Being A Buddhist

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Archive for the category “practicing Buddhism in modern world”

The Evenness we all are given by the World – Ashta Loka Dharma

Are we even? Do we have equity in lives?

When looking at the world, we see, that at time to time new ideas occur and Revolutionists jump up on stages. Some are made famous thanks to those ideas, and become the leaders of the others. So they become famous and  some become followers. Some time in some places changes are established according to those ideas. Some, who face such changes, may like it, or may not like it, or may be, just not care  and move on with their lives.

Those changes may exist for sometime. However they all fade gradually and eventually come to an end, and something else take place. As always as it happens in this world.

Anything such can happen. Those kind of things can change our lives, change what we could have or could lose, or situations likewise. We may like the outcome, so that we become  supporters. May be, become opponents if we may dislike it. However, it wouldn’t be the same how each of us may feel. Well, life seems to have no evenness in this world.

So life is not Equal, or  no Evenness. Yes or No?

Buddhism says it does. On eight (8) things we all have to face because of this living. Only eight. That is so, little.Almost all of life must have been left.

Yes, eight, but these eight are really big, and the most important things in this world. Big, because they are the ones that define the quality of our lives. The Quality? What kind of quality? That is something to write more on may be later on. In short that can be said, quality as to our world.

So what do we all face same as others? Well,

profit and loss,

famous and infamous,

praises and reproaches,

comfort and discomfort.

These four couple  of words, even though they are just eight words, are the ones, that determine our lives; So, they are really important, so have to be big .

So, these have superiority?

Well, it still says that we determine their existence, so what ‘s going to be more important?

kamma, how we do it?

What is Karma! anything we do or say? NO way! 

At the Time when His holiness lord Buddha borne, in India Karma was taught by some famous teachers like “Niganta Nathaputta” that karma as anything that is done or said by a person. AS some believed it they  had  tried to keep away from doing any bad karma to an extreme extent. So this teacher is said to had his followers sweep the path before he walked anywhere. So that, he won’t be killing any animals that he’d not able to see by mistake. Also some teachings had prevented followers from drinking hot water.  Saying boiling water would kill very small beings that live in water even though  they could not be seen by human eye.

It’s true that such living beings, that are not able to be seen without special aids, do exist. What that amazes me is  how these ancient people had such knowledge when we never would have seen such things if not for the modern science. Its true, so much things  beyond any sciences (like about universe) have been told by His holiness lord Buddha. Still it keeps me wondering (in awe) about the knowledge at the time before his holiness’ enlightenment, that existed with people.

Again, when I read about nowadays vegan living style,  I wonder whether it is also based on the same theory that those other teacher’s perception. However it is, it is really off my current topic, and also it’s their liking.

So, do we have to face consequences for all we do and say in our lives? (I think I’d rather be dumb and disabled to do anything if it is so.)

Well, “Chethanahan Bikkawe, Kamman wadami‘ “is what Buddhists are taught, in answering that. So it’s a relief 🙂 . If a person do, say or think something with an intention it is what karma is, not just anything. So if a person has no intention to kill or harm another however  something like that happened, then  it will never become a killing according to Buddhism. So no consequences for that incident for that person involved.
 It’s not his Karma.

Also I’ve seen some sayings like  chethana or thoughts are not karma. But, considering Dhamma I know,  as a thought is needed to happen any Karma, and if taking it abstract, Karma is the thought but not the vise versa. when we have pleasant/pure mind good Karma happens and  if mind is opposite bad karma. So best thing is to know how to keep your mind pure and keep it. So happy consequences and easy comfortable living.

Benefits of the walking meditation

Today, I got the chance to listen to benefits of walking meditation.  So here are the benefits that I’d missed last time.

The person who practice meditation on walking

1. would have his patience increased.

2. would be free of  sleepiness/ sloth and drowsiness. and his courage would be increased.

3. his sicknesses would be reduced at present or in future also.

4. food he’s eaten would be digested really well.

