Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/07/2016

Happy Uposatha – Guarding the Heart

Yesterday I was listening to a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Kaccana and he mentioned Ajahn Thanissaro’s take on the metta sutta. Specifically, that Ven. Thanissaro interprets the well-known verse to mean that one should guard one’s loving-kindness as a mother would protect her only child. For years I preferred the alternate explanation and took the verse to mean we ought to view all beings as a mother does her child but, lately, I’ve been seeing the wisdom in the Ven Thanissaro’s translation. 

In a world so obviously corrupt and sunk in suffering it may not always be possible forba worldling like me to view every betting with the eyes of a mother. What is possible, however, is to guard my heart and protect the loving-kindness that lives therein. 

May all difficult and deluded beings find their way out if suffering. May they know peace and may their defilements be cooled by the Dhamma. May those who would harm others be guided away from the path to perdition and may we all live in safety and peace. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/07/2016

Thought Training

“From now on, no matter what problems I have to face, I won’t become irritated by them. I won’t identify any circumstances or obstacles I experience as problems. I’ll regard them as positive.”

Regarding everything as the practice, as a teaching seems, at times, beyond my reach but what choice do I have? Hiding from the truth is no longer an option. May I make use of what little time remains. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/05/2016

Practicing in the Frying Pan

It hasn’t been lost on me that, for as much as I espouse lofty ideas and standards of practice outside the home, my home life is pretty much in a constant state of crisis and disarray. Whether it’s disrespectful kids, angry and resentful spouses or family obligations demanding my time, it’s clear that I’ve got a lot of work to do. 

It seems that whenever I forget this, I quickly lose my bearings and slide back into suffering. I’m getting the impression that family life, if it’s to be lived well without causing more harm to oneself and others, must be lived for others without regard for oneself.

It really does seem that the Tibetan concern with self-cherishing has everything to do with the problems of family/lay life. I find this to be the car while I acknowledge that, in my mind, overcoming of egotism is not, by itself, sufficient for liberation. So, May I return to these lojong and tonglen practices knowing then to be an expedient means for living in family. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/03/2016

The Holy Man

418. He who, having cast off likes and dislikes, has become tranquil, is rid of the substrata of existence and like a hero has conquered all the worlds — him do I call a holy man.

Dhp XXVI. Brahmanavagga – The Holy Man : Dhp 418::

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/03/2016


The world is being overrun with greed, with lust for power, with pursuit of sense pleasures and we seen to have lost our way. Long gone are the days of Dhammarajas and we are now left with a president elect whose appetite for gain and praise knows no bounds. Time will tell if this republic can weather this tyrant but in the mean time I will voluntarily undertake a vote of relative poverty until this man serves out his term or is removed from office. 

May I never spend more than twenty dollars on myself each week. 

May I own at most seven of every style of clothing. 

May I eat only twice a day.

I will add more as time goes on but I hope to be able to give more and help more with any money I’m able to save. May we all avoid catastrophe and live I leave and safety. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/30/2016


It’s jarring, disorienting even to realize the meaning of all of the things that ate happening uh,b the country and in the world right now. We don’t notice nearly enough that it’s now acceptable to label a group of people as inherently dangerous and therefore less deserving of our respect. It’s okay to blatantly steal indigenous lands and imperil their health and well-being for the sake of oil and fracked gas that are themselves bringing us closer each day to the apocalypse. It’s okay to syrup women of the right to control their bodies and people of their right to love whomever they will. How is this okay now?

I see these politicians being appointed to positions of power and they seem only to want to sow discord, division and suffering. Am I wrong? Am I not seeing clearly? Please, someone, enlighten me. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/29/2016

Happy Uposatha – The Shining Ones

I’ll be the first to admit that my perception of the world has darkened considerably since the day 61 million of my countrymen voted for Donald Trump. Already imperiled, I fear now that the earth and humanity have both missed their chance to avoid the great culling. Total extinction may not be on the menu but it will be pretty darn close.

But, how does one go on with these environmental, political and humanitarian atrocities always at the forefront of one’s mind? The darkness and negativity is palpable and I realize that I need to brighten the mind, to see the other side so as not to be dragged down myself. Luckily, I ran into a guided meditation by Ajahn Achalo some time ago that addresses the violence, destruction and the apparent victory of the forces of darkness. He presents a version of devanusati to be used to brighten the mind and remind us that there are beings who care, who are good and who want the best for all beings even in a world dominated by Mara.

At present I’ve only found it on the insight timer app but if I can locate it on YouTube I’ll post it. It’s rather long but, for me, it has been just what I needed to carry on. Sukhita hontu!

Post Scriptum:

Please find the meditation at the link here:

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/28/2016

Taking a Moment

In more ways than obe I have never needed to take a moment to quietly survey my mind and heart than now. As much as I am driven to write about and think about the horrors being perpetrated against my country, the world, its ecosystems and its people I really do know that any hope of change begins here. 

That’s why this morning after I changed my refuges, precepts and aspirations I decided to take a minute or two to ask what was happening in the heart. Which defilement was dominating the mind? Quickly, I had decided that if it were delusion I would spend the time in anapanasati, if it were hatred then I would cultivate the brahmaviharas and if greed then I would do asubha meditations. In this way I felt I really wss preparing the mind as well add I could for the day ahead. This morning it happened that delusion (which manifested as a kind of neural, apathy in the mind) was the dominant defilement so I chose anapanasati. Toward the end I ran through some body contemplation as he’d had begun to bubble up. 

It may be an imperfect solution but when guerrilla practice is called for then I can think of nothing better for it. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/27/2016


“Truly successful is the one who purifies [their self]” (Qur’an, 87.14)

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/26/2016

The end of the world

Maybe it’s just me but it really seems like things are coming to a rapid end. Sea ice in the arctic is continuing to melt despite it being winter. Trump is president. Corporations and the government are running roughshod over the rights of water protectors at Standing Rock while the last hospital in Aleppo was just bombed. Time will tell but the desperation and pain of the world is almost too much to bear. Sabbe satta sabba dukkha pamuccantu. 

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