Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/10/2019

Your Own Foolishness

What to do when someone else’s foolishness causes them to get hurt and they blame it on you? Whereas I have been willing to apologize in these cases before to keep the peace I am not so inclined at this point. Why discuss? Why plead my case when it’s clear that the person who is aggrieved can’t see beyond their victimhood? If you try to lock me out and are surprised at my attempt to open the door as you slide the chain to, who can you blame but yourself when you hurt your finger? In this case, it seems to be me.

I feel that to ask forgiveness in this case is only to justify and encourage more foolishness. So, rather than give it any more thought I’m going to let it go as there will be no resolution.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/09/2019


Image result for building a dam by hand

When you simply ride with your impulses, you don’t understand their force. They’re like the currents below the surface of a river: only if you try to build a dam across the river will you detect those currents and appreciate how strong they are.

-Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/07/2019

Brahmacariya Day 7

Yesterday was difficult: I was too weak to maintain restraint with the eyes and the mind kept running to play with sexual imagery. Fortunately, I got some good advice from a spiritual friend in a brahmacariya group of which I’m a member that worked well for me despite being based on Vedic and Hindu Chakra teachings. At this point in desperate enough to take whatever help I can get regardless of source. And, who’s to say that many of these teachings aren’t effective for a variety of other ends even if they fall short of the goal of total liberation?

So, using a breath and yogic exercise has helped to deal with sudden attacks of luau and I intend to take up yogic dietary guidelines to assist in overcoming sexual desire. No onions, garlic or chilis as silly as that may sound. We shall see how well it works.

The funny thing is that there is a voice that keeps speaking its disbelief in my head. It’s as if there is a part of me which refuses to believe that celibacy is possible or even good. I have never really looked at it before I suppose but it is strange to be sure. Perhaps I’m holding back due being married and the idea that I may need to enter into relations with my wife to keep the peace at some point although that doesn’t look likely. Until then I hope to commit myself entirely to this practice.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/05/2019

Brahmacariya Redux

So I’ve decided that the only real course of action left to me is to pursue brahmacariya. Even if my marriage want bereft of sexual intimacy I don’t see how it would help me asking the path to indulge in such things and, without it, there’s simply no good exist for it. I have tried and failed many times before but I hope that I can build on past failures.

There’s just no more noble or clean way to live and I can feel the difference when I’m practicing. I’m reminding myself that every attractive woman I see has intestines full of feces and a stomach full of bike and gorge. It may not be enough to eradicate lust but it helps to counter it and change the subject. Wish me luck.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/03/2019

Cut Down the Forest of Lust

Dhammapada Verses 283 and 284
Pancamahallakabhikkhu Vatthu

Vanam chindatha ma rukkham
vanato jayate bhayam
chetva vananca vanathanca
nibbana hotha bhikkhavo.

Yava hi vanatho na chijjati
anumattopi narassa narisu
patibaddhamanova tava so
vaccho khirapakova matari.

Verse 283: O bhikkhus, cut down the forest of craving, not the real tree; the forest of craving breeds danger (of rebirth). Cut down the forest of craving as well as its undergrowth and be free from craving.

Verse 284: So long as craving of man for woman is not cut down and the slightest trace of it remains, so long is his mind in bondage as the calf is bound to its mother.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/02/2019

A Deluge of Negativity

I have been feeling that my spouse’s criticism, contempt and negativity have taken to all new heights and I just haven’t been up to the task of dealing with it. Some part of me must believe it for it to hurt so badly and, what I think is making it all worse, is the fact that I believe I should be able to take it and that it’s my duty to remain open. In desperation I began looking online to find ways to handle contempt and criticism and ran across the following:

2. Require an attitude of mutual respect as a foundation for any discussion. In a court of law, the procedural rules must be followed before the merits of the case can be heard. In relationship, the procedural rules require that both sides listen to the other person’s feelings and opinions respectfully. If the other person persists in showing contempt, suggest having a discussion in the presence of a counselor or mediator.

It seem so simple but this is going to be my new approach. Unless there is an attitude of mutual respect, there will be no discussion. It’s hard enough dealing with a person day in and day out who shows nothing but resentment and anger but its cruel and gratuitous to insist that I remain open to insult.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/31/2019

Mindfulness of Eating

Despite being able to fast for long periods of time (a feat that I’ve had to work myself up to over many years) I’m still struggling with overeating when I break fast. I end up eating a ton of junk because I believe somehow that I deserve it and it won’t make much of a difference since I’m dry fasting for 22 hours out of the day. But, eating this way is simply eating for taste and I can think of no better analogy that that of an insatiable hungry ghost because I never feel quite satisfied at these times.

As a result, I’m gong to give calorie counting and meal planning a go. In essence, if I make the aspiration not to go beyond the limit I’ve set for myself I hope to be able increase my determination and restraint. It also wouldn’t be so bad to lose some pounds but, as I’ve said before, the real prize is cultivating the heart.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/30/2019

The Rabbi and the Monk

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/29/2019

The Imperfectability of the Body

As I become more interested and involved in conditioning my physical body it helps to remember that work done here is only useful if it’s in service to the cultivation of the heart and mind. I could lose 15 pounds, get ripped and still have nothing to show for it but a mass of rotting flesh when life leaves this corpse. What’s worse, if exercise and physical training leafs to infatuation and attachment, my destination in the next life may very well be worse than if I had done nothing at all.

384 “The beautiful chariots of kings wear out,

This body too undergoes decay.

But the Dhamma of the good does not decay:

So the good proclaim along with the good.”

-Samyutta Nikaya

If you’re not tested, you take teaching after teaching and think you’re OK, but when you’re confronted with a difficult situation, it’s possible that you’ll find you’re not OK at all. So that’s why true Dharma practitioners welcome trouble. It gives them a chance to see if what they’ve been studying works or not, a chance to transform suffering into happiness. Otherwise you just go blithely along, completely out of touch with reality, thinking you’re OK when you’re not, because you haven’t actually been practicing Dharma at all.

To put this another way, painful situations are a source of wisdom. How so? First of all, painful situations arise as a result of nonvirtuous karma. When we experience pain we should ask why is this happening to me? How has this come about? That sort of inquiry leads us to understand that it’s the ripening of negative karma we created in the past. That basic understanding can grow into wisdom; the painful experience helps us develop a deeper understanding that is beyond the merely intellectual.

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