5. and will be able to keep his samadhi much longer –  When a samdhi (The state of consciousness induced by complete meditation)  is gained by meditating, it is said to be hard to keep for a long time, due to the thoughts that would occur in mind having desire for it. Practicing the walking meditation is said to increase the ability of keeping it much longer on mind.

I was happy to see that, first and second benefits showing that fifth and  sixth  virtues of dasa parami (viriya and  patience)  being developed  easily, as well as the sixth of Nobel eightfold path – the right effort. And also that practicing this  making my concentration more powerful  So this seems more beneficial  than I used to know.

Meditation on Walking -2

I saw that there are lots of instructions on ‘walking meditation’ on the web, so here are some few I found today:-

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/silananda/bl137.html

http://shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=17903.

http://taoism.about.com/od/meditation/ht/walking.htm

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=894

http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/articles/instructions-for-walking-meditation/

http://www.mindfulnessmeditation.org/2012/03/04/how-to-do-a-walking-mindfulness-meditation-technique/

 

However, from all what I read so far, I see, some instructions, mostly in the west, walking meditation, of course as well as many other types, has been turned out to become reformed. Well, anyway, it’s their perception, and their levels of luck of course, so for us, let’s make some clear boundaries to what I would have written how to do it.

first of all, walking meditation is no near to walking  in the nature or what we call taking a stroll. it’s true, that it use walking, but it’s still meditating on this posture of our body. so as on any meditation we still need to concentrate comprehensively on  what we do. So if you do not need distractions or accidents, the best thing to do is find a peaceful place about twenty, thirty feet and walk back and forth on bare foot. I practice inside the house, so no one’s going to disturb me and nothing to worry about. Short steps and keeping legs a bit apart  parallel helps  when it comes to balance. If you feel hard to focus and your mind seems to wonder a lot, you could increase the pace, so that your mind would have more work to do.

from the four steps below:

(i) lifting the foot;

(ii) moving it forward;

(iii) putting it down; and

(iv) touching or pressing the foot on the ground.

      A new beginner should start only  with concentrating on  (i) and (iii) at the beginning. It’s advised to be practiced until very comfortable with it. say , one never mistakes any of it. It could take days or months depending on the person. But what’s important is the gaining the full concentration. Afterwards can  practice on (i), (ii), (iii) and after got comfortable with it can move to the whole four together.

When meditating we should always be with the foot that on action. That is, if you’re lifting the left foot it should be the one you focus on until you put it down on earth, then leave it and move the focus to the right as it would be the one that would be walking next, like that. I once read that keeping eyes closed could help more at the beginning and found that it to be very effective with my progress.

finally as many of our teachers say, how you practice and what you do is individual, as it’s your own work on your own mind, and it is you, who would achieve from it. The best thing of this meditation type is that you got an action to focus on, so when you put your mind on to it, it’s lot easy to save yourself from distractions  and to keep your mind clean and safe and ready for more meditation or to move on to more strong positive thinking. As mind is what makes us, gaining control of mind is gaining control of oneself.  So, as I’ve mentioned at the beginning, when our minds are occupied with anxiety or depression or whatever uncomfortable feelings that seemed to conquer it at any moment, practicing this or any type of meditation (that can be easily practiced in the surroundings) can become unbelievably handy everyday, to live with a peaceful, contended mind.

Meditation on walking

I might have discussed about this meditation type before. However as I felt so contented some days ago while listening to a Damma desana on it, felt that I should write another post.

I bet this is the easiest meditation type I’m used to  practice so far. As I’ve heard it also is one of fastest result oriented meditations in Buddhism. However it’s effect is said to fade in the same way. But as it’s effective on gathering mindfulness and  tranquility speedily, it can be used as a preparing meditation  before moving into others, or can be used  in various difficult situations in daily life.

Most of us , including me back some years ago, come across bizarre conditions in mind while having to face situations we aren’t adapted well. I’ve seen this is due to the less control-ability in mind. So we face emotions like depression, Anxiety, distraction, displeasure and suffer from living. Buddhism teach us how to take control of mind via two ways.

