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Re: qu. from a friend in need

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  • amara chay
    ... decay and ... lead in the ... At that ... the ... days, when I ... put onto me. ( ... the ... and rupa? ... Sarah, Thoughts make up our individual worlds
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 8, 2000
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      > "--In the past months my thoughts turned regularly to death and
      decay and
      > impermanence and I worried much about what kind of life I should
      lead in the
      > future.
      > Only thinking, said Nina to me, when I was in a similar situation.
      At that
      > time this broke the spell of fruitless worrying.
      > At the back of my mind was and is still the notion to look up what
      the
      > abhidhamma says and that gives me some calmness. But there are
      days,
      when I
      > don't know how I can master all the demands I or others will
      put
      onto me. (
      > Does that sentence make sense to you?)
      > Anyhow, while I write this down I feel already more concentrated on
      the
      > present.
      > Is there anything to be done besides starting to be aware of nama
      and rupa?
      > --"


      Sarah,

      Thoughts make up our individual worlds and distract us from the
      realities of the present, and keep us company even when we are
      alone, unless we recognize them as thoughts, arising in connection
      with what we experience through the other senses. But once we study
      the realities as they appear, including thoughts, we begin to realize
      there is no one there, only nama and rupa, no others who expect
      things from us, nor is there really us to bear all the burdens. The
      dangers of samsara are indeed frightening, which is why the Buddha
      encourages us to be brave and cheerful in the dhamma, because there
      is no avoiding what must come whether you worry about it or not, but
      anything that comes can also bring panna, if studied with sati.
      Again I think of Rajjumala, the slave woman in our last Q&A3
      <http://www.DhammaStudy.com>, and her extremely cruel life, from
      which no escape seemed possible, but with panna she became
      enlightened even under her circumstances. For me, to have sati may
      not be the only way to live in this world, but it is without doubt
      the best and the most beneficial way.

      By the way, I really liked what Robert wrote on the subject, with
      such care and compassion and clear comprehension of the dhamma, I
      really appreciated that, and thanks to Sarah posted 'G's' problems
      for us,

      Amara
    • Sarah Procter Abbott
      Dear Group, I received a letter from a friend (call her G) who has been having a tough run for some time and who can only occasionally visit the list. I’m
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 8, 2000
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        Dear Group,

        I received a letter from a friend (call her G) who has been having a tough
        run for some time and who can only occasionally visit the list. I�m quoting
        part of it below as I�m sure others may have some useful comments for her
        which I�ll make sure G receives.
        Sarah

        "--In the past months my thoughts turned regularly to death and decay and
        impermanence and I worried much about what kind of life I should lead in the
        future.
        Only thinking, said Nina to me, when I was in a similar situation. At that
        time this broke the spell of fruitless worrying.
        At the back of my mind was and is still the notion to look up what the
        abhidhamma says and that gives me some calmness. But there are days, when I
        don�t know how I can master all the demands I or others will put onto me. (
        Does that sentence make sense to you?)
        Anyhow, while I write this down I feel already more concentrated on the
        present.
        Is there anything to be done besides starting to be aware of nama and rupa?
        --"

        [ends]


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      • Theresa
        Hello Sarah,
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 8, 2000
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          Hello Sarah,

          << -----
          "--In the past months my thoughts turned regularly to death and decay
          and impermanence and I worried much about what kind of life I should
          lead in the future. ... At the back of my mind was and is still the
          notion to look up what the abhidhamma says and that gives me some
          calmness. But there are days, when I don't know how I can master
          all
          the demands I or others will put onto me. ... Anyhow, while I write
          this down I feel already more concentrated on the present.
          Is there anything to be done besides starting to be aware of nama and
          rupa? --"
          -------- >>

          Speaking in terms of "cause and effect" or "condition and sankhara"
          in the small scale, from moment to moment..

          If certain condition gives rise to certain set of sankhara, then
          changing the condition will change the sankhara sets..

          <<
          ...thoughts turned regularly to death and decay and impermanence and
          I worried much about what kind of life I should lead in the future...
          >>
          "Thoughts" are sankharas..
          Objects of thoughts are "condition" for thoughts/sankhara..
          Changing the objects will change the types of thoughts..

          <<
          ...look up what the abhidhamma says and that gives me some calmness...
          >>
          The new object is the abhidhamma..
          Changing to this new object did change the set of thoughts, which
          are "calmness"..

          <<
          ...But there are days, when I don't know how I can master all the
          demands I or others will put onto me. ...
          >>
          More thoughts with the same old "condition"..
          Please choose another "condition"..
          May I suggest new "condition" to give you a change of sankhara:
          (1) reading the Tipitaka,
          (2) reading or listening to dhamma talks given by Sujin or any
          meditation teachers, whom you feel comfortable with,
          (4) watching your thoughts and emotions closely in order to know how
          they come and go, [[ this is practicing the four foundations of
          mindfulness.. ]], or
          (5) being mindful of your breath (anapassati) [[ this is practicing
          the four foundations of mindfulness.. ]], or
          (6) being mindful of your footsteps, your bodily movements, and your
          physical sensations (vedana) [[ this is practicing the four
          foundations of mindfulness, and also a shift of attention away from
          nama into rupa.. Change of condition ! ]], or
          (7) simply walking away [ at least temporary ] from the current
          situation which causes the uncomfortable thoughts.. [[ Change of
          condition !.. For examples, a) Walking or jogging for more than 20
          minutes to sweat some. b) cleaning the garage, a room, a table, or a
          corner, c) washing the car, waxing it, and vacuming it, d) gardening,
          etc.. (( I am learning how to play handball, tennis, basketball,
          floating and swimming from my two sons.. )) ]]

          <<
          ...Anyhow, while I write this down I feel already more concentrated
          on the present...
          >>
          The body (rupa) is a part of the *present*..
          Bodily sensations, bodily movement, and the breath (either at the
          nose or at the tummy) are part of the *present*..
          Please use them.. They are always available, easy to "feel" and
          notice..
          "Concentration" is gained when the mind stays on one object for a
          period of time..

          <<
          ...Is there anything to be done besides starting to be aware of nama
          and rupa?...
          >>
          Buddha taught us the four foundations of mindfulness, and that means,
          mindfulness of nama and rupa.. I recall that Buddha said that this is
          the only way to get to Nibbana.. (( Please don't ask me where I read
          it, because I don't recall.. hehehe.. ))

          <<
          ...thoughts turned regularly to death and decay and impermanence and
          I worried much about what kind of life I should lead in the future...
          >>
          Please do not worry..
          Impermanence, thus death and decay, are inevitable and thus,
          suffering..

          The kind of life in the future ?? Kamma/sankhara will do the job..
          Worrying about it will not change the course.. Buddha taught us
          Mindfulness to lead us forward on the Noble Path and eventually to
          the End of Suffering..

          I like to think : "In the current moment, if Mindfulness is present,
          this present moment will influence the future in a more wholesome
          way.." :-))

          May your friend, G, feel peaceful and happy in each breath, in each
          moment of living, from moment to moment..

          With metta,

          Theresa.
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