Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good Karma


Protecting life leads to long life, and good health.

Generosity leads to obtaining wealth and power.

Upholding Morals leads to happiness and good companions.

Being truthful leads to being respected and trusted by others.

Reconciling others leads to being well-liked and trusted.

Using gentle words and encouragement leads to being praised by others and hearing pleasant sounds.

Speaking only with purpose leads to speech that others find pleasing and want to listen to.

Through Contentment, we obtain happiness and always get what we want.

Having Patience and a helping mind, we become loved by everyone and are always helped by others.ƒ

By maintaining the view of the world as impermanent, subject to suffering, interdependent, and selfless, we are respected by others and have the best intelligence and wisdom.

Repeated good acts strengthens the tendency to repeat those acts.

Our circumstances and environment and even the climate change to reinforce our positive thought, speech, and action.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why recite sutras? Even if chanted without mindfulness, sutras are important.

By Lee Kane 

In many Buddhist disciplines we are taught and value the practice of reciting sutras. Often this is done from memory, in a mantra-like chant, which begs the question why do we recite sutras? Sutras are the teachings of the Buddha. To speak them is to put us in touch with Buddha's enlightened understanding and to connect our consciousness with the seeds for our own ultimate enlightenment. Of course, some drop the practice because they believe it has become too robotic, without meaning, chanted so fast that we're not really absorbing the "message," but that isn't the point of recitation. Even if the conscious mind is not directly connecting with the "repetitive chant" the subconscious certainly is. And, many spiritual travellers believe the subconscious is where the seeds of enlightenment flourish first.

Sutras help disengage the "bogged down" conscious mind 

The conscious mind is often bogged down with daily stress, the struggle to survive, the latest gossip at work, the need to pay the mortgage, and a thousand other anchors that create barriers to our need for spiritual fulfilment. We seek to still the mind with meditation, sutra recitation, prayer, communing with the sangha and many other methods. Meditation, if done correctly, can still the mind, allowing the daily battle to survive to fall away sufficiently to allow us to contemplate the teachings of Buddha.

Sutras help us remain mindful of the teachings 

In a more direct way, actively contemplating sutras helps us remain mindful of the teachings. Even if we've recited them so many thousands of times they become robotic, the practice of actively repeating the teachings is, in some ways, the ultimate "prayer." The teachings can be likened to seeds. The recitation to planting and fertilizer. The daily watering to the daily recitation. But what to do if it becomes too robotic, almost to the point where the conscious mind grumbles and complains." The rational conscious mind tends to complain about little things like daily offerings, prayers and sutra recitations. It's easy to dismiss these practices after a time if they appear to be less meaningful, or too "robotic.”

Recite the sutra, rather than read them 

Some of the keys to retaining the conscious mind's engagement with sutras is to recite them, rather than read them. To recite them in your native language rather than the original language will also keep the mind engaged. Some teachers, however, would argue that allowing the mind to become disengaged is the point. As with mantra practice, repeated sutra recitation in Tibetan, Sanskrit or Pali, ultimately from memory, can allow the conscious mind to detach, one of the goals of mindfulness. There is also comfort in the sutras. In times of stress, when the conscious mind can't cope, reciting a sutra, mentally or aloud, can bring instant comfort and strength. The words are then linked to daily practice—and don't kid yourself, daily recitation of a sutra will cause the teachings to become part of your daily life over time. Repeated sutra recitation does tend to lead towards practices of generosity, merit, honoring of the three jewels and other ways to help put an end to the obstacles of karma.

Lee Kane is the creator of Buddha Weekly ( BW is a tremendous virtual sangha that encourages all people no matter what stripe or faith to participate. There is a tremendous focus on Buddhist teaching from many different Buddhist disciplines. In Kane’s own words "We try to report on the latest Buddhist news and views. I hope you'll enjoy our little social community."