March

Day 1.

Arise! Sit up!
Of what use are your dreams?
How can you who are sick
And pierced with the arrow of grief
Continue to sleep?

Arise! Sit up!
Train yourself to win peace.
Let not the king of death,
Knowing you to be lazy,
Trick you into his realm.

Cross over this attachment,
Tied to which both gods and humans are trapped.
Do not let this chance slip by,
Because for those who do,
There is only hell.

Dusty is indolence.
Dust comes in its wake.
With knowledge and vigilance,
Draw out the arrow of suffering from yourself.

Sn.331–334

Day 2.

Those who love the noble Dhamma, who are pure in word, thought and deed, always peaceful, gentle, focused and composed, they proceed through the world properly.

Ja.III,442

Day 3.

Ugga, the king’s chief minister, said to the Lord: “Lord, it is amazing and astonishing how rich, wealthy and affluent Migara Rohaneyya is!”

“Well Ugga, how much does he have?”

“He has a million in gold and no one can estimate his store of silver?”

“But is that a real treasure? Not that I say it is not, but that is a treasure that is subject to fire and floods, kings and robbers, enemies and unwanted heirs. But there are seven treasures that are not subject to such dangers. What seven? The treasures of faith, virtue, self-respect, fear of blame, learning, generosity and wisdom. These seven are not subject to fire, water, kings, robbers, enemies and unwanted heirs.”

A.IV,6

Day 4.

Giving up lying, one becomes a speaker of the truth, reliable, trustworthy, dependable, not a deceiver of the world. Giving up slander, one does not repeat there what is heard here, or repeat here what is heard there, for the purpose of causing divisions between people. Thus, one becomes a reconciler of those who are divided and a combiner of those already united. Rejoicing in peace, delighting in peace, promoting peace; peace becomes the motive of his speech. Giving up harsh speech, one speaks what is blameless, pleasant to the ear, agreeable, going to the heart, urbane, pleasing, and liked by all. Giving up useless chatter, one speaks at the right time, about the facts, to the point, about Dhamma and discipline, words worthy of being treasured up, seasonable, reasonable, clearly defined and connected to the goal.

D.I,64

Day 5.

He who puts aside his wants in order to do the right thing, even though it be difficult, is like a patient drinking medicine. Later he will rejoice.

Ja.V,499.

Day 6.

Once, the Lord dwelt among the Sakyas in the Park of the Banyan Tree at Kapilavatthu, and while there, Mahanama the Sakyan came to him and asked: “How, Lord, does one become a lay disciple?”

“When one has taken refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, then one is a lay disciple.”

“How, Lord, is a disciple virtuous?”

“When a lay disciple abstains from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and drinking intoxicants, then he is virtuous.”

“How, Lord, does one help oneself but not others?”

“When one has achieved faith, virtue and renunciation, when one longs to see the monks, to hear the good Dhamma, to be mindful of the Dhamma once heard, when one reflects on it, knows it in both the letter and the spirit and walks in conformity with it, but one does not strive to establish such things in others, then one helps oneself but not others.”

“Then how, Lord, does one help oneself and others also?”

“When one has oneself achieved faith, virtue, and renunciation and strives to establish such things in others, when one longs to see the monks, to learn the good Dhamma, to be mindful of the Dhamma once heard, when one reflects upon its meaning, knows it in both the letter and spirit and walks in conformity with it and strives to establish such things in others, then one helps both oneself and others also.”

A.IV,220

Day 7.

Suppose a bowl of water was mixed with lac, turmeric or blue or yellow dye, and suppose a man were to look at his reflection in that water. He would neither know nor see his reflection as it really is. In the same way, when one lives with the mind obsessed with and overwhelmed by sensual desires and knows no refuge from it, at such times one neither knows nor sees his own welfare or the welfare of others. Chants learned by heart long ago are forgotten, to say nothing of those learned recently.

Suppose a bowl of water is heated on a fire, boiling and bubbling over, and suppose a man was to look at his reflection in that water. He would neither know nor see his reflection as it really is. In the same way, when one lives with the mind obsessed with and overwhelmed by ill-will and knows no refuge from it, at such times one neither knows nor sees his own welfare or the welfare of others. Chants learned by heart long ago are forgotten, to say nothing of those learned recently.

