“To cook or fix some food, is not preparation; it is practice … Whatever we do, it should be an expression of the same deep activity. We should appreciate what we are doing. There is no preparation for something else.”
One day Ajahn Chah held up a beautiful Chinese tea cup:
“To me this cup is already broken. Because I know its fate, I can enjoy it fully here and now. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.” When we understand the truth of uncertainty and relax, we become free. The broken cup helps us see beyond our illusion of control.
~ From “The Wisdom of Uncertainty” by Jack Kornfield
“Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.”
“So, don’t be in a hurry and try to push or rush your practice. Do your meditation gently and gradually, step-by-step. In regard to peacefulness, if you become peaceful, then accept it; if you don’t become peaceful, then accept that also. That’s the nature of the mind. We must find our own practice and persistently keep at it.”
~ Ajahn Chah (from the book “Bodhinyana”)
Advising People to Enter the Way
Then spring now autumn,
the four seasons revolve.
Then young now old,
you see the hair turn white. Then wealthy and nobility,
now a long dream.
Years and months go by,
Carrying ten thousand pecks of sorrow.
In the path of suffering,
The wheel of rebirth rolls endlessly.
In the river of passion,
We swim like bubbles
forming and popping.
Now coming to the right place
To learn the Way,
Why don’t you touch your nose?
See that this is your very good
Chance of a million lifetimes.
~ Tue Trung Thuong Si (1230-1291)
from DailyZen.com for nov17.2020
Don’t seek fame or fortune,~ Tung-shan
Glory or prosperity.
Just pass this life as is,
According to circumstances.
When the breath is gone,
Who is in charge?
After the death of the body,
There is only an empty name.
When your clothes are worn,
Repair them over and over;
When you have no food,
Work to provide.
How long can a phantomlike Body last?
Would you increase your ignorance
For the sake of its idle concerns?
QUOTE COURTESY: DailyZen.com
“If for company you find a wise and prudent friend who leads a good life, you should, overcoming all impediments, keep their company joyously and mindfully.”
~ The Buddha | Dhammapada 23.328
“Think not lightly of good, saying, “It will not come to me.”
Drop by drop is the water pot filled.
Likewise, the wise one, gathering it little by little,
fills oneself with good.”
~ The Buddha (The Dhammapada 9.122)
On your inhale, gather your attention;
on your exhale, drop into the body.
Shift attention to your spine.
Your back exemplifies equanimity,
being present for whatever is unfolding right now.
Shift your attention to your chest.
Rest in this willingness to open to compassion.
Strong back, soft front. Equanimity, compassion.
– Roshi Joan Halifax
Roshi Halifax is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She and Frank Ostaseski will lead three online webinars on “Bearing Witness Together in Troubled Times” from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) on: April 27, May 4 and May 11. More information here
NOTE: Apologies to TheMeditationCircle.com subscribers for the multiple posts on Bhante Rahula’s upcoming ZOOM talks. Because of issues regarding the security of posting ZOOM links publicly, we’ve taken down a post that listed the meeting links. To get the meeting IDs, e-mail Bhante Rahula’s retreat center at: email@example.com
Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, who is tentatively scheduled to visit the Meditation Circle in Huntington and Charleston in August, is offering Dhamma talks and guided meditation via Zoom starting Easter Sunday, April 12 at 2 pm. He plans to continue these talks every Sunday until the current “stay-at-home” situation, due to the Covid-19 crisis, ends.
The talks will be followed by Q&A and guided meditations. He’ll also offer weekly sutta study sessions starting Wednesday, April 15 at 7 pm, also followed by Q&A and guided meditations. The first sutta to be explored will be the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta , the “Turning the Wheel of Dhamma” discourse, the first teaching the Buddha gave after his Awakening.
