Thought for the Day: July 1, 2017


Our laziness regarding taking up a meditation practice can be concealed
in many ways, a false pretense of humbleness, unworthiness, being
incapable, fear, and so forth. Meditation is an exercise that reveals the
nature of our own mind, but ironically when we set out to begin a
meditation practice a thousand excuses arise why we can’t. We may feel
that meditation is unsuitable for our disposition, or even that our
disposition is unsuitable for meditation. Or, we may Fein humility and
claim we are unworthy of entering the spiritual path. Or, we might be
fearful of the path which will force us to uncover whatever we may be
concealing from ourselves or others. We may not like the honesty of
meditation, and the fact that it is a no-hold-barred confrontation with all
our hang-ups and obstacles. We may belittle ourselves, willfully placing
meditation out of our reach. We may claim that meditation would clash
with our lifestyle. Or, after trying but a few times claim we are incapable,
no matter how hard we try. When it comes to reasons why not to
meditate our creativity knows no end.

The fact of the matter however is that if we are to take seriously the
Buddha’s teaching, we all have the Buddha nature, and it can be
unearthed in each and every one of us through meditation and a
supportive lifestyle. No excuse is a good one that could exempt us from
meditation. There are important responsibilities we have in life, such as
maintain good health, looking after our parents, children, and spouse,
right livelihood, respecting others and living respectfully, and so forth. It
is also our responsibility to know who we are beneath the service of the
obvious. It is our obligation to deepen our understanding.
Cleverly using excuses not to begin a modest meditation practice only
deprives ourselves of a source of fulfilment. Unknowingly we give up on
ourselves when we say no to spiritual inquiry. It is irresponsible for us to
be lazy in regard to exploring avenues to self-knowledge. The path of
meditation is a gift offered to us by worthy ones who have discovered the
truth and we honor them and ourselves by entering the path.


               * * *

Thought of the Day: July 2, 2017

Before entering Buddhism or any dharma path, it is a good idea to bring
ourselves up to our own standards by exercising our common sense.
Much of the guidance we may seek from religion has been calling out to
us all along, but largely ignored. We constantly make mistakes because of
a failure to listen to ourselves. If we cannot listen to ourselves, how will
we ever listen to the Buddha?

               * * *
Thought for the Day: July 3, 2017

In our penchant to stay in touch with others, we often get out of touch
thoughts and just relax. We all need this down time to collect ourselves.
Communication is very easy now, and with ease of use, comes ease of
abuse.
               * * *
Thought for the Day: July 4, 2017

food!

Today we in America are celebrating our independence from colonial
rule. One day, if we practice and study the dharma well, we can liberate
ourselves from craving, desire, and attachment, and know real freedom.

Many people have recognized the happiness of inner freedom, but
unfortunately, many consider freedom the ability to satisfy their cravings.
This is a conventional model that we are all familiar with and what makes
the world go around. If we have all that we need, house, car, family, and
so forth, we feel our purpose is fulfilled and we are happy. Those who do
not have life’s perceived needs, strive to get them, and are unhappy untill
they do. Others, who have received good religious instructions, see a
deeper purpose in life, and for them material things, whether they have
them or not, are irrelevant. These people are independent thinkers
because they are not swayed by their desires, but use wisdom and
analyses instead.

The dharma that the Buddha and other pioneers have taught offers all of
us a path towards independence, but it is up to each one of us to inquire
into the entailments involved in following such a path. Desires are like
dictators and are not easily kicked out of office, but through study and
meditation we can stage a coup and get the job done. Then we will have
a real Independence Day to celebrate.

               * * *
Thought for the Day: July 5, 2017

In ancient India there was a saying, “Farmer is God,” and the farmer was
well respected in their communities. In modern India, farmers are
regarded as low caste and treated as such. People are not appreciative of
the vital role they play to support the community.
our food supply is seldom given thought to, nor those involved in its
production. We tend to eat our food without a thought into the labor that
produced it and those who labored. We do not have an attitude good or
bad about the farmer because we have no attitude at all about him. We
just eat.

Unfortunately, taking our food without due consideration to the course
of its production and those involved, creates a disconnect between us and
the earth that sustains us. This disconnect between one of three essential
elements that sustain life, (the others are water and breath) our food, is
one of the reasons that we are, as a culture, ungrounded, unstable, and
stressed.

Whenever we eat, if we are without company, we can derive benefit from
five simple contemplations the Buddha advised: 1: Consider the work
that was necessary to provide the food. 2) Consider whether or not our
practice deserves it. 3) Guard our mind against greed. 4) Contemplate the
Thought for the Day: July 6, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 7, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 8, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 9, 2017

Sometimes it can happen that we focus too much on eliminating our
faults, and forget the fact that the path also advises increasing all good
qualities. Practicing the dharma can weary us if we only think about
working on our faults.

