Mindfulness based Buddhist recovery

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Wholehearted Recovery

Sample Topics of Contemplation

Ethics in recovery

The following topics and themes are just to get you started…

As well as considering the dark side – if any - of these topics and how they may have brought suffering into our lives; it is essential to also reflect on the bright aspects that have directly affected our recovery and our well-being.

We might also consider what is it that leads to further suffering and what is it that leads to the end of suffering... what is the wise choice, the kind choice; the choice of the heart?
 

The Healing Power of the Precepts – part I
The Healing Power of the Precepts – part II
The Healing Power of the Precepts – part III
The Five Precepts : # Introduction
The Five Precepts : (1) Non-harming
The Five Precepts : (2) Contentment and Generosity
The Five Precepts : (3) Respect and Self-restraint
The Five Precepts : (4) Truthfulness
The Five Precepts : (5) Clarity of Mind
The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : Introduction
The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (1) Reverence For Life
The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (2) True Happiness
The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (3) True Love
The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (4) Loving Speech and Deep Listening
The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (5) Nourishment and Healing
We Make a Commitment

 

The Healing Power of the Precepts – part I

The Buddha was like a doctor, treating the spiritual ills of the human race. The path of practice he taught was like a course of therapy for suffering hearts and minds. This way of understanding the Buddha and his teachings dates back to the earliest texts, and yet is also very current. Buddhist meditation practice is often advertised as a form of healing, and quite a few psychotherapists now recommend that their patients try meditation as part of their treatment.

The Buddha's path consisted not only of mindfulness, concentration, and insight practices, but also of virtue, beginning with the five precepts. In fact, the precepts constitute the first step in the path. There is a tendency in the West to dismiss the five precepts as Sunday-school rules bound to old cultural norms that no longer apply to our modern society, but this misses the role that the Buddha intended for them: They are part of a course of therapy for wounded minds. In particular, they are aimed at curing two ailments that underlie low self-esteem: regret and denial.
 

"The Healing Power of the Precepts ", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 5, 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/precepts.html.

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The Healing Power of the Precepts – part II

When our actions don't measure up to certain standards of behaviour, we either (1) regret the actions or (2) engage in one of two kinds of  denial, either (a) denying that our actions did in fact happen or (b) denying that the standards of measurement are really valid. These  reactions are like wounds in the mind. Regret is an open wound, tender to the touch, while denial is like hardened, twisted scar tissue around a tender spot. When the mind is wounded in these ways, it can't settle down comfortably in the present, for it finds itself resting on raw, exposed flesh or calcified knots. Even when it's forced to stay in the present, it's there only in a tensed, contorted and partial way, and so the insights it gains tend to be contorted and partial as well. Only if the mind is free of wounds and scars can it be expected to settle down comfortably and freely in the present, and to give rise to undistorted discernment.



"The Healing Power of the Precepts ", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 5, 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/precepts.html.

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The Healing Power of the Precepts – part III

This is where the five precepts come in: They are designed to heal these wounds and scars. Healthy self-esteem comes from living up to a set of standards that are practical, clear-cut, humane, and worthy of  respect; the five precepts are formulated in such a way that they provide just such a set of standards.

"The Healing Power of the Precepts ", by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, June 5, 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/precepts.html.

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The Five Precepts : # Introduction

The  practice of Buddhist moral precepts deeply affects  one's personal and social life. The fact that they represent a course of training which one willingly undertakes rather than a set of commandments wilfully imposed by a God or supreme being is likely to have a positive bearing upon one's conscience and awareness. On the personal level, the precepts help one to lead a moral life and to advance further on the spiritual path.

On the social level, observing the five precepts helps to promote peaceful coexistence, mutual trust, a cooperative spirit, and general peace and harmony in society. It also helps to maintain an atmosphere which is conducive to social progress and development, as we can see from the practical implications of each precept.

