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Buddhadharma : Winter 2011
19 WINTER 2 01 1 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY small silent parts of myself. In my outrage, I greeted the tyrant within. In my anger at the atrocity, I saw the seeds of war in me. Holding grief with warmth, I grew in my capacity to love. Embracing intolerance, I watered the seeds of understanding and forgiveness. These insights allowed me to arrive at a new standard of tolerance and forgiveness. If my compassion could arise at Auschwitz, I could certainly offer the same grace at home, in the community, or to myself. FROM THE MINDFULNESS BELL, SUMMER 2011 NOTHING IS UNIMPORTANT Bhante Bodhidhamma warns against let- ting our practice slide when we get up from the cushion. We don’t normally think of ourselves as lazy. Our usual problem is too much energy. But if we really investigate the way we behave dur- ing the day, we will find there is much to be said for guarding against habits of laziness. By laziness, I don’t mean real conscious decisions to be lazy. If that were so, we would be more aware of them. What I’m referring to is the habit of not caring for something we think is unimportant. For example, we can make the error of placing the different practices we do into a hierarchy: “Sitting is obviously the core of the practice. Walking meditation is important, but it’s only there to support the sitting. Eating? Well, I should try to be mindful.” As for all the other little activities of the day—such as walking from ERICHANSON the meditation place to the walking place, using the bathroom, going upstairs—we per- ceive them as getting in the way of the real practice, which is sitting. This thinking can be corrosive for our practice since it means our effort is not con- stant. It keeps dropping. It is not a sustained input, but patchy. Every time we dip, we have to make that extra effort to get the effort to where we had it before. The effect on con- centration is immediate. We end up feeling we’re blowing up a balloon, letting some or all of the air out and then having to blow it up again. If we are quick, we will catch the attitude that makes us behave like this. As soon as we are aware of it, we need to acknowledge it clearly and decide to do the opposite. One of those danger times may come after sitting. We make a conscious decision to stop and then suddenly we find ourselves walking out of the meditation hall, barely realizing we have stood up. Another is when we get ourselves a cup of tea. We make it with great attention and then sit down, only to wake up minutes later, the tea drunk and we haven’t tasted a drop. No wonder—we’ve been plan- ning that holiday again! If we can bring our attention to those points of the day that seem insignificant, then the habit of continual mindfulness will be greatly supported. So beware of taking time off. Don’t be lazy now, says the Buddha, and be remorseful later. Let’s take his advice to heart. Let’s devote this day to a real effort at a continual mindfulness. The old condi- tioning may get the better of us occasionally, but it won’t be for lack of effort. At the very least we’ll be liberated from those remorseful afterthoughts. FROM BHANTE BODHIDHAMMA’S RECENT E-BOOK, ENCOURAGEMENTS TOWARDS AWAKENING, WHICH CAN BE DOWNLOADED AT WWW.SATIPANYA.ORG.UK.