Metta in daily life
This is the last night of the retreat, and I thought I would talk
about how you carry your meditation with you when you start doing your
daily activities. In a lot of respects this has been a lot looser
retreat than you're used to, and I don't insist that it be a real overly
strict retreat because you need also to know how to carry your
meditation with you when you're doing other things, not only sitting and
doing the walking meditation. What we need to learn how to do is carry
that open heart with us with all the different activities we do during
Open up and... well, let's put it this way. When you're doing your
sitting practice, you send Loving-Kindness to yourself and you send
Loving-Kindness to your spiritual friend, and that's all. But with your
daily activities, the other times, you can send Loving-Kindness to
anybody. You can send it to individual people, you can send it to groups
of people, you can send it to all beings, it's up to you.
Do it again
But the thing that you want to try to do is start making keys for
yourself. A key like: when you're brushing your teeth, that that's your
time to send Loving-Kindness. When you're walking from your house to
your car, try to use that as a key, for that's the time to open up your
heart and send Loving-Kindness. Now you're going to forget sometimes,
just like you do here, and that's OK. There's no problem with that. But
when you see your mind is wandering, then you want to begin again. And
that should be the name of this practice: "Do It Again", or "Play It
Again", is that the...?
When you're walking from your car to wherever you have to go, what
are you doing with your mind? Your mind is just kind of ho-humming
around, getting caught in all kinds of unwholesome mental states, or
it's just kind of flying around thinking about this or that. So you use
that, getting out of your car, or getting into your car, as your key to
practice your Loving-Kindness. Open up your heart and, and if there's
someone that you know that is suffering, send them some kind thoughts.
Put them in your heart, radiate that Loving-Kindness to them.
The more times you focus on having an open heart, the more easily the
practice progresses. And this is because, when you have an open heart,
and you're radiating that Loving-Kindness, you'll notice it very quickly
when it closes, when you get caught by thoughts and feelings and all
kinds of whatever the circus is that's running in town at that day. So
gently let go of those thoughts, let go of those feelings, relax. Wish
When I was in Malaysia, I used to tell people to keep a little diary:
how long were they able to practice Loving-Kindness during the day. And
a lady came to me and she said, "You know, I wrote down every time I
practiced Loving-Kindness. Sometimes it was only fifteen seconds and
sometimes it was a little bit longer, sometimes it was less. And I only
practiced Loving-Kindness for eight minutes during the day, that's all I
could remember." And she thought she was being a failure. And I said,
"Gee, that's great! That's just not regular good, that's real good!
That's good practice. And, as you become familiar with doing it, it will
Now when you have your Loving-Kindness with you during the day, and
then you go and sit and do your Loving-Kindness practice in the evening
or in the morning, whenever you happen to do it -- I recommend the
morning -- your sitting is easier, because you've been mindful during
the day. You've seen that your mind has been, wandering around doing
this and that, getting caught by this thought and that thought, this
feeling and that feeling, and, you start working with it right then.
Letting it go, relax, come back to that open heart and giving that love
One of the keys that I use, is, every time I see a little baby, makes
me smile. So I send Loving-Kindness to that baby. It was funny, I went
into a restaurant with some people, and as I was walking out there was a
little, oh, must have been two or three year old baby, sitting in a high
chair, and he started looking at me. And I started smiling, just because
he looked so great. I mean he was just, really, really soft-faced, and
he started smiling back. And then he started bobbing his head up and
down. He knew what I was doing.
And by the time I'd reached the door I started chuckling. Now this
was right after the Twin Towers thing, and I walked out the door
laughing, and some people were walking right by the door and they heard
me laughing, and they had a look of shock on their face. And then they
started smiling. So that was a real successful trip. How do you affect
the world around you?
So you use as many different keys as you can remember, to, let go of
whatever you're thinking about -- it's not that important anyway --
relax, come back to your heart-space and feel that open up, and then
send that Loving-Kindness. You're standing in line at the grocery; what
are you doing with your mind? " Awh, this lady's got a lot of stuff,
it's going to take a long time, aww man." And you know, everybody else
in line is doing the same thing. "I can't wait to get out of here, I've
got other things to do, I don't want to be here." So you can have
compassion for those people.
