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4 years ago  ::  Sep 16, 2013 - 6:56AM #1
Bhakta_glenn
Posts: 973

Meditation in Daily Life


If I try to find the definition of a person in a Buddhist text book I usually end up finding myself lost in a maze of technical terms which collectively tell me that the person is a concept and not a reality, that there is no self. However, in the non-Buddhist world in which I live those ideas are virtually unknown. The world I live in is a fairly concrete place; transcendental thoughts and realities are unknown. For the people I live amongst work in ordinary jobs. They are honest, hardworking people that relate to concepts such as Mom and Dad, my job, my car, our home. They are sensible enough to know that life is impermanent, and that one day they will grow old and die; but, they would prefer not to talk about it. However, they relate more positively to the concept of giving thoughts of loving kindness to people. And even now, after all the years that I have practised as a Buddhist, they do not like me to say that I learned this or that idea in Buddhism and that I think it may apply to our situation in a particular way.


However, my Buddhist practice is not only accepted, but quite positively supported. It is seen as quite a good idea, but, for me not them. So, if I ever had any thoughts about converting any of them to Buddhism, I might as well forget them; kill them before they arise, so to speak. If we may borrow the pattern of giving Metta, initially to oneself, then to one’s family, and then move out to one’s relatives, it is with this latter group that severe opposition to Buddhism arises. With this latter group it is both anathema and un-British; and, in one or two extreme cases, deemed to have arisen from the Devil. 


When I first began to practise Buddhism, I heard a teacher say that whilst Buddhists are pacifists, they ought not to let others take advantage of them. If my mind were firmly established in the Four Brahma Viharas, it may well be possible for me to overcome this severely negative situation by giving Metta to those people concerned. However, experience has taught me that simply trying to overcome this negative situation by giving Metta to those concerned is not enough. The task is too great for me. I usually end up being overcome by negative thoughts. However, if I see that giving Metta to those concerned is a goal to achieve, then I can step back from the big problem and focus my thoughts upon giving Metta to myself and those whom I love, those who love me. In my case, this is my family, wife and daughters. Gradually, I can build up the strength of mind for the big task. Gradually, I can do this by improving the quality of my home environment. The big problem involves giving Metta beyond me and my family by taking the step of including my relatives. It is a strategic plan which will allow me to gradually build up the strength to do so. By looking at our plan of giving Metta to myself, then to my family, it can be seen that this is a method of preparation for the third step of giving Metta to my relatives. Beyond my relatives lies the Great Class of All Beings. At the moment, I am a long way from being able to do that.


However, at the moment, I have not reached the halcyon position of being able to overcome my differences with my Metta meditation. I therefore have to learn to defend myself against negative criticism. Negative criticism can be extremely powerful. It can undermine one's self confidence.  One of the benefits of giving Metta to oneself is that it can help maintain self-respect in a severely critical environment. Giving Metta to one’s family can help maintain the family’s sense of dignity in a severely critical environment. It may also assist in the development of an ambience of familial love. A severely critical environment is vastly different from the quiet of the shrine room. In the quiet of the shrine room, it may be possible to give Metta to oneself and all beings. In a Dhamma talk at the Vihara, I heard it said that the Buddha’s Teaching is like a pair of leather shoes. This was explained to mean that the Buddha’s teaching would enable a practitioner to walk over inhospitable ground because the leather shoes would protect one’s feet.


When one is confronted with severely critical, hateful views, one must deal with them, or go under. If one goes under, without trying to prevent it from happening, this is the same as letting others take advantage of one. Very early in my practice, I learned that it was pointless to try and argue my case against these negative views. Instead, I took the view that the thoughts conveying these critical, hateful views were the possessions of those that uttered them. In this way, I began to tell myself that they were an unwelcome gift to me. In this way, I began to develop the thought of silently calling the donor of the unwanted gift to mind. In this way, I would silently say to this person that I did not accept their critical, hateful, unwanted gift; and, that I was returning it to them, because it was rightfully theirs and not mine; and, as such, there was no place for it in my heart. 


