Coogee Buddhist Group

Discipline and Joy

On Tue, 3 October, 2017 - 22:51
Dhammalata's picture

Without spiritual discipline we are never going to wake up or advance on our journey through this life. But our discipline must be wedded to joy, and we must find pleasure in the myriad wonders that this life offers.

—Joan Gattuso, “The Balancing Buddha”

I generally experience life as a balancing act between aspiration and the effort arising from that and a desire for enjoyment and pleasure. If it’s all about discipline and effort then it becomes unrelenting and unpleasant and if it’s all about seeking out my own gratification it somehow becomes meaningless, I get lost  and …. ultimately joyless.

My own spiritual teacher Sangharakshita has talked a lot about this tension and has encouraged us to ‘find emotional equivalents for our intellectual understanding’. By this I understand him to mean that we may conceptually grasp the rationale and potential richness of The Buddha’s teachings and practices but it is essential that we connect physically and emotionally with them. As we commit to an increasingly ethical life and apply ourselves to the practice of meditation and wisdom we also need to be immersed in beauty, friendship and have real, tangible experiences of them. 

Examples of these tangible experiences for me are things like: feeling safe to share my most intimate inner world with my ordained chapter brothers, experiencing the deliciousness of home cooked Indian food by the lovely Indian brothers living in our Coogee Community, experiencing the tenderness of my partner’s gratitude when I gradually (I mean gradually) learn to be more kind and steady and being amongst the beauty and peace of Vijayaloka (our retreat centre) and enjoying the alchemy of emerging refinement due to the care of people like Gillian Refell and Ratnajyoti (and of course all who have gone before).

As the quote at the top (courtesy of a gift subscription to the international Buddhist magazine Tricycle by Michael Parle) says, we need to find the sweet spot that is available when we have the right fusion of discipline and joy ……

Hope you can meditate with us this week
Thursday   7 - 8.30 pm   (Almost full moon!  Friday 6th is full moon so ………. I’ll bring some extra things for a three fold puja to be held along with the meditation)
Sunday      8 - 9 am

Dharmalata and Padmadakini


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