Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/24/2021

Weakness and Anger

It seems to me that giving into anger or hatred (here I think often if the Pali term vera : (nt.) enmity; hatred) is the worst kind of weakness. Not only do you do yourself serious harm but you have allowed another person to master you.

Now, in the case where no one is actually attempting to inflame your ire you simply look and act like a fool by making a show of your enmity and displeasure but how much worse is it when you give victory away to your tormentor.

It seems to me that the very first step to overcoming the kilesa of ill-will is to refuse to express it through body or speech.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/20/2021

Jinapañjara Gāthā

As usual, when I first determined to listen to a Dhamma talk my mind rebelled but, much like going to the boxing gym, I never regret having done so. The Venerable Ajahn Achalo responded to a student’s request for advice on Hour to brighten the mind in the face of seemingly unending oppression and he recommended chanting more.

Interestingly, one of the things that he highly recommends is chanting Itipiso 108 times daily which is a practice I already keep. However, I’m cases of extreme negativity and oppression by petas he advised us to chant the parittha or gatha below:

Jinapañjara Gāthā
The Victor’s Cage

Jay’āsan’āgatā Buddhā

Jetvā Māraṁ savāhanaṁ

Catu-saccāsabhaṁ rasaṁ

Ye piviṅsu narāsabhā

The Buddhas, noble men who drank the nectar of the four noble truths, having come to the victory seat, having defeated Māra together with his mount:

Taṇhaṅkar’ādayo Buddhā

Aṭṭha-vīsati nāyakā

Sabbe patiṭṭhitā mayhaṁ

Matthake te munissarā.

These Buddhas—28 leaders, sovereign sages beginning with Taṇhaṅkara—are all established on the crown of my head.

Sīse patiṭṭhito mayhaṁ

Buddho dhammo dvilocane

Saṅgho patiṭṭhito mayhaṁ

Ure sabba-guṇākaro.

The Buddha is established in my head, the Dhamma in my two eyes, the Saṅgha—the mine of all virtues—is established in my chest.

Hadaye me Anuruddho

riputto ca dakkhiṇe

Koṇḍañño piṭṭhi-bhāgasmiṁ

Moggallāno ca vāmake.

Anuruddha is in my heart, and Sārīputta on my right. Koṇḍañña is behind me, and Moggallāna on my left.

Dakkhiṇe savane mayhaṁ

Āsuṁ Ānanda-Rāhulo

Kassapo ca Manāmo

Ubh’āsuṁ vāma-sotake.

Ānanda & Rāhula are in my right ear, Kassapa & Mahānāma are both in my left ear.

Kesato piṭṭhi-bhāgasmiṁ

[Kesante piṭṭhi-bhāgasmiṁ]

Suriyo-va pabhaṅkaro

Nisinno siri-sampanno

Sobhito muni-puṅgavo.

Sobhita, the noble sage, sits in consummate glory, shining like the sun behind a hair on my head [all over the hair at the back of my head].

Kumāra-kassapo thero

Mahesī citta-vādako

So mayhaṁ vadane niccaṁ

Patiṭṭhāsi guṇākaro.

Elder Kumārakassapa—great sage, brilliant speaker, a mine of virtue— is constantly in my mouth.

Puṇṇo Aṅgulimālo ca

Upālī Nanda-valī

Therā pañca ime jātā

Nalāṭe tilakā mama.

These five elders—Puṇṇa, Aṅgulimāla, Upālī, Nanda, & Sīvalī—have arisen as auspicious marks at the middle of my forehead.

Sesāsīti mahāthe

Vijitā jina-vakā

Eteti mahāthe

Jitavanto jin’ora

Jalantā la-tejena

Aṅgam-aṅgesu saṇṭhitā.

The rest of the 80 great elders—victorious, disciples of the Victor, sons of the Victor, shining with the majesty of moral virtue—are established in the various parts of my body.

Ratanaṁ purato āsi

Dakkhiṇe Metta-suttakaṁ.

