It was a cold winter night in Melbourne last year, I was staying at the Buddhist Society of Victoria for a week and feeling grateful to the Buddhists of Melbourne, I had accepted the invitation to give several talks during the week and a daylong meditation workshop on the weekend. Tuesday night was the beginners’ class, but when I walked into the hall I was a little surprised to see the smiling faces of so many old friends! It was touching to see how many people had come out to the centre despite the cold.
While taking a few moments considering what to say that might be helpful, one could palpably feel the layers of stress and anxiety in the air, and the fatigue that these mind states give rise to as well. No doubt many people had just come from work and had then been in the bustling traffic. The most appropriate thing to offer then it seemed would be a reminder to people of their extraordinary potential and relative good fortune, and to then point quite emphatically to that part of the mind that can mindfully know all mind states and emotions as merely “thoughts”… and … “feelings.” After this short talk we sat meditation together and by the end of the session the burden of the daily grind seemed considerably lighter.
Generating clear mindfulness is extremely helpful… in fact it is a true refuge.
Opening the heart to the ever-present ‘Positive Power’ of Buddhas
On this same occasion, after the meditation I thought it would be nice to tell an uplifting and humorous little story that seems to suggest that the Devas of the holy shrines in Bangkok are definitely responsive to prayers and requests. In our modern world where the news, the economy, relationships and politics consume so much of our attention, it is nice to be reminded of the lighter side of the conditioned realm, and hear things which are “faithy’ in tone rather than cynical, pessimistic or suspicious. Learning to ask for support at the right time and in the right manner is also an important aspect of deepening our practice. And just as we train in giving generously, we also need to know when it is time to ask for help and to learn how receive from others graciously.
May the enormous power of the accumulated merit of the Buddha support and guide us all along the Path.
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