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Sunday, December 15, 2013

10-Day Year End Meditation


 Texas Buddhist Association (TBA) Insight Meditation Group (IMG) has our last retreat of the year from Dec 7th to Dec 16th 2013.  Venerable Katapunno lead the retreat in spite of the bitter cold and his sickness.  He continue the study of the book "In This Very Life" by Sayadaw U Pandita.  In addition, this time we welcomed three yogis from California participating in the retreat.  Let's hope that this trend continue, since one of the primary purpose of the American Bodhi Center is provide a place for everyone to conduct retreats.  You are welcome to contact the center if you are interested.
In addition to the rigorous schedule of walking, standing and sitting meditation.  There were two things that everyone appreciated and benefited a lot from are: the Dhamma talk by Venerable Katapunno and the every other day personal interviews by him.  Bhante spent hours, sometimes staying up till late hours (I know since my room is next to his), preparing for the class.  Just to make sure that all of us understand the meaning and the importance of the "Seven Factors of Enlightenment" (Pali: satta bojjhaṅgā or satta sambojjhaṅgā; Skt.: sapta bodhyanga) are:
  1. Mindfulness (sati) i.e. to remember the Dhamma.
  2. Investigation (dhamma vicaya) of the Dhamma.
  3. Energy (viriya).
  4. Joy or rapture (pīti).
  5. Relaxation or tranquility (passaddhi) of both body and mind.
  6. Concentration (samādhi) a calm, one-pointed state of concentration of mind.
  7. Equanimity (upekkha), to be able to face life in all its vicissitudes with calm of mind and tranquility, without disturbance, with dispassion and detachment.
In meditation interviews every yogi get the chance to check his or her progress and opportunity to ask questions and get helps with difficulties.  Other the just as important consideration is that subconsciously, urges each of us to work hard in order that we take full advantage of the 10 minutes that we get every other day.

Sadu! Sadu! Sadu!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day 3-Day Retreat- August 2013

A lot of people enjoy the 3-day long weekend going on vacations and visiting friends. More than thirty of us die-hard and newbies got to gather at the American Bodhi Center (ABC) to work on our meditation practices. We had students from TAMU College Station and we had new friends who had not been to ABC before. You may say fate brought us together and others will tell you that it is our karma that does the job.

Orientation was conducted during the first evening, in order to explain and introduce the important guidelines. "Noble Silence" started that evening. The practice of noble silence extend not only to essential verbal communication, it also include all actions for the three days. By making each action slowly with clear awareness, produced the desired results and benefits for meditation.

Each meditation session is an hour long and the Venerable did gave each yogi, especially for the benefit of beginners, the flexibilities to mindfully change postures.  Venerable Katapunno emphasized that this is to be the last resort.  Also to give people that participate in a long retreat the first time, the last two rows of the meditation hall were setup with both meditation cushions and meditation benches.

Most might say meditation is hard but look at the peaceful serene center and wonderful meals.

In addition, Ven Katapunno discussed about two important aspect that every serious meditators would agreed on: how to overcome Sloth & Torpor (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/html/mara.html#Sloth) and vicikicchā/ Doubt (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pesala/Pandita/html/mara.html#Doubt). Both are mjor "killer" of one's meditative life.

As the Buddha said, more than two thousand five hundred years ago, do not just take my words, experience it and test it out each for yourself. We hope you will also decide to join us soon and get the taste of freedom in the ultimate sense of the word.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Holiday 3-Day Retreat May 2013


"Unwavering Commitment- factor leading to the development of the controlling faculties is the quality of mind that keeps you walking straight to the end of the path without becoming sidetracked, without giving up your task."  these were the words from the Book "In This Vert Life" by Sayādaw U Pandita.


About thirty yogis spent the Memorial Holidays under the guidance of Venerable Katapunno experienced the meditation life of monastics.  Woke up 5AM in the morning and have nine sessions of meditation.  At the end of each sitting meditation we heard the inspiring Pali chant from Dhammapada Verses 277, 278 and 279 of our teacher ...


"Sabbe sankhara anicca ti
yada pannaya1 passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.

Sabbe sankhara dukkha ti
yada pannaya passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya.

Sabbe sankhara anatta ti
yada pannaya passati
atha nibbindati dukkhe
esa maggo visuddhiya."
 
"All conditioned phenomena are impermanent"; when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the Path to Purity.

All conditioned phenomena are  unsatisfactory"; when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the Path to Purity.

All conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are without Self"; when one sees this with Insight-wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the Path to Purity."  (Dhammapada Verses 277, 278 and 279)





Ten Armies of Māra
Here are the lines the Buddha addressed to Māra, as recorded in the Sutta Nipāta:
  1. Sensual pleasures are your first army,
  2. Discontent your second is called.
  3. Your third is hunger and thirst,
  4. The fourth is called craving.
  5. Sloth and torpor are your fifth,
  6. The sixth is called fear,
  7. Your seventh is doubt,
  8. Conceit and ingratitude are your eighth,
  9. Gain, renown, honor and whatever fame is falsely received (are the ninth),
  10. And whoever both extols himself and disparages others (has fallen victim to the tenth).
At the end of each evening Ven. Katapunno leads us in Metta blessing and shared our merits in Pali before we retire to our room at 10PM.
The Chant of Metta Text
Aham avero homi (May I be free from enmity and danger)
abyapajjho homi (May I be free from mental suffering)
anigha homi (May I be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharami (May I take care of myself happily)
Mama matapitu (May my parents)
acariya ca natimitta ca (teacher relatives and friends)
sabrahma - carino ca (fellow Dhamma farers)
avera hontu (be free from enmity and danger)
abyapajjha hontu (be free from mental suffering)
anigha hontu (be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharantu (may they take care of themselves happily)
Imasmim arame sabbe yogino (May all meditators in this compound)
avera hontu (be free from enmity and danger)
abyapajjha hontu (be free from mental suffering)
anigha hontu (be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharantu (May they take care of themselves happily)
Imasmim arame sabbe bhikkhu (May all monks in this compound)
samanera ca (novice monks)
upasaka - upasikaya ca (laymen and laywomen disciples)
avera hontu (be free from enmity and danger)
abyapajjha hontu (be free from mental suffering)
anigha hontu (be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharantu (May they take care of themselves happily)
Amhakam catupaccaya - dayaka (May our donors of the four supports: clothing, food, medicine and lodging)
avera hontu (be free from enmity and danger)
abyapajjha hontu (be free from mental suffering)
anigha hontu (be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharantu (May they take care of themselves happily)
Amhakam arakkha devata (May our guardian devas)
Ismasmim vihare (in this monastery)
Ismasmim avase (in this dwelling)
Ismasmim arame (in this compound)
arakkha devata (May the guardian devas)
avera hontu (be free from enmity and danger)
abyapajjha hontu (be free from mental suffering)
anigha hontu (be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharantu (may they take care of themselves happily)
Sabbe satta (May all beings)
sabbe pana (all breathing things)
sabbe bhutta (all creatures)
sabbe puggala
all individuals (all beings)
sabbe attabhava - pariyapanna
all personalities (all beings with mind and body)
sabbe itthoyo
may all females
sabbe purisa
all males
sabbe ariya
all noble ones (saints)
sabbe anariya
all worldlings (those yet to attain sainthood)
sabbe deva
all devas (deities)
sabbe manussa
all humans
sabbe vinipatika
all those in the four woeful planes
avera hontu
be free from enmity and dangers
abyapajjha hontu
be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu
be free from physical suffering
sukhi - attanam pariharantu
may they take care of themselves happily
Dukkha muccantu
May all being be free from suffering
Yattha-laddha-sampattito mavigacchantu
May whatever they have gained not be lost
Kammassaka
All beings are owners of their own Kamma
Purathimaya disaya
in the eastern direction
pacchimaya disaya
in the western direction
uttara disaya
in the northern direction
dakkhinaya disaya
in the southern direction
purathimaya anudisaya
in the southeast direction
pacchimaya anudisaya
in the northwest direction
uttara anudisaya
in the northeast direction
dakkhinaya anudisaya
in the southwest direction
hetthimaya disaya
in the direction below
uparimaya disaya
in the direction above
Sabbe satta
May all beings
sabbe pana
all breathing things
sabbe bhutta
all creatures
sabbe puggala
all individuals (all beings)
sabbe attabhava - pariyapanna
all personalities (all beings with mind and body)
sabbe itthoyo (may all females)
sabbe purisa (all males)
sabbe ariya (all noble ones (saints))
sabbe anariya (those yet to attain sainthood)
sabbe deva (all devas (deities))
sabbe manussa (all humans)
sabbe vinipatika (all those in the 4 woeful planes)
avera hontu (be free from enmity and dangers)
abyapajjha hontu (be free from mental suffering)
anigha hontu (be free from physical suffering)
sukhi - attanam pariharantu (may they take care of themselves happily)
Dukkha muccantu (May all beings be free from suffering)
Yattha-laddha-sampattito mavigacchantu (May whatever they have gained not be lost)
Kammassaka (All beings are owners of their own kamma)
Uddham yava bhavagga ca (As far as the highest plane of existence)
adho yava aviccito (to as far down as the lowest plane)
samanta cakkavalesu (in the entire universe)
ye satta pathavicara (whatever beings that move on earth)
abyapajjha nivera ca (may they are free of mental suffering and enmity)
nidukkha ca nupaddava (and from physical suffering and danger)
Uddham yava bhavagga ca (As far as the highest plane of existence)
adho yava aviccito (to as far down as the lowest plane)
samanta cakkavalesu (in the entire universe)
ye satta udakecara (whatever beings that move on water)
abyapajjha nivera ca (may they are free of mental suffering and enmity)
nidukkha ca nupaddava (and from physical suffering and danger)
Uddham yava bhavagga ca (As far as the highest plane of existence)
adho yava aviccito (to as far down as the lowest plane)
samanta cakkavalesu (in the entire universe)
ye satta akasecara (whatever beings that move in air)
abyapajjha nivera ca (may they are free of mental suffering and enmity)
nidukkha ca nupaddava (and from physical suffering and danger).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Skip 4/27 Retreat & Sign up for Memorial Holiday retreat in May (5/25-27)

VenK has to teach the Basic Buddhism class at Jade Buddha Temple Sat 4/27 starting at 10AM, therefore we will not have the IMG 1-day meditation. 

