dhamma notes

Dhamma Notes, Links and Resources

 

I would also like to talk briefly about my progress in meditation, and also share some notes and ideas. I am still a learner, but I feel that maybe others can learn from my mistakes. Any other ideas are most welcome.

You can skip over anything that dosent hold your interest.


Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2000 10:20 AM
Subject: Any center in Malleswaram?

Namaskaara,

It is extremely noisy at my house, since I live at an intersection, and almost every vehicle which passes it honks, often loudly and shrilly. This noise starts sometimes as early as 5 AM up to as late as 10:30 PM, sometimes people honk even at midnight. Also, it has become a recent fashion for many young people to drive at high speeds on motorcycles without silencers… which makes a very deafening sound. All these years I had been quite oblivious to these noises, and they were just part of the background. In recent years the noise level has increased, and also I have become more sensitive as I am more aware of it. So due to both factors, it has been quite disturbing and sometimes prevents me from meditating consistently esp betw 6 to 7 AM or 10 to 11 PM, the times I find convinient to meditate. But as I progressed, I realised that there was no point in developing an aversion to these noises, and over time, my mind remained calm even inspite of the most loud disturbing sounds. 

Still it would be nice if I could find a quite place atleast once in a way, is there any group meditation center around Malleswaram?

Rgds,
Sanjay


 

Date: Tue Aug 27, 2002 10:10 pm
Subject: My train journey

I have taken the Vipaasana course once so far, in
October last year… and am still a beginner. Though I
have not been able to maintain enough discipline to
meditate every day, I still have been making slow and
steady progress and plan to attend the course again in
October.

It has benefitted me greatly in many ways so far, but
there is one particular experience which I would like
to share with you.

It is about my train journey from Bangalore to
Coimbatore which I travelled overnight standing in the
general class compartment of an extremely crowded
train for 8.5 hours. Having travelled in flights and
AC class trains, this would have been a terrible
ordeal had it been a year ago, but now my perception
was totally different.

I have put up on my home page at this URL:
http://msanjay.htmlplanet.com/m1.html

Rgds,
Sanjay

PS: Earlier I had written that I was getting disturbed
by too much of noise around my home. As I meditated
further, I realised that getting irritated by the
noise was against the very purpose of meditation… I
then started to use the noise as checkpoints, to
ensure that my mind was in the current moment and had
not drifted away… and this approach proved to be
very useful.


 

Date:  Mon Sep 2, 2002  9:16 pm
Subject:  Some thoughts…

Dear All,

I had attempted to read the Bhagawad Gita a few years
ago, but I had not been able to digest it much and had
given it up. After attending the Vipaasana course, I
just by chance started going through The Gita, and I
could find tremendous amount of meaning in it. I could
relate many things that I had learnt from Dhamma with
it. For eg, the Gita says “where there is expectation,
there is dissapointment” and Dhamma teaches us to keep
my mind in the current moment to do the current task
perfectly, and not on the expectation of the
appreciation I might get for doing it!

Almost all spiritual lines of thought ultimately come
down to dissolving one’s ego… which is exactly what
Dhamma teaches us – it is truly like the foundation!

After some practice… there was a certain point in
time when I felt very proud that I had no ego… I
used to look at people around me and think… look at
all these fellows, having so much of anger, sadness,
frustration etc all because of their ego… why cant
they just be cool like me. Over further progress, I
realised that I was actually being egoistic about not
being egoistic… quite a paradox, but once I realised
this, I was able to dissipate this attitude. Now, I
only recognize myself as ‘working on dissolving my
ego’.

I found many useful insights at the site
http://spirituality.indiatimes.com. We need to do some
filtering since there is a huge amount of information
for people with all kinds of beliefs, but I could find
several articles which were in a way related to
Dhamma. (It requires a login account (registration is
free) to view any article).

At first, I felt that I should keep all my thoughts to
myself because nobody might be interested. But once I
started discussing these things with others, I could
learn more from their ideas. Hence I am writing to
this list. I would like to know if you have any other
thoughts to add?

