Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/21/2018

Vulgar, Coarse and Ignoble

“One should not pursue sensual pleasure (KÂMA-SUKHA), which is low vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial; and one should not pursue self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble and unbeneficial. So it was said.

And with reference to what was this said? The pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire – low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial – is a state beset by suffering, vexation, despair and fever, and it is the wrong way.

Disengage from the pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire – low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial – is a state without suffering, vexation despair and fever, and it is the right way. The pursuit of self-mortification… is the wrong way.

Disengagement from the pursuit of self-mortification… is the right way… The Middle Way discovered by the Tathàgata avoids both these extremes… it leads… to Nibbàna.”

(“One should not pursue sensual pleasure (KÂMA-SUKHA), which is low vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial; and one should not pursue self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble and unbeneficial. So it was said. And with reference to what was this said? The pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire – low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial – is a state beset by suffering, vexation, despair and fever, and it is the wrong way. Disengage from the pursuit of the enjoyment of one whose pleasure is linked to sensual desire – low, vulgar, coarse, ignoble and unbeneficial – is a state without suffering, vexation despair and fever, and it is the right way. The pursuit of self-mortification… is the wrong way. Disengagement from the pursuit of self-mortification… is the right way… The Middle Way discovered by the Tathàgata avoids both these extremes… it leads… to Nibbàna.”

(Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of the Buddha’s words in The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, p.1080f)

In case there was any doubt.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/20/2018

Guerilla Practice Uposatha

So, I was only able to get in two hours of formal practice yesterday and I feel fine about it. What it tells me is that I have to be both more resourceful and determined not to waste time. What this may look like is taking whatever free time I have and devoting it to formal practice rather than reading something or scrolling through my Reddit feed.

I often feel that I am making progress in simply staying with buddho throughout the day precisely because I have made it a priority. I have set up desktop reminders to keep me returning to buddho and even do a one minute formal practice every 45 minutes.

And, yet, there is an infinite store of kamma to work with. I have found myself dizzyingly fatigued every morning and night which robs the meditation of joy and flavor but I am acquainted with this feeling as I spent years working with sloth and torpor. So, even if it remains this way for the rest of this life I will at least cultivate khanti and aditthana parami and watch for openings throughout the day to practice.

Bhavatu sabba mangalam.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/19/2018

Inexorable

Mindful of the advice given me by the Venerable Dhammadipa Theri I am working with my aditthana to meditate formally each day for three hours. At this point I have 90 minutes completed and will need another 90 before bed to make my goal.

It’s funny to watch how quickly the mind balks at following through once it’s pressed to give a little more. I feel as though I spent a solid forty minutes of walking meditation complaining to myself about how tired I was. But, today was the first day after all and I know I do better in the morning than the evening.

May I push forward with kindness and compassion without giving up.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/18/2018

Heart Attack

Samsara never fails. Monday afternoon my wife texted me to let me know that her father was in the hospital for chest pain. We would later find out that he had had a major heart attack and would live but at that time, we had no real clue what was happening.

It was one of those moments of terrifying clarity when you see just how delicate and fragile these lives and bodies really are. And, even though he’s “fine” now he really isn’t and neither are we. I could just as easily slip and fall down a four foot staircase or get hit by a car. My kids could suddenly get sick and die. My wife could be killed in a car accident. There’s nothing to prevent these things and, eventually, something will occur to bring about the end of this life for each of us.

So, what is it that I’m doing on the cushion every morning? Am I planning my office or trying to break the will of this beast? And, furthermore, how can I be disappointed with my progress when I realistically spend no more than an hour each day training the mind?

One day this body will lie cold and lifeless and it will be too late. May I make the aditthana to meditate formally (for the nth time) for three hours each day. To do so I will need to wake at 0330 hours every day and begin meditation promptly at 0400 ( that is the important part). If I meditate until 0600 I then only have one hour left which I can do from 2100 or 2200.

It honestly seems like a tall order but what else is this life to be used for? Sleeping? Eating? Am I a cow, cat or have I been blessed with a human mind and body in this life?

