REFLECTING ON THE DHARMA PRACTICE by Corrado Pensa
In one of his famous speeches, Sedaka Sutta, Buddha explains the need of taking care of oneself and others. He doesn’t say that the only important thing is to take care of others – as present western moralism instead preaches. It’s actually fundamental to take care of both of oneself, and others. Taking care of oneself indicates maturity, and has nothing to do with perpetual worrying about ourselves. Let’s not forget that, once we get stronger with self-care, we become more useful and are capable of paying attention to others.
Perpetual worry is an interesting combination between feeling attachment to well being and to hate and repulse discomfort, and it interests us because it gives insights for practicing mindfulness. Just by patiently loosening from attachment, adversion and fear you will be able to unravel the queen of virtues: equanimity…
Learn a new way of living
I believe that liberation means getting rid of a wrong way of being, thinking, feeling, acting, and whilst learning a new way of living, gradually becoming enlightened by wisdom and compassion.
Simone Weil wrote: “From birth to the tomb, something inside every human being’s heart, despite the crimes experienced, observed and maybe executed, wants to be treated with kindness and not hatred. This is what’s really sacred in every human being; to do good is the only form of what is sacred.”
Goodness, and everything related to doing good, is the only sacred thing. And we could add that that deep feeling in our hearts not only expects goodness, but also desires to do good, even though it’s obstructed by contamination.
A famous contemporary teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, used to talk about “fundamental goodness” (present in every individual) when referring to the interior light that the Theravāda Buddhism calls “bright mind-heart”, and the Mahāyāna Buddhism calls “Buddha’s nature” (Zen variation: “the thing that doesn’t originate and doesn’t die”). By gradually reducing the contaminants’ power by taking an inner journey and by practicing meditation, this fundamental goodness,will be obscured less and less by them, and can rise in the desire to do good. This also means there is a will to confront all the obstacles that will get in the way of fulfilling this deep desire.
The desire for goodness has its highest expression in desiring emancipation for ourselves and for others.
Taken from A.Me.Co. magazine SATI n°2, 2013.
NURTURING SPACIOUSNESS by Neva Papachristou
Thanks to meditation we can understand that the habit of portraying our mood, emotions and thoughts is so strong that we completely lose ourselves to them. But, by practicing we give ourselves the courage to feel comfortable with our different moods, emotions and thoughts in a new way; A freer mentality, less inclined to reaction and more so in knowledge. The only fact of not reacting mechanically gives us the chance to create more space surrounding our moods, emotions and thought. For example, if we feel in our heart a surge of melancholy, rather than grabbing on to it blindly and feel it is “our” melancholy, we can open up and be conscious of it . With practice we can feel the melancholy without being overwhelmed by it; trying to acknowledge it on a physical level for example, can open us up to experiencing melancholy on a different level than the mental-conceptual one. This simple possibility is an opportunity to steer away from the anguish of identifying, and from the limits that transform a changing experience in something unavoidable. When we are totally absorbed in melancholy, we only think of melancholy, we are limited to it, and this takes the hold of our hearts. Amazing things may happen before us but we are too blinded, gripping onto the melancholy, to even realize it. Through inner reflection we learn that the presence of a feeling is only that, a single feeling, and that Life continues to be an immensely rich experience anyway. This mindfulness lets us open ourselves to everything else; We see the truth, we can be much more than the melancholy that visits us.
Understanding that frees
Through practice we cultivate our growing trust towards mindfulness. Before engaging with it, it may come natural to think that only good and pleasing things are worthy of our attention. Yet, if we look back at our lives, can we honestly say that we have grown only because of these good and pleasing experiences?
..In his book “Wise attentiveness, unwise attention”, Corrado perfectly explains the Spaciousness of a cultivated mind compared to an untrained mind that is constantly limited by seeing only the I-mine-me. Practicing meditation teaches us to cultivate mindfulness-understanding, and Corrado underlines the word understanding. It’s not a coincidence that the Dharma tradition defines wise attentiveness as yoniso manasikāra, attention that welcomes; the term yoniso reminds us of a female womb that welcomes life. So by practising mindfulness we learn to welcome, and through this welcoming, a greater understanding stems naturally.
A passage taken from the A.Me.Co. SATI magazine n°2, 2012