Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/15/2019

Aspiration

Every day, when I look at my heart, I see just how impure it still is. Smeared with hatred, tainted with lust and submerged in ignorance I can’t help but wonder how I could ever be of benefit to beings, let alone to myself. I just read that, after his recent release from hospital, the Dalai Lama reaffirmed his commitment to be reborn wherever the need is greatest and the suffering most extreme. Such a noble and inspiring aspiration but, when I reflect on my situation, I can’t help but think that I would do more harm than good. And, yet, I have not given up. I just know that I need lifetimes more work on pañña, metta and karuna before I can make such an aspiration meaningful.

Until I gain a foothold in wisdom may I always be reborn in favorable training circumstances and ever pursue complete awakening to benefit numberless beings.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/14/2019

Five Ways

(2) The Buddha Teaches Five Ways

  “Monks, there are these five ways of removing resentment by which a monk should entirely remove resent-ment when it has arisen toward anyone. What five? (1) One should develop loving-kindness for the person one resents; in this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. (2) One should develop compassion for the person one resents; in this way one should re-move the resentment toward that person. (3) One should develop equanimity toward the person one resents; in this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. (4) One should disr[…]

Excerpt from: “The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon” by Bodhi.

I have been fighting with the kilesas all weekend and especially they of hatred. My wisdom faculty seems to be on the ebb and quite possibly on vacation but my live-in teacher is still here giving me unrelenting lessons. It helps to recall that it is my own kamma that brought me here and it is my responsibility not to create more akusala kamma but it is wearying at times. I shudder to think where this human works is going on the next hundred years and it’s a shame that my wife and I couldn’t have practiced the Dhamma together and made our lives a field of merit but it is what it is and there’s nothing to be done for it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/13/2019

Reproving Others

Venerable Sāriputta addressed the monks thus: “Friends, a monk who wishes to reprove another should first establish five things in himself. What five? (1) He should consider: ‘I will speak at a proper time, not at an improper time; (2) I will speak truthfully, not falsely; (3) I will speak gently, not harshly; (4) I will speak in a bene-ficial way, not in a harmful way; (5) I will speak with a mind of loving-kindness, not while harboring hatred.’ A monk who wishes to reprove another should first estab-lish these five things in himself. . . .

“Friends, a person who is reproved should be established in two things: in truth and non-anger. He should reflect: ‘If others should reprove me — whether at a proper time or at an improper time; whether about what is true or about what is false; whether gently or harshly; whether in a beneficial way or in a harmful way; whether with a mind of loving-kindness or while harboring hatred — I should still be established in two things: in truth and non-anger. If I know: “There is such a quality in me,” I tell him: “It exists. This quality is found in me.” If I know: “There is no such quality in me,” I tell him: “It doesn’t exist. This quality isn’t found in me.” ’ ”

Excerpt from: “The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon” by Bodhi.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/12/2019

Happy Uposatha – Rare Things In The World

There Are Eight Rare Things In The World. They Are:

(1) Dullabhañca manussattaṃ

(2) Buddho ca dullabho loke

(3) Dullabhā khaṇa sampatti,

(4) saddhammo paramadullabho

(5) saddhammasavaṇampi ca

(6) Saṃgho ca dullabho loke,

(7) sappurisā atidullabhā

(8) kataññūkatavedi puggalo dullabho lokasmim

1.      To be born as a human being is rare. There are many obstacles that prevent someone to be born as a human being. Even though there are billions of human beings, all the odds are against their birth compared to other living beings in this planet. It is even more difficult to live in good health that helps focus the mind on learning Dhamma.

2.      Birth of a Buddha also is very rare. According to Buddhist tradition only seven Buddhas are listed by name in the Buddhist text such as Samyuttanikāya, Dīghanikāya.They are Vipassi, Sikhī, Vessabhu, Kakusand, Konāgama, Kassapa, and Gotama. Each of them has taken prepared very long time to attain Buddhahood.

3.      Right moment to practice is very difficult. The right moment is obstructed by eight situations.

  1. Hell realm,
  2. animal realm,
  3. ghostly realm,
  4. birth in a realm without perception,
  5. birth in a region where nobody can understand four noble truths,
  6. birth with mental handicap that prevents from comprehending anything,
  7. birth with total confused state of mind and
  8. birth during the period when the Buddha’s dispensation is not existing.

