Monday, 11 April 2011

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


What does 'metta' mean?

The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest.

So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
~ Buddha’s discourse on Loving Kindness


Saturday, 2 April 2011

April Retreat at Manohara - For Ross

For my friend Ross.

Thinking about you on day two of the thirty day vipassana retreat at Manohara Meditation centre.

It hardly seems like a year has passed since we were doing our first long retreat at Manohara.
I wish you well in your spiritual adventure and congratulate you for your intense effort.

Thirty days of silence is both delicious and arduous.
I remember how hard it was on my aging body to sit in meditation for eight hours and to walk the same path up-and down for five hours a day.
Uncomfortable nights sleeping in a small bunk bed with no privacy, dressing and undressing in the dark, not eating after mid-day....ahhh, I remember well.

There is a sense of  missing the experience this time. Missing the amazing opportunity the long retreat offers to renounce the distractions of the usual life as it is lived. It allows time to focus, concentrate, increase mindfulness and to literally 'wake up', one mind moment to the next.

This time I couldn't make it. No space or opportunity. No energy.
So Ross, I send you Metta.

I bow to you and your practice.

What to do with the Overwhelming?

So many immense difficulties in the form of natural disasters have come about in the past few months. Widespread areas of our small planet have been shaken, inundated, blown away or poisoned over a very short period of time.
One disaster has been followed by another with such speed we have had little or no time to catch a breath.

Floods in Brisbane and then cyclone Yasi in Queensland, floods in Victoria, the earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand, were quickly eclipsed by the huge earthquake, tsunami and nuclear radiation leak in the north of Japan.
Suffering has been on such an enormous scale it is difficult to comprehend , let alone keep the heart wide open to it all.

It hasn't stopped.
It never stops.
War, earthquakes,fire, flood, radiation leaks, accidents, cruelty, old age, sickness and death.
Getting overwhelmed is understandable, but not of much use.

Come back to the present moment.
Keeping a calm and stable mind, and with mindfulness, turn and help the person next to you.
Helping someone, even in a small way, is a great antidote to the pain of being overwhelmed.

The Buddha taught about suffering and the end to suffering.
'The Four Noble Truths' and 'The Noble Eightfold Path', show the way to do this.

Jack Kornfield supports the people of Japan.

Jack Kornfields web page.
Support for Japan
The tragedy of this once in a thousand years earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9,  the resulting tsunami and danger from the damaged nuclear reactors touches all our hearts. When life is hard, the Buddha’s response is compassion.
Dedicate your practice to the welfare of all those suffering today. Breathe in with mindfulness and breathe out compassion for all in Japan who have lost or been lost, all who are hurt, grieving, cold, frightened, homeless. Send prayers. Send money, too, and offer any help you can.  And don’t forget to include yourself in your compassion practice.
Japan is far away, and not being able to do something with a direct impact can make one feel helpless.  You may be moved to help, but not see how anything you do can make a difference. This can be an opportunity.  Instead of getting lost in the feeling of helplessness, look around you. Is there a way you can help in your community? Is there a friend,  family member or co-worker who could use some support?
Then look around with compassion and gratitude for what you have, just where you are. This is also a time to rest in compassion, to live with the great heart of a Buddha.
Here are some organizations you can consider supporting:
Doctors without Borders - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971.  They do great work.
Tzu Chi - Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian organization with four major missions: charity, medicine, education, and humanistic culture. The foundation also engages in international disaster relief, bone marrow donation, community volunteerism, and environmental protection. “Tzu Chi” means “compassion and relief.”
The San Francisco Zen Center has sent out a letter from Abbot Myōgen Steve Stücky with the following information:  One way is to respond to a request from Daigaku Rummé, the director of the Soto Zen Buddhism North American office, with donations by check payable to “Association of Soto Zen Buddhists” specifying “Japan Earthquake Relief” mailed to the following address:
Japan Earthquake Disaster Fund
Soto Zen Buddhism North American Office
123 S. Hewitt Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012