To all my Noble Friends…

Over the past weeks, a MA study group has been formed to do our master synopsis and studies together.  Only 3 of us doing the MA and yet was supported by another two noble friends in the process.  Awesome!

To me, it is not just having fun learning together and helping each other but also endorsing Buddha’s “…. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path….”  This statement is found in the Upaddha Sutta, SN 45.2.

I am really appreciative and thankful to all my noble friends.  I believe that if not for them, I may not be where I am now.  To repay all their encouragement, support, guidance, patience and company, I will continue to strive harder!  We may separate or part somewhere along the path, but I shall always remember all of you…. yes, anicca and anatta… but my gratitude will carry on till end of this lifetime.  For all you know, it was brought forward from previous lifetimes ya….  ☺️

To all my dear, dear noble friends ~ may you be well, happy and peaceful always…
🙏 🙏 🙏

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Don’t get attached!

In the Bāhiya Sutta (Ud 1.1)
the Buddha said:
“Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus:
In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen.
In reference to the heard, only the heard.
In reference to the sensed, only the sensed.
In reference to the cognized, only the cognized.
That is how you should train yourself.
When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that.
When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there.
When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two.
This, just this, is the end of stress.”

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I simply love the above sutta!  A great reminder for us not to get attached to what we see, hear or sense coz by doing so, we can avoid suffering of not getting to see, hear or sense them later!  Awesome, right?!

The more we practise the Dhamma, the more we are being released of our sufferings and the most significant of all sufferings (to me) is Attachments – to views, self, things, people and a whole lot…. once we get detached, we will not be affected so much by anyone’s speech or actions… or of impermanence of physical things or people or relationships… Basically, what I want to say is “Just don’t get attached and you will be a carefree person in pursuing your spiritual goal!”  I am trying to achieve that and I hope you will be successful sooner than me, if you are trying too ya…. May you, who are reading this, be well and happy always…  Sadhu!  Sadhu!  Sadhu!

 

 

 

Battling the Mind

Recently I noticed that I am recharged every time I listen to Dhamma talks while driving coz that is the only time I listen to one…. The mind is really a great wanderer and illusionist; always imagining what not and sometimes it can be quite depressing coz deep down I know they are only what I think and not what really is or are.

The next best thing to do, if not listening to Dhamma talks, will be meditation.  Although at times, the mind tries to lure away… somehow, it is able to stay put and be at peace… ahhhh… what a bliss!

This morning, I was reminded of the 7 factors of enlightenment and they are:

  1. Mindfulness (sati)
  2. Keen investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya)
  3. Energy (viriya)
  4. Rapture or happiness (piti)
  5. Calm (passaddhi)
  6. Concentration (samadhi)
  7. Equanimity (upekkha)

(Click here to read more.)

Not that I am already so successful spiritually, but am gauging and monitoring my own progress once in a while so that I will not get off track from the path.  I realised that I have some achievements in most of them except equanimity coz I still get excited and moody over certain events… lol!  And every time I noticed it, I have to remind myself to stay equanimous!

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Google for the meaning and you will find that:

e·quan·i·mous

əˈkwänəməs/

adjective
calm and composed

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To me, it is not just being calm and composed physically but also mentally coz I can get really all zealous and excited or just moody over some circumstances!  Ya, ya, maybe it can go unnoticed by others, but I know it is happening so, I must work harder on it… not to get myself mentally affected… gambate, Linda!

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Not that I am aiming to be enlightened this lifetime, but it is no harm practising what the Buddha teaches, to at least be a stream entrant (Sotāpanna) as a goal.

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In the Maha-parinibbana Sutta (DN 16)

“… And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus,
saying:

“Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you:

All compounded things are subject to vanish.

Strive with earnestness!

This was the last word of the Tathagata…

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And strive with earnestness, I shall try…..

Your Body; your vehicle…

The conventional me is here to blog a post today. 

Since we are still in the conventional topic, let’s look at how we keep our conventional body alive…. yes, we simply feed it with food or in other words ~ nutriments.  Honestly speaking, we must really take care of this body (which is our present vehicle) well so that it will not be worn off before our lives end coz if it does, we are gonna be worn off, beaten up – maybe bed ridden or even in a coma or maybe in a wheel chair or simply handicapped relying on other beings to take care of us for the rest of our lives…. imagine a good car engine remains fixed in a crushed car body…. where the heart is willing but the body is not…

Of course, most of us abuse our bodies coz we take it for granted that it will not get old, sick or decay… and will only realised it when it is sometimes a little too late… So?  How?  You are the one to decide how you want to maintain your “vehicle” ya coz all your actions now will result the you in the future… so, please do not blame it to the society, the government, the Buddha or even “God” the almighty (if you believe there is one)!  Learn to take responsibility of yourself, your actions, your decisions, your speeches and your thoughts.

Coming back to nutriments to the body ~ they are food to sustain the body, to keep it alive, keep it functioning well and keep it mobile.  If you cause a clog or block somewhere or in other words not balancing its needs well enough, it will simply cause you sufferings… yes, pains and aches and in need to pop pills for the rest of your life.  Hey, am just being honest ya…. Sit down for awhile and reflect… if you consider yourself healthy, how have you been taking care of yourself… if you consider yourself not healthy, how have you been taking care of your life?  Reflect, accept and make changes if need to… nobody can help you except yourself coz all advices MUST be made into action by you only… no one else can do anything to you and your body… and your mind too, of course.

