Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/22/2019

The Garden of Compassion

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

I’m not sure how exactly this quote should be understood but, for me, it has always meant that we find the germ of compassion in the heart of our suffering. Whether it’s in the suffering of being criticized by others or the suffering of loss, every form of dukkha had the potential to teach us view wise compassion is ever an appropriate response.

May I meet dukkha with wisdom and compassion. May I understand its nature and practice the path to put it to rest.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/21/2019

We Are All on Death Row

[S]eeking revenge is self-defeating. Since death is definite and the time is indefinite, wanting to harm others makes no sense. It is like the squabbling of prisoners condemned to death.

Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage: An Explanation of the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas

How silly is it never to have seen this before? We are all condemned to death here and yet we would spend our time quarreling with one another?

May we do our best to give away whatever we have that can be of aside or give succor.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/20/2019

Happy Uposatha – El Refugio

I’ve recently discovered Bhikkhu Nandisena, a monk I believe is from Argentina. There’s been a dearth of Spanish and Italian language Dhamma talks on the internet and I’m happy to have found this ajahn. It makes sharing the Dhamma with my kids much easier and I find that different aspects are emphasized in each language whether it’s a result of the structure of the language of the way my mind perceives them. ¡Feliz uposatha!

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/19/2019

Everything is Uncertain

How quickly things change. Last night, waiting on the platform for the train I get a call: is my wife and she’s crying, telling me how she can’t do this anymore and that she’s leaving. I’m not quite understanding at this point since she had texted me a few times throughout the day and everything seemed fine. She goes on: she can’t take our disrespectful kids, the stress of school and all of my problems and she’s going to leave, tonight. I tell her to wait until I get home.

In an instant my mind goes to how I’ll figure out childcare without her and other logistical issues but I keep reminding myself to be patient and calm and that there is no need to try to figure out all out now. In fact, I realized just how fluid the situation was so I stayed with buddho and metta.

I get home to a house full of crying kids and wife (the two year old was happily oblivious however) and take some time to listen to everyone. My wife is convinced that my anxiety is the problem so I have agreed to go see anyone she picks for the third time in our marriage. I have no faith in paying a stranger to talk about my problems but if it saves my kids and my wife from really bad decisions I’ll do it.

Who knows what today will bring but I’m pretty confident I won’t have been able to plan or prepare for it any better than by staying grounded in the present.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/18/2019

Taking on Suffering

I picked up my father in law from the airport lady night and when we got to his house we ate dinner together. He comes from a culture where the food is served with lots of hot peppers as condiments and, as much as I love them, I know I should leave them on the table. Once again I failed to take my own advice and I’ve had an upset stomach all morning.

Not sure what it is about this kind of pain but it can feel particularly debilitating. Still, I had the inspiration to dedicate my suffering as a substitute for the suffering of all beings in general and in particular to those with similar ailments. And, despite an initial feeling of being overwhelmed and dizziness, it actually send to have belief to give meaning to the senseless suffering.

May this pain serve as a substitute for the postings of all beings. May I experience this pain so that other beings may be freed of their own.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/17/2019

In Memoriam: Michael Todd Berg

Aniccā vatha sankhārā

Uppāda vaya dhamminō

Uuppajjitvā nirujjhanti

Te san vūpa samō sukhō

A friend of mine suddenly passed away on the 10th. We just found out yesterday so I fear I missed a week where our dana and dedications of merit may have been of more benefit. Notwithstanding, I have reached out to monks I feel would be willing to perform a dana for him.

If you have a practice I would ask that you dedicate merit to him. If you don’t, please consider doing something good or generous in his honor.



Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/15/2019

The Buddhavamsa – The Chronicle of the Buddhas

Ajahn Achalo just uploaded a wonderful talk he gave at Bodh Gaya on the path to buddhahood and spoke at length on the Buddhavamsa. I have been meaning to read it and have just uploaded a copy to Scribd here:

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/14/2019

Happy Uposatha – Fasting

May I never break my commitment to serve and care for all beings.

May I never abandon beings in anger, lust or delusion.

May I always keep my precepts pure.

As part of my renewed commitment to be of more use and service to all beings (as well as myself) I am taking up the practice of dry fasting on Mondays and Thursdays again. And, although it should be no big deal, or never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can be reduced to desperation simply through denying myself food and drink. Clearly, if I have any pretense of helping others in times of catastrophe and difficulty, this kind of fasting provides fertile ground for working on my aditthana and viriya.

My most recent 42 hour liquid fast really helped me to see just how much this life is determined by our thoughts. When I was eighteen years old and in the prime of my life I never could have imagined going without food for a day let alone meditating every morning. As Arya Shantideva had said, there is nothing that does not become easy through practice. May I be sure to practice only the good so that it becomes easy for me.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/13/2019

Establishing Intention

Everyday the news is worse: whether it’s the insect apocalypse or the collapse of the ocean’s ecosystem it looks as if human civilization is doomed. But, if I have the intention of helping to shepherd countless beings across the flood, how is this any different? I have been trying to come up with the right words for an aspiration to change at the end of my formal practice that would encapsulate my bodhisattvic intentions in an epoch of decay and degeneration but have yet to find them. Who would have guessed that magic and aditthana share so much in common?

Anyway, when I think about the hard times that may come I am most preocuppied with maintaining my precepts and alleviating weekday suffering I can. For some time I have been undertaking fasts and cold showers as well as engaging in an exercise régimen in the hopes of being of service when the chips are down. Then again, if anything needs training and preparation it’s the mind.

So, maybe I’m completely crazy but trying to think of ways to be of use during a real or imagined Armageddon gives me some solace. Truth be told, we are all dying here anyway so my efforts to help surely won’t go to waste.

May I keep my precepts pure as a protection for myself and all beings.

May I embody the Dhamma to teach beings by example.

May I never abandon metta or karuna, even at the cost of my life.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/12/2019

Not feeling very energized today. Only managed a half an hour sit and made it half way through my precepts before I stopped. It’s no wonder I didn’t handle my wife’s usual criticisms and negativity well. Still, I have to wonder what I was even thinking allowing fatigue and sloth to overcome me? Am I suddenly immortal? Has kamma suddenly ceased working? Surely not.

Today and all days like it are a perfect opportunity to practice viriya parami. For those who are unfamiliar here is an excerpt:

Virya paramita — the perfection of energy — is the fourth of the traditional six (sometimes ten) paramitas or perfections of Mahayana Buddhism and the fifth of the ten perfections of Theravada Buddhism. What is the perfection of energy?

May I always redouble my efforts when I’m adapted by sloth, torpor and fatigue. May I recall the Bodhisatta’s aditthana not to move from under the bodhi tree until the prize was won.

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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.