School affords the opportunity to dialogue. School in its optimum functioning is not a place to add facts or knowledge to the already burdened brain. School is to enable the students to dialogue.
To me, dialogue is the language of the soul releasing its hidden treasures which can be disguised as fearsome secrets. And the Buddha school at Tao Sangha Toronto as presented by Mogi was an ideal place for 3 students to learn about themselves and each other by dialoguing every week about the principles of Buddhism.
We learned that dialogue, FRIENDLY dialogue involves you discovering who you are. This essence of yourself at the early stage appears paradoxically as a darkness. I say the essence of oneself because as one of my fellow students L put it we have to acknowledge the darkness first in order to appreciate the light. And the light which we discover is not the opposite of darkness as in the light-dark dichotomy. Rather, the light we discover by uncovering the hidden grief or sadness or forlornness or loneliness is the creative, living essence of light. Perhaps you can say it is the light of creation as mentioned in the Bible as in “Let there be Light”. Or it is the light of wisdom which sees itself for the first time. Let the light shine on the light the old Chinese Taoists say.
Because the class was so small, the others listened and helped me hear myself and uncover my hidden sadness and loneliness and then express it, and make it come out into the light. Then, a certain magic happened. The innate essence of the light of wisdom hiding in the heart was able to synthesize a new realization and bring more awareness of another way of thinking or feeling. During the 12 weeks of class, Mogi facilitated our creative expression by guiding our thoughts to the principles of Buddhism including the Four Noble Truths and the karmic traps of consumerism and money.
In Christian life, we are advised to do the Will of God. But what is the Will of God? How to surrender to God? I learned that by knowing my dark side, the hidden side, the reactive side which does not want to surrender or know God, a space of inner dialogue starts inside to create new ideas and thoughts. For me, I become a creator of my new reality and God ceases to be a static goal, but an ever-expanding reality which joins my will as His own. This is a paradox. God does not have a static plan. But it is an evolving plan which needs us human beings to create something new for Him.
These ideas may sound very weird, but to me, Buddha is the permanent but ever-evolving spirit.
Thanks to Mogi our teacher, C and L my fellow students and Endo Sensei for his inspiration. May all be blessed.
C’s Buddha School Summary — May 2018
I may be including what we learned during Ki & Heart Meditation sessions and what comes to me during Nembutsu in this summary, but Buddha School gave me comfort,
new ways of thinking,
solutions to problems,
new problems to consider,
chances to exercise patience and understanding,
solace among accepting individuals, and
all of which led to increased self-confidence and my feeling more able to help and encourage other people. I feel not only better about myself, but about others!
Frustration with my life and world situations still exists, of course, but because of what I learned and discussed in Buddha School I’m beginning to feel and understand that I can do something to affect my problems and those that are bigger than me in both spiritually and materially positive ways — that’s a real step forward. Feelings of helplessness are diminishing and seeds of hope have been sown. I imagine this as a release from a sort of prison. But I’m on parole …
The atmosphere of positivity during Buddha School — the good, warm, comfortable ki — and the knowledge gained from Mogi’s explanations and my classmates’ reactions and opinions resulted not only in bringing new ideas and concepts to me but in my being able to open my heart more to others. I’m more willing, more often and with a calmer, warmer heart, to risk reaching out to people I may have been fearful, nervous, or unwilling to approach or communicate with in the past. I am so grateful for this!
I really enjoyed learning about Buddhist practices and philosophy, and the way Tao Sangha teaches and interprets them. My mind was crying out for “exercise” and a yearning for learning was fulfilled. There were priceless benefits outside of that: development of communication skills to help build and repair relationships, friendship, encouragement (both spiritual and emotional), and chances to practice patience and understanding in a safe and supportive environment.
Thank you Mogi, B, and L! Thanks to ever-evolving Tao Sangha, Alex, and Endo sensei!
This was my second round of Buddha classes at the Tao Sangha Centre and I initially thought it might be repetitive but that reiteration would be helpful. I am so glad I was wrong. There was nothing repetitive that I found or felt about these classes. What I did find was that as my understanding grew, my practice began to deepen as a result.
I was blessed and fortunate to share these classes with B and C, whose courage to share their experiences and truths with me was not only inspiring but also humbling. There was always an atmosphere of understanding and encouragement amongst us and at the Tao Centre. It was because we had a place to share and bring together what lessons we learned, that we were then able to grow that much more as a result.
During the course of the Buddha classes and the weekly practices that we would take away with us, I became more aware of my behavior and when it was ego driven and how it affected the quality of my life and those around me. Each weekly lesson helped me focus and become aware of how I handled my daily life. It gave me new ways to look at situations and how to see them for what they truly are and in turn not always react from a conditioned response. This was not always easy, but becoming aware allowed for the opportunity of change.
I am only just beginning to learn about Buddhism and the practices and philosophies. Though I had taken other Buddhist workshops, I did not have the same experience that I’ve had here. The extraordinary thing about Buddha school at the Tao Centre is that it is, above all, an experience. Being introduced to “Ki” energy and learning how to discern and sense it put me more in touch with my heart and that’s where I have found the true transformation begins. Connecting to myself and others in this way has given me a greater understanding than any theory or philosophy could ever explain….. but I am still learning and have a ways to go.
Thank you to Mogi for teaching the classes, relentlessly answering my questions and taking the time to explain, even when we went off topic. Your patience and guidance meant a lot to me!
Thank you to Alex for creating a space and a place at the Tao Centre where we can come to study, to learn, to practice and grow. I am beginning to understand how all that the Tao Centre offers: the Ki & Heart workshops, Nembutsu, Kishindo, Tao Shiatsu, all of it works together and in tandem for our spiritual growth.
With “Ki”- full gratitude,