WEEKLY DHAMMA TALKS and GUIDED MEDITATION on ZOOM w/BHANTE RAHULA: Every week at 2 pm. Eastern Standard Time (U.S. and Canada), starting Sunday April 12, until May 31, 2020 (eight ZOOM gatherings in total):
Apr 12: 2 pm
Apr 19: 2 pm
Apr 26: 2 pm
May 3: 2 pm
May 10: 2 pm
May 17: 2 pm
May 24: 2 pm
May 31: 2 pm
WEEKLY SUTTA STUDY AND MEDITATION w/BHANTE RAHULA: Every week at 7 pm —Eastern Standard Time, US and Canada—starting Wednesday, April 15 ( seven ZOOM gatherings):
Apr 15: 7 pm
Apr 22: 7 pm
Apr 29: 7 pm
May 6: 7 pm
May 13: 7 pm
May 20: 7 pm
May 27: 7 pm
A NOTE ON ZOOM: If you’re unfamiliar with ZOOM, it’s a popular video-conferencing application. ZOOM meetings can have more than 100 people in an online meeting, with live interaction via video screens and audio for all who “attend.”
You can access ZOOM meetings via your desktop computer, laptop, iPad and smartphone. The first time you click a ZOOM meeting link (GET THE LINKS FOR THESE MEETINGS by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org), your browser may require you to download and run the ZOOM app. Some notes:
Bhante Rahula is director and principal teacher at the Paññāsīha Lion of Wisdom Meditation Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He was born Scott Joseph DuPrez in Southern California in 1948. After following the hippie trail to India, he eventually discovered Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka, where he ordained as a novice monk in 1975 at Gothama Thapovanaya, Kalupaluwawa.
He received his bhikkhu upasampada ordination at Wat Thai Los Angeles in May 1979. After returning to Sri Lanka for some years, he came to help Bhante Henepola Gunaratana establish the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery in rural West Virginia, where he served as vice-abbot from 1986 to 2010. Now, after seven years of teaching Dhamma and leading retreats around the world, he has taken on the role as director and chief meditation teacher at Lion of Wisdom .
The rural meditation retreat facility is a branch of the Washington Buddhist Vihara. The center offers Days of Mindfulness, Afternoon Intensives and two- and three-day retreats.
“My advice is to not let yourself get wrapped up in doubts and questions. Let them go and directly contemplate whatever you are experiencing. Don’t make a big deal out of any physical pleasure or pain you experience. When you sit in meditation and start to feel tired or uncomfortable, adjust your position. Endure as much as you can, and then move. Don’t overdo it. Develop a lot of mindfulness—that’s the point. Do your walking and sitting meditation as much as you can; the aim is to be developing mindfulness as much as you can, knowing things fully. That’s enough.”
~ Ajahn Chah, from “Everything Is Teaching Us”
We thought this was apt. A pandemic mindfulness checklist!
“Look at the particular emotion that might be driving the proliferation of thoughts. And as you are watching, take some deep breaths. Looking at it, breathe out deeply—looking at it, breathe in deeply. You will see it disappearing. Mindfulness comes to rescue us from getting carried away with runaway thoughts, to offer support to increase wholesome mental states. Mindfulness works in both ways—one is to address negative states that have arisen. The other is to encourage us to direct the mind into more wholesome paths.”
~Bhante G (p.127, “WHAT WHY HOW’: Answers to Your Questions About Buddhism, Meditation, and Living Mindfully,” Wisdom Publications, 2020)
“There are times when the heart is in bad shape. Bad mental qualities get mixed up with it, making it even worse, making us suffer both in body and mind. These bad mental qualities are said to be “unskillful” (akusala). The Buddha teaches us to study these qualities so that we can abandon them.
“There are other times when the heart is in good shape: at ease with a sense of wellbeing. We feel at ease whether we’re sitting or lying down, whether we’re alone or associating with our friends and relatives. When the heart gains a sense of ease in this way, it’s said to be staying with the Dhamma. In other words, skillful (kusala) mental qualities have appeared in the heart. The skillful heart is what gives us happiness. This is why the Buddha taught us to develop these skillful qualities, to give rise to them within ourselves.“
~ Ajahn Suwat