September 10, 2015

Healthy Shame and Intention this Sunday at Alameda Sangha September 13, 2015

Dear Ones,

Come and explore with me what Buddha taught about Healthy Shame and Intention. First we will explore, the Guardians of the World, or the twin emotions known as, in the Pali, "Hiri-Ottapa". Bhikkhu Bodhi, an American monk, Pali scholar and acclaimed teacher explores these two qualities in a wonderful article he wrote:

Buddha refers to these two qualities as the bright guardians of the world and Bhikkhu Bodhi says, "He gives them this designation because as long as these two states prevail in people's hearts the moral standards of the world remain intact, while when their influence wanes, the human world falls into unabashed promiscuity and violence, becoming almost indistinguishable from the animal realm." I will offer how awareness of these two qualities can really shift the way in which we think about our intentions before acting and additionally, the impact that the action could potentially have out in the world. Therefore, it is not enough to have good intentions, rather we also need to go the extra mile to consider how what we say, do or think will land on the person(s) or situation. Hmmm. Important stuff to reflect upon and remember to try to do!

Then we will explore a short sutta, entitled, Instructions to Rahula at Mango Stone which is a discourse given to Rahula, the Buddha's son when he was only 6 years old.

Of particular interest in this teaching is how Buddha emphasizes to Rahula, the importance of extensive reflection on verbal, bodily and mental actions (this is where the intention comes in). Reflection needs to occur when the desire arises to do these actions, and then reflection once again, during the doing of any of these actions and reflection once again, after the action is completed. By this instruction alone, one can see how active our practice can really be in daily life off the cushion, and that it takes some effort in order to reverse the effects of the defilements of the mind in order to let our beautiful and innate Buddha nature come through. When this happens, of course we will have less suffering. I personally, have been working with the mental actions a lot, and seeing my own responsibility whenever my unique conditioning bumps up with someone else's in an unpleasant and usually unskillful way. It is hard to move beyond the tunnel vision that our own conditioning encourages so that it tricks us time and time again to create stories and assumptions that may or may not be true. Remember that Mahasi Sayadaw, Buddhist meditation master said that the mind creates 98% of our suffering!

Let's explore these together!

Don't forget the chanting!

Also, please check out this wonderful YouTube video that our own talented and creative Geoff Geiger initiated with the help of many wonderful volunteer gifted sangha members! It was created for the Deaf community. The title of it is Signs of Mindfulness in case this link doesn't work and you would like to view it. Enjoy.

​with metta,

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