Category Archives: Blog

The Joy of Spiritual Friendship

The Joy of Spiritual Friendship

Upcoming / ongoing:

Class series:  The Seven Steps to Freedom: Understanding How to Balance Your Life. Dates: Seven Mondays, May 6 to June 24 from 6:15 – 7:45 p.m. Location: The Sol Center, Tucson, AZ. You are welcome to attend any one class or all eight in the series. $30/session, Sol Center member discount is applicable. (MORE INFO)

Dear Friends,

The Joy of Spiritual Friendship

To explore the topic of friendship in the Dharma and what it means for us as Buddhist practitioners, I want to talk about some of the benefits of friendship, and of restoring respect to the role of friendship in our lives. I know, for me, it’s something that I have sometimes taken for granted in the past. If I think of a friend in the conventional sense of the word, it’s someone to hang out with, to share interests with, and to possibly have a cup of tea, coffee, or a meal with. Admirable friendship or Kalyana Mitta, as it is known in the ancient Pali language, is another dimension of this, both as a path to, and a support for, greater freedom and awakening; an undying connection with others based on loyalty, understanding, honesty, trust, and openness.

One of the phrases in the Buddhist teachings on spiritual friendship is “relationship with the wise.” It’s a suggestion that we begin to cultivate relationships with people who are spiritual practitioners. Sometimes it is a teacher — like a big “T,” teacher, someone who is very advanced in their practice, experience, and understanding, and who offers a taste of experienced wisdom. Often, it’s referring to a colleague or a fellow practitioner also on the path. It may be a community or sangha member or perhaps someone who’s just a few steps more experienced –  a being with a similar practice who reminds us of our own aspirations as meditation practitioners and followers of the dharma. This doesn’t mean just Buddhist. It is broader than any one spiritual philosophy. No one group has a monopoly on liberation, and many people who are awakened beings wouldn’t call themselves Buddhists. The wise can be found outside of any spiritual discipline or within different frameworks or traditions. Here is a wonderful example:

ANAM CARA

In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. One of the fascinating ideas here is the idea of soul-love; the old Gaelic term for this is “anam cara.” “Annam” is the Gaelic word for soul and “cara” is the word for friend. So anam cara in the Celtic world was a “soul friend.”

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The Art of Solitude

The Art of Solitude

Upcoming / ongoing:

Class series: The Four Unconditional Qualities of the Heart: Opening the Door to Love. Dates: Monday evenings, 6 – 7:30 p.m., March 4, 11, 18, 25. Location: The Sol Center, Tucson, AZ. You are welcome to attend any one class or all eight in the series. $30/session, Sol Center member discount is applicable. (MORE INFO)

Dear Friends,

The Art of Solitude

Solitude can be viewed as a state of wonder, contemplation or reflection, imagination, inspiration and care.

Solitude in the Buddhist tradition is a practice and a way of life.

People can experience solitude in various ways, ranging from  loneliness and alienation to what we call rapture.

Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive and constructive state of engagement with oneself. Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself with wonderful and sufficient company.

There are many different forms it can take from the quiet and calm of meditation to the mood evoked by an artist’s temperament when concentrating, to the absorption and fascination of one’s mind state when being out in nature, to the emotions of ecstasy, to sensual involvement while listening to music.

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Bringing Intention into the New Year

Bringing Intention into the New Year

Upcoming / ongoing:

Daylong: “The Appreciative Heart-Mudita”. Retreat Daylong on Saturday, January 6, 2024 from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is sliding scale from $90- $150. With Lhasha Tizer and Marygrace Naughton. Please contact Lhasha at lhasha9@gmail.com or 520-321-3670 for more information. Pay with check or Paypal.

Daylong: “Moving into Stillness Daylong”. Date: Sunday, January 21, 2024, from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Location: Tucson Community Meditation Center. Theme: “Bringing Intention to the New Year”. (MORE INFO)

Dear Friends,

Bringing Intention into the New Year

New Year Poem

By May Sarton 

Let us step outside for a moment

As the sun breaks through the clouds

And shines on wet fallen snow,

And breathe the new air.

So much has died that had to die this year.

We are dying from things.

It is a necessity – we have to do it.

Or we shall be buried under the magazines,

The too many clothes, the too much food.

