Spirituality in Martial Arts Class?

July 6th, 2012

A friend wrote critically of codes and creeds in martial arts schools. He feels people just want fitness and self-defense and do not sign up for what he calls “Boy Scouts or Sunday School”.

He has a valid point. But what of people who want more than fitness and fighting from their martial arts study? What of those who want a program for handling well all types of “enemies” that could try to stop us?

No, MMA ring champions do not seem to live by codes, but the samurai have a code, the Jedi have a code, the American fighting military has a code. The wilder and wider your range of possibilities, the more you will need a philosophical guide to prevent you from falling into the enemy’s control.

We created our “3-part Seekers Creed”, and then our “14-Point Code of Mindful Action” ethics code, and then “8 Aspects of Self Actualization”, and then “6 Parameters of Heroic Living”, and “9 Cuts of Personal Power Activation” all based on translating 2,500-year-old Asian spiritual codes. Code overload, we have!

But… adult businesspeople and young schoolchildren love to tell us stories of how some aspect of the code helped them score a victory of some sort in life. Codes work for us as an integral irreplaceable key component of our gutter-honest self-defense philosophical martial art of “intelligence in action”.

Glimpses of What Could Be

January 4th, 2012

Buddha at Sakya Pema Ts'al in the Himalayas

What would it feel like if you could, after years of working hard at understanding life, sit under a tree and vow not to get up until you truly grasped the deepest most authentic nature of how reality works and how the mind operates in that reality? What would everything in the world look like to you at that moment? What would you look like to everything in the world?

Buddhist art has for over 2,000 years tried its best to depict an answer to those questions. Sometimes friends ask me why there are so many images of the Buddha when the Buddha himself asked people not to turn his image into a thing to be worshipped.

Do not be confused. The Buddha image is not what is to be revered. The Buddha experience as suggested by all images as forms of art is what we seek. Such artwork encourages us, and we take that encouragement to heart.

Here is the inspirational image from the main hall of my friends’ Sakya Pema Ts’al Monastic Institute at the base of the Himalayas. I will enjoy visiting and seeing this up close and personal.

And yes, I acknowledge it will be easier seeing that image than it will be seeing what that seer saw.

Can Spiritual Intelligence Bend Political Power?

October 18th, 2011

What to make of the keepers of Buddha’s programs for spiritual intelligence and compassionate care in the world in the shadow of a powerful government determined to force Tibet and its people to serve that government’s own economic and political benefit? The following is a disturbing read.

Text of the CTA’s “Call for Prayers and Fasting”

Since the 2008 uprising in Tibet, the situation in Tibet has been deteriorating. Particularly, as of March this year, it has become ever more tense and urgent with the increasing cases of self-immolation by young Tibetans who find China’s occupation and repression of Tibet intolerable.
Tibetans in Tibet are driven to these drastic acts to resist political repression, cultural assimilation, economic marginalization and environmental destruction.

From the seven young Tibetans who self-immolated this year, the following succumbed to their injuries: On March 16, 2011, Lobsang Phuntsok (age 21), a monk of Kirti Monastery in northeastern Tibet. The second reported case, on August 15, 2011 was that of Tsewang Norbu, (age 29), a monk at Nyitso monastery in eastern Tibet. The third and the fourth cases were Khaying (age 18), and Choephel (age 19), both former monks of Kirti Monastery. They self-immolated on October 7, 2011 and died on October 8 and 11 respectively.

The conditions of the three others, namely Lobsang Kelsang (age 18), Lobsang Kunchok (age 19) and Kelsang Wangchuk (age 17) are still unknown.

The Central Tibetan Administration is deeply concerned about their whereabouts and well-being.

We express our solidarity with all those who lost their lives and with all other Tibetans who are incarcerated for their courage to speak up for the rights of the Tibetan people. We appeal to the United Nations, freedom-loving countries and people around the world to show their support and solidarity with the Tibetan people at this critical stage.

Given the undeclared martial law in Tibet and the increasing cases of self-immolation, the international community must press the government of People’s Republic of China to restore freedom and resolve the issue of Tibet through dialogue for the mutual benefit of the Tibetan and Chinese people. In this light, we urge the international community and the media to send fact-finding delegations to ascertain the situation on the ground inside Tibet.

The Kashag and the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have jointly planned activities in India and the world-at-large to highlight the deepening crisis in Tibet.

