Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/18/2018

Protecting Others

I experienced a strange turn of events this morning and the perception has stock with me all morning. Something happened, I don’t recall what, and my wife was angrily scolding me. It suddenly occurred to me that I should do whatever was possible and permissible to prevent her from further enraging herself and planting more seeds for an unfortunate rebirth. Funny thing is that in selling to protect her I’m also protective myself.

Two thoughts can’t command one’s attention simultaneously so if I’m focused and compassionately ending conflict target than silently nursing my wounds how much the better? I owe a great dent of gratitude to my wife who has helped me to deepen my parami practice and I owe it to her to try my best not to cause her harm. And, really, what will these lofty aspirations amount to of we cannot help those closest to us?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/16/2018

Giving What One Has

92 “If one practises the Dhamma

Though getting on by gleaning,

If while one supports one’s wife

One gives from the little one has,

Then a hundred thousand offer-ings

Of those who sacrifice a thousand

Are not worth even a fraction

[Of the gift] of one like him.”⁶⁵

Excerpt From: “The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya”

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/14/2018

Digging through Trash

If someone at work or in our family is always angry, we need to be patient. We all have faults. We cannot just throw angry people out of our life. When someone is irritable, we need to let her be, tol-erate her shortcomings, and make a point of acknowledging her good qualities. Try-ing to analyze why she is unkind to us is like digging through the trash and scattering it all over the floor.

Excerpt From: “Change of Heart: The Bodhisattva Peace Training of Chagdud Tulku” by Lama Shenpen Drolma.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/14/2018


Every day I try to reflect on the sufferings of beings in the various duggati realms of rebirth. Due to the weakness of my own mind I find I’m not always able to bring up the feelings of their sufferings. There are times when I can imagine pretty well the emotional and psychological anguish of a hell being in a cold hell: !the sheer panic of being unable to shelter oneself, the complete feeling of isolation, the realization that this will go on not for seconds or minutes but for thousands of years. The torment is unimaginable. And yet, physically, or can be almost impasible to imagine.

As a result, I’m taking up the practice of cold showers again to help me cultivate more compassion and an indefatigable desire to help beings find a way out of suffering. Yes, I can see that I’m talking myself a little too seriously but I find it to be a helpful practice so why not? This morning I was only able to bear it for less than a minute while imagining the suffering of our poor mother hell-beings but I know, with practice, I can endure more.

I want to be able to use every moment of this luge to train in the brahmaviharas and the Dhamma so practices like cold showers are a good way too integrate reflection. Also, the freedoms we have to create the causes and conditions for liberation and bodhicitta are unparalleled in the human realm so how can we asked to waste our time. May we regard all things as a lesson in Dhamma. May we make our every action a gift of Dhamma.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/13/2018

Mercy Killing

I came upon the following in a book I’m reading. It is my own opinion that the Five Precepts should never be broken but here’s an interesting retort to the idea of a mercy Killing by the great Tibetan yogini Machig Labdron:

A student of hers came upon a dying horse suffering terribly on the side of a road. The animal couldn’t right himself, and crows were picking out his eyes. The student ran to Machig Labdron and asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to kill him and end his suffering?”

She answered, “Kill only when you can see a being’s karma and can be certain that you are bringing his suffering to an end. This horse is on his way to the hell realms. These few moments of pain are purifying karma that would otherwise lead to far greater misery.”

Before you take the life of any being, you’d better be sure that where he is going is better than where he is.

Excerpt From: “Change of Heart: The Bodhisattva Peace Training of Chagdud Tulku” by Lama Shenpen Drolma.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/13/2018

Tirokudda Kanda: Hungry Shades Outside the Walls

Image result for hungry ghosts  gate photo

Outside the walls they stand,

& at crossroads.

At door posts they stand,

returning to their old homes.

But when a meal with plentiful food & drink is served,

no one remembers them:

Such is the kamma of living beings.


Thus those who feel sympathy for their dead relatives

give timely donations of proper food & drink

— exquisite, clean —

[thinking:] “May this be for our relatives.

