Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/21/2019

To Be of Service

It may seem strange, it certainly does to me, that a person could formulate the intention to pursue sammasambodhi without really understanding that it would be a path of service as well as of wisdom. In fact, with so very far to go, and so much delusion, it seems like most of my practice at this point is one of service and cultivation of the brahmaviharas.

May I ever recall my intention to benefit beings and strive to learn and cultivate the Dhamma in this and all future lives. May I always be reborn in favorable training circumstances so that I may develop the paramis and may I never abandon beings.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/20/2019

While

Great Middle Way

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While doing something else, recite the Holy Name.

Don’t do something else while reciting the Name.

—Honen

om amideva hrih, namu amida butsu, a mi da phat, amitoufo, namo amitabhaya

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/20/2019

Putting Attention where It Belongs

It seems to me that, when the incontrovertible arising of dukkha becomes known, the only practice that is of value is to make it one’s object of attention. Not mantra, nor metta nor anything that would lead my attention away. For years I have tried to focus on anything but the dukkha as it arises in the moment. I have made plans and programs of practice; all without ever having esbirros the success I’d imagined. But, in dukkha there is the problem and, when held correctly, there is the answer.

In times of desperation, call out to devas, Buddhas and bodhisattvas but, when the mind can collect itself and had the strength to look, the dukkha that arises should be my object. Instantly, so many other types of suffering drop away and I can calmly learn the lessons of this suffering.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/18/2019

Criticism

One of my teachers, Geshe Doga, said that there is never any reason for us to get upset if we are criticized. We should look inside ourselves and check whether the criticism is true or not. If it isn’t true, the other person’s words are like empty, meaningless noise, and there is no need to get upset about them. But if we check and find that the criticism is true, we can grate-fully accept it as helpful advice for our spiritual development.

Excerpt from: “Awakening the Kind Heart: How to Meditate on Compassion” by Kathleen McDonald.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/15/2019

Commuter Practice

I continue to reap the benefits of gratitude practice and am finding new ways and circumstances in which to apply it every day. Even though I have been doing some mantra recitation everyday to receive blessings from Buddhas and bodhisattvas, I am not yet totally at ease; for some reason it doesn’t feel like “real” practice. Gratitude and appreciation, however, always feel like good practice and are able to transform my outlook and emotional state almost immediately. Best of all, gratitude is extremely portable: I can get its effects while waking to and from places or while on the train. Not so with mantra, parikamma like buddho or any other practice.

So, I hope to make gratitude practice my formal commuter practice. Wish me luck.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/13/2019

Antídotos

Antidotes

La Gran Vía

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Contemplar la impureza del cuerpo domina la lujuria;

la cultivación de la amabilidad contrarresta la malicia;

la atención a la respiración corta el pensamiento discursivo;

la percepción de la impermanencia elimina la presunción “Yo soy.”

—Buda Sakyamuni, Udana

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/12/2019

Happy Uposatha – Appreciation

Today is the uposatha and I have to admit that, although it’s not a panacea, reflecting on gratitude is proving to be a useful counterweight to a mind burdened by worry and prone to anxiety. I keep reminding myself that the worldly winds buffet all of us and I turn to appreciation of what I do have when I’m firmly grounded in that view.

Bad things, horrible things still happen as a result of our past kamma ripening but at any time at all we can point to something to be learned, to be thankful for or to appreciate. It’s weird how one can know these things and yet it takes years for them to work their way down into the hard soil of the heart and take root. I’m thankful at least that they’re taking root at all however.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/11/2019

From the Shadows and to the Light

I have noticed that my mind has been attracted to dark places of late, believing in all manner of dark fantasy and speculation. And, although buddhanussati (on Lord Sakyamuni and Amitabha) and devanussati (on Avalokiteshvara, Ksitigarbha and Metteyya) have helped, it has sometimes been hard to find the energy for sustained practices. I guess I took quick stock of my situation yesterday and realized that the situation was pretty dire and I needed to do something about it.

So, in between ministering to sick children and making meals I began I quick book search on the topic of “joy.” Much of what I found there didn’t initially strike me but I somehow made my way into looking for titles about “gratitude” and realized it was this quality of mind that had been sorely lacking.

My fault finding mind has been on overdrive and this couldn’t be more true than with my own practice. I realize how my awareness styles on anything only to quickly criticize it and accentuate the negative. Obviously, appreciation is the antidote but, in my mind, this quality has so often been conjoined with theistic metaphysics that it has been hard to figure out the right approach.

It now seems that the right approach is to cultivate appreciation by whatever means necessary. Whether it’s through comparison (I have a place to shelter tonight), by rejoicing in the potentiality (I have met with the Dharma and can release myself from suffering) or simply appreciating the present moment (as in the stillness of a tranquil meditation session) I can turn the mind from the shadows and towards the light. And, why not? What better way to train the mind to be of benefit to self and other than to choose light and not?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/10/2019

The Flu

I spent last night in the ER and then sleeping next to my sick son as he tossed, turned and gibbered in his sleep. Now that I find myself in my way to work I worry that I may be carrying the bug without yet knowing it: as a result I’ll try to be sure to practice good infection control to avoid getting anyone sick.

And yet, they’re is the bigger issue of worrying sick kids and getting sick oneself and not being able to care for them. Yes, I know that sickness is inescapable in samsara but, when it strikes, it always seems to come as a surprise.

Looking for teachings I came across this:

“If sickness comes be glad -may it substitute for the sickness of all embodiment.” When this kind of aspiration is made, we state a dedication that the pain and loss caused by our sickness goes to pay off our karmic debts.

https://www.pemakhandro.org/buddhist-advice-for-carrying-illness-onto-the-path/

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/10/2019

Make Use of Every Condition

I have been battling with resentment and anger as we tend to two sick kids. My wife seems to be more irascible than the usual and the criticisms and contempt are more pointed.

But, who’s problem is this? Am I going to “fix” her? Does she even need fixing? And, if so, how could that be my concern as the worldling that I am?

If you cannot make use of every condition that arises, both undesirable and desirable, you are in danger of losing the Dharma, and you will never achieve the unsurpassed and lasting happiness of enlightenment.

Excerpt from: “Transforming Problems into Happiness” by Thubten Zopa.

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The mud, the lotus and the pale golden blue.

Dirk Pieters

writer, buddhist, yogi / schrijver, boeddhist, yogi

لا إله إلا الله

The Knowledge is Provisions from Allah, May Allah guide us and strength our Iman & Taqwa. Ameen.