Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/15/2017

Harboring Thoughts

3. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

How much would my life improve if only I were able to live by these words?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/15/2017

From the Heart

Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. 

If you speak or act with a corrupted heart, then suffering follows you –as the wheel of the cart, the track of the ox that pulls it. 

Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. 

If you speak or act with a calm, bright heart, then happiness follows you, like a shadow that never leaves.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/13/2017

Better It Be Me

The social world is a strange one. In so many ways, adult life doesn’t seem to have progressed much beyond high school although the majority of us have learned to dissumulate a little better. In particular I’m thinking of the ongoing issue we have with a fellow parent in our son’s class. Not only has she held onto her anger but I suspect she’s using her influence in the PTA to turn others against us. And, although I could be mad, two thinks immediately come to mind:

  1. This is my kamma so I clearly deserve this and
  2. Better it be me, as a person armed with the Dhamma. 

In other words, were it not for the Dhamma and my faith therein, the situation could take a horrible turn. Cooled by the balm of the Buddhadhamma, however, the entire situation becomes an opportunity to practice patience and forgiveness. 

In world that is forever teetering on the edge of disaster hope can we afford to live with hearts dedicated to the pursuit of hatred? 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/12/2017

Happy Uposatha- Planted Seeds

I often find myself wondering, doubting the efficacy of my practices and asking myself why it is that I’m seemingly not getting any kinder. And yet, there are days like this one that give me the verification I need. 

I have spent time on an almost daily basis sending metta to the mother of over of my son’s classmates who has gone to the extent of threatening to file charges against its for harassment if we contact her about any issues our kids are having. I do know that the flames of hatred have been quenched in my own heart as a result of this and of having made a gift to her on Kiva.com but I was still insure of how I would react when we meet in person. 

This morning as I was walking I happened to look up and did a double take when I realized the person coming into view was her. Her face had a sour expression with pursed lips and head slightly raised as if in disgust. I looked back and said hello with a smile and then asked how she wa. No reply other than a “hey” but I felt that I had won a victory over hatred. 

May she be well, happy and peaceful. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/10/2017

Aspiration to Meet Ariya Metteyya 

May I, through this meritorious deed, be born in my next life in the city of Tusita, the beautiful dwelling-place of the gods. 

May I listen to the preaching of Lord Metteyya and enjoy great glory with him for a long time. When this Great Being is born in the charming city of Ketumati as the Buddha, may I be reborn with the three noble root-conditions in a Brahman family. 

May I make offerings to that Great Sage of invaluable robes of the finest sort, alms, dwelling-places and medicines in abundance. 

May I undertake the life of a bhikkhu in the dispensation and illumine that noble (institution), being the possessor of potency, mindful and well-versed in the Tipitaka. 

May he predict (of me), “This one will be a Buddha in the future.” And may I offer gifts to the Buddhas who will come one after the other and (receive sure prediction) from them too. 

May I fare on in repeated births, give food and other things that are desired like a wish-conferring tree. 

May I fulfil all the perfections of morality, renunciation, wisdom, and so forth, and having attained the summit of the perfections, become an incomparable Buddha. 

May I preach the sweet Doctrine which brings bliss to all beings, liberating the whole world with its Devas from the bondage of repeated births. 

May I guide them to the most excellent, tranquil Nibbana.

Aspiration at the conclusion of the commentary on the Jataka (from Dbk, p. 39; verses 4-11 of the concluding 37 verses):
 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/09/2017

Fine-tuning the Practice

Yesterday, I spent my formal practice on an hour long guided metta practice. The technique was based on the Mahasi-style but I was unable to get the feeling going. I have always had a hard time with techniques that ask you to repeat phrases until the nimitta arises but I have to admit that this is more likely a problem with my own lack of patience rather than the method. I often feel as though I should give this type of practice more of a try but cabby escape the feeling that I spend more time chasing thoughts and daydreaming with these kinds of techniques. 

This morning I decided to forego a guided mediation and use the technique I’ve learned from Ajahn Achalo. I clearly sry my intention, noticed the restlessness and the strong desire to feel suffering and then proceeded to see myself sitting in my mind’s eye. Next I began to coordinate two phrases with the breath. “May I be well” on the in breath, “May I be happy” on the out. In a short time I geeky the warmth I’m my chest and, wasone out  stable, I began spreading outward in rings, returning to a smaller circle when it began losing strength. 

Clearly, one style is easier for me but does that mean I should follow it? I have asked this question before and it may be that I’m waiting for confirmation of my bias but it continues to confound me. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/08/2017

Homage to the Four Great Kings

https://i1.wp.com/www.ancient-symbols.com/images/symbolsonline/four-guardian-kings.jpg

I pay homage to the Four Great Kings, Guardians of the Buddhadhamma and the earth.

May the merit I make today through practicing the precepts, cultivating the heart and any other skillful actions I undertake by thought speech or deed be dedicated to you.

I pray you to continue to protect the Triple Gem and save all beings on this earth from catastrophe.

May the blessings of the Triple Gem ever shine upon you until you attain the stainless bliss of Nibbana.

 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/06/2017

Pain in the Heart

The sense of urgency that my posture had taken on of late is in no small way due to my own ideas about the future. Frankly, it seems to me that incredibly rough times are ahead and that I need to cultivate a true refuge. 

I ask myself: How well I respond if someone threatens me or mine with violence? How will I react to seeing those I live in pain, suffering, without food? How will I maintain my practice in the face of attacks like those in Aleppo have suffered?

I can answer honestly that I’m not capable of skillfully confronting such situations yet. I have the feeling that I need to spend some time in meditation each day imagining these situations and trying to cultivate the brahmaviharas in them. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/05/2017

Happy Birthday 

Yesterday was my birthday and by that reckoning I’m one year older. Yet, despite that, I live my life as if it will never end. As if you’d bag of bones and filth can continue indefinitely. As if it’s not decaying and falling apart as I write this. 

There is no escape from death for this body. The elements of which it’s made will separate and go elsewhere and then the consciousness will blink out to reappear in another birth according to its kamma. Who knows when death will come but it is never more than a breath away. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/03/2017

Fear in the New Year

The sense of fear is palpable today.

Likely due to the symbolism of the New Year, the reality that an apparently callous, immoral narcissist is poised to take the reins of our nation is sinking in. Speaking with people to whom I usually only say “hello” in passing, tears watered in eyes, nervous laughter trickled from lips and not one of us ready for the horrors that await us.

May all be free from grief and fear. May the powers too terrible to imagine be staid.

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