Thought of the Day: November 1, 2017

Being independent is very much a element of our Western culture. The
problem with this attitude is that as human beings who are part of a
society living together we are dependent upon one another. Any effort to
be independent will ignore the basic fact that we depend on each other.
Just as others depend on me, I depend on them.

One of the reasons we may have more stress in our society than we
would like, might be that we try so hard to be independent, in a social
structure where independence is not socially viable. Everything we use,
pots, cars, clothes, homes, and so forth, was made available by people
who manufactured them. The food we eat was grown by farmers who
worked to produce crops, and the dairy products by dairymen. The roads
we drive on did not rise from the raw earth, but were laid out by
road-workers. When we go for coffee or eat in a restaurant, people serve
us, and people arrive before opening to assure the premises are clean and
ready.

Our lives are interconnected and appreciating this interconnectedness
and taking time each day to reflect upon it will make us feel more
connected with others and help us to realize how important they are to
us, and us to them. Gradually we will be able to discard the illusion of
independence, and realize the interconnected relationship we have with
others, and bring ourselves more in tune with the way things are, and
happier.

     * * *

Being independent is very much a element of our Western culture. The
problem with this attitude is that as human beings who are part of a
society living together we are dependent upon one another. Any effort to
be independent will ignore the basic fact that we depend on each other.
Just as others depend on me, I depend on them.

One of the reasons we may have more stress in our society than we
would like, might be that we try so hard to be independent, in a social
structure where independence is not socially viable. Everything we use,
pots, cars, clothes, homes, and so forth, was made available by people
who manufactured them. The food we eat was grown by farmers who
worked to produce crops, and the dairy products by dairymen. The roads
we drive on did not rise from the raw earth, but were laid out by
road-workers. When we go for coffee or eat in a restaurant, people serve
us, and people arrive before opening to assure the premises are clean and
ready.

Our lives are interconnected and appreciating this interconnectedness and
taking time each day to reflect upon it will make us feel more connected
with others and help us to realize how important they are to us, and us to
them. Gradually we will be able to discard the illusion of independence,
and realize the interconnected relationship we have with others, and bring
ourselves more in tune with the way things are, and happier.

                        * * *

Being a friendly, kind, and warm-hearted person is certainly something
few of us would deny we would like to be. A friendly person naturally
attracts friends and is happy; this is true even amongst dogs. A friendly
dog generally hangs out in a pack of other dogs and plays together with
them.

But, although all the above is true, we cannot simply paint a smile on our
face and say hello to everyone and expect the results to follow. If we are
contrived and not sincere in our warmth with others, our efforts may
repel rather than attract others. We cannot pretend.

To be genuine and come from heart-felt-feelings of warmth for others,
we must understand and see that they really are important to us. We do
enjoy smiles, a warm “hello,” a kind inquiry, a thoughtful observation of
our dress, and various expression of appreciation. We liked to be
acknowledged. This is natural for all of us. But, all expression must be
genuine and uncontrived.

We must see people as important and worthy of our appreciation and
this is not achieved by putting on a kindness or friendly mask, but
through bringing our awareness to a level where we see that people are
the most precious aspect of our lives. Without others our lives would no
doubt lose all meaning. We are social beings and our interactions with
others is how we grow and thrive, love, and give expression to ourselves.
Can you imagine living alone in a world of robots?

Contemplating the qualities of others, reflecting on their struggles,
thinking about the fact that they are seeking happiness, just as we are,
and so forth, in a manner of reflective meditation, daily, will instill a
sincerity in our regard for them that is not achieved otherwise. We cannot
expect the quality of sincerity and a genuine concern for others’ wefare to
arise by itself. Good qualities are cultivated with a sincere application of
effort.
           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 3, 2017

Meditation is not something we do by itself, at least we shouldn't,
because it was never meant to be practiced in isolation from study,
reflection, and attending lectures. Actually, the meditative lifestyle is a
multi-pronged approach that work together to make all the aspects of the
spiritual practice stronger.
                * * *
Thought of the Day: November 4, 2017
The fact that “misery loves company” may be true, but it is also a very
dangerous viewpoint to have. If we have faults, and we all do, we need
to cultivate a healthy awareness of them, a balance between undue
punishment of ourselves, and forgiving ourselves without resolving
anything.

All the various forms of afflictions are dissolved through understanding.
Keeping good company helps us develop our understanding and keeping
bad company is just a way of giving up on ourselves. A good friend is
one who can make us aware of our faults in a healthy way that has a
positive element. By positive element,” I mean an element of
encouragement that we can overcome our obstacles, a kind of
commitment to ourselves.

