Greetings for the Holy Month of Saga Dawa!
I take this opportunity, like any other day, to offer my prayers and wish you peace, joy and wellbeing!
I don’t generally write messages or letters on this blog site, but since some of you asked, here is a brief note that you may read or not (I would rather have you spend this time tending to your mind or garden!)
Also known as Vesak, this is a celebration of Buddha’s birth and enlightenment. I’ve often wondered why we need special holidays to be reminded of things that are quintessential to spiritual or religious life. At times the pious get in the habit of “mechanical” celebrations of events or attitudes that are bereft of any intention or life force. If someone suggests that everyday should be a celebration and reminder of useful things, the mind nods but fails to register or act on that account. Perhaps you can use this reminder not to procrastinate.
I invite you, like many Buddhists in the world, to pay close attention during this month of Saga Dawa to the following (and if it helps and motivates you then tradition suggests that the merits of your actions and efforts will be multiplied at least 100,000 times):
a.     Celebrate and express gratitude for all things around you. When you enjoy a flower blossoming or the sound of stream or vastness of sky that allows you to experience the calm expansive space within you…..take a mental note of appreciation and just say Thank You. For the next month, say Thank You to all whose efforts and interactions you may take for granted.
b.     Spend a little more time knowing your mind. Sit down with it and enjoy a cup of tea together simply gazing at it…..no chatters or talks, just a serene engaged gaze of looking at something precious.
c.     Spend this month not just tending to your own needs and wants but also of others (this also applies to avoiding self-cherishment in meditation practices). Be extra generous not in the way you perceive generosity but in the way others may benefit from it. You may think you’re being generous with your time and advice but in actuality it may be a burden to others. So ask if you’re really being of help and then find ways of actually being generous. Get out of your material, mental, or spiritual cocoon(s) and be of service.
If you engage in any or all of this for a month you will witness what changes in mind and around you. Also, take time to reflect on the suffering of others and act generously towards them…..they could be people near you or the Rohangiya community in Myanmar, folks suffering in Nepal and many places. Don’t get overwhelmed just hold all things in equanimity and do what you can with intention, clarity, and compassion.
Saga Dawa 2559 of Buddhist Era (2015)
With Palms Together,
Venerable Upasanti