Thursday, May 17, 2012

letting buddha live today

"Buddha" means "The one who  is awake." The Buddha who lived two-and-a-half thousand years ago  was an embodiment of that quality. As my teacher, Ajahn Cha, would often say, "People believe the Buddha passed away two-and-a-half thousand years ago, but the real Buddha is alive today."  The "Buddha" we are talking about here is that quality of wakefulness - that quality of wisdom - which is in the heart. 
  from Ajahn Amaro in Finding the Missing Peace

Any spiritual practice is only as alive as our active participation in the truth of the teachings. With our lives we manifest the wisdom to the degree we are in touch with and actually embody their truth. In the case of the Buddha's teaching being in contact with what is true right now, in this moment, is the whole point. We are invited to live, not according to an imposed set of rules, but to  become awake and  alive. In doing so we thus live wisely and happily. Wisdom and compassion rule.

My "born-again" understanding of the message of Jesus is that it is similar to that of Gautama, Buddha. According to Christian scriptures the first person Jesus saw upon resurrection was Mary Magdalene. His comment to her was reportedly, Do not cling to me. I take this to mean something similar to the Buddhas parting message, You know what to do, now go do it. These messages do not invite us to make rules to follow or impose on others, but to live what we have learned and continue the journey. If we do otherwise we tend to make false idols of our teachers instead of listening to the teachings and transforming our lives.

When we draw upon that Buddha-wisdom, its as if we can consult the Buddha at any time. If we don't make the effort to consult, then we won 't get the advice or the guidance. Buddha nature is another term for this faculty of awakedness that we can employ. Of course, we can go through life without employing it, just having it buried in layers of habit and compulsion and business and fear and laziness and everything else. But if we take the trouble to draw upon it, to recognize it, to open it up, then it can be what guides our  lives very directly.
from Ajahn Amaro in Finding the Missing Peace

Monday, May 7, 2012

hindrances to becoming peace

In our Cyber Course for experienced meditators we are working, just this week, with investigation of the primary qualities of mind that inhibit happiness and ease of being. We are also being aware of times when these hindrances are absent. Feel free to spend a week with each category -  no matter how much experience you have.

It is important to remember that these qualities, though referred to as hindrances, are very common conditions of the human mind. The idea is not to get rid of the experience, but to become aware of it. An aware mind is no longer inhibited by any quality of mind quality or experience.  It sees things as they are and acts accordingly as is appropriate in the moment.

"If sensual desire is present in [me],
[I know] 'there is sensual desire in me';
if sensual desire is not present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is no sensual desire in me';

"If aversion is present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is aversion in me';
if aversion is not present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is no aversion in me';

"If sloth-and-torpor is present in [me] ,
[I know]  'there is sloth-and torpor in me';
if sloth-and-torpor is not present in [me] ,
[I know]  'there is no sloth-and-torpor in me';

If restlessness-and-worry is present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is restlessness-and-worry in me';
if restlessness-and-worry is not present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is no restlessness-and-worry in me';

"If doubt is present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is doubt in me';
if doubt is not present in  [me] ,
[I know]  'there is no doubt in me';

Satipatthana Sutta (with my adaptations for practice purposes)

For comments about applying this practice in your personal and professional life see the blog From Drudgery to Joy on