Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just as birds who've escaped...




Blinded this world —
how few here see clearly!
Just as birds who've escaped
from a net are
few, few
are the people
who make it to heaven.
-Dhammapada

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mindfulness meditation slows progression of HIV



Mindfulness meditation slows progression of HIV, study shows from PhysOrg.com

CD4+ T lymphocytes, or simply CD4 T cells, are the "brains" of the immune system, coordinating its activity when the body comes under attack. They are also the cells that are attacked by HIV, the devastating virus that causes AIDS and has infected roughly 40 million people worldwide. The virus slowly eats away at CD4 T cells, weakening the immune system.

But the immune systems of HIV/AIDS patients face another enemy as well — stress, which can accelerate CD4 T cell declines. Now, researchers at UCLA report that the practice of mindfulness meditation stopped the decline of CD4 T cells in HIV-positive patients suffering from stress, slowing the progression of the disease. The study was just released in the online edition of the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.


Friday, July 25, 2008

"How to restraint your senses..."



How to restraint your senses:

"Just as if a person, catching six animals of different ranges, of different habitats, were to bind them with a strong rope. Catching a snake, he would bind it with a strong rope. Catching a crocodile... a bird... a dog... a hyena... a monkey, he would bind it with a strong rope. Binding them all with a strong rope, and tying a knot in the middle, he would set chase to them.

"Then those six animals, of different ranges, of different habitats, would each pull toward its own range & habitat. The snake would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the anthill.' The crocodile would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the water.' The bird would pull, thinking, 'I'll fly up into the air.' The dog would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the village.' The hyena would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the charnel ground.' The monkey would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the forest.' And when these six animals became internally exhausted, they would submit, they would surrender, they would come under the sway of whichever among them was the strongest. In the same way, when a monk whose mindfulness immersed in the body is undeveloped & unpursued, the eye pulls toward pleasing forms, while unpleasing forms are repellent. The ear pulls toward pleasing sounds... The nose pulls toward pleasing aromas... The tongue pulls toward pleasing flavors... The body pulls toward pleasing tactile sensations... The intellect pulls toward pleasing ideas, while unpleasing ideas are repellent. This, monks, is lack of restraint.

"Just as if a person, catching six animals of different ranges, of different habitats, were to bind them with a strong rope. Catching a snake, he would bind it with a strong rope. Catching a crocodile... a bird... a dog... a hyena... a monkey, he would bind it with a strong rope. Binding them all with a strong rope, he would tether them to a strong post or stake.

"Then those six animals, of different ranges, of different habitats, would each pull toward its own range & habitat. The snake would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the anthill.' The crocodile would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the water.' The bird would pull, thinking, 'I'll fly up into the air.' The dog would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the village.' The hyena would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the charnel ground.' The monkey would pull, thinking, 'I'll go into the forest.' And when these six animals became internally exhausted, they would stand, sit, or lie down right there next to the post or stake. In the same way, when a monk whose mindfulness immersed in the body is developed & pursued, the eye does not pull toward pleasing forms, and unpleasing forms are not repellent. The ear does not pull toward pleasing sounds... The nose does not pull toward pleasing aromas... The tongue does not pull toward pleasing flavors... The body does not pull toward pleasing tactile sensations... The intellect does not pull toward pleasing ideas, and unpleasing ideas are not repellent. This, monks, is restraint.

"The 'strong post or stake' is a term for mindfulness immersed in the body.

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will develop mindfulness immersed in the body. We will pursue it, hand it the reins and take it as a basis, give it a grounding. We will steady it, consolidate it, and set about it properly.' That's how you should train yourselves."


Please read the full sutta below:
Chappana Sutta -The Six Animals

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just like a salt crystal...


"Suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into a small amount of water in a cup. What do you think? Would the water in the cup become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"


"Yes, lord. Why is that? There being only a small amount of water in the cup, it would become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink."


"Now suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into the River Ganges. What do you think? Would the water in the River Ganges become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"


"No, lord. Why is that? There being a great mass of water in the River Ganges, it would not become salty because of the salt crystal or unfit to drink."


"In the same way, there is the case where a trifling evil deed done by one individual [the first] takes him to hell; and there is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by the other individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.


'Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual takes him to hell? There is the case where a certain individual is undeveloped in the body, undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind [i.e., painful feelings can invade the mind and stay there], undeveloped in discernment: restricted, small-hearted, dwelling with suffering. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual takes him to hell.