Thanks,
Sanjay

———————————-

Two Ways To Wash Your Dirty Linen

By MARGUERITE THEOPHIL

I had been falling behind my body-work and meditation
practice schedule. I had a pretty valid excuse: Water
shortage. With piped water available for only two
hours each morning, washing clothes was a priority,
leaving little time to attend to other work.

My husband, a regular with his practice, was pleased
when Swami Dharmakeerti visited our city — she would
tell me how important this was to my life, and I would
act on her words. When we met and she asked how our
practice was going, he quickly told her about my
‘washing obsession’. Swamiji smiled and said: “Well,
if she is washing clothes when she is washing clothes,
that is good.”

Noting our puzzlement, she added, to me: “If you are
doing your practice, while all the time your mind is
held by the idea of ‘oh dear, I should be washing
clothes instead’ — the practice is almost useless. And
when you are washing clothes, you do it with attention
and mindfulness, not thinking that you should be
actually doing your meditation or practice — then,
washing clothes itself can be your meditation.”

Thich Nhat Hanh taught the power of mindfulness and
the importance of being present and fully engaged in
each moment and in each act. He told a friend that
there are two ways to wash the dishes: The first is to
wash the dishes in order to clean dishes and the
second is to wash the dishes in order to wash the
dishes.


At the moment, I am making very slow progress. This is mainly because of my lifestyle of laziness and indiscipline, a pattern I am finding hard to break. I am finding it hard to solve this (though of course its reduced to a great extent compared to before)… and
make
some time every day for meditation. The days that I do, it is like what we in computer software terminology call “bootstrapping”. i.e. the day that I meditate, it enables me be more disciplined that day, and I am able to meditate again the next day, and so on. I make good progress for maybe a week. Then somehow the routine breaks, and after the next few days, Im back to square one.

Of course getting dejected by failure would be against the whole point. I feel it will take a while to break the old habit pattern of the mind.

I simply wonder where Im going wrong, is it that my resolve is too weak. I felt the root cause is my laziness, which is due to my attachment to myself.

I watched myself when I come home from work, to see where I go wrong. I found that television is one of the major causes for loss of awareness. Theres always something interesting to watch, some amazing movie which Ive always wanted to watch etc and I get engrossed in it, and then hours together are lost where I sort of “unplug” my mind submitting blindly to whatever is coming on the TV.

I found many similar ways where time gets lost in all kinds of really irrelevant activities.

I realized that I should try to improve incrementally every day.

I came across some nice quotes…
———————————-
“Q: Why am I so inconsistent in my efforts at
self-discovery?

A: For one thing because you merely seek relief from your pain,
rather than total healing. The pain drives you to the doctor, but
when it passes, you carelessly forget that it must attack again.
Consistency comes when you get tired of the pain. When you finally
discover that you are both your own pain and doctor, you can stay
home and heal yourself.”

———————————-
A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner.

“Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time.”

When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, “The one I feed the most”
—————————————–

Also I have had this on my mind for long… to share some ideas I was fortunate enough to hear from some senior meditators [and am most grateful to them]:

“Imagine a bad tempered street dog following you and growling at you on the street. If you run away, it chases you. But if you just stand still and simply be aware of it, it hesitates, and then walks away.

That is the way of awareness.”

[I felt this was an excellent analogy because I had actually been in such a situation once.]

“Man might send a submarine to explore the deepest parts of the Pacific ocean and find a new depth in it. Even that ocean has a finite depth. Whereas the mind… it has no limits to its depth.”
———————–
I came across a quote, which I remember Goenkaji also saying:

“Meditation should never be treated as yet another  habit. Each session should be treated as a new experience.”

————————
I watched the movie the Matrix… it had a lot of excellent ideas in it. The whole idea of the movie was summarized in its first dialog “Wake up”.

The story is about how the whole world is actually a computer software program. Neo, the main character, wants to come out of the program into the real world. He is given a choice, a red pill and a blue pill. If he takes the blue pill, he goes back into the software
simulation program, back to his routine life with his nice apartment and job etc. And if he takes the red pill, he comes out of the program into reality.

