Mindfulness based Buddhist recovery

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Sample Topics of Contemplation

Truth of Craving
Truth of Karma
Truthfulness
Commitment
Wholesome Desire
Resolve
Thamkrabok Sajja (vow)

The following topics and themes are just to get you started…

As well as considering the dark side – if any - of these topics and how they may have brought suffering into our lives; it is essential to also reflect on the bright aspects that have directly affected our recovery and our well-being.

We might also consider what is it that leads to further suffering and what is it that leads to the end of suffering... what is the wise choice, the kind choice; the choice of the heart?

To Make a Vow
Suffering is Optional
Refuge
We Make a Commitment
I Yearn to be Free of Pain
When We Suffer
We Must Dedicate Ourselves
A Deep Commitment
Strength is Essential
The Commitment to Compassion
We Seek Numbness
It is Not Easy to Find Happiness
This is the Truth of the Situation
The Truth of Our self Made Suffering
Actions do not Die
What do I do now?
Simplicity of Life
The Five Precepts : Truthfulness
The Truth Will Really Make Us Happy
Four Transforming Contemplations : The Ineluctable Law of Karma
Four Transforming Contemplations : The Defects and Shortcomings of Samsara

 

 

To Make a Vow

To make a vow is to set an aspiration. It is to ground our life in certain values.  A vow states our intention and creates a current which we can flow towards and feed.  We can renew and extend our vow.  It is helpful is the vow is not too extraordinary but at the same time helps us to stretch ourselves.

Source: Adapted and used with the kind permission of Martine Batchelor from the book ‘Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits’.
 

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Suffering is optional

The truth is that our suffering is optional. In life, pain and pleasure are given, but we create suffering for ourselves through our clinging to pleasure and aversion to pain.

Source: “Against the Stream - A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries” by Noah Levine (P122)
Harper Collins © 2007

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Refuge
 

"Ultimately, whether taken in a public or private setting, taking refuge is a commitment we make to ourselves. If we are not committed in our  own hearts and minds, the words we speak in taking refuge will be meaningless."
 

Chuan Zhi Shakya

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We Make a Commitment

We make a commitment to each of the five precepts - as we understand them to be - and we commit to continually pay attention; to our motivations, to our reactions, and to our evolving understanding of a life of Loving-kindness.

[If we lose the power of attention, we lose the intensity and richness of true connectedness with the moment.]

Source: Loving-kindness : The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg - p241

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I Yearn to be Free of Pain

I yearn to be free of pain, but rush straight into it;
I long for happiness, but foolishly crush it like an enemy.

Source : Shantideva (8th Century Indian Buddhist) as quoted in
‘Living with the Devil – A meditation on Good and Evil’ (p16) by Stephen Batchelor.

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When we Suffer

When we suffer it is important to take care of ourselves,
to listen to our needs,
to take a break,
and to rest,
but sometimes being mindfully aware of our suffering can
become a pattern of self-obsession or self-victimisation.

Source: “Let Go : A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits” : Martine Batchelor (p141)
Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications © 2007

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We Must dedicate Ourselves

We must dedicate ourselves to finding the deepest
compassion and highest wisdom,
and from that place we can live in accordance with
the truth of reality.

Source: “Against the Stream - A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries” by Noah Levine (P121)
Harper Collins © 2007

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A deep Commitment

A deep commitment to honesty and integrity
is necessary for all who wish to make positive
changes in the world.

We don’t have to be perfect or holy, but we do need
to be honest with ourselves and one another.

Source: “Against the Stream - A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries” by Noah Levine (P121)
Harper Collins © 2007

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Strength is Essential

Strength is essential to fulfil our vow. Everyone has strengths that they can use.  We need to flex our mental, emotional and physical muscles.  It is in the exercising that strength can be developed. We try to push ourselves in a skilful way. When we are strong, we also have to remember to be stable and open.  When we are recovering from addiction, we rediscover the strength and thus the freedom to act in a different way.

Source: Adapted and used with the kind permission of Martine Batchelor from the book ‘Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits’ (p112).

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The Commitment to Compassion

The commitment to compassion is an inner and outer journey.
You are learning to radically alter the course of your heart and mind, moment to moment.
Fear, judgement, and anger still arise, but you can refrain from wallowing in them.

Christina Feldman “Compassion : Listening to the Cries of the World” (p49)
Rodmell Press © 2005

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We Seek Numbness

We will go to almost any length to try to distance ourselves from sorrow and, in truth, from life.
We seek numbness in drugs, food, distraction, and addictions, as if they were the only available refuge.

Christina Feldman “Compassion : Listening to the Cries of the World” (p20)
Rodmell Press © 2005

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It is Not Easy to Find Happiness

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves,
and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.

Source : Agnes Repplier (The Treasure Chest)
as quoted the in book ‘Co-dependent No More : How to stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself’ by Melody Beattie.

