Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Energy is a Way to Suprahuman Force!

The Blessed Buddha once said:

When a Bhikkhu develops the Ways to Force that is enriched with
concentrated Energy, constructed by effort, by thinking:
In this way will my Energy, neither be too slack nor too tense, it will
neither be constricted internally, nor scattered externally, then he
dwells experiencing both what is in front & what is behind, so above,
so also below, so by day, so also at night! Therefore, with a mind all
open & unrestricted, he develops the dazzling bright mind, which is
pervaded by luminosity... However:
What is Energy that is too slack? Energy joined with indifference. This is Energy, that is too slack...
What is Energy that is too tense? It is restless & agitated Energy. That is Energy, that is too tense...
What is Energy that is constricted internally?
It is Energy joined with lethargy & laziness. Inwardly choked!
What is Energy that is scattered externally? Energy directed & diverted externally for the 5 sense pleasures...
This is called Energy that is scattered & distracted externally...
How does one dwell experiencing both the front & what is behind?
The perception of front, & back, is well attended to, & thereby well
comprehended, well considered, & penetrated by understanding...
How does one dwell seeing as below, so above; as above, so below?
One reviews this very frame of body upwards from the soles of the
feet, & downwards from the tips of the hairs, enclosed in skin, as
full of many kinds of impurities: There are in this body: Head-hairs,
body-hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow,
kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, intestines, mesentery,
vomit in the stomach, excrement, bile, lymph, pus, blood, sweat,
fat, tears, mucus, saliva, snot, fluid of the joints, and urine...
So does one come to see both, what is above, and what is below!
How does one dwell by day, so at night; as at night, so by day?
Here, at night a Bhikkhu trains the Ways to Force, that is enriched
with concentrated Energy, constructed by effort, using the same
techniques, qualities, features, & aspects, as he trains during the day.
And how, does one dwell with a mind, that is all open & unrestricted, 
a dazzling bright mind, which is pervaded by luminosity...?

Here, always the perception of day-light is well attended to & well
resolved upon by determination. It is in exactly this way, that one
dwell with a mind, that is all open & unrestricted, a dazzling bright
mind, which is pervaded by its very own luminosity...

Mental Energy!
Source (edited extract):
The Grouped Sayings of the Buddha. Samyutta Nikāya. [V:278]
section 51: The 4 Forces: Thread 20: Analysis of the Ways.
Energy is Force!
Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Leaving all Quarrels enables Social Harmony!

The Blessed Buddha once said:
When this subtle Dhamma has been taught by me, in many various ways,
using different methods of explanation, then it is only to be expected
that those, who cannot agree, accept, allow, & approve of what really
is well
stated and well spoken by others, that they will become angry,
quarrelsome and start disputes, where they will stab each other with
verbal daggers! Yet too, when this sublime Dhamma has been taught by
me, in many variable ways, using diverse methods of explanation, it is
also only to be expected, that those, who can agree, accept, allow, and
approve of what really is well formulated and well spoken of by others,
that they will live in harmony, in calm, friendly and mutual appreciation,
without arguments, blending like milk and water, regarding each other
with kind eyes. In this very way can they come to sleep with open doors
and dance with their children in their arms ... 
So we can Sleep with Open Doors &
Dance with the Children in our Arms!

More on High Harmony:

Blending like Milk & Water!


