Everyday Dharma – Week Six – Grow Your Assets

These are the last few weeks 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 read along with us during the seven weeks. and you can catch up on previous weeks here.  And be sure to comment below and let us know how it’s going.

A Prayer to Grow Your Spiritual Assets by Lama Willa Miller:

May I live in trust, contentment, conscience, and integrity. May I embrace humanity as my family, appreciate every moment as a gift, develop spiritual gentleness, and live to serve an altruistic intention.

In this chapter, Lama Willa introduces Padmasambhava’s Seven Spiritual Assets, which are: Trust, Contentment, Conscience, Integrity, Self-discipline, Enthusiasm, and Wisdom. She says “These seven assets will become a fundamental source of spiritual wealth and strength.” This week focuses on growing Trust, Contentment, Conscience and Integrity. Next week, chapter seven will offer exercises to grow the final three assets – Self-discipline, Enthusiasm, and Wisdom. Padmasambhava is also known as Guru Rinpoche, and played a significant role in bringing Buddhism to Tibet.

Exercise: Take an Appreciation Break  by Lama Willa Miller:

  • Take a break from what you are doing and leave aside what you were thinking about.
  • Breathe and close your eyes.
  • Think of three simple things about your life that you are grateful for. Maybe even write these down.
  • Consider what life would be like without these three things.
  • Allow gratitude to fill your heart. Relax into a sense of contentment. Bask in the sun of appreciation!

You may listen to Lama Willa’s guided meditation on appreciation for free on iTunes.

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- Garden Hotei Statue

In China, Hotei is known as the god of good fortune and the guardian of children. His overly round shape indicates the abundance of inner wealth and a joy-filled soul. In fact, he was an actual person Ch’i-tz’u, a 10th century Zen monk who wandered throughout China giving generously from his never empty sack.

Lama Willa says he is like a “Buddhist Santa Claus”, because he pulls out of his bag whatever might be helpful to the people he encounters. As we do the practices in the book we can build up our supply of skills to make us gentler, kinder, and more Bodhisattva like.

Does one of these four skills, Trust, Contentment, Conscience and Integrity come more easily to you? Was one harder to practice this week? Please feel free to share how you are doing with Week 6 in the comments below.

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- Picture of Lama Willa Miller

Lama Willa Miller is the founder of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston and Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, New Hampshire.

Read her interview with Sakyadhita, the International Association of Buddhist Women.

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