The rationale for this kind of Mental Development is the elimination of Ill-Will. For Ill-will is an hindrance to Mental Development, Mental Culture:



www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_n.htm


Buddhist Dictionary


Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA


nīvaraṇa: 'hindrances', are 5 qualities which are obstacles to the mind and blind our mental vision. In the presence of them we cannot reach neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) and full concentration (appanā-samādhi), and are unable to discern clearly the truth. They are:

2. ill-will (byāpāda),




 


Alternatively, I would write a letter to that person. In this letter, I would state my point of view correctly, and with dignity; and I would refrain from saying hateful things about that person; I would refrain from criticising them. However, I would not send this letter. The beneficiary of the letter was not them; it was me. The point of the letter was to adjust my feelings and thoughts towards myself in the light of the negative and hateful criticism that I had received from them. I took the view that once I had mentally returned their unwanted, hateful gift to them, it was theirs to do as they wished with. This stopped me from repeatedly calling their hateful invective to mind and ceaselessly worrying about it. In this way, I have been able to prevent such people from taking advantage of me by destabilising my mind.



When the Mind is destabilised, One is a long way from Samadhi. Without Samadhi, One may not practise Vipassana Meditation. For, when the Mind is agitated, Wisdom does not arise; when the Mind is Tranquil, Wisdom arises as Vipassana.



www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_v.htm


Buddhist Dictionary


Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA


vipassana: 'insight', is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. It is insight-wisdom (vipassana-pañña) that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed along with the 2 other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of insight practice (s. visuddhi VI) leads directly to the stages of holiness (s. visuddhi VII).




Learning to develop and defend my mind in this way, has inevitably led me to question the notion of a person in Buddhism. The dictionary describes a person as a self-conscious being. This concept of a person is denied in Buddhism. The person is said not to exist. However, as true as this may be, it is a little too philosophical for the world of my daily life. If a person asked me what had I learned from Buddhism, and I answered that I had learned that I do not exist, I think that he would be dumbfounded. Whilst it may be true that there is no person, it is difficult for ordinary people to grasp. However, if I was to answer that I had learned to ward off hateful and negative criticism, and that by doing so, I had managed to promote a sense of self dignity and worth for myself and my family, which made me a better person, I think that he would understand that.


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4 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2013 - 11:30AM #2
Bhakta_glenn
Posts: 973

Four Brahma Viharas


The Foundation for the Development of the Four Brahma Viharas is Metta Meditation.


Metta means Selfless Love.


‘Hate Restricts but Love Releases.’


When one is ensnared in the world of Dialectical Reasoning, one becomes lost in a maze of prepositions and inferences. On a far simpler plane of being, one may just focus on what is, as opposed to what is not.


Whilst this does not mean that intelligent well-educated people ought not to apply the skills of Dialectical Reasoning to the task of studying Dhamma, it does mean that for  people of lesser abilities, it may be more pertinent to rely on their own natural intelligence in the form of human intuition.


Surely, One may know a great deal from inference. However, one may also know things directly, simply from direct observation.


Many years ago, I was taught by a Philosopher in an Adult Education College. He asked this question:


“Does Lightning Flash and Thunder Clash because the Gods are Angry?”


A rational person in the study group replied that Logical Science would prove that the Lightning Flashes because there is a discharge of electricity between the Sky and the Earth; and that the Clashing Sound of the Thunder is nothing more than the Sound of this Electrical Discharge.


The Philosopher replied by stating that whilst this may be true, it does not answer the question. 


In the same way, a person may have a direct experience of Reality, and be logically defeated by a skilful orator. But this verbal defeat at the hands of an expert does not make his direct experience of reality any-the-less true.


In Buddhism, one may read that Metta Meditation may only take the person so far. Most certainly not any further than the Jhānas.


But, my own Philosophy, such that it is, tells me that one ought not to fall before being pushed. When one reads of the Bodhisatta’s Path to Enlightenment, one learns that in Periods of Vast Time, it took Four Incalculable Aeons and One Hundred Thousand World Periods for the Bodhisatta to become a Unique Sammasambuddha:


From Nomination by Buddha Dipankara, through the practice and Realisation of Ten Perfections, to the Fruition of Sammasambuddhahood.


In the same way, if a person was to renounce any attachment to the notion of becoming Enlightened in this particular Life, what would be the Fruition of just focussing on Metta Meditation for this amount of Time?


