I think I know I will apply for the Dharma Student program at Still Point at some point. I'm thinking that after six months of consistent Intensive Practice I will be ready for the challenge. Maybe I'm just thinking too much or trying to come up with a strategy when there is none... Maybe there's only just doing it.
A couple of days ago I was surfing for information on our temple's lineage so I could answer a penpal's question. During the browsing session I reviewed some information about the Maitreya Buddhist Seminary. I was particularly moved by the Everyday Admonition for Dharma Students:
- Please perform your formal morning practice faithfully Monday through Friday. Your morning practice is the place of your awakening that you are the living embodiment of the Buddha through your response to the Buddha Shakyamuni and spiritual communion with His tradition of wisdom and compassion. Always begin your day cheerfully with your morning practice and examine yourself before you retire and give thanks to all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the day. (Yebul)
- Follow your weekly Dharma schedule, be fully accountable for your duties and do your utmost. (Sense of Duty)
- Enlightenment and truth are always before your eyes and within your reach. Enlightenment is the pure and sincere heart of practice itself, and the truth is the spirit of practice that all sentient beings are Buddha. Accordingly, there is no enlightenment or truth apart from the common ordinary person and the everyday task. You should know that it is delusion to run around looking for truth and enlightenment, and to seek or anticipate them from the outside. Let go of your delusion. The mind of the Dharma student should be one of fortitude with the faith and power of the Bodhisattva Vow and free from fear, angst and worries. So keep your mind in alignment everyday. (Life of No Delusion)
- Repent, seek forgiveness and restore yourself right away if you caused trouble to others, committed wrongdoings or made blunders through carelessness and inattention. Keep your mind free from guilt and remorse through sincere repentance and avoid retribution such as hatred and enmity. Constant repentance is constant awakening. (Repentance)
- The body-and-mind of the Dharma student should be poor and pure. Care for goods and articles. They are the properties of the Three Jewels. Use them clean and sparingly so that they last. Recycle them when they are no longer useful. Clean utensils and implements after use and put them where they belong. Try to manage with less or loss, if possible, but be generous and helpful to others as much as possible. (Hidden Virtue)
- Always keep your dwelling and environment clean and tidy. To take good care of your dwelling place and temple environment is to take good care of the body-and-mind of your Dharma student training. To take good care of the body-and-mind of your Dharma student training (purity of heart) is to transform this world into the land of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Cleaning and keeping our environment free from pollution is the Pure Land movement. Be on your guard and diligent. (Environmental Movement)
- It is conduct unbecoming to a Dharma student to pick on others and blame them in order to build a self-defense or reinforce one's position. It is the downfall of a Dharma student to become jealous of the other people's prosperity and gloat over others' misfortunes. If such a feeling or thought arises you should perform prostrations right away and surrender your weakness, and renew your Bodhisattva vows and pray for the happiness of all beings. (Renewal and Kido)
- All Dharma students should be happy and energetic Buddhists ready to lend a helping hand. (Three Stars)
Granted, you don't have to be a Dharma student to do any of this. Or maybe a different way of saying it is that lay practitioners are dharma students in a manner of speaking. So much of this is good medicine for me right now. I could say more... maybe I will over the next week or so. For now I just wanted to share this in the hope that it would be a source of inspiration/food for thought for you online Buddhas and Bodhitsattvas.