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How can I deepen my practice?

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  • How can I deepen my practice?

    Venerable Sirs,

    I posted this as a suggestion for a talk but since I live in the Netherlands and won't be able to visit Bodhinyana, it may be a better idea to post my question here.


    I live in a non-buddhist society. Most people are catholic here. In the southern part where I live, you can't find a Theravada Sangha, find places where talks are given, options to study Pali, etc.
    So my question is: how can you deepen your Buddhist practice if all of that lacks? I have some important books (from Ajahn Brahm, Majjima Nikaya, Digha Nikaya etc.) But I'd love to deepen my practice in a more practical way.
    Besides that I am confined to a wheelchair so travelling abroad is not that easy for me, also because I don't have a job and live on welfare (so at least I am doing one thing right as a Buddhist in terms of not being attached to a lot of material things) :-) Going to a retreat is also very difficult because I need some adaptations on a place I reside for several days to be able to take care of my daily needs (shower etc.).

    With metta,
    Jo

  • #2
    Dear Jo,

    I would suggest you carefully reflect on the various aspects of the path and then decide what you can do.

    Take generosity. You can do small things like putting out leftover food for the birds. The Buddha specifically says that even feeding insects is valuable good kamma. Try to find a charity you feel is worthy of your support. Remember, you don't have to give much. The suttas say that a person of limited means who gives from the little they have engages in a powerful act of generosity. Of course, supporting a Buddhist cause is also a good thing to do. Perhaps you can find a Dutch Buddhist group that inspires you. Generosity is all about opening one's heart to other beings. It helps us to look at others with compassion and metta. Be creative.

    Check out your morality. If your actions and speech are already quite good, then try to improve your mental good conduct. Never underestimate the power of metta meditation. A big part of this to try to change your perception of people around you. See their good qualties. Understand and forgive their weaknesses. With training this can really change the way you see other people. Over time you will find that your meditation improves, regardless of which object you use.

    Remember that the Buddhist path is one of purification and of increasing one's good qualities. Whatever you can do to achieve this is a a step in the right direction.

    With metta.

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    • #3
      Dear Ajahn Brahmali,

      Thank you so much for your reply. Those are very good suggestions. I was worried because I've often heared that you won't come far on the Buddhist path without having a teacher. Your reply made me realize again that it is for the greater part the practice in daily life that counts, not only the knowledge of the suttas.

      With metta,
      Jo

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