December

Day 1.

These two types of people are difficult to find in the world. What two? One who will do a favor first, and one who is grateful for a favor done.

A.I,87

Day 2.

Be an island unto yourselves, be a refuge unto yourselves, take for yourselves no other refuge. Let the Dhamma be your island and your refuge. And how does one do this? Concerning this, one dwells contemplating the body in the body, feelings in feeling, mind in mind, and mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly conscious and mindful – having put aside the attraction and repulsion of the world. And those who live like this now and after I have passed away will attain the highest. But they must be anxious to learn.

D.II,101

Day 3.

How can someone who has gone down
To a swift-flowing river,
And who gets carried away by the current
Help others to cross?

Similarly, how can one who has not learned Dhamma,
Not listened to the explanations of the wise,
And who is ignorant and filled with doubt
Help others to realize it?

Just as one who has embarked on a sturdy boat
Well-equipped with and rudder and oars
Could help many others to cross
Because of his skill, thoughtfulness and experience,

In the same way, one who is wise
And who has developed himself,
Who is learned and stable, understanding Dhamma,
Could make others realize it, if they listen carefully.

Therefore, one should consort with the good
Those who are wise and learned,
Who understanding the meaning and,
Following the path and knowing Dhamma,
One will then attain happiness.

Sn.319–323

Day 4.

Wisdom is purified by virtue, and virtue is purified by wisdom. Where one is, so is the other. The virtuous person has wisdom, and the wise person has virtue. The combination of virtue and wisdom is called the highest thing in the world.

D.I,84

Day 5.

Giving up happiness and suffering and with the disappearance of former gladness and sorrow, one enters and abides in the fourth jhana which is beyond pleasure and pain and is purified by equanimity and mindfulness. One sits and suffuses, drenches, fills and permeates the whole body with that purity and clarity so that there is no spot in the entire body that is untouched by it. Just as if a man were to sit wrapped from head to foot in a pure white garment so that no part of his body was untouched by it – in the same way, one suffuses, drenches, fills and permeates the whole body so that there is no spot untouched.

D.I,75

Day 6.

Happily indeed we live,
Loving amidst the hating.
Amidst those who hate
We live full of love.

Happily indeed we live,
Healthy amidst the ailing.
Amidst those who are ill
We live in perfect health.

Happily indeed we live,
Content amidst the greedy.
Amidst those who are greedy
We live in contentment.

Dhp.197–199

Day 7.

The past should not be followed after,
And the future not desired.
What is past is dead and gone,
And the future is yet to come.

But whoever gains insight into things
Presently arisen in the here and now,
Knowing them, unmoved, unshaken –
Let him cultivate that insight.

M.III,187

Day 8.

When in the forest amongst the roots of the trees
Or in the empty places,
Just call to mind the Buddha
And no fear of trembling will arise.

If you cannot think of the Buddha,
This best, this highest, this finest of beings,
Then call to mind the Dhamma,
The well taught guide.

If you cannot think of the Dhamma,
The well taught guide,
Then think of the Sangha,
That incomparable source of goodness in the world.

S.I,220

Day 9.

Hearken to this, you who are watchful –
Those who sleep, let them awake.
Watchfulness is better than sleep.
The watchful are free from fear.

Whoever is watchful, mindful, composed,
Focused, gentle and insightful,
Studying the Dhamma at the right time and one-pointed,
They will overcome the darkness.

Therefore, rouse yourself and be watchful.
The ardent one, discriminating and meditating,
Cuts the bonds of birth and death
And attains the highest wisdom in this very life.

It.41–2

Day 10.

I will teach you the burden, the taking hold of it, the taking it up, and the putting it down. And what is the burden? The answer is the five clinging aggregates. What five? Body, feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness. This is the burden. And what is the taking hold of the burden? The answer is that it is the person of such-and-such a name, of such-and-such a village. This is the taking hold of the burden. And what is the taking up of the burden? It is that craving for sense pleasures, craving for becoming and craving for unbecoming – that is called lifting up the burden. And what is the putting down of the burden? It is the withering and fading of craving, the giving up of craving, the renouncing of it, freedom from it, the absence of it. That is the putting down of the burden.