The Grouped Sayings of the Buddha. Samyutta Nikāya. Book IV [225]
Section 36: On Feeling. The Carpenter. Pancakanga: 19.
Healthy Human Harmony!
Have a nice & noble day!
Friendship is the Greatest! Bhikkhu Samāhita _/\_ ]

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The cultivation of Buddhist Ethics

by Richard Gilliver, The Buddhist Channel, June 10, 2012

London, UK -- We are fortunate as Buddhists to have such a well developed ethical system in place which promotes the cultivation of such a positive and rewarding outlook and the ability to respond with such clarity and measure to difficulties that may arise both in our practice and situations that may arise in every day life.
I would like to touch upon what I believe are the advantages of the Buddhist ethical standard over secular viewpoints but first I want to make a brief comment about translation relating to our ethical guidelines.
I noticed this recently when I was thumbing through an older translation of the Anguttara Nikaya, and it struck me how someone new to the practice might, if they were reading one of these earlier texts misinterpret the meaning based on their westernised understanding of the work.  Personally speaking I prefer in many instances the older copies of the canon in English but I have the advantage of having many years of study behind me relating to the texts, as such I am not prone (although admittedly, not immune) to the occasional ‘blunder’ when it comes to reading the works.
As far as the differences in style go the newer translations on the whole appear to be much more stylised, but this tends to make them more accessible, and as a consequence, more readable.  In contrast the antiquated language of some of the older transcriptions seems to appear ‘stuffy’ and long-winded.  I think in the interests of balance though we can say that the early texts were pioneers, without which Pali language resource would still be in its infancy.  Some of the early translators themselves acknowledge such difficulties. I.B. Horner in the introduction to her 1938 edition of the Sutta Vibhanga (Published by the Pali Text Society as the Book of the Discipline Volume 1) notes that when revising her own work she made significant changes to the way she translated certain words.  I think these pioneers of the Pali texts were, as were many translator of their time, more inclined to put a philological spin onto words that may have been difficult, that is to say, they were more inclined to put words into the context they themselves understood.  It is with this in mind that I will speak about the ethical standards the Buddha implemented, with the occasional reference to the interpretation of the translation
The Buddha was quite straightforward in the implementation of his ethical instruction.  The follower of the Buddha was to develop skilful qualities and abandon those qualities that were unskilful.  These qualities are to be developed in line with the backdrop of Buddhist meditation, that is, concentration with the directed analysis of thoughts as they arise and fall away.  It is with this simple, yet effective mindfulness technique that one can be aware of attributes that arise that are a benefit to the path and cultivate them, while attributes that are a detriment to the path may be observed as such and avoided.  The Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh refers to this process, quite beautifully, as watering the good seeds of the mind.  In the Buddhist system those qualities indicated as skilful relate to the ‘path’ the Buddha set out.  He told his followers not to engage with metaphysical questions which would detract from the practice.  This is a very important point, and relates both to the translation difficulties I touched on earlier and the advantages of Buddhist ethics over secular ethics.
The Buddhist ethical practice does not relate to ‘good’ and ‘bad’ ethical behaviour, that is, in our western society where our ethical system developed largely from Christian ethical standards which were based on innate ‘good and evil’ qualities.  The Buddha’s path did not rely on these ethical boundaries and instead related to those qualities that would aid one in attaining Nibbana (Nirvana).  Thus the skilful qualities one develops on the Buddhist path don’t directly relate to the ‘good’ qualities one would associate with normal ethical standards.  If I may refer to the afore mentioned metaphysical questions to demonstrate.  In the western ethical model questioning the nature of the universe would not be deemed unethical, as it doesn’t infringe on our ethical ‘good/bad’ position.  In the Buddhist model such questions would be deemed unskilful, that is they would distract one from the task at hand, that is, the attainment of Nibbana.
In relation to some of the earlier translations of the texts this could prove problematic, as what has been translated in modern texts as skilful/unskilful respectively was, in older translations described as good/evil. For the casual observer, or those new to the practice this can cause great difficulty in ascertaining the context of the text, if I am conditioned to view good and evil in the western sense then reading it in a Buddhist text would automatically lead me to think the same ethical viewpoint is being propagated.  Notwithstanding the early translations are valuable resources and should be treasured as such, it is prudent that one is mindful when reading them to bear in mind there age and the style of the translation.
When we stand Buddhist ethics and western ethics side by side in our every day life what can we take from Buddhism that will allow us to benefit from them in day to day living?  The development of skilful qualities is paramount to achieving Nibbana.  As with all of the Buddha’s teaching it is the subtlety that is the beauty.  We develop Buddhist ethics against the backdrop of meditation, yet it is those qualities that allow us to attain deeper levels of concentration.  In short, the Buddha’s ethical teaching is not a see saw of balancing good against bad.  It is a wheel that when set into motion becomes a self fulfilling entity, the more you practice Buddhist ethics the more concentration and insight develops, the more concentration and insight develops the clearer Buddhist ethics become, the clearer they become the subtler the level of concentration and insight.
The Buddhist system of ethics is quite simple in comparison with many other systems, and yet through the Buddha’s insight the wheel he set in motion can achieve such subtleties that it will eventually put an end to suffering – and that, in itself, seems to me a goal worth practicing for.
Richard Gilliver is founder of "The Foundation of Interreligious Harmony and Education", an interfaith organisation seeking to promote better relations between religions. Please view his site at:

