Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 12/22/2018

Happy Uposatha – Angry Again

At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for you and all those countless others. 

The quote above comes from Ani Pema Chodron and speaks to the issue of our own repeated failings. Despite my daily practice and efforts, I gave in to my frustration and spoke brusquely, complaining loudly as my wife barked multiple commands at me to do any number of things. Rather than maintain my composure I cracked and balked. So much for taking on the suffering of others huh.

Perhaps smelling blood in the water, she went on to ridicule me, asking how I could consider myself a Buddhist and react in that way. Good teachings in patience all around as little as I was feeling ready to accept them. This has been a running theme for years with her but in the last two days she’s turned to it a lot.

In fact yesterday, she commented about the apparent ineffectiveness of my practice and how it was a running joke between herself, her sister and her mother how much I meditate and how little it does to make me a better person. I can’t imagine the other two being so petty and cruel but who really knows.

Regardless, how could I hope to practice the paramis except for in such a situation? Hardship is the path of this practice so I really am fortunate to have a teacher like the mother of my children. One doesn’t often find people of such a disposition in the world so I should cherish her for her inexhaustible ability to teach the Dhamma of patience and aditthana.

May I dedicate the merit of this uposatha to her and may she swiftly attain liberation.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.