4.  Saddhammo paramadullabho

Saddhamma is even more rare. Dhamma—anicca, dukkha and anatta—exist all the time. Recourses for learning Noble Truth are very rare. They are mixed with fake truth. The Buddha has given two very meaningful similes. One is a simile of summoning drum (Āni Sutta) in the  discourse called Āni Sutta. The other is counterfeited gold. When imitation gold comes to the market you don’t know the difference between real gold and counterfeited gold. So, the value of real god goes down.

5.      Saddhammasavaṇampi ca

When noble dhamma is rare, listening to noble dhamma also is rare.

6.      Saṃgho ca dullabho loke

When the above factors are rare noble Sangha Ariya sangha) also is rare. Those who have attained Stream entry, Once returner, Never returner and Arahant are known as noble Sangha (Ariya Sangha).

7.      Sappurisā atidullabhā;

8.      Kataññūkatavedi puggalo dullabho lokasmim

Listening To Dhamma Is Very Difficult:

Listening to Dhamma is difficult not only because of the appearance of the Buddhas in the world is difficult but also those who listen do not have proper attitude to listening. It is very difficult to focus the mind on the Dhamma teaching. One needs to be highly motivated to listen to Dhamma with undivided mind.

Story:

One day five people went to listen to Dhamma sermon delivered by the Buddha. One of them was sleeping while sitting, one was scratching the ground with his fingers, one was looking up in the sky, one was shaking a tree nearby, the last one was the only one that listened to Dhamma attentively.

While the Buddha was delivering the Dhamma sermon Ven. Ānanda was fanning the Buddha standing behind him. He saw what these people were doing. At the end of the sermon he told the Buddha how these five people behaved while the Buddha was delivering the Dhamma sermon and asked the Buddha why they behaved that way.

Then the Buddha said that it is due to their own Saṃsāric habit. One who slept during the sermon was a snake in 500 previous lives and he coiled up like a snake. One who was scratching the ground with his fingers was an earth worm in his previous life. One who kept on looking in the sky was an astrologer in his previous life. One who was shaking a tree was a monkey in the past life. The one who listened to Dhamma attentively was a learned Brahmin who had studied three Vedas.

Ven. Ānanda asked the Buddha while he was delivering very wonderful Dhamma sermon with remarkable skill of delivery conveying most beneficial message, why these four people did not listen to it?

The Buddha asked Ānanda, “Do you think this Dhamma is sweet to everybody?”

When  Ānanda was silence, the Buddha himself answered his own question and said, “Ānanda, people are engaged more deeply in useless talks (tiracchānakathā). They are deeply trenched in these habits. It is most difficult for them to pay attention to Dhamma that leads them to liberation from suffering. For many people Dhamma is not very sweet. Attachment, hatred, confusion and craving have conditioned their mind. Even in many Kappas [an immensely long period of time] these people have not heard the word Buddha, Dhamma Sangha. So in this life it is very difficult for them to hear Dhamma. In this beginningless saṃsāra these people have been engaged in animal talks. Turning their mind to Dhamma all of a sudden is very difficult.

What Do You Do When You Have Listened To Dhamma?

Fifteen steps to follow to discover the truth.  They are:

1.      First you investigate the teacher.

2.      Then you place faith in him (Atha tamhi saddhaṃniveseti);

3.      Filled with faith you visit him (saddhājāto upasaṃkamati)

4.      Then pay respect to him (upasaṃkamanto payirupāsati);

5.      Having paid respect to him, you give ear (payirupāsanto sotaṃodahati);

6.      When you give ear, you hear the Dhamma (ohitasoto Dhammaṃsuṇāti);

7.      Having heard the Dhamma, you memorize it (sutvā Dhammaṃdhāreti)

8.      Then examine the meaning of the teachings you have memorized (dhāritānaṃ dhammānaṃattahṃ upaparikkhati);

9.      When you examine their meaning, you gain a reflective acceptance of those   teachings (atthaṃupaparikkhato dhammā nijjhānaṃkhamati);

