Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/16/2020

At Both Ends

Why do I feel to do so much? Why am I driven to wake up early and go to bed late so that I complete all of my goals for the day? I feel that I’m doing a good thing in si many ways: in ensuring that I get my physical conditioning and exercise in as well as cultivating my devotional and meditation practices but when I think of the forest masters I recall that their practice is all about letting go. And yet…

And yet, I’m not a bhikkhu and I have a lay life to attend to. Part of this frenzy has everything to do with the collapse of our society. Part of it has to do with protecting myself and family. And part of it is because I think it’s cool. Here the list for you to see for yourself:

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/13/2020

Sparring

This last Saturday was the first time I actually ever sparred in earnest for any length of time. One of the first things I noticed and that was pointed out to me, was how tense I was. I was buzzing with energy but gassing myself too quickly. The coach asked me if I thought I would be able to make it twenty rounds like this and I had to admit I couldn’t. In fact, it was doubtful if I could make it through another round. One I relaxed and paced myself I was able to keep up and stay in the game.

Saturday’s experience taught me about the value of resting and relaxing in the moment in a way that decades of reading, meditation and contemplation never have. Whether facing an opponent on the mat or my fear, it is clear that there is a need to meet the moment in a relaxed and alert manner. I think this is what all the bushido and karateka people are getting at when they talk about the mind of no mind.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/07/2020

What is fair

My newest strategy for dealing with disobedient children and resentful spouses is to simply ask them to do whatever they believe is fair. To commit to doing whatever they feel is right in any situation.

For example, I asked my older kids to help me with the dishes last night and they both told me they were doing homework. I said, that’s fine if you’re telling the truth, but if not do you really want to lie about it? Please do what you think is right.

I was stunned to hear my daughter admit she has been making excuses and she came to help. My son insisted he was writing an essay and, he too, surprised me an hour later by asking me to proof it.

I am taking the same approach with my wife and although she yet feels too much resentment to take some of the burden off of me I am satisfied with it. I don’t have to worry about keeping an internal balance sheet and I can speak to the best in others. And, if they don’t do what I think of right, so be it. That’s the way of the world.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/06/2020

Bitter Fruit

What do you do when someone firmly believes you’re lying? What can you do when someone disbelieves you despite your protestations?

It seems to me that all one can do is reflect on the fact that we have lied in the past and our kamma is bearing fruit now. And, how fortunate we are that such kamma is ripening now when we can use the bitter fruit as medicine rather than simply being poisoned by it and sufferings without cause.

Yes, try to set things straight but if someone is determined to revile and resent you, call you a liar and despise you, take your lumps, because none of this would happen if you didn’t create the causes for it.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/05/2020

Like an Elephant

Yesterday, after having driven to NH on Saturday, we were set to drive back to NYC. That’s a lot of driving in 24 hours and may have been the reason this happened but who really knows.

Anyway, around 1:30pm I was cleaning out the car, washing the windows and getting it ready for the trip when I began to notice a quiet disturbance in my visual field; my left eye to be exact. It was an undulating, crescent shaped iridescent aura. I knew from my one experience prior that this portended a migraine and went to inform my wife that we may not be able to leave so soon.

She was angry and simply didn’t believe me. She suggested I take 200 mg of ibuprofen (good active) and go lay down but continued to take pot shots at me throughout the day. Eventually, the aura and headache went away and I drove us back home as well as making a stop at an orchard but felt ill for most of the drive.

My point here is this: I was really hurt by her insistence that I was lying and, perhaps equally so, by the idea that my suffering didn’t matter and that I needed to shut up and deal. And yet, as painful as that was, I see now what a good lesson it was.

My suffering doesn’t matter to anyone but me and, truthfully, what does sympathy gain me? An excuse to wallow? Permission to be heedless? A pass to stop striving? So, I should actually be thankful. And, instead of being angry and resentful, giving her the silent treatment as punishment, I should remove myself in whatever ways I can right now to refocus on the Dhamma and in strengthening my inner refuge.

I need to learn how to be a lamp and an island for myself because there is no one else who can do that for me. So, my thanks to my migraine and a disbelieving spouse for pointing out the Dhamma again and rousing me from my slumber.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 10/03/2020

Until Life’s End

Ask yourself: is it possible that I could die today? Being honest with ourselves, we know the answer is “yes.” Knowing this, how well we pass this day?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/27/2020

Hypolepsis

Frame your thoughts like this—you are an old person, you won’t let yourself be enslaved by this any longer, no longer pulled like a puppet by every impulse, and you’ll stop complaining about your present fortune or dreading the future.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.2

Why do we believe our thoughts? Why do we assent so quickly to our perceptions? How much of our suffering is simply a matter of how we’re holding and imagining a situation?

My wife’s partner is on the verge of a breakdown due to the stress and anxiety they’re feeling about their job and is threatening to detonate the company they recently formed. Let no one say that ones anxiety and perceptions are private matters. It’s our duty to root out our kilesas before they swallow us and those around us whole.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/24/2020

Cooperative

Venerable Tashi has been on fire lately.

Great Middle Way

Buddhism - BUDDHADASA BHIKKHU "What is the world full of?... | Facebook

The entire cosmos is cooperative. The sun, the moon, and the stars live together as a cooperative. The same is true for humans and animals, trees, and soil. Our bodily parts function as a cooperative.

When we realize that the world is a mutual, interdependent, cooperative enterprise, that human beings are all mutual friends in the process of birth, old age, suffering, and death, then we can build a noble, even heavenly environment.

If our lives are not based on this truth, then we shall all perish.

―Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 09/23/2020

Altogether Different

I literally have chills having read this. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Great Middle Way

Bhikkhunī - Wikipedia

Do you remember when disease came to your village?

Of your family, you were the only one to survive.

You were just a girl. For years you begged for your food.

Then a nun took you in.

You told her your story, and she held you while you wept.

Then she told you her story, and you wept with her.

Her name was Patachara.

You went everywhere she went, and soon left behind all that she left behind.

When you were young, you learned what it was to be truly alone.

Now you know for yourself.

This freedom is something altogether different from that.

—Chanda, Therigatha (Poems of the First Buddhist Nuns)

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