This is my first ever blog post. I’ve been thinking about this for a while: to start sharing my experiences about my journey in practising Dhamma. Dhamma is the practical teaching of Siddhārta Gotama Sakyamūni, who at the age of 35 and after 49 days of straight meditation under the Bodhi tree attained enlightenment and thereafter became the Buddha, “The Awakened One” or “The Enlightened One.”
On the evening of Saturday October 15, 2016, at 22:25, I took refuge in the Three Jewels, the Triple Gem: the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. I also committed myself to the Five Precepts: the undertaking of the rule to abstain from: killing any living being, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from using unskillful language, and from using intoxicating substances.
It has been a challenge to live up to these commitments. Self honesty and self integrity is paramount. The goal is to cease suffering, through direct knowledge of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. Meditation is the vehicle, mindfulness or insight meditation (sati) along with concentration (samadhi). I have started late in life but I hope the attainment of stream entry the minimum.
I have many lives ahead to reach full liberation and arahantship: to taste nibbāna.
One of the things I feel I lack in my journey is what is known as a good friend. I have friends. I have many people in my life who are and have been loving and supportive. But in the Buddhist context, a good friend is one who walks their own practice and parallels with you in yours.
A good friend is wise in the ways of the Dhamma and seeks the same for you. A good friend has a strong meditation practice and is versed in sati and samādhi. A good friend will help guide you in your meditation practice.
The Lord Buddha is the greatest friend one can have, and so a good friend is to have some of the virtues and qualities to some degree that the Tathāgata has.
I need a good friend. I think my kamma and the kamma of others have arrangements made.
For the last few days, and off and on over the course of much of my adult life, I have pondered on requirements and demands of the fourth training rule of the pañcasīla (the Five Precepts):
musāvādā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
I undertake the training rule to abstain (refrain) from false speech (lying).
When I think about what exactly this – false speech or lying – means, I am beginning to wonder if there is more to it than just “telling lies” or “not telling the truth.” I can look into this more deeply than the definition of the terms. Practical implications are where my interest lies now: What does it mean to refrain from false speech? What exactly is lying? How can one lie? What does it mean to tell the truth or to be truthful?
Truthfulness appears to be more a state of being than an individual action. How I act (thought, speech and act) will not only determine how in line I am with reality but also betray whether I am in line with reality or not. If I want to lie about something but don’t, doesn’t that still show to myself that I am still not in conformance to reality, a liar? In all honesty, yes it does, because my present natural inclination was to lie. If I continue to resist the urge to lie however, that inclination will be changed and to tell the truth will become my new inclination. What is more, the duplicity that once existed caused internal conflict and this is suffering. But once I’ve aligned my thought and speech and action with reality and not cling to it, there will be peace.
All I have to do is work on BEING truthful. This require constant vigilance; I must be self-vigilant. And whenever I am not being truthful or honest, I meditate on the experience and the process that takes me there. To mindfully be objectively aware of the reality of it all, this direct knowledge will build a natural aversion to duplicity. Like all sentient beings, I am naturally attracted to what will bring me happiness and not to what makes me suffer. But my mind must be calm in order to concentrate and be mindful. The training of the mind is what it’s all about.
May you all be well, happy and peaceful! May no harm, no difficulty, no problem come to you; may you always meet with success! May you also have patience, courage, understanding and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems and failures in life!