Personal honesty and Buddhism

by Richard Gilliver, The Buddhist Channel, Jul 10, 2012

London, UK -- We all, in our day to day living, have those moments where we are confronted with that ‘inner voice’.  Sometimes it is working for our wellbeing, at other times it is trying to persuade us to do something we know, deep down, we shouldn’t really be contemplating.
It strikes me just how many times I hear people mention this little voice, sometimes by the person with a tough decision to make, or maybe the person giving up a bad habit, it always seems that this internal communicator has an opinion on the matter.  Just how much more then does this voice influence us when we are practicing, whether that is in our formal meditation or in our cultivating the ethics taught by the Buddha.
We have a great advantage over many traditions in Buddhism in that we are given clear instruction on how to authenticate the practice we are given.  We are not, the Buddha said, just to accept the word of the teachers of Dhamma, but we are to cross reference those instructions with both the community and the scriptures.  However the fact is that the maturing of our practice remains with our own personal effort, and if that effort is to be directed correctly it requires that we recognise the subtle tactics of that inner voice that seeks to send us down the wrong path.
 So how do we balance, or observe an aspect of personal honesty when we are relying on ourselves to do the work? Surely by attempting to do so we are being both the thief and the policeman and expecting justice to be done?  I was listening recently to a talk given by ?hanissaro Bhikkhu in which he described the inner voice as a committee in which various opinions were given by the members, each trying to make themselves heard above their companions. I had some difficulty at first with this analogy but the more I thought about it the more I recognized that ‘the voice’ can actually be a series of voices, and actually if you analyze it we can take it further than just saying there is a committee, but in fact it is more refined than that, it is more akin to a government cabinet, not just trying to make sure their voice is heard but each trying to be more subtle than the other so that their opinion really counts.
As I was thinking about this the Chappana Sutta came to mind in which the Buddha gives a similar image of a man obsessed with sense pleasures being like someone who catches six animals of varying kinds and tethers them together.  Inevitably the strongest animal manages to drag the others to where it wills and the others have no choice, in their exhaustion, but to follow.  The Buddha then explains how the trained mind is like having six animals tied to a post (the post being a metaphor for mindfulness), where none of the animals have the ability to pull the others to their desired point. It is the ‘post’ in this Sutta that gives us the stability to be the policeman and the thief and having the personal honesty to bring the thief to justice.
If we can look at Mara in the same way, using that stable focus as our inner policeman, and our personal honesty as the power of justice it sheds a new light on how he works.  In the texts Mara’s power is in his deception and his subtlety, and furthermore his power is diminished by recognising him.  Of course there are different views as to ‘who’ or ‘what’ Mara is, whether Mara is an aspect of the internal or an independent being is somewhat down to interpretation, but regardless the fact remains that his power lies in getting us to deceive ourselves.  It is with the power of personal honesty when faced with that inner voice that we can recognise the deception, overcome the subtleties, and reach the highest goal the Buddha set out for us.