise it we light a candle in the darkness. It is always better to light that candle than curse the darkness.

All paths agree that Love and Compassion are paramount, while their respective philosophers and theologians debate the details of the metaphors and the techniques for realisation. Buddhism is one such path. The Dalai Lama says, "My religion is loving kindness" - That's enough for me to be going on with in the mean time.

Whichever path we choose we should practise it with a lightness of spirit - expansively, joyfully and always take time to have some fun. Life, Love and Spirituality is a seriously funny business.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (20) - The Three Jewels

The ideals at the heart of Buddhism are collectively known as the 'Three Jewels', or the 'Three Treasures'. These are the Buddha (the yellow jewel), the Dharma (the blue jewel), and the Sangha (the red jewel).

Buddha refers to our inherent Buddha nature.
The Dharma refers to the teachings.
The Sangha refers to the Buddhist community. 

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (19) - Compassion

Developing Compassion for all sentient beings - including ourselves. We know it works like this: Morality partnered with meditation practise begets wisdom inextricably interwoven with compassion - that is the path.


THE SPIRITUAL PATH (18) Buddha

Knowing that Guatama Buddha was a human being who became enlightened we do not put him on a pedestal and worship him. He is not a god. Buddhism is not a religion it is a theory of mind.  It is Buddha nature that is sought by practising the Dharma.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (17) - The Guru(s) / Teacher(s)

Instinctively we recognise our teacher when we meet them. We don't become devoted to the teacher, rather we become devoted to the teachers Buddha nature - That; is the teaching. If the teacher generally becomes controlling, wants us to do certain things we feel intuitively uncomfortable with, or specifically wants us to give them lots of money or sleep with us or wants to separate us from friends and family then we know that he or she is what is colloquially known as a complete arsehole and we should give the so called teacher some advice in colloquial terms by telling them in no uncertain terms to fuck off.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (16) - Morality

We are taught that Meditation practise and its benefits only come within the context of an ethical / morally sound life - stealing, lying, cheating and killing damage ourselves and others. We know that the metaphor of the devil can be overcome.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (15) - Reincarnation

Knowing that the evidence for reincarnation is very strong we remember a human life is most precious and a life in which we can make much progress. All sentient beings are reincarnated.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (14) - Karma

Remembering that simple acts of kindness creates good Karma.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (13) - Immediacy

Discovering that we can start just where we are now. We start by dealing with whatever happens to be on our doorstep (or our head) at this present moment.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (12) - Mindfulness

Knowing that practising Mindfulness is sometimes an amusing imperative as well as being an otherwise enriching practise on the way.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (11) - Choice

Knowing that all paths are available at any instant in time, it is all a matter of choice.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (10) - Sharmatha (Abiding Meditation)

Not chasing our thoughts when initially meditating, rather concentrating on our breathing.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (9) - Identity

Remembering that when solving the question of the "I" emptiness Does mean 'no - thing' but Does Not mean 'nothing'.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (8) - Inclusiveness

Not mocking but rather honouring all other religions.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (7) - Focussing

Finding objects as a focal point for meditation.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (6) - Experiences

Experiencing and observing paradox.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (5) - Questions

Pondering deep philosophical questions.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (4) - Finding Truth (Dharma)

Realising the teapot pointing at the moon is not the moon.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (3) - Spiritual Friends (Sangha)

Finding spiritual friends on the ocean of samsara.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (2) - The Good Heart

Developing the good heart.

THE SPIRITUAL PATH (1) - Beginning

Finding 'The Road Less Traveled.'

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sights Along The Way - SAILING ON 'STEINLAGER 2' (3) - Auckland Anniversary Regatta 2015

These are photographs that I took before and after the start of our race and between vigorous bouts on the coffee grinder winch.

This is a full sized half model of Steinlager 2 that is bolted to the wall of the Auckland Maritime Museum. This museum has a good collection of historical boats and is well worth a visit.

Here I am looking pretty pleased with myself - and why not! It was such a perfect day on the harbour weather wise and I was pleased not to be just a spectator but a full part of the crew.
Just behind where we were moored there was a full on session of Dragon Boat racing with all women crews. The paddling is done in time to the beat of a large drum positioned in the stern of the boat. There was much cheering and shouting and merriment going on.
Crowds of people enjoying the sun and water and activities at the Viaduct Basin.
                          
