Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/16/2018

Perseverance

Yesterday was an uposatha day and I was fortunate enough to have enjoyed favorable conditions so that I was able to observe it moderately well. The one thing I am quite happy about was my commitment to stick with the precepts.

You see, often enough, I end up breaking the precept not to eat after noon, especially on days when I have been running around all day. But, yesterday, in spite of the circumstances I kept to my determination. You see, my partner and I ordered lunch which was to be delivered just before noon.(which is when I have to stop eating). For whatever reason, the delivery guy gave the food to someone else in the building and it wasn’t until 12:30 that it was figured out.

Rather than allow resentment and negativity to swap me or to give in to my hunger I just decided to give my lunch away and carry on with my day. Truly, what is a belly full of rotting food worth in comparison to strengthening one’s aditthana and nekkhamma parami?

Despite things being so apparently bad in my relationship and the world at large, I really am finding refuge and solace in practice and good intentions. May we all practice for our long term happiness and peace.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/15/2018

Without

At first it was hard. Hard to understand how to deal with my desires in a marriage where the other party was no longer interested. For a long while I sought answers within the mundane world abs found forums and articles about involuntary celibacy everywhere but all viewed it as a curse and a learning of their lives.

And yet, somewhere in my heart there was a voice that was softly whispering words of encouragement. The way of brahmacariya is both ancient and lauded by saints and contemplatives of many religions. In fact,all of the Lord Buddha’s married lay disciples lived in purity with one another as brother and sister.

I hope to take this fortunate circumstance and use it to propel me ever forward on the path and not to betray my determination even if my wife had a change of heart days, months or years down the road. That is the hard part but what better way to spend this life.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/14/2018

Happy Valentine’s Day

The Precious Garland v.148-165

Nagarjuna (150–250 CE)

Lust for a woman mostly comes

From thinking that her body is clean,

But there is nothing clean

In a woman’s body.

The mouth is a vessel filled with foul

Saliva and filth between the teeth,

The nose with fluids, snot and mucus,

The eyes with their own filth and tears.

The body is a vessel filled

With excrement, urine, lungs and liver;

He whose vision is obscured and does not see

A woman thus, and so lusts for her body.

Just as some fools desire

An ornimental pot of filth,

So the ignorant and obscured

And the worldly desire women.

If the world is greatly attached

To the nauseous stinking body

Which should cause loss of attachment,

How can it be lead free from desire?

Just as pigs yearn greatly for

A source of excrement, urine and vomit,

So some lustful ones desire

A source of excrement, urine and vomit.

This filthy city of a body,

With protruding holes for the elements

Is called by stupid beings

An object of pleasure.

Once you have seen for yourself the filth

Of excrement, urine and so forth,

How could you be attracted

To a body so composed?

Why should you lust desirously for this

While recognising it as a filthy form

Produced by a seed whose essence is filth,

A mixture of blood and semen?

He who lies on a filthy mass

Covered by skin moisened with

Those fluids, merely lies

On top of a woman’s bladder.

If whether beautiful or

Ugly, whether old or young,

All the bodies of women are filthy

From what attributes does your lust arise?

Just as it is not fit to desire filth

Although it have good color

and shape in it’s very freshness,

so is it with a woman’s body.

How could the nature of this putrid corpse,

A rotten mass covered outside by skin,

Not be seen when it looks

So very horrible?

‘The skin is not foul,

It is like a cloak.’

Over a mass of filth

How could it be clean?

A pot although beautiful outside

Is reviled when filled with filth.

Why is the body, when so filled

And foul by nature, not reviled?

If against filth you revile,

Why not against this body

Which befouls clean scents,

Garlands, food and drink?

Just as one’s own or others’

Filthiness is reviled,

Why not revile against one’s own

And others’ filthy bodies?

Since your own body is

As filthy as a woman’s,

Should not you abandon

Desire for self and other?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/12/2018

Rough Weekend

This weekend was rough. My wife is going through a rough patch with her schooling which means most of the chores, housework, shopping and childcare falls solely on me — this is in addition to being the sole breadwinner for the house and trying to run a business. I keep finding myself resentful and completely exhausted and my 10 year old doesn’t make it any easier with his frequent outbursts which have been turning increasingly physical. In fact, it has gotten to the point that we have contacted a therapist though god only knows when we’ll have the time for a follow-up appointment.