We call upon all Tibetans and Tibet supporters in the free world to join efforts and organize activities in their respective regions. These events must be peaceful, respectful of local laws and dignified. On October 19, 2011, the Central Tibetan Administration will offer day-long prayers and encourage all Tibetans to fast on that day as a gesture of solidarity with Tibetans in Tibet.

To our brothers and sisters in Tibet, we stand with you in fulfilling our common aspirations, and we share the pain of your sacrifice.

Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile The Kashag

Phurba Pierces Problem States

February 2nd, 2011

Friends have asked me about some of the techniques that keep me intrigued with my Tibetan teachers who share with me their ageless lore of the Dorje Phurba “demon-defeating dagger”. Are you up for trying out an exercise?

The phurba dagger is a very real tool – a 3-edged blade like the famous commando daggers once used in western warfare but now banned in warfare for being just too fiercely deadly. Hand-held phurba spike daggers can be made of silver, gold, copper, or iron, or carved from wood of white, yellow, red, or black colors. However, the phurba is most important as a symbol of focused intention even more powerful than the hand-held blade.

What would you do with a weapon that could pierce through conditions in your life that stood in opposition to your fulfillment? What would you change right away if you had a tool that could nail into powerless paralysis any situations that caused lack or frustration in your life?

So here’s exercise one: Find one small condition that nags your life right now. Find something that you want but cannot seem to get, or something you dislike but cannot seem to dump. For this exercise, start with something relatively small, some little thing easy to identify, something that you will clearly recognize as being cured if or when a positive change comes about. We will save the big things for later.

Maybe you find some toxic condition you want to relieve – too much debt, excess body weight, unsafe car, co-workers or friends who bring you down, poor health, too much stress, overworked, etc. – something to purge in order to purify your life.

Maybe you will find some acceptable condition you want to expand – Mildly “OK” home or career or health or relationships or financial security or knowledge or appearance, etc. – but it could be and should be more satisfying and enriching.

Maybe you find your life missing key people, or positioning, or access to the kind of influence that would allow you to advance and accomplish – you lack the right allies, lovers, mentors, opportunities, titles, or outright patron sponsors – people or conditions to attract and bind to you in order to give your life the boost in momentum it needs.

Maybe you find your life invaded by people or groups or situations or conditions that seem to target you specifically and hold you back from what is rightfully yours – rivals, competitors, jailers, saboteurs, or outright enemies – some identifiable force to conquer and nail down out of the way in order for your life to be free to blossom.

Exercise One, part Two is to sit and take a deep breath and very clearly and explicitly identify with a vision in your mind’s inner eye and in as few strong words as possible just what you want to change. Stay with that for a few moments and repeat this step over and over to be sure you are focused. If you are comfortable with spiritual adventure, you could even press your palms together with the fingers of each hand gripping like claws the knuckles of the other hand as illustrated as Kuji no In Ge-baku-ken mudra in Chapter 5 in book 2 of Ninja; The Complete Collection. I will show you a minor adjustment of that sometime when we are together personally.

Exercise One, part Three is then to watch very carefully over the next week for any and all signs, coincidences, omens, hints, whispers, or offers that could indicate a possible solution to your challenge. Just remember to pay attention and look for even the most subtle of communications as to an answer. See what catches your awareness directly, obliquely, or in moments of distraction or even dreaming.

Try it and write me a comment on what you experience.

Dalai Lama in “The Sunday Indian”

November 30th, 2010

The Dalai Lama – WAR AND PEACE

by Spriha Srivastava | December 5, 2010 17:38

What has a Ninjutsu Master got to say about His Holiness The Dalai Lama? A lot more than you know, for Stephen K Hayes was security advisor to His Holiness for the better part of the 1990s, and continues to be a spiritual friend.

What was your first impression of the Dalai Lama and how real was he compared to your perception of a Godman?

I first met the Dalai Lama in India in 1986. I was very much moved by the energy of his very presence and by his bearing. I later learned the Tibetans sometimes call him Kundun, which means “the presence”. I was impressed by the intense way he paid attention to each question I asked, and the way he answered honestly and directly. I was no statesman or business figure or celebrity, but he nonetheless gave me his entire attention for the hours I spent with him at our first meeting.

