Tag Archives: resolve

Western Resolution meets Eastern Resolve

Resolve, according to Mirriam Webster is an act of determination; synonym is courage.
Courage: from Anglo-French curage, from coer heart, from Latin cormore at Heart: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Heart: the emotional or moral as distinguished from the intellectual nature: as
a: Generous disposition: Compassion (a leader with heart)
b: Love, Affection (won her heart)
c: Courage, Ardor (never lost heart).

As I listen to friends and family making their New-Years Resolutions I’m encouraged to re-establish my own (and much in process) resolve. Like Calvin to Hobbes I’ve found help from wiser folks than myself. Ahhhh the web, how do I thank thee?

Resolve or Determination as a Western habit is most often emphasized during the season of the New Year . . . speaking from my own experience, my Western mind-set can barely manage even this much frequency. Ah but take heart,  is also one of the Ten Perfections listed in the Pali Canon, the scriptures of the Theravadin teachings. In the Pali language the perfection of resolve/determination is “Adhitthana Parami”.

Ajahn Sucitto and Ajahn Thanissaro both offer guidance when exploring or undertaking these virtues. They describe in detail how Adhitthana is nurtured and applied. Given that a study shows a pathetic 12% likelihood of success rate for new resolutions to last even one year, it seems most of us could use a bit of help from our friends . . . might as well listen to some wise ones.

Ajahn Sucitto’s mp3 Dhamma talk “Adhitthana Parami

Ajahn Thanisarro’s study guide on “The Ten Perfections

Cheers to keeping your New or Old resolutions! And just for fun, here’s a hint to my re-Newed Years resolution: (not a pretty picture but certainly familiar.


Click here to enlarge Comic Strip

Choosing to Follow


Have recently returned from an intense week at Wat Metta followed by another at Wat Abhayagiri under the guidance of two brilliant Masters (neither of whom would approve of my saying so but there you go, too late now). Ajahn Thanissaro coaxed, teased and flattened a particularly insatiable (and less than beautiful) habit of mine followed by Ajahn Pasanno shoveling up the pieces only to walk away leaving me to follow or wallow, the choice of course is mine.

The benefits of these master’s guidance have led to palatable results and encourages me to follow their lead. The most noticable benefit thus far is felt within the very challenges I alluded to in my previous post. Though these challenges are still present they now arise within a settled heart and mind. I hope to learn how to lean toward, settle into and remain in this contented space. Given time and a whole lot of effort perhaps my appreciation of good teachers will deepen along with a recognition of all they put up with in guiding folks like me ;)

This Buddha statue stands 52 feet and considered to be the highest free-standing Buddha statue of the world.

Won’t You Guide My Mind Tonight ?

Ajahn Thanissaro visited our center recently. I’m guessing his teachings took on a variety of themes dependent on the individuals of his audience. A theme that emerged for me was to actively take responsibility for the atmosphere of my heart and mind by paying attention to what perceptions I gave my attention to.

As mentioned in my last post, my current practice is focused on loosening my grip around some particular out-of-date perceptions. Sure, these perception were useful in their time but, as with all things that arise, these too are beginning to age. The question now is ‘can I learn how to let them die’? Well maybe not before I learn how to stop giving them so much attention. Applying Ajahn’s advice seemed a good direction to head . . .

I spent the best part of yesterday trying to put together a slide show for the Upasika program’s second anniversary celebration this Saturday. After several failed attempts to burn a disk of the completed project I finally gave up. When I noticed my mood begin to slip I brought Ajahn’s teachings back to mind and took responsibility for dwelling on the perception of failure. Hours of frustration were indulged before I recalled Ajahn’s advice to purposefully place attention on objects that don’t give rise to suffering. I took immediate action . . . I’m afraid Ajahn would not be proud but what I did next was to turn off the computer and turn on the T.V., made a big bowl a popcorn, put my feet up on the coffee table and watched my all-time-favorite Christmas claymation “Rudolf the Red Nose Raindeer” . . . I mean really, who doesn’t love seeing misfits reach their true potential?

It’s a blizzard in this brain of mine: good thing there’s bright lights to lead the way.
______________________________
Ajahn Chah feeding deer at his monastery in Ubon, Thailand

Clear Sign: Foggy Morning

Heavy fog tumbled in through the open windowpane of my bedroom this early dawn and complimented the “Good sign” which hung in formation to my first waking thoughts.

Like many artist I often ‘see’ a thought before recognizing the ‘feelings’ constructing it. Having nowhere to go and nothing pressing to do, I decided to sit with this image and wait for the architect to arrive.


Good Sign


Hmmmmmm . . . white letter on green back ground . . .

waiting . . .waiting . . . waiting . . .

What is today anyway? . . .

waiting . . .waiting . . . waiting . . .

Oh . . . I know . . . its Uposatha Day . . .

waiting . . .waiting . . . waiting . . .

Pleasant feeling . . . hmmmmmmmmm . . .

“Now this IS a ‘Good Sign’; a pleasant feeling is coming up when thinking its Uposatha day . . . hmmmmm . . .

waiting . . .waiting . . . waiting . . .

And sometimes the thoughts that come up make me laugh:
“Since I’ll only be eating one meal today I’m likely to shed a pound or two. Maybe I’ll do a short run just to make sure.”

Searching for something deeper, I encouraged the “Good Sign” to hang in my consciousness while I got out of bed, closed the window and headed downstairs to make coffee.

So here I sit at my computer with this sign hanging just to the the upper left of my consciousness. With a whole lot of effort and persistence I just might keep this “Good Sign” around till it reveals itself. Which of course may be no more than saying “I am good”, and if so then just ‘who’ would the joke be on any way?

Mosier Hermitage Comes to its End

Tempatures dip and the rains return to carpet autumn leaves underfoot. The Mosier Summer Hermitage comes to a close. In seven days we’ll pack up the tents, fold up the blankets and send the monks on their way. It’s been a valuable experiment, I’m pleased how many folks took advantage of these venerables presence over these past three months. Maybe, with luck and a lot of good work, we’ll have a monastic presence here year round.