Contentment, simple life, understanding and wisdom

Dear friends,
You can ask these two questions from yourself: Am I contented with my life? Simply, do I have contentment? I think these are very important and life changing questions. I think the way to contentment is the way of simple life. There is no other way. The simple life is based on few needs, not on much. I know those who live a simple life are always contented and they are emotionally healthy. They don’t need much. They don’t crave to have much, but are happy with whatever they have. They are contented with life because they have trained their minds to be contented with few things. Therefore, they have contentment. They are contented with few. They understand that when wishes are crushed by the reality of life, the law of impermanence, contentment is crushed too. The contentment arising from simple life is based on understanding and wisdom. The function of this wisdom is to make you feel enough of what you have. You don’t crave for more. If you do, your contentment is crushed immediately. So, train yourself today, “I will be contented with few and I will not crave for much.” Now, imagine both husband and wife are contented with each other’s presence and are contented with few things they have, they will have contentment and they will live a contented married life!
With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Dear Friends,
If you can always practice the act of generosity, if you can honestly practice the five moral principles (refraining from taking life, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and taking intoxicant drinks and drugs), and if you can embrace all sentient beings with love and kindness, you don’t have to worry about your safety wherever you go! These threefold spiritual practices will protect you from any foreseeable or unforeseeable dangers and harm. Indeed, Devas (guardian angels) will protect you always !
With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Today I gave a guest lecture on death and burial in Buddhism to Prof. Bill Kervin’s class at the University of Toronto. These are MA and PhD students who are specializing in pastoral studies.

Meditation simply strengthens the connections between brain cells

Neuroscience research suggests that doing meditation for many years would thicken the brain in a very positive and good way. Meditation simply strengthens the connections between brain cells. This is a good news. Neuroscientists have also found that “long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate.” To read the full story, click here. To see whether this is true or not, may be you can start meditating now. This is a picture from yesterday’s meditation class conducted at our temple. Blessings !

Planting good seeds in young hearts !

A selfie picture with kids! These are four Sunday Dhamma school students who said they missed me a lot and they were so happy to see me today! Kids are innocent and beautiful. If we can plant good seeds of goodwill, love, kindness, caring, generosity and respect into their hearts and minds and let them grow with such seeds, the world will be full of trees of goodwill, love, kindness, compassion, caring, generosity and respect. A divine world right here in this planet!

Everything is the mind. Mind is the creator of guilt and mind is the fixer of guilt.

Dear Friends,

Today I would like to answer two questions asked by a friend. Here are the questions: “There are many people who have committed a lot of crimes who are not at all sorry nor guilty for what they have done. Does that mean these people will not have to face the karma of their wrongdoings? Is it not a good thing to be guilty about our past wrongdoings?” These are questions about the Karma and psychology. There is Karma and there is Karma-phala. Karma means “action” and Karma-phala means “results of action.” What it means is that any action done will produce results. No matter who they are, where they live, Karma will produce results for them. Although Karma has been translated into English as action or doing, Karma really means volition or intention. Any action (physical, verbal and mental) done intentionally, that is Karma. Though you like it or not, this is the law of Karma. We don’t need Buddha or God to punish us for our own actions. This is the natural law: If Karma is done intentionally, knowingly, it will get us, may be immediately, or sometime later, or later in this life time, or life after death in the journey of cycle of life.

I want to make this simple for you to understand. All actions based on emotions are Karma. Sometimes we say or do certain things based on certain emotions like greed, craving, desire, anger, hatred, ignorance, jealousy, envy, pride, conceit, ect. By and large emotions blind us. When we do certain actions, we do not think about the consequences. During the time of doing the action we feel happy about it, but later we regret. We feel guilty about our action. Some people don’t feel guilty about it though. This is because they have become a tough personality with negative emotions, layers after layers, and specially with ignorance. Their ego is very strong. This doesn’t mean they are not going to face the music. They will. They are just not concerned about the consequences. This attitude will make them do more negative Karma which will result in more pains. Those who do not feel guilty about their negative actions are lacking two important moral qualities required for a spiritually healthy life. They are known as “Hiri and Ottappa. Hiri means feeling ashamed of wrong-doings and Ottappa means being concerned or being afraid of the consequences. In Buddhist psychology, these two positive qualities are spiritual qualities and they are deemed as guardian angels or divine messengers who are always there for us to protect us from wrong-doings and falling into evils.

Those who do not feel guilty, they are not ashamed of their wrong-doings and at the same time they are not afraid of or concerned about results or consequences of their wrongful actions. They have a rigid personality. Their ego is negatively strong. They are not willing to change their habit, behaviour, attitude and mind. This doesn’t mean Karma will not get them. Indeed, Karma will!