One : purifying the mind by dealing with concepts that form any sufferings, and the other:  training the mind to get released from such suffering thoughts  by directing towards concentration. First one is gained by wipassana which dive deep in to Buddhist teachings, and the second one, which could be used as I above mentioned, is gained by Samatha meditation. Even though  Samatha is not as powerful as the other when Buddhist’s final destination concerned,  it never could or should be undervalued on daily life. As I understand, what it could  give us or turn us on practice, is beyond any medical treatments whether it be physical or psychological, that could be found on this Earth today. So be it on whatever type it is better gained by practicing than not.

The Watcher

While listening to a Damma Desana,  some time ago, this example took my attention. It led me think a lot on it  later and made it easier to remember and analyze that topic. I can’t say, that I remember the whole discussion or even that I did understood or followed everything that was said. But this specific one example, that was told, made its own individual place within my mind. Because of that, I feel it could be useful to anyone in some content, so that I should convey it even without those other stuff. So here it goes…

Say, there’s a one large room, of which many people coming and going out. This room has more than general number of doors. To be specific it has six doors. And all these doors are opened. Anyone can come in through them. And also, can go out through them. So there’s no stable status inside this room.

So no one knows, who goes in, or who goes out. So!..the authority  appoints a watcher. This watcher, is going to see what’s going on inside there. He has to watch, who is coming inside, what they do, who is leaving, if they do something right, do any problems occur, likewise. May be he’s  more than a watcher, anyway he’s kept really busy inside our room.

However our watcher can be his own boss. He can watch seriously and do his job to the word. He also can determine what is correct and incorrect. And how something should be done, or how to change them, like wise. So, He can have all the power within that room and power over everyone or anyone who is inside it. So, everything within that room would go smoothly, peacefully, without issues, thanks to our that smart keeper.

However,  our watcher is even free to do anything as he likes. He can just ignore it all, and let anything happen or  may be to some extent. He could become careless by not  doing his job. Like,  he could dose, or laze around, or just follow or be interested in one or more specific person, or may be just watch one door or more than one, or  watch all six doors if he wants or just vaguely, or do completely some thing else.

But, no one would be there, to tell  him, his job. However then, he might be missing some situations. And those  situations also would miss his interference on them. Then, anyone unwatched has freedom to do anything as they like. So, nothing inside there, would be as same as having a  keen eyed smart watcher to look after, right?

Some More Resources

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/uposatha.html

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.041.vaka.html

http://www.dhammawheel.com/   – A site and a Forum 

http://www.thebuddhism.net – Has information on  Life of His Holiness Lord Buddha and a lot more.

Hell!

We hear lots of reasons for someone to go to hell these days. I don’t know if it is a sad point or just a funny thing, but a lot of people seem to enjoy saying how some other would go to hell for doing something that would not be agreed along with their own perceptions.

But  as to Dhamma, there are only five actions that Buddhism says that will definitely take a person to the real hell. So all the other actions are individually determined in my understanding. Anyway it’s certain that when examined with Dhamma, even how much that someone would perhaps like or argue for another to go to hell, for doing something that they would not approve or not agree, will not certainly drop those people in hell, if they know how to keep away from it.

So in my complete pure mind I wish for those kind of well wishers also not to increase their own bad points by clinging into their bad tastes about these kind of beliefs. My understanding is that there are always reasons for everything, so there should also be some  fair reasons for people to be different in some ways from others, too.

The inevitable five actions, that we can’t ever get away from hell after doing,  are

Ānantarika kamma:-

1. Killing biological mother

2. Killing biological father

3. Killing arahanth (Completely enlightened person)

4. Schism- breaking the amiability among bikkhus

5. Dropping blood from His Holiness Lord Buddha’s Body

So one may or may not go to hell, if they never ever done those five, but definitely won’t drop there because of some one else thinking/believing that it sh/would happen so. Let’s Just empathize with them. As there’s no space for blind beliefs in Buddhism.

Happy journey!

Talents and Differences

We, as humans, are clearly vary from each other in many different ways. When someone is extremely intelligent or talented in studies  or in other areas, another person can be of the most opposite,  Or another one can be at some where within that spectrum.

