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Archive for October, 2012

Many of us would like to develop mettā, loving-kindness or universal goodwill to a greater degree in our lives.  We may value how it enriches our day-to-day experience, how it allows us to contribute to others, or both.  At the same time, many of us experience obstacles to developing or maintaining this state of mind or heart for very long.

An approach that can be helpful in working with obstacles to mettā is to develop mindfulness accompanied by an intention of loving-kindness.  Mindfulness allows for recognition of mind states as they arise, and supports the process of investigating and letting go of unskillful or unwholesome states and cultivation of skillful or wholesome states.

For the month of November, the Eno River Buddhist Community’s Monday evening programs will focus on developing mettā with the support of mindfulness.  In addition to exploring this fruitful relationship, we will look at other topics related to mettā.  Some topics to be addressed are:  how the development of concentration and wisdom support the practice of mettā; working with resentment; and the practice of “effacement” for cultivating positive mind states.

The November series will take place during ERBC’s regular Monday evening sessions – 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. in the CARE Building at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham.  Each session will include a meditation period preceding the program.

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One of the suttas in the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha recommends that everyone contemplates these five facts frequently:

I am sure to become old; I cannot avoid ageing.

I am sure to become ill; I cannot avoid illness.

I am sure to die; I cannot avoid death.

I must be separated and parted from all that is dear and beloved to me.

I am the owner of my actions, heir of my actions, actions are the womb (from which I have sprung), actions are my relations, actions are my protection.  Whatever actions I do, good or bad, of these I shall become the heir.

(Aṅguttara Nikāya 5:57)

On Monday, October 29th, the Eno River Buddhist Community will offer a program focusing on the Five Contemplations.  Those who wish are invited to bring something that symbolizes a personal connection with any of the contemplations.  The objects (photographs, keepsakes, etc.) will be placed in the center of the circle for the evening as reminders of the universality of the five facts we reflect upon together.

Here is a translation of the full sutta by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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