ท่านเจ้าพระคุณพระโพธิญาณเถร — (พระอาจารย์ชา สุภัทโท)
พระราชวุฒาจารย์ — (หลวงปู่ดูลย์ อตุโล)
Do not try to become anything.
Do not make yourself into anything.
Do not be a meditator.
Do not become enlightened.
When you sit, let it be.
When you walk, let it be.
Grasp at nothing.
Thus, bhikkhus, I have taught you the unconditioned and the path leading to the unconditioned. Whatever should be done, bhikkhus, by a compassionate teacher out of compassion for his disicples, desiring their welfare, that I have done for you. These are the feet of trees, bhikkhus, these are empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not be negligent, lest you regret it later. this is our instruction to you.Samyutta Nikaya 43.1 (Bhikkhu Bodhi translation)
From the Mangala Sutta
Asevanā ca bālānam
panditānañ ca sevanā
pūjā ca pūjanīyānam
With fools no company keeping,
With the wise ever consorting,
To the worthy homage paying:
This, the Highest Blessing....
One cannot stand still in Dhamma. Either one makes effort and cultivates oneself, or one slides away from Dhamma to deterioration. Everything suggested here is on the side of Dhamma and leads one to grow in Dhamma, so here is a chance to put into practice the Buddha's words:
Make haste towards the good
and check your mind from evil.
Whoso is slow in making puñña
his mind delights in evil.
If a man should puñña make
let him do it again and again;
he should make a wish for that:
happy is the piling up of puñña.
— Dhp. 116, 118
~ from Lay Buddhist Practice by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
The Buddha's path consisted not only of mindfulness, concentration, and insight practices, but also of virtue, beginning with the five precepts. In fact, the precepts constitute the first step in the path.
So, we all usually chant along as best we can, maybe aching a bit after sitting too long on the hard floor of the temple. At some point, someone requests the five precepts, "Mayam Bhante, visuṃ visuṃ rakkhanatthāya ti-saraṇena saha pañca sīlāni yācāma ... Venerable Sir, for [our] protection we individually request the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts", that request part of the string and wax seal that help secure our merit for the day. But maybe we have deeper aches that we carried to the temple that day. This rare life, with awareness of what the Buddha taught, isn't always that easy. We know where we should be going but various things get in the way. If after receiving those most basic precepts, their receipt an opening to a virtuous life, we put effort into realizing the goal, the bound up merit we achieve each day can be released into the entire universe for the good of all beings.
Read through The Healing Power of the Precepts by Thanissaro Bhikkhu to gain insight into applying truly virtuous, noble practice to this life.
If you are going to live by any standards, there are none better than these five "standards appealing to the noble ones" which are practical, clear-cut, and humane.
Of paths, the eightfold is best.
Of truths, the four sayings.
Of qualities, dispassion.
Of two-footed beings,
the one with the eyes
Dhammapada - 273
We have selected a few meaningful verses from the Dhammapada as a source of inspiration on our home page. For more insight on the occasions when these verses were first spoken by the Lord Buddha, check this site, The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Once you are aware of the occasion for each of these concise, meaningful lessons you will surely find greater benefit in studying them daily.
Every day, and in every moment of each and every day, we are fortunate to have this valuable opportunity. Which opportunity? The rare chance to be aware of and to carefully follow the path and practice that the Buddha discovered and delivered to us.
The times we are in now may appear to be difficult but we should take a moment to consider the cycle of cause and effect that has been in motion throughout time. This lifetime, this human birth, is a treasure we have earned in the past and it should be carefully guarded in the present.
Develop the virtue, commit to the precepts, engage in the practice, and strive for the release the Buddha has made available - if only by our own effort.
We are fortunate for many reasons. First, our birth in this human realm is a rare and auspicious opportunity. Second, we exist in a time when the Buddha and the Four Noble Truths are known. Lastly, it is possible to achieve the goal, the deathless, with right effort and we are free to attempt just that.
Seek a capable teacher, make your practice diligent and right, and reap the benefits of this fortunate opportunity.
He would not range after the past,
Nor wonder about the future.
What is past has been left behind,
The future is as yet unreached.
Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ
Tatha tatha vipassati
Taṃ viddhā manubrūhaye
Whatever phenomenon is present,
he clearly sees right there, right there.
That is how he develops the mind.
Ko jaññā maraṇaṃ suve
Na hi no saṅgarantena
Doing his duty ardently, today,
For — who knows? — tomorrow death may come.
There is no bargaining
With Death & his mighty horde.
Taṃ ve bhaddeka-ratto'ti
Santo ācikkhate munīti.
Whoever lives thus ardently,
relentlessly both day & night,
has truly had an auspicious day:
So says the Peaceful Sage.
— An Auspsicious Day — Access to Insight
And what is meant by admirable friendship? There is the case where a lay person, in whatever town or village he may dwell, spends time with householders or householders' sons, young or old, who are advanced in virtue. He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate conviction in those who are consummate in conviction, consummate virtue in those who are consummate in virtue, consummate generosity in those who are consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those who are consummate in discernment. This is called admirable friendship.
— Dighajanu Sutta – Anguttara Nikaya 8.54
Thus spoke the Buddha:
A lay-follower (upasaka) who has five qualities is a jewel of a lay-follower, is like a lily, like a lotus. What are these five qualities? He has faith; he is virtuous; he is not superstitious; he believes in action (kamma) and not in luck or omen; he does not seek outside (of the Order) for those worthy of support and does not attend there first.
— Anguttara Nikaya 5.175