Close to death
Now, what's the definition of compassion? Compassion is seeing
another person's pain, allowing them to have that pain and loving them
anyway. When I would go into the hospitals, when I was doing that quite
a bit, I'd walk into somebody's room, smiling. And, ok, they have a lot
of pain, they're really in serious trouble, they're getting close to
death. Ok. That's a sad situation. That's right. And I can love them
anyway. Now it was real amazing because, people would tell me that when
I walked in the room, it felt like some fresh air came into the room.
Now, if you know somebody that's depressed and you walk into the room
where they are, how does that feel? Not very nice. Your have a choice at
that time: you can either take their depression and become depressed
right along with them, or you can allow them the space to have those
kind of feelings, and love them. They can go through whatever they want
to, that's their karma; they want to get caught by these things, that's
fine. But, ultimately, I'm responsible for me. So what I wind up doing
is just radiating Loving-Kindness and wishing, quite often it's all
beings. And after a little while the energy in the room starts to
Now, when you have strong Loving-Kindness, when you're able to focus
on it very deeply, there can be some heat arising in your body. And this
heat is a healing energy. And when you focus very strongly with
Loving-Kindness, when you practice enough, your mind becomes very calm.
And because your mind becomes calm, their mind becomes calm. And when
their mind becomes calm, then they start letting go and that depression
starts to raise up a little bit.
It starts to dissipate a little bit in them. So you can't take
another person's pain away, no matter how hard you try or how much you
indulge in their pain; you only make yourself suffer. The more you
practice focusing on Loving-Kindness and having an open heart, that's
where the healing is. The more you can radiate that feeling of happiness
and love, the more you can smile -- and laugh once in while, the more
you effect the world around you in a positive way by your example.
Now a man came to me, while I was in Malaysia, he was a pilot, he was
flying these 747s all over the world. And he developed cancer, and he
was suffering from that, but he didn't tell me about that when he first
came. He just wanted to learn about the meditation, so I taught him. And
then he had to go into the hospital. And, his wife asked if I could go
visit him. So, 'Sure, no problem.' So I went and he was suffering quite
a bit; the cancer had gotten into his bones. It's very painful. And he
saw me coming and I was with... when I did that I generally went with
somebody else because they had to drive me. So they would come into the
hospital along with me.
And he saw me coming down the hall, and I was kind of giggling and
laughing and generally radiating Loving-Kindness to everybody in the
hospital. And he said when he saw me - I hadn't even gone up and talked
to him - the pain started to become less. And I went up and I started
talking with him, I said: "What are you in here for? Why are you here?"
He said: "I have cancer, and it looks like this cancer is going to kill
me." And I said: "Ok. What are you doing with your mind? When the pain
arises, what are you doing with your mind? Are you able to soften into
that pain? Are you able to relax? Are you able to smile into" "No." "Ok.
Can you allow the pain to be there without resisting it?'' "Real
difficult because it's so intense.” So I gave him the instructions
again: "When the sensation arises, it's just a sensation. It's intense
sensation. Ok. It's all right.”
To be continued
Buddhist insights into the Apocalypse
‘Buddhist view point, Scientific view point and the Future World’ –
‘A foresight into Apocalypse’ is the newest novella composed by the
young novelist, Academician Chamika Munasinghe
It is a well known fact that most inhabitants living on the earth
have expressed their fear over the beliefs according to which disastrous
or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012. This date is
regarded as the end-date according to the Mayan calendar. According to
some scholars’ explanation of this transition is that this date marks
the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a
positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark
the beginning of a new era or new age. Others suggest that the 2012 date
marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Circumstances
suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar
maximum, or Earth's collision with a black hole, passing asteroid or a
planet called ‘Nibiru'. Various astronomical alignments and
numerological formulae have been proposed as relating to this date,
though none have been accepted throughout the world. As a result there
have been much wider discussions among scientists and other scholars
regarding the end of the word.
In fact, the writer of the above book tries to expose several answers
to these mysterious events that are expected to be happening on the year
2012. The most crucial factor in this piece of fiction is that the
writer has focused our attention on this event, dooms day concept,
through several viewpoints. Rather than limiting the readers’ awareness
he has brought down the Buddhist doctrine, scientific investigations as
well as the so called Mayan calendar into the foresight. That means he
has discussed the above burning matter in three aspects, religious,
scientific and history, through which we were able to have an in-depth
understanding of the 2012 dooms day. In the course of the fiction the
writer has divided it into five chapters, where he discusses the Mayan
calendar, forecasters’ predictions, natural disasters that are occurring
all over the world and finally the Buddhist doctrine.