Yes, I could ruminate atlength on how “unfair” these circumstances are and how they “should” be different but what good will that do? I’m at a loss as to how to parent in a skillful way that both corrects the bad behavior of my son without requiring me to engage with him physically. For now I believe my tactic will be to deescalate even at the risk of “missing” a teaching moment or allowing him to “get away” with something. The stakes are simply too high. In the interim I’m hoping we’ll meet with the therapist and that I can find some help in the literature.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/09/2018

Chaos

This morning descended into total chaos as mu wife and two oldest children fought, screamed and cried incessantly until we left. I’ve been trying a different approach for a little over a month ahhs have found that when I don’t escalate, when I disengage and accept that I can’t force my kids to bend to my will things go better. My son doesn’t get into long-lasting and explosive rages I see when he feels disrespected and unjustly punished. Unfortunately, my wife sees positive discipline as a cop out (perhaps because in the one who introduced get to our) and is holding fast to our old ways of patenting.

My wife’s style of overbearing and domineering parenting combined with her way of belittling those with whom she’s angry has been getting the results that we don’t want but she seems determined not to anything differently. I’m far from perfect but even though I agree that kids should listen to whatever their parents say and be respectful, it’s clear that trying to enforce that by an iron fist just isn’t working. We don’t live in a time or place where corporal punishment is accepted as its effectiveness is questionable so, really, what’s the end game?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/07/2018

Sticks and Carrots

I tend to be someone with a preference for using the stick over the carrot but, in both child rearing and spiritual practice, there needs to be a balance. And, much like I’m beginning to learn as a parent, the stick should never be wielded in vengeance.

My moral lapse is still fresh in my mind and I can clearly see how three lack of the bodily feeling of remorse is a boon in and of itself. It feels literally as if my body were covered in some dark, viscous substance. I also notice that it’s hard to get the mind to relax into contentment outside of meditation. So, it seems that not keeping one’s precepts and practice commitments as pure as possible really does make for an agitated mind and body here and in the future.

I know that I cannot erase my misdeeds but may I use them to deepen my understanding of them so that I’m not fooled again.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/06/2018

Mistakes

I was suffering and I made a mistake thinking that somehow doing something unskillful could bring me happiness. For a scant few seconds the pain of desire was soothed only to be quickly replaced with regret.

My job now is to forgive and hold muy heart with compassion so that I might learn not to make the same mistake again. How many times have I tried to punish myself for my errors only to find myself committing them again?

I feel that I need to do my best not to give into guilt and negativity which will only compound the harm I’ve done myself. It helps to recall how I might comfort and counsel a friend in a similar situation; may I be as good a friend to myself as I would to anyone else.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/05/2018

Fear and Failure

So, I’ve been unsuccessful in keeping my practice commitments and I think it largely has do to with fear. With so many people succumbing to the flu I find myself daily worrying if I’m coming down with it myself. As a result, I haven’t been pushing myself to fast or exercise as I had planned.

Thankfully, I’m slowly starting to realize that there will never be a time when I feel completely strong and fit. In fact, the older I get the more rare those feelings are likely to become. The point is this: if I really find value in these practices that transcends this birth why would I let the fear of sickness stop me? That really is the question. I’m trying to develop toughness of mind and if these things aren’t setting that then maybe it is better to let them go. But, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t yet know that so I feel I deserve at least one more attempt at it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/01/2018

Walking Bags of Filth

This morning, as I would my way to work through NYC’s subterranean passages a vision of myself and those around me as little more than walking bags of filth took hold of my attention.

Initially, it was just the thought of last night’s dinner sitting in my stomach as it was mixed in with breakfast and coffee–a thought that was nauseating enough. But, as I became aware of others around me, I perceived the sane vision. The attractive woman next to me had a stomach and colon full of her own breakfast as did the woman drinking her coffee. Immediately, all lust dropped away.

As is always the case with these perceptions, it’s utility is sure to wane quickly but for as long as it had ab emotional impact I’ll continue to use it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/31/2018

Remove Desire

103 “They are not sense pleasures, the world’s pretty things:

Man’s sensuality is the intention of lust.

The pretty things remain as they are in the world

But the wise remove the desire for them.

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