Now, suppose a bowl of water was overgrown with mossy water plants, and suppose a man were to look at his reflection in that water. He would neither know nor see his reflection as it really is. In the same way, when one lives with the mind possessed with and overwhelmed by sloth and laziness and knows no refuge from it, at such times one neither knows nor sees his own welfare or the welfare of others. Chants learned by heart long ago are forgotten, to say nothing of those learned recently.

Again, suppose a bowl of water was whipped up by the wind, stirred up, whirled around and rippling with waves, and suppose a man were to look at his reflection in that water. He would neither know nor see it as it really is. In the same way, when the mind is possessed with and overwhelmed by restlessness and worry and one knows no refuge from it, at such times one neither knows nor sees his own welfare or the welfare of others. Chants learned by heart long ago are forgotten, to say nothing of those learned recently.

Once again, suppose a bowl of water was stirred up, turbid, muddy and set in the dark, and suppose a man were to look at his reflection in that water. He would neither know nor see his reflection as it really is. In the same way, when the mind is possessed with and overwhelmed by doubt and one knows no refuge from it, at such times one neither knows nor sees his own welfare or the welfare of others. Chants learned by heart long ago are forgotten, to say nothing of those learned recently.

S.V,121

Day 8.

Whatever one thinks about and ponders over often, one’s mind gets a leaning in that way.

M.I,115

Day 9.

Wherever these five are found, in either a king or a farmer, a general or village headman, a guild master or leaders of the clan, progress may be expected and not decline. What five? Take the case of a clansman who with wealth acquired by work and effort, gathered by strength of arm and sweat of brow, lawful and justly, honours, reveres, venerates and respects his parents. They in turn regard him fondly with thoughts of love and say to him: ‘Long life to you and may you be protected.’ Thus for one who regards his parents fondly, progress may be expected and not decline. And again when he does the same to his wife and children, his servants and workfolk, his tenants and those who work his fields, to monks, brahmins and the gods, they likewise will regard him fondly with thoughts of love and say to him: ‘Long life to you and may you be protected.’

A.III,76

Day 10.

How is there a threefold cleaning of the body? Concerning this, one abandons killing, lays aside the stick and the sword and lives with care, kindness and compassion towards all living beings. One abandons stealing the property of anyone, whether in the jungle or the village; things not given, one does not steal. One abandons sexual misconduct. One has no intercourse with girls under the guardianship of their mother or father, their brother, sister or relatives, with girls lawfully protected, those already pledged to a husband, those undergoing punishment or those dressed with garlands and promised in marriage.

A.V,266

Day 11.

Whoever, whether at morning, noon or night, practices righteousness of body, speech and mind – they have a happy morning, a happy noon and a happy night.

A.I,294

Day 12.

The lord asked: “Which is greater? The little sand on my fingernail, or the great Earth?”

“Lord, greater by far is the great Earth. Tiny is the sand on your fingernail. The two cannot be compared.”

“So too, beings who are reborn as humans are few in number. Far greater are those who are reborn in non-human realms. Therefore, you should train yourself, thinking: ‘We will live earnestly.’”

S.II,263

Day 13.

Bend like a bow and be as pliant as bamboo, and you will not be at odds with anyone.

Ja.VI,295

Day 14.

These three types of thought cause blindness, loss of vision and ignorance, they put an end to wisdom, they are associated with trouble and do not conduce to Nirvana. What three? Thoughts of greed, of hatred and of harming. These three types of thought impart seeing, vision and understanding, they increase wisdom, are associated with harmony and conduce to Nirvana. What three? Thoughts of giving up, of love and of helping.

It.82

Day 15.

Then the Lord said to Maha Moggallana: “Are you drowsy, Moggallana? Are you drowsy?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Well, then, whenever the thought of laziness besets you, pay no attention to that thought, do not dwell on it. Doing this, it is possible that it will pass. But if, by so doing, that laziness does not pass, then you should think and reflect in your mind about the Dhamma – review it in your mind as you have heard it and learned it. Doing this, it is possible that the laziness will pass. But if it does not pass, then you should recite the Dhamma in detail as you have heard it and learned it. Doing this, it is possible that the laziness will pass. But if it does not pass, then you should pull your ear lobes and rub your limbs with the palms of your hands. Doing this, it is possible that the laziness will pass. But if the laziness does not pass, then get up from your seat, and having splashed water on your face, look in all directions and gaze upward into the starry sky. Doing this, it is possible that the laziness will pass. But if it does not pass, then you should firmly establish the inner perception of light – as by day, so by night, as by night, so by day. Thus with a mind that is clear and unobstructed, you should develop a radiant consciousness. Doing this, it is possible that the laziness will pass. But if it still does not pass, then aware of what is in front of you and behind you, walk up and down with your senses turned inwardly and your mind not straying outwardly. Doing this, it is possible that the laziness will pass. But if it still does not pass, then lie down on your right side in the lion posture, with one foot on the other, mindful and clearly conscious, with the thought of rising later. Then, after waking, you should get straight up, thinking: ‘I will not indulge in the enjoyment of lying down, reclining and sleeping.’ Train yourself like this.”

A.IV,85

Day 16.

If you take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, no fear or trembling will ever arise.

S.I,220

Day 17.

These four states conduce to the growth of wisdom, they are of great help to one who has become human. What four? Association with a good person, hearing the good Dhamma, wise attention, and behaving in accordance with the Dhamma.

A.II 245

Day 18.

The wanderer Nandiya asked the Lord: “What conditions when developed and practiced, lead to Nirvana, have Nirvana as their goal, culminate in Nirvana?”

“There are, Nandiya, eight things which, when developed and practiced, lead to Nirvana, have Nirvana as their goal, culminate in Nirvana. What eight? Perfect View, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness and Perfect Concentration.”

S.V,11

Day 19.

There are these five right times for striving. What five? Concerning this, one is young, youthful, blacked-haired, blessed with the beauty of youth and in the prime of life. This is the first right time for striving. Then, one has health, well-being and a digestion that is not over-hot or over-cool. This is the second right time. If there is no famine and the crops are good, with food easy to get and one can easily live on gleanings and favours, this is the third good time. When people live in friendly fellowship, harmonious as milk and water mixed, without quarrels and looking upon each other with the eyes of love, this is the fourth good time. Again, when the Sangha dwells in friendly fellowship, content with one teaching, then there is no reviling one another, no accusation, quarrelling or contention, so that those with little faith find faith, and the faith of those already faithful grows, this is the fifth right time for striving.

A.III,66

Day 20.

Look not to faults of others,
To their omissions and commissions.
But rather look to your own acts,
To what you have done or left undone.

When one looks at another’s faults,
And is always full of envy,
One’s defilements continually grow;
Far are they from their destruction.

If only you would do what you teach others,
Then, being yourself controlled,
You could control others well.
Truly, self-control is difficult.

You yourself must watch yourself.
You yourself must examine yourself,
And so, self-guarded and mindful,
O monk, you will live in happiness.

Dhp.50, 253, 159, 379

Day 21.

That which is called mind, mentality or consciousness arises and disappears continuously both day and night. Just as a monkey swinging through the trees grabs one branch, letting it go only to grab another, so too that which is called thought, mind or consciousness arises and disappears continuously both day and night.

S.II,94

Day 22.

Jambukhadaka the wanderer came to Venerable Sariputta and asked:

“They talk about Nirvana all the time. But what exactly is Nirvana?”

“The destruction of greed, hatred and delusion is Nirvana.”

“Is there any path, any way that leads to Nirvana?”

“There is such a path, such an way.”

“And what is it?”

“It is the Noble Eightfold Path – Perfect View, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness and Perfect Concentration.”

“And an auspicious path it is, and an auspicious way to the realization of Nirvana it is too. It is enough to make you energetic.”

S.IV,251

Day 23.

Easy to understand is the yelp of jackals and the song of birds. But to interpret what humans say is difficult indeed. You may think, ‘He is my kin, my friend, my comrade true’ because before he made you happy, but now he may be an enemy. When we love someone they are always near, while those who like us not are always distance. The faithful friend is faithful still though you be oceans apart. He of corrupt mind is still corrupt though he be across the sea.

Ja.IV,217

Day 24.

These three people are very helpful to others. What three? One through whom one goes for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha; one through whom one understands the Four Noble Truths, and one through whom one comes to destroy the defilements and comes to know in this very life the mind’s complete freedom. These are the three persons. There are none more helpful than these three.

A.I,123*

Day 25.

Venerable Vakkali was staying at the Potter’s Shed and was suffering from a disease, sick and afflicted. Then he called his attendant and said: “Friend, go to the Lord and in my name worship his feet, tell him I am suffering from a disease and suggest that it would be good if he were to come and visit me out of compassion for me.” So the attendant did as he was asked. In silence the Lord consented and dressing himself and taking his robe and bowl, set out. Now Vakkali saw the Lord coming in the distance and struggled to rise from his bed. But the Lord saw him and said: “Enough, Vakkali. Remain in your bed. There are seats made ready. I will sit there.” Having seated himself, the Lord addressed Vakkali saying: “I hope you are bearing up. I hope you are enduring. Are the pains decreasing or abating? Do they seem to be decreasing or abating?”
“No, Lord. I am not bearing up or enduring, the pains do not decrease, neither do they grow.”

“Then have you any regret or sorrow?”

“Lord, I do have some regret and sorrow.”

“Have you anything concerning virtue to reproach yourself about?”

“No, Lord, I have nothing to reproach myself about.”

“Then why are you troubled by regret and sorrow?”

“Because Lord, for a long time I have been wanting to see you but I have not had the strength to do so.”

“Enough, Vakkali. Why do you want to see this dirty body of mine? One who sees the Dhamma sees me and one who sees me sees the Dhamma. Truly, seeing the Dhamma, one sees me and seeing me, one sees the Dhamma.”

S.III,119

Day 26.

I know of no single thing so unworkable as the undeveloped mind. Indeed, the undeveloped mind is an unworkable thing. I know of no other single thing so workable as the developed mind. Indeed, the developed mind is a workable thing.

A.I,5

Day 27.

Whatever has had to be done by a teacher out of compassion for his disciples and for their welfare, I have done for you. Here are the roots of the trees, here are the empty places. Meditate! Do not be slothful, do not be remorseful later. These are my instructions to you.

M.I,46

Day 28.

Cultivate a friend whose ways are seven. What seven? He gives what is hard to give, does what is hard to do, bear what is hard to bear, he confesses his secrets and keeps your secrets, in times of trouble he does not abandon you, and he does not despise you when you are down.

A.IV,31

Day 29.

How do disciples conduct themselves towards a teacher with love, not hostility? Concerning this, the compassionate teacher instructs his disciples in the Dhamma, seeking their welfare and out of compassion, saying: ‘This is for your welfare and happiness.’ His disciples listen to him, lend an ear, prepare their minds for profound knowledge, they do not turn aside or move away from the teacher’s instructions. In this way do disciples conduct themselves towards a teacher with love, not hostility. Therefore, conduct yourselves towards me with love, not hostility, and it will be for your welfare and happiness for a long time. I shall not treat you the way the potter treats damp clay. Repeatedly admonishing I shall speak, repeatedly testing. One who is sound will stand the test.

M.III,117–18

Day 30.

There are three types of people in the world. What three? One who is like carving on a rock, one who is like scratching on the ground, and one who is like writing on the water. What sort of person is like carving on a rock? Imagine a certain person who is always getting angry and his anger lasts long, just as carving on a rock is not soon worn off by wind, water or the passing of time. What sort of person is like scratching on the ground? Imagine a certain person who is always getting angry but his anger does not last long, just as scratching on the ground is soon worn off by the wind, water and the passing of time. And what sort of person is like writing on the water? Imagine a certain person who, even though spoken to harshly, sharply and roughly, is easily reconciled and becomes agreeable and friendly, just as writing on the water soon disappears.

A.I,283

Day 31.

Whatever families endure long, all of them do so because of four reasons, or because of several of them. What four? They recover what is lost, repair what is decayed, eat and drink in moderation, and they put a virtuous man or woman in a position of authority.

A.II,249