When we practice loving-kindness, we first infuse ourselves with kindness and friendliness. Then we think of dear friends and relatives and pervade our minds with more benevolence. Next, we consider neutral people–those people we see in our daily lives, whose names we may not know–the grocery store clerk, the bank teller, the post office clerk. But what if we had no neutral people? Continue reading
A Dharma friend has a blog on the The Buddha’s Advice to Laypeople. (That would be us.) She talks about integrity–the 5 precepts–as the primary practice for us householders.
The Buddha uses the word sila, which I like to translate as “integrity”, though it is often translated as morality, virtue, or ethics. Continue reading
In the past 5 days, four of my neighbors have made trips to the hospital. Last Friday, which was above freezing, Ellen was walking into her garage when the snow on the roof let loose and avalanched down on her. Her hip broke. Luckily her husband had not yet left, though he was in the house. She screamed. He took her to the hospital, and she got a brand new hip later that day.
My sweetie played a beautiful piano concert Saturday afternoon.The audience applauded. Then, an hour later, it was all over. Ten months of practice, several months of planning for the November concert and for this January concert, the applause–it’s all over.
Sweetie kept reviewing the pieces in his mind, replaying them for himself. This is a form of stress. He kept reviewing the critical comments that a couple of friends made. “The piano was too loud.” This is a form of stress. He wondered why certain friends hadn’t come. This is a form of stress. He congratulated himself on having played a masterful concert. This too is a form of stress, because even though it’s a pleasant memory, that pleasantness comes to an end after a few seconds, and the ending of pleasantness is unpleasant.
My sweetie gave a piano concert yesterday afternoon in our small town. Forty of his friends and acquaintances came to enjoy the short, easily accessible classical music pieces by Debussy, Ravel, and Moussorgsky. He gave a short introduction to each piece, telling the audience what to listen for. They applauded each song with longer applause at the end.
My favorite Christmas card this year says
Wishing you MORE WAG and LESS BARK this holiday.
Hope your holiday is filled with UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
This is good advice for every single day of the year, whether or not it is a holy-day. In fact, practicing this well wishing–for ourselves and for others–turns every day, every meeting with an acquaintance, every encounter with a difficult person into a holy day, a sacred space of connecting with another person.
Scrooge awakens on Christmas morning a changed man. This change of heart, change of mind is the result of deep insight. Not just intellectual insight that says, “Oh yeah. Unh-huh. I understand.” but the deep embodied insight that can turn our life around on a dime.
The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge his own tombstone. Seeing how ill-remembered he is, Scrooge has a conversion experience.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge his own death, with the charwoman, the laundress, and the undertaker stealing his possessions. The only people showing any emotion over Scrooge’s death are a couple who owe him money, who are now released from that debt.