Meditation class students — J.D.
1)Contemplate why anger is called a “poison” in Buddhism and how the seven-round compassion contemplation can help us clear our anger.
Anger poisons the mind and clouds our judgement, hindering us from seeing clearly and making wise and compassionate decisions. This in turn generates negative karma, hurting others as well as ourselves. Seven-round compassion contemplation helps us to use compassion in our decision making, generating positive karma to benefit oneself and others.
2)Who are the seven groups of people we dedicate the merits to?
The seven groups of people we dedicate merits to are elder dear ones, peer dear ones, younger dear ones, elder foes, peer foes, younger foes, and neutral ones.
3)Why the merits of meditation is superior in this mundane world?
The merits from meditation help others to be able to meditate and set their mind on the bodhi path. This is far superior than material merits, which may be exhausted due to external conditions. With the merits from meditation, the conditions will come together to allow others to purify their minds.
4)In your experience of practicing the seven-round compassion contemplation, are there any people you feel difficult to make dedication to? How would you overcome the difficulties?
I have many people who I find difficult to show compassion towards in daily life. The exception is during meditation, because I can see clearly the true nature of all sentient beings and empathize with the suffering that we all go through. Meditation is like the mental kung fu training for my daily life when I must discipline myself and remind myself of the dharma and implement the practice when interacting with others.
I am extremely blessed to work in customer service because I get to interact with many people everyday. This allows me to practice all 6 paramitas. I try to treat people kindly and help as much as possible to find the best solution for them, despite their attitude. I know how important my actions through body speech, and will , can affect someone’s attitude when they leave the post office.
I always dreaded going to the post office because of the long lines. I always work fast, friendly, and efficiently, so that people may continue with their daily life in a positive attitude and spread good karma. I also hated going into the post office because of the rude clerks. I vow everyday to try to be kind and helpful. I take difficult customers as a challenge, and try to influence them so they can leave in a better mood. I still need practice, because some customers I sometimes try to avoid because I know they are impossible to please. I am constantly reminding myself of my practice because often the slightest thing can make me frustrated when I am trying to keep the line moving and people are moving slow or not able to speak english, or wasting everyone’s time. This karma they take with them influences countless sentient beings and could have a negative or positive impact on our society. Someone could be stressed or having a bad day, and the last thing they need is to deal with a clerk with a bad attitude. I try to spread joy and compassion everyday, and with customers who resist I try to be clever in helping them, or at least do no further harm.
5)Why do we need to practice “beholding the friendly and hostile equally”?
To help us understand non-duality we must try to be compassionate towards all sentient beings. This is essential in understanding true emptiness and eliminating our false ego. Holding grudges clouds our judgement and makes it hard to see other sentient beings as fundamentally equal.
6)What are the benefits of compassion cultivation?
The benefits of compassion cultivation are endless. When we cultivate compassion we dissolve or false ego, which allows us to see more clearly. When we see clearly with insight and wisdom we can find endless solutions to our daily problems. Compassion is a great tool to help us generate vigor in our practice. When we truly want to help others we are energized and it becomes effortless.
Meditation class students — A.R.
My contemplation is on the act of buying fruit at the grocery store.
The grocery store is one of the few places I have been going since the pandemic started. I like to get fruit every week, in our family we enjoy apples and bananas. I am grateful that our food supply is plentiful even this time of the pandemic. In particular, I appreciate the sweetness of the apple.
When I cut into the apple I think of the massive societal effort that went into creating our farm system so we could sustain ourselves with food. For example, somebody had to plant an apple tree. Then people had to pick the apples. Then the apples had to be loaded onto a large truck, and probably needed to be sorted at a large processing center, again with lots of people. Then the apples need to be driven to one more intermediate storage facilities, until they finally reach the grocery store. Then, at the grocery store, a worker needs to arrange all of the food so shoppers can pick it up. Each step of the way requires people to move the food.
Upon further contemplation, I realize that there are far more interdependencies. I realize the structure that contains the grocery store only came into existence after people built it, it was probably a grass field before that. I also realize that the car I used to go to the store needed to be invented, mass-produced, and sold to people. And that the roads needed to be built. Otherwise, I would need to walk through unpaved paths to get my food.
Contemplation of each effort seems to open up other interdependencies that were not obvious before. After the analysis, I feel that I occupy a smaller place in the world, because I am aware of more things that are connected to my daily activities. I also feel an increased sense of gratitude for small things like fruit.
Meditation class students — N.H.
Things I am thankful for
COVID 19 brought the whole world a tremendous, endless disaster, it changed the world, it changed me.
Under “shelter in place” policy, we confined ourselves in home for more than eight months. During the pandemic period, the only shopping I did was buying food from supermarkets. I gradually got used to this simple, quiet lifestyle and enjoyed it. I almost forgot I used to stick to department store, mall-shopping. Meanwhile I surprised to find my house was crowded by a lot unnecessary stuff which were bought before because of attractive advertisements like “on sale”, “discount”, “coupons”….Thanks for COVID-19, it cut my bad shopping habits. Even now stores reopen, the advertising is more attractive, my desire to buy something is low because I know I have more than enough. I wish the three poisons: Greed, Anger and Ignorance in my mind could reduce more.
I got another understanding from COVID-19. Now when I go out wearing a mask, I know it protects me also protects other people, that means it benefits others also benefits myself. Therefore, I understand Bodhisattva ideal could be done by little, tiny things like wearing masks, it is not a far away, unreachable goal.
