Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/04/2018

This Body is Dukkha

“Please become aware of the fact that this body does not have suffering, but that it is suffering. Only then can we begin to fathom the reality of human suffering. It is not that we have some dis-comfort sometimes, but that this body consists of suffering. It can’t sit or lie still without becoming uncomfortable. Know the impermanence. Know the unsatisfac-toriness, which is inherent in the human body. Know the fact that the feeling has arisen without your invitation. So why call it “mine”?” Read more:

Sometimes it seems like there’s so many pieces of this path to put together that I’ll never figure it out. And, despite my not infrequent desire to stick my head in the sand I know there is no respite to be found in this body.

It’s said that Ajahn Mun had been practicing the bodhisatta path for 500 lifetimes after he could have attained arahantship but “cashed in” in his last life. This would help to explain his teaching abilities and odd his but his revelation that he had only gotten a fraction of the way it’s daunting to say the least.

All of which is to say that, if I’m serious about this path, I will need to be willing to forebear and comprehend sufferings big and small. Complaining and lamenting, such as in my post yesterday, simply won’t help. Surrendering to irritation is also no longer an option. I will fail but it is the consistency of effort that will bring me to my goal. I haven’t lost until I’ve given up.

May I never surrender until sammasambodhi is won.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/03/2018


On this path on had to expect to fail both repeatedly and spectacularly. And yet, these failings always come as a surprise. One doesn’t seem to get used to the sting which is, in truth, a good thing.

This morning I was taken aback by my wife’s negative behavior and allowed myself to give in, if momentarily, top a mind of anger. After having spent the larger part of the day cleaning the house and making and cleaning up after meals for everyone so she could study I didn’t expect a thank you but I guess I thought she would cut me some slack. You see, in the mornings I often take my pajamas and fold them over the railing before my daughter wakes up. Sometimes it’s okay and others they very thrown on my altar, kicking up incense dust and knocking things about. This was one of those days.

But, what do I expect? Clearly I have created the conditions for this to happen and me speaking harshly and complaining does nothing to help me overcome them. It just feels so unfair at times but this is when I have to remember to patiently endure until the illusion evaporates. How many thrown pairs of shorts am I willing to pat for peace?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/02/2018


Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do.

Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you.

Sanity means tying it to your own actions.

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Posted by: Upāsaka | 12/01/2018


“ . . . Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: it is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.”

–Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, II

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/30/2018

Equanimity of Convenience

What kind of equanimity is it when one can remain unshaken only by the best of circumstances? I can still feed, clothe and shelter my family and yet my mind runs back to fear as a refuge time and again.

And what good is fear? It changes no external circumstance and one still had to face both real and imagined horrors regardless. Knowing that there is nothing that can blot out awareness, that we will go on despite our hips and fears, why is it so hard to see both as unnecessary accretions?

Rather than a craven coward in the face of adversity may I be a model of forbearance and equanimity during the tempests of life.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/29/2018

Rough Day

Yesterday was rough. I believe I sabotaged myself by breaking my brahmacariya commitment and everything else kind of fell apart from there. I felt low energy and generally out of sorts but I was still able to maintain a mind of care and concern for other beings despite it all. Mostly, I was feeling overwhelmed by the suffering of beings while at the same time being gripped by nihilistic delusions. Even though I have strong faith in kamma, a pernicious thought kept returning to my mind asking “What’s the point of this practice if there is no succor? ” Of course there is and I have benefitted immensely from it but sometimes it just doesn’t feel that way.

I was able to abbey to the fact that I have been aspiring to take on the suffering of beings near and far so it wasn’t a complete loss. Still, the discursive mind keeps reissuing itself in knots over the fact that no one can actually tale on the akusala kamma of another being. But, the intention to relieve suffering and to experience the necessary discomfort in doing so is the point and that’s what this practice means to me currently.

May I give this and all subsequent lives to the practice of the Dhamma that I may realize the path of sammasambodhi for the benefit of beings.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/27/2018

Tonglen and Fear

Last night on my way home from work I found myself sitting in a two seater at the end of the car. I was spending my time breathing in suffering and out merit and metta. At one point, I opened my eyes and raised my head at which point I caught the eye of a young man sitting diagonally across from me.

Initially he appeared to be a “normal” guy and so I just closed my eyes and went back to tonglen. Suddenly I notice he’s gotten up and has quickly headed overt to my seat. He sits Dian and opens the doors between the cars, pulls out a cigarette and lights it. At this point the two girls sitting across from me get up and make their way to different seats so it is just and I.

I realize that this is an excellent opportunity to practice and literally breathe in the smoke he’s exhaling and breathe out metta to him. As is the case with many of those who are the mentally disturbed, huhis actions are quick and jerky so he suddenly puts or his cigarette and moves to the empty bench across from me.

He them removes his shoes and starts to make himself comfortable. Despite the small and the initial revulsion, I was determine to stay and learn from the situation. How can I claim to practice tonglen, to pursue a path to sammasambodhi and yet surrender to feat and disgust so easily?

So I say there with eyes cracked open and did tonglen for him as the waves of fear and anxiety washed over me. I felt that at any moment he could jump up and attack me but I considered the pains of hell and the way in which the Venerable Ariya Mogallana was beaten to death and I steeled my will. I didn’t feel ready if I were to be stabbed to death but when would I?

At I’ve point we even locked eyes for a few seconds bit I was luckily saturating is not with metta and karuna which I believe protected us both. Despite my repeated failures and weaknesses I can at least look on this as a victory.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/25/2018

Tonglen Aspiration Prayer

O venerable, compassionate Guru, bless me.

May all the sufferings, negative actions and obscurations

Of all beings, who were once my mothers,

Ripen on me now, without exception.

May I give all my happiness and virtue to others

And may all beings have happiness.

Excerpt From: “How to Generate Bodhicitta” by Venerable Lama Ribur Rinpoche.

May I complete the practice of reciting this verse 100000 times before the end of 2019.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/24/2018


Washing dishes in an almost comical attempt to perform small acts of kindness yet adrift in the sea of samsara and blown completely off course by the criticism and harsh words of another. I was at least able to stop myself from speaking harshly myself and to recall to be grateful to my critics as they are my greatest teachers.

Whenever someone out of envy
Does me wrong by attacking or belittling me,
I will take defeat upon myself,
And give the victory to others.

May I take failure in stride and continue to walk the path to Liberation without stopping.

May I constantly seek to re-inspire myself and recall the blessings of the Path.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/23/2018

At Death

“Even if I have to remain in the dark hole of the Hell of Unrelenting Torment in order to secure the welfare of all my mother sentient beings of old, I will gladly do so.”

Excerpt From: “Seven Steps to Train Your Mind” by Gomo Tulku.

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