This question may not be answered by merely parsing the Scriptures to read what the Buddha said. It cannot be answered by reciting a Mantra. It can only be answered by One who has actually carried out that long and arduous practice Of Metta Meditation for Four Incalculable Aeons and One Hundred Thousand World Periods in Time.


In Spiritual Development, this kind of Devotional Meditation is referred to as a Penance. If one is practising a Penance for a personal motivation, then that is a spiritually poor motivation. If one is prepared to carry out this Penance so that the Merit may be Donated to all Beings, then one is far closer to an actual Buddhist Motivation.


But, here is the problem. In this very life, before one may undertake such a long and arduous journey, he or she must actually develop Metta:


1          The Loving Mind is Loving


2          The Loving Mind is Compassionate.


3          The Loving Mind is Sympathetically Joyful [for  the Happiness of Others].


4          The Loving Mind is Equanimous.


There are Higher Spiritual Sciences than Dialectical Reasoning. Mostly, they are accessible through correctly guided Mental Development by Qualified Spiritual Preceptors.


The Ten Perfections are:



www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_p.htm


Buddhist Dictionary


Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, 
by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA


paramī = pāramitā: 'perfection'. Ten qualities leading to Buddhahood: (1) perfection in giving (or liberality; dāna-pāramī), (2) morality (sīla-pāramī), (3) renunciation (nekkhamma-pāramī), (4) wisdom (paññā-pāramī), (5) energy (viriya-pāramī), (6) patience (or forbearance; khanti-pāramī), (7) truthfulness (sacca-pāramī), (8) resolution (adhiṭṭhāna-pāramī), (9) loving-kindness (mettā-pāramī) (10) equanimity (upekkhā-pāramī).




These Ten Perfections are all Transcendental.


This means that they may not be limited to the subject divisions of the logic-chopping mind. And, whilst one may produce cogent arguments to show that they are all different, they are realised on a Unified Plane of Reality, to the Mind in Samadhi, aka At-One-Ment, where all differences have been Transcended, thus:


From the Perspective of the Four Brahma Viharas, Metta Meditation is the most salient Dhamma. for it is a member of both Logical sets: Brahma Vihara and Paramī:


1          The Loving Mind is Liberal


2          The Loving Mind is Moral


3          The Loving Mind is Renunciate


4          The Loving Mind is Wise


5          The Loving Mind is Energetic


6          The Loving Mind is Patient


7          The Living Mind is Truthful


8          The Loving Mind is Resolute


9          The Loving Mind is Loving


10        The Loving Mind is Equanimous


 


Metta Meditation is the Seed which grows into the Tree of Dhamma which blossoms into the Fruition of Awakening.


1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10


For the Fruition of a full development of Metta is the Simultaneous Realisation of the Four Brahma Viharas Mapping on to the Realisation Attainment of the Ten Perfections.


10 = 1 + 2 +3 + 4


When the Bodhisatta realised The Fruition of the Ten Perfections, he realised the Four Noble Truths.


[2 x 4 ] + [1 +3] = 12


And simultaneously realised the Twelve Links of Causal Genesis [Dependant Origination],


Aka the Second Noble Truth.


Just my subjective opinion.


As a Living Faith, Buddhism has no right to expect anyone to simply read its translated Discourses without testing them with the Touchstone of actual practice. For, they were never Delivered as merely Dry Philosophical Pieces grounded in Dialectical Wizardry. For the Buddha himself taught the Kalamas to try it out for themselves:



 


www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/tipitaka/k...


               


KESAPUTTIYA SUTTA


(Kalama Sutta)


 


Anguttara Nikaya, Suttanta Pitaka


 


Translated into English by The Department of Pali,


University of Rangoon, Burma


 


 


3. "Kalamas, it is quite possible for you to be in doubt and uncertainty. In the case where there is room for doubt, uncertainty has arisen in you.


 


           "Come you, O Kalamas, don't accept (views) from hearsay, from what you have been told, because it is mentioned in the scriptures, by reason of logic, because of its method, in consideration of the reasoning (being plausible), by tolerating the views based on speculation, because of its appearance of possibility and because "Our monk is venerable". When you Kalamas realize by yourself that these views are unwholesome, faulty, censured by the wise and that they lead to harm and misery when practised and observed, then Kalamas, you should reject them."




