Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/25/2017

Wisdom Over Justice

Even if you tried to rule justly, there would always be people dissatisfied with your rule. As the Buddha commented to Māra, even two mountains of solid gold bullion wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the wants of any one person. No matter how well wealth and opportunities were distributed under your rule, there would always be those dissatisfied with their portions. As a result, there would always be those you’d have to fight in order to maintain your power. And, in trying to maintain power, you inevitably develop an attitude where the ends justify the means. Those means can involve violence and punishments, driving you further and further away from being able to admit the truth, or even wanting to know it (AN 3:70).

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/23/2017

Happy Thanksgiving – Foulness of Food

On a day most of us spend gorging ourselves I found the following to be particularly useful:

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/22/2017


Every day we take a journey to who knows where. Every time we step foot out of the door, out of the bed, we make a trip from which we may never return. Knowing this, what provisions have I set aside for myself to carry with me? Anger, resentment, recriminations? Am I lugging old disagreements to gnaw on like dry and discarded bones when I could bring a heart full of well-wishing and forgiveness that could truly sustain me along the way?

Every day we leave and may never come back. Can we ensure that we have left our loved ones well-provided and take along only what is good and helpful? Can I let go of poison?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/21/2017

Taking Suffering as My Teacher

When I feel that it is too hard to listen, that I want to close up and guard my heart may I open myself completely.

When I feel damaged, bruised and at death’s door may I throw my arms wide open to accept all slings and arrows.

When I am tired and sickly may I strive on harder and make the most of what’s left of this life.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/19/2017

Of My Own Making

It bears repeating that my problems I have in relationship are quite literally of my own making. No, it isn’t “right” when someone berates and criticizes me and they will be their to that kamma but it is completely my own choice to accept the gifts given or to decline them.

I find that I’m better able to recall this and keep this to the fore when I have meditated and reflected before having to engage with quarrelsome and troubling people so why is it that I think extra sleep is the answer. It never has been yet. In fact, on day when I don’t rouse myself to do my morning puja and meditation my days are markedly worse.

May I sacrifice the sweetness of sleep for the peace of the Dhamma. May I recognize that there is no one to resent or blame except delusion, hatred and craving. May I recognize that my only true enemies are the kilesas.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/18/2017


I feel like I’m forever coming back to this place: facing temptation, failing and starting over. But, for as tiring and disappointing as it may be I can at least take comfort in the fact that my intentions are correctly set. Also, I do feel that, there is a change that’s slowly taking place as I incline towards the life of a brahmacari.

I think the main thing that has been holding me back is my desire to somehow salvage a relationship when it’s clear that the connection and mutual respect I an craving is not going to spontaneously arise. But, really, that’s besides the point: I the end all things break apart so why votive to create kamma that will only bind me more closely to the wheel of samsara?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/17/2017

Gaining Control

How, then, can control of sexuality be achieved? A large measure of control can certainly be gained by concentrative (samatha) meditation practice, which stills the mind and can lead to the jhana states. In non-Buddhist systems this is probably the best that can be hoped for, and it is not to be despised. Indeed, many people, especially in the West (and probably also, e.g., in modern Japan), are so disturbed that some such calming practice is almost essential, perhaps for a very long time. But the other way, and the truly Buddhist way, which can lead right to the goal, is the way of Insight. The main scriptural basis for this is the Satipatthana Sutta.

The four foundations of mindfulness as set forth there are: mindfulness as to body, feelings, states of mind, and mind-contents. With reference to “states of mind,” it is said: “He knows lustful mind and the mind that is free from lust. He knows how lust arises and how it ceases.” This is not a manual of meditation, and it must suffice here just to indicate how by mindfulness one comes to discover how mental and physical phenomena arise and cease, and therefore, ultimately, how to bring about their cessation.

In this method, there is no forcing. Rigid suppression by an act of will is not required — and will not anyway lead to the goal. When even quite intractable-seeming personal problems are fully seen in their true nature, they will dissolve. It may take time and much perseverance, but it is a way of gentleness, which does no violence to one’s nature. Eventually, if steadfastly pursued, it can lead to the solution of all our problems, not only those connected with sex. Slowly and patiently, we can disentangle by mindfulness all the guilt feelings and other complications which may have developed. And we come to realize, probably to our surprise, that the seeing is the cure, when the seeing is deep enough.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/16/2017


Aging, sickness and death. These three are the only guarantees we have in this life upon being born. And my dear uncle seems more to be edging ever closer to his own death by way of complications from the treatment of his cancer. Every day I dedicate merit to him that he may recover. Almost daily I practice tonglen and chöd top relieve his suffering but he keeps getting worse. But, really, what do I expect?

We cannot hope to relieve anyone of their karmic burden so it would be silly of me to become disappointed or disenchanted by an apparent lack of results. He will go on just as he came here but I will send him off in the embrace of my love, care and concern.

May you use what time you have left in this life to practice kindness and may you always meet with spiritual teachers and cultivate your heart until you find true release. May you be well, happy and peaceful Uncle John.

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/15/2017

Theravadin Koan I

What is the place that does not come or go or stand still?

Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/14/2017


This morning I woke up late. The schools got to school late. Nothing went as planned. Why can’t I just let that be? Why is there guilt? Why shame?

May my first responder to suffering be forgiveness and compassion. May I learned to treat myself as my best friend.

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