We have dragged it all around 

Like Dung beetles

Who drag piles of dung

Behind on which to feed,

In which to lay their eggs.

Let us step outside for a moment

Among ocean, clouds a white field,

 Islands floating in the distance.

They have always been there.

We are going to drive slowly and see the small poor farms,

 The lovely shapes of leafless trees

 Their shadows blue on the snow.

We are going to learn the sharp edge 

Of perception after a day’s fast.

There is nothing to fear.

I am writing on the eve of the Xmas holiday, a time that beckons us toward the possibilities inherent in the birth of a gifted spiritual teacher whose presence came to teach about love, forgiveness, true friendship, strength, and the spirit of generosity. It has been an active morning for me, preparing to go visit my sister-in-law, Gina, in Phoenix and other family and friends. Baking a pumpkin bread, helping my husband Russ choose special photos from 2023, and sending them to family and friends with a message of goodwill from each of us.

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The Gift of Generosity

The Gift of Generosity

Upcoming / ongoing:

8-Week Series: Bringing Mindful Qualities to Life: Meditation, Teaching, and Interactive Dialogue, Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Last two classes: December 4, 11 [MORE INFO]

Daylong: “The Appreciative Heart-Mudita”. Retreat Daylong On Saturday, January 6, 2024 from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost is sliding scale from $90- $150. With Lhasha Tizer and Marygrace Naughton. Please contact Lhasha at lhasha9@gmail.com or 520-321-3670 for more information. Pay with check or Paypal. [MORE INFO]

Dear Friends,

To touch the heart of a human being, we can only hold it if we engage. In generosity, we look at where the heart-mind is closed and learn to let go of where we are clinging. It is a matter of reflecting in a friendly way–is my behavior compassionate? For example, it is not compassionate to give alcohol to an alcoholic—instead, generosity would mean helping the alcoholic get help.

If we want to feel better we can do something for someone else. We notice that it feels good. This goes into our memory banks. This way we relate to others with happiness, generosity, and goodwill. Knowing what we have done that was generous helps us to be generous.

Fairytale:

A daughter is born to a well-off family. They consult a wise Seer about the daughter’s future life and they are told by the Seer that the girl is going to die on her wedding day. You can imagine how upset the parents are when they hear this prophecy. As the daughter gets older and is in the midst of preparing for her wedding vows, during the wedding feast there is a loud banging on the door. A servant goes to answer and there is a beggar asking for food. He is told that this is not a good time, and to go away. The bride-to-be hears the banging and the pleas of the beggar. She exclaims “Wait!” and brings food with her own hands to the beggar. That night when she goes to her wedding bed she remains alive and is well. Her father goes to the Seer and asks, “What happened to the prophecy?” The Wise One says that the bride severed her fate by this act of generosity. This is engaging and taking responsibility for our actions.

Think for a moment about what acts of generosity may have changed the direction of your life in some way.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

~ Pablo Picasso

“The greatest gift of all is teaching the Dharma.” Buddha called it one of the Three Marvels–“The Marvel of Instruction.” The Buddha explained that this is how human beings have passed on the teachings–we learn together.

It is a relinquishment–a letting go of holding on, of stinginess. It is the gift of giving.

 The Buddha said that, “One who gives earns the love of others, lives with a good reputation, cements friendships, and wins the sympathy of others, and can attend any gathering with confidence and dignity, wins popularity and is the person with whom people of noble character want to associate.”

Blessings,

Lhasha

The Brilliance of Autumn

The Brilliance of Autumn

Upcoming / ongoing:

8-Week Series: Bringing Mindful Qualities to Life: Meditation, Teaching, and Interactive Dialogue, Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20; December 4, 11 [MORE INFO]

Daylong: “The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind.” Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.. [MORE INFO]

Dear Friends,

As each moment echoes the almost imperceptible shift of sunlight and moon glow, and the decreases and increases of temperature, the mood of the changing season embraces me in softening, sensual awareness, in comfort, and inward movement.

The crispness of circulating air and drying flowers, becomes brilliant hues of a natural spectrum, transforming leaf colors from green to red, orange, yellow, pink, and brown, a freefall detaching to earth, crumpling as I walk underfoot. Is not Fall the apex of the summer harvest, a poignant expression of reflective light manifesting before us?

