Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/19/2020

Daily Work

Every day in this home provides me with more material to practice than I would have imagined possible. Where else could I learn patience, humility, forgiveness and more ask in the space of an hour. I yet fail not than I succeed but Epictetus is not wind and progress is only made through daily practice.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/18/2020

Like Water

I have decided to become like water. I took your necessary steps to get the divorce going and my wife has balked. I can’t help but feel it’s just too comfortable and convenient for her.

She thought that custody of the kids would be a bone of contention and, truth be told, so did I at first. But, as I thought of it I realized that the legal set up doesn’t change the fact that I am b their father. Besides, I’m done fighting age custody would cost more in akusala kamma and dollars than I care to spend.

Nonetheless, I am coming to the sad realization that I really shouldn’t pay attention to pretty much anything she says to me. She may have nice things of value to say to others but it is decidedly not the case with me. I will try harder to acknowledge her words only insofar as is necessary to coparent. Other than that, I will try to remain as water, yielding and flowing walking in peace regardless of the obstacles she throws up. And, I will take special care to send metta and karuna to her. May she divorce me quickly.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/16/2020

New Habits to Replace the Old

My Post (4)Okay, I just checked and see that the last time I posted was four days ago and I see now that this merits a change to my behavior. For the past decade (or thereabouts) I was able to post during my daily commute on the train to work. Since the coronavirus shut down the trains to non-essential workers in NYC and my family’s fears, I have been taking my electric scooter to work which means I can’t muse on my blog during that time unless I want to find out where my end of life kamma is bringing me sooner rather than later.

All of which reminds of the Tao Te Ching quote which goes as follows:

“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” ― Lao Tzu

In other words, why try to muscle my way through when I can adjust to the new flow of my life and create a new habit of writing at night? Just by setting the intention and using this writing practice to reflect on the day is more than enough of a motivation to change things.

 

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/12/2020

Locked in Combat or Ne cede malis

Perhaps it’s due to the coarsening quality of my mind or perhaps it’s because of the fact that I find myself pulled in so many directions these days, but I am finding that my practice is best describe using martial metaphors lately. Truth be told, it is more than simply metaphor, I truly feel that I’m locked in mortal combat with the kilesas.

I’m on my 12th day of brahmacariya and find my mind constantly drawn towards thinking about the opposite sex. It is pure torture and yet I can also see much more clearly how we are driven on like sheep to a slaughter by our defilements. Lust has its way with us and when it has burned itself out anger takes the reins. After we’ve made fools of ourselves greed steps back into the driver’s seat and so we are lead further and further into the maelstrom of samsara.

Only by unremitting effort and constant combat can I hope to make some headway. To be honest, at this point it is really about consolidating the gains I have made and not ceding any ground. And, if this means pain and suffering in the short term so be it. Ne cede malis.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/10/2020

Hardening the Mind

The quote above is one of my favorites of all time because it speaks to the fact that anything worthwhile can only be acquired by abstention from pleasure and by means of pain. In my short life (although it may be longer than most other humans) I have only recently discovered the importance and efficacy of using the body to harden and train the mind. By constantly running up against the wall of pain and exhaustion, I am learning what determination really means.

It can be easy, however, to forget the real goal. When I lose my mindfulness I can fall into comparison and covetousness – thinking that I want to be strong like this person or develop this skill. When I forget it is easy to pretend that this body will last. But it won’t and this persistent pain in my left foot that accompanies my me on every run, is both a reminder of the importance of the body and an opportunity to harden myself against pain and learn how to apply every and determination.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/09/2020

As an Emerald

The quote above really spoke to me today perhaps because I have been having difficulty trying to get my motives and intentions across. In other words, I am finding myself very attached to the opinions others are holding about my speech and deeds. When someone claims I’m motivated by anger or by greed but, after careful introspection, I am unable to discern these things within, can I learn to just allow these opinions to be? Perhaps more to the point of the quote, can I trust in my well inspected intentions to create a goodness that shines forth and can be seen by those sensitive to such things?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/07/2020

Shame and Restraint

Dhp143

Hirinisedho puriso
koci lokasmi vijjati
yo niddam apabodheti
asso bhadro kasamiva.

Rare in this world is the kind of person who out of a sense of shame restrains from doing evil and keeps himself awake like a good horse that gives no cause to be whipped.

-Dhammapada 143

May I give myself no cause to be whipped.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 06/03/2020

Andreia or Viriya

Image may contain: text

“It is more in accord with nature to emulate the great Hercules and undergo the greatest toil and trouble for the sake of aiding or saving the world, if possible, than to live in seclusion.”
~ Cicero, De officiis, 3.5

I have, for years now, tried (rather unsuccessfully) to practice the paramis in pursuit of a more perfect character and in hopes of meeting the Buddha Metteyya. The truth is, however, that these days in quarantine and, now, in the midst of a city on edge from riots and looting, are much harder than I would have imagined.

I am trying to keep up some semblance of a routine of physical, mental and spiritual culture and am finding it exceedingly difficult as I imagine millions of us are right now. But, knowing that no defeat or victory is ever-lasting in this conditioned world, what other choice do we have but to fight on towards liberation?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/30/2020

Nothing to Be Sad About

So it really seems like this is it. I am capitulating and taking the steps needed to make this happen as the constant threats, screaming, yelling and criticism are turning more physical. Enough is enough. My kids are suffering and no good will come of it.

She expected me to fight her on these things. She wants sole full custody: she may have it. She wants to get spousal support: so be it. My kids are no less or more mine regardless of what it’s written on poem and ink and if a court determines that I owe such an amount then I will pay it. Small price to pay for peace.

She now wants to mourn and asks why I don’t cry like she does. I ask her: “Where have you been all this time? Why mourn now when everyday was cause for grief?” And I tell her “I’m only sad when there is a chance that something could still turn out differently. There’s nothing to be sad about anymore.”

Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/28/2020

Dhammapada 11

How do we develop right view?

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