Car-ma

OK, this is a car commercial, but I love this:

(Found at Awakening the Buddha in us – thanks!)

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Interesting Words

I really like this:

Buddhism is not a religion or philosophy; it is not a psychology or a science. It is example. It is a method of liberation.
— Jusan Frankie Parker

Sitting

So, my meditation practice has been skittering all over the place lately.

It’s not that I’m not sitting – I am. My lovely husband pointed out to me that if I was going to become Buddhist and live a Buddhist life I had absolutely no excuse for not establishing a meditation practice. Since that day I’ve made a point to try and sit everyday. I missed one day – and then decided I liked life better with a little bit of daily “sitting.”

I’ve meditated off and on for many years of my life. Never with any formal education, mind you. The closest I came to that is the guided meditation at the end of my yoga classes, and that’s simply not the same thing as a thoughtful, mindful, Buddhist practice.

I’ve been muddling through it on my own, with a small amount of good affect. For instance, this morning I had my blood pressure checked (while I was having blood drawn) and, for what it’s worth, my reading was 98/60. Surprised the tech, as I have a rather girlish figure, in the words of a sweet acquaintance of mine.

As I’ve no sangha, no teacher, and no local examples, I’ve been relying on what I can glean from reading and listening to others from a distance (Thank goodness for the internet!). Right now I’m working on a simple approach, mostly focusing on breath meditation. Seems like a good place to start, and I’ve learned a lot.

Recently, though, my mind has been everywhere, and it is very difficult to be focused even on my breath. Occasionally my entire practice consists of naming my distraction and moving back to my breath. Obviously I’ve got a lot of work to do. In the meantime I must always strive to be gentle with myself.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says that “Mindfulness practice is simple and completely feasible. Just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.” I consider this both a part of breathing meditation, and an integral part of daily life. (The latter a constant struggle, but a good one. ^_^) I understand, though, that this is not all there is to meditation, that beyond deepening my practice of samatha I must grow to understand and successfully practice vipassana.

I could wish for an easier journey on the Path, but wouldn’t want one. Finding joy and practicing mindfulness in my current life is a delightful challenge.

Samadhi

Following up on what I wrote earlier, Thich Nhat Hanh wrote the following:

To practice samadhi is to live deeply each moment that is given us to live. Samadhi means concentration. In order to be concentrated, we should be mindful, fully present and aware of what is going on. Mindfulness brings about concentration. When you are deeply concentrated, you are absorbed in the moment. You become the moment. That is why samadhi is sometimes translated as “absorption.” Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration lift us above the realms of sensual pleasures and craving, and we find ourselves lighter and happier. Our world is no longer gross and heavy, the realm of desires (karma dhatu). It is the realm of fine materiality, the realm of form (rupa dhatu). — The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 107