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Tuesday, 31 May 2011


When at the beginning of Metta practice we are told to have Metta for ourselves I wonder just how many of you connect this to taking care of yourself physically?

To engage in a life that encourages dis-ease in the body, one that increases the work load of the heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, lungs and bowels is to live a life that actively engages in acts of hate against the body. Eating in a manner that jacks up you blood pressure and cholesterol. Drinking in amounts that cause the liver to become overwhelmed. To carry so much excess weight that our hips and knees simply wear out is to actively not love the body.

Being in this way is also to live in a manner that doesn't show Metta towards the people we love and who love us. Obesity shortens lifespans.It's also insulting to those you love. I remember visiting Thai temples in Melbourne and seeing fat, sloppy husbands of gorgeous Thai women and thinking that they should be ashamed of themselves. How rude to have a seriously gorgeous wife and be a fat, sloppy piece of shit! My wife is seriously gorgeous and as a result I've been pursuing a regular exercise regime for the last 2 years and recently set myself the goal of either have what Brad has or being a 100 kg by her birthday in December....I'm currently a very solid 110 kg.
However eating in healthy amounts and in healthy ways, being moderate in our alcohol consumption and exercising are all lifespan extending activities. Very few of us end up looking like either Brad Pitt or Natalia Spice, but we can all give ourselves exercise and a healthy diet. And that is perhaps the secret to being healthy. Make the hour a day of vigorous exercise, the meat free meal a week, the days without booze a gift to yourself and those you love. This way you can use this in your Recollection of Generosity and fuel Metta from this.
But then again I'm just a filthy 46 year old who is married to a 22 year old he completely adores and is looking for justifications to extend his lifespan and thus see my 1 year old son and his hopefully future siblings grow up.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Meditation practice

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. Pema Chodron

Sunday, 29 May 2011


This is one of my favourite drawings by the cartoonist Michael Leunig and illustrates kindness wonderfully. Notice how almost everything in the illustration is connected? Kindness is the glue that holds our societies together. Kindness is also the foundation of Metta.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The occasional idiot.

Or perhaps Occasionally there is an Idiot. I had one on Friday afternoon. I deliver newspapers as a part time job. The Age newspaper in Melbourne comes in two parts for the Saturday edition. The A2 as it's called is printed on Friday. I pick min up on Friday afternoon for delivery in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The only place I can park my car to load these A2's is often a Disabled Parking Zone. Last Friday things were going in their usual calm manner and Had loaded my car with the A2's and was trying to reverse out when I noticed that there was a car blocking my way, I thought it was just traffic. Then there was a whack on my drivers side window, which I admit gave me a bit of a start. I have a very angry late middle aged man telling me that I was illegally parked. I hadn't been in especially good moods since a visit to the Buddhist Society of Victoria for Vesak observances the preceeding Sunday. So I open my door and tell him if he wants to try hitting something that he should try me. I then give him a shove. He grabs me by the throat. There is a very simple reason why I practice Metta and It came out for a walk at about this time.
            Our angry man suddenly found himself in a situation where not only was he no longer in control of it, but something was snarling at him that I was only trying to do my job. This Idiot wasn't slightly built, slim but certainly not the wan nerdy type. I was in the process of bending him over the bonnet of his car and giving him a couple of slaps upside the head when an Australia Post employee peeled me off him. The Idiots elderly mother was in the car and watched her son lose control of the situation and had It look her clear in the face.
The Idiot was by now not only unwilling to try hitting me, but very rattled, he was genuinely frightened and had a quaver in his voice. I dislike It. It dates from my childhood and is a product of my fathers abuse and the recently diagnosed Aspergers. I think that It is a creation of a typically Aspergian unwillinglness to give into bullies and hurt from not being able to understand why my father clearly didn't love me. At any rate It is truly nasty and utterly devoid of anything resembling compassion. Thus the picture of a snarling wolf...this is what came out for a walk Friday afternoon. Despite over 20 years of Metta practice I have never suceeded in removing it from my personality.
    The point of this post is to show that actions that are based in anger can and do have disastrous results. The Idiot was about 70-75 kg and about 190 cm, but I'm a solid183 cm & 110 kg and he doesn't have It inside him. Had I not been peeled off the Idiot I was going to give him some slaps upside the head which would have resulted in him having some very nasty bruises for show & tell and myself in handcuffs. If he had approached me in a calm, polite manner I would have been only too apologetic. However he approached me with a rage that just didn't think things through. My wife remarked that it was actually very fortunate for the Idiot that my one year old son wasn't in the car at the time or the shoves would have been replaced with full body slaps or punches...and then his mother would have had a stroke when she saw her son having the shit kicked out of him. And all this would have been over a carparking space.
Anger....consider it as being brain dead.

A challenge!

                                                         Go on! I dare you!

Freedom from Fear

Choosing Metta as a way of life is taking such a risk. You might end up liking yourself for a start. Even worse, other people might begin liking you as well. You could end up spending each day in a state of contentment and happiness and be part of a network where people actually treat everything around them with kindness and consideration...and we can't go having that.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Recollecting the positive.

