Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/21/2019

Advice for the End of the World

When old age and death are advancing, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?

Adhivattamāne ca me, bhante, jarāmaraṇe kimassa karaṇīyaṃ aññatra dhammacariyāya samacariyāya kusalakiriyāya puññakiriyāyā”ti?

That’s so true, great king! That’s so true!

Evametaṃ, mahārāja, evametaṃ, mahārāja.

When old age and death are advancing, what can you do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

Adhivattamāne jarāmaraṇe kimassa karaṇīyaṃ aññatra dhammacariyāya samacariyāya kusalakiriyāya puññakiriyāyā”ti?

Whoever lives by the teaching
Yo dhammaṃ cari kāyena,

in body, speech and mind,
vācāya uda cetasā;

is praised in this life
Idheva naṃ pasaṃsanti,

and departs to rejoice in heaven.
pecca sagge pamodatī”ti.

https://suttacentral.net/sn3.25/en/sujato

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/19/2019

The Rod

129-130

All
tremble at the rod,
all
are fearful of death.
Drawing the parallel to
yourself,
neither kill nor get others to kill.

All
tremble at the rod,
all
hold their life dear.
Drawing the parallel to
yourself,
neither kill nor get others to kill.

131-132

Whoever takes a rod
to harm living beings desiring ease,
when he himself is looking for ease,
will meet with no ease after death.

Whoever doesn’t take a rod
to harm living beings desiring ease,
when he himself is looking for ease,
will meet with ease after death.

133

Speak harshly to no one,
or the words will be thrown
right back at you.
Contentious talk is painful,
for you get struck by rods in return.

134

If, like a flattened metal pot
you don’t resound,
you’ve attained an Unbinding;
in you there’s found
no contention.

135

As a cowherd with a rod
drives cows to the field,
so aging & death
drive the life
of living beings.

136

When doing evil deeds,
the fool is oblivious.
The dullard
is tormented
by his own deeds,
as if burned by a fire.

137-140

Whoever, with a rod,
harasses an innocent man, unarmed,
quickly falls into any of ten things:

harsh pains, devastation, a broken body, grave illness,
mental derangement, trouble with the government,
violent slander, relatives lost, property dissolved,
houses burned down.

At the break-up of the body
this one with no discernment,
reappears in
hell.

141-142

Neither nakedness nor matted hair
nor mud nor the refusal of food
nor sleeping on the bare ground
nor dust & dirt nor squatting austerities
cleanses the mortal
who’s not gone beyond doubt.

If, though adorned, one lives in tune
with the chaste life
— calmed, tamed, & assured —
having put down the rod toward all beings,
he’s a contemplative
a brahman
a monk.

143

Who in the world
is a man constrained by conscience,
who awakens to censure
like a fine stallion to the whip?

144

Like a fine stallion
struck with a whip,
be ardent & chastened.
Through conviction
virtue, persistence,
concentration, judgment,
consummate in knowledge & conduct,
mindful,
you’ll abandon this not-insignificant pain.

145

Irrigators guide the water.
Fletchers shape the arrow shaft.
Carpenters shape the wood.
Those of good practices control
themselves.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/17/2019

Practicing Poverty

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’” – Seneca

I’ve been finding so much inspiration in the Stoics lately and, here again, it’s another gem. It’s too bad that the ancient Stoics had no concept of kamma and were, instead, fatalists but that really only serves to point out the excellence of the Lord Buddha as a teacher of the Dhamma.

Practicing poverty will be somewhat different for me as it will entail refraining from buying anything outside of food and only using what I’ve bought to make meals. In other words, no eating out. Let’s try for a month and see how it goes.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/16/2019

Cheating Myself – Asalha Puja

I’ve been cheating myself, making excuses no one will ever hear and that I’ll never remember. Why? Kamma. Laziness. Aversion. But, knowing that I will be heir to my actions whether I like it or not, why not take this special day to begin again?