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4 years ago  ::  Oct 25, 2013 - 2:33AM #3
rideronthastorm
Posts: 9,223

Sep 16, 2013 -- 6:56AM, Bhakta_glenn wrote:


Meditation in Daily Life


If I try to find the definition of a person in a Buddhist text book I usually end up finding myself lost in a maze of technical terms which collectively tell me that the person is a concept and not a reality, that there is no self. However, in the non-Buddhist world in which I live those ideas are virtually unknown. The world I live in is a fairly concrete place; transcendental thoughts and realities are unknown. For the people I live amongst work in ordinary jobs. They are honest, hardworking people that relate to concepts such as Mom and Dad, my job, my car, our home. They are sensible enough to know that life is impermanent, and that one day they will grow old and die; but, they would prefer not to talk about it. However, they relate more positively to the concept of giving thoughts of loving kindness to people. And even now, after all the years that I have practised as a Buddhist, they do not like me to say that I learned this or that idea in Buddhism and that I think it may apply to our situation in a particular way.


However, my Buddhist practice is not only accepted, but quite positively supported. It is seen as quite a good idea, but, for me not them. So, if I ever had any thoughts about converting any of them to Buddhism, I might as well forget them; kill them before they arise, so to speak. If we may borrow the pattern of giving Metta, initially to oneself, then to one’s family, and then move out to one’s relatives, it is with this latter group that severe opposition to Buddhism arises. With this latter group it is both anathema and un-British; and, in one or two extreme cases, deemed to have arisen from the Devil. 


When I first began to practise Buddhism, I heard a teacher say that whilst Buddhists are pacifists, they ought not to let others take advantage of them. If my mind were firmly established in the Four Brahma Viharas, it may well be possible for me to overcome this severely negative situation by giving Metta to those people concerned. However, experience has taught me that simply trying to overcome this negative situation by giving Metta to those concerned is not enough. The task is too great for me. I usually end up being overcome by negative thoughts. However, if I see that giving Metta to those concerned is a goal to achieve, then I can step back from the big problem and focus my thoughts upon giving Metta to myself and those whom I love, those who love me. In my case, this is my family, wife and daughters. Gradually, I can build up the strength of mind for the big task. Gradually, I can do this by improving the quality of my home environment. The big problem involves giving Metta beyond me and my family by taking the step of including my relatives. It is a strategic plan which will allow me to gradually build up the strength to do so. By looking at our plan of giving Metta to myself, then to my family, it can be seen that this is a method of preparation for the third step of giving Metta to my relatives. Beyond my relatives lies the Great Class of All Beings. At the moment, I am a long way from being able to do that.


However, at the moment, I have not reached the halcyon position of being able to overcome my differences with my Metta meditation. I therefore have to learn to defend myself against negative criticism. Negative criticism can be extremely powerful. It can undermine one's self confidence.  One of the benefits of giving Metta to oneself is that it can help maintain self-respect in a severely critical environment. Giving Metta to one’s family can help maintain the family’s sense of dignity in a severely critical environment. It may also assist in the development of an ambience of familial love. A severely critical environment is vastly different from the quiet of the shrine room. In the quiet of the shrine room, it may be possible to give Metta to oneself and all beings. In a Dhamma talk at the Vihara, I heard it said that the Buddha’s Teaching is like a pair of leather shoes. This was explained to mean that the Buddha’s teaching would enable a practitioner to walk over inhospitable ground because the leather shoes would protect one’s feet.


When one is confronted with severely critical, hateful views, one must deal with them, or go under. If one goes under, without trying to prevent it from happening, this is the same as letting others take advantage of one. Very early in my practice, I learned that it was pointless to try and argue my case against these negative views. Instead, I took the view that the thoughts conveying these critical, hateful views were the possessions of those that uttered them. In this way, I began to tell myself that they were an unwelcome gift to me. In this way, I began to develop the thought of silently calling the donor of the unwanted gift to mind. In this way, I would silently say to this person that I did not accept their critical, hateful, unwanted gift; and, that I was returning it to them, because it was rightfully theirs and not mine; and, as such, there was no place for it in my heart. 


