Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/08/2018

Bodhisattva Vow

I’m struggling with the idea of aspiring to the path of a samma sambuddha. There are times when I can’t bear the thought of a moment’s more pain let alone lifetimes in hell realms. And yet there are others when I can’t bear the thought of abandoning my enemies and friends to the endless undertows of samsara. Then, too,there is the suspicion that all of this hand wringing is for naught: this aspiration to pursue the path of the Buddhas can only be made by declaraing one’s intention before a Buddha.

But, despite this, I did myself drawn to the aspiration. The fearlessness and determination to work with all situations pushes me forward. I still have doubts but I hope to resolve then and clarify this matter through deeper and more continuous practice.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/07/2018

The Blessing of Enemies

6.106 The beggars in this world are many,

Attackers are comparatively few.

For as I do no harm to others,

Those who do me injury are rare.

6.107 So like a treasure found at home,

Enriching me without fatigue,

All enemies are helpers in my bodhisattva work

And therefore they should be a joy to me.

Without the needy how could I practice generosity? Without difficult people how could I practice patience?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/04/2018

Who to Blame?

6.43 Their weapons and my body—

Both are causes of my suffering!

They their weapons drew, while I held out my body.

Who then is more worthy of my anger?

6.44 This human form is like a running sore;

Merely touched, it cannot stand the pain!

I’m the one who clings to it with blind attachment;

Whom should I resent when pain occurs?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 04/03/2018

The Lay Life

Long life

can’t be gotten with wealth,

nor aging

warded off with treasure.

The wise say this life

is next to nothing —

impermanent,

subject to change.

The rich & the poor

touch the touch of Death.

The foolish & wise

are touched by it, too.

But while fools lie as if slain by their folly,

the wise don’t tremble

when touched by the touch.

Thus the discernment by which

one attains to mastery,

is better than wealth —

for those who haven’t reached mastery

go from existence to existence,

out of delusion,

doing bad deeds.

One goes to a womb

& to the next world,

falling into the wandering on

— one thing

after another —

while those of weak discernment,

trusting in one,

also go to a womb

& to the next world.

Just as an evil thief

caught at the break-in

is destroyed

by his own act,

so evil people

— after dying, in the next world —

are destroyed

by their own acts.

Sensual pleasures —

variegated,

enticing,

sweet —

in various ways disturb the mind.

Seeing the drawbacks in sensual objects:

that’s why, O king, I went forth.

Just like fruits, people fall

— young & old —

at the break-up of the body.

Knowing this, O king,

I went forth.

The contemplative life is better

for sure.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/30/2018

Devanussati

My mind has been lurching towards negativity in the past few weeks so, on the advice of many great ajahns, I’m trying to right the ship by brightening the mind. The traditional approach of cultivating metta has been a great help but contemplation of celestial Bodhisattas has given me yet another avenue to explore.

I have always been attracted to the six syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara but could never quite settle upon a perception that would help to cultivate compassion. Luckily, through a kind of involuntary persistence and the teaching of Ajahn Achalo, I have now settled into using the mantra as an aide to devanussati. Ajahn had said that he has spoken with other mahatheras with the divine eye who have personally spoken with Avalokiteshvara. This shouldn’t change the exercise of devanussati but it does for me: I can both reflect on the highly developed compassion and wisdom of such a being and simultaneously try to make a connection and call for help in overcoming my defilements. In a strange way, I now feel less alone and more determined.

May we all practice to free ourselves from the defilements and become less of a burden upon beings.

Om mani padme hum.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/28/2018

What Comes Next?

It’s tiring to be forever dragged into myriad possible futures by the mind. How many horrors, nightmares and losses await? How many moments of insight, heart-filling acts of compassion? Granted, I never worry about the latter but the point is that I’m forever flying off into the future.

And then there are those moments when I become suddenly aware of the breath. My parikamma buddho arises and the body fills with ease. And then it is gone again. But, how precious and portentitious it is to experience these ephemera.

May I never be separated from the Dhamma and may I practice to gain surety and safety.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/26/2018

Moderation

“When a man is always mindful,

Knowing moderation in the food he eats,

His ailments then diminish,

He ages slowly, guarding his life.”

For some time I have been experimenting with intermittent fasting in the hope that it would strengthen my resolve and help to generate compassion. Unfortunately,it doesn’t seem to have worked that way.

If anything, long periods of fasting have lead me to overeat and lose all restraint; the exact opposite of what I’ve been trying to achieve. My experiments with fasting have little to do with weight loss and everything to do with bringing the mind under control. Therefore, it’s time for a new approach.