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Five Precepts : (1) Non-harming

The first precept admonishes against the destruction of life. This is based on the principle of goodwill and respect for the right to life of all living beings. By observing this precept one learns to cultivate loving kindness and compassion.  One sees others' suffering as one's own and endeavours to do what one can to help alleviate their problems. Personally, one cultivates love and compassion; socially, one develops an altruistic spirit for the welfare of others.

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Five Precepts : (2) Contentment and Generosity

The second precept, not to take things which are not given, signifies respect for others' rights to possess wealth and property. Observing the second precept, one refrains from earning one's livelihood through wrongful means, such as by stealing or cheating. This precept also implies the cultivation of generosity, which on a personal level helps to free one from attachment and selfishness, and on a social level contributes to friendly cooperation in the community.

 

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Five Precepts : (3) Respect and Self-restraint

The third precept, not to indulge in sexual misconduct, includes rape, adultery, sexual promiscuity, paraphilia, and all forms of sexual aberration. This precept teaches one to respect one's own spouse as well as those of others, and encourages the practice of self-restraint, which is of utmost importance in spiritual training. It is also interpreted by some scholars to mean the abstention from misuse of senses and includes, by extension, non-transgression on things that are dear to others,  or abstention from intentionally hurting other's feelings. For example, a young boy may practice this particular precept by refraining from intentionally damaging his sister's dolls. If he does, he may be said to have committed a breach of morality. This precept is intended to instill in us a degree of  self-restraint and a sense of social propriety, with particular emphasis on sexuality and sexual behaviour.

 

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Five Precepts : (4) Truthfulness

The fourth precept, not to tell lies or resort to falsehood, is an important factor in social life and dealings. It concerns respect for truth. A respect for truth is a strong deterrent  to inclinations or temptation to commit wrongful  actions, while disregard for the same will only serve to encourage evil deeds.  The Buddha has said: "There are few evil deeds that a  liar is incapable of committing." The practice of the fourth precept, therefore, helps to preserve one's credibility, trustworthiness, and honour.

 

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Five Precepts : (5) Clarity of Mind

The last of the five Buddhist moral precepts enjoins against the use of intoxicants. On the personal level, abstention from intoxicants helps to maintain sobriety and a sense of responsibility. Socially, it helps to prevent accidents, such as car accidents, that can easily take place under the influence of intoxicating drink or drugs. Many crimes in society are committed under the influence of these harmful substances. The negative effects they have on spiritual practice are too obvious to require any explanation.

Source: “Getting to Know Buddhism” by Dr. Sunthorn Plamintr (pp. 133-154)

Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation © 1994

This extract is derived from www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/5precepts.html

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : Introduction: 

The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.

 

Source: “The Five Mindfulness Trainings (revised)” : Thich Nhat Hanh

www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/3-the-five-mindfulness-trainings.html

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (1) Reverence For Life

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.

Source: “The Five Mindfulness Trainings (revised)” : Thich Nhat Hanh

www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/3-the-five-mindfulness-trainings.html

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (2) True Happiness

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.

Source: “The Five Mindfulness Trainings (revised)” : Thich Nhat Hanh

www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/3-the-five-mindfulness-trainings.html

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (3) True Love

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.

 

Source: “The Five Mindfulness Trainings (revised)” : Thich Nhat Hanh

www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/3-the-five-mindfulness-trainings.html

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (4) Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.

 

Source: “The Five Mindfulness Trainings (revised)” : Thich Nhat Hanh

www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/3-the-five-mindfulness-trainings.html

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The Five Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh : (5) Nourishment and Healing

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.

Source: “The Five Mindfulness Trainings (revised)” : Thich Nhat Hanh

www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/3-the-five-mindfulness-trainings.htm

 

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We make a Commitment


We make a commitment to each of the five precepts - as we understand them to be - and we commit to continually pay attention; to our motivations, to our reactions, and to our evolving understanding of a life of Loving-kindness.

[If we lose the power of attention, we lose the intensity and richness of true connectedness with the moment.]

Source: Loving-kindness : The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg - p241

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