Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/30/2016

A Tender Heart

The longer I practice, the more I become sensitive to the feelings that seem to have their home in the heart area of my body. Whether happy, angry, tense or contented I literally feel it in my chest. As tempting as it is to try and understand the connection between this body and mind stream and how that all jives with anatta I’ve decided just to keep an eye on the heart area instead. I guess you could call it a purely phenomenological approach or laziness but it send to me that guarding the heart is precisely what’s called for. 

Whether in daily life or on the cushion, smoothing out the ripples and healing the fissures seems like the best way to avoid causing passion to myself and others. May I take good care of the heart and develop boundless live for all beings. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/29/2016

Baby Walking Meditation

I’m here outside of my wife’s midwifery orientation walking our newborn back and forth in the courtyard. Only five years ago I did this with my six year old and recall how I often tried to use the time as a formal walking meditation practice. Due to the rhythmic nature of baby walking and carrying it has always seemed like a natural progression to use the time for meditation. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/28/2016

Met-ta

So I’ve been experimenting with using the parikamma or meditation word “metta” in the same way I’ve low-cost used the word buddho. And, surprisingly, so far the results have been quite good. I imagine that one reason for this is due to the fact that I’m staying with the theme of the brahmaviharas even while working with the breath so it gains a certain momentum. 

Anyway, I’m finding myself pretty low energy today which is natural with a newborn in the house but I wanted to share my discovery. Sukhi hotu!

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/26/2016

Anoint the Mind with the Medicine of Love 

238. As a mongoose approaches a snake to seize it only after having supplied his own body with medicine, so too, the meditator, the earnest student of meditation, on approaching this world is abounding as it is in anger and malice, plagued by quarrels, strife, contention and hatred, must anoint his mind with the medicine of love.

Milindapanha 394

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/26/2016

Smiling Practice

Years ago, when I first heard of Bhante Vimalaramsi, I remember being struck by his instructions to smile as a way to generate metta throughout the day. Not much else stuck with me in terms of his method but intentionally putting a smile on my face has been a practice that has brought me a lot of joy and definitely helped to open my heart.

This morning, surely as a result of a seed planted by practice, the thought occurred to me to put on a smile even as I slid out of bed. I was pleased to notice the thought and happy to follow its advice and perhaps it was the reason that this morning’s formal metta bhavana session was so powerful.

“Whenever you find yourself not smiling, start smiling. ”  

&

“Smile with your mind, with your mouth, with your eyes.”

— Bhante Vimalaramsi

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/25/2016

Assu Sutta: Tears

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: “From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. What do you think, monks: Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans?”

“As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the Blessed One, this is the greater: the tears we have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.”

“Excellent, monks. Excellent. It is excellent that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by me.

“This is the greater: the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.

“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

“Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father… the death of a brother… the death of a sister… the death of a son… the death of a daughter… loss with regard to relatives… loss with regard to wealth… loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

“Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released.”

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn15/sn15.003.than.html

 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/24/2016

A Buddhist Take on the Mevlevi Wird

Facing all fears — Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassā.

Facing all sorrows and sadness—  Aniccā vata saṅkhārā, upāda vaya dhammino. uppajjitvā nirujjanti, tesaṁ vūpasamo sukho. (All compound things are inconstant, their nature: to arise and pass away. they disband even as they arise, their total stilling is bliss.)

Facing all benefits — Kataṃ puñña-phalaṃ mayhaṃ Sabbe bhāgı bhavantu te. (May all share in the blessings springing from the good I have done.)

And facing all abundance—  Hatthasaṁyato pādasaṁyato, vācāyasaṁyato saṁyatuttamo Ajjhattarato samāhito, eko santusito tam āhu bhikkhuṁ. (He who has control over his hands, feet and tongue; who is fully controlled, delights in inward development, is absorbed in meditation, keeps to himself and is contented — him do people call a monk.)

And facing all astonishment— Sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāyāti. (All things are unworthy of attachment.)

Facing all sins— Ratanattaye pamādena, dvārattayena kataṃ, Sabbaṃ aparādhaṃ khamatu no bhante. (May the Triple Gem forgive us for any wrong we have done out of carelessness in thought, word, or deed.)

Facing all scarcities— Piyehi vippayogo dukkho (Being separated from what is dear is suffering.)

Facing all calamities— Buddhādipavaro nātho, Dhammo nātho varuttamo. Nātho pacceka‧sambuddho, Saṅgho nāthottaro mamaṃ (The Buddha is the unsurpassed protector, Dhamma is the supreme protection, Peerless is the “Silent Buddha,” the Sangha is my true refuge.)

Facing every event of destiny — Upanīyati loko, addhuvo. sabba-pāpassa akaranam (The world is swept away, it does not endure.)

Facing all obedience and disobedience — Dukkhappattā ca niddukkhā, bhayappattā ca nibbhayā. Sokappattā ca nissokā,  hontu sabbepi pāṇino. (May all beings who suffer be free from suffering. May all beings who are in fear be free from fear. May all beings who are grieving be free from grief.)

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/23/2016

Nandana Sutta: Delight

The birth of my daughter has set me reflecting on the dangers of attachment once more and I can think of few better or more concise suttas to direct my contemplations than this:

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then Mara the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

Those with children delight because of their children. Those with cattle delight because of their cows. A person’s delight comes from acquisitions, since a person with no acquisitions doesn’t delight.

[The Buddha:]

Those with children grieve because of their children. Those with cattle grieve because of their cows. A person’s grief comes from acquisitions, since a person with no acquisitions doesn’t grieve.

Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me” — vanished right there.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/21/2016

Giving Well 

233. These five things make one’s gift good. What five? One gives with reverence, one gives thoughtfully, one gives with his own hand, one gives things that are good, and one gives thinking of the result.

Anguttara Nikaya III.172

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/20/2016

TONGLEN: GIVING AND TAKING

I bow to the Lord of Compassion!
All sentient beings, my parents,
wish happiness; all wish to avoid suffering.
If all my parents suffer, how can this child be happy?
Bless me to take away their suffering.
I take into my heart
all their suffering and the causes of suffering.
ram yam kham
By the fire of aspiration and the wind of compassion,
it dissolves into emptiness.
om ah hum
I give them all my happiness and the causes of happiness.
Bless me to give all gain and victory to them.
I shall suffer the consequences of my unskillful acts,
if not this very day, then shortly after—
bless me to eat the bitter fruit before it ripens.
so’ham sa’ham
Gain and victory to others, loss and defeat to myself!
Whenever and wherever I meet my anguished parents,
bless me to mount this aspiration on the breath.

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