Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/08/2022

Thoughts on Forgiveness

The topic of forgiveness has been on my mind of late as a as result of an incident that happened on my birthday. Funny how the habits of a lifetime make deep ruts in the mind.

Anyhow, I realized almost immediately that I needed to purify my heart and mind and neutralize the poison so that it didn’t cause my to act any more unskillfully than I already had. My immediate thigh was of forgiveness but, as I had recognized from years of practice, there is no real Buddhist forgiveness practice.

According to some authors like Ken McLeod, the very concept of forgiveness is foreign to Buddhism. In his view, it simply doesn’t belong and, in a very strict sense, I believe he’s right. And yet, in a more practical and important sense I think he misses the point.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu:

When you forgive someone who’s wronged you, it doesn’t erase that person’s karma in having done wrong. This is why some people think that forgiveness has no place in the karmic universe of the Buddha’s teachings, and that it’s incompatible with the practice of what he taught. But that’s not so. Forgiveness may not be able to undo old bad kamma, but it can prevent new bad karma from being done. This is especially true with the bad kamma that in Pali is called vera. Vera is often translated as “hostility,” “animosity,” or “antagonism,” but it’s a particular instance of these attitudes: the vengeful animosity that wants to get back at someone for perceived wrongs. This attitude is what has no place in Buddhist practice. Patience can weaken it, but forgiveness is what clears it out of the way.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/07/2022

Sīlabbata-parāmāsa

Although I would like to think that I’m solely cultivating aditthana parami by following my daily mental, physical and spiritual routines, it occurs to me now that I’m also attaching undue importance to them in and of themselves. In some strange way, I believe that I really do think of these goals as in some way rites and rituals that will bring happiness and fulfillment.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 01/05/2022

Welcome Back

It’s been quite some time since I last wrote here and that has largely to do with both my emphasis on physical training and conditioning and the fact that we decided to get cars as a result of the pandemic and the need to take our little one to school in Brooklyn. As a result, I lost my normal train commute which was when I composed most of my posts and I didn’t take the time to write in the morning before leaving because, from 3:30AM on, I’m booked solid with chanting, meditation and training. All of which is to say that I made a deliberate choice to prioritize other things.

I have now made the choice to add this blog, which is really nothing more than a public, online journal, back into my daily schedule. Why? Well, because I feel like it can be a good place for me to flesh things out although I have to admit that it has often been used in the past as little more than an outlet to complain. As such, I intend to stick with the maxim of Marcus Aurelius:

Complaining - The Stoic Buddhist
“Do not be overheard complaining…not even to yourself.”
-Marcus Aurelius

I hope that the reflections, contemplations and practices I share here will be useful to someone (if no one else, at least to myself) but all of those things are outside of my control. Tomorrow I will post my daily routine for physical, metal and spiritual conditioning and development but for now I will wish you all well.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 09/24/2021

What To Do with an Insult?

I was recently insulted or, at the least, spoken to brusquely by a friend in public. Rather than question why or come up with a response from my turbulent heart I realized that there is only one important thing I need to do: reflect upon whether I would say such things to them. Would I ever say such things to anyone? If the answer is “no,” then there is no use worrying any longer about it. In this case, the answer was a definitive “no.”

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 09/02/2021

Interoception Training

Bodhipaksa from Wildmind Meditation brought the skill of interoception up in one of his regular emails and I have been practicing with it for the better part of the last week. In brief, interoception “is the perception of sensations from inside the body and includes the perception of physical sensations related to internal organ function such as heart beat, respiration, satiety, as well as the autonomic nervous system activity related to emotions.” (Vaitl, 1996; Cameron, 2001; Craig, 2002; Barrett et al.)

Maybe that wasn’t so brief but it was certainly necessary. So, why is this important? Why does it matter if we can feel our heartbeat? Why does it matter if we can feel our breath? Although the answer to the questions could easily fill several volumes (and much of the Suttapitaka is devoted to parsing them out) suffice it to say that knowing the body in the body is a key post of Satipatthana. So interoception and proprioception are key to developing samadhi and jhana.

Here is the link to Bodhipaksa’s well-written and informative article:

Why it matters if you can feel your heartbeat

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 08/17/2021

Stones in My Shoes

Every suffering, every form of dukkha can be put to good use while we’re on the path to understanding and liberation. At least, it seems that way to this unenlightened wordling.

A hard rap to the shin can be a meaningless mishap or a part of shin conditioning for Muay Thai. Stones in your running shoes can be seen as dangerous annoyances prone to cause blisters or gifts of the road to toughen your feet. An endlessly unhappy and critical wife could be the grounds for divorce or a unique opportunity to practice mettā and khanti parami.