Friendship is important in our lives, but it is essential to choose friends
that encourage us to courageously face our challenges. We do not need
sympathetic friends that try and sooth us into oblivion. If we are
struggling, we need to be around good and intelligent people who can
motivate and encourage us, who understand our struggles, and can help
us work through them.
                        * * *
Thought of the Day: November 5, 2017
Whether we are new to meditation, or an old hand, the thought, “How
can I attain exalted states of mind,” is not a helpful form of inquiry. A far
more likely inquiry leading to actually attaining exalted states of mind
would be: “how can I be a more warm-hearted person, with a true and
sincere concern for the welfare of others?”

Sometimes the imagery of sacred texts with all of its deities and visually
stunning landscapes, jewel adorned flowers and birds of every color
imaginable, waterfalls, and gushing springs, clouds clinging to steep
mountain cliffs, and turquoise skies, we can tend to think that realization
is otherworldly, or not our worldly. But, the magical imagery of the sutra
texts is only to inspirie us to practice and enter the path, it is not
suggesting we look to attain experiences that are not of this world.

Once we have entered the path, we should examine the world right
beneath our nose, for it is this everyday world that we transform into
heaven. All of us have qualities that are good that we can make better,
and negative qualities that we can reduce and abandon. It is within the
paradigm of our ordinary existence that we find true happiness and
peace. A realized person will find heaven wherever he goes, because his
mind is at peace he sees the ordinary world as paradise.

The palaces and jewel studded roads, heavenly birds, and gods and
goddesses, are all challenging us to find the extraordinary in our own
circumstances. No matter how humble our home may be, we can view it
as a palace, and the people in our lives can become our gods and
goddesses. It is only a matter of viewpoint. Through correct meditation
our ordinary world is transformed into a heavenly realm. Selfish thoughts
are transformed into thoughtfulness towards others, anger and hate into
understanding, and carelessness into carelessness. Nothing has to change
externally, only our attitude must change.

                        * * *
Thought of the Day: November 6, 2017

Consistency is one of the most valuable qualities we can have as a
support for meditation, study, and refection, the three most important
aspects of the spiritual path. Conversely, fickleness, is one of the biggest
faults.

If we find being consistent difficult, it could be because we try to do too
much. Our practice of each of the three aspects of the path, meditation
and so forth, should be within our capabilities with respect to the  time
allotted and the level of practice. We should feel comfortable or we will
be sporadic.

If we practice the three aspects well within our level and time allotted,
being consistent will not be difficult, and we will enjoy the time we
spend. Little by little afflictions and obstacles will fall away because of
our consistent efforts.

                             * * *
Thought of the Day: November 7, 2017

Faith is a precious aspect of the path of spirituality without which we
may become discouraged and either quit the path, or practice only
sporadically and in a whimsical way. Faith is cultivated through the study
of the lives of the masters, and visiting good teachers and attending
lectures, initiations, and religious ceremonies.

Often meditation is not balanced out with enough study and ritual, both
of which strengthen faith. Attending ceremonies at a local temple or
dharma center and joining in prayer ceremonies is very positive activity
and generates faith. If in addition, we make offerings to support the
temple or center, this is also very positive and generates faith.

Without faith it is easy to become discouraged. The practice of
meditation brings to the surface many obstacles and clearing them away
can take months or years, and having strong faith during this period will
assure we don’t become discouraged and give up or only practice
sporadically. We will be able to endure for the long haul with strong
faith, and be confident and happy. Therefore, we should cultivate the
quality of faith.

                       * * *
Thought of the Day: November 8, 2017

It is true that language cannot describe enlightenment, but to use this as
an excuse to abandon study is like not indicating something by pointing
to it because the finger cannot touch it. Language may not be able to
describe enlightenment, but it can indicate the way to realize it. What
better tool do we have? Study is every bit as important as meditation,
and its primary support, and therefore must not be neglected.

                    * * *
Thought of the Day: November 9, 2017

Being able to adapt to change is an indispensable quality if we wish to
practice the spiritual path. Whether we are beginning or have been on the
road to enlightenment a long time, our ability to accord with conditions
will play a big part on how well we travel.