And, while we’re on the subject of aditthana, I’m giving up sweets for the next three months and embarking once more on dry fasts on Mondays and Thursdays and 4:20 or 8:16 intermittent fasting the rest of the days. I’m doing this for both the health benefits and as a spiritual exercise. May I succeed.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/16/2018

Metta: Kissing the Leper

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/16/2018

Fear and Desire

It’s wrong to establish the citta with such a negative attitude. The ensuing results are bound to be harmful in some way.

The correct approach is to focus the citta firmly on some aspects of Dhamma, either the recollection of death or some other Dhamma theme. Under such circumstances, one should never allow the mind to focus outward to imagined external threats and then bring those notions back in to deceive oneself.

Whatever happens, life or death, one’s attention must be kept squarely on the meditation subject that one normally uses.

This morning has been an object lesson in this teaching. Two, aggressive, drunk dudes on a train causing problems and there is the arising of fear and anger. Do I stay or do I go? I’ll stay with buddho.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/14/2018

Pride and Conceit

146. When this world is ever ablaze, why this laughter, why this jubilation? Shrouded in darkness, will you not see the light?

147. Behold this body — a painted image, a mass of heaped up sores, infirm, full of hankering — of which nothing is lasting or stable!

148. Fully worn out is this body, a nest of disease, and fragile. This foul mass breaks up, for death is the end of life.

149. These dove-colored bones are like gourds that lie scattered about in autumn. Having seen them, how can one seek delight?

150. This city (body) is built of bones, plastered with flesh and blood; within are decay and death, pride and jealousy.

Dhammapada

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/13/2018

Better than a Thousand Useless Words

Sahassamapi ce vācā anatthapadasaṃhitā

ekaṃ atthapadaṃ seyyo,

yaṃ sutvā upasammati.

Listen: http://host.pariyatti.org/dwob/dhammapada_8_100.mp3

Better than a thousand useless words

is one useful word,

hearing which one attains peace.

Dhammapada 8.100

http://tipitaka.org/romn/cscd/s0502m.mul7.xml#para100

The Dhammapada: The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom, translated from Pāli by Acharya Buddharakkhita

https://store.pariyatti.org/Dhammapada-The-BP203ME-Pocket-Version_p_2513.html

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/12/2018

The Flames of Ragatanha – Happy Uposatha

Ācariya Mun then continued: “You see, this is the very nature of the world: one moment there’s affection, another moment there’s friction, anger, and hatred. Even though you know it to be wrong, it’s hard to correct. Have you ever seriously tried to correct this problem? If so, it shouldn’t happen very often. Even a minimum effort should be enough to keep it under control. Otherwise, it’s like eating three meals a day: in the morning you quarrel, in the afternoon you quarrel, and in the evening you quarrel –regularly around the clock. Some people even end up in divorce, allowing their children to become caught up in the conflagration as well. They are innocent, yet they too must bear the burden of that bad kamma. Everyone is affected by this blazing fire: friends and acquaintances keep their distance due to the shame of it all.

May we take the Ajahn’s words to heart and order our affairs as lay disciples to prevent ourselves from causing future harm to one another.

May the merit gained from this observance be shared with my parents, teachers, wife and children. May I never be separated from the Dhamma. May I always be reborn in favorable training circumstances. May I attain complete liberation for the benefit of myself and all beings.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/11/2018

This Body is a Charnel Ground (NSFW)

Yesterday, a dear kalyanamitta, the Venerable Dhammadipa Bhikkhuni, sent a video (in Thai I believe) wherein the female singer performs a song about the nature of this bodily form.

When I first watched I wasn’t too taken aback but upon subsequent viewings and reflection, it began to do its work.

This morning, during my short formal session, I dropped into contemplating my body decaying. Taking it as it was seated in my living room , I imagined that I had died and there was no one but the cat around. I visualized my flesh turning waxy, my abdomen swelling from the gases created by the bacteria feasting on my viscera. I saw my body slump and flop supine from its seated position. I felt what I can only describe as shame as my physical beauty was replaced by rot and as the cat, with no one to feed her, ate the soft parts of my head and body. Finally, the maggots came to finish the job as our cadavers (for the cat, too, had eventually died) turned into dedicated husks.

At certain points of real disgust and dis-ease I tried to linger and really feel the revulsion. This is the nature of the body. This is its only end. May I practice with these reflections until I have cut the cord of craving and no longer delight in physical form.

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