There were lots of punters out on various ferry boats watching the days events.
This is the tugboat race. The old coal fired tug got beaten by the new diesel model.
The Navy ships were all decked out in their flags for the occasion.
The New Zealand Navy owns four of these Chico 40 sloops that they use for sail training purposes. They all looked very smart in their deep blue colour.
This is possibly an old Logan designed cutter. I don't know its name.
Here is the  old Logan designed  Rainbow. She was owned by Chris Bouzaids father. The young Chris helped to continue New Zealands prominence in ocean racing by winning the One Ton Cup in Heliogoland and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in the late 1960s in his yacht Rainbow 2.
Sailiing well here is the yacht 'Young Nick' designed by Sparkman and Stephens. She is of the same vintage, type and age as Rainbow 2. She is a beautiful classic yacht.
This old classic is one of the 'Malabar' class of schooners designed by my namesake the great American yacht designer John G Alden.
'Ranger' built in the 1940s by Lou Tercel a working class 'wharfie', is a famous Auckland yacht. For decades she was virtually unbeatable on the Waitamata. She is a long lean racing machine and very beautiful as well.
Little 'Gleam' sails like a witch. Designed by Don Brooke she was radical for her day (again the 1940s) as she was built as lightly as possible with the incorporation into her build of balsa wood.
Two old gaffers fight it out. I am not sure of their names, perhaps the leeward one is the old 'Viking'. The one to windward is possibly 'Ariki'. They both made a beautiful sight sailing and are a remnant of
days gone by.
I was glad to see this sight. Such a large number of little Optimist dinghies being sailing off Takapuna beach by their young skippers means that the future of New Zealand yachting is in good heart.
Ooops - the Navy breaks down mid harbour and two tugs take charge!
The small brigantine 'Breeze' was designed and built by the amateur yacht builder Ralph Sewell - quite a feat. He sailed her for many years and she now owned by the Auckland Maritime Museum  - I think the public can go for a sail on her, so that's something to look forward to!
Typical Auckland harbour racer setting her spinnaker on her retractable bowsprit.
'Ranger' again. I think she is now owned by either a trust or a private syndicate. A few years ago she was shipped to England where she took part in the famous 'Around The Isle of Wright' yacht race - A race that I hope to do myself sometime soon.
Here she is again. She is based on a design by the famous Swedish yacht designer Knud Reimers whose yachts have two great qualities - speed and beauty.
A cute little gaff rigged masthead sloop giving her skipper much joy.
A speedy little French number - don't know much about her.
This yacht moored at the Museum is one of many sisterships built to the plans of the original 'Wylo'. Nick Skeats has lived and sailed on 'Wylo' pretty much his whole life and completed thousands of ocean miles, including circumnavigations.
The old 'Rapaki'. She is an old steam driven dredge that spent all of her working life in Lyttleton in the South Island of New Zealand. She is now owned by the Auckland Marinetime Museum. Every time I see her at the end of the wharf here in Auckland I always get the impression that she an exhibit that is just a little too big and no one quite knows what to do with her.
Another exhibit at the museum is this old shallow draft scow whose name escapes me at this time of writing. She is a good example of the many dozens of her type that plied the northern coast of New Zealand between the 1880s and the 1950s with cargoes of sheep, wool and timber etc.
The Arthur Robb designed 'Sapphire' is I think the prettiest example of the Auckland 'K' class of which a dozen or more were built mid last century. She doesn't have a 'doghouse' so her low coach roof is uninterrupted and adds to her overall aesthetic appeal in my opinion.
Lots of Aucklanders walking over the Viaduct Basin bridge as we approached in Steinlager 2 and waited for it to be lifted so we get out and go sailing.
'Lion New Zealand' is owned by the same trust that owns and operates 'Steinlager 2'. She was sailed by Sir Peter Blake and crew in one of the Whitbread Around The World yacht races. She also won line honours in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race before she took off in the Whitbread. She is another very big 'Maxi' yacht which I am developing a taste for sailing on.

I think she is available to the public to sail on pretty much on the same basis that I sailed on 'Steinlager 2' ---- The Volvo Ocean Race competitors arrive in Auckland in a months time and I am sure 'Lion New Zealand' will be out and about when the next leg of the Volvo starts in Auckland! - so I will have to do some homework and see what I can come up with. Happy Days!