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This is the Truth of the Situation

If we find ourselves in a happy situation, we know it and are grateful that in this moment in time things are going well for us. If on contrary the situation is difficult, if we have troubles with addiction for example, we accept and recognise that it is so. This is the truth of the situation. 

This acceptance does not lead to resignation or despair but enables us to engage creatively with the situation at hand. By knowing that actions have results and that causes have effects, we see that specific conditions and actions will lead to certain results. Then it is for us to act upon this knowledge and to cultivate skilful actions, which will lead to more positive and creative results instead of destructive ones.


Source: Used with the kind permission of Martine Batchelor from the book ‘Let Go: A Buddhist Guide to Breaking Free of Habits’ (p110).

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The Truth of our Self Made Suffering

Trying to push away physical or emotional pain is like creating a dam for the impermanent experience: it doesn't get rid of the pain; it just keeps it around for a longer period of time. Eventually the floodgates burst, however, and we are faced with the truth of our self made suffering.

Source: “Against the Stream - A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries” by Noah Levine (P61)
Harper Collins © 2007

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Actions do not Die

“The truth is that actions do not die.”

Source: Luangpor Charoen Parnchand - 2nd Abbot of Wat Thamkrabok.

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What do I do now?

If death is certain and its time uncertain, what do I do now?
 

Source: “The lamrim meditation on impermanence and death”
(adapted by Stephen Batchelor from Italian Retreat, November 2012)

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Simplicity of Life

Simplicity of life comes with inner richness, with inward freedom from craving, with freedom from acquisitiveness, from addiction, from distraction. From this simple life there comes that necessary one-pointedness which is not the outcome of self-enclosing concentration but of extensional awareness and meditative understanding. Simple life is not the result of outward circumstances; contentment with little comes with the riches of inward understanding.

If you depend on circumstances to make you satisfied with life then you will create misery and chaos, for then you are a plaything of environment, and it is only when circumstances are transcended through understanding that there is order and clarity.

To be constantly aware of the process of acquisitiveness, of addiction, of distraction, brings freedom from them and so there is a true and simple life”.

Source: Jiddu Krishnamurti - The Collected Works Volume III Ojai 8th Public Talk 2nd July, 1944
http://www.jkrishnamurti.org/krishnamurti-teachings/view-daily-quote/20101216.php

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The Five Precepts : (4) Truthfulness

The fourth precept, not to tell lies or resort to falsehood, is an important factor in social life and dealings. It concerns respect for truth. A respect for truth is a strong deterrent  to inclinations or temptation to commit wrongful  actions, while disregard for the same will only serve to encourage evil deeds.  The Buddha has said: "There are few evil deeds that a  liar is incapable of committing." The practice of the fourth precept, therefore, helps to preserve one's credibility, trustworthiness, and honour.

 

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Truth Will Really Make Us Happy

What we come to realise eventually is that only something as vast and deep as the truth will really make us happy.
And that truth is in this very moment,
as we see things as they actually are,
as we let go of each state as it arises and passes away,
seeing it as it actually is,
being able to let go continually as all these different states arise,
and allowing them to pass away.

Source: Sharon Salzberg – Lovingkindness : The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
[Chapter – The Power of Generosity – page 209 ]

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Four Transforming Contemplations : The Ineluctable Law of Karma

The law of karma follows us like a shadow follows the body, virtue and non-virtuous words, thoughts, and deeds procreate in kind.

The lawful workings of cause and effect, virtue and vice, are unavoidable.

When we die we leave everything behind, except our karma and our spiritual realization.

This karmic conditioning propels us forward according to what we have set in motion through our actions, words, and deeds.

Karmic cause and effect (interdependent origination) creates everything, and by thorough understanding of karmic causation and skillful means we can become free. The Buddha said:

    'If a king or householder shall die,

    His wealth, family, friends, and retinue cannot follow him.

    Wherever we go, wherever we remain,

    The results of our actions follow us.'

 

Source: “Awakening the Buddha Within” by Lama Surya Das (p150)

London: Bantam Books © 1997

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Four Transforming Contemplations : The Defects and Shortcomings of Samsara

Samsara and all its contents, pleasure as well as pain, are like a public feast we are passing through on our way to the grave.

  • Birth is difficult, growing up is difficult, illness is difficult aging and death are painful.
  • Losing what we care for hurts; not getting what we want is frustrating.
  • We feel lost and powerless, anxious and insecure by a sense of being out of control, blown about by circumstances and conditions we don't understand.
  • Being unaware and half-asleep in our own lives is wasteful and meaningless.
  • We are continually tormented by our fears of the unknown and ignorance and doubt about where we will go and why.

These are Just a few of the myriad waves in the ocean of suffering called samsara or cyclic existence. Cross beyond this raging tide of confusion and misery to the other shore and you'll find the joyous waters of nirvana - peace, freedom, and the everlasting happiness of perfect enlightenment

Source: “Awakening the Buddha Within” by Lama Surya Das (p150)

London: Bantam Books © 1997

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