Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/10/2019

A Letter to a Friend — Epistle 1

Thanks for meditating with me last night — it’s always better in company than solo. I hope we can make this a regular thing and since you had mentioned pain you may always want to switch up your sitting styles. For years I used the seiza position which is shown here:
I still sometimes switch from half-lotus or burmese (cross legs with right on  floor in front of left) to seiza during longer retreats. Regardless, the form is meant to keep you alert, not as a form of torture (as attractive as that can be sometimes ). Since you asked last night about what I was chanting before the sit, here are what I consider to me the absolute fundamentals:
Namô Tassa Bhagavatô Arahatô Sammâ-Sambuddhassa (3x)
Homage to Him, the Blessed One, the Exalted One, the Fully Enlightened One.

Buddham Saranam Gacchâmi.
Dhammam Saranam Gacchâmi.
Sangham Saranam Gacchâmi.
Dutiyampi Buddham Saranam Gacchâmi.
Dutiyampi Dhammam Saranam Gacchâmi.
Dutiyampi Sangham Saranam Gacchâmi.
Tatiyampi Buddham Saranarn Gacchâmi.
Tatiyampi Dhammam Saranam Gacchâmi.
Tatiyampi Sangham Saranam Gacchâmi.

I go to the Buddha as my refuge.
I go to the Dhamma – The Teachings, as my Refuge.
I go to the Sangha – The Community, as my Refuge.
For the second time I go to the Buddha as my Refuge.
For the second time I go to the Dhamma – The Teachings, as my Refuge.
For the second time I go to the Sangha – The Community, as my Refuge.
For the third time I go to the Buddha as my Refuge.
For the third time I go to the Dhamma – The Teachings, as my Refuge.
For the third time I go to the Sangha – The Community, as my Refuge.

Pânâtipâtâ Veramani Sikkhâpadam Samâdiyâmi.
Adinnâdânâ Veramani Sikkhâpadam Samâdiyâmi.
Kâmesu Micchâcârâ Veramani Sikkhâpadam Samâdiyâmi.
Musâvâdâ Veramani Sikkhâpadam Samâdiyâmi.
Surâ Mêraya Majja Pamâdatthânâ Verami Sikkhâpadam Samâdiyâmi
Imâni Panca Sikkhâpadâni Samâdiyâmi (3x)

I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from destroying living beings.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from taking things not given.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from sexual misconduct.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from false speech.
I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from liquor causing intoxication and heedlessness.
I undertake to observe the Five Precepts to the best of my ability.(3x)

Iti pi so Bhagavâ-Araham Sammâ-sambuddho.
Vijjâ-carana sampanno Sugato Lokavidû Anuttarro
Purisa-damma-sârathi Satthâ deva-manussânam
Buddho Bhagavâti

Translation – Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Svâkkhato Bhagavatâ Dhammo Sanditthiko Akâliko Ehi-passiko Opanâyiko Paccattam
veditabbo viññuhiti.

Translation – Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and how; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.

Supati-panno Bhagavato sâvaka sangho, Ujupati-panno Bhagavato sâvaka sangho.
Ñâya-patipanno Bhagavato sâvaka sangho. Sâmici-patipanno Bhagavato sâvaka sangho
Yadidam cattâri purisa yugâni attha-purisa-puggalâ Esa Bhagavato sâvaka sangho.
Âhu-neyyo, pâhu-neyyo, Dakkhi-neyyo,añjalikaraniyo, anuttaram puññakkhetam lokassâti

Translation – Homage to the Disciples of the Buddha
The Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples has entered on the good way; the Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples has entered on the straight way; the Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples has entered on the proper way, that is to say; the Four Pairs of Men, the Eight Types of Persons; the Sangha of the Blessed One’s disciples is fit for gifts, fit for hospitality, fit for offerings, and fit for reverential salutation, as the incomparable field of merit for the world.

I’m sorry if that seems long but it’s really quick. Anyway, you can take it or leave it but it has become really valuable and inspiring to me over the years just as the dedication of merit at the end has.

I have to say that I admire your strength and commitment to healing yourself and your family. It is honestly something I’ve never seen before and you should know how inspiring that is (and, yes, I’m sure you don’t feel inspiring). I know you’re going to be fine and, most likely, are going to come out the other side of this mess a more compassionate, wise and absolutely indomitable woman. Let me know if we’re on for tonight and here’s another bhikkhu’s approach to metta if you’re interested:
Mettacittena.

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