The five aggregates are the burden.
The seizer of the burden is the person.
Taking it up is sorrow indeed,
And putting it down is happiness.

If one lays this heavy burden down
Without taking up a new one,
Then one has pulled out craving, roots and all.
That one is fulfilled and free.

S.III,25

Day 11.

Now, on one occasion, the Lord rose from solitude towards evening and sat warming his back in the westerly sunshine. Then, Venerable Ananda came to see the Lord, and while massaging his limbs with his hands he said: “It is strange, it is wonderful, how the Lord’s skin is no longer clear and radiant, how all his limbs are slack and wrinkled, how his body is stooped, and how his sense faculties have changed.”

The Lord replied: “So it is, Ananda, so it is. Old age is inherent in youth, sickness in health, and death in life.”

S.V,216

Day 12.

At that time, the Lord said to the monks: “Once upon a time, a bamboo acrobat set up his pole, called to his pupil, and said: ‘Now, my boy, climb the pole and stand on my shoulders.’
‘Alright, master,’ said the pupil, and he did as he was told. Then the master said: ‘Now, my boy, you protect me and I will protect you, and protected and watched by each other we will do our act, get a good fee, and come down safe and sound from the bamboo pole.’ But then the pupil said: ‘No master, no! That will not do. You look after yourself, and I will look after myself and thus watched and guarded each by himself, we will do our act, get a good fee, and come down safe and sound from the bamboo pole. That is the way to do it.’

Then the Lord said: “Just as the pupil said to the master: ‘I will protect myself’ so should you practice the four foundations of mindfulness, which also means: ‘I will protect others.’ Because by protecting oneself, one protects others and by protecting others, one protects oneself. And how does one protect others by protecting oneself? It is by the repeated and frequent practice of meditation. And how does one protect oneself by protecting others? It is by practicing patience, forbearance, harmlessness, love and compassion.”

S.V,169

Day 13.

The Tathagata does not live in abundance, he does not revert to the life of abundance, nor does he waver in his striving. The Tathagata is a perfected one, a fully enlightened Buddha. So give ear, for the Immortal has been discovered and I instruct, I teach the Dhamma.

Vin.IV,9

Day 14.

The fool who listens to the Conqueror’s teachings
With a hostile mind
Does not grow in the good Dhamma
Any more than a rotten seed grows in a field.

But one who listens to the Conqueror’s teachings
With a joyful mind,
Having destroyed the defilements,
Having realized the unshakable state,
And attained the highest peace –
That one is cooled and without defilements.

Th.363–364*

Day 15.

Then Ananda came to the Lord and said: “Half of the holy life is beautiful friendship, beautiful association and beautiful intimacy.”

The Lord replied: “Say not so, Ananda, say not so! It is the whole of the holy life, not half, this beautiful friendship, this beautiful association, this beautiful intimacy.”

S.V,2

Day 16.

There is that state where there is not earth, water, fire or air; where there are not the spheres of infinite space, infinite consciousness, nothingness, or the sphere of neither-consciousness-nor-unconsciousness; where there is not this world, the world beyond or both together, no sun and no moon; where there is no coming to birth, no going to death, no duration and hence no falling or arising. It is not something fixed, it does not move, it is based on nothing. This indeed is the end of suffering.

Ud.80

Day 17.

Ananda asked: “Lord, there are three scents whose fragrance spreads with the wind but not against it. They are the root scent, the heartwood scent and the scent of flowers. Is there any sort of scent that spreads with the wind and against it also?”

The Lord said: “There is such a scent, Ananda. In whatever village or district there is a man or woman who has taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, who practices the five Precepts, who has a lovely nature, who lives at home with the heart free from stinginess, who is open-handed, delights in giving, being one to ask a favor of, one who delights in sharing, then monks and brahmins sing the praise of one like this in all the four quarters. Even the gods sing their praise. This is the sort of scent whose fragrance goes with the wind and against it also.”

A.I,225

Day 18.

Music from a five-piece ensemble
Cannot produce as much delight
As that of a one-pointed mind
With perfect insight into things.

Th.398*

Day 19.