I’ve not met my practice goals, my brahmacari goals nor my physical conditioning goals and do I feel better for it? No. Unsurprisingly, going easy on myself hasn’t results in more peace or calm. Going easy hasn’t resulted in more contentment.

And, yet, there needs to be balance. I can’t simply undertake these projects with a mind imbued with hate. The moment I see these goals as punishments is the moment they become harmful acts of self-mortification.

May I undertake these practices out of concern for my own happiness and wellbeing. May I undertake them for the benefit of many beings.

Happy Asalha Puja!

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/15/2019

A Great To-Do

Does every unhappy circumstance require a great to-do? When I’m insulted or made to suffer injury to my person or property, midi I react in a way that brings dishonor to myself and is ignoble in the eyes of the wise?

It seems to me that if I can remain aloof from my passions, desires and aversions I can make the choice not to respond out of habit and act in avoid with dignity and the Dhamma. I can remain true to my word without flying into a rage when countered and I need not change course simply to keep an imagined peace. What, really, it’s a peace worth that is nothing more than pandering to another’s desires?

Truthfully, I’m not sure if the answer but it may be a loaded question. It may just be that one can remain true to one’s word without breaking the peace of one’s own mind. For who can guarantee that any word or deed will result in making peace with a friend or foe?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/14/2019

Frugal Humility

When you have learned to nourish your body frugally, do not pique yourself upon it; nor, if you drink water, be saying upon every occasion, “I drink water.” But first consider how [37] much more frugal are the poor than we, and how much more patient of hardship. If at any time you would inure yourself by exercise to labor and privation, for your own sake and not for the public, do not attempt great feats; but when you are violently thirsty, just rinse your mouth with water, and tell nobody.

– The Enchiridion by Epictetus

XLVII

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/13/2019

Imperturbability

It seems to me that town peace of mind and imperturbability are more important than any other external factors in life. Can I learn how to be a true Stoic while sometime is literally screaming in my fave by maintaining equanimity within and without? Can I remain sympathetic to the suffering of the person directing invective at me?

So far my training seems to have served me well and I can see from the suffering of friends that placing one’s hopes on external circumstances and the actions of others is both vain and a sure path to further suffering.

How few people have the opportunity to practice equanimity and patience in this intense format. Hope few of us have the right conditions to make use of these “problems.”

May I dedicate the merit of this practice to all those who help me practice patience and may wet all achieve liberation together.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/12/2019

Was It Worth It?

So I gave in this morning and decided to break my fast earlier than I would have normally. Naturally I thought this was a kindness I was doing for myself. It turns out that it was anything but.

Giving up on restraint seems to have opened the flood gates and I have been dealing with the deluge of aversion and desire ever since. What is the lesson here: it seems to me that it is nothing other than that the body and base desires are never to be trusted uncritically. I surely wasn’t starving and could have waited it out. In fact, I should have. The resultant feeling of disappointment and attendant frustration just aren’t worth it.

Now, that I’m trying to recover, I need to figure out a way to do so without turning it into an episode of self-mortification.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/11/2019

Asankheyya Aspiration

May I develop the paramis so that I may be of service and succor to beings in this and all future lives.

May I tread the asankheyya kappa path to perfect these qualities and deliver the Dhamma to the devas and humankind.

May I always been reborn in circumstances where I can learn and practice the Dhamma for the benefit of all.

May I not shrink away from the nirayas or lowly births but may I always be reborn where metta and karuna are most in need.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/10/2019

Choosing Wisely

It can be hard not talking responsibility for the resentment and anger of someone close to us. It can be hard trying to figure out, from one moment to the next, where we should act and where we should cultivate equanimity.

When someone insists on being angry and harboring resentment despite your efforts to bring equity into a situation, it seems to me that the best that can be done is to remain evenly sympathetic. In fact, choosing anger when it would be equally possible and rational to choose appreciation of another’s concern for your wellbeing and sense of justice send like a bad choice for so many reasons. You experience suffering now and in the future while conditioning your mind to fly more easily into anger. So, when seeing someone in this state, what else but karuna is called for?

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