It is true faults must be eliminated, but we have good qualities, too, and
these must be increased and caused to flourish. Our overall attitude
towards walking the path of enlightenment should be positive and
balanced. If we keep this in mind, we will have the energy we need to go
the distance.

               * * *
Thought for the Day: July 10, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 12, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 14, 2017

If we cannot engage in good actions without at the same time creating
animosity towards those who don’t follow our way, most of the merit we
would gain will never fructify. A classic example can be seen in
vegetarians who are dismissive, if not outright obnoxious, to those who
are not vegetarians. They think they are privileged in some way that non-
vegetarians are not, and their attitude only shows it. Another example can
misconduct, which they become very self-righteous about, and criticize
those who practice Tantra, and even married couples.

Whatever we wish to engage in as a spiritual discipline should be a
private matter and we must be on guard that we don’t set ourselves apart
from others that may see things in another unique way. Many of us need
restraint in certain areas that others don’t and visa-versa and it is a waste
of our energy to even think about what others are doing. We should
never compare ourselves with others as we all have individual influences
that we are dealing with and our paths will reflect that.

                         * * *
Thought for the Day: July 15, 2017

A well-planned day, with just enough to do to be productive, and not too
much to do that we become stressed, will assure that we are good
company, respectful with others, free of irritable, harsh speech,
courteous, cheerful, and so forth. We are not ourselves when we pile too
much on our plate and become stressed. Stress is the cause of rude
behavior, impatience, and not enjoying what we are doing.


                                   * * *

Thought for the Day:
July 16, 2017

Just rest in their absence. If big, well-defined thoughts suddenly appear
during your meditation, it is easy to recognize them. But when slight,
subtle movements occur, it is hard to realize that they are there until
much later. This is what we call namtok wogyu, the undercurrent of
mental wandering. This is the thief of your meditation, so it is important
for you to keep a close watch.

Rinpoche, Dudjom. Counsels from My Heart  Shambhala
Publications.

                                    * * *
Thought for the Day: July 17, 2017

Most of us are familiar with two kinds of guards, one, the guards that
stand at the door of a bank or department store that has closed and keeps
people out, and, two, the kind of guard that stands around inside and
keeps an eye on people who enter, wander around, and leave. There are,
similarly, two kinds of meditators, one, the kind that uses his meditation
as if it were a guard to keep thought out of the mind, and two, the
person who uses meditation to watch thoughts as they enter and move
about inside and finally leave. The correct meditator is the second one.

Meditation should be fluid and dynamic. If we use meditation to keep
thoughts out, it will also keep thought in. Obstructing and disturbing
thoughts will not be able to leave. We will have created a prison for
ourselves. Meditation is not a prison so we should be careful not to make
it one.
                                  * * *

Thought for the Day: July 19, 2017

As for yourself, be constant amid the ebb and flow of happiness and
suffering. Be friendly and even with others. Unguarded, intemperate
chatter will put you in their power; excessive silence may leave them
unclear as to what you mean. Keep a middle course: don’t swagger with
self-confidence, but don’t be a doormat either. Don’t run after gossip
without examining the truth of it. People who know how to keep their
mouths shut are rare. So don’t chatter about your wishes and intentions—
keep them to yourself. And whether you are speaking to an enemy, an
acquaintance, or a friend, never break a confidence.

Rinpoche, Dudjom. Counsels from My Heart,  Shambhala Publications.

                                      * * *
Always work hard enough to create a cushion for failure wherein if
success is not forthcoming you can look back and say I have tried my
best. If you can say this, you will be far less likely to be blaming yourself
for failure, and nagged by the thought you should have tried harder.
Thought for the Day: July 22, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 23, 2017
Thought for the Day: July 24, 2017

Trying to quiet the mind is like kicking a barking dog, it will only
aggravate the situation. When you try to quiet an agitated mind, you only
add to its agitation. The solution is not to focus on the agitation, but the
playground of mind where it is taking place. If the mind is made spacious
and vast, the agitation will get lost in that spaciousness. It is not
necessarily the case that the agitation is gone, but it now will occupy a
very insignificant area of our mind, so insignificant that it will become
unnoticeable.

Meditation is often misunderstood, especially when it comes to dealing
with disturbing, unruly, or negative thoughts. Typically, we try to get rid
of them or calm them, or suppress them, but these ways are wrong, and
won’t work. It is our own consciousness, our awareness, that must be
expanded and made as vast as the sky. When our mind is cramped, even
small obstacles seem very big, but when the mind is vast, even big
obstacles get lost.

A busy aggravated mind is also benefited by having the eyes wide-open
and focused on a single point. If this is uncomfortable, we should not be
discouraged, with practice it won’t be. Those who prefer closed eyes, can
mix the two, alternating between sessions. Also, we should not be
A meditation diet should create a lightness of body and mind. Foods that