Everyday Dhamma

SHORT GUIDELINES FOR LEADING A SPIRITUAL LIFE
A Lotus grows out of the mud, yet its flower remains untouched, unaffected, unstained by the dirty mud and stagnant water. You are lay people; you live in the world and yet you can lead a spiritual life. It is spiritual values that bring real beauty, colour and fragrance to human life. Without spiritual values, human life is like a flower tree, without flowers!. Come, come my dear friends, come and plunge into the Spiritual life and realize the nature and beauty of life. Come, come, O! Travelers come and meditate seriously. You will cross the ocean of darkness and ignorance and will reach the light of truth.

DAILY MORNING:

  1. 10-15 minutes of recitation of Buddhist devotional chants.
  2. Undertaking Panca Sila, the 5 basic moral precepts, with full understanding.
    1. I love all beings and refrain from harming or killing any living creature.
    2. I share and give and refrain from taking what is not given to me.
    3. I uphold the dignity of partnership and refrain from adultery.
    4. I speak truth and meaningful things and refrain from speaking lies.
    5. I create clarity of mind and refrain from consuming intoxicants which confuse the mind. The moral precepts are the very foundation of spiritual life; no spiritual progress is possible without a strong foundation of morality.
  3. 30 to 60 minutes of meditation (Samatha/Vipassana). Meditation practice is the very core of spiritual life. It is not possible to realize the Ultimate Truth without regular and proper practice of meditation. "What sun is to flowers, meditation is to the mind".
  4. 5 minutes of Metta (loving-kindness) meditation. Love is blissful, love unties, love elevates and love cures that most malignant of diseases, hatred. Develop pure love for all beings. Give love, live in love, fill your heart with compassionate love. Love is a panacea for all the ills of life. When your heart is full of love, the world is full of love. Radiate the brilliant light of love in all directions, outwards and unbounded.

DAILY EVENING:
Before going to sleep, meditate for 30 minutes. 15 minutes of reflection and assessment of the day - recognizing the unwholesome and rejoicing in the wholesome Kammas/ Actions performed during the day. 5 minutes of reflection on the five realities of life – Old age, sickness, death, changefulness of all people and things and kamma. 10 minutes of Metta meditation.

WEEKLY:
Lead a holier spiritual life by:

  1. Participating in one full day meditation retreat.
  2. Observing the 8 precepts on the full moon day, new moon day or on Sundays or holidays convenient to you.

YEARLY:

  1. Lead a holier and richer spiritual life by participating in one or two 10-day intensive Meditation retreats. As you make progress in your meditation practice, you should try to devote more time to it.
  2. Offer Sanghadana in the monasteries along with family members.
  3. Take up temporary Pabbajja ordination and enjoy the life of freedom in monasteries.
  4. Participate actively in the Buddhist festivals and contemplate on the qualities of the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha.
  5. Volunteer in the monasteries or other places and render selfless service for a period of 5 days or more
  6. Follow the noble Eightfold Path and develop the ten Paramis (perfections) - the basic requirements to achieve Nibbana, step by step, little by little, and day by day.

FULL MOON DAYS
Full moon days are very special for the seekers of truth and lovers of peace. Try to sit for a longer period of meditation. Try to observe the 8 precepts seriously. Try to eat only one meal. Try to donate in charity the money you could have spent or the meals that day.

CHARITY
Practicing Dana/ Charity is an important aspect of spiritual life. Try to give 5-10 percent of your income to the monks and monasteries or for the welfare of the poor, sick, elderly, orphans, handicapped and the other unfortunate ones. All beings depend on each other. All beings are related in some way or other. Your earnings depend on others, no matter how hard you work and how honestly you earn your money.

PILGRIMAGE
It is important for all seekers of truth and lovers of peace to undertake pilgrimage to the holy places – Lumbini, Buddhagaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar, Savatthi, Nalanda, Rajagaha, Vaishali, Sankissa, etc. These places are inspiring and take us to the presence of the Buddha as they are historical remains connected with the Buddha’s life. As the Lord Buddha said in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, one should visit these holy places at least once in a life tike. But visiting them often is still better, particularly under the guidance of an experienced teacher with good prior preparation and with full understanding of the significance of the pilgrimage.

SUPPORTING THE HOLY SANGHA
Try to support the members of the Holy Sangha. The Holy Sangha has preserved the precious teaching of the Buddha. Their material needs are totally dependent on the generous offering of lay devotees.

TIME IS PRECIOUS
Try to cut down on gossiping, watching television programmes and non-essential reading. Try to develop the habit of reading Dhamma books. Do not waste your precious time. Make the best use of what remaining time you have in your life. There is no time to lose; Death is coming closer and closer. The ticking of the clock reminds us of the fast approaching footsteps of Death!. Save time for your Spiritual Life.

WORK IS WORSHIP
Perform your official duties as part of fulfilling the 10 Paramis (Perfections). Take your work as worship, Kamma as Dhamma. Your daily duties should be an expression of your true love and respect for others.

COMPASSION IN ACTION
Service to others brings out all that is great in man. It broadens the heart and widens one's vision. It fills one with joy. It promotes unity. Human life is meant for self development and service to others. Whatever talent a person has should be dedicated to the service of humanity, for the benefit of all living beings. There lies fulfillment of compassion. Whenever calamities, such as earthquakes, floods,etc. occur, try to come forward and join relief campaigns with a sense of compassion and sympathy. Hate none, love all, serve all and feel oneness with all.

RARE OPPORTUNITY
After obtaining this precious human life, no self-deception could be worse than not using it for meditation, for the realization of truth. It is so hard to gain good human life and it is easy to get it destroyed in no time. Take full advantage of this precious human birth.

AWAKE !!
Oh friends, undertake vigorous meditation. Make your spiritual life as much a part of your daily life as eating, drinking and breathing. Extinguish all the impurities of the mind and attain the brilliant illumination of truth through meditation. Regular meditation alone can bring you true happiness.

Awake!
Do not postpone. What should be done for you, out of pity, by a compassionate Master, who seeks your welfare and has pity for you, has already been done by the great compassionate Buddha. He says‘Do not delay, lest you should regret it later. Out of love, this is our message to you’ . Here are the opportunities, learn and develop meditation, my dears!

REWARDS OF YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
You will live in peace and harmony here and now and you will generate peace and harmony for others. You will be protected from all harm and dangers. People will love and support you. You will die peacefully with no regrets or fear. If you do not achieve full liberation in this life, you will be reborn in a higher and happier realm of existence.

!! May all beings of happy!!!


Venerable Bhikkhu Sanghasena