The rationale for this kind of Mental Development is the elimination of Ill-Will. For Ill-will is an hindrance to Mental Development, Mental Culture:



www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_n.htm


Buddhist Dictionary


Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA


nīvaraṇa: 'hindrances', are 5 qualities which are obstacles to the mind and blind our mental vision. In the presence of them we cannot reach neighbourhood-concentration (upacāra-samādhi) and full concentration (appanā-samādhi), and are unable to discern clearly the truth. They are:

2. ill-will (byāpāda),




 


Alternatively, I would write a letter to that person. In this letter, I would state my point of view correctly, and with dignity; and I would refrain from saying hateful things about that person; I would refrain from criticising them. However, I would not send this letter. The beneficiary of the letter was not them; it was me. The point of the letter was to adjust my feelings and thoughts towards myself in the light of the negative and hateful criticism that I had received from them. I took the view that once I had mentally returned their unwanted, hateful gift to them, it was theirs to do as they wished with. This stopped me from repeatedly calling their hateful invective to mind and ceaselessly worrying about it. In this way, I have been able to prevent such people from taking advantage of me by destabilising my mind.



When the Mind is established, One is a long way from Samadhi. Without Samadhi, One may not practise Vipassana Meditation. For, when the Mind is agitated, Wisdom does not arise; when the Mind is Tranquil, Wisdom arises as Vipassana.



www.budsas.org/ebud/bud-dict/dic3_v.htm


Buddhist Dictionary


Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines,
by NYANATILOKA MAHATHERA


vipassana: 'insight', is the intuitive light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena of existence. It is insight-wisdom (vipassana-pañña) that is the decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed along with the 2 other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of insight practice (s. visuddhi VI) leads directly to the stages of holiness (s. visuddhi VII).




Learning to develop and defend my mind in this way, has inevitably led me to question the notion of a person in Buddhism. The dictionary describes a person as a self-conscious being. This concept of a person is denied in Buddhism. The person is said not to exist. However, as true as this may be, it is a little too philosophical for the world of my daily life. If a person asked me what had I learned from Buddhism, and I answered that I had learned that I do not exist, I think that he would be dumbfounded. Whilst it may be true that there is no person, it is difficult for ordinary people to grasp. However, if I was to answer that I had learned to ward off hateful and negative criticism, and that by doing so, I had managed to promote a sense of self dignity and worth for myself and my family, which made me a better person, I think that he would understand that.






First place I want you to know that not all Buddhists relate to the idea of there not being a self concept or even understnads all the concepts. I dont claim all Buddhist beliefs as a Zen Buddhist because Im dislexic and alot of it is over my head including the idea that there is no self. Im  a bout to get the Zen For Dummies book again


Zen For Beginners is the name. But Im going to meditation in 2nd Life and to different buddhist talks and including one class on Metta giving too which is beautiful also anyways. Im a down to earth person and alot of stuff is over my head, but I understand Metta and the idea of thinking and giving friendly and loving energy out to everyone in the world.I have the simple concepts of meditation down enough to practice.


 


But I suspect that its not easy to explain Buddha beliefs to Christians and those who arent Buddhist. Ive found that when talking to my sisters I take a cue from my Zen teacher who said that Christians often enter into a meditation state of mind without realizing it because many of them chant prayers.


I also know that Quakers on the net told me once they got into Zen because of their Quaker beliefs, at Quaker meetings they sit still be very quite in hard back chairs and listen for the voice of God. They also told me that sometimes Theyd enter into a state of meditation without realizing it and started learning Zen.


So I use these examples for my sisters who are Christian and its easier for them to understand.


Another really good thought on this is what another Buddha teacher told me. He said he had a problem with a Christian who use to live with him who would come over visit and tell him his Buddhist teachings were of the devil and Satanic and he was going to hell for it told him to renounce it.


 They even told him to take down his Buddha statues. But after awhile when his neighbor called him before hand and let him know he was coming over hed take down the Buddha statues while he was there and be polite to him even of he attacked and then put them back up after he left.


Because as hateful and as ugly as it may seem for us to hear that if you look into persons heart you will realize that they do things out of a sense of compassion and he realized that this Christian was just doing this because he was afraid he was going to hell.


 He wanted to acknowledge that sense of compassion even though it was negative thing at least he could acknowledge and respect the fact that his neighbor had compassion on him that he didnt want him to burn.


It doesnt mean he converted to Christianity he didnt he kept his beliefs hes still Buddha tecaher hes just saying theyre not doing it to be malice its coming from a  good place .


.

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