Change is a key element of the spiritual journey. As our understanding
grows, we will find that certain habits and ways of doing things are
obstacles to the path. If we are beginning our journey, the obstacles may
be coarse, such as a drinking habit, drugs, licentious behavior, a
penchant for entertainment, and so forth. For those advanced on the
path, the yogi in a cave, he may come to the point where he feels his
attachment is to the cave itself, and that it is time for him to enter the
“mundane” world and teach, for example.

The ability to put down attachments for the sake of the journey requires
strength, courage, and insight to do so. Attachments anchor us and make
forward progress difficult. We can try to ignore them, but the result will
only be a contrived effort. Shutting them out of our mind while we
meditate, receive teachings or initiations, or study, only to engage with
them later, will divide our lives into a spiritual half and a worldly half,
and this will lead to tension and stress.

Our lives must have one flavor.Our active life must be a support and not
a distraction from our “spiritual” life, and as the latter evolves, it is often
the case that we will see a need to abandon actions that stand in conflict
with meditation, and so forth. A willingness to make sacrifices and adapt
to change for the sake of the journey will assure we travel well.


                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 10, 2017

Prayer may seem very un-Buddhist, for Buddhism, having no creator,
would lack a God or deity to pray to, right? Well, it may seem that way,
but in fact prayer plays a vital role in Buddhist spiritual practice.

Prayer is not necessarily aimed at receiving answers; it is more about
asking the right questions. When we pray we define our obstacles more
clearly and this enables us to better work our way through them.
Obstruction, afflictions, and hindrances can be like ghosts in a closet
that we don’t see clearly, and delineating them through words and
language enables us to understand them better.

Even though Buddhism may not have a God to answer all our
questions, praying to the Buddha helps us to clarify our obstacles in our
own mind, and thereby work out our own issues and resolve them.
Prayer is one of the most therapeutic tools and as Buddhist we should
not ignore its value.
                  * * *
Thought of the Day: November 11, 2017

The importance of having a good teacher cannot be overestimated. We
may think that we can meditate and study, and engage in rituals on our
own, but if we do we will do so in a very limited dimension. A teacher
will broaden the scope of our practice and bring it up to a much higher
level than we could on our own.

Being under a teacher’s guidance does not mean we have to live with
him or her, but we must establish a relationship so that the teacher
knows who we are and can guide us in accordance with our capacities.
A teacher will make sure we are making best use of our time.

Finding an accomplished teacher is not an easy task, but it is far easier
now than a couple of decades ago. Many reputable teachers travel the
globe giving initiations and instructions, and if we keep our eyes and
ears open we will be aware when a teacher is in our area.

After attending a few teachings, we should decide whether or not the
teacher is authentic and if so take an opportunity to meet with him after
his lecture or initiation. We should make offerings and request personal
instructions. Later, we may make a formal request to become a disciple.

A teacher not only introduces us to higher practices that explore our
capabilities, but he also supports us through tough times. It may take
some time before we can find a suitable teacher, but it is essential to
                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 12, 2017

Without nourishment we cannot survive, yet it is eating that is the
source of much of our disease and sickness. When we are eating what
we have cravings for, eating becomes a kind of entertainment, and also
a source of poor physical health. Conversely, when we use our intellect
to plan our menu in accordance with rules of good nutrition, our health
benefits from the food we eat. It seems easy enough to understand, but
in practice craving often defeats intellect and we do not receive the
benefits we should from our foods.

As dharma practitioners we face the same problems that ordinary
people face, but unlike ordinary people the consequences of our diet
will play a large part in our spiritual practice. Meditation demands a diet
that supports it. Foods that make us sluggish, cause craving and greed,
make us predisposed to anger and lust, and so forth will negatively
affect our meditation, whereas foods that we feel neutral towards in
terms of craving, increase our energy. Make us feel light and pliant,
make us aware and responsive, and so forth support meditation and
good health.

If we are going to make the sacrifices necessary to practice the spiritual
path, we need all the support we can get, and one of the best supports
is a meditation diet. Our bodies are good indicators. When we eat foods
that make us feel light in body and pliant of mind and body, alert, joyful
and happy, energetic, and so forth, those foods, in a quantity that leaves
us a little hungry at the end of our meal, will no doubt be the ones we
should be eating.

The foods we crave are the ones we have habituated ourselves to and if
they are not bringing the health benefits we wish for we can create new
habits and abandon old ones. We can make a meditation menu if we
want to. It is up to each of us to recognize how to create a diet
condusive to a meditative lifestyle. We owe it to ourselves.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 13, 2017

Words are how we communicate, or miscommunicate, and being
careful using them will make the difference. The late and great linguistic
philosopher, Bimal Motilal, devoted an entire book to demonstrate that
we are “languaging beings” and cannot live without language. Yet it is
an aspect of our being we often fail to fully utilize or appreciate.