Dhajaggaṁ pacchato āsi

Vāme Aṅgulimālakaṁ.

Khandha-Mora-parittañca

Āṭānāṭiya-suttakaṁ

Ākāse chadanaṁ āsi

Sesā pākāra-saṇṭhitā.

The Ratana Sutta is in front, the Metta Sutta to the right. The Dhajagga Sutta is behind, the Aṅgulimāla Paritta to the left. The Khandha & Mora Parittas and the Āṭānāṭiya Sutta are a roof in space. The remaining suttas are established as a rampart.

Jinā nānā-varasaṁyuttā

[Jināṇābala-saṁyuttā]

Sattappākāra-laṅkatā

Vāta-pitt’ādi-sañjātā

Bāhir’ajjhatt’upaddavā

Asesā vinayaṁ yantu

Ananta-jina-teja.

Excellently bound in many ways by the Victor,

[Bound by the Victor’s authority & strength],

seven ramparts arrayed against them, may all misfortunes within & without—caused by such things as wind or bile—be destroyed without trace through the unending Victor’s majesty.

Vasato me sakiccena

Sadā Sambuddha-pañjare

Jina-pañjara-majjhamhi

Viharantaṁ matale

Sadā pālentu maṁ sabbe

Te ma-purisabhā.

As I dwell, in all my affairs, always in the cage of the Self-awakened One, living on earth in the middle of the cage of the Victors, I am always guarded by all of those great noble men.

Iccevamanto sugutto surakkho.

Jinānubhāvena jit’upaddavo.

Dhammānubhāvena jitārisaṅgho.

Saṅghānubhāvena jit’antarāyo.

Saddhammānubhāva-pālito

carāmi jina-pañjare-ti.

Thus am I utterly well-sheltered, well-protected.

Through the power of the Victor, misfortunes are vanquished.

Through the power of the Dhamma, the enemy horde is vanquished.

Through the power of the Saṅgha, dangers are vanquished.

Guarded by the power of the True Dhamma,

I go about in the Victor’s Cage.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/20/2021

Aspirations for Fatherhood

May I give my gain to my family and take in their sufferings.

May I protect them for harm despite the cost to my health and happiness.

May I lead them towards the Dhamma by my example and never by coercion.

May I accept them unconditionally for whoever they choose to be in the moment.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/17/2021

A Person of Dignity

Interestingly enough, when I posted the above post on FB I was met with quite a bit of resistance.

It seems to me that so many of us want the freedom to do whatever we please. Then again, I could be completely wrong. Maybe got them, using harsh speech isn’t any different from pleasant sounding speech. Maybe I’m just a prude.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/14/2021

Rest and Consistency

I have been having an internal debate with myself about the need for rest and, after having taken a day off, I feel that it might have been better spent dedicated to different activities rather than having completely abandoned my practice.

And, it seems to me now, that whether we’re talking about developing the mind or the body, consistent and unrelenting practice is what’s called for. In pursuing these goals tirelessly a certain amount of creativity and improvisational skill will be required as the mind and body both become overworked and fatigued through the use of the same exercises or subjects of reflection. So, rather than lapsing into inactivity or reverie I simply need to change focus.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/11/2021

BJJ and a Crushing Defeat

I was finally about to return to the gym I joined last week for my first session of Gi BJJ and it was an eye opener in many ways, although likely not in the way you might assume. You see, I knew I was going to get my butt handed to me. I knew I was going to get choked out at some point. What I didn’t expect was that I would gas out at some point.

The biggest surprise of the evening was when I made the decision to give up and sit out. I felt nauseous and shaky and I threw in the towel. So, it was a big learning lesson and it has taught me that I can’t ever trust myself. Perhaps I’m so used to the specific abuse of striking in boxing, kickboxing and TKD that I just assumed I would be fine. But, sadly, I was wrong.

