Here is the verse our local paramita practice group has been reading & reflecting on daily this past week, which I took and pieced together from the section focusing on the Fourth Paramita (diligence) from Thay’s book The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings:
The Buddha said that in the depth of our store consciousness, there are all kinds of positive and negative seeds (anger, delusion, understanding, forgiveness…). Many of these seeds have been transmitted to us by our ancestors. We should learn to recognize every one of these seeds in us in order to practice diligence. The practice is to:
– refrain from watering the negative seeds in us and in the people we love. We also try to recognize the positive seeds that are in us and to live our daily life in a way that we can touch them and help them manifest in the upper level of our consciousness.
– “change the peg”; if you have a mental formation arising that you consider to be unwholesome, invite another mental formation to replace it.
– invite only pleasant seeds to come up and sit in the living room of your consciousness. Never invite a guest who brings your sorrow and affliction.
– keep a wholesome seed as long as possible once it has manifested.
If mindfulness is maintained for 15-minutes, the seed of mindfulness will be strengthened, and the next time you need the energy of mindfulness, it will be easier to bring up.
Gosh, I’ve really been enjoying this paramita reflection group. If you didn’t read the first post in this paramita series, I am part of a small group of 6 people and we’ve been a group now for 4-weeks, with 2 more left to go, centered around the Six Paramitas.
On Monday of each week we start with a different paramita and read a verse each day for the week associated with it. Then on Sunday, each member of our group offers a short check-in about their reflections and practice with the paramita on a shared Google doc. Originally, our group was slated to meet once in person at the end of our 6-weeks, however, we will likely now be meeting on Zoom instead.
For me, the benefit of knowing I have a group of friends I’m practicing with and holding myself accountable to while also having it be largely self-propelled and online works really well as a format. It’s just enough structure without too much structure and leaves a lot of open room for creativity and personalization.
Here are some reflections I penned in my journal this past week on the paramita of diligence:
To tend well to my skillful and beneficial seeds – and shield the watering of my unskillful and un-beneficial seeds – requires that I have a close and active relationship with my own self. Otherwise, I’m at risk for not knowing what seeds I’m watering and when.
Self-inquiring & on-going Q’s: What seeds am I watering when I watch this TV program? What seeds am I watering when I read this news article? What seeds am I watering when I hang out with this person? What seeds am I watering when I ruminate about this topic for the umpteenth time?
Once again, I come back to my common practice thread of: there is no such thing as an insignificant moment, meaning an action so small that it doesn’t create an impact. Every seed I water or don’t water makes a difference, every single time.