A wise person is not known by how much he talks, but how much he
means, and paradoxically, he has the ability to say what he means with
very few words. While we may not be wise people, all of us can
probably talk less and conserve a lot of energy in the process, so that
when we do say something it is meaningful.

Guarding our thought is one of the principle disciplines of our world
religions, and guarded thought leads to careful speech, which will
enable us to have greater precision in our use of words. The ability to
us language to reason, analyze, and express ourselves is a precious gift,
to frugally and wisely used.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 14, 2017

If we find our mind repeatedly wandering during meditation, and our
meditation for the moment, and inquire into the distraction itself. This
inquiry should be a sustained and well-reasoned and logical questioning
asking oneself to whom the distractions arise, what might be their
causes, are they repeated occurrences similar to past distractions, and
making an effort to sustain a sensible inner dialogue with our
distractions as the subject.

Language is a wonderful tool, perhaps our only tool, to reason about
and disentangle ourselves from confused views that are the root of
distraction. Reasoning and analyses should not be a stranger to our
mantra recitation, visualization and so forth. When our meditation is
repeatedly broken, it is best to take a detour and use reasoning and
analyses to investigate why distraction is overwhelming us.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 15, 2017

Meditators can sometimes be a very inactive lot, and the lack of exercise
amongst this group is the cause of not only physical problems, but a
failure to meditate properly, as well. Exercise produces a general sense
of well-being and happiness, a lightheartedness so conducive to
meditation. In monasteries monks and nuns walk or run between sits,
at least 10-20 minutes between each meditation sitting period. In
addition, they may engage in yoga, tai chi, and other exercises in their
spare time. If we meditate, we must keep ourselves fit physically for the
task.
                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 16, 2017

The Buddha’s caution against desire for recognition is often translated
as a desire for “fame.” The latter translation would not seem to apply
to most of us, but the former, the desire for recognition, most of us
would likely agree we seek, although we may not like to admit it.

As being social human beings, it is very natural to seek
acknowledgement and recognition for our deeds. A pat on the back is
always appreciated. But, although it is natural to enjoy recognition, it
interferes with our motivation. Our motivation’s purity is diluted by the
amount of recognition we seek. Whether we seek it actively or passively
revel in it, our motivation is watered down by the amount of joy we
find in our work being appreciated.

The real pleasure lies in the act itself; the giving of our time or
resources to others is its own reward and the thank you(s,) and so forth
that come our way should be only incidental. We should regard helping
others as serving the dharma, and not the individuals we benefit. Our
capacity to give is dependent upon our ability to detach ourselves from
all thought of whom we benefit, and instead focus on the joy of giving
itself, and the good fortune we have to be in a position where we can
help others.
                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 17, 2017

One of the joys of giving is not wanting so much for oneself. Many of
us try to be content with what we have, but we fall victim to the
endless offerings that come to market. If we feel we must purchase
something even when we know we don’t need it, a solution might be
purchasing the item as a gift for a family member, a friend, or a charity,
and so forth. Try it. It works.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 18, 2017

Fearing to make a mistake is itself probably the biggest mistake we can
make. Life is an adventure and mistakes are part of the journey. If we
are always doubting ourselves, we will not enjoy the journey.

Some of us are naturally shy and less outgoing than others; if this is our
nature OK, but when our shyness and reserve cause us to fear being
ourselves and risk a mistake, then we have to confront our reluctance
to act when we have the impulse to.

Mistakes are often our best teachers; as the saying goes, “trial and
error,” which is part of the growing process. If we are to meet our
potential, mistakes are inevitable.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 19, 2017

When we study Buddhist philosophy there are a couple of things we
can do to assure we understand the points being made. Writing down
our thoughts often reveals that those images of understanding we muse
upon are not so clear as we had imagined. We can also talk about the
points with a like minded friend. And we can read aloud, for reading
aloud often allows the texts to sink in more. Reading the same material
again and again, penetrating a little deeper each time, is also an aid.

There is a significant difference between practical knowledge and
theoretical knowledge, and unless we want to become a scholar, it is
probably the case that we want study to directly affect our lives. This is
certainly the case for monastics, and many laypeople, as well. If we are
laypeople, we can develop good study habits by copying the good
habits of monastics.

