Whitecross Buddhist Centre

selected New Moon Texts

NEW MOON - Thursday 13th May 2010

The fragrance of flowers or sandalwood
blows only with the prevailing wind,
but the fragrance of virtue
pervades all directions.
Dhammapada verse 54

The power of newspapers, television and internet over people’s lives is obvious. The effect that money can have is likewise perfectly clear. Less obvious perhaps is the power of virtue. The power of integrity, patience, forbearance, restraint - the Buddha is drawing our attention to such forces. They are not necessarily dramatic, but if they are real they are formidable forces nevertheless. The influence of virtue doesn't manifest in the same manner as that of worldliness. Words spoken from a heart of contentment don’t inflame the passions, though they can still inspire enthusiasm. A simple act of generosity is never forgotten by the heart of the giver. Goodness comes back to please those who do good, whether they want it or not. When we forget the power of virtue we are vulnerable to self-seeking ego’s agenda. Making the effort to restrain an impulse of unskillful habit, even for a nanosecond, we generate virtuous energy - and energy is never lost.

With Metta,

 Bhikkhu Munindo

NOTE on the texts from Bikkhu Munindo

The verses used in this fortnightly Reflection are taken from the Dhammapada interpretation, 'A Dhammapada for Contemplation' (2nd edition) Aruna Publications (2006). For more literal interpretations please view other translations. My comments are not intended asinterpretations of the verse but rather are aimed at inducting the reader into his or her own contemplation. One word may trigger skilful enquiry or maybe you feel for what is contained in the entire verse.
You are entirely free to pick up these Dhamma teachings in a way that works for you

NEW MOON – Saturday 13th February 2010

Do not show false humility.
Stand firmly in relation to your goal.
Practice, well-observed,
 leads to contentment
both now and in the future.

Dhammapada verse 168

Genuine humility is such that when we need a little wise counsel we
are willing and able to listen to it. It means that if we lose our
way, we won’t react with resistance to the truth when it is shown to
us. We are reminded by our teachers and Dhamma friends what it was that motivated us to begin on this journey. Maybe it was a life-
changing experience and somehow we needed to make sense of it. Or
perhaps faith inspired us to seek a realisation that we trusted could
be reached, out there - somewhere in the future. As we deepen in
practice the goal of clear-seeing challenges us to look more closely;
instead of trying to be something or somebody we are not, we find we
are able to more fully admit to the reality that is ever-present, now.
This shift makes us much more careful with our actions of body, speech
and mind. In such carefulness we can find contentment. False
contentment arises from complacency and is completely different from
the contentment born of wise reflection. Mindful contentment and true humility lead to insight.
With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

 Sunday 28th February 2010

I say a being is great
who stands not on this shore,
nor the other shore,
 nor on any shore at all.
 Such a being is free from all ties.
Dhammapada verse 385
 What type of person can be considered to be great? Where can excellence be found – in our human society? This question matters because what we are searching for here is the quality or person we would emulate in pursuit of fulfilment. The Buddha says a great being holds to no fixed position; a being free from all attachments; a being not obstructed by clinging to material possessions or views. Such a being is not irresponsible in their actions. It is more accurate to say they are fully responsible. One who is unattached can see clearly,feel accurately and respond truly. Everything is changing. Holding to fixed views and attaching to material possessions leads only to stress. In confusion we strive to cling more - hoping that will help.
Learning the right way to let go, is what really helps.

With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

FULL MOON – Wednesday 28th April 2010
As a flash flood
can sweep away a sleeping village,
so death can destroy those who only seek
the flowers of sensual pleasures.
Dhammapada verse 47
 The Buddha enjoyed tranquil bamboo groves, uplifting mountaintops and recommended such places for developing meditation. Mahakassapa, one of his chief disciples, also described in elegant verse the delight of being in nature. They preferred particular conditions but when these awakened beings found themselves in less agreeable surroundings they didn't complain. Their inner journey wasn't obstructed when their preferences weren't met. The Buddha taught a way to what he called the
deathless state - a state that could be realised if we see clearly the
nature of our senses - seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching
and cognising. After years of dramatic denial of the sense pleasures, he discovered a middle way between indulgence and avoidance. This way of mindfulness knows fully when sense pleasure arises and learns from sense pain too. No fixed position.
With Metta,
Bhikkhu Munindo

 Monday 15th March 2010

Suffering subsides to the degree
 that you are free from the intention
 to cause harm.
There is no real greatness
 if there is no restraint from anger.
 Dhammapada verse 390
The feeling of indignation can be a feeling of greatness. But this kind of greatness is full of suffering. Fire and smoke subside and we see the damage caused by unrestrained speech and action. Others have been hurt and we are left alone to endure the regret and remorse.
 Lying in the sun can feel agreeable; sweet things and dessert can seem attractive but their appearance belies their reality. Because they feel good does not make them good. The upthrust of anger feels energising but such energy comes at a cost. In following it we build up debts. We may feel we are right in taking this position but we are wrong in how we hold it. If we are serious about being free from suffering we will want to become aware of even the slightest intention to cause harm.
With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

New Moon - Tuesday 13th April 2010
As solid rock
is unshaken by the wind,
so are those with wisdom undisturbed
whether by praise or blame.

 Dhammapada verse 81
Whoever we are, whatever our calling in life, we are subject to the
forces of praise and blame. How can we live in this world without
becoming victim to these forces? The Buddha said wisdom was the answer. Whatever the external conditions, when wisdom is firmly established, our hearts remain unshaken. Wise beings are in touch with the world they live in; they feel the impact of the forces of the
world, but don’t lose their balance. To arrive at wisdom we must first understand the pain of losing our balance. Many times we have heard that freedom from suffering comes from being mindful of it. Feeling hurt by criticism does not mean we have failed; it means we know where and when we need to be mindful.
With Metta,

Bhikkhu Munindo

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