Don’t worry, be happy
My teacher arrived back at his monastery one afternoon after vsiting his other monastery in London. He came straight to the kitchen where I was making a cup of tea. His smile was enormous and he said immediately, "Pannadipa, I have just heard my whole philosophy in a song on the car radio." (He was searching for a news station and bumped into pop music.)
"Really," I said, "What was it?"
"Don't worry, be happy."
Dhamma is everywhere
(Don't worry, be happy: Bobby McFerrin 1988)
Feeding the dogs
Although Dhamma is always very simple, it is rarely very easy to apply, even when we are able to see the mechanics of our mind, of our life and of our suffering.
Life as we experience it is only a series of habits, recurring mind states empowered through unawareness, moment after moment. The more often we empower them the more we cultivate the habit and so the more often they return. Our life becomes cyclic as we find ourselves in the same kinds of situations over and over again, and always reacting in the same ways, over and over again.
The International Meditation Centre, just outside Budh Gaya, in northern India, is the place where my retreat manager, our small support team and I would conduct our annual series of ten day highly intensive Vipassana meditation retreats, from November to February each year.
These were always well attended and the students who came to sit with us had many oportunities to observe their own habits of mind, both in the sitting meditation practice and in their limited daily activity.
We would always begin our day at five o’clock in the morning with sitting meditation and so breakfast, two hours later, was always welcome.
Life on retreat is deliberately kept as simple as possible, principally to give space to the mind, and so breakfast was always the same meal consisting of porridge, a small banana and two cookies.
However, for whatever reason the cookies were not popular with the students and so they would keep them and then take them out of the dining room to feed to the dogs.
The International Meditation Centre had three dogs that would roam about the premises freely all day, but every morning at breakfast time they would be waiting outside the dining room to be fed with cookies. The more they were fed, the more they came back. Every day was the same, no surprises and no changes. The dogs would appear, wag their tails, open their mouths and they would be fed. The relationship between the two forces was never deviated.
The mind is exactly the same. The more we feed it the more it returns – more dogs waiting to be fed. To change this habit we don’t have to kill the dogs, of course not, we only have to stop feeding them. Only in this way will they stop coming everyday for food.
Dhamma is always very simple, though rarely very easy, but changing our life is mostly about remebering to be different.
May all beings be happy
A monk asked his Master, “How does an enlightened one return to the ordinary world?”
The Master replied, “A broken mirror never reflects again, fallen flowers never go back to their branches.”
Our purpose, through the practice of Vipassana and Loving Kindness meditation is not to be holy or special, rather it is to be ordinary.
From Not This
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