Haizzzz…. ya ya it’s the nagging me jabbering here… hence, if you are reading this; there must be a reason why you are reading it as there is a reason why I am writing it today…

Till the next blog post, this is the conventional me saying be well and be happy always ya..  

“Me”, “My” n “I”

My blog may not be popular… “my” simply means belonging to “me”.  “Me” simply means “I” and “I” is represented by the physical being who is typing the words now.  But is this “being” really a “self” who possesses this blog?  LOL!  You confused ke or you understand my point?  

According to Buddha, there is a conventional self:  that is the being you feel you are and the beings you see around you.  Hence, I “am” Linda coz you know me as Linda who “exists” as the blogger here.  And you “are” you who are reading this blog post.  So, conventionally, we have parents who give birth to us.  We have siblings and friends around us.  We have possessions such as toys, books and properties that we claim belong to us coz they are either being kept by us or in our names….  But, none of the conventional beings and belongings can be taken by us when we die as we will all die eventually due to old age or sickness.  Phew!  A heavy subject today ya!  

Let’s recap… coz I have written a similar post before… that Buddha says living beings are made up of five aggregates.  If we can understand the 5 aggregates, we will be able to understand the opposite of the conventional self; ie. non-self.

The five aggregates are:
(1) body
(2) feelings
(3) perceptions
(4) volitions or determinations
(5) consciousness

The body is made up of 4 elements; ie. water, air, heat and earth.  Give it a thought and you will agree that the solidness of the body is the earth that will decay and return to earth; we will definitely lose heat at our death; no more breathing in of air and the blood will no longer flow when we die…. those are what make up our body ya..  

What make us “alive” to be able to do what we think and intend to is actually the “mind” and it is represented by item (2) to (5) above.

Feelings are triggered by our senses through our eyes, nose, ears, taste and touch which we perceive as either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, which we will react via our volitions or determinations or intentions such as liking ~ so, getting attach to the feelings or disliking ~ so, avoid having to go through the same feeling again…. and consciousness is simply continue to exist as how we are but with the ability to recognise our “true” self; as stated in the Anatta-lakkhana Sutta:
“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.’ “.

Gee, I hope you are following me so far…   If you are not able to, please re-read the above… if you are able to… great!  Look out for my next post ya… 

Reminder:
The conventional self is not permanent
coz
the body is not
and
whatever are in the mind too are not permanent
… not our feelings, not our perceptions, not our intentions and
not whatever we have been thinking
coz
whatever that arises shall cease
everything that happens are conditioned
they happen when the right conditions arise
they will not happen when the right conditions ceased or not arisen
….till we understand the true nature of “self”….
May you be well and happy

 

Practical use: Sattatthana Sutta(SN22.57)

This morning I woke up feeling a little “down”.  After doing all that I should, I sat down and analyse my feelings… “Why, Linda, are you feeling sad?”

You know?  The moment you can recognise your feeling and investigate it, the feeling is gone!  Coz you did not allow it to linger…

Buddha, in the Sattatthana Sutta (SN22.57), said:
“Monks, a monk who is skilled in seven bases and has three modes of investigation is fulfilled & fully accomplished in this doctrine & discipline — the ultimate person.

“And how is a monk skilled in seven bases?
There is the case where a monk
(1) discerns form,
(2) the origination of form,
(3) the cessation of form,
(4) the path of practice leading to the cessation of form.
He discerns
(5) the allure of form,
(6) the drawback of form, and
(7) the escape from form.

Example of the seven bases ~ using one of the 5 aggregates:
“(1) And what is form? The four great existents [the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property] and the form derived from them: this is called form.
(2) From the origination of nutriment comes the origination of form.
(3) From the cessation of nutriment comes the cessation of form.
(4) And just this noble eightfold path is the path of practice leading to the cessation of form, i.e., right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
(5) The fact that pleasure & happiness arises in dependence on form: that is the allure of form.
(6) The fact that form is inconstant, stressful, subject to change: that is the drawback of form.
(7) The subduing of desire & passion for form, the abandoning of desire & passion for form: that is the escape from form.

And how does a monk have three modes of investigation?
There is the case where a monk
(A) investigates in terms of properties,
(B) investigates in terms of sense spheres,
(C) investigates in terms of dependent co-arising.
This is how a monk has three modes of investigation.

I investigated using the dependent origination
(reference to Maha-nidana Sutta(DN15)):
When this is, that comes to be;
with the arising of this, that arises;
when this is not, that does not come to be;
with the cessation of this, that ceases

I am just thankful that I am able to learn and apply Buddha’s teachings.

Birthdays

Recently there were many birthday celebrations and of course, that simply means more dinners to celebrate the special day for and with the birthday boys and gals. 

Last Friday, during Brother Tan’s talk at BMV, he said he was touched when his students chose to observe 8 precepts on his birthday and then transfer merits to him… I think that was awesome!  In fact, it is an wholesome act for the birthday boy and/ girl to observe 8 precepts on the day.  

Having said that, I have stopped celebrating my birthday since I touched 50 coz I became a Buddhist scholar then to understand that sufferings began from that day!  Hence, to me, it is not a date for celebrations! 

Though I may not want to celebrate the day, I cannot stop my friends from wanting to celebrate it with / for me though… still feel thankful ya … 

I do not know how I would spend my birth date this year… when the day come, I shall know… till then, I shall practise to live in the moment….