'Now, a trifling evil act done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in the body, developed in virtue, developed in mind [i.e., painful feelings cannot invade the mind and stay there], developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the unlimited. A trifling evil act done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The worst "darkness" of all..."


There is, monks, an inter-cosmic void, an unrestrained darkness, a pitch-black darkness, where even the light of the sun & moon — so mighty, so powerful — doesn't reach."

When this was said, one of the monks said to the Blessed One, "Wow, what a great darkness! What a really great darkness! Is there any darkness greater & more frightening than that?"

"There is, monk, a darkness greater & more frightening than that."

"And which darkness, lord, is greater & more frightening than that?"

"Any priests or contemplatives who do not know, as it actually is present, that 'This is stress'; who do not know, as it actually is present, that 'This is the origination of stress'... 'This is the cessation of stress'... 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress'*: They revel in (thought-) fabrications leading to birth; they revel in fabrications leading to aging; they revel in fabrications leading to death; they revel in fabrications leading to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Reveling in fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, they fabricate fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. Fabricating fabrications leading to birth... aging... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, they drop into the darkness of birth. They drop into the darkness of aging... the darkness of death... darkness of sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. They are not totally released from birth, aging, death, sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. They are not totally released, I tell you, from suffering & stress. -Andhakara Sutta -Darkness


*The Four Noble Truths

(The worst darkness of all...not realizing The Four Noble Truths)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"The wise control themselves"


Irrigators regulate the rivers;
fletchers straighten the arrow shaft;
carpenters shape the wood;
the wise control* themselves
- Dhammapada


*Control: Three ways of good conduct, Mind, body and speech

Friday, July 11, 2008

How to Deal With Anger Skillfully (Part 1)


This is a preview of the talk "How to deal with anger skillfully" given in Toronto by Ajahn Brahm in June 2008. The full talk will be available shortly at the BSWA website (www.bswa.org)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just like a log...



"Monks, do you see that large log being carried along by the current of the river Ganges?"


"Yes, lord."


"Monks, if that log doesn't veer toward the near shore, doesn't veer toward the far shore, doesn't sink in the middle, doesn't get washed up on high ground, doesn't get snared by human beings, doesn't get snared by non-human beings, doesn't get snared in a whirlpool, and doesn't become rotten inside, it will tend to the ocean, tilt to the ocean, incline to the ocean. Why is that? Because the current of the river Ganges tends to the ocean, tilts to the ocean, inclines to the ocean.


"In the same way, monks, if you don't veer toward the near shore, don't veer toward the far shore, don't sink in the middle, don't get washed up on high ground, don't get snared by human beings, don't get snared by non-human beings, don't get snared in a whirlpool, and don't become rotten inside, you will tend to Unbinding, tilt to Unbinding, incline to Unbinding. Why is that? Because right view tends to Unbinding, tilts to Unbinding, inclines to Unbinding."


When this was said, a certain monk addressed the Blessed One: "What, lord, is the near shore? What is the far shore? What is sinking in the middle? What is being washed up on high ground? What is being snared by human beings? What is being snared by non-human beings? What is being snared by a whirlpool? What is becoming rotten inside?"


"'The near shore,' monks, stands for the six internal sense media. 'The far shore' stands for the six external sense media. 'Sinking in the middle' stands for passion & delight. 'Being washed up on high ground' stands for the conceit, 'I am.'


"And what, monks, is being snared by human beings? There is the case where a monk lives entangled with householders, delighting with them and sorrowing with them, happy when they are happy, pained when they are in pain, taking on their affairs as his own duty. This is called being snared by human beings.


"And what, monks, is being snared by non-human beings? There is the case where a certain monk lives the holy life in hopes of a certain company of devas, [thinking,] 'By means of this virtue or practice or austerity or holy life I will become one sort of deva or another.' This is called being snared by non-human beings.


"'Being snared by a whirlpool' stands for the five strings of sensuality.


" And what, monks, is becoming rotten inside? There is the case where a certain monk is unprincipled, evil, unclean and suspect in his undertakings, hidden in his actions, not a contemplative though claiming to be one, not leading the holy life though claiming to do so, inwardly rotten, oozing with desire, filthy by nature. This is called becoming rotten inside."