So, I tasted the only defeat that matters tonight: surrender. May I never taste it again in this life.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/11/2021

Infinite Progress

I am trying out something a little different. For some reason, I have gotten it stuck in my head that any deviation from constant, all out striving and hardcore hammering is weak. I realize I have fallen prey to an insidious ideology: the myth of infinite progress. Fortunately for me I do have a foothold in the Dhamma and realize that, despite my best efforts, this body will go its own way and eventually fall completely apart on its own.

So, does that mean I should abandon this project of conditioning and development? I wouldn’t quite say that, no. What it does mean is that I need to make time for restorative practice and to cultivate a friendly familiarity with the body instead of solely thrashing it into submission.

So, for that reason, I decided that I would do all of the tasks and exercises except for the cardio portion which would’ve equaled 108 Active Zone Minutes. Instead, on off days I will be taking up Tai Chi again as a way of achieving this.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/09/2021

A List of Things That Never Happen

As alluded to in the title, plans are often a list of things that never happen. I had planned my day to make the evening Muay Thai classes near work but my wife and kids called me in a panic because of an errant cockroach.

Interestingly enough, I have been flooded both with feelings of resentment and failure because I am conflicted about my resolve. I feel that I could have fought more to resist the request that I get home quickly and allowed them to take care of it. To add insult to injury, my son called me after I had left work to inform me that he had taken care of it.

Too late to make it to class, I am now waiting on a platform to go home. I know I will still need to do 15 Minutes of kicking drills now to make up for the loss of the classes but the worst thing is the resentment. That’s why it’s good to remember why I’m doing all of this stuff in the first place.

Yes, it sucks to waste money on a membership in not using. Yes, it sucks not to train when I had made arrangements to do so. But what would suck even more is if I allowed it to ruin my equanimity. If I allowed these circumstances to determine my mood.

May I put in a redoubled effort tonight and practice well.

Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/09/2021

Outlines of a 108 Day Triple Cultivation Challenge

I recently finished the #75Hard challenge which involved a lot of working out (physically) as well as some other things (like reading a set amount and drinking obscene amounts of water). Overall it was a great experience and I’m considering creating my own 108 Day Challenge to be able to focus on those things which I feel will bring the most benefit to me.

I envision the challenge to consist of activities that fall under three main fields: spiritual, intellectual and physical. As of today, I will have completed everything on the list except for the 1 Minute Cold Shower which I intend to do after I finish.

Physical Cultivation

  • 1 Minute Cold Shower
  • 108 Active Zone Minutes
  • 50 Push-Ups
  • 50 Squats
  • 50 Lunges
  • 5 Pull-Ups
  • 2 x 45 Minute Workouts
    • 15 Minutes Hand or Elbow Striking Technique Practice
    • 15 Minutes Leg or Knee Striking Technique Practice
    • 15 Minute BJJ Conditioning
    • 15 Minutes Static Stretching
    • 15 Minute Dynamic Leg Stretching Routine
    • 15 Minutes Strength Training

Intellectual Cultivation

  • Study a Language (Irish)
  • Read 15 Pages of Non-Fiction
  • Journal or Blog Post

Spiritual Cultivation

  • 108 Prostrations
  • 108 Mantra Recitations (Itipiso)
  • 30 Minutes Breath Meditation (Bud-dho)
  • 30 Minutes Loving-Kindness Meditation
Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 06/06/2021

Raindrops and Right Hooks

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.

Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure: A code to the way of samurai


Thanks to my boxing coach Maurepaz Auguste who imparted this piece of wisdom to me after I freaked out because I was worried about getting hit. If you’re in a fight you’re going to get hit so may as well relax and accept it. And, whether it’s rain drops or right hooks, rest assured that this lesson does apply to everything in life.

Once again, I’m shocked by how much wisdom there is in the martial traditions. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising then that Lord Buddha was a member of the Khattiya or warrior class. It seems like I’ll need to do some more digging into the life of the Lord Buddha and the way in which his society was organized.

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