Monastics study a single text or two exclusively for several years before
moving on. Often, they recite while strolling about in temple gardens
or rooftops (India and Nepal) reading a bit, and pausing to absorb and
reflect upon what they read. If they are seated, they may recite aloud to
ward off dullness creeping in.

Monastics also copy out texts they read. This may not be suitable with
the busy schedule of a person outside a monastery, but we can copy
out sections we are grappling with. As we write the meaning may come
to mind.

As much time or more should be spent reflecting on what we have
read. This is done in two ways. One, we set aside a period of time for
just reflecting on the points of the texts we have read, sort of like a
meditation session, but an analytical one. The other is to pause
frequently to reflect as we read, like moving up the rungs of a ladder,
going higher as each understanding permits.

It is tempting to tire of one text and move to the next, and so on,
never penetrating one. Instead, take care selecting a text, preferably a
sutra spoken by the Buddha, and make it a project to understand it.
Devoting oneself to a text evokes a kind of intimacy with it that no
amount of study can replace. Monks sometimes devote a lifetime to a
single text, and entire Buddhist sects have evolved on a single text, the
Lotus Flower School, and the Pure Land School, come to mind.

We should all study, and we should take care to do it in a manner that
affords true benefit in the here and now. If we follow some of the
guidelines above, we will surly enjoy our time with a text.

                           *
Thought of the Day: November 20 2017

Anything we do regarding dharma practice should be free of extremes,
and this is particularly true when it comes to undertaking vows and
precepts. If we know that we are stepping in over our head, it is better
that we learn to swim first. While keeping moral and ethical precepts is
essential for foundation building, if we feel unsure of ourselves, it is
best to take a cautious and careful approach, and only make
commitments we feel comfortable with.

Precepts against sexual misconduct, taking intoxicants, killing (eating
meat is sometimes included here) stealing, and lying, are the five
foundational precepts that both monks, nuns, and lay people take
when they make a commitment to the Buddhist path. These are
suggested, but optional, disciplines that sooner or later we will have to
make. But, we can wait if we feel we are unsure of our ability to keep
them.

Why should I discipline my desires, is a reasonable question for
anyone entering the path to ask, and understanding Buddhist
philosophy and what the obstacles to enlightenment are, will clear our
doubts. For this we need to study, meditate, and reflect. We also
should call on good teachers and associate with those further along the
path than we are. We must build our understanding up to our
ambitions.

                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 21, 2017

One of the best ways I have found to engage in the dharma is to
listen to it. I have developed a method that allows me to listen to the
material I am particularly interested in, and that is to record what I
study. I read aloud the material, and can then play it while driving,
walking, doing yoga, and so forth.

Philosophy, so essential to developing understanding, must be read
and reread, and the same is true with many of the texts of the Buddha’
s word, called sutras. These texts are often recited daily in monastic
rituals, but as lay people we can take a cue from monastics and gear
study habits that work for us. Using recordings, as mentioned above,
is good use of modern technology like Smartphones.

Recording is also an excellent way to learn mantras, especially long
ones that are difficult to remember.

Creating good study habits is as important as creating good meditation
habits and eating habits, and exercise habits; they all go together,
supporting each other.
                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 22, 2017

After initiating an investigation into spirituality and having trekked on
the path for some time, we can become anxious for results, a fault
which if not checked, can lead to undermining our interest in
pursuing our spiritual goals. As Christ said: “Results are mine, thus
sayeth the lord.” The principle applies no matter the tradition we
follow.

Once the initial euphoria of entering the path wears off, months or
years can pass with seemingly little or no progress. Even the most
devoted and disciplined followers can be discouraged by this
phenomenon, and this can in turn lead them to think that they should
do more. But, “doing more” when motivated by getting results, is not
the kind of motivation we want, and we should guard against it.

Whenever we notice impatience for results creeping into our practice,
we should slow down and be grateful we are on the Path and
scrutinize our impatience with ourselves as an unhelpful attitude. We
should appreciate the effort we are making and have faith in the truth
of the Path and be confident that results will come our way when we
are ready.

Working within our limitations as best we can, not being lazy or too
ambitious, but finding a middle way, will assure that we will be on the
Path to completion. A horse’s strength is not known by how fast it
can run, but by how long. So, we must be patient and have a long-
term view.
                                      * * *
Thought of the Day: November 23, 2017

Happy Thanks Giving Everyone!