Bahiya of the Bark Garment asked the monks: “Tell me, good sirs, where is the Lord staying, he who is a Noble One, he who is a fully awakened Buddha?”

“The Lord has gone into the town to get alms-food.”

So Bahiya quickly left the Jeta’s Grove, went into Savatthi, and found the Lord in quest for alms-food. He was handsome, good to look upon, with senses calmed, tranquil in mind, composed and controlled like a well-trained elephant. Bahiya approached the Lord and asked: “Sir, teach me the Dhamma so that it will be for my welfare and happiness for a long time.”

“You have come at the wrong time, Bahiya. I am getting my alms-food.”

A second and a third time he asked, so the Lord answered: “This is how you must train yourself. When, in the seen there is just the seen, in the heard just the heard, in the sensed just the sensed and in the cognized just the cognized, then there will be no ‘thereby,’ and when there is no ‘thereby’ there will be no ‘therefore’ and when there is no ‘therefore’ there will be no here, no there, no midway in between. That is the end of suffering.” Then and there, because of this concise Dhamma teaching, Bahiya’s mind was freed from the defilements.

Ud.7

Day 20.

Now, Venerable Bhaddiya, son of the Kaligodhas, used to go to the forest, to the roots of trees and to lonely spots, and while there, would often cry out: “Oh joy! Oh joy!” Now, a number of monks heard him do this and they thought: “Doubtless, Venerable Bhaddiya is discontented with the holy life, seeing as he enjoyed the happiness of royalty when he was a householder.” So those monks went to the Lord and told him of this, and he asked that Bhaddiya come to see him. When he came, the Lord said: “Bhaddiya, is it true as they say that you go to the forest, to the roots of the trees and to lonely spots, and that while there you often utter the cry: ‘Oh joy! Oh joy!’”

“It is true, sir.”

“And why do you do this?”

“Formerly, when I enjoyed the happiness of royalty, guards were set inside the palace, outside and even in the area beyond. Yet, although I was well guarded, I lived in fear, I was anxious, trembling and afraid. But now that I lived in the forest, all alone, I am without fear, I am assured, confident and unafraid. That is why I utter the cry: ‘Oh joy! Oh joy!’”

Ud.19

Day 21.

An enlightened person is naturally endowed with a compassionate nature and disposition. He desires to alleviate the suffering that beings suffer, and is even willing to relinquish his own body or life to do so. Until he reaches his goal, he is willing to struggle and strive for a very long time on a course involving great hardship, without fear and without ever becoming disenchanted with all the suffering in the round of existence, all for the sake of the welfare of other beings.

Cp-a,278*

Day 22.

There are three urgent duties of a farmer. What three? The farmer gets his fields well ploughed and harrowed quickly. Then he plants the seed quickly. Then he irrigates the field quickly. But the farmer has no magic power or authority to say: ‘Let my crops spring up today, let them ear tomorrow and on the following day let them ripen.’ No! In due time this will happen.

In the same way, there are these three urgent duties of a monk. What three? Undertaking the training in higher virtue, higher thought and higher wisdom. But he has no such magic power or authority to say: ‘Today, tomorrow or the next day, let my mind be free from the defilements.’ No! In due time this will happen as he undergoes training in these three things. Therefore, you should train yourselves like this: ‘We shall be keen to undertake the training in these three things.’”

A.I,229

Day 23.

The Lord said: “That which is not yours – put it away. Putting it away will be to your welfare and happiness. And what is not yours? Body, feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness are not yours. So, put them away. Putting them away will be to your welfare and happiness. It is just as if a man should gather up, burn, or do whatever he wanted with all the grass, twigs and sticks here in Jeta Grove. Would you say: ‘This man is gathering us, he is burning us, he is doing what he wants with us?’”

“No, Lord.”

“And why not?”

“Because they are not ourselves, they are not us.”

“Even so, body, feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness are not yours.”

S.III,34

Day 24.

At that time, a certain monk named Thera was living alone and commending such a life. He entered the village alone, he returned alone, he sat alone and walked alone. So a number of other monks went and told the Lord this, and he asked them to call Thera into his presence. When he came, the Lord asked him: “Is it true as they say that you are living quite alone and that you commend such a life?”

