Friends of Godwin Samararatne

Learn to be your best friend and also to be a friend of others. Learn to forgive yourself and others and then heal any wounds that you are carrying.

Month: October, 2017

Unhealed Wounds

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A way in which we can be our own enemy is when we hold on to the wounds that we carry in relation to what has happened in the past. Generally speaking wounds can be created by what you have done to others and what others have done to you. In relation to what you have done to others, a very destructive emotion that we can be holding onto is guilt. And with wounds created in relation to what others have done to us, the emotion that we can be carrying within us is hatred and ill will.

And when we have these unhealed wounds it can affect us in many ways. It can affect even our body sometimes. We can have psychosomatic illnesses which are created due to psychological reasons. It can also affect our body it creates certain tensions in the body. And it can affect our sleep and we will be having dreams in relation to some of these unhealed wounds. So we can be experiencing sadness, we can be experiencing fear and guilt even while we are sleeping! And at the time that we die some of these unhealed wounds can surface in a very strong way so that we’ll not be able even to die peacefully.

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Harmlessness

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When we take to meditation in our spiritual life, naturally we learn to lead a harmless life, a skilful life, a wholesome life, not creating suffering for ourselves and not creating suffering for others or harming others. This comes under moral or ethical behaviour which is very much emphasised in the Buddha’s teaching. And here again there is a beautiful phrase, I would like to use the Pali words, Anavajja Sukha, which means the joy and bliss that comes from harmlessness, joy and bliss that comes from a skilful and wholesome way of living. So we see clearly how from being our own worst enemy we can learn to be our best friend.

Overcome Suffering

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In the Dhammapada, one of the most important books containing the Buddha’s teaching, there is a very interesting phrase: that we should overcome our suffering through joy. Sometimes we are trying to overcome suffering through suffering. But when we experience more and more joy and lightness, then when suffering arises, when we experience unpleasant emotions, it becomes very easy to handle them.

Rejoicing

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There is a beautiful word that is used in the Dhamma, the word is rejoicing. To rejoice in our own good qualities. To rejoice in the positive aspects in ourselves. Seeing more and more the positive in ourselves, and learning to rejoice in our own goodness in this way can bring about lots of joy and lightness. And when we experience more and more joy and lightness in us, then it can also be infectious, it can also influence and inspire others to experience more joy and lightness.

Only Minuses

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In what ways do we become our worst enemy? One is that we can be extremely critical and hard on ourselves. The phrase that I like to use is: we give ourselves minuses – it can become a very strong habit. And when we have this habit of giving ourselves only minuses we’ll also be giving minuses to other people. We can create a hell where only minuses exist. So meditation of loving-kindness helps us to see this very clearly, how we become our own enemies by giving ourselves minuses and giving minuses to others; and then we learn to see more and more the positive qualities in ourselves and in others.

Friendliness

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Metta in simple terminology means just friendliness. So the question is: where do we begin this friendliness? It is psychologically interesting that we are to begin with ourselves. I think it is difficult to be friendly to others unless you are friendly to yourself. A phrase that I would like to use is: Metta enables us to be our own best friend. But we don’t realise sometimes that we can be our own worst enemy. And generally speaking we see enemies outside ourselves, and maybe all our life we are trying to find and get rid of the external enemies but we don’t realise, as I said, that we can be our worst enemy.

Four Friends

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There is a very important aspect in Buddhist meditation. It is related to developing four very important spiritual qualities in ourselves. They are called “The Four Sublime or Beautiful States”. They are also called “The Divine Abodes”, because when we develop these qualities we are like divine beings, like gods.

I would like to see these four qualities as our friends because if we can encourage these four friends to be with us most of the time, this will help us to experience a lot of joy and lightness and it will also help us to bring joy and lightness to others. To put it in another way, when these four friends are not with us this can create lots of suffering for ourselves and lots of suffering for others.

And these four qualities in Pali sound so soothing, so nice. They are Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekkha. So Metta is loving-kindness, friendliness. Karuna is compassion. Mudita is sympathetic joy. And Upekkha is having a non-reactive, equanimous mind.

Meditation

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If you’re having thoughts, just know what thoughts you are having very sharply, very clearly.

If you are experiencing sensations, just know what sensation you are experiencing from moment to moment.

You can experience the present moment, just feeling the peace and the stillness in this room.

Feeling what it is to sit with your body completely still.

If the body is still, the mind may become still, and you can feel the stillness around you.

Feeling friendly and gentle towards our mind and body.

Joy and Bliss

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It’s a very important aspect of the practice to experience joy and bliss in meditation. So when joy and bliss arise, when the body trembles, just know that the body is trembling, just try to find out what exactly is the sensation you are experiencing and just be with the sensation. What is important when we have these positive emotions is not to hold onto them.

Like a Lotus

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I would like to present a Buddhist simile which shows how we can live in any environment and learn how not to be affected by that environment. And the simile is a lotus flower. As you know, a lotus flower grows in muddy waters. But though it is surrounded by muddy, dirty water the lotus is not affected by what is around it.

So in this modern world, there can be lots of challenges, lots of difficult situations, lots of problems that might arise, but with the practice of meditation we’ll be able to see them as challenges and learn, like a lotus, not to be affected by the surroundings that we find ourselves in.