Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/22/2015

Happy Uposatha – It’s My Fault

Today is an Uposatha day and I’m lucky enough to be able to observe it. If you have seen the last few posts you know I’ve become fascinated with lojong practice and tonglen again simply due to its apparent power to reshape ones relationship to others and especially for its ability to transform my interactions with my immediate family.

You see, my home life is far from what i would call idyllic and often far from what i would consider the ideal for a Dhamma-farer. As a result, i have become increasingly concerned with bringing my behavior and comportment in line with the Dhamma at home add much as anywhere else and have determined that i will only consider my practice successful when i find myself treating my wife and children with the same metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha that i ape to bring to all of my other relationships.

Why is this so hard? Why should they’re be such a chasm between my life as a practitioner outside of the home and while in the role of a father and husband? I don’t know why but i seem to have made the mistake of seeing these as two, mutually exclusive domains and it’s a mistake that i intend to correct as soon as possible. It’s precisely here that i have found the lojong Teachings to be so helpful and the slogan to “Drive all blames into one” to be especially helpful. By accepting fault for anything my wife or children choose to lay on my shoulders i can at once defuse the situation and remain in a heart space where compassion able loving-kindness are yet possible.


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Responses

  1. You describe my experience in a nutshell. I am able to see myself as a successful practitioner when I am teaching my students…but when I’m at home in the afternoon by myself with the children, and they have torn apart the room for the tenth time that day, I am far from the person I want to be. Instead of patient, I am reactive. Instead of loving, I am angry. I think that best we can do at this point is celebrate the good fortune we have in realizing that we don’t have to keep doing the same old thing. And we don’t have to berate ourselves as we become familiar with what the same old thing is, and as we learn how to choose differently. Our families will give us every opportunity to put into practice the spiritual ideals that we aim to embody. It wouldn’t be authentic if it were just an idea in our heads. We must first walk through the fire and become purified in our intentions, steadfast in our abilities to be present. This is the work of a lifetime, or perhaps many lifetimes. I think we need to be patient with ourselves. Sending you empathy and the realization that you are not alone on this journey. Bowing to you with hands joined at my heart, friend in the dharma.

    • Lorien,

      Thank you for your kind and poignant reply. I am grateful to have a kalyanamitta such as yourself. Every good blessing to you my friend!

  2. Nice blog post, Michael. This is one of the reasons why I say that the dusty life of a householder is rich for making progress on the path. It’s in the drip-by-drip of the continuity of daily effort despite the struggles is where real progress is made. Keep up the good work Michael and we do that by merely placing one foot in front of the other.
    With metta,
    Ben

    • Thanks Ben! I am realizing more and more just what an effective crucible family life is for my practice. Wishing you and yours the very best.

      Mettaya,

      Mike


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