Sunday, February 28, 2010

rewards of listening to Dhamma

There are these five rewards in listening to the Dhamma. Which five?

One hears what one has not heard before.
One clarifies what one has heard before.
One gets rid of doubt.
One's views are made straight.
One's mind grows serene.

These are the five rewards in listening to the Dhamma.

AN 5:202

These are simple yet powerful reasons for listening to Dharma talks, on line or in person. Notice that only one of these reasons is really about hearing something new. Perhaps we may hear something new or have something clarified. Either way we grow in confidence, integrity and serenity.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

guardians of the world

...self-respect and respect for others, are called guardians because they are always operative in all wholesome states, while their opposites, lack of self-respect...and lack of respect for others...are present in every single unwholesome state. Andy Olendzki

This passage is from Andy's soon to be released book: Unlimiting Mind: The Radically Experiential Psychology of Buddhism. Wisdom Publications, 2010.

In this passage, Andy, a Pali scholar, is discussing the depth in meaning of mindfulness as understood from the Abhidhamma perspective. From application of this reading I have found a great practice tool: In any moment asking, Am I being mindful? Really mindful? Is their self-respect? Is there respect for others?

What I find is that if self-respect and respect for others are not present in those moments, the qualities seem to arise from the act of asking the question, thus creating more wholesome mind moments.

From BCBS Bhavana Program 2010/02/20-2010/02/27. The Bhavana Program offers a wonderful retreat experience - combining a nice balance of study, interaction, and formal practice. I think of it as a silent retreat first - with a few hours for study and interaction to deepen and enrich the practice experience.

Friday, February 19, 2010

seek what is deathless

Before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened bodhisatta, being myself subject to birth, aging, ailment, death, sorrow and defilement, I sought after what was also subject to these things. Then I thought: 'Why, being myself subject to birth, aging, ailment, death, sorrow and defilement, do I seek after what is also subject to these things? Suppose, being myself subject to these things, seeing danger in them, I sought after the unborn, unaging, deathless, sorrowless, undefiled supreme release from bondage, Nibbana?
M 26.13

There is nothing wrong with enjoying the pleasures of this life. Sense experiences are only a problem if we become attached to them. Attachment to ease and comfort make it difficult to make hard choices - both for us as individuals and for us a society.

If we stay in touch with reality and the genuine possibilities that occur through recognizing the truth of insecurity, we might be able to see how our comforts have become handicaps, keeping us from being fully alive, vital, happy, and engaged - fully responsible for ourselves, each other, and the planet.

Moderation, careful attention, and integrity are a few of the qualities that I am recognizing today as timeless values. Let's discover others and let them be our defining characteristics.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

doing too much

Doing one thing at a time seems to be a vanishing art, and in fact many of the situations people put themselves in do not even allow for such a unified state of mind. The busyness and confusion that so often accompanies multi-tasking takes a toll, however, and it not usually a rewarding, or even healthy, way to use the mind. Consciousness is a precious resource, and if it is spread too thinly by trying to manage multiple factors at once, its coherence diminishes.

Andy Olendzki
online sutta study

You can participate in this work with Andy by visiting the website of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies or join me as I work with his study on the Practice Board

Sunday, February 14, 2010

way of negation

"...once we let go of what we're not, the nature of what is Real becomes apparent... And as that Reality is beyond description, it is not appropriate, and least misleading, to let it remain undescribed. This is the essence of the 'way of negation'..."

p. 27 THE ISLAND, a compilation and commentary on wisdom texts (regarding Nibbana) in the early Buddhist teachings (Pali Canon)by Ajhan Amaro and Ajahn Pasanno

Share a study and exploration of these texts on our Practice Board at

Saturday, February 13, 2010

peace of heart

peace of heart, emotions from Andy Olendzki (3/3)

What does a moment of emotional peace feel like after a period of turmoil? If you’ve just had a big fight with a friend or partner who has stormed out of the room (or perhaps you have stormed out), what does it feel like to have the strife and discord come to a sudden halt? Or perhaps you’ve just watched a movie, or read a book, or had a discussion with someone, that took you on an emotional roller coaster; or maybe you have been sitting with an ailing or dying friend, or come through to the other side of a bout of anxiety, fear, or despair. In any case it is a matter of feeling the contrast between the prior moments of agitation and the current moment of calm. What does it feel like to have something that had been raging with such intensity come to a stop, replaced with an experience of relative peace?

* RIGHT NOW! What emotional states are reverberating in the heart?