Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/26/2019

An Exercise to Deal with Lust

I apologize in advance if the subject of this post is a bit too forward but, as someone who is working towards brahmacariya and the perfection of the paramis, I have found this advice to be worth sharing. Bear in mind that these are Hindu/Vedic techniques but I see no reason not to make use of them.

“During the time of sex-irritations. sit down cross-legged or kneel down in an open place. Inhale slowly, and very slowly but cautiously close the anus firmly, bring the lower. abdomen towards the spine, be uttering OM and slowly. very slowly and cautiously drag the irritating force from the very tip of the genitals backwards towards the anus and then upwards towards the head, and then exhale slowly. Continue this process for ten or twenty minutes. Be uttering OM all the while. While tracing the mind from the tip of genital towards the head, think that you are actually taking the irritating force from the genitals upwards. While inhaling or taking the breath inside, think firmly that you are filling your whole body and mind with Purity, holiness, strength, power and perfection. While exhaling, think that you are throwing out from your mind and body, all the impurities, weaknesses, disease, lust, sins and other evil things. This process will help immensely and will save you from the fall. This, process can be practised daily in the morning and in the evening with an empty stomach for ten to thirty minutes. If this practice is regularly carried out, it will help one very much to retain Brahmacharya, to check wet dreams, and to dry and convert the secreted semen into the great mental energy called Ojas Shaktiâ. This method helps meditation also”

(Swami Narayanananda,The Way To Peace,Power,and Long Life)

After attending to the calls of nature and with an empty stomach sit straight cross-legged in a clean place. free from dust and dirt and pleasing to the mind,or sit inside a well -ventilated room. Inhale slowly through both nostrils.Draw the stomach and lower abdomen towards the spine and upwards. Close the anus firmly by contraction and very slowly and cautiously draw the energy from the very tip of the genitals to the brain.While taking the energy upward,trace the mind from the tip of the genitals along the Sushumna canal (along the spine) up to the brain centre..After thus tracing the mind,along the spinal column up to the head,,exhale and relax the stomach,the lower abdomen ,and the anus..Then again inhale through both the nostrils as before and continue the process again and again,without any rest or stopping..Be uttering “Om” mentally throughout the process. While tracing the mind from the genitals upwards along the spinal column,presume think firmly that you are taking the energy from the Swadhisthana back to the Muladhara,and thence towards the head-centre along the Sushumna Nadi. Think that you are actually taking the energy to the highest centre Sahasrara.In the beginning imagination is necessary.

(Swami Narayananda,The Primal Power In Man)

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/26/2019

Forgiveness, Above All Else

It seems to me that the things that lead me to act unskilfully and that lead to suffering (whether immediately and directly or in a more circuitous fashion) are precisely those things that require forgiveness. It follows that the cruelty, disdain and myriad other infelicitous behaviors of those around me should be just as vigorously and quickly forgiven.

When my wife criticizes me, I should quickly reflect on the burning pain and inner irritation she must be feeling. I know the feeling all too well, having being subject to it more times than I can count work my kids. Rather than reflecting on the unhappy results of her actions I can see the suffering and forgive her deluded and confused attempts to escape it. Just as I should do with myself.

Really, this goes deeper than simple forgiveness; it seems to me that it has to do with a constant awareness of dukkha as the prime mover in our lives. People kill, steal, cheat, lie and do drugs to escape from dukkha but the lay certainly doesn’t end there. Rather than judging why can’t I understand that someone on a train snapping selfie after selfie of themself is trying to fill a void and feel better about themself? Why do I instantly go to criticism of their moral failings and bolstering of the idea of myself as a spiritual practitioner?

It’s s work in progress but I hope to make forgiveness and perception of dukkha more central to my daily practice.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/24/2019

The Audacity to Forgive Oneself

Knowing that kamma cannot be abrogated or erased, why do I insist on punishing myself in addition to the bitter harvest I have prepared by acting unskilfully or outright breaking the precepts?