Last night while sitting outside eating dinner and listening to music, embraced by the cool breeze and easy release of daytime temperatures, my body relaxed, so pleased that the enormous heat of summer 2023 was no longer present and I could let go as I learned from the trees.

Gratitude was in my mind, thankfulness for the ability of nature with its seasons to still change despite the overarching march of climate change. I was amazed by how the temperatures of the year could influence my disposition, emotions, and thinking. Who is this being who floats in and out of balance and equanimity? Who is so easily influenced by the circumstances and conditions of life?

I long for the steadiness of mind, for a gentle repose of spirit, and a lingering attitude of a caring love that interacts with all animate beings and all inanimate sources of earth and planetary reality. I no longer want the suffering emotions enclosed by thoughts of panic and fear, embroiled in heat waves of anger, frustration and rage, dripping in sorrow and sadness.

The Buddha asked us to awaken to the truths of illness, injury, aging, and death. He reassured us that the reasons for these afflictive conditions are clinging, wanting, and craving. He promised us that it is possible for these negative states to cease if we follow the Noble Eightfold path to happiness. I honor this confidence as it emerges through my meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhist practice. He has let us know time and again that if we release unnecessary suffering and we follow the way to compassion and wisdom we can come to feel peace and composure.

The brilliance of the autumn sky, crystal, clear blue, with a panorama of vividly colored leaves, inspires my heart to rejoice. I see no need to hold on to anything, and I allow the flux of Fall to enrapture my spirit and all our spirits in the promise of awakening.

Blessings,

Lhasha

Real Kindness

Real Kindness

Upcoming / ongoing:

Daylong: “Moving into Stillness”, Sunday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. [MORE INFO]

Ten-Week Study & Practice Program: “The Ten Perfections: Bringing Qualities of Wisdom & Compassion to Life”, Mondays, September 18-November 20, 6-8 pm. Retreat on Saturday, November 18, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. [MORE INFO]

Daylong: “The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind.” Saturday, October 28, 2023 from 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.. [MORE INFO]

Dear Friends,

I may not know my original face but I know how to smile.
I may not know the recipe for the diameter
of a circle but I know how to cut a slice
for a friend. I may not be Mary or Buddha
But I can be kind. I may not be a diamond
Cutter but I still long for rays of light
that reach the heart.
I may not be standing on the hill of skulls
But I know love when I see it.
~ Not Knowing, by Stephen Levine

What is real kindness? In our day and age, these words really translate as paying attention to the moment in a gentle, friendly, loving way. When we practice meditation and we take the time to bring a kind attention to the body — feeling tones (pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral), emotions, and our thoughts — that is an act of kindness.

The option is to live in oblivion, spacing out, neglecting, or ignoring ourselves, others, and all the animate and inanimate phenomena that inhabit our planet and life. This can leave us quite lonely, separate, in isolation, and disconnected. From this, a sense of great sadness and unhappiness can overtake our psyche and being.

So we pay attention on purpose to stay engaged experiencing the unfolding of each moment. This is where life is happening!

Real kindness is inclusive and embraces all parts of life. It does not choose to pay attention to what we like nor is it pleasant, and it does not deny what is difficult. It engages all facets of living and, out of this is able to be an antidote to negative mind states.

To aversion or ill will, it brings caring and softens our dislikes; to greed, it shows us what is fully present so we see that what we need is right here; to sleepiness, it brings energy so we feel safe being in the here and now; to restlessness and worry, it brings patience, acceptance, and generosity; to doubt, it shows us where we really are and that we can make wholesome intentions and choices.

We cultivate our values, contact our intentions, feel our motivations, and plant seeds for the fruition of actions to manifest for the benefit of all beings. Real kindness is free of an ulterior motive; it’s not dependent on what we get back in return. And it does not change when another’s behavior changes. It remains constant and does not play favorites. It is a cultivation of a deep and profound caring and consideration for all. We see the good in things and we contemplate good qualities.

I was so fortunate to spend the weekend of August 25-27 in Oregon at my oldest granddaughter Hannah’s wedding to Rayik. It was an occasion filled with love, energy, praise for the bride and groom, dancing, celebrating with amazing food and drink, and the space was outside in nature. This is a match of all who were there to share and enjoy. What I felt was real kindness between them all.