Although feeling guilty seems bad, but it can be taken as positive. Those who feel guilty have two spiritual qualities (shame and concern) and they are ready to correct them. They are ready to change their negative habit, negative behaviour, negative attitude and negative mind. Just by feeling guilty and remaining inactive is not going to do any good to us. If you are feeling guilty, then choose to change your life by training yourself in positive actions right now. For example, if you think you hurt someone intentionally and if you are feeling guilty about it, then to become free from guilt, just say “I am sorry. Please forgive me. Hereafter, I will not repeat it.” This is the first step to remedy your guilt. Thereafter, be mindful of your physical actions, verbal actions and mental actions. I want to emphasize here. Everything is the mind. Mind is the creator of guilt and mind is the fixer of guilt. If you can continue to feed the mind with all positive actions and positive emotions, there will come a day that you are free from guilt. If you can make such a powerful mind, that day you will stop feeling guilty. Or, the day you become awakened, you are going to be completely free from Karmic results and guilt.

With many blessings !

Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Becoming Our Own Blessings and Peace !

Dear Friends,

Some pray to God, some pray to Buddha and some pray to other supernatural deities for blessings and for world peace. I think people do so because they feel powerless during the struggles and bad times. Although we could deem this as a positive action, but reality is something else. I would like to bring your attention to one truth. May be this could be a bitter truth. Although we keep praying for blessings and world peace, we are still the same people full of negative emotions. We are full of anger. We are full of jealousy. We are full of hatred. We are full of craving, greed and desire. We are selfish. We do everything based on self-centredness. We are just thinking about ourselves. Are we really concerned about our own well-being and well-being of all sentient beings? If we are full of negative emotions, we have to understand that our prayers will not be heard until we choose to change our negative habits, behaviours, attitude and minds. Now imagine, by realizing this we choose to cleanse our heart and mind. Imagine we choose to remove all such negative emotions from our heart and mind. Imagine we intentionally choose to transform ourselves from negative to positive, Buddha, God and all other supernatural deities will be present right before us. We pray to Buddha, God and supernatural deities, because we believe they are pure and they full of love and compassion. With their presence in our inner hearts and minds, if we can plant the seeds of Buddha nature and God nature into our heart and mind, and if we can let our minds and hearts grow with such purity, love and kindness, we can say our prayers are heard for true blessings and world peace ! The wonderful blessings are making ourselves full of blessings by removing all negative emotions and sentiments. Thus we become a great blessing to ourselves and to all others in the world. Please think about this.
Wishing you a day full of blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Are we really civilized? If yes, we can’t harm and hurt others !

Dear Friends,
The world with no love and kindness is going to be disastrous and catastrophic. Humanity without respect, love and compassion will be lost. Human beings with no wisdom and love are going to be miserable. Are we seeing this reality? If we think we are civilized, we should behave and do things in a civilized and well-mannered way. Just showing ourselves civilized outwardly is not going to do any good to the humankind and the world. If we think we are civilized, then we should be equipped with a beautiful mind of love and kindness. Civilized people with disciplined mind cannot fight. Civilized people with the instructed mind cannot disrespect. Civilized people with trained mind cannot harm oneself and others. Civilized people are intelligent and wise and they are very concerned about other’s well-being. If we think we are civilized people, then we must have intelligence and wisdom to dispel the darkness and must have love to extinguish the fire of anger and hatred. We need kindness to feel pains of fellow sentient beings. My dear friends, we as human beings like to be loved and we like to embraced with love and kindness by others. As civilized people, let us become the friends and helpers to all. Let us become sympathetic to all living beings. Let us develop a mind of love and compassion day and night. Let us always delight in non-violence and harmlessness ! Let me remind you the deep wisdom of the Buddha and Gandhi: “Be the change you would like to see in the world.”
With many blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk

Love for All

Dear Friends,
I strongly believe we as human beings have the power to wish happiness and well-being to another human being. Our thoughts are powerful. Now imagine you wish happiness and peace to others and others do the same thing to you. Imagine we all choose to wish happiness and peace to one another, we are definitely going to have a harmonious society and peaceful world. Buddha one time said: “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I. Having thus identified self and others, harm no one nor have them harmed. I have love for the footless, for the bipeds too I have love; I have love for those with four feet, for the many-footed I have love. May all creatures, all living things, all beings one and all, experience good fortune only. May they not fall into harm. I am a friend and helper to all, I am sympathetic to all living beings. I develop a mind full of love and always delight in harmlessness.”
Wishing you all blessings !
Bhante Saranapala
The Urban Buddhist Monk