Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/11/2017

Making a Farce of My Practice

I resolve today not to make a farce of my practice any longer. I resolve today not to allow my mind to play with baubles oh resentment, no matter how small our seemingly insignificant they may be. I resolve to make the practice of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity my main focus until I root out hatred or until I find myself freed of my familial obligations. 

If I’m unable to treat my own children with kindness, my understanding is limited and my practice is weak. By reflecting on death may I not take my opportunities for granted. By reflecting on aging, may I do my best to show love to all while I can before the years ruin my sight and rob me of my mind. By reflecting on sickness, may I take no one for granted. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/09/2017

Real Power

399. He who without resentment endures abuse, beating and punishment; whose power, real might, is patience — him do I call a holy man.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/08/2017

Everything Can Go Wrong

Despite the title, I want to let everyone know that I’m fine. With that out of the way, it seems to me that disasters, both large and small, have a way of replicating and reverberating throughout one’s life. At the moment I’m pondering the environmental crisis facing humanity I can and, often am, simultaneously enduring a painful stomach ache, the misbehavior of my kids and my wife’s vocal displeasure with whatever I’ve done in the last ten minutes. No, everything except the first is not much of a tragedy but it is interesting how dukkha pervades every level and regime of existence. It’s easy to imagine how much worse it would be with the death or sickness of a child or partner.

What is the point of my writing this? Maybe to share the realization that there is no refuge here. That our time to practice well is short and getting shorter by the day. May we practice in sickness and health. May we practice when we are sleepy and well rested. May we practice to the best of our ability. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/05/2017

Holding Pattern

My wife and I have no entered a holding pattern. I, seemingly, can do nothing right and she is always angry with everything I do. I have tried a number of things but it is at the point where the change can’t come from me. It is at the point where I don’t think it will change. 

And so, I try to hold my tongue. When I suggest that she could meet me after I go to pick up the kids so I can get some work done it’s met with insults. I’m thoughtless. I’m cruel. I’m an ass. So, I suck it up and do it. 

I’m resentful of course but at the very least I can control my mouth and avoid harsh speech. Life is short and to throw away the opportunity to do good by allowing anger to despoil my mind seems like the ultimate folly. May my wife be free of suffering. May she be free of anger. May I never marry again in this or future lives. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/05/2017

Unbearable Boredom

After listening to Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu a lot during the past few days, I’ve come to the conclusion that his style of noting practice may be more suited to cultivating clarity than the buddho repetition I have been doing. I realize too that I have failed here before stinky due to boredom: dryly following the breath or the footsteps can seem unbearably boring but I do know it is grounding. What’s more, I am at least present to my experience and don’t have that light-headed feeling I get when I’m walking and rain summering on my phone.

Yes,  there is suffering here in waddling and in unerring the myriad mundane actions of a day but that has to be seen and undid if I want to be free of it. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/03/2017

Happy Uposatha 

It’s an uposatha day and, in so many ways, I don’t feel up to it. I feel I haven’t slept well, I’m hungry. My wife and I had our daily disagreement and I generally offell out  sorts. And yet…

I’m healthy and living in a country not yet ravaged by war. I’m able to take time to practice the Dhamma. My job gives me enough money to support my family and give dana. Frankly, there’s no good reason to believe Mara’s lies. 

Today I’ll observe the uposatha and dedicate the merit to those who have passed. Sabbe satta sabba dukkha pamuccantu. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/02/2017

The Body

This morning, during my formal sit, I spent the last ten minutes contemplating the body parts. I began running through the list in the traditional order but at a certain point I became interested in the internal organs. The familiar feeling of sight revulsion and nausea arise as I imagined my innards sitting atop one another. I saw my moist and flaccid liver sitting astride my diaphragm. The heart ensconced between the lungs. Spleen and kidneys, colon and small intestines. I imagined the journey of a bolus of food down the esophagus into the stomach, through the intestines and out of the anus. I got the server that we truly are bags of filth with two puckered openings at either side. Almost as if we are glorified earthworms. 

In that moment there was a piecing clarity, a disgust that world preclude sexual attraction. But delusion and craving don’t give up easily and I’m pulled about again by desire for forms this morning as I make my way through the streets to work. 

May I see clearly the truth of samsara and may I never again fall prey to sexual desire in this and future lives. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/01/2017

Aditthana: Acting Out of Anger

I make the determination not to act in anger no matter the cause. 

May I recall that nothing is worth the consequences of an kamma made in anger. 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/28/2017

Buddha Vacana ~ The Fetters

94. Four things lead to worldly progress: achievement in alertness, in caution, in good friendship and achievement in balanced livelihood. And what is achievement in alertness? Concerning this, in whatever way one earns a living, whether by farming, trading, cattle rearing, archery, service to the king or by some craft, in that one becomes deft and tireless, gifted with an inquiring turn of mind into ways and means, and able to arrange and carry out the job.
And what is achievement in caution? Concerning this, whatever one earns by work and effort, collected by strength of arm and sweat of brow in a just and lawful manner, one husbands, watches and guards so that kings do not seize it, thieves do not steal it, fire or water do not destroy it, and unwanted heirs do not remove it.
And what is good friendship? Concerning this, in whatever village or town one lives, one associates with, converses with, discusses things with people either young or old, who are cultured, full of faith, full of virtue, full of charity and full of wisdom. One acts in accordance with the faith of the faithful, the virtue of the virtuous, the charity of the charitable and the wisdom of the wise.
And what is balanced livelihood? Concerning this, one knows both his income and expenditure and lives neither extravagantly nor miserly, knowing that income after expenditure will stand at so much and that expenses will not exceed income. Just as a goldsmith or his apprentice knows, on holding the scales, that so much has dipped down and so much has tilted up, one knows income and expenditure.
If one with small income were to lead an extravagant life there would be those who would say: “He enjoys his wealth like a wood-apple eater.” Likewise, if one with a good income were to be miserly, there would be those who would say: “He will die like a beggar.”
There are four channels through which the wealth one has collected is lost: debauchery, drunkenness, gambling and friendship with evildoers.
Imagine there were a great tank of water with four inlets and outlets, and a man was to close the inlets but keep the outlets open. If there were no rain we could expect the water to decrease. In the same way, there are the four channels through which wealth is lost. There are these four channels through which the wealth one has collected is preserved: avoidance of debauchery, drunkenness, gambling and friendship with evildoers.
Imagine there were a great tank of water with four inlets and outlets, and a man was to keep the inlets open and close the outlets. If he did this and there were good rainfall, we could expect the water to increase. In the same way, there are these four channels through which wealth is preserved.

Anguttara Nikaya IV.281

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/27/2017

Brahmacharya

Yesterday was tough. I worked from home and spent most of the day in proximity to my wife. Quite naturally, a lot of craving arose and I was lucky to have narrowly escaped the clutches of akusala kamma. Contemplating the 32 parts of the body was especially helpful and the image of a cadaver’s skin being pulled off quickly snuffed out the flame of passion. Today is day four and I’m interested to see how this develops. 

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