Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/21/2018

Making Offerings

Yesterday, as I pondered the teachings on dana parami, it occurred to me that the Tibetan practice of visualizing offerings of all the material things one holds dear can be quite a skillful way to practice letting go. I was further spurred on in this direction by a comment made by Ajahn Achalo in a Dhamma talk where he relayed that he tries to make it a regular practice to give away his favorite thing every so often. And, although I too have attempted to do something similar in the past, I feel that I still have far to go in this respect.

You see, I have undertaken to give whatever is asked of me (as long as it causes no harm) and I have also begun to take certain aspirations to give my merits, enjoyments and even this body away in the pursuit of liberation and freedom of suffering. If I want to be truly authentic then how can I assert such an intention and yet be unwilling to give away my skateboard or knife? Yes, as silly as it sounds, when I imagined giving away these things I was struck by the strength of my attachment. I realized instantly that this was exactly where I needed to work.

The practice of making mandala offerings is something I intend to investigate further but until then I hope to include a brief practice of mentally offering whatever it is I’m attached to in the hopes that, when and if the proper time arises, I will be able to give it away. The additional benefits of this practice is strengthening nekkhama parami and reducing attachment.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/20/2018

Dana Paramita

May I, when seeing one in need, give rise to delight,

And with a smiling, friendly countenance,

Give away—with a mind free of any hope whatever is desired:

My enjoyments, even my own body, my life, my flesh and blood.

Excerpt From: “Illuminating the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Chokyi Dragpa. Scribd.

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/19/2018

All phenomena are like dreams and illusions;

There is nothing that is true,

For things appear although they are nonex-istent.

Do not have great attachment to them as real.

The idea that all appearances are but illusions has appealed to me at different times throughout my life. Beginning when I was quite young (probably when I was around 9 years old) Ave I picked up one of my father’s old philosophy books (Bishop Berkeley to be exact) I have had a fascination with understanding perception and how we come to know the world. Later, in college, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason enthralled me. The idea that our knowledge of things is formed and limited by our perceptual apparatus had stuck with me and Ave influenced the way I understand the Dhamma.

Although I believe the Lord Buddha was the ultimate phenomenologist, the division between phenomenon and noumenon send useful enough for understanding the world as a putthujana. Truly, we can’t see or understand anything as it really is until we have clarified our view and broken free of the defilements.

Excerpt From: “Illuminating the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Chokyi Dragpa. Scribe.

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/18/2018

Thankful for the Messengers

The Lord Buddha once corrected Ven. Ananda by asserting that noble friendship was the whole of the holy life. Despite the fact that I fall far short of Ananda’s wisdom and kindness the relationships in my life beat closer consideration and appreciation. Here, too, there is a somewhat standard caveat (perhaps it would be better considered a protestation) for those of us practicing in less enlightened times and circumstances: but, so few of my friends can be considered noble let alone spiritual.

This has often been the objection raised in my thoughts but it’s been good to remind myself that fertile ground will grow the seeds of wisdom if we only take the time to sow them. In other words, if I’m open to listen to the teachings of my wife, children, business partner then I’m able to learn. This is true even if they’re not intending to help me at all. How much more precious then are true kalyanamitta?

May I learn kindness, forbearance, patience and equanimity from the unwilling and unintended messengers of the D

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/17/2018

Wrong View

I’ve heard it said that ill-will is wrong view. Now that I am more closely watching the mind for the defilement of aversion I’m amazed by how often my perception is clouded and incorrect. I’ve noticed over the course of the last two days that some of my first waking thoughts have been criticisms of different people. To say that I’ve been stunned by this realization doesn’t do it justice: the defilements have much tighter hold on the mind than I even realized.

I spent the lion’s share of this morning’s session working with the enmity I’d noticed but then I spoke out of anger to my son a few hours later when I noticed he was bullying good little sister. I know the answer is simply to correct without anger but I failed here too.

And yet, despite the repeated and seemingly endless errors and missteps, I have no real choice other than to continue. The least I can do is to try to recognize my failings as quickly as possible and try to avoid falling prey to them again.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/15/2018

Subdue Your Anger

You should give up the mind hostile toward the enemy. If you do not subdue your anger, the outer enemies will not disappear through conquests. If you tame that, it will not be necessary to conquer enemies.

Excerpt From: “Illuminating the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Chokyi Dragpa. Scribd.

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/13/2018

Hell

For the sake of satisfying my desires,

I have undergone a thousand times

The torments of being burned in hell,

Thereby achieving nothing for myself and others.

  This shows that it is reasonable to bear with the hardships of suffering when accomplishing that which is truly meaningful. Moreover:

  Therefore, disregard harm

And be able to withstand suffering.

Excerpt From: “Illuminating the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Chokyi Dragpa. Scribd.

This material may be protected by copyright.

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/12/2018

Where Did It Go?

Today has been strange: for reasons that are not obvious to me, I feel adrift and disconnected from my intentions and aspirations. I almost feel as if I have broken a precept or failed to keep a commitment. This, too, however must be brought into the practice. So instead of wondering where the thread went I need to get back to making it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/11/2018

Mudita and Envy

Scrolling through Facebook I was struck by my instant sense of envy and jealously when I would come across posts of acquaintances in apparently fortunate circumstances. Beyond the fact that it is humbling to see just how far I still have to go it is also a blessing to be able to see that I need to quickly work to change these habitual reactions.

Strangely, the mind and all too willing to allow the defilement of petty envy to live unchallenged in its depths and isn’t shocked at all despite professing to be practicing for the benefit of all. Then too there is this sense of having been wounded and wronged by fate that can make it so hard to feel mudita for another person.

Why do they have money to buy a house? Why did their kid get accepted to that school? How can they afford to go on that vacation? These thoughts and others sap the heart of goodwill and destroy our merit.

May I never again allow envy to live unmolested in my heart.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/11/2018

Evil

May all their evil ripen upon myself,

And may all my virtue, without exception, ripen upon them.

Excerpt From: “Illuminating the Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva” by Chokyi Dragpa. Scribd.

This material may be protected by copyright.

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