Category Archives: Daily Life

The Golden Wave – Brenda Birchenough – Audio

The late Brenda Birchenough speaks about a breakthrough¬†in her training (in the 1990s) which gave her fresh eyes to look at herself and all beings. As she says, “I was brassed off, desperate to get out of the monastery”. Having been at Throssel for a five-week stay and with three days to go before leaving a breakthrough came which changed her perspective on herself and her relationship with others.

Sometimes one has to get so thoroughly fed up with oneself for an insight into the truth to happen. It was her intention to train and see into her habits which propelled her to see The Golden Wave. Being ‘brassed off’ helps, the intention to look at oneself honestly helps one not to slide off into despair.

The title of the talk is Let Flow the Golden Tide.

Brenda would frequently question the validity of what she understood to be true saying, “I experienced the compassion of the eternal so how come I’m still judging (she would use stronger language, to be honest)”? I can’t remember what I would say, probably something to the effect that thoughts are habit-forming when repeated over and over. She was blessed with a faith she didn’t recognize and I would point that out to her. Frequently.

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Why Write?

Brenda Birchenough. These hands wrote,  I plan to quote some of it in the near future.

Years ago I was talking to a chap who studied creative writing, ‘Why write’ I asked him. He replied, ‘There is only one reason and that’s to understand oneself better’. This holds true for me to this day. Yes, there is altruism involved in the case of writing for Jade Mountains, to offer the teaching, however, the element of understanding myself better is lurking in the background. Here is what I’ve said in the past about my purpose in terms of ‘offering the teaching’. Oh, and a bit about the history of Jade, started propper in 2005.

The following has been copied from a post from 2012 titled Looking Back Looking Forward. This website had just moved from a program called Drupal to WordPress. It is no small thing to migrate all the content from one ‘platform’ to another. With the change I found myself reflecting on my original purpose for writing this weblog and the refining of that. So here is a bit of history for those who are relatively new readers. My first post, Entrenching Tool explains my background intention.

With the aid of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, I retrieved Jades original About page published sometime in mid-2003. I didn’t write a lot back then however I was glad to see the post The Road Not Taken was logged in the archive and so I have pulled it back into the current site. And at such times as these, moving house, it is perhaps good to reflect on the original intention that inspired me to maintain an online presence in the first place. So here is my first post, The Entrenching Tool!

Reflections on why I write from November 2011. Edited 2020.

On first sight Jademountains might look like an exercise in self-indulgence! A monastic going on about herself. However do explore the Archive, there’s frequently teaching embedded within a post where I’ll be talking about something I’ve experienced, thought about or otherwise found interesting and worth passing on. Hopefull the material ammased here will be a useful ‘tool’ to find inspiration, information and encouragement to continue to practice. Return frequently. Do subscribe if you want to have posts come into your inbox.

The underlying teaching is Buddhist practice is not separate from living an ordinary daily life what ever ones circumstances.

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Perfectly Balanced – With Poise

This evening I learnt a sangha member in North America had announced to her community of trainees that their cancer had metastasised involving lung and other parts of the body. The merit of these images and this post is offered for the benefit of this dear woman who has been dealing with cancer for a number of years.

Dear Rev. Mugo,

Here are shots of a heron we saw at the north end of Druridge Bay on 17th (January). It was quite as cold as it looks. There’s something extraordinary about the stillness of a heron – how it stands, and stands, and stands, as if it had never been anywhere else.

And then it took off and I just happened to have the camera trained on it and caught that moment of perfectly balanced but dynamic form. But that we may all remain still, so still and then spread our wings and take flight in reflexive response to the air around us. I wish that for our sangha member and for all. It is a matter of faith, which has no object. Faith, or trust in that which underpins our lives.

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What Am I?

We struggle to know who we are, to define and be defined. To be valued, to be of value. To know and be known. To understand and be understood. In this tradition, humans are regarded as intrinsically empty of independent existence. Yes, we know and experience ourselves as individual and separate, functioning in the world along side other ‘separate’ beings. However, the sense of being a separated self, separate from other ‘selves’, fades. If given half a chance!

I am what I do?
No
I am what I think?
No
I am how I appear?
No
I am what I feel?
No
I am what I understand?
No

Doing, thinking, appearing, feeling and understanding are known as the five Skandhas or five aggregates or ‘heaps’ which are: form (or material image, impression) (rupa), sensations (or feelings, received from form) (vedana), perceptions (samjna), mental activity or formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vijnana).
Wikipedia for starters:

This post is for those suffering from long term degenerative conditions, and those who partner them. Over time and increasingly: no longer able to ‘do’ as they once did, not able to ‘appear’ thus ‘invisible in the world’, feelings are extreme/diffuse/confusing (you name it) thoughts are muddled and understanding dimming. This too is Buddha, we take care of Buddha. Note to self: ‘Aging’ is not a long term degenerative disease, however it surely does feel that way! sometimes.

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When a Smile is All

It’s odd!
A streaming cold
emptied in-box.

It’s odd!
to feel sick
and energetic

It’s odd!
I said
I’m dying

She said
‘we are’
I smiled.

Yes, it is odd to be caught in this in-between world within the community. Taking care not to spread the cold; we take a lot of care. Not mixing, eating alone, not joining in kitchen clean-up, sanatizing hands, handles etc. At least we can share a smile. I’m not dying but it feels that way sometimes. My sympathy goes out to those who are actually and actively dying. Human, animal, the earth.

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