Please join me in my classes of “The Ten Perfections” at The Sol Center beginning Monday, September 18, 2023, at 6-8 p.m., and daylong practices at TCMC on Sunday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. as we birth and practice, in an ongoing manner, these teaching of real kindness. They are part of all the Buddhist teachings.

Take good care, enjoy the continuing beauty of summer’s ending, and open your heart to others when you can.

Blessings,

Lhasha

The Four Heavenly Messengers and the Ten Perfections Introduction

The Four Heavenly Messengers and the Ten Perfections Introduction

Upcoming / ongoing:

Second Sunday Circle:  “An Introduction to the Buddha: The Four Heavenly Messengers”, August 13 from 2:00 to 3:45 p.m. [MORE INFO]

Ten-Week Study & Practice Program: “The Ten Perfections: Bringing Qualities of Wisdom & Compassion to Life”, Mondays, September 18 – November 20, 6 to 8 pm. Retreat on Saturday, November 18, 10:30 am – 5:30 pm. [MORE INFO]

Dear Friends,

I want to take some brief time to introduce you to the two new classes I am offering in August and September. The first of these classes informs us of the early remarkable life of Siddhartha Gautama (the future Buddha) and the fateful course he took in life to make him into a great spiritual leader. Siddhartha’s curiosity about life, the reasons for him being in the life he was in and the meaning and potential of fulfillment in life were the questions that motivated him to pursue the path he chose.

The Ten Perfections follow the early teachings of the Buddha in instructing all who followed him to know that these ten perfections were about perfecting your own Buddha nature. These ten qualities are inherent in each being and express the possibility of an awakened heart in each being. We can learn how to follow them in daily living and meditation through continual practice.

In loving friendliness,


Lhasha

The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind Class Series

The Four Heavenly Abodes: Opening the Heart-Mind Class Series

Dear Friends,

There will be no blog this month. But we thought you might be interested in the class series I’m starting in the fall.

“Out of the soil of friendliness grows the beautiful bloom of Compassion watered by tears of joy and sheltered by the cool tree of equanimity.” 

~ 14th Century Tibetan Poet

Led by Lhasha Tizer, Community Dharma Leader and Mary Grace Naughton, Mindfulness and Yoga Teacher

There are four beautiful qualities of heart and mind for dwelling in the world. They can be cultivated through meditation and daily life practice, and are composed of Metta or loving friendliness, Karuna or compassion, Mudita or appreciative joy, and Upekkha or equanimity.  

We will study and explore each of these 4 Heavenly Abodes as a force in opening the heart so we can live with greater peace and contentment. You are welcome to attend one class or all four in the series. The first class will be Lovingkindness. Classes consist of meditation, dharma talks, yoga, discussion, Q&A, and small group inquiry.  

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Awareness, Thankfulness and the Monsoon

Awareness, Thankfulness and the Monsoon

Dear Friends,

We have had a remarkably wet winter and spring. As the warmest time of the year approaches in Tucson and temperatures have been rising, how do we mindfully approach both our dry and wet summer seasons? Have you been aware of your thoughts as this special time of year engenders the unique climate that manifests and the forces of nature that surround it? The uncanniness of having the driest month of the year next to the wettest several months can place a strain on many persons’ sense of comfort and ease. As so much of mindfulness informs us, it is our relationship to these conditions that make them either acceptable or aversive; we get to choose.

This monsoon season, when we usually get our most plentiful rainfall, is a gift of nature that transforms a normally dry, hot desert climate into a wet, green, cloud-show panorama, second only to the East Indian monsoon. The grandeur of this phenomenon and its ability to bring tremendous winds, flooding, and hail is unprecedented.

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The Path to Loving Ourselves: Dedicated to Cheri

The Path to Loving Ourselves: Dedicated to Cheri

This is the essence of metta (lovingkindness)…

Knowing and remembering that we all have special traits and qualities; appreciating this body and being for what it is; knowing that we are beings whose birthright is love, peace, kindness, and caring for ourselves. Metta is goodwill–a connection to life, ourselves, and others as they are.

If difficulties arise for us, rather than reacting automatically with self-judgment, blaming, and aversion, we can open to the beautiful beings that we are, with compassion. Remember what makes us feel alive, connected, and content moment by moment.

Can we bring this to our minds and hearts during the tasks of our day?

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