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2616 Thu 10 May LESSON Please visit: Translate in your mother tongue using From: Analytic Insight Net - FREE Online Tipiṭaka Research and Practice University and related NEWS through 
 105 CLASSICAL LANGUAGES Piya Tan’s Reflection & sutta class: 9 May 2018 (Wed)
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2616 Thu  10 May  LESSON

Please visit:
Translate in your mother tongue using
Analytic Insight Net - FREE Online Tipiṭaka Research and Practice
University and related NEWS through 


Piya Tan’s Reflection & sutta class: 9 May 2018 (Wed)

10 May at 7:37 AM

From The Minding Centre (TMC) @ Shenton House


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REFLECTION R551: “Do bad mindfully” (To download PDF).

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Do bad mindfully

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affluent Singapore, the mass media often report on criminal offence by
executives, doctors, lawyers, academics, Christian pastors and Buddhist
monks for which they had to serve prison time. These are
professionals—can we then say that a profession­al is one who does something better for more money? But “better” here can refer to both good actions as well as bad ones.


has taught us to survive the harshest natural and human challenges, but
we have yet to learn to overcome some of our criminal habits. Such
habits do not sprout up overnight, but have been learned and conditioned
from our past. Basically, we have never really been taught about right
and wrong, good and bad. Or worse, we are actually drilled that in our
rat-race society money is might, and might is right.


Learning right


moral habits have to be taught from young in a loving way. The key
teaching on this early training is found in the Amba,laṭṭhika
Rāhul’ovāda Sutta (M 61), where the Buddha basically teaches his own son
Rāhula to examine himself on a deep personal level—his thoughts, speech
and deeds—if any of it will harm himself, others or both. “Both” here
is a term for society in general and today we would include the


how the Buddha teaches young Rāhula. The Buddha does not command him:
Don’t do this, or don’t do that! Instead he is taught to be curious
about his mind, speech and body. Let us apply this principle in some
modern circumstances.


Smoke and drink


I was I teenager I smoked because my peers did; when I was older I
drank with western Buddhist friends. As I learned to enjoy the smoke, I
noticed that it hurt my eyes, it smelt like an unwashed over-used sweaty
towel, it made me cough, it tasted like chemical. I easily gave it up. I
enjoyed the drink while I was at it, but it actually tasted so bad, we
seem to seep just a bit each time as a dare; I wondered why anyone drank
at all!


back, I realized I had used some sort of mindfulness approach. I was
being curious about the bad habits I had. I did not really fight them,
but wondered why I even thought of doing them. The question now is how
did these bad habits start? Perhaps we had an urge, or we wanted to get
back at someone, or we were simply bored.


Learning by imitating


notice something or someone doing something, and thought it was worth
copying. For example, we notice that when we show anger people were more
likely to agree with us. So we learned a trigger, behaviour, reward,
repeat. This is just how our karmic unconscious works. Once we get
angry, we will get angry again. Once we give in to desire, we will fall
for it again. Once we show fear, we will show it again. And so on—this
is how our latent tendency (anusaya) builds up and grips us ever tighter.
 Again and again–that’s samsara.


know that being angry, falling into lust or showing fear are not
helpful, even bad. This is called self-restraint or cognitive control.
we need to know our habits on a deeper level. Notice the urge, get
curious; feel the joy of letting go; and repeat. This way we don’t have
to force ourself, but to be disenchanted, even disgusted, on a gut level
so that we are not inclined to do it again. This is naturally letting


we are mindful of something bad we are doing—say like when we are
angry—we will notice a lot of things that we do not like and actually
feel bad about. Then, we more naturally
 let go of old bad habits and form new good ones. We begin to see the benefits of it all.


Up close and personal


mindful then is simply about being really up close and personal with
what is happening in our body and mind. We should get curious with what
is going on inside us rather than wanting to force our bad habits to go
away or to feel guilty about them. As we begin to see ourself as a
better person, capable of great things and boundless love, it becomes
very much easier to step out of our bad habit loops.


we are brave enough, we may even smile at a silly habit–call it by its
name. Don’t call it by your name; then, you will own it forever. The
inner smiling–the Buddha smile–is disarming. It means we do not fear
the enemy; we befriend it. These are little miracles that bring us
closer to the Buddha.

sustained–makes buddhas. Then, we keep on making and befriending our
mistakes for countless lives until we have done them all–
even breaking our hearts, losing our limbs, losing our heads life after life after life.
Then, we’re done, ready to awaken from the dreamy sleep of endless
failing, falling and fleeing, into the bright light of beauty and truth.

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