If someone  is talented in studying, he easily goes to the extent of education achievements with minimum effort. One can say that he is so fortunate. But seeing this, can make another person , who’s not fortunate like that, become frustrated. Some people could, even, think to give up further on education and look for alternatives to achieve a comfortable living . It’s understandable if we feel like that, as we all like to be treated fairly, and when even the nature seems to be unkind in some ways it could  seem as too much.

But is it smart to act at those general opinions as to Buddhism? Before answering that, why aren’t we all born as same as others? Why not be born with equal talents? At least why not be equal to people who we share same ancestors, as then it would be able to be explained by modern science ? As to Buddhism, there are several ways to reason this occurrence. But I see one most important factor among all of them. That one is more related to rebirth.

So  how does it explain these varieties? Well, It is a known fact, that we circle through lives until we reach our final enlightenment or Nirvana.  As we live each of these lives, we live according to those life style we could have, determined by the world we live in. If we have an opportunity we’ll have education and lead a life style according to that. Or our lives could be of a totally different form.

So, in one life a person could study and become a teacher, or  in another a professor, or an engineer, or…  like that. But he got to have been born in a time and a society that such education or profession is available to him. These things, how our lives,  are determined by five factors, called ‘Niyama dhamma’. Karma is only one of them. Being poor, is one of bad Karma’s result. But being poor does not determine the ability to study. So if someone  was born poor, and if there was no way to be schooled,  there could be no proper education in that life. But there are so many people, who invented many things that some most educated men could never think of, even they never had proper school education.

But they’d  had talents in those areas that came naturally with minimum knowledge. These talents are the ones they had got from ‘Sansar’ or the ‘chain of lives’ as I call it. They are the results of a certain practices. when someone study in one life, then that practice makes it easier to study in his next lives and much easy when it is in that same field.

I read recently, a well known Psychic and a hypnotist, Edgar Cayce  had once revealed about a child  that had natural talent for logical thinking, that he’d had spent several of his lives living as a judge, and that as the reason for his ability. There are many people like that who show born talents for many things at a level of experts but with no such experiences in current lives.

So, if  someone has  weaknesses for studying, it’s like that, he should more spend more of  his time and effort in that area,  thinking it as an opportunity he’d been given in this life time to get rid of them. Then it would make him  become more talented in his next lives and so then he won’t have to go through those same feelings, that he experience now. However, I don’t say that it is good  to choose such an area as a profession and to make one’s life miserable. Choose something talented and enjoyable for profession, because, life is to be lived happily, not for suffering,  but you could find enough time to learn what you are week at, as that practice would give you talents in those areas for your next lives,  if ever you are to be born after this life.

And  that explanation also worth, when asking why we are advised to practice Dhamma, even when we can’t see us reaching any stage of enlightenment in this life. That is,  to become talented in our paths to liberation.

Buddhists are poor?

 His holiness lord Buddha had advised lay people to earn by a righteous living and spend those earnings intelligently. But people who had left lay life to achieve their enlightenment were given completely different instructions. Like that, to let go everything that are not needed in such a life style. And also his holiness Lord Buddha had admired that kind of  life style.

 But still we have to understand that his holiness had never admired a person, who had or have not a willingness to give up lay life to join monk-hood,  having poverty in his life. What his holiness admires is simplicity and that it never should be mistaken for poverty.

And if a layman really study and follows the philosophy of Buddhism, they should be really happy and contented in their lives in every way, including  financial success in it, too.

Buddhism values poverty! true or false?

Few days ago I had a discussion with One of  my best friends about money. What I understood from it was, that she’d been mis-informed, that poverty is as same as consolation in life. Even though I tried to point out that it is not  so, and that Buddhism does not recommend poverty for laymen, my attempt was in vain. She showed  agreeing in some ways but again returned to her own misconception stubbornly. With some people I’ve seen that it so. Sometimes there is no other choice, even if they are great friends,  but we have  to let them realize the truth themselves, even if it could give them   bitter experiences later.  I realize that it may be same with her on this subject as she shows on openness to analyze it, but only wanting to stick to what she wants to believe on it. Anyway what made  me feel for her is that the fact that she is running a small business herself. So  this kind of myth would or could never help her to progress in whatever way, but to suffer.  I’m hoping she’d have good karma to get away from any miserables and move on happily.

