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: November, 2018

Four Noble Truths in Daily Life

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Try to see the Four Noble Truths in everyday life. It would be really excellent, it would be wonderful if when you are suffering during the day you could remind yourself, here I am experiencing the Buddha’s First Noble Truth. If you can tell yourself this, if you can remind yourself of it you’ll see you’ll be relating to that suffering in an entirely different way.

And then you can really move from that to the Second Noble Truth: Now let me see, in what way am I creating my own suffering? And then you can use the Third Noble Truth and the Fourth Noble Truth in the same way. During the day just find out when you are free, when there is no suffering, and then explore: Now there is no suffering; what is the reason why there is no suffering? So if you can really learn to use the Four Noble Truths in daily life in this practical, simple, direct way, you’ll be living the Buddha’s teaching whether you are suffering or whether you are not suffering. Isn’t that a beautiful way to live?

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5 Minutes with your Friend, the Breath

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I would like to suggest that during the day, especially if you are very busy, just try to take very brief breaks to spend some time with yourself. You don’t have to leave the place of work and you can still be seated on your chair and you can even have your eyes open so no one really knows what is happening. And then please spend some time with your friend, the breath. Even for 5 minutes, it will create space in your mind. Even for 5 minutes, whatever the build-up that is happening in your office, or whatever you are doing, there can be some recovery and some space and this will really help you.

So during the day, whatever emotions arise, whatever states of mind arise – and they are bound to arise in a place where it is busy – what we have to do is to make them the objects of meditation.

And when you go back home maybe you’ll be too tired to meditate, so at least spend 10 minutes, maybe not in the cross-legged posture but just lying down or seated on a chair, and just reflect on how you spent the day. Try to do this reflection in a very friendly, gentle way: Now how did I spend the day today? What were the times when I had unpleasant emotions? What were the times when they were not there? This is equally important. Sometimes you might be surprised that for the whole day you were angry only once. So this can really help you to understand, to discover about yourself, about how you are relating to yourself, how you are relating to others. And this can naturally bring about a transformation in oneself.

To be Assertive

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Sometimes, in certain situations, we need to be assertive, we need to be firm because some people only understand that language. So here again you very deliberately, consciously decide: now I’m going to be very firm, I’m going to be assertive in relation to this person. You do it with complete awareness. I know some meditation teachers, some meditation masters who pretend they are getting angry with their students in order to awaken their students. So it can be used as a tool, it can be used as a device.

The Problem of Relationships

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A very important aspect in the place of work, and also in everyday life, is the problem of relationships. How to relate to the people around you. Because we live in an imperfect human world. So all the time we have to encounter, we have to have relationships with imperfect human beings. What we can try to do is to learn from them.

The importance of meditation, the importance of awareness, is trying to watch your own mind when relating to others. And it is natural that you sometimes have unpleasant emotions in relating to people, so don’t be surprised. This is the importance of awareness. This is the importance of watching. This is the importance of learning. And then to see how we can work with these emotions, how we can understand them, how we can let go of them.

Supposing at some time we are unable to do that and we get angry, we get annoyed, we show our anger, we express our anger. What happens when we do this? Again, please don’t be surprised. Please learn not to give yourself a minus. This is very important. When you have a little space, what you can do is reflect on what really happened. As I said earlier this reflection, this exploration, has to be done in a very friendly, gentle way and not in a harsh, hard way, being extremely critical of yourself and seeing yourself as a failur

Breakfast

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I think you will definitely be having breakfast. I won’t be telling you to eat breakfast in silence because it is not possible. But at least spend one minute before you start eating breakfast feeling grateful. Maybe someone has prepared the breakfast for you. It is beautiful to feel grateful for that person. Or even if you have prepared breakfast yourself, just feel grateful that today I prepared breakfast myself and now I’m eating my breakfast. Just to develop this quality of feeling grateful. This is a very important aspect, a very important spiritual quality.

Then to make an effort while eating your breakfast, at least occasionally, to come back to awareness, just to come back to tasting, just to come back to chewing and swallowing. Just make an effort to do that.

Toilet Meditation

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However much you are busy, you are bound to go to the toilet. It is interesting that in the main text in which the Buddha described how we should develop awareness, it says that when you are in the toilet, try to be aware, try to be conscious of what is happening while you are in the toilet. I call this toilet meditation! If you are really interested, if you are really motivated, even if you are so busy at least you will have time to do toilet meditation.

Brushing our Teeth

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There are certain things that we have to do in the morning. However busy you are, I think everyone will brush their teeth in the morning. No one will say I don’t have time to brush my teeth. Can we just practise a little awareness, mindfulness when we are brushing our teeth, just as an example? What happens when we brush our teeth? Again, we have thoughts. We hardly know we are brushing our teeth. This becomes a very strong habit in us. As it is a strong habit, thoughts will come. So with awareness, knowing thoughts are arising, knowing thoughts are coming, just learn to let go of the thoughts and come back to brushing, the conscious brushing of your teeth.

No More than 5 or 10 Minutes.

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Just as you wake up in the morning – you may have lots of things to do – but just as you wake up, can you spend a few minutes meditating, even while lying down on your bed? I mean, it would be ideal if you could do some sitting meditation in the morning even for a short time, but let us assume that you are too busy. But at least while still lying down spend 5 minutes in the lying-down posture and start the day with loving-kindness meditation, just feeling friendly towards yourself and maybe radiating thoughts of loving-kindness. And it is useful to make a wish: During the day may I get an opportunity to practise loving-kindness. This is a beautiful way to begin the day. It won’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes.

A Medicine

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One can see meditation as a medicine for the sickness that we create ourselves. The first point to be very clear about in your mind is: are you really interested in taking the medicine? Have you really made a commitment to take the medicine? Because if you have really made a commitment to take the medicine, you can never say I forgot to take the medicine or I have no time to take the medicine. You all have different priorities in life but where does this taking the medicine figure in your list of priorities? This is a very important point to be clear about. This is the first point I would like to make.

The second point is, as you know, we have been emphasising the importance of just knowing, just being aware, just finding out what is happening to us especially in our daily life. So one has to make an effort, a sincere effort during the day to try to be aware, to try to be conscious of what is happening to you. Maybe a good time to do this is in the morning.

Meditation on Thoughts

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Let us learn to meditate on thoughts.

Just learning to observe, just learning to watch the thoughts that arise and the thoughts that pass away in our mind.

Let us learn to make friends with our thoughts. To observe them very sharply, very clearly.

Let us see how far we can observe the thoughts without judging them. No plus, no minus. Just letting thoughts come and letting thoughts go again.

If you are judging the thoughts, just know that you are judging them. And see the difference when you are judging and when you are not judging the thoughts.

If some of you are having difficulties with unpleasant emotions, can you allow them to arise now if there is a need for them to arise. Sadness, fear, anxiety, depression, whatever you don’t like, let them arise now.

If there are no such unpleasant emotions, just to know that they are not there, and if they are there, just to know that they are there and then to make friends with them.