Half Moon Day: Meditation I: Be Prepared II

3. GOOD MINDFULNESS = GOOD CONCENTRATION
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Once, when I was a young monk, I had been involved in some building work (not unusual). This time one of my jobs was to pour the sand, cement and water into the cement mixer to make the concrete. When that was mixed and ready the contents would be poured into a wheelbarrow and then delivered to the place where it was to be used.

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New Moon Day: Meditation I: Be Prepared I

This is going to be the first of a series of posts on meditation. I’ll start by talking about the prerequisites and how we can ensure we give our meditation the best possible start. In the subsequent posts I’ll move on to talk about the process of developing and maintaining a solid and reliable practice.

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Day after Half Moon Day: The Flood

We didn’t realise that we were driving right into the middle of the worst affected areas. My brother Tim and I were in his little white van on our way to Wales. I’d been invited to do a retreat on a supporter’s farm. It was July, 2007, the time of the flooding that wreaked havoc in the Midlands and Wales.

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Full Moon Day: Dhamma Magic

In this practice of the Dhamma there are times of darkness when our minds are clouded and we do not see the progress we are making. In these testing times we may wonder if we’re going the right way. We stand still and scratch our heads wondering which way to go. But these periods pass and the darkness clears. The ways in which the Dhamma works are too subtle for us to see most of the time, and we’re not always aware of how it’s affecting us. And so we must be patient as we allow the Dhamma to work its magic.

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Half Moon Day: Mindfulness of the Body

Base Camp

In the last teaching we heard about the importance of developing mindfulness and how it can transform our lives.

Our development of mindfulness should begin with the body. If we can establish this well then we will find we’ll be able to be mindful of our thoughts and feelings much more easily. It’s as if mindfulness of the body is base camp. It’s where we can come back to, to stabilise our mindfulness. Once we are experts in being mindful of the body we’ll be able to live comfortably on the motorway of mind, watching the traffic come and go without being run over. Therefore we must train ourselves to be mindful of the body.

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New Moon Day: How many times have you been run over today?

– I imagine quite a few. You probably don’t know what I’m talking about. Well, our minds are a bit like motorways. The thoughts, feelings, emotions, moods, views and opinions that we experience are the traffic. And unfortunately we tend to get run over by it all. By ‘run over’ I mean that we get consumed; we get carried away; we get lost in the thoughts and moods. These various mental states arise and we get run over. And so through the seconds, minutes, hours, days, and years, and, if we’re not careful, lifetimes, we live on this motorway of mind and get hit by every darned thing that comes our way. And what’s it like to be hit? – painful!

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Day after Full-Moon Day: “I promise…”

I love teaching kids. Several years ago I visited a school in Warwick to speak to ninety eight-year-olds. I sat in this big sport’s hall, surrounded by the climbing bars and ropes, with this little sea of small wide-eyed faces in front of me. I talked about Buddhism: I talked about why we suffer when we don’t get the latest Nintendo (or whatever) for Christmas; and I spoke to them about generosity – “Is it better to share your sweets, or keep them all to yourself?”; and I talked about morality. I also let them in on one of the perils of being a monk: being given ice-cream when all your food has to go in the same bowl – “Urrrgghhh!” Continue reading “Day after Full-Moon Day: “I promise…””

Full Moon Day: Optimism

Pheewww. Sorry folks. Optimism got the better of me. I’m all typed out after the last few days – setting things up here and what have you. Stay tuned though; we’ll have a Christmas special tomorrow!