Saturday, May 22

Notes on "Who Is My Self?"

Notes on the book "Who Is My Self? A Guide to Buddhist Meditation" by the late Venerable Ayya Khema.

Perhaps inadvisedly skimming over the early sections, picking up with chapter 3, "Setting Aside the Hindrances." (emphasis mine, in all cases)

from section 1, on Worldly Desire:

"All dukkha comes from desire, and the more we want something, the more dukkha we have. Even to think, 'I want a good meditation' is a worldly desire."

p. 28
"We must be careful not to fall into the trap of a tight, intense wishing for results. That in itself is dukkha and arises from worldly desire: 'I want this; I want it badly.' Any such longing should be dropped. There is nothing to be desired; there is everything to be done. We recognize what is necessary, what the task in hand is, and we simply carry it out."

from section 2, on Ill-Will:

"Ill-will is entirely counterproductive, both in our everyday lives and when we sit down to meditate. This is why we should begin every meditation with thoughts of compassionate love for the welfare of all living beings, starting with ourselves."

"Some of us find it very difficult to love ourselves. We are full of self-criticism and self dislike. If this is the case, then it will be even harder for us to let go of our desires, for somehow we believe that gratifying desires will make us feel good about ourselves and thus produce the missing link, namely self-acceptance and self-compassion. But no gratified desire will ever do that. It simply produces more dukkha, because it is recurrent, demanding to be satisfied over and over again. The missing link can only come through the practice of loving-kindness toward ourselves, in spite of everything we know about ourselves. Only then, in fact, will we be able to love others, without criticism or judgment."

Man, why don't I just type out the whole book??!! It's all so amazingly quote-worthy...

"Perfectionism has no place in compassionate love."

I'll repeat that, because I need to remember this vitally important maxim: "Perfectionism has no place in compassionate love."

"The unnecessary concept that things and people ought to be perfect creates tension and constriction because it arouses a want. By dropping this false ideal, and thereby letting go of the desire, we will experience much relaxation and relief."

Gosh, I really ought to thank Sophie. I'm studying this book again (and making notes) because she's started to read the copy I gave her. Isn't it interesting, how generosity continues to shower blessings even beyond the initial gift... Interesting, too, how I was drawn to exactly the chapter containing the reminders I needed most just now... Interesting...

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