I find that a lot of meditators in the West have quite horrible views of themselves. There are so many people who treat themselves...and others appallingly. We have an internal dialogue that is nothing more than one continuous bitch session....I'm a fuckwit, look at that complete fucking tool, god what a cow!, I look like the arse end of a truck carrying pigs to an abbatoir.....the "charming" commentary rolls on.
This has to stop. Well with Metta this does stop. I gave up believing in spontaneous origination at about the same time as I gave up believing in god, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and my father actually being a nice person...which is alot for a 10 year old. Metta needs something to help it get started. This is somewhat akin to starting a car on a frosty morning....sometimes extreme measures are needed.
If you  are already in posession of a positive self like yourself (then what in hell are you doing reading my blog?), then all you need to do is clean the ice off your windscreen, jack up the heater in the car and drive away. This would be the equivalent of sitting down and having Metta to yourself without any trouble at all. 
Some of us need to clean the ice off and give a couple of turns of the ignition and pumps of the accelerator. This would be like remembering our favourite kitten or bringing up images of babies etc.,
And lastlly some of us need to clean the ice off, give the ignition a couple of turns, the accelerator a couple of pumps, get out, swear a blue streak, get back in and repeat the above and finally clutch start the car. This would be the same as bringing in the Anussati as a way of starting off Metta.
        Perhaps you haven't heard of the  Anussati. The Anussati are the Recollections. There can be as many as ten of them, but in the usual course of things there are seven which keep each other company and they are:
  1.  Buddhanussati: Recollection of the Buddha and his qualities. This where you take a line such as "Destroyer of Defilements" and recollect/remember he really did destroy defilements.
  2. Dhammanussati: Recollection of the Dhamma. Here you use a line like "Seen by the wise for themselves" and recollect/remember that the Dhamma can be seen by us.
  3. Sanghanussati: Recollection of the Sangha. Here we remember that the Sangha can be the source of a lot of merit for ourselves. Sounds selfish, but the "Field of Merit" can be used by Lay people in order to create wholesome mind states like Metta.
  4. Caganussati: Recollection of Generosity. Here we bring to mind all  the nice things we have ever done. It isn't to bring about conceit, but to remind ourselves that we are not only capable of being nice people, but are often nicer than we give ourselves credit for being.
  5. Silanussati: Recollection of Virtue. Keeping Sila is hard. There are just so many temptations out there, some of them have great bums and chests and others have alluring labels with words like "a hint of blackberry" or "hops" or "a rich complexity of subtle flavours" or "5% alcohol per volume" on them. And we all know about the Fourth Wise Monkey? The first three Wise Monkeys are "See no evil", "Hear no evil" and "Speak no evil"...well the Fourth Wise Monkey is "Have No Fun". So on the rare occasions when we actually manage to observe the Five Trainings, we remember this vanishingly rare event and take joy in what seems like the meditative version of pushing shit up hill.
  6. Dewanussati: Recollection of Dewa. I never could get into the earth spirits.
  7. Santinussati: Recollection of Peace. And not a recollection of a certain forest monastery half way between Sydney and Canberra...unless you do get a lot of peace there. Recollection of Peace I seriously get into, I'm the parent of a one year old boy and there have been plenty of times in the last 12 months when silence seemed like a distant memory or hallucination.  Nobody tells you that the volume control on kids is set at maximum and even new borns are amazingly loud sleepers. So when I get my ten seconds of silence...I wallow, yes wallow, in just how nice it is to be in a quiet place. Even the absence of things to do, the joy of just being able to sit causes joy to arise.
I wrote a book on the Anussati under my former identity angulimalo. If anyone wants a copy just e-mail me and I'll send you a copy as an attachment in reply.
    I use Caganussati, Silanussati and Santinussati as ways of causing Metta to arise towards me. Basically anything that gets the warm fuzzies up & movig around will help Metta.
    Long off to saving the universe...wait, that's Dr Who's job. Running the universe...that's gods job. Fucking the universe....could we really handle having so many unemployed politicians?

    Wednesday, 25 May 2011

    The epitome of Metta

    In this painting The Buddha is teaching Dhamma to a Bhikkhuni. We can and should rejoice in the completeness of the explanation of Metta by The Buddha. We can bow in awe to the depth of Karuna that he showed in teaching the Dhamma which over the last 2600 years has saved so much suffering and continues to inspire selfless, wonderful, gentle, loving behaviour in so many people.

    Tuesday, 24 May 2011

    Metta and its supports

    Metta does not and cannot come into existence by itself, it needs to be nurtured and supported. Some of the supports that I have for Metta are the Anussati (Recollections), I find that the recollections of Generosity and Peace to be very good in causing the precursor to Metta to arise. Once we take joy in giving and recognising that we are nice, gentle and indeed kind people Metta is the next logical step. As a parent of a one year old, peace is a rare commodity in my house. In the morning before my son wakes taking the time to simply sit and wallow in the peace is, at times, almost blissful.
    Because we have harsh and uncaring attitudes to ourselves, we are our own worst enemies. I'll work on this after my exams.

    Vesak Lanterns

    Such a happy image from I believe Borobudur in Indonesia.

    In the Beginning

    This blog is intended to be where I place my thoughts concerning my practice of Metta Bhavana, the Loving-kindness Meditation and the practices of Karuna (Compassion), Mudita (Sympathetic Joy) and Upekkha (Equanimity). I'll post reviews of books on Metta and the other Brahma Vihara (Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity) and photo's that I like and quotes that will help with the practice.

    Hopefully you will find it interesting and inspiring. The posts here will come from anywhere I find these wonderful mindstates and ways of living expressed. Occasionally there will be posts in Indonesian...I'm studying it at Monash University.
    This blog also marks the beginning of my creation of a new online identity. I used to be angulimalo, but he was a creation of my marriage to Seesee Chan and with a new wife, child and being a university student (Bachelor of Arts [Languages]) I feel the time is more than due for angulimalo to follow his namesake into Nibbana.

    May you abide today in Metta,
    May you not be angry,
    May you abide in Forgiveness, health, happiness, safety, contentment and this wonderful, beautiful, boundless, blissful Metta.