Thursday, June 23, 2011

D A N A 
( offering of food to monks )
29th JUNE 2011

A L L   A R E   W E L C O M E

GIVING (DANA) by Visu**

DANA is a Pali word that can be translated as giving, generosity, charity, and liberality. 

It occupies an important part in the Buddha's teaching, which is often formulated under three headings — dana, sila, bhavana (giving, morality, meditation or mental cultivation). That dana is one heading underscores its importance. Buddhists should take heed and cultivate a good spirit of dana.

It is a first step towards eliminating the defilement of greed, hatred and delusion (lobha, dosa, moha), for every act of giving is an act of non-greed, non-hatred, non-delusion. When you give you have loving-kindness (metta) and compassion (karuna) in your heart. So at that time greed, hatred or ill-will, and delusion would be absent.  

"Giving" is a word that has very wide connotations. It does not mean that you give only to monks. It does not mean that you give only expensive things. And it does not mean that you give only material things that cost money.

For you can give many immaterial things which may count even more than material things. What I mean is that when we are kind to each other, we are giving kindness, gentleness, comfort, peace, happiness, etc. So we can give by being kind. For example, we can lend a sympathetic ear to a troubled person, listen to him (or her) with compassion and give him comfort and encouragement.

To the troubled person, your giving time to listen to him is more important than if he were to receive a material gift. So when we are living in a community, we should cultivate care and concern for each other, reaching out to help whenever we can. Then we give more kindness by speaking gently, soothingly, not harshly or angrily. This can bring much cheer to people, as the following poem shows: 

Loving words will cost but little
Journeying up the hill of life
But they make the weak and weary
Stronger, braver for the strife
So, as up life's hill we journey
Let us scatter all the way
Kindly words, to be as sunshine
In the dark and cloudy day.

When we bring happiness into the lives of others, we are giving in a very meaningful way. In this context, giving would mean more than just giving material things. The attitude involved is also important. 

** Visu (shortened from his full Pali name Visuddhacara) has been practising the Dhamma and meditation since 1982. He was born in Penang, Malaysia, in 1953. He was a journalist for 12 years and a Buddhist monk for 17 years before he returned to the lay life in 2003. He has studied with several meditation masters, notably Sayadaw U Pandita, Sayadaw U Lakkhana, Sayadaw U Jatila and Ven Sujiva. He is married and has led retreats in Asia, Australia and Europe. He is the author of several books including “Curbing Anger Spreading Love,” “Drinking Tea Living Life: Applying Mindfulness in Everyday Life and Critical Times”, “Loving and Dying”, “Hello with Love and other Meditations” and "Metta Meditation & Positive Attitudes"

Visu’s emphasis in his teaching is on the integration of the Dhamma in everyday life while striving for the ultimate release of Nibbana. He stresses the importance of cultivating lovingkindness, joy and happiness in the present moment while on our journey towards Enlightenment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


(composed by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula)

Silent Night, Peaceful Night,
All is calm, Stars are bright,
Round the hall Yogis sitting still,
Keeping their backs straight, exerting will,
Enduring pain without any ill-will,
Pervading Metta all throughout space,
Wishing Good-will to the whole human race.

Silent Mind, Peaceful Mind,
Thoughts are few, Pain is slight,
Focusing mind at the tip of the nose,
Knowing each breath as it comes and it goes,
Perceiving the light that steadily glows,
Feeling the Rapture from head to the toes.

Sitting in rapturous joy, Sitting in rapturous joy.

Silent Mind, Tranquil Mind,
 Thoughts are stilled, Body feels light,
All the Five Hindrances have died down,
The Ego no longer is spinning around,
Mind is one-pointed not moving a bit,
Enjoying at long last the Jhanic Bliss,

Sitting in blissful peace, Sitting in blissful peace.

Silent Mind, focused Mind,
Awareness is strong, Mind is bright,
The Spiritual Faculties are prepared,
Vipassana-Insight has Mara scared,
Scanning the body from head to the toes,
Anicca, Anicca, each moment goes,
Anicca, Anicca, Impermanence flows,
 The Five Aggregates appear empty as foam,
The Truth of No-Self is easily shown,

Sitting in insightful joy, Sitting in insightful joy.

Silent Mind, equanimous Mind,
Awareness is clear, Wisdom shines,
The six sense-impingements arise and pass,
No desire, no clinging, no ego to grasp,
No holding to present, future or past,
Mara has vanished he took his last gasp,
This body-mind house is empty at last,
Sitting and walking the whole night through,
Greeting the dawn completely anew.

Silent Mind, Wisdom Mind,
Now is the time, Conditions are prime,
The Enlightenment Factors are developed well.
The Four Noble Truths become clear as a bell,
The Eye of Dhamma is opened wide,
The three lower fetters are broken in stride,
Tonight the Yogi enters the Stream,
Tomorrow Nibbana no longer a Dream.
Please click the url below and then the second link 
that appears if you'd like to listen to the song  
About Bhante Yogavacara
Born in Southern California as Scott Joseph DuPrez in 1948. Ordained as a Novice Buddhist monk in 1975 at Gothama Thapovanaya, Kalupaluwawa, Sri Lanka. Upasampada ordaination at Wat Thai Los Angeles, May 1979. Lived at the Bhavana Society Forest Monastery, West Virginia, USA from 1986 until 2010. Now on indefinite travel/teaching tour.

Friday, June 3, 2011

When I say that 'I am a Buddhist'

When I say that 'I am a Buddhist', 
I am not shouting that 
'I am good, better than you or 
even close to being pure'.
Instead I'm shouting that 
'I was lost in the pains, unsatisfactoriness and 
frustrations of the world, 
but now I'm walking a path that
leads to progressive lessening of my greed and ignorance, 
lessening my attachments and sufferings 
day by day.'

When I say 'I am a Buddhist', 
I don't speak of this with a 'Holier than Thou' attitude, 
Never with a 
'I am going to Heaven while you are on 
a one way ticket to Hell' mindset.
Instead I'm confessing that 

I am ignorant of much Truth and 
need the Buddha Dhamma to be my guide.
If I am bad I have an equal chance as any of going to Hell, 
and if I am keeping my precepts well, 
I too have a well deserved holiday in Heaven.

When I say 'I am a Buddhist',
I'm not trying to show 'One-upmanship' or arrogance 
but I'm professing that I'm weak and 
need the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha 
as my Refuge to carry on.

When I say 'I am a Buddhist', 
I'm not bragging of success.
Instead I'm admitting I have failed time and 

again to let go of my Greed, Hatred and Ignorance, 
and need the Buddha Dhamma to 
help me develop qualities of 
Generosity, Loving Kindness and Wisdom.

When I say 'I am a Buddhist',
I'm not claiming to be perfect.
In reality my flaws are far too visible, 
but the Buddha has taught that 
everyone of us is capable of purifying himself and 
attaining perfect wisdom of the Truths of life. 
He has given me the confidence that 
I too can evolve to be Enlightened.

When I say 'I am a Buddhist',
I still feel the sting of pain, 
the aging of my body, illness and 
I have my share of heartaches and 
failures in this ceaselessly changing world.
But the Dhamma has taught me 
to see the realities of life, 
to accept change and 
to handle it with Wisdom. 
My physical body will inevitably suffer but 
my mental pain is optional.

by Anonymous