Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/06/2019

Throughout My Lives

“Throughout my many lives and until this moment, whatever virtue I have accomplished, including the merit generated by this practice, and all that I will ever attain, this I offer for the welfare of sentient beings.”

Excerpt from: “Tonglen for Our Own Suffering: 7 Variations on an Ancient Practice” by Swami Girijananda.

Ever since I renounced tonglen practice I have felt as if I have come unmoored. Perhaps it is simply an accident of fate but it seems like the feeling of being adrift took root as a result of giving up giving and taking. And why would that be? I really have no idea because nothing makes sense when I try to reason through it but maybe it has something to do with cutting that connection to others.

Once I had decided to protect myself from the “damage” of others’ suffering I cut off my vital connection to them and to my heart. So, it seems that I was premature in my renunciation.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/06/2019

Not Forsaking Beings

I keep looking for a quote wherein a bodhisattva makes an asseveration not to abandon beings but I have yet to find it. I guess little old, wayward and confused would-be bodhisattva has to make the declaration myself. As imperfect as I am and as full of defilements as I can be I vow not to forsake beings for anything less than the attainment of samma sambodhi.

The fear of suffering is great and I know I will have to endure eons in hell realms but, seeing my own suffering, how can I not work for the benefit of others’? I am told daily that I am a selfish and inconsiderate person so I almost shudder to think of how many millions of lives stretch out before me until I can even meet a Buddha before whom I may ask for a prediction.

May I never abandon beings until I win complete liberation and declare a new dispensation for the benefit of all beings and to lead devas and humans to the Supreme Bliss of Nibbana.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/05/2019

Get by somehow!

Great Middle Way

jodoshu_img2Live your life in whatever manner enables you to practice mindfulness of the Buddha. Renounce everything that interferes with remembrance through recitation.

If you can’t utter the Name while living in just one place, become a vagabond and recite. If it is difficult because you constantly travel, then establish a fixed residence and recite. If you are under monastic vows and have trouble reciting because of them, resume the householder’s life. If you can’t practice as a householder, abandon the home life.

If you are living alone and it doesn’t work, try to find a companion, a fellow cultivator who will encourage you. But if reciting with others is a hindrance, then live by yourself. Should you be prevented from reciting by the necessity of securing food and clothing, accept the charity of others and continue your practice. And if no one will help you, then get by somehow, but…

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/05/2019

The Enemies of Joy

There are many “enemies” of mudita, mental tendencies that make it very difficult for us to feel joy for others. The primary obstacles are greed and envy.

Greed is not only our desire to have more than others, but it has the added flavor of insisting on having the exclusive rights to our desirable qualities, to our achievements, and to our possessions. Greed spawns guardedness at best and suspicion at worse as we try to protect the things we have gained and prevent others from having those things. Think Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.”

Envy is our inability to be happy for someone else’s good fortune. In fact, when envy is present, we can’t even endure others’ happiness. Envy is not only rooted in a deep scarcity mentality, but it is also fueled by not believing in ourselves. It also causes us to dwell endlessly on all the things we don’t have, which further erodes our happiness and could lead to very unskillful behaviors that cause harm.

In her book “Lovingkindness,” Sharon Salzberg highlights a few more tendencies that move us further away from one another including: being judgmental, demeaning others, endlessly comparing ourselves to others, and prejudice.

Many of these tendencies are reinforced by our culture. Not only do we sow our own seeds of discontent when we indulge in these mental impulses, but those around us, especially those in our “tribes,” tend to water those seeds by piling on and reinforcing our views. We see this all over social media. The result is that no matter how much we dig into our camps, we never seem to feel any better. There is always an enemy to fight against, and we never feel secure in ourselves.
Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/04/2019

The Chief Task

“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .”

Epictetus, Discourses, 2.5.4–5

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/31/2019


The temperatures have been plummeting all week. Two nights ago, I met a homeless man on the corner of 1st and 14th who was out in the freezing rain with a ripped short and the remnants of a hospital gown trailing behind him. I must confess that, when I first saw him I hurried along so as not to be spotted. So much for compassion, huh?

Anyway, as I was willing back from the store I see him again. He asked me for money and I told him that I had none. Then I asked if he needed anything else. He seemed lost so I suggested I buy him a poncho. At this point I believe he stumbled and fell for the first time. He was much larger than me and quite dirty so (failing to be a bodhisattva one more) I couldn’t do much to help him right himself. After he used my leg to brace himself I reason to the store to get the poncho.

When I came back he was with an older gentleman who had called 911. The kind man said that the homeless guy was named David and that he had fallen three times in the five minutes of been away. Not thinking that this might be a bad idea I tried to put the poncho on David. The result was that he fell backward through some newspaper kiosks and into the bike lane.

