Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/24/2014

The Cost of the Kilesas

Speaking to many wife this morning about global climate change she mentioned the fact that much of the green  house gas that is heating our planet is produced by cattle. I know methane is much more capable of trapping heat and have heard similar reports before so I am inclined to believe it. Regardless of the particulars it’s pretty clear that our kilesas are at the root of our problems witg a special emphasis on greed.

So many cultures and religions speak of ages of decadence where the world descends into darkness and strife as a result of general immorality and it seems to me that tg e destruction and impending cataclysm we are facing is the resilt of just such licentiousness. In my honest but admittedly pessimistic opinion I don’t see much hope for us getting out of the mess we’ve made as millions of people cannot be expected to curb their desires or work for the benefit of all. Maywe use what time is left to practice the Teachings and do our best not to cause suffering. Sabbe satta sabba dukkha pamuccantu.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/23/2014

An Excellent Reminder

296. Say one dwells contemplating the body – ardent, clearly conscious and mindful – having put aside the attraction and repulsion of the world. As he does this, either some bodily feeling arises, bodily discomfort arises, or drowsiness scatters his thoughts to external things. Then his attention should be directed to some pleasurable object or thought. Having done that, delight springs up in him; being delighted, happiness arises, and the mind that is happy is concentrated. Then he thinks: “The aim on which I set my mind is now attained. Come, let me withdraw my mind from that pleasant thought.” So, he withdraws his mind from that, and neither starts nor carries on thought processes.

Samyutta Nikaya V.155

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/22/2014

Lice

You read it right: lice. My wife and children have got them (I have been spared so far by a bald pate) and it has been a nightmare. Of course there is the standard suffering caused by the rigors of infection control to try to prevent the spread of the critters but there is also the fact the controlling means taking life.

Whether it’s been moth infestations, bedbugs or roaches it seems the only way to deal with beings is by killing them. And although I have not directly like a louse I have applied creams and removed nits galore. How do I justify it? Quite simply I don’t. And I have ceased to try. What is better (I think) is to be honest about what I am doing and recognize I am breaking the precepts. In the interim I will do all I can to prevent such conditions from arising again.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/20/2014

Remembering Our Goodness

I have been (happily) returning often to the thought of one good deed that I have been committed to doing on a weekly basis this morning. I’m not quite sure what sparked the repeated recollection but just having the thought there as a touchstone throughout the morning seems to have brightened the mind and eased the burden a bit. Of course I could be mistaken but this is the ccorrelation that immediately comes to mind.

Regardless of this specific case,  the Lord did advise us to reflect upon our goodness from time to time to give us heart and encouragement along the way. So I have dusted off my merit book once more and ask determined to fill it for the benefit of myself and others.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/20/2014

Gratitude: Katannu Sutta

“Monks, I will teach you the level of a person of no integrity and the level of a person of integrity. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, “Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful & unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no integrity. A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by civil people. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity.”
Somehow I feel that the way out of this full has everything to do with cultivating gratitude and contentment and seeing how much energy I have been putting into getting. There is banjo medicine like true Dhamma so I hope you’ll forgive me for sharing yet another sutta.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/19/2014

Ganda Sutta: A Boil

“Monks, it’s just as if there were a boil that had been building for many years with nine openings, nine un-lanced heads. Whatever would ooze out from it would be an uncleanliness oozing out, a stench oozing out, a disgust oozing out. Whatever would be discharged from it would be an uncleanliness discharging, a stench discharging, a disgust discharging.

“‘A boil,’ monks, is another word for this body composed of the four properties, born of mother & father, fed on rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing & massaging, breaking-up & disintegrating. It has nine openings, nine un-lanced heads. Whatever would ooze out from it would be an uncleanliness oozing out, a stench oozing out, a disgust oozing out. Whatever would be discharged from it would be an uncleanliness discharging, a stench discharging, a disgust discharging. For that reason, you should become disenchanted with this body.”

Ganda Sutta: A Boil
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/16/2014

Heaven and Hell

When it comes to the subject of rebirth I am an unabashed literalist. I really do believe that there are heaven and hell realms that one it’s born into after death as a result of one’s actions here. So why is it that I can at times be so willingto these myself into the gaping maw of Hell?

There are times when I feel as if unskillful actions would be nigh unto impossible for me to commit and others when every thought seems to bring me closer to hellfire. This morning I found myself literally failing out to the devata for help and protection as I felt incapable of fending for myself. Frankly I don’t know what to do in these cases except for to wait it out if I have the strength. Fortunately today I did but I fear that one day I will be dragged to the abyss by these kilesas.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/15/2014

Happiest in All the World

288. At one time, the Lord was staying near Alavi, at the cow path in the Simsapa Grove, lodging on the leaf-strewn ground. Now, Hatthaka of Alavi was walking about, and he saw the Lord seated among the leaves. He approached him and asked: “Pray, sir, do you live happily?”
“Yes, my boy, I live happily. Of all the people in the world, I am the happiest.”
“But sir, these winter nights are cold – the dark half of the month is a time of frost. The ground has been trampled hard by the cattle’s hooves; the carpet of fallen leaves is thin. There are few leaves on the trees, your yellow robe is thin, and the winds blow cold.”
“Despite this, I still live happily. I will ask you a question; answer as you wish. What do you think? Suppose a man has a house with a gabled roof, plastered inside and out with well-fitting doors and windows. Inside is a couch spread with a long fleeced woollen rug, a bedspread of white wool, a cover embroidered with flowers, spread with a costly antelope skin, with a canopy overhead, and scarlet cushions at each end. The lamp is burning and four wives wait on him with all their charms. Would such a man be happy or not?”
“Yes, sir, he would be happy.”
“Well, what do you think? Is it not possible that distress of body and mind due to greed, hatred or delusion could arise in him, causing him to feel unhappy?”
“Yes, sir, that is possible.”
“Well, my boy, that greed, hatred and delusion that could cause distress of body and mind has been abandoned by the Tathagata, cut off at the root, made like a palm tree stump that cannot grow again in the future. And that is why I live happily.”

Anguttara Nikaya I.136

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/14/2014

Where’s the Rug?

I truly feel as if the rug has been pulled from under my feet and am more or less flailing around trying to find some way to ease the existential ache and get some true rest. So far I have managed to maintain the semblance of my formal practice but two days went by without posting and I didn’t even realize it. Something is off but I just can’t put my finger on it.

What choice do I have but to push ahead though? I have let so many practice commitments go already and find myself struggling to do the bear minimum so I think that, for the time being at least, it would be best to formally renounce everything but the essentials and begin building again. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/11/2014

Simplicity

284. Conquer anger with love,
Evil with good,
Meanness with generosity,
And lies with truth.

Dhammapada 223

When the higher teachings seem so far out of reach and the idea of Nibbana unattainable the simplicity of the teachings in the Dhammapada soothes a weary heart and fraught mind.
May we cultivate the good, restrain ourselves from evil and purify the mind.

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