“That is so, Lord.”

“In what way do you live and commend?”

“I enter the village alone, I return alone, I sit alone and walk alone.”

“That is living alone, it is true, Thera. But I will tell you a way of bringing to perfection the solitary life. When the past is put away, when the future is given up and when there is no craving and desire in the present, then the solitary life has been perfected in full.”

S.II,283

Day 25.

You should train yourselves like this, thinking: ‘We will be contended with whatever robes, food, shelter or medicine we get. We will be contented with what we get and do nothing unseemly in order to get these things. If we are not able to get robes, food and so on, we will not be perturbed, and if we do get them we will use them without clinging and infatuation, doing no wrong in order to get them, seeing the danger in them and being wise to escaping from it.’ This is how you should train yourselves.

S.II,194–5

Day 26.

Since I went forth
From home into homelessness
I have never been aware of having
Any ignoble or hateful thoughts, such as:

‘May they be killed. May they be slaughtered.
May they come to harm.’
Such thoughts have not crossed my mind
For a long time.

On the contrary, I am aware of thoughts of love,
Infinite and well-developed,
Practiced in due order
As taught by the Buddha.

I am a friend to all, a helper to all,
I am sympathetic to all beings.
I develop a mind full of love
And delight always in harmlessness.

I gladden my mind
I make it immovable and unshakable.
I develop the divine states
Not cultivated by evil people.

Th.645–649*

Day 27.

It can be understood by a person’s conversation whether or not he is competent to discuss things. If, on being questioned, a person evades the question, changes the subject, displays anger, malice or sulkiness, then he is incompetent to discuss things. If a person does not do these things, then he is competent to discuss. Yet again, it can be understood by a person’s conversation whether or not he is competent to discuss. If, on being asked a question, a person loads scorn on a questioner, beats him down, laughs at him and tries to catch him up when he falters, then he is incompetent to discuss things. If a person does not do such things then he is competent to discuss things.

A.I,197

Day 28.

They who have faith in the Buddha have faith in the best, and for those who have faith in the best the result is the best.

A.II,34

Day 29.

As black gum is pointed to as the best of fragrant roots, as red sandalwood is pointed to as the best of fragrant woods, as jasmine is pointed to as the best of fragrant flowers, even so, the exhortations of the good Gotama are the highest of all teachings today.

M.III,6*

Day 30.

There is an Unborn, an Unbecome, an Unmade, an Uncompounded. If there were not this Unborn, Unbecome, Unmade, Uncompounded, then there would be no escape from the born, the become, the made, the compounded. But as there is an Unborn, an Unbecome, an Unmade, an Uncompounded, then there is an escape from the born, the become, the made, the compounded.

Ud.80

Day 31.

And the Lord said to Magandiya: “It is like a man born blind, who cannot see either color or shape, the even or the uneven, the stars, the sun or the moon. He might hear someone speaking of the pleasure of a lovely, unstained, pure white cloth, and start searching for one. But someone might deceive him by giving him a greasy, grimy, coarse robe and say: ‘My good man, this is lovely, unstained, pure white cloth.’ The blind man might take it and put it on. Then his friends and relations might get a physician or surgeon to make medicine for him, potions, purgatives, ointments and treatment for his eyes. Because of this he might regain his sight and restore his vision. Then the desire and attachment he had for that greasy robe would go, he would no longer consider the man who gave it to him a friend. He might even consider him an enemy, thinking: ‘For a long time I have been defrauded, deceived and cheated by this man.’ Even so, if I were to teach you Dhamma, saying: ‘This is that health, this is that Nirvana,’ you might come to know health, you might see Nirvana. With the arising of that vision, the desire and attachment you had for the five clinging aggregates might go. You might even think: ‘For a long time I have been defrauded, deceived and cheated by the mind, by clinging to body, feeling, perception, mental constructs and consciousness. Conditioned by this clinging there was becoming; conditioned by becoming there was birth, conditioned by birth, old age, dying, grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair came into being. This is the origin of this whole mass of suffering.’ And Magandiya said to the Lord: “I have confidence that if the good Gotama were to teach me Dhamma, I could rise from my seat no longer blind.”

M.I,511