Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/22/2015

Buddho Dhammo Sangho

131. Recollect the immeasurable Buddha,
Be believing,
And with the body filled with joy,
You will always be uplifted.

Recollect the immeasurable Dhamma,
Be believing,
And with the body filled with joy,
You will always be uplifted.

Recollect the immeasurable Sangha,
Be believing,
And with the body filled with joy,
You will always be uplifted.

Therigatha 382-384

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/21/2015

Looking Closely

I have made the aditthana to sit for exactly a half hour every morning and fifteen minutes each night inspired by one of Ven. Thanissaro’s essays on Right Action. more, I have made such determinations previously but, qualitatively, I feel this time is somewhat different.

In essence, rather than pushing a technique before hand and simply forcing myself through the period I want to continue to look more closely at the mind as I find it in the moment I come to sit. Doing so I can choose the approach that seems most adroit and then proceed accordingly. So far this technique has produced good results and, frankly, it’s no surprise given that it is an exercise in clear comprehension.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/19/2015

Forgiveness in the Body

This morning I wanted to experiment and find or where I hold aversion and grudges in the body. I have been realizing ever more clearly how I habitually hold onto patterns of ill-will in the mind which are then often expressed as areas of contraction in the body. And, although my concentration was not strong enough to go deep into the body I did feel it in a generalized way throughout the body.

It’s easy to forget just how important formal practice is and to simply go through the motions but by clearly song out a plan of what I wanted to work on I found it much easier to stay focused and develop at least a modicum of concentration. Rather than allowing this moment of seeing intention to, itself, become rote I hope I learn to be kind and patient enough to really see what the mind and heart are calling for so that I can respond appropriately. In doing so I can begin to work on these deeply conditioned patterns and learn to act more from a place of love and kindness.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/19/2015

Fear of Metta

Something strange has happened this morning and I am still somewhat surpassed by it: I sat down to meditate having decided to take up the theme of metta and was quickly overwhelmed by fear. Suddenly, the suffering of all the beings to whom I was to send metta became clear to me and I found myself inside of feeling with it. Rather than sitting with it, as I now with I would have, I changed to the breath. Here again I almost lost my hold but I used the breath with Buddho, then Dhammo and finally Sangho as a way of taking refugee in the Triple Gem and my fear was finally manageable. Not sure why this happened today but it may be because I an still weak from being sick all weekend.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/15/2015

Wrong Behavior

135. I do not praise wrong behaviour in either householder or home leaver. If either a householder or a home leaver fares along wrongly, then he is not accomplishing the perfect way, the Dhamma, the skilled, as a result of his wrong behaviour. Rather, I do praise good behaviour in both householder and home leaver. If either a householder or a home leaver fares along rightly, then he is accomplishing the perfect way, the Dhamma, the skilled, as a result of his right behaviour.

Anguttara Nikaya I.69

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/14/2015

The Danger of Gain

134. Truly dangerous are gains, honours and fame. Concerning this, I have known a man, reading his mind, who even for the sake of a golden bowl filled with silver nuggets would not deliberately tell a lie. That same man have I seen at another time telling lies because his heart was obsessed by gains, honours and fame. Truly dangerous are gains, honours and fame.

Samyutta Nikaya II.233

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/12/2015

Five Days

Even though I have only just begun to work with the practice of seeing my life as being booked ended by certain death with five days’ time, I am happy to report that doing so has proven to be great for my mental health. Against the backdrop of such an expiration date things which have previously held the mind’s attention in real drop away and I can work towards long term plans without the pressure of needing to see them through to completion.

I think the strangest part of it all is just why it works. I have no psychic intuition of impending doom and yet it feels very possible that I could die within the next five days. As such this practice may not work for everyone but, for those to whom death and dissolution seem ever so close, it is one that I highly recommend.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/11/2015

Mata Sutta: Mother

“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. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find… A being who has not been your father… your brother… your sister… your son… your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

“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.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my mothers!

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/10/2015

Last Days Imbued with Love

I don’t want to be alarmist but I’m dying. No, I haven’t been diagnosed with a disease and there is nothing more wrong with me than that I have a human body subject to sickness, aging and death. But, I, like all of you reading this am dying and whether it is a private death in a hospital bed or accident or I die with a million others in a catastrophe man-made or otherwise, I am one day closer to death.

Thinking like this briefly pulls me out of the gauzy delusions that cover my eyes and make my greedy plans seem so important but, as I have seen time and again, the shock wears off and soon enough I am calculating my gains and trying to protect myself from losses.

But, right now, while I can yet see clearly, I want to make a resolve. I want to live my life imbued with as much love, patience, kindness and compassion as I can. I want to live my life as if I knew I had only five days left to live.  Knowing that I had so little time, I would focus on those things I could do to grow in the Dhamma, pleasantly abide in what life I had left and be a comfort to those around me.

This being so, I now resolve to live my life as if I knew for certain it would come to an end in five days. May I put the paramis and the brahmaviharas to the fore of my life and not squander the days I have left.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/08/2015

Suffering and Self-judgement

The party few weeks have been especially difficult and I have been coming to the formal practice from a place of almost no joy. In fact, there is a sense of heaviness and dread every time I sit down and try to force myself to follow the breath and bud-dho. So this morning I made a decision: I would sit in a way that respected this suffering and would bring the poets of the brahmaviharas to the dukkha.

We’re their trumpets and angels? Not quite but the acknowledgement of the suffering and my wish to be free of it were more than enough to help style the heart and give it a few, precious moments of peace.

Nidukkho homi.

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