Do I somehow believe that I can escape my fate simply by browbeating myself? Why do I insist on forgiving others and yet withhold forgiveness from myself? If I am no different than my brothers and sisters in birth, aging and death, why do I refuse to forgive myself as I do them?

Today I failed. I broke a commitment to myself and possibly a precept in the process. I will reap what I have sown. May I have the audacity, however, to forgive myself and wish myself well.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/23/2019

Workout of Restraint

I’ve mentioned before that the exercise routine I’ve decided to take up often leaves me feeling sore and tired. And yet, I know it is good for me and I see that I’m actually getting physically stronger. Yes, I’m also bearing witness to a lot of whimpering and whining but, on the whole, I know it is a good thing and that it will bring long term benefit.

Al of which brings me to this observation: The struggle to overcome laziness and lethargy seems to me to be very similar to the exercise of my sila. Yes, it is painful at times to restrain myself but I know that it is for my long-term benefit. In fact, cultivation of sila is superior to physical workouts in that it also brings ease in the short term (one the initial burning of craving has subsided).

Finally, any of this so-called external training is worthless without the practice of restraint. Muscles rot. Memories will fade. Kamma is my only patrimony.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/20/2019

Shame On Me

Shame on me for thinking that there is time to feel despair. Shame on me for worrying solely about myself. When billions of beings are teetering over the abyss due to unrestrained desire and greed, shame on me if I don’t spend my time wisely cultivating kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity in the face of it all.

Despair in the face of the apocalypse, seems to me, nothing but another excuse to be self-involved and concerned only with myself — a preoccupation that has lead us all down the very path where we find ourselves now. Shame on me if I allow myself to wallow in sadness and self-pity. We all must die but we can, at least, use these short lives to do some good before they end.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/18/2019

Padhana Sutta

“Shame on life here in this world! It is better for me to die in battle than to live defeated. Some recluses and brahmanas are not seen (exerting themselves) here, so immersed are they (in worldliness). They are not aware of that path by which those of perfect conduct walk.

Sn 425-449

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/17/2019

Push Past Comfort

One thing that I’m beginning to really learn through physical conditioning and martial arts training is that so much of it depends on one’s outlook and perception. If I believe I need to conserve my strength early on the day so that I’m not too tired or too weak to perform later then I end up selling myself short.

Let us pretend that I will fail or be too tired to complete a routine or rep if I train too hard on the early part of the day. So be it! In fact, pushing myself to the point of exhaustion is really the idea behind this. I’m training for when things get bad. I’m training the mind and body for when comfort is hard to come by. What better way to do it than by pushing past comfort?

So little of the training I’m doing is about the body; in fact, it is more about my learning to deal with pain and exhaustion so why would I try to set myself up for failure? I have lately been making the aspiration that I not give up on the beings on this planet until the end of the world age when all is consumed in fire. If I am serious, how much more suffering will I have to endure? Time to get clear about what I’m doing and get to it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/14/2019

Five keys to right speech

“Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

“It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.”

— AN 5.198

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/13/2019

In Praise of Facebook

Facebook in particular and social media, in general, have proven to be quite vexing for me. I find I get caught up quickly in opinions and views and an often left feeling worse than when I began scrolling. However, I have to say that Facebook is proving itself to be quite useful for one thing in particular: lavishing praise upon someone.

Most of the time the way I use it and see it used is to criticize, find fault and express outrage. But, every since I made the decision to try to praise someone once a day I have been taken with jitsu how easy it is to do. People are constantly shading their pain and triumphs on Facebook so what could be easier than taking a second to praise them? Not only is this a great way to cultivate mudita but is also a way to express vulnerability and create closer bonds. Thanks Facebook.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/11/2019

Memento Mori: September 11th

Spirits were high with expectations this morning,
As the men discussed subduing enemies and protecting the land.
Now, with night’s coming, birds and dogs chew their corpses.
Who believed that they themselves would die today?

—The Seventh Dalai Lama

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