This is the last week of teachings and tips from the book Everyday Dharma: Seven Weeks to Finding the Buddha in You, by Lama Willa Miller. Everyday Dharma is designed to be akin to a spiritual manual. We invite you to go back and read along with us – you can catch up on previous weeks here. And be sure to comment below and let us know what thoughts arose for you during the course of the book.
In this final chapter, we work with the remaining spiritual assets described by Guru Rinpoche: Self-Discipline, Enthusiasm, and Wisdom. For a spiritual journey and a life that is helpful and not harmful, we need to figure out what our ground rules are. The Buddha taught 10 components of self-discipline, which Lama Willa calls a “recipe to live a life that refrains from harm.” She goes on to say that “it may sound old fashioned, but sometimes the traditional recipes are still the most tried and true.”
The Buddha’s 10 Moral Imperatives
- Practice nonviolence
- Respect property
- Be sexually responsible
- Be honest and direct
- Speak with kindness
- Make peace between divided parties
- Speak meaningfully
- Be loving and forgiving in spirit
- Be generous of heart
- Keep your perspective in line with truth
We can then follow the exercise Lama Willa explains during Week Seven, Day One “Finding Your Bottom Line” to work with the disciplines we hold dear, and the ones to which we can give more focus. Whether we use the Buddha’s imperatives or design our own, we can check in with ourselves each night and see how we’re doing.
In the middle of the week, the journey turns our attention to concentration, focus and wisdom.
Exercise: Hidden Wisdom in Everyday Actions by Lama Willa Miller:
Choose a simple, repetitive activity. While you are involved in this activity, see how absorbed you can become in it. Release your sense of self. See if you can become one with your activity and wash dishes without a washer, sew without a sewer, and so on. What is it like to be the activity? Finish your activity with a dedication.
You can listen to Lama Willa’s guided meditations for each chapter of Everyday Dharma on iTunes for free.
Finally, the book concludes with an exercise to help us identify what practices and precepts we want to continue working on, and this prayer from Lama Willa.
A Prayer for Your Journey by Lama Willa Miller:
May you know every step of the path is the destination and every unanswered question is a good companion. May you find joy and enthusiasm on your journey.
May you be eager to meet the unexpected.
Most of all, each and every day, may you recognize your deepest nature, face to face.
What life practices do you plan to continue? Was there a quote in the book that you found particularly helpful? Please feel free to share your thoughts on Week 7 in the comments below.
Willa B. Miller, PhD is the founder of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston and Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, New Hampshire. She is on faculty with One Earth Sangha’s EcoSattva Training and is a member of the Council on the Uncertain Human Future. You can read her Buddhist advice regarding climate change on lionsroar.com.