What I hope to do is eat three meals a day but pay complete attention to the craving as I eat. By not allowing myself to eat mindlessly by snacking, I hope to see more clearly what I’m doing when I eat. It occurred to me that, currently, when I eat I continue until the pain of eating forces me to stop. So I bounce from the suffering of hunger to the suffering of being over full. I have a sneaking suspicion that one can never find a point of true satiety but this remains to be seen. If one could, though, what would be the point of the Dhamma?

More on the Four Great Kings.

Sana Ako si Ricky Lee!

Today is a very good day and an exciting day (please note that actual writing and date of posting are usually different from each other) for me and in a way for my regular readers and believers of Feng Shui and Buddhism it should be a good day for you also, because today is the day I was told by my Guru Lama to share with you about the Four Heavenly Kings.four heavenly kings

The Four Heavenly Kings has been featured in numerous Buddhist Sutras, one of which is in The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva; Earth Store Bodhisattva is also known as Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva or Di Zhang Pu Sa. In this particular sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha (The Historical Buddha) directly addressed the Four Heavenly Kings to help propagate the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva. They were also prominently mentioned in the highly revered Golden…

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Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/22/2018

Cattari Arya Saccani

i. Idaṁ kho pana bhikkhave dukkhaṁ ariyasaccaṁ:

Now this, monks, is the noble truth of suffering:

jāti pi dukkhā

birth is suffering

jarā pi dukkhā

also old age is suffering

vyādhi pi dukkho

also sickness is suffering

maraṇam-pi dukkhaṁ

also death is suffering

appiyehi sampayogo dukkho

being joined to what is not dear is suffering

piyehi vippayogo dukkho

being separated from what is dear is suffering

yam-picchaṁ na labhati tam-pi dukkhaṁ

also not to obtain what one longs for is suffering

saṅkhittena pañcupādānakkhandhā dukkhā

in brief, the five constituent groups (of mind and body) that provide fuel for

attachment are suffering.

ii. Idaṁ kho pana bhikkhave dukkhasamudayaṁ ariyasaccaṁ:

Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the arising of suffering:

yā yaṁ taṇhā ponobhavikā,

it is that craving which leads to continuation in existence,

nandirāgasahagatā, tatratatrābhinandinī, seyyathīdaṁ:

which is connected with enjoyment and passion, greatly enjoying this and that, as

follows:

kāmataṇhā

craving for sense pleasures

bhavataṇhā

craving for continuation

vibhavataṇhā.

craving for discontinuation.

iii. Idaṁ kho pana bhikkhave dukkhanirodhaṁ ariyasaccaṁ:

Now this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering:

yo tassā yeva taṇhāya asesavirāganirodho –

it is the complete fading away and cessation without remainder of that craving –

cāgo, paṭinissaggo, mutti, anālayo.

liberation, letting go, release, and non-adherence.

iv. Idaṁ kho pana bhikkhave,

Now this, monks,

dukkhanirodhagāminī paṭipadā ariyasaccaṁ:

is the noble truth of the practice leading to the end of suffering:

Ayam-eva ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, seyyathīdam:

It is this noble path with eight factors, as follows:

sammādiṭṭhi

right view

sammāsaṅkappo

right thought

sammāvācā

right speech

sammākammanto

right action

sammā-ājīvo

right livelihood

sammāvāyāmo

right effort

sammāsati

right mindfulness

sammāsamādhi.

right concentration.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 03/21/2018

Enduring

Last night I lost it. It had been a long day of shuttling kids between boroughs to my wife,to school, to ballet and back again and, just as I had begun the dishes after the dinner I made my wife began to lay into me.

According to her, I’m failing at noisy of the things I’m doing. Failing as a father for not taking the kids to cub scouts late when she makes it in the door right as the meeting begins. Failing to make enough money (although I doubt she would put it in those words). Failing to be unfailingly nice to her. And, falling at being a husband and father.

So, I lost it. Threw the bowl I had been washing into the sink and left it there broken as I ran out the door to cool off. Of course, we are here again: she wants to talk about divorce. Frankly, I will give it to her if that’s what she wants but I’m not interested in “figuring it out.” The truth is that divorce is a horrible option for all involved and I would rather stay in an affectionless marriage due the next eighteen years than do that to my children.

I promised to talk to her about it and I will tonight but am I being selfish for not helping her figure out how to exit in the best possible way? I would give her as much as I could while still being able to pay for a place to live for myself but, in this city, that won’t leave much. Certainly not enough for vacations and dozens of classes. We shall see bit wish me fortitude and forbearance.

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