However it would be, I think it shows another a worldwide popular myth that could be seen nowadays.  That is,  that the Buddhism values poverty. Even more, some people go further by acknowledging this as the reason for poor Buddhist countries to exist, which is a most untruthful fact. Likewise, if someone  says him as  a Buddhist-layman, and then if he assess the poverty as a value he would have, concerning Buddhist teachings, that his opinion clearly shows, how shallow he knows about the philosophy he says to follow.

If there’s anyone having such empty ideas, they should look into how some counts and other laymen had had been advised to live happily by his holiness lord Buddha. And they should correct their perceptions and their life styles. Buddhism has clear instructions to  how to make this current life  happy. It’s true Buddhism focuses on how to end the sufferings completely. So people assume that all teachings are on enlightenment. But looking into the teachings in whole shows that majority part of sutta/sections are told to laymen and on how to make their lay-lives happy, contented and successful.

If someone adheres to such mis-conceptions, like my friend, without having analyzed it to see whether it’s true or not (as Dhamma says), but if chooses to stick to them just because that they’ve heard it from someone  or felt it that way themselves, then it’s clearly  their delusion/moha working on it blindly. Main Buddhist teaching that a follower should remember when trying to understand something,  as to my understanding, is Kalama sutta.

The best Buddhist meditation type? Samatha or Wipassana!

There are two major categories of Buddhist meditations.  Samatha (Samadhi) and Wipassana. Why are there two?  and,  what could be the best?

As I ‘ve already mentioned before,  meditations similar to types in Samatha had had already existed before the time of His holiness Lord Buddha. It is clear from the history, that there had been some meditators who had achieved it’s  highest level at that time. One such person was the teacher of king Suddhodana, Asitha Kaladewala ( father of prince Siddhartha:His  holiness lord Buddha’s laymen life’s). He was said to had the ability to travel to the heavens by his mere wish, additional to achieving the furthest state  of Samatha meditation. A lot of such meditators are heard of having many supernatural abilities by developing mind using meditation knowledge that existed at that time.

But then, Wipassana meditation type had been never known before his holiness lord Buddha himself discovered and taught it to this world. Which unveils the path to Nirvana / final enlightenment. And unlike those meditations, that were kept and shared only  among higher casts, His holiness lord Buddha let anyone to learn and practice his holiness’s teachings to enlightenment.

His holiness lord Buddha himself had tried all those  knowledge that existed at the time before starting to look for a new method  to achieve the liberation from sufferings. So his holiness had also tried various available types of Samatha meditation at the time. And after achieving enlightenment, his holiness had recommended to use Samatha meditation to develop mind,  needed for the path. But had given own instructions on how to practice them differently from those ways known where needed. So original teachings of Buddhist Samatha meditation types are known different from those were before that time.  However it seems that some of the elder teachers had/have introduce and teach their experiences and beliefs when teaching their students.

So when considering  about the second one,  deciding the best. The reality is, in general, when we are to meditate as beginners these both types could come in handy. Because one type could help to reduce different unwanted qualities in mind and other some other qualities.
So Samatha which is the very best to achieve qualities  like consciousness or calm,  and then  Wipassana for qualities like insight or prajna,  both,  could be specified for a particular person based on his personality.

The first to decide, the best for a person, is to know exactly what he or she wants to achieve by meditating. If he is interested in achieving the depth of wisdom of Buddhist teachings, then sticking to Samathya will never take him to his desired destination.So practicing it even after achieving the status of mind he need to move on the path, would only  delay his desired journey.   Wipassana or insight meditation, on the other hand, would help to achieve any stage of enlightenment, where Samatha will never give any of the stages, despite of how much or how long he may practice it. The status that are available to a samatha meditator are the status of Dhyana/jhana. That would  increase his mind to various status and reduce negative qualities of mind, but all in  temporarily, but still which would definitely determine his next birth place.

