Rejoicing in Joy

Padmolka has been leading us through the Brahma Vihara meditation practices on Sangha nights, and we had some interesting discussion this Thursday. I think it’s fair to say that most people found the karuna bhavana (development of compassion) easier than the mudita bhavana (development of sympathetic joy, or gladness for someone else).

I wondered why. It  seems that we all are very aware of our own experiences of suffering, from one extreme to the other, stubbing your pinkie to the loss of a loved one. At some level we know it, and readily empathise. But when it comes to joy, it seems we are looking for the big things, scoring the winning goal in the World Cup, and perhaps we usually do this in everyday life as well as when practising the mudita bhavana. If so we risk losing out on an awful lot of joy.

When I got into my car to go home and turned the key, immediately there was the sound of some fabulous Argentinian tango music; my heart lifted instantaneously, and I thought yes, joy! Then going through Inverness, six green lights in a row – “oh joy oh rapture”, as my head of 6th form used to say. Well I think he used the phrase ironically, but there are lots of moments each day which we could celebrate with it. Sitting outside this morning to meditate, birdsong, warmth of sun, the coolness of a passing breeze…

If we make a habit  of recognising and rejoicing in each and every one of these moments of joy then my theory is that our practice of the mudita bhavana will just flow.

Dharma Day

Next Saturday 12 July we’ll be celebrating Dharma Day. This is one of the four main Buddhist festivals, usually held at the time of the full moon, and indeed there is a full moon this coming Saturday. It’s a traditional time for Buddhists to come together to practice meditation and share teachings. We’ll also be having a Full Moon Puja.

This year we’re delighted to have Lokeshvara with us to lead the day. Lokeshvara lives at Adhisthana, the home of Sangharakshita who founded Triratna, and is the Men’s International Order Convener.

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Next week’s Sangha Night (26th June) is an outing to see Macbeth at Brahan Estates. We’ll meet at the gate at 6pm. Hope to see you there!

Invitation!
Invitation!

It may be a wee while since we took possession of the keys to G4 of Ballantyne House, but much has happened since then, and the space has metamorphosed from an office into a Budddhist Centre. We are therefore going to have an official opening, and invite you to come and celebrate with us from 2-4:30pm on Saturday 28th June.

Sponsor a book, or two

Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows even as the cart-wheel follows the hoof of the ox (drawing the cart.

Experiences are preceded by mind, led by mind, and produced by mind. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness follows like a shadow that never departs.

(Dhammapada)

Windhorse Publications publish books by Sangharakshita and other Triratna authors. They are currently asking for some sponsorship because in 2014 they want to restock a number of Sangharakshita’s books, beginning with two of his much-loved classics, Wisdom Beyond Words and the Dhammapada. To date they have raised £970 towards the target of £2,500 to produce both books.

Donations of £30 or more will receive the DRM-free eBooks for Wisdom Beyond Words, the Dhammapada, and ALSO (!) The Purpose and Practice of Buddhist Meditation. Donations of £100 or more will receive the above eBooks, along, when published,  with print books of Wisdom Beyond Words and the Dhammapada.

Can you help?

Celebrating Buddha Day

Last week I was on retreat at Adhisthana, and whilst there we celebrated Buddha Day on the day of the full moon, as is traditional. For the evening puja the young women’s community currently living there along with Sanghadeva had created this beautiful flower strewn seat – a heap of grass, and neatly folded one of Sanghrakshita’s original monk’s robes and placed it on top.  We watched as the Buddha awakened.

The Buddha's seat - the "Vajrasana"
The Buddha’s seat – the “Vajrasana”

The Brahma Viharas

The Buddha says that if one only has compassion for the suffering of other living beings, then in due course all other virtues, all other spiritual qualities and attainments, even Enlightenment itself, will follow.

Sangharakshita, The Purpose and Practice of Buddhist Meditation

We’re going to spend eight weeks in the context of Sangha night exploring the heart wisdom of the four Brahma Viharas – The Sublime Abodes – of Metta (loving kindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita ( sympathetic joy) and Upeksa (equanimity).

We will begin to see how these meditation practices can deepen our connection to others, helping us to understand more fully how we can practice generosity, loving kindness, patience and contentment thus developing the qualities needed to free ourselves from self clinging.