Today we celebrate to give thanks for the good harvest, but it is made
special, not so much by the food we share as the people we share it.
The people in our lives are our greatest treasure, and today is a
wonderful day to remember that.
                                      
                                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 24, 2017

Shantideva in his Bodhisattvacharyavatara, “A Guide to the
Bodhisattva’s Way of Life,” points out that when someone beats us
with a stick, we don’t get angry with the stick, but rather the person
wielding it. Therefore, if someone gets angry with us and physically
abuses or uses harsh speech towards us, it is not the person who we
should be angry with, because he is being controlled by anger (just as
the stick is controlled by the man), but the anger itself that controls
the man that we should be angry with. If we keep this in mind, we
can avoid using kind for kind.
                                      
                                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 25, 2017

The other day I went to the laundry room on the monastic grounds
where I am staying and when it became time to dry them noticed a
dryer running, which I checked and discovered the clothes in it dry. I
removed them and put my clothes inside. As my clothes were drying a
man came and opened the washer and took his clothes out, and
became furious when he noticed the dryer occupied with my clothes.
I offered to remove my clothes, but he just stormed off.

Anger causes us to be impatient and not analyze situations with a
discriminating and clear mind. I was upset and I am sure he was too,
but there was really no need for it. A dash of patience and he would
have seen the situation as it was and either accepted my offer or
recognized that I didn’t know he had clothes in the washer. Instead he
got angry thinking I deliberately took his right to the washer away.

Patience must be constantly practiced, even when all is well, so that it
is there when we need it to correctly analyze situations that life
inevitably brings our way to test us.

                                      
                                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 26, 2017

There is no greater source of joy than feeling the connectedness we
share with the people of this great planet. If we can feel this, we will
also feel a sense of responsibility towards others, and appreciate how
the influences of others molds our lives, as well.
                                      
                                   * * *
Thought of the Day: November 27, 2017
We instinctively like to escape to the countryside or seaside when we
have a holiday, yet, us city dwellers often go directly home after work,
or to a coffee shop or restaurant, again surrounding ourselves with
beautiful parks that are ideal places to ground ourselves after work,
even if it is only for a half hour.

Our lives of engagement with others at work can cause us to
disengage with ourselves and, although we may not recognize it, we
need time each day to ground ourselves. Absorbing nature with no
agenda but to be alone with our thoughts, to observe ourselves,
physically and emotionally, is a necessary retreat that we should have
each day at least once.

Just as we “check in” with others to see how they are doing, should
we “check in” with ourselves to see how we are doing. A daily
meeting is essential.
                                      
                                           * * *

Lots of small deeds add up. This is especially true with giving.
Sometimes we hold back giving until we have something more
substantial to offer and end up procrastinating endlessly, and in the
end, give nothing, or some paltry thing. No gift or kind word or offer
of help is too small to offer, so give freely as it comes to mind
without worrying how it will be
appreciated.
                                                
                                           * * *
Thought of the Day: November 29, 2017
Where we are weak, others are strong, and where others are strong,
we may be weak. Throughout the day, as we carry on our affairs, we
should pay attention to the cues we get from others. Respecting
others, everyone, is a good practice because they may say something,
or do something, in a way that offers a lesson for us if we are paying
attention. Observing the strong qualities of others will help those
qualities rub off on us. Conversely, if we see faults, we should
consider the fact that we would not notice them in another if we did
not have them ourselves, and we should see in what way we have a
similar fault and take steps to undermine it.
        
                            
                                      
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Thought of the Day: November 30, 2017

When we begin to meditate a lot of stuff we would rather not think
about arises; and thus, the saying: “The Buddha grows a foot, and the
Demon is already ten feet tall.” Meditation naturally increases
awareness and shines the spotlight on all our “issues.” If we are
meditating to get heaven, we will almost certainly have to pass
through hell first.

Being fearless and courageous is an essential element in meditation
practice. As beginners the endless games the mind plays can entangle
and discourage us, but know that it is all part of our growth, and a
sign that our meditation is correct. In fact, a beginner who find
meditation “delightful” is probably not meditating correctly.

Have a sincere heart and be willing to face what may and own up to
shortcomings and faults, accepting the fact that we created through
our prior actions any difficulties we now have will help us move
forward and gain insight and understanding.

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Never allow yourself to fall into the trap of feeling sorry for
someone; it won’t do you or them any good. Instead, when seeing
another in pain, think that what you are seeing is symbiotic of the
pain in the world, and try to feel that deep down in your bones. This
is how to think about pain, to meditate on it, and internalize it until
you catch a glimpse of its universality.

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