Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/06/2017

Practicing with Difficulty

For whatever strange reasons, I’m drawn to ascetic practices, or what might be considered ascetic in this day and age anyway. One thing that has always held me back in terms of fasting or other self-abnegatory practices is the simple fact that they, in and of themselves, don’t necessarily lead to liberation. Most people reading this will know the story of how the Lord Buddha tried and then abandoned self-mortification, teaching that it was not the way to release. And yet, he lived an austere life and allowed the dhutanga practices as well. Mr Weston had always been “Why?”

Now, I may not have the answer that he would’ve given but it seems to me that purposefully taking on difficulty is only useful in terms of training oneself to be unperturbed. So, this morning as I walked to the train, I made the asseveration that today’s real practice would not be the fat from food and drink, it would be to keep the mind bright and kind despite it.

As usual, the realization probably seems pretty mundane from the outside but it gives me a basis to proceed. May I undertake acesis in order to cultivate a mind not dependent on external conditions to prepare for death, hardship and strengthen my faith in the Dhamma.


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