So if a meditator is interested in ending, permanently, his sufferings  and rebirth, he should definitely chose Wipassana and should consider Samatha only as some mean to improve his meditation and to distract any unwanted qualities in his mind.

About Meditaton more – what is and how to

earlier post on meditation  : On Meditation

Statue of Lord Buddha meditating - from an ancient temple in Sri Lanka

World’s Greatest Teacher of Meditation

Well, first of all, meditation is a method to deal with the mind. People nowadays seem to go to various kinds of therapists to deal with many issues in it.  This is good and really is a very helpful way. But as I’ve seen the  progress of it depends on the communication between both parties and the ability and experience of the therapist. If those were excellent you’ll get great outcome.  But it depends. Anyway it also is depended on you if you are the one who have the therapy. As I understand it, because of the way you allow yourself to understand how your mind works, how past has affected you and also the environment, i.e. society has affected your mind. Means how much you’ll allow to see with openness, honesty,  etc about yourself.

It’s the same when it comes to meditation. If you allow yourself to see with an open, honest mind without accepting or rejecting what you experience, and  if you got the right resources, you’ll get more success from meditation, than anything else in dealing with mind. But then, you have to have the proper guidance for the real success. But it is you who find answers. You’ll only have to have guidance from an experienced meditator to deal with the difficulties that occur in your path.

It doesn’t say you’ll always have to have such a person to start meditation. There are a lot of types, that can be started with simple instructions gained, like from a book or site, and be developed successfully on its early stages. But this is something that most of experienced teachers say when they advice in public in my country ” you better have some one to guide you” so I’m also repeating it here as I’m not a one to challenge them in it in my stage.

However, when looking into the history at his holiness lord Buddha’s time, there had been lot of  Bhikkus who had gone to faraway places after having learned how to do a suitable type of meditation from his holiness lord Buddha. So they had deal with it alone after having instructions first. But then they had world’s greatest teacher’s instructions. Also there were incidents  Bhikkus returning  with problems, like what led to the incident of Karaneeya Mettha Sutta. But that doesn’t say everyone had problems. If you got the intellect even with some knowledge you should succeed, that is as to what I’ve learned about Buddhism. Because It all circling around basics of Buddhist Philosophy. So it’s better you get some knowledge if you are interested in going into deep in meditation, because it would be just a hanging in the same stage thinking you doing great but without.  And in short what I’m trying to say is, try to learn the basics of this Philosophy if, you are serious. Listen to Damma or read good books and get to know it, then you’ll have some idea of how you should proceed when you practice alone.

Having said that, there are lot  of resources in the web for free to learn Buddhist teachings. And if you ask me about free, they should be for FREE ( not solid books, they cost, you know that!) , because if anyone is thinking otherwise, well theirs may have great content but I doubt they are truly the followers. Also you can check my posts on Resources tab under ” THE BUDDHIST ” tab on this blog. If you ask me ” http://www.dhammatalks.net  ” is a great one that I’ve used.

Resources – more

Paritta

Sinhala resources

A Truth

There’s a truth we do not like anyone to remind us of or remembered by ourselves. But still something we all will be facing sooner or later, the eternal truth of death. How matter death may sound strange, it is a truth about our being, once born have to face death. One we all have inherited without being treated differently.

With birth one brings death into life and  carries it everywhere with him, even though, how much he completely ignores it  or treats it as a totally unusual subject to bring up to discussion. But let’s face the fact that we all have to face death. Facing something is a better way to handle it than running away from it, and is a well  known wisdom .

In Buddhism “thinking of death in connection with Dhamma” is a type of well praised meditation (Maranānussati: ‘recollection of death’). One of the four meditations that are recommended as a Buddhist’s general meditation. An easy way to reduce and get rid of the fear of facing death. More importantly a method to stop idling in life and move oneself enthusiastically for success in both, life and enlightenment path.

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