If you take the movie to be an analogy to real life, its a choice every person has. Whether he likes to continue to live within the limits of his ego, or whether he wants to transcend it to see reality as it is.

And I have seen that there are many people who would prefer to take the blue pill.

For more info, visit:
http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/rl_cmp/new_phil_experience.html

or

http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/index_phi.html

As for myself, I feel by meditating I have taken the red pill. Though of course it is not as simple as that, because I find that sometimes when I think I am free from one manifestation of my ego, I am only unknowingly engulfed in another 🙂
————————–
I read this book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by
Richard Bach.

http://www.42.dropbear.id.au/jls.html

I felt this is a truly excellent book. I felt there was a lot of relation with the principles behind Dhamma.
————————-

These are the words of the eminent scientist Albert
Einstein. Was amazed to see how closely it relates to
Dhamma!!

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us
“universe,” limited in time and space. He experiences
himself, his thoughts and feelings as something
separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion
of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison,
restricting us to our personal desires and to
affection for a few persons close to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by
widening our circle of compassion to embrace all
humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

———————————————————————-

Working Very Hard – Zen Story

A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am
devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to
master it.” The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.” Impatiently,
the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I
will work very hard. I will practice everyday, ten or more hours a
day if I have to. How long will it take then?” The teacher thought
for a moment, “20 years.”

(in other versions of this story, the student says he is eager to
attain “enlightenment”)

Source (contains a good collection of stories and also reactions to
each story):

http://www.rider.edu/users/suler/zenstory/zenframe.html

 

 


Freedom

“What, then, is happiness? The answer is not complex.
Happiness is simply a state of inner freedom. Freedom
from what? With a bit of self-ins
ight, every
individual can answer that question for himself. It is
freedom from the secret angers and anxieties we tell
no one about. It is freedom from fear of being
unappreciated and ignored, from muddled thinking that
drives us to compulsive actions, and later, to
regrets. It is freedom from painful cravings that
deceive us into thinking that our attainment
of this person or of that circumstance will make
everything right. Happiness is liberty from everything
that makes us unhappy.”


Mindfulness in Plain English
by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana

A beautiful online book…

http://www.vipassana.com/meditation/mindfulness_in_plain_english.php

I felt it was an excellent suplement [not substitute] to a 10 day course. It describes many problems and solutions, application to daily life, and has very helpful tips. As the title suggests, all the ideas are presented in very simple language.

Note: I would strongly suggest that it not be forwarded to a non-Vipassana meditator, since I see two hinderances: it first of all gives meditation a very Buddhist appearance (I feel people have the biggest attachment to their religion and may reject the idea of meditating if they suspect that it has anything to do with conversion to another religion). Another thing is it is a site which tries to sell the technique, and worse still, through online tutorials 🙂


 

Buddhas Teachings

Anattalakkhana Sutta
The Discourse on the Not-self Characteristic
http://www.cains.com/bucha/Anatta.htm

Dhammacakkapavattana Sutta
Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion
http://www.cains.com/bucha/wheelturn.htm

Kalama Sutta
Excellent guide for resolving confusion
http://www.cains.com/bucha/kalama.html


“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with
the intent of throwing it at someone else — You are
the one who gets burned.” ~ Buddha


 

The Basket of Abhidhamma

Havent read this yet, just posting it here for the record…

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/abhidhamma/index.html


 

Vipassana Meditation Website

This is the international home page of the organizations which offer courses in Vipassana Meditation in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin as taught by S.N. Goenka and his assistant teachers.
http://www.dhamma.org



Yoga without tree hugging – Paul Bancroft

Excellent very small book on Yoga… brilliant and very humourous. Explains the relationship to Zen (a form of Dhamma meditation). It dosent really teach yoga (best learnt from an instructor), but explains it. Of course there are 1000s of books on Yoga, but this book explains theres more to Yoga than just managing to get into confusingly convoluted postures.
http://www.zenyoga.co.uk/book



Zen Stories

Collection of simple short stories with a lot of meaning.

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7948/Zen.html

http://www.rider.edu/users/suler/zenstory/zenstory.html

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