Exercises for This Vesak (*Updated 18 June 2007*)

Below is a series of exercises that I gave to my students in the SBF English Dharma classes. I thought it would be interesting for us to do something this Vesak.

Take a look. Let me know what you think.

Exercises for this Vesak

  1. Writeup: Why have I not taken the refuge and/or 5 precepts?
  2. Daily reflections (*Updated* 18 June 2007)
  3. Dana for the day!
  4. Spending time with our parents

Details after the jump.

Writeup: Why
have I not taken the refuge and/or 5 precepts?

What is the reason why I’ve not taken the refuge and/or 5 precepts?
Do I understand the meaning of them both?
What am I doing to find out?

Daily reflections

How did I pass my day? Was there

  1. Joy
  2. Sadness
  3. Anger
  4. Happiness
  5. Frustration
  6. Patience
  7. Calmness
  8. Agitation
  9. Jealousy
  10. Appreciative joy
  11. Confidence
  12. Worry
  13. Restlessness
  14. Contentment

(*Updated* 18 June 2007) Have I meditated today?  Was I mindful? Did I harm anyone or myself? Come clean at the end of the day, by doing confessions. If the person you harmed is contactable, make it a point to make amendments to him/her as soon as possible.

Taking note of our mental states on a day-to-day basis, we should review it after a week or two. From the review, we may find a pattern in our life. We are always getting upset over similar things or find ourself pursuing the same thing for ‘happiness’ again and again. As some would say “We are creatures of habits”. Identifying the pattern in our life, we would then need to ask ourself if we really want to change our life, and stop subjecting ourselves to the same emotional roller-coaster or if we want to continue the way we were.

When you are ready to  do it, look for a venerable for guidance. Start today!

Dana for the day!

For the most part, our daily activities revolve around fulfilling our personal needs and wants. In certain cases, we may be benefiting others indirectly or unconsciously only. Instead of leading an “I” centric life, see how we can help others, starting with those around us or anyone whom we may bump into for that day.

Dana means giving, and the highest form of giving is the giving of Dharma (Buddhist teachings) that when rightly taken leads to Nirvana. While we may not all be enlightened or highly acquainted with the teachings, giving can still be done by you and me today! Start small and simple by giving others convenience. Beyond mere wishing others happiness and wellness, try giving them comfort and joy directly! Smile at them, talk to them, give them company. Visit a friend or relative who is sick. Buy a gift for those around us; as they say, no gift is out-of-season.

Spending time with our parents

As we grow up, our parents grow older. Have we spent time with our parents lately? Do we take the time to walk them to the market and accompany them on their chores? Sometimes life is not just about doing things the most efficient way, after all, our life is not just a balance sheet or tax form … why rush through it? Let our parents do some things for us, let them feel and know that they are still needed. Tell them how grateful you are for their care and love over the years. Don’t wait until they are dead and then you tell that to the papers. The last I check, the dead don’t read no papers.

EDIT:

Check out Daily Exercise II

8 thoughts on “Exercises for This Vesak (*Updated 18 June 2007*)”

  1. I like the comments on spending times with our parents, this is especially true after I started to travel alot more for my work and start to realized the importance to spend time with my family and my parents when I am back. As what was mentioned above, let spend time with our love ones and parents when they are still around and also tried to spend some effort to allow them to have the opportunity to expose to buddha teaching. As being a human being is a very rare opportunity and good fortune, let not let them waste it. They may not have the opportunity to learn about buddhism in the past but now we should help them and give them a chance. They may not be able to attain alot this life but at least start the learning and wish them next life that they could continue to have the chance to expose to buddha teaching.

    May triple gems bless all being to be out of the reborn cycle.

  2. Hello Vincent,

    Thanks for your reply. I like your thoughts about getting them started on Buddhism in this life. I think it is crucial to realise that learning and changing can take place even at old age, if only we try.

    Furthermore, the habits and learnings do not just stop at death, it continues in the next life and so on. As they say, “Live up to a old age, learn up till old age!”.

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