Wednesday, January 28, 2009

of steady mind

If one is bent on renunciation and solitude,
Intent on harmlessness, on the end of clinging;
If one is bent on an end to craving,
Dedicated to unconfused vision,
When one has seen the arising of the sense bases,
One's mind will be entirely released.
For the monk thus freed, with peaceful mind,
There is no need to add to what he has done,
No further task or duty to perform.

Just as a rocky mountain is not moved by storms,
So sights, sounds, tastes, smells, contacts and ideas,
Whether desirable or undesirable,
Will never stir one of steady nature,
Whose mind is firm and free,
Who sees how all things pass.

Anguttara Nikaya

Picture by: Chiels @ Flickr

Thursday, January 22, 2009

good sleep

The brahmin who is quenched within
Always sleeps happily;
He does not cling to sensual desires,
Free from props, one cool in mind.
Having cut all straps of attachment,
Removed care deep within the heart,
The Peaceful One sleeps happily,
Attained to perfect peace of mind.

Anguttara Nikaya

Picture by: novaleng @ Flickr

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

samvega and pasada

Samvega was what the young Prince Siddhartha felt on his first exposure to aging, illness, and death. It's a hard word to translate because it covers such a complex range — at least three clusters of feelings at once: the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it's normally lived; a chastening sense of our own complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly; and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle. This is a cluster of feelings we've all experienced at one time or another in the process of growing up, but I don't know of a single English term that adequately covers all three. It would be useful to have such a term, and maybe that's reason enough for simply adopting the word samvega into our language...

The first step in that solution is symbolized in the Siddhartha story by the prince's reaction to the fourth person he saw on his travels outside of the palace: the wandering forest contemplative. The emotion he felt at this point is termed pasada, another complex set of feelings usually translated as "clarity and serene confidence." It's what keeps samvega from turning into despair. In the prince's case, he gained a clear sense of his predicament and of the way out of it, leading to something beyond aging, illness, and death, at the same time feeling confident that the way would work.

Taken from Affirming the Truths of the Heart by:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Picture: All Rights Reserved aml.2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gaza - the innocent children

By Heather Sharp
BBC News, Jerusalem

The pictures keep coming. The blood-spattered young faces, the glazed eyes, the limp small bodies.

The latest figures from Palestinian health officials say 205 children are among some 600 people who have died in the Gaza war. In the chaos, there are no statistics for how many are among the at least 2,900 injured.

As medics work flat out to save as many young lives as they can, child psychiatrists in both Gaza and southern Israel fear some children will never recover from the psychological damage done as the bombs, shells and rockets fall.

Dr Iyad Sarraj, director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, says "so many people" are telephoning his workers - although the organisation's headquarters lies abandoned with shattered windows and broken furniture after it was damaged in an Israeli air strike.

"It's really terrible for children here now," he says. "I have been through so many of these kinds of things and this is the worst."

Long-term impact

He talks of a boy he treated five years ago. Grappling in the dark after his house was hit in an air strike on a Hamas militant next door, he felt something wet.

"He realised it was the flesh of his sister who was blown into pieces. He was in such a state. He couldn't eat or smell meat for three years after that. I am sure he will suffer some kind of long-term psychological impact," Dr Sarraj says.
"This sort of thing must be happening right now as we speak."

He can barely leave his home for fear of the fighting, and has been unable to visit the hospitals where he has watched television pictures of traumatised, badly injured children arriving.

"These children need help more than anyone. They look frightened, horrified, bewildered. They need a lot of attention but they can't receive it because their families are so terrified," he says.

Continue reading: Report by BBC

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

science n buddhism

Major sectors of Christianity and Islam have made it clear that they’re not going to be best friends with science anytime soon. But at least one of the major religions is extending an olive branch. New Scientist reports that:

More than 30 Tibetan monks, plus a handful of nuns, will be collaborating with a team from San Francisco’s Exploratorium (”the museum of art, science and human perception”) to build exotic machines to create patterns from sunlight using cardboard, dowels, reflective sheets of mylar and electronic components. If all goes to plan, the monks will return to their monasteries and start spreading the joys of scientific exploration among other followers of their religion.

The project is the latest reflection of the monks’ spiritual leader’s fascination with science. In the Dalai Lama’s 2005 book The Universe in a Single Atom, the Nobel peace laureate argued that science and spiritual inquiry have much to learn from one other......

Read more: DISCOVER

this holy life

Bhikkhus, this holy life is not lived for the sake of deceiving people, for the sake of cajoling people, for the sake of profiting in gain, honour, and fame, nor with the idea, 'Let people know me thus.' This holy life, bhikkhus, is lived for the sake of restraint and abandoning.


Taken from: Udana and the Itivutakka by John D. Ireland at Google Books

Picture: All Rights Reserved ® aml.2007

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inspired sayings of the Buddha

This world is subject to torment;
Afflicted by contact, it calls a disease "self":
For however it is conceived
It is ever otherwise than that.

Becoming something other,
The world is held by being,
Is afflicted by being yet delights in being.

But what it delights in brings fear,
And what it fears is suffering.
Now this holy life is lived
In order to abandon being.

Udana, Inspired Sayings of the Buddha

Taken from: Udana and the Itivutakka by John D. Ireland at Google Books

Picture: All Rights Reserved ® aml.2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

one small act

"One act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness,
is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world."

-Ann Radcliffe

Picture: All Rights Reserved ® aml.2008

Friday, January 02, 2009

skillful meditation

Being a skillful meditator is like being a skillful cook, carpenter, or archer. There’s a skillful way to perceive; there’s even a skillful way to feel. Feeling comes not only from raw data, streaming in from the outside, but also from an element of fabrication and mental impulse. A physical impulse comes up your nerves, and your mind processes it before you’re really conscious of it. What we’re trying to do as we meditate is to learn how to bring some of these unconscious processes into the light of day. And a central element in these processes is the way you perceive things. You can consciously train yourself to perceive things in more useful, more skillful ways.

Taken from Meditations by Thanissaro Bhikkhu