What is amazing in his writing is the fact that how he approach to
the ‘truth’ by analyzing each and every aspect of the topic. For this he
has quoted forecasts done by ancient astrologers as well as scholars.
Rather than that he has produced a collection of articles and journals
both local and international in establishing his point of view, because
he has given priority to other works of arts than establishing his own
In this attempt it is worthwhile to have a quick look at the
well-known Mayan calendar as explained by the writer. As described
clearly in the fiction Mayan have had three distinct calendars, namely
Tzolk'in, Haab and the Long Count. The date December 21, 2012 AD
(22.214.171.124.0 in the Long Count), represents an extremely close
coincidence of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the
Galactic Equator (Equator of the milkyway) and the Ecliptic (path of the
Sun), what that ancient Maya recognized as the Sacred Tree. This is an
event that has been coming to significance very slowly over thousands
and thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11:11 am
GMT. And this does not mean the world will come to doom or to a
standstill. Actually it reveals the beginning of a new era.
In addition to the Mayan calendar, the book has discussed about the
other eastern sources such as I-Ching Oracle. The new novella is rich
with all these legends and predictions as well as the other religious
teachings with regard to the Apocalypse. Here it is vital to mention the
Chief Seatle's understanding of the world where he has mentioned that
humans are responsible for their actions.
“Tribe follows tribe, and nation follows nation, like the waves of
the sea. It is the order of nature, and regret is useless. Your time of
decay may be distant, but it will surely come, for even the White Man...
cannot be exempt from the common destiny.”
“Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
- Chief Seattle, Chief Seattle's Speech
Once the writer has discussed about the religious beliefs and
predictions the book moves our attention to the scientific
investigations and ongoing outer space explorations. The important
aspect of the narrative is that at a glance it seems to be a holy
religious volume, but at the same time the writer has created scientific
fiction out of his knowledge which is similar to the Arthur C Clark's
outer space legends. In this part it has been widely discussed about the
natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, asteroid collision, cyclones
and many other calamities that are occurring throughout the world.
Further the explanation of the planet ‘Nibiru’ seems to be crucial
because it is recognized as the planet X which has a long elliptical
orbit and expected to visit our Earth after every 3,600 years. But as
the writer clearly explains all these theories haven't proved beyond
Through all these revelations the writer tries to give a clue
regarding the future world which has been already destroyed by the
inhabitants who are expecting a major calamity at the end of the 2012.
The third and the final section of the fiction seem to be highly
important because through that volume the readers were enlightened by
the philosophy of Buddhist doctrine. It is also obvious that we are
close on an era where technology is limited only by our imagination.
Along with the development of this technology it has been found out that
Buddhism has a close relationship to the existence of the earth and its
inhabitants. According to the writer Dr Konstantin Korotkov and some
other scholars The Buddha has been recognized as the first great
scientist of the world. Before the scientists in all over the world, the
Buddha has preached about the composition of this planet: accordingly it
consists of Patavi – Earth, Arpo – Water, Thejo – Fire, Vayo – Wind, and
Awakash – Sky. All these five elements seem to be affecting the
inhabitants on the earth.
The fiction clearly shows the relevance of Buddhism and many of
Dhamma sermons that are necessary to have a perfect understanding of the
world. In this regard the author Chamika Munasinghe has exhibited his
vast knowledge on Buddhism through his continuous efforts in exploring
Buddhist doctrine. Through several Dhamma sermons the writer reveals the
futility of searching the end of the universe rather it is worthwhile to
explore yourself as taught by the Buddha.
Taken as a whole, the new fiction ‘A foresight into Apocalypse’ seems
to be a timely necessity to the whole world, which gives its readers a
chance to think about their lives deeply. On the other hand it has
provided a clear response to the burning question ‘whether the world
will end on the December 21, 2012?’
I A Kavirathna
Meditation: path to Dhamma
We have continuously spoken about the manner in which an individual
expecting the refuge of the Sasana of Buddha can acquire successful
results from Dhamma meditation.
We must know what methods one has to basically follow and how one has
to maintain the meditation in order to make the meditation more
successful. If we do not become aware of that it becomes impossible for
us to make a success of the meditation.