It seems to me that I have many lifetimes yet to go before a deep understanding blossoms. Until then may I take as my goal the cultivation and perfection of the brahmaviharas and an indomitable will. May I turn all suffering into an opportunity to strengthen my body and mind and may I eventually break through and comprehend the Four Noble Truths.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 08/16/2021

How often have I made a resolution to practice in a certain way only to give up with the best of reasons days or months later? How often have I complained to myself about a situation and made myself miserable?

https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Published/Meditations10/200325_Endurance_&_Contentment.pdf?fbclid=IwAR13_pf3q1Wxk92FYUsu9usTB6Roc8w9ISEFri1uE3xvBR1AOzewMtstDPU

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 08/15/2021

Seven Types of Wives

On the Seven Types of Wives:

“Infatuated with another, she despises her husband.
She seeks to kill the one who bought her with wealth,
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A murderess and a wife.’

“The wealth acquired by her husband
By toiling at a craft, by trading, or farming,
Even if it is only a little, she desires to take by theft.
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A thief and a wife.’

“Not wishing to work, lazy, and gluttonous
Abusive, angry, and harsh in speech,
She dominates and exerts control over her supporters.³
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A governess and a wife.’ [93]

“Who is always friendly and compassionate,
Like a mother protects her husband like a son.
His wealth that he earns she guards.
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A mother and a wife.’

“She who like an elder sister her younger brother,
Respects her husband as her own,
Modest, acting according to her husband’s wish.
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A sister and a wife.’

“Who is delighted on seeing her husband,
As when meeting a friend after a long absence,
Cultured, virtuous, she is a devoted wife.
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A friend and a wife.’

“Who is calm when scolded or threatened with punishment,⁴
Her mind uncorrupted, she endures her husband’s wrath,
Without getting angry she follows her husband’s wish.
She who is this kind of wife of a man,
Is called ‘A servant and a wife.’

“The wives here called a murderess, a thief, and a governess,
Immoral, abusive, and disrespectful,
On the break-up of the body after death go to hell.
Those here called mother, sister, friend, servant and wife,
Established in virtue and long restrained,
On the break-up of the body after death go to heaven.”

“These seven, Sujātā, are the wives of a man. Which of them are you?”

http://www.aimwell.org/bhariya.html
Bhāriya Sutta, AN

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 07/23/2021

Solitude and Kalyanamittata

From Nyanamoli Bhikku’s latest book:

Q: The Buddha encourages the development of seclusion. What then is the best way to cultivate it?


Nyanamoli: You need to start exposing yourself to seclusion gradually. Needing others, however subtly, is quite a serious compro- mise for someone interested in practising the Dhamma. I’m speaking specifically about needing others for your existential wellbeing and sanity. That’s a massive compromise and a huge risk if you never become independent of it. We are all owners of our actions, fully enclosed within them and ourselves. What you do stays with you. No other person can help you with that or take away from yourburden. It’s always on you, your intentions, your decisions, your actions: they always stay within you. You are bound up with your actions and burdened by the results of them. Company makes us forget that.


Thus, you’re alone whether you want to be or not. Enclosed within yourself. Most people choose to distract themselves from that truth. Lots of effort is invested in ignoring it. However, the recognition of that profound truth is where the Dhamma practice starts. You can be very close to others, but fundamentally, your feelings, your choices and responsibilities are things only you are privy to. Rec- ognizing this can reveal that heavy burden, and that’s exactly what the Buddha meant by saying “beings are the owners of their actions”. And the burden accumulates through that ownership and ignorance.

Dhamma within Reach, pp.59-60

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 07/17/2021

I’m Good, But He Was Better

I’ve had a habit of self-deprecation for as long as I can remember. And, although I do it partly for it’s comic effect, it is primarily a defense mechanism. What I have been finding out during this martial arts/combat sports’ journey is that it is a pretty silly thing to do. Here’s why:

When you train any amount with a coach, sensei, professor, etc. and you’re putting in the work you don’t want to then devalue your efforts and the effort of your instructor. It’s disrespectful and untruthful. And, in cases where you meet someone who literally beats the snot out of you, it’s not simply that you suck but note that your opponent was much better.

And when you lose what do you do? Whether it’s the kilesas or a boxer, you review what happened, how and why you failed and you start training to shore up those weaknesses.

May I never surrender in my fight with the kilesas and may I see every activity as training lesson in the Dhamma.

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