When inclined to take the easy way out . . . (Click image for video)


When annoyed by others’ bad habits,

We need to be sure we don’t have the same ones. 

The sad reality is that we often notice annoying habits in others because we have the same ones. We just don’t notice them when we’re the perpetrator. It’s so much easier to see them in others! Perhaps the person is offering his thoughts. On everything. Okay, let’s stop right here. This may be a habit indulged in by a fair number of people, including us.

Voicing an opinion may stem from the person’s (our) sincere wish to be helpful.

Or from an honest belief that they (we) know the answer to a question someone asked at dinner.

Whatever the reason, the person’s seemingly endless stream of replies bothers us. And then one day, we overhear someone mutter to themselves “the world according to….”  And they then say our name, with frustration in every syllable. Wow! Speak of the proverbial bucket of cold water—we too have fallen into the habit of trying to be helpful, informative, etcetera.

And apparently failing. So we, also, are annoying others. 



It is not the amount of teachings that matters . . . (Click image for video)


Without focus, 

we will lose our balance and lurch off the path. 

Imagine you are going to step onto on a balance board for the first time.

It looks friendly enough: a rectangular piece of wood placed over the barrel of a cylinder. And it looks easy: step on the board, legs apart, keep your balance. If you remain centered and upright, you won’t fall. So they say. And so on you go. Oops, down you go! Telling yourself that mastery will take some practice, you try again. And this time you concentrate.

But the next second, you think of something else. Losing your focus, down you go again. Telling yourself that you just have to focus harder, you step back on.

Now you really concentrate. Over time, as you practice over and over, and over, you realize that you cannot have a single wandering thought, or you will lose your balance.

Our Buddhist practice is the same. As we focus on “Amituofo,” wandering thoughts will arise, jeopardizing our focus. Just like on the balance board, when we lose our concentration, we fall off and have to get back on.