Friday, July 6, 2012

Audio Dharma by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Afghan (Gandhara) style Buddha (San Francisco Asian Museum)
From the wide range of meditation subjects found in the Buddha’s discourses [sutras], the ancient teachers of the Theravada tradition have selected four subjects and grouped them into a set known as “the four protective meditations”: 
  1. Recollection of the Buddha
  2. Loving-kindness meditation
  3. Contemplating the Unattractive Nature of the Body
  4. Mindfulness of Death
The four are called “protective” meditations because each offers protection from a particular unwholesome tendency and reinforces a beneficial quality essential to the path. 
The four can be developed either as a preparation for a more intensive type of meditation or as independent subjects.
  1. Recollection of the Buddha protects against dissatisfaction and generates faith [confidence] and devotion, which in turn give rise to joy. 
  2. Loving-kindness is the antidote to ill will and generates feelings of friendliness and altruistic concern.
  3. Contemplating the unattractive nature of the body debilitates sensual lust and inclines the mind toward disenchantment and [liberating] dispassion. 
  4. Mindfulness of death is a potent remedy for heedlessness, reminding us of the transience of everything we cherish.
Over the next four weeks [the American monk] Bhikkhu Bodhi* will explain each of these meditation subjects in turn and conduct each as a guided meditation.
  • Buddhist Global Relief
  • A Critique of Bhikkhu Bodhi
  • Reading Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations and copious commentary, one clearly understands he has a dry-insight method bias [characteristic of the Theravada school of the past few centuries], to the detriment of absorption practice (jhana).
  • The Appeal of Buddhism in the West
  • Padmasambhava predicted that, "When the iron eagle flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered over the Earth and the Dharma will go to the land of the red man" (Westerners were considered reddish pink by Asians).
*Ven. Bodhi teaches at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, New York. He is currently translating the Anguttara Nikaya, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha.

No comments: