Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The first and second Monday program focus for December will be on ‘Moving into Stillness and Peace.’ With the darkening of the year, shorter days and longer nights encourage us to quiet and to settle. At the same time, the pressures of the holiday season can make it challenging to maintain inner calm. Together we will investigate and reflect upon teachings and practices which support qualities of inner stillness and equanimity.

The third Monday will bring our usual program/practice opportunity to work with the Buddha’s ethical trainings with particular attention to how precepts practice helps the inner world grow more peaceful.

ERBC’s fourth Monday falls on Christmas Eve this year, and we will have a special Monday evening gathering that evening. (Please note location change!)

Monday, December 24, 2012

7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

We will practice (sitting, walking and loving-kindness meditation) from 7:30 to 8:30, and then have an opportunity to share tea, snacks, and conversation.

Location:

Chicken Coop Hall, Pershing Street House, in Durham, N.C. near the NC School of Science and Math.

Contact Callie at justice.callie@yahoo.com or at (919) 286-5041 for directions.

Advertisements

A practice that I have come to value is the cultivation of mindfulness along with loving-kindness (mettā). Essentially, having developed some degree of mindfulness, while one is sitting or during other activities one brings the intention of loving-kindness or goodwill into awareness along with whatever is arising in the mind.

For example, if I’m experiencing fear around an interaction that I anticipate with someone, I allow the mind to be present with that mind state, and then attempt to connect with a sense of goodwill. That may mean I simply continue to be present with the fear and how it unfolds in the mind or in sensations in the body. It may also mean sensing my intentions around that experience, and recollecting my desire to not cause harm to myself or another. At another time, loving-kindness might guide the mind toward sensing the underlying needs that have been activated in me, or toward seeing the other person more clearly and with compassion.

I try to allow wisdom, and my sense of the Buddha’s path, to guide the process without trying to force it in a predetermined direction. I find that with practice this ability seems to get stronger.

Here is a handout that we gave out at our meeting last Monday evening describing how one might develop this practice in more detail.

Best wishes,

Steve

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.

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.