Read the rest on The Sunday Indian web site

Ganden Shartse Monks on Tour

November 6th, 2010

Friends who visit my home sometimes compliment a large hanging thangka scroll picture of the historical Buddha displayed on the landing at the end of of my 3rd floor hallway. The large painting shows Gautama Buddha and some of his disciples, painted in rich colors and embellished with highlights of actual gold.

I was given the scroll as a present by the senior lamas of Ganden Shartse Monastery during a visit to Mundgod, India, in 2002. I had promised my friend Thubten Jinpa (translator for the Dalai Lama) I would assist the Ganden Shartse monks to get USA visas to facilitate a fund-raising tour through the United States.

Learn more about the monastery and how you can help at http://www.gadenshartsecf.org/become-a-friend/

Help Build a Temple

June 24th, 2010

Got a few extra dollars looking for something important and valuable to do?

An-shu Stephen K. Hayes is working to assist his friend Lama Kunga Dhondup, principal of Sakya Pema T’sal Monastic School in Pokhara, Nepal, in fundraising to build a traditional Tibetan temple at the site of his monastery for young Tibetan monks.

An-shu says, “My young monk friends hosted me and a few of our SKH Quest Center Black Belt students in their monastery a few times in years past. They generously helped me translate ancient Tibetan texts that teach important exercises for the liberation of the human spirit. These are teachings that will add great value to our spirit-building training in the Western world.”

Here is where we need to help. “Temple construction is well underway – and along comes a world economic disaster. Funds pedged to my friends disappeared. I promised the Sakya Pema Ts’al monks I would do all I could to help them finish the financing of their temple building. Rumiko and I have the Blue Lotus Assembly charity that we use to send donations to great causes like this. If you have a few dollars you can share, please join us.”


Instead of automated donation, contribution checks can also be sent to:

Blue Lotus Assembly

c/o SKH Quest

6236 Far Hills Avenue

Dayton, OH 45459

Avalokiteshvara – Kannon – Chenrezig – Yoga Meditation

June 15th, 2010

HOMBU DOJO – DAYTON, OHIO
Wednesday June 30, 2010 8:30 – 9:30 pm

An-shu and guest Sakya Lama Rigzin Wangdu from Sakya Pema Ts’al Monastic Institute in Pokhara, Nepal, presented a meditation practice in generating awareness of our inherent proclivity towards compassionate intelligent encouraging engagement with the world, through identification with our own inner nature of being a “heroic bright light who hears the sorrows of the world”.

Earthquake Victims in Tibet

April 15th, 2010

April 14 was Rumiko’s and my 30th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with joy and then were dismayed to hear about the Tibetan earthquake tragedy that day. More than 1,700 people have died and an estimated 10,000 mostly ethnic Tibetans were injured and left homeless in near-freezing temperatures after an earthquake struck a region of Kham, Tibet. More than 85 percent of the houses in Kyigudo, a town of 100,000 people nearest the epicenter, were destroyed along with a major monastery.

I encourage friends to donate relief funds, either directly to an appropriate organization like The Tibet Fund Emergency Earthquake Relief, or by sending a donation to Rumiko’s and my charity Blue Lotus Assembly to form a collection we will donate as a group.

May 13 update: I made a presentation to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on stage in front of the audience when he visited us, and requested that he add ours to his contribution to relief work. We collected over $3,000 in donations. That goes a long way in Tibet!

Please join us in keeping the victims of this earthquake in our thoughts and prayers and assisting financially if you are able. So far, the following friends have contributed:
Curtis Adkins
Jacob Bassham
Boulder Quest Center
Brent deMoville
Maison Dhondt
Daniel L. Dunn
Tori Eldrige
Michael Erwin
Tony Griffin family
Richard Harrington
Jackie Haviland
Marissa Hayes
Reina Hayes
Stephen & Rumiko Hayes
Rick Jurvis
Christos Karatsalos
Jesper Ljungquist
Joel Minton
Eamonn Mullaly
Neal Nemhauser
Russell Nemhauser
Newbury Park Martial Arts
Steve Pavlovic
Michael Piper
Robain Polly
Kyle Smith
Marco Tillmann
Richard Titcombe
Jerry C. Townsend
Gail Whipple


Soul-Stirring Artistry

April 3rd, 2010

In Bloomington the night before the Dalai Lama teachings on the Heart Sutra?
Do not miss this opportunity to experience the soul-stirring artistry of Michael Fitzpatrick. Check the poster. I certainly will be there.