May our relatives be happy!”


And those who have gathered there,

the assembled shades of the relatives,

with appreciation give their blessing

for the plentiful food & drink:

“May our relatives live long

because of whom we have gained [this gift].

We have been honored,

and the donors are not without reward!”


For there [in their realm] there’s

no farming,

no herding of cattle,

no commerce,

no trading with money.

They live on what is given here,

hungry shades

whose time here is done.


As water raining on a hill

flows down to the valley,

even so does what is given here

benefit the dead.

As rivers full of water

fill the ocean full,

even so does what is given here

benefit the dead.


“He gave to me, she acted on my behalf,

they were my relatives, companions, friends”:

Offerings should be given for the dead

when one reflects thus

on things done in the past.

For no weeping,

no sorrowing

no other lamentation

benefits the dead

whose relatives persist in that way.

But when this offering is given, well-placed in the Sangha,

it works for their long-term benefit

and they profit immediately.


In this way

the proper duty to relatives has been shown,

great honor has been done to the dead,

and monks have been given strength:


The merit you’ve acquired

isn’t small.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/12/2018


What if the intense depression and anxiety I felt for a little overt twenty four hours was a gift? After asking to take on the sufferings of mother beings (despite the impossibility of suffering for another), what if Avalokiteshvara or another celestial bodhisattva heard my petitions and decided to test me by sending me an idea of what that would mean? I really don’t know but it’s an interesting thought, especially because there war boring else to account for the sudden arising of such mental darkness.

The one thing I do know for certain is that the day of suffering had deepened my compassion for other beings in a way that is truly visceral. Even armed with various Dhamma teachings I was almost completely helpless in the face of such intense anxiety, depression and darkness. Imagine how much worse it is for beings wholly without contact with the Buddhadhamma. This morning as I meditated in the living room, the cat say by my side trying to get my attention and I realized that the baseless and abject fear and dread I felt midday not be dissimilar to the mind state of an animal; forever on guard and always fearful of who knows what. How fearful to realize that there are more beings in the animal realm than the human realm wandering without help or hope through samsara.

May I press on with courage and compassion.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/11/2018

A Strange Darkening

The last day or two had been strange: I have been completely overtaken by a depression and anxiety the likes of which I can only recall having felt while on Wellbutrin to quit smoking me than twenty years ago. Yes, there are real life issues that could act as stressors but it seemed almost supernatural due to its strength and severity. The thing that immediately cane to mind was that my tonglen aspirations and practice were really working. It is still my best guess and I was so debilitated yesterday that I actually decided not to do it yesterday. However, this morning I chose to go back and do it for my daughter this morning and I am suddenly feeling better. Needless to say, this is all a strange situation and I have no idea how it’s even possible. What’s left for me to do is press on with courage and to recall that all things are impermanent and subject to change.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/09/2018

Agrado y desagrado

Sentir desagrado por algo no lo destruye, y sentir agrado no te ayuda a conseguirlo.

¿Cuál, entonces, es el beneficio de sentir agrado o desagrado cuando sentirlo ni lo obtiene ni lo destruye?

—Yamgon Mipham

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/08/2018

Do Not Grieve for this World

Grief destroys beauty, grief destroys strength . . . Nothing is gained by sorrowing, the body just suffers . . . Again and again man dies and is born . . . rises and falls . . . asks and is asked . . . mourns and is mourned.


What good Buddhist quotes from the Hindu Mahābhārata? This one. In confronting the environmental devastation and the bleak prospects for humankind and all living beings on this planet, however, I’ve found no better quote.

I’ve decided to take the path of sammasambodhi though and part of that means being willing to be reborn in situations and places where suffering is intense be it a literal hell realm or the Earth become hellscape. In either case grief and despair only weaken one’s ability to help and to continue the practice of the paramis. So, fully aware that this world and these bodies are bound for destruction, let us do our best to cultivate our hearts and develop wisdom.

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