Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/19/2022

What We Have

It can be so easy to believe the voices that complain, criticize and fault find in our minds. It is so easy to casually hate the photos and posts of acquaintances and friends on FB and IG. But why? What do we gain?

What do I gain by begrudging my childhood friend her family’s vacation? Nothing but bitterness. I must, instead, train the mind to rejoice in the success of others until mudita becomes second-nature.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/16/2022

Radical Responsibility

When you think everything is someone’s fault, you will suffer a lot. When you realize that everything springs only from yourself, you will learn both peace and joy. – Dalai Lama
Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/14/2022

Grateful for Our Enemies

Our enemies provide us with a precious opportunity to practice patience and love. We should have gratitude toward them.”

-Dalai Lama XIV

This is an attitude that I’m familiar with but that requires much more practice. It is difficult to feel gratitude for those who make our lives difficult but it is indubitably true that we could never cultivate patience if we were only surrounded by people who were kind and loving towards us. Besides, how ridiculous is it to imagine that we’d ever be in such a situation?

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/13/2022

If the Mind is Willing

If the mind is willing, the flesh could go on and on without many things.

Sun Tzu

After taking a series of kicks to my left thigh last night I was unsure if I would be about to make it to my 7:30 kickboxing session. I forced myself to run my normal 5k this morning in order to try and get blood flowing through the knotted muscles but the rest of the day involved me sitting at a desk.

Regardless, I knew that I wouldn’t be satisfied having given in to pain and, since I knew I would not be causing myself lasting harm, I resolved to meet Mo (my coach) at the boxing gym.

Resolved not to complain and to do whatever he suggested I followed through and behaved almost as if my leg weren’t cramped and painful throughout the full hour of kicking and punching.

It was a small victory for my B resolve and a reminder that we are all capable of doing much more on a regular basis than we dove ourselves credit for.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/12/2022

Overcoming Fear

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.
W. Clement Stone

For some strange reason I was racked by fear and anxiety all week over the prospect of sparring tonight. It was so bad that I almost didn’t show up. But, and this was an important point, I know that if I let my fear get the better of me it would only get worse. So, I just put my heart down and resolved to make it to the gym. I stopped catastrophizing and just walked. When I got to the gym I changed, wrapped my skinned feet (foot dragging during BJJ will do that) and started warming up. And, as to be expected, fear is a liar.

Initially, when I began to realize I had developed a fear of sparring I was surprised and taken aback. Isn’t this what I signed up for? Isn’t this what I wanted to do? But, as if the case with we putthujjana, I must have forgotten that all conditioned things are subject to anicca, dukkha and are not self.

Like it or not, fear would arise if the conditions were right regardless of how I felt about it. The important thing was that I didn’t yield to it. And, for that, I am pleased.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/11/2022

Failure

I chose to fail tonight and decided that I would break fast rather than wait until 11am tomorrow. I didn’t eat enough to keep my energy up and so I threw away months of continuous fasting. And yet…

I’m kind of ambivalent about it. In the end, it is just a practice among others and , for the first time, I didn’t feel like it was serving me well. Maybe it was weakness but I definitely want to reflect on it and my reasons for both continuing and for having given it up.

Yes, the discipline has been invigorating and helpful but I have both caught myself feeling haughty as well as compelled to continue solely by force of habit. Regardless, I won’t give up my goal of pursuing liberation and walking the path of the Dhamma.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/09/2022

How Not to Foster a Sense of Community

The Blessed One said, “And how is there the communal living of the bad? And how do the bad live together?

“There is the case where the thought occurs to an elder monk, ‘I should not correct an elder monk, nor should I correct a monk of middling standing, nor should I correct a newcoming monk.

Sannivasā Sutta

It’s this dilemma that I find so prevalent in our society. This reticence to offend is precisely what Lord Buddha identified as the downfall of a community.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/09/2022

Just that you do the right thing.

At times like this, I like to reflect on anicca and the fact that there is no refuge in samsāra. Constantly buffeted by the eight worldly winds, it is our task to practice the Dhamma and do right even in the face of seeming injustice.

And, by right, I don’t mean seeking to put others in order.

No.

I mean to keep a mind imbued with loving kindness for all beings.

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all beings create merit and enjoy the fruits of their good deeds.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/08/2022

Thoughts on Forgiveness

The topic of forgiveness has been on my mind of late as a as result of an incident that happened on my birthday. Funny how the habits of a lifetime make deep ruts in the mind.

Anyhow, I realized almost immediately that I needed to purify my heart and mind and neutralize the poison so that it didn’t cause my to act any more unskillfully than I already had. My immediate thigh was of forgiveness but, as I had recognized from years of practice, there is no real Buddhist forgiveness practice.

According to some authors like Ken McLeod, the very concept of forgiveness is foreign to Buddhism. In his view, it simply doesn’t belong and, in a very strict sense, I believe he’s right. And yet, in a more practical and important sense I think he misses the point.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

When you forgive someone who’s wronged you, it doesn’t erase that person’s karma in having done wrong. This is why some people think that forgiveness has no place in the karmic universe of the Buddha’s teachings, and that it’s incompatible with the practice of what he taught. But that’s not so. Forgiveness may not be able to undo old bad kamma, but it can prevent new bad karma from being done. This is especially true with the bad kamma that in Pali is called vera. Vera is often translated as “hostility,” “animosity,” or “antagonism,” but it’s a particular instance of these attitudes: the vengeful animosity that wants to get back at someone for perceived wrongs. This attitude is what has no place in Buddhist practice. Patience can weaken it, but forgiveness is what clears it out of the way.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/07/2022

Sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Although I would like to think that I’m solely cultivating aditthana parami by following my daily mental, physical and spiritual routines, it occurs to me now that I’m also attaching undue importance to them in and of themselves. In some strange way, I believe that I really do think of these goals as in some way rites and rituals that will bring happiness and fulfillment.

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