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.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/20/2016

Three Types of Sick People 

231. There are these three types of sick person to be found in the world. What three?
There is the sick person who, whether he obtains the proper diet, proper medicines, proper nursing or not, will not recover from his illness.
Again, there is the sick person who, whether he obtains the proper diet, proper medicines, the proper nursing or not, will recover from his sickness anyway.
And again, there is the sick person who will recover from his illness only if he gets the proper diet, medicines and nursing.
It is for this last type that proper diet, medicine and nursing should be prescribed, but the others should be looked after also.
Now, there are three types of person in the world who can be compared to the three types of sick person. What three?
There is the person who, whether he gets the chance of seeing the Tathagata and learning the Dhamma and discipline or not, will not enter the perfection of things that are skillful.
Again, there is the person who, whether he gets a chance of seeing the Tathagata and learning the Dhamma and discipline or not, will enter the perfection of things that are skillful.
And again, there is the person who will enter into the perfection of things that are skillful only if he gets the chance of seeing the Tathagata and learning the Dhamma and discipline.
It is on account of this last person that the Dhamma is proclaimed, but it should be taught to others also.

Anguttara Nikaya I.121

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/16/2016

The Dangers of Anger 

Bhante Sujiva had compiled a list of the eleven disadvantages of a heart lacking metta to complement the well-known Mettanisamsa sutta. 

Maybe it’s just a faulty perception or silly belief but in these past days I have felt more vulnerable to harm than when I am consciously living with a heart full of loving-kindness and compassion and the Venerable’s commentary seems to lend my idea some credence. At the very least, I think they’re a useful way to think about the issue and hope you might as well:

Alternatively, just as in the eleven blessings of metta, one may also systematically recollect the adverse effects of anger: 

  1. He sleeps unhappily (and with difficulty)
  2. He wakes up unhappily 
  3. He dreams bad dreams  
  4. Humans dislike him 
  5. Non-humans dislike him 
  6. Devas do not protect him and demons haunt him! 
  7. He is likely to meet with violence and dangers
  8. His complexion is ugly and he suffers ill health 
  9. He dies confused 
  10. His mind is agitated and is difficult to calm down 
  11. When he dies, he falls into the woeful states.
Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/15/2016

Imbalance 

The last week has been rough largely due to my own lack of restraint. I seem to have slipped from compassion to resentment and just couldn’t figure out how to put the brakes on. The stress of my wife’s upcoming return to school and the impending birth of our third has made our home a virtual pressure cooker and I have not been practicing enough to meet all of this with a still and tender heart. 

Today is a new day,  however,  and I have recommited myself to the practice, my aspirations and to sitting for at least an hour a day.  And, even though I’d rather not share specifics, I feel making this aditthana public will give it more strength. I also intend to spend more time cultivating metta because I can feel overwhelmed at times by focusing overmuch on karuna. My tentative plan is to spend my morning sit working mostly with loving-kindness and the evening with compassion. We’ll see how it goes but a warm, open heart and a better way to start the day than a great that trembles at the suffering of all beings. At least, it seems that way today. 

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