Meditation class students — S.L.
I consider myself an interdependent with others at home and at work.
The reasons when at home something we will need opinion or ideas in doing certain things like cooking, working on a project or whether it is a good idea of buying a piece of furniture that maybe useful for home use or it will become a clutter at home.
At work being a lead, I will need everyone participations to help with writing procedure (that is checking the procedure whether it is understandable and with good instructions in testing the product), writing the software (software needed to be tested and is functional) and testing the product to release as a final product to the customer. No one can do it alone.
People I am grateful with are my parents and my wife. My parents have supported me from a baby to an adult. They have worked hard to provide me food, education, shelter and love before I can be on my own to have my family.
As for my wife we shared and worked together to bring our kids to an adult as our parents did.
Meditation class students — Y.G.
Am I independent or not, and why? And things/people one is grateful for.
I am grateful to many many people including some family, friends, and teachers.
I feel most grateful to my parents for the opportunity to be in this world and for all their care when needed.
I also feel most grateful to many of the teachers and shifus who helped accelerate my learning and whatever wisdom I gathered.
Independence is extremely difficult to achieve. I have to depend on the environment (nature) to provide elements I need for physical survival. I am dependent on the social and public services (for example, transportation, medical/health needs) provided and supported by many individuals I don’t even know.
Meditation class students — S.H.
In response to your question if I am interdependent with others:
I am interdependent with many people in my life and in my community. I depend on my partner to help pay for our housing, food, amenities, recreation. I depend on the police and fire department to keep our community safe. I depend on the workers in the stores to set out food for me to buy, as well as the delivery workers to bring food to the home when needed. I depend on the farmers that grow the food and the truck drivers that transport the food to my stores. I depend on the trees for oxygen to breathe. And the trees depend on the rain and sun to grow. I see that all beings are interdependent on each other to survive and to thrive.
I am grateful for my supportive partner, for my health and the health of my family and friends during this time. I am grateful for having food in my home and a warm place to live as I see homeless people on the streets. I am grateful I am able to work from home which is safer during this time. I am grateful for the friends I have in my life.
Meditation class students — E.K.
I am thankful for:
-My parents – they had to meet, get married, and decided to have me for them to be my parents. None of this would have happened if my father hadn’t hired my mother or if either of them had different lives where they decided to have different careers.
-My brother – my parents had to decide to have my brother.
-My fiance – I wouldn’t have met my fiance if we had gone to different colleges or lead different lives at college where we didn’t have similar friends. We both needed to be in a place where we were ready to meet someone new. After meeting, we have needed to put time into this relationship.
-My religious leaders over my life – my parents have their own religious beliefs and are open to teaching me to find who I am. I have been lucky to have open and wonderful religious teachers who have helped me to find myself.
-My boss – my boss is a good boss, he had to have the experiences in his life to make him a good boss.
-My friends – we have all had to be in the right place in our lives to meet each other and have the mutual respect to become friends.
Meditation class students — W.B.
- Yes I am interdependent with others because each person has a role to play in society. For example, the food I eat, the clothes I wear, my transportation, etc. all those things and services are created and/or provided by other people. I am also interdependent in my relationships with my family, friends, coworkers and other people who are part of my life.
- I am grateful for having two wonderful children who are kind, respectful, responsible, resilient, have a great work ethic, love each other and me and are wonderful human beings. I am grateful for my health, for having food and shelter, for having a great job that allows me to pay for my family’s necessities and leaves me with enough time to have a balanced work-personal life. I am grateful for my parents, the country I live in, all my rights and freedom. I am grateful for breathing and having a chance to enjoy life every day I wake up.
Meditation class students — S.W.
- We are all interdependent in this world. We need farmers, teachers, firefighters, engineers, programmers, spiritual leaders, etc. to constitute a healthy community. In turn they need our services either directly or indirectly to survive today’s complex environment.
- I am grateful for my family. We share joy and sorrows together and we met and solved difficulties as we lived thru our years. We did not leave anybody alone in our family.
Meditation class students — S.L.
- Am I interdependent with others or not? Why?
Yes, we are all interdependent with each other living on this planet. We are residing in a social network in which we support each other. We work in different trades and professions and together we move the society forward.
- Things/ people you are grateful for.
I am grateful for my mother who raised four kids during the difficult period after WWII.
Meditation class students — I.C.
Reflection on Interdependence.
Wise folks tells us: ” Everything is inter-dependent.” This happen and therefore that happens. However, many a times in life, we act as if we are not inter-dependent. Action solely out of selfish wants irregardless of others is so common.
In this world we live in, actions are often driven by personal gains, agendas fueled by greed, anger and delusion. I sometimes wonder why. Deeply reflecting – it has probably got to do with the warped speed we are moving, where we were never taught to pause, slow down and think where does our meal on the table came from, who has given us all these necessity to be where we are today, alive, healthy and living. It may also be springing from survival – the drive is so strong that it doesn’t register that others might be hurt along the way by our acts of thoughtlessness. I sometimes think interdependent is the same as Karma.
If only we know and deeply believe in everything being interdependent that we know to accept everything as they come without rushing, rejecting or suffering but with equanimity and gratitude it’s teaching us something. From that practice, may we achieve peace within ourselves and others, whatever may come.
Things I am grateful for:
- Buddha Dharma
- My family and relationships
- Warm clothes on cold days