10.    When you have gained a reflective acceptance of those teachings, zeal   springs up (Dhammanijjhānakhantiyā sati chando jāyati);

11.    When zeal has sprung up (chandajāto ussahati),

12.    You apply your will (ussahitvā tuleti);

13.    Having applied your will, you scrutinize (tulayitvā padahati);

14.    Having scrutinized, you strive, resolutely striving, you realize with the body     the ultimate truth (pahitatto samāno kāyena c’eva paramasaccaṃsacchikaroti)

15.    and see it by penetrating it with wisdom (paññāya ca taṃativijjha passati). In this way there is the discovery of truth. (Adopted from Canki Sutta)

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/11/2019

Dhammapada – Verse 399

Akkosakabharadvaja Vatthu

Akkosam vadhabandhanca
aduttho yo titikkhati
khantibalam balanikam
tamaham brumi brahmanam.

Verse 399: Him I call a brahmana, who, without anger endures abuse, beating and being bound, and to whom the strength of patience is like the strength of an army.

https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/verseload.php?verse=399

May I recall that all that befalls me is a result of my own kamma and my clinging to greed, hatred and ignorance.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/10/2019

Removing Resentment

www.youtube.com/watch

This talk by Ajahn Brahmali, which was related by Mahathero Sariputta, had been immensely helpful in overcoming the resentment I have been feeling. Along with this sutta reflecting on the inexorable nature of kamma have been like balm to the mind.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/10/2019

How to Meet Failure

How do I meet with failure? Do I push it away and throw everything I have been working towards in the garbage? The stakes are even higher and the sting so much deeper when the project at which you have failed is the purification of one’s own heart. Why is it so easy to forget all of the good done, habits made and noble aspirations? I see that, upon failing to transform adversity with a heart of compassion there is not solely a lack of goodwill but a corresponding fault of wisdom. And it’s this absence of wisdom that both forgets metta and posits a solid self of the worst possible kind.

So, how will I meet failure? With the humility to recognize I have millions of lifetimes to go to purify this heart and true concern for myself and all beings. I have done much good that has not been wasted and need now to sissy myself off and get on with it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/09/2019

Jaradhammomhi

I am of the nature to decay. This body will not escape aging. The wrinkled old man in the cold shuffling his way down the street, leaning on his cane is no stranger. If I am to be fortunate in this life, his lot is the best I can hope for.

This human life: how many years will it last? At best seventy, eighty or maybe one hundred years. And then it will lie in a casket, on a bed or on the ground as lifeless as a block of wood.

Where in this walking cadáver does pride live? How can this hay burn with anything other than pity and love for all of my mothers and companions in birth, aging and death?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/08/2019

Taking and Giving

We practice taking from two sources: from sentient beings and from the environment they inhabit. First we take three things from sentient beings: suffering; the causes which produce it, disturbing attitudes and karma, which are the deluded obscurations; and the imprints left by the disturbing attitudes, which are the obscurations to omniscience.

Masters often recommend, “Start taking from yourself,” which is a helpful way to become accustomed to taking. In the morning, we take upon ourselves any suffering we might experience later in the day. We think of voluntarily accepting it and experiencing it now. When we are accustomed to this, we take the suffering we will experience tomorrow, then the suffering of the day after, the next month, next year, and gradually our future lives as well. We are taking upon ourselves selves the suffering which is going to be experienced by people in the same continuum as ourselves.

When we are somewhat trained in this meditation, we start to take the suffering of those who are close to us: our parents, siblings, partner, and friends.

Finally, we imagine taking the suffering of all sentient beings in the six realms. All the time, we should think, “Their suffering and negative karma has ripened on me and they are free from suffering and negativities.”

Transforming Adversity into Joy and Courage

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/07/2019

Bringing It Home

What is tonglen when you’re not willing to park the car? What is karuna bhavana when you don’t let your partner sleep in? What is dana parami of you pass up a negar on the street simply because it would be an inconvenience?

There are countless opportunities to polish my paramis. May I not waste this life by failing to practice them. Regardless of how hard, anxiety producing or boring or may be may I live with integrity and put my pursuit of bodhicitta always to the fore.

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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.