If we do not make use of the Dhamma we
have studied, we will not be able to get its benefits
In the Tika Nipata of Anguttara Nikaya we come across a very valuable
sermon. The name of the sermon is Pathama Papanika Sutta. May be most of
us have read this. We should read such sermons frequently. Our problem
is not reading sermons frequently. Therefore the best thing is to note
down at least the name of the preaching when we refer to a preaching.
Then we get a chance to refer to it frequently. We get used to it. If we
note down a Dhamma fact it will help us to avoid useless things such as
keeping on thinking of useless things.
Then we have something to do. When we note down Dhamma facts we can
refer to them again and again. Then we become someone who does this
thing. It is very valuable when we are on the path to Dhamma. Otherwise
we get misled even by a minor matter. Because at such times there is
nothing to refer to. Therefore we are referring to preachings that one
has to refer frequently.
When we read a sermon we get knowledge from it. We must make use of
that knowledge for a long time. Therefore keep a record of the sermons
you have studied. Some day you will realize the value of such
preachings. We should make use of them not only today but for a very
long time in the future.
In this sermon in Anguttara Nikaya Buddha tells us ‘Oh Monks, the
businessman with three characteristics does not qualify to get wealth he
has not received or enhance the wealth he has acquired’.
Oh monks, this businessman does not engage methodically in his
activities in the morning. He does not engage methodically in his
activities during the noon. Nor does he do so in the evening. Oh monks.
A businessman with these three characteristics does not qualify to
receive wealth or enhance the wealth he has already received. That
businessman does not attend to his work methodically in the morning,
noon or evening. Sometimes he does a little in the morning, does nothing
in the daytime and does a little in the evening. He does not engage in
his business activities methodically throughout the day. Consequently he
does not earn any new wealth or he does not increase the wealth he has
already received. He fails to improve his wealth. The wealth
deteriorates. Don’t we understand it?
We have seen some businessmen do something in the morning. Idle in
the daytime. Idle in the evening too. Some others idle in the morning in
laziness. He starts work very late in the daytime. By that time others
have completed their work. He cannot reach the expected progress.
Whatever progress he has achieved gets deteriorated.
Therefore Buddha tells us ‘In the same way Oh Bhikkhus, a Bhikkhu
with three characteristics does not qualify to attain merit that he has
not received or to improve on the merit he has already achieved.
What are these three factors? This Bhikkhu does not engage in his
Samadhi objective methodically in the morning. He does not do so in the
midday. He does not do so in the evening. Oh Bhikkhus, A Bhikkhu with
such characteristics is not qualified to attain merit that has not
gained or to improve the merit already possessed’. The reason is his not
carrying out the meditation appropriately throughout the day. He
meditates for a little while in the morning, idles in the midday, and in
the evening meditates for a little while. He does not carry out these
activities so that they are not systematically divided throughout the
day. Therefore it is not possible for him to achieve merit he has not
attained. It is not possible to improve on the merit he has already
achieved. Why? He does not practise after allocating the entire time in
a balanced manner.
You may note how we meditate. Sometimes we do not meditate in the
morning. Sometimes we do not mediate in the day time. Not in the evening
also. Some people meditate in the morning for a few days. After that he
does not meditate. We do not do it systematically. If there is no
systematic way how can we attain merit that has not been achieved?
If we carry out several meditations little by little throughout the
day it will be possible to attain some degree of success after sometime.
If we do not follow that system afterwards also our success gets
diminished. We find it impossible to maintain that success beyond that.
Therefore we must get all these clarified.
That is why we said that once we learn a preaching we must continue
to be in touch with it. If we had not studied this Dhamma we would not
have got the results of it. Why? We would not have been aware of the
existence of this fact in the Dhamma.
If we do not make use of the Dhamma we have studied we will not be
able to get its benefits. That is why we wanted you to remember the
sermons you have studied. It may not be possible to remember the entire
sermon. But if you at least note down the name of the sermon, and if you
can have in your memory a rough idea of the facts in the sermon it will
be very useful. You may maintain a brief note to the effect ‘There is a
sermon like this. Such and such facts are indicated in that sermon’.
That will serve as a handbook. It contains the preaching necessary for
Compiled with instructions given by Ven Nawalapitiye Ariyawansa