Friday, March 25, 2011

Abide in Me

Abide in Me

"Abiding" has its roots in a love of God so great that all other loves fall by the wayside, a love that fills the heart so completely that it leaves no room for any other love. This love first arises as a response to God's own creating, redeeming, and sustaining love. It springs up in those who have found the hidden treasure and the pearl of greatest price, and have gladly abandoned all else for the sake of this: the love of God at the center of all things.
It is when we have been taken captive by this love that we learn to "abide in Jesus," to open ourselves constantly to his presence and to be constantly present to him, and to persist under any pressure and against all other inducements in this inexhaustible devotion and joyful allegiance. We have found something we can no longer do without, and whether it leads us to the desert, to ministry among those most in need, or simply to a deepened and transformed sense of our choices in daily life, it will ultimately always lead us in some sense apart from the world. There, in our own forests and caves (whatever these may be), let us remain persistent, resolute, constantly abiding in him.

[1]  This excerpt comes from David Rensberger's article "Persisting in Presence" from Weavings "Abide in Me" XXII/2, March/April 2007.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Thinking, Just Thinking

When you close your eyes, start watching your breath, and random thoughts start popping up.

You will them to stop, but they don't.

At some point you realize... those thoughts aren't you. They can't be, as your intent/will is that they do not arise and they pop up regardless. They're conditioned arisings, and they belong to no one.

The internal monologue in your head isn't you thinking, it's thoughts that are perceived in your body's voice, because you think that they're you, that they represent your self/soul.

Try changing the voice to any other voice, and immediately it's just thought (not self).
Same goes for feelings, for perceptions, for the body, and eventually for all forms of consciousness/awareness itself. It all goes eventually (as being thought of as "self"), seen as belonging to no one and arising/passing due to conditions, causal interactions with the other aggregates internal and external.

There is thinking, no one thinking

There is hearing, no one hearing

There is seeing, no one seeing

In thinking, just thoughts

In hearing, just sounds

In seeing, just forms, shapes and colours.

HT: Punna

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Forest Monks and Dhutanga

Dhutanga (Known in Thai as "tudong") is a group of thirteen austerities, or ascetic practices, most commonly observed by Forest Monastics of the Theravada Tradition of Buddhism.

All Forest Monks will observe at least one of the dhutanga austerities. The dhutanga austerities are meant to deepen the practice of meditation and assist in living the Holy Life. Their aim is to help the practitioner to develop detachment with material things including the body.

The thirteen dhutanga practices

1. paµsukúla (Abandoned Robes) - this is the austerity of using any cloth found on the road as material for making robes.

2. tecívarika (Three Robes) - this is the austerity of only using the three robes of a bhikkhu as garments.

3. pišðapáta (Begged Food) - this is the austerity of eating only what one gains on almsround (pindapata), whether it be a little or a lot or even nothing at all. NB: bhikkhus do not beg per se, since they are not allowed under Monastic rules (Vinaya) to ask/beg for food. He gives an opportunity for laypeople to OFFER food to him for the good of both the Monk, the laity and the sasana. The bhikkhu observing this dhutanga declines invitations to take meals at the houses of Lay people.

4. sapadánacárika (Regular Alms round) - this is the austerity where if a bhikkhu gains tasty food from a particular house on his almsround, then he avoids that house in future

5. ekásanika (One eating) - this is the austerity where the bhikkhu will eat only in one place and not eat a little in one spot and then eat more in another.

6. pattapišðika (Measured food) - this is the austerity of eating only a certain measure of food. The bhikkhu sees fault in indulging his appetite.

7. khalupacchábhattika (no longer accepting any extra food after having started to take the meal) - this is the austerity of no longer accepting any extra food after having started to take the meal

8. áraññika (Dwelling in a peaceful place) - this is the austerity where the bhikkhu does not dwell in a village or noisy temple. This is meant to help with meditation, as it is very hard to meditate in a noisy place.

9. rukkhamúla (Dwelling under a tree) - this is the austerity of not dwelling under a roof.

10. abbhokásika (Dwelling in a dewy place) - this is the austerity of dwelling neither under a roof or a tree, but in the open

11. susánika (Dwelling among the graves) - this is the austerity of living/dwelling in a cemetery. NB cemeteries in Ancient & modern India often have corpses left out in the open or only partially cremated. Also places where ghosts & malevolent spirits were known to inhabit...a frightening place.

12. yathásantatika (Any chanced upon place) - this is the austerity of at the end of a days walking/wandering to sleep wherever the bhikkhu happened to be so long as it was safe.

13. nesajjika (Always sitting and not lying down) - this is the austerity of not sleeping stretched out. Usually the bhikkhu sleeps propped against a wall or even in the meditation posture.

HT: Punna