|Thought for the day: June 3, 2008
A small amount of accomplishment requires a great deal of effort, and should be
guarded like a precious gem
|Thought for the day: June 6, 2008
Thought is energy. Practicing meditation can help one to look beneath thought and
feel the flow of energy that supports it. If we can do this we will find ourselves observing
energy flows rather than individual thoughts. By working with these flows of energy we
can change the way we think. This transformation of thought is a very positive
|Thought for the day: June 8, 2008
If you are alert you can choose what you want to think about. If you are not alert you will
be caught up and entangled by thoughts, just like a fish in a net. Alertness is a very
important aspect of mind training. It will help us to meditate effectively and live our lives
effectively. Alertness during post meditation will assure that we do not become
entangled in activities and relationships that are not supportive of our goals. When
alertness is lax, we become weighted down by activities and idle interactions with people
that produce nothing positive. The function of alertness is to help us discriminate the
profitable from the unprofitable; whether it be in the coarse affairs of our daily lives or
meditation's subtle energy currents.
|Thought for the day: June 10, 2008
Force should be avoided in meditation. When we meditate, or take vows, we should
always be mindful of our ability and motivation. A clear focus for extended periods of
time in meditation takes time to develop. If we sit for and hour or more and our mind is
wandering half the time, it is probably better to sit a shorter length of time more often
throughout the day. Another way to strengthen our meditation is to be keen to
recognize moments when our mind is pliable and make every effort to squeeze in a sit. I
myself have often hidden in construction sites, bushes, peoples' yards, parks, etc when
I spontaneously felt my mind open and clear for meditation. Scheduled meditation is
very important; but earn those Brownie points by doing extra work when you can.
|Thought for the day: June 11, 2008
Meditation is not something that you "do." If it were something you "do" it would be a
contrived state, which it is not. Meditation is the art of uniting with those conditions that
will bring about awareness of the mind's nature. You cannot do it from your side alone.
In stillness the mind becomes like a mirror that will allow you to see those conditions
without grasping or labeling them. This kind of seeing is not an imputed state, wherein
you imagine a path based on what you have read and heard. It is seeing stripped of all
mental constructs. This seeing can only happen when the mind surrenders and allows
the magic to work.
All great struggles end in surrender. This is not giving up because of laziness, or lack
of ambition; but rather the result of an effort that is so sincere and tenacious that you
realize its futility.
|Thought for the day: June 12, 2008
As our meditation deepens and the clouds of disturbing thoughts settle; it can be
tempting to follow what is perceived as a wholesome thought, perhaps a dharma
teaching we heard or read or a pleasant remembrance of our guru. Feeling free to
engage wholesome thoughts is a common mistake and one to guard aagainst All
thoughts, both wholesome and unwholesome must dissolve if we are to engage
properly with the topic of meditation.
|Thought for the day: June 19, 2008
If the thoughts that give rise to disturbing emotions had power within themselves, they
would have that power all the time. A particular thought may cause you to become
angry, for example, and it seems like the thought has the power to make you angry.
However, if you deliberately give rise to that thought another day, it will not move you.
The same is true for lust, hatred, jealousy, self doubt, and many other emotions that
disturb the balance in our lives. A very good technique for becoming less vulnerable
to undesirable thoughts is to consciously give rise to them when all is well and the
mind is bright, happy, and stable. If we look at particular thoughts that disturb us,
bringing it up again and again in our clear bright mind, we will become less and less
vulnerable to them and eventually completely free of them. If there is no foothold for
them, they will not visit us.
|Thought for the day: June 13, 2008
Precepts, Samadhi, and Wisdom, are three pillars of cultivating the Way. Precepts are
the code of ethics and morality that form the foundation of Buddhist practice. If one is
strong in one's precepts, one is not easily shaken by bumps and mistakes along the
way. They are a great friend in times and need when overwhelmed by obstructions
and the hazards that will surely arise as one's practice matures. Samadhi is
concentration in the sense of absorbed and deep concentration. It is like a powerful
beam of light that can penetrate the ten directions. Wisdom guides the light, pointing it
in the direction that will lead to proper knowledge and proper views.
|Thought for the day: June 17, 2008
A Chan Master once undertook the instruction of a novice who was having great
difficulty in detaching himself from the persons of his former, secular life. "You cannot
serve the Dharma until you sever these bonds," said the Master. "You must destroy
these possessive relationships! Kill them! Regard them as if they no longer existed!"
The novice asked, "But my parents? Must I slay them, too?"
And the Master replied, "Who are they to be spared?"
"And you, Master," said the novice, "must I kill you, too?
And the Master smiled and said, "Don't worry. There is not enough of me left for you
to get your hands on."
|Thought for the day: June 24, 2008
A saying goes, "Beware of too much cleverness." It is often tempting to use clever
argument to justify within oneself actions that are not beneficial as beneficial. The truth
can be twisted to justify just about anything. Rather than put oneself through such
mental contortions it is usually best to give it up.
|Thought for the day: June 26, 2008
Once your emotions got you, Reason may as well be on holiday.
|Thought for the day: June 27, 2008
Have you not seen the man of the Way,
Who has cut off learning and in his leisure does nothing
Who does not reject false thinking or seek Reality?
And the empty Body of illusion is the Dharma body.
This is the opening verse of Yung Chia's Song of Enlightenment. One who
mistakenly assumes such freedom before earning it is creating an impossible
barrier for himself.
|Thought for the day: June 28, 2008
Karma ended and emotions empty,
defines a Buddha.
Karma defiled and emotions turbid,
This verse is from the Sixth Patriarch Sutra. This sutra also teaches that
within a single negative emotion or thought is the seed of enlightenment;
and if in the instant of its arising you can seize it, the true nature of mind
will be revealed and karma and afflictions ended. Within each and every
thought that we have is the seed of enlightenment.
|Thought for the day: June 28, 2008
Teachings such as Mahamudra and Chan that advise letting them go or
letting them dissolve into empty space also point out the importance of the
cultivation of merit and virtue, compassion, and a broad altruistic path to
make this achievable. Unfortunately, this part of the teaching is often not
given sufficient attention while meditation is overemphasized. This is a
common mistake and why many are plagued by similar undesirable
thought patterns arising again and again in their meditation.