In Times of Crisis…

BLW Buddha Shakyamuni

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And how do you protect others when
protecting yourself?
By pursuing the practice
developing it, devoting yourself to it.
  —Shakyamuni Buddha

In times of crisis, we often feel we don’t have the time or energy to practice, but those are precisely the times when the practice is most necessary. This is what we’ve been practicing for: the situations where the practice doesn’t come easily. When the winds of change reach hurricane force, our inner refuge of mindfulness, concentration, and discernment is the only thing that will keep us from getting blown away. When we can be secure in our inner source for true happiness, we don’t expose ourselves to the devastation that comes when outside hopes for happiness and security are dashed. We have our shelter, our place of security, inside. And we needn’t be afraid that this is an escapist shelter. When the basis of our well-being is firm within, we can act with true courage and compassion for others, for we’re coming from a solid position of calmness and strength.

So take heart. Do what you can to help the living, and dedicate the merit of your practice to the dead. We may be powerless to change the past, but we do have the power to shape the present and the future by what we do, moment to moment, right now. And in maintaining our intention to be as skillful as possible in thought, word, and deed, we’ll find the only true refuge there is. ▼

Thanissaro Bhikkhu is abbot of Metta Forest Monastery and the translator of numerous Thai meditation guides. His most recent book is Noble Strategy.

Just sitting…

Just sitting means just that. That ‘just’ endlessly goes against the grain of our need to fix, transform, and improve ourselves. The paradox of our practice is that the most effective way of transformation is to leave ourselves alone. The more we let everything be just what it is, the more we relax into an open, attentive awareness of one moment after another.

~ Barry Magid, “Leave Yourself Alone” 

If you cannot free yourself from being obsessed…

Dilgo Khjence rinpoche

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‎”If you cannot free yourself from being obsessed by your body, your attachment and negative emotions can only increase. Consider your body as an illusion, a form in a dream. Give whatever care is needed to keep it in good health, and devote all your attention to your spiritual practice.”

– Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The quality of one’s rebirth in the next life is….

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama brings togeth...

Image via Wikipedia ~ HH the 14th Dalai Lama

‘The quality of one’s rebirth in the next life is determined by the quality of one’s mental activity in this life. Generally speaking, we have no power to choose how we are born; it is dependent on karmic forces. However, the period near the time of death is very influential in terms of activating one from among the many karmas that a person has already accumulated, and, therefore, if one makes particular effort at generating a virtuous attitude at that time, there is an opportunity to strengthen and activate a virtuous karma. Moreover, when one has developed high realization and has gained control over how one will be reborn, it is possible to take what is called “reincarnation” rather than mere rebirth. ‘ (p.42) ~ His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, The Dalai Lama at Harvard: Lectures on the Buddhist Path to Peace

Karaniya Metta Sutta

Karaniya Metta Sutta
Universal Loving Kindness

This must be done to gain the State of Peace.
One must be able, upright and straightforward;
Pleasant in Speech, mild and not proud.

Easily contented and easily supportable;
Not caught up in too many “duties” and frugal in one’s wants.
Calm in mind, discriminative and courteous;
Not closely attached to households.

Avoiding any mean deeds blameworthy by the wise.
Thinking always thus: “May all beings be happy and safe,
May they all have tranquil minds.

Whatsoever pulsates with the breath of life –
the frail or strong, without exception –
the long, the large, the medium-sized, the short, the thin or fat.

Those visible, and those invisible, those living far away or nearby;
Beings who are already born and those yet unborn.
May they all be happy!

May no-one deceive another, nor despise him in anyway anywhere.
Let no-one wish another ill, owing to anger or provocation.

Just as a mother would protect her son – her only son – with her life –
even so let him cultivate this boundless love to all living beings.

Radiating with a full heart loving thoughts of kindness towards all the world,
free from anger, malice or anxiety – above, below and in all directions.

And while standing, walking, sitting or reclining – still free from drowsiness –
let him maintain this state of mindfulness – termed the “Highest Living”

And living free from mere views, being virtuous, perfect in insight,
free from the lust of sexual desire,
never again shall he be entangled in the round of rebirth.

Hate is never overcome by hate
By love alone it is quelled.
This is a truth of ancient date.
Today still unexcelled.

Avoidance of evil,
Performance of good deeds,
Purification of one’s thoughts.
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.
May all beings be happy hearted!

The Medicine of Altruism

Practicing altruism is the real source of compromise and cooperation; merely recognizing our need for harmony is not enough. A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir – a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This is like a seed; when cultivated, gives rise to many other good qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity. The compassionate mind is like an elixir; it is capable of transforming bad situation into beneficial ones. Therefore, we should not limit our expressions of love and compassion to our family and friends. Nor is the compassion only the responsibility of clergy, health care and social workers. It is the necessary business of every part of the human community.

~ His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama, The Medicine of Altruism

Robert V. Taylor at Seeds of Compassion

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