Category Archives: Daily Life

Human Training

Yesterday I made a pilgrimage to visit my belongings, for the time being mournfully trapped in plastic boxes in an attic. There is always a surprise in store on these occasions. This time I discovered I had an audio cassette tape player, which is good news indeed. While there I decided to drag down some box files containing old lecture notes. To my great delight there were also notes I’d made after conversations with one of the seniors at Shasta with whom I regularly took Refuge. Sounds like I must have been having an issue with trust and getting along with other people. A common theme in practice.

Trust Partakes of Acceptance
Trust (in somebody) is given expression to by being willing let go of what ever is going on. In order to trust someone absolutely they would have to be perfect.

Compassion for Self and Other
When encountering people (their habits) ‘get to you’, think how difficult and painful it must be for that person to be the way they are. July 1995

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Training Merit

I’ve learnt my lesson; I’ll not do it again. Just how many times have I said that? How many times have you said that? Last night, late, I struggled to type a posting. It was to be the absolutely last one on death, for awhile anyway. I pressed the publish button and what I had written left the screen, for ever. Sometimes Blogger ‘goes down for repair’, last night was such a time. From now on, without fail I’ll make a copy of postings before publishing.

Sometimes when something bad happens the response of frustration/anger is skipped over to a calm acceptance, effortlessly. I believe this to be training merit coming into its own. That’s what happened last night, I got whisked past habit. It happens. More often than not though, the practice of deliberately refraining from fanning the flames of frustration is what’s needed. In this way practice grows training merit, which helps both oneself and others. So, at the moment of death, which must be a huge shock to the system, and having practiced refraining, you and I will be well equipped to face the next step confidently. Perhaps training merit will kick in too, who knows.

We are preparing for the New Years Eve Meditation Vigil and ceremony which will happen tomorrow night and for the festive meal the following day. How I love to cook in quantity.

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Empty House

Packing up, sorting out, throwing away, the ghosts of the past now caught in a moment of time. I did it for my parents after my dad died, packed up their life together. Sold it, burnt it, put out for the bin men, gave away, sent to auction. and finally their home was sold.

Iain, who I traveled with in Japan last year, is back in England sorting out his parents home. He has interesting insights on things left behind.

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The First Post

Here is an extract from an email I received. It is published with permission.

I read with much interest and appreciation your recent diary entries, “Contemplations 1 – 4”. I have watched two people close to me die – a good friend who died young from Cystic Fibrosis and my Mother, who died 12 and a half years ago, from various lung diseases. She died at home in her own bed with her family around her. I sat with her as her world closed in until taking the next breath was all and everything, until finally even that was given up. On that afternoon in early May, some hours before she died, she was extremely weak but she found the enough energy to haul herself out of bed and pull herself upright at the window sill and look out over the blossom trees that bordered the fields behind the house and call out I want to see the spring again, I don’t want this to be the last spring. These were more or less her last words. She died relatively peacefully about eight hours later. Almost a year to the day after her death I found myself in Canada sitting in a beautiful park close to Niagara Falls (my one and only Canadian visit). I was alone and sitting on a park bench doing nothing really except contemplating two large splendid cherry trees in full blossom. Without thinking I just knew I was looking at those trees with their radiant white blossom through my Mother’s eyes (at least there seemed to be no me in the seeing) – she loved cherry blossom. It lasted the fleetest of moments.

So she did see another spring; and I feel she always will see and be part of each and ever spring.

Thanks Tim, and I am delighted to see your blog with the first posting published just moments ago. From The Edge of Europe A diary of Life in Kosova. It comes hot off the press and faster than it took to post a handful of cards at the local post office.

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Matters of Gratitude

I’ve been thinking of events, or series of events, which defy all possible probability in the normal course of life. Iain in Japan wrote about a series of coincidences which more than likely lead to his young sons life being saved. No doubt there are many such stories to tell such as this one from early in year 2000.

I was on a long drive, trailing a caravan, from Manchester in northern England to Cornwall. That’s a long way in one day. Mine was the slowest rig on the road. Somewhere south of Exeter, and late into the night, my concentration was failing me. I lost my way in some road works and turned off the main road onto a slip road by mistake. Realizing what I’d done I proceeded back towards the main road again. In a daze of tiredness I didn’t check for traffic before merging, there wasn’t much traffic at that time of night. Then whoosh, quick as you like, a huge commercial rig streaked past before me on the main road. It could have been Starship Enterprise, the event was that surreal. Seamlessly I trundled on, merging in behind it as it sped into the dark night. A near brush with certain death, and no mistake.

Quite early on in my monastic training I turned a corner, so to speak, and realized everything in my life had brought me to this place. The good times and the dreadful ones too, the painful circumstances and the joyful ones, all without exception, had been Great Compassion at work. Although at the time it didn’t always look that way.

And it looks like compassion is still at work in my world. Just a few days ago when out in a car I realized I was driving on the wrong side of a country road, and had been doing so for some time.

There is the matter of accumulated spiritual merit involved in all of this.

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