At this point there was nothing much we could do for him except wait with him until the paramedics came. I still feel guilty for having been such an imperfect helper but there’s not much I can do about it now. I’ve been dedicating my merit to him but that’s about it.

How close are we to being David? David is someone’s son. David may even be someone’s father and husband. Someday soon we may be in his shoes but we live our lives as if we’re somehow immune to the same fortune. I cannot save anyone but, when I see the urge to avoid, to run, may I always turn toward that person reflecting on the fact that I would want to be shown just such concern and kindness.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/29/2019

Am I Willing?

Am I willing let the drunk or homeless guy stretch out on the subway bench without passing judgement? Am I willing to give him that small and hidden kindness when I have an office and an apartment to go to? Am I willing to allow him to rest in warmth rather than freeze outside?

I may not understand how to practice tonglen but I can understand what it means to sacrifice a little comfort so that my brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in aging, sickness and death might have a moment’s respite.

And, if even this is too much to begrudge another, how far am I from awakening?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/28/2019

Happy Uposatha – Ekasanikangam samadhiyami

2.7.1. The One-Sessioner’s Practice (Ekasanikanga dhutanga)

With reference to this practice, the following are noteworthy:

1. The act of eating food at not more than one sitting is called ekasana.

2. A bhikkhu who keeps the one-sessioner’s practice is called ekasanika.

3. The volition that makes the bhikkhu observe this practice is called ekasanikanga


2.7.2. The Procedure of Observing the One-Sessioner’s Practice

A bhikkhu who decides to observe the one-sessioner’s practice does it with either

one of the expressions: ‘Nanasana bhojanam patikkhipami’ (I refuse to eat food at more

than one sitting); ‘Ekasanikangam samadhiyami’ (I observe the one-sessioner’s practice).

The bhikkhu who observes the one-sessioner’s practice never sits in the seat

reserved for the Elder brethren, but he finds a seat that would be suitable for him. If his

teacher or preceptor arrives in the middle of his meal, then he should stop to stand up and

pay respects to his teacher. The Thera Culabhaya once decided not to resume his meal

after he had paid his respects to his teacher who had arrived while he was eating.

2.7.3. The Three Grades of the Observers of the One-Sessioner’s Practice

There are three grades of bhikkhus on the basis of their observance of the one-

sessioner’s practice.

1. The firm or strict man never picks up more food apart from the food he has laid

his hand on. He should accept more only when his supporters tells him that it is

meant for medicine to cure him.

2. The moderate man should accept more food until he has finished eating all the

food in his alms-bowl.

3. The soft man will accept more food as long as he is sitting although he has

finished his meal.

For all these three grades of bhikkhus, eating at more than one sitting is the main

cause of the breach of the practice.

2.7.4. The Advantages of the One-Sessioner’s Practice

The following are the advantages that the one-sessioner’s practice brings to the

observer: 23

1. The observer is free from sickness.

2. He is free from tiredness.

3. He is light in movements.

4. He is strong.

5. He lives comfortably.

6. He is not prone to committing an offence because he refuses excessive food.

7. He repels the craving for tasty food.

8. He has conduct in harmony with few wishes, and so on.

On this uposatha day may I take up the one sessioner practice and may I keep up the practice except when I am sick or infirm. Ekasanikangam samadhiyami’ (I observe the one-sessioner’s practice).

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/27/2019

The Seven Vows of Sakka

As long as I live may I support my parents.

As long as I live may I respect the family elders.

As long as I live may I speak gently.

As long as I live may I not speak divisively.

As long as I live may I dwell with a mind devoid of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing.

As long as I live may I speak the truth.

As long as I live may I be free from anger, and if anger should arise in me may I dispel it quickly.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 01/26/2019

Mahanama and the Gods

[6] “Furthermore, you should recollect the devas: ‘There are the Devas of the Four Great Kings, the Devas of the Thirty-three, the Devas of the Hours, the Contented Devas, the devas who delight in creation, the devas who have power over the creations of others, the devas of Brahma’s retinue, the devas beyond them. Whatever conviction they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of conviction is present in me as well. Whatever virtue they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of virtue is present in me as well. Whatever learning they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of learning is present in me as well. Whatever generosity they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of generosity is present in me as well. Whatever discernment they were endowed with that — when falling away from this life — they re-arose there, the same sort of discernment is present in me as well.’ At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the conviction, virtue, learning, generosity, and discernment found both in himself and the devas, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on the [qualities of the] devas. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

“Mahanama, you should develop this recollection of the devas while you are walking, while you are standing, while you are sitting, while you are lying down, while you are busy at work, while you are resting in your home crowded with children.”

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The mud, the lotus and the pale golden blue.

Dirk Pieters

writer, buddhist, yogi / schrijver, boeddhist, yogi

لا إله إلا الله

The Knowledge is Provisions from Allah, May Allah guide us and strength our Iman & Taqwa. Ameen.