Pictures taken during Basic Buddhism class past Saturday 4/20.







Do not forget to sign up for the May Memorial Holiday weekend 3-day meditation retreat from May 25 to May 27 (http://www.jadebuddha.org/en/abc/upcoming/2013/0525/). 



Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 2013- 1-Day Meditation & Dana Offerings

1-Day Meditation Retreat March 23rd, 2013

Beautiful day at the American Bodhi Center (ABC), with more than 20 yogis practiced meditation under the guidance of Ven. Katapunno started 9:00am.  The day ended with a Dharma talk based on the book "In This Very Life" by Sayādaw U Pandita and Metta Sutta chant.

One of the many lessons from Sayādaw U Pandita's book is about happiness in letting go or simply living a simple contented life.

The story:
"... of a man who worked as a basket weaver. He was a simple man who enjoyed weaving his baskets. He whistled and sang and passed the day happily as he worked. At night he retired to his little hut and slept well. One day a wealthy
man passed by and saw this poor wretched basket weaver. He was filled with compassion and gave him a thousand dollars. “Take this,” he said, and go enjoy yourself.”


The basket weaver took the money with much appreciation. He had never seen a thousand dollars in his life. He took it back to his ramshackle hut and was wondering where he could keep it. But his hut was not very secure.
 

He could not sleep all night because he was worrying about robbers, or even rats nibbling at his cash. The next day he took his thousand dollars to work, but he did not sing or whistle because he was worrying so much about his money again. Once more, that night he did not sleep, and in the morning he returned the thousand dollars to the wealthy man, saying, “Give me back my happiness.”"


Dana Offerings and VenK's Birthday March 25th 2013

The event took place in a U Shi Grill & Sushi restaurant at the corner of FM1960 and Jones road, 10892 FM 1960 West.  The owners of the restaurant generously provide a wonderful venue for the special offerings of 9 monks and a nun.







After eating the wonderful food, Venerable Katapunno gave a brief Dharma talk reminding us of the inevitability of sickness, old age and death.  What we take with us is karma.

A discourse in the Anguttara Nikaya (AN.1.249) indicates this conditionality:
"A certain person has not properly cultivated his body, behaviour, thought and intelligence, is inferior and insignificant and his life is short and miserable; of such a person ... even a trifling evil action done leads him to hell. In the case of a person who has proper culture of the body, behaviour, thought and intelligence, who is superior and not insignificant, and who is endowed with long life, the consequences of a similar evil action are to be experienced in this very life, and sometimes may not appear at all."




:

Note
  1. There is no April 1-dat retreat
  2. Basic Buddhism classes at Jade Buddha Temple starting 4/13/13 at 10AM.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A New Year Beginning Practice

A beautiful morning arriving at the American Bodhi Center and saw Ven K already waiting to greet us with his faithful companion, "Lai Mew".  For the next hour before people arrived we set around preparing and organizing the meditation hall and the computer projections for the afternoon class.

Yogi started arriving and more than 30 yogi came and practice meditation and listen to the teaching January 2013.  It is a strong showing for the beginning of the New Year.  May all be well and happy.







CULTIVATING THE FACTORS THAT LEAD TO ENLIGHTENMENT

The sixth way of sharpening the controlling faculties is cultivating the factors of enlightenment: mindfulness, investigation, energy, rapture or joy, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity. These qualifies of mind, or mental factors, are actually the causes which bring about enlightenment. When they are present and alive in one’s mind, the moment of enlightenment is being encouraged, and may be said to be drawing nearer. Furthermore, the seven factors of enlightenment belong to what is known as “noble path and fruition consciousness.” In Buddhism, we speak of “consciousnesses” when we mean specific, momentary types of consciousness — particular mental events, with recognizable characteristics. Path and fruition consciousness are the linked mental events that constitute an enlightenment experience. They are what is occurring when the mind shifts its attention from the conditioned realm to nibbāna, or unconditioned reality. The result of such a shift is that certain defilements are uprooted, so that the mind is never the same afterwards. (src: direct quotes from the book)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Path to Happiness: Jan 26th 2013 1-Day Retreat

Happy New Year and yes it's time to renew the pursuit "Happiness". Come join us for the first meditation retreat at the American Bodhi Center (ABC) Saturday January 26th starting at 9AM.

No this is not and ad to entice you buy more stuff or go to see the world. These are all external stimuli that keeps us entertained but never completely satisfied. Because they not not last. I saw a poster and it tell of a man asking the Buddha "I want happiness" and the Buddha's answer is to take away the "I" that is ego and remove the "want" that is desire. Then we are left with "Happiness".
TED video on "The habits of happiness" by Matthieu Ricard (http://www.ted.com/talks/matthieu_ricard_on_the_habits_of_happiness.html)

To arrange for car pool we have two locations:
- SW (near the temple) contact Judy Jeng and
- NW contact Josten.

No charge and donation welcome.

RSVP required for lunch,