Before bedtime each night, take a few minutes to meditate upon your day. Reflect on everything you have done throughout the day, from the time you wake up, to the time you go to bed (i.e., waking, eating, working, meditating, keeping the precepts, giving alms).
Reflect on how much merit you have accumulated and how many bad deeds you have committed today. Resolve to relinquish all the negative actions that lead to bad Kamma. Don’t even let one particle of your demerit linger with you overnight.
Contemplate on giving up. Give up wrongdoings. Give up bad actions. Give up everything evil. Give up the slackness in your meditation. Contemplate on improving. Improve on doing more good deeds. Make the effort to improve yourself and build up good kamma every day. Think of this life as your final existence and your last opportunity to capture all the merits.
Contemplate with dhamma
When facing a difficult situation, look at it from the viewpoint of Dhamma. Don’t be victimized by the influence of defilements.
Reflect on Dhamma at all times. Wisdom gained from meditation will lead you to the right knowledge and awareness.Time flies by quickly. Days, weeks and months go by, and all of a sudden a year is gone. Ask what you have done for yourself. Are you conducting your life in a way that fulfills your goals? What should you strive for? What should you refrain from? Are you doing the things appropriate for who you are? Always be mindful. Don’t become deluded in yourself.
How to relieve suffering
When you feel despair, chant a lot, and meditate a lot. No one can help you as well as you can help yourself.
Build virtue. When your merit is as big as a mountain, your obstacles will have no effect on you. Your goodness will be seen by others.
Remember these words: “build virtue; accumulate merit.”
If you do this, you will be known as someone who values yourself, someone who strives to be a better person. Accumulate as much merit as you can. One day your merit will be whole, and all the success and happiness will be yours.
Create blessings for yourself
If life is to be prosperous, one must create “blessings” for oneself.
Think of ways to bring auspicious things into your life. Try to think of only good and positive thoughts that are auspicious. This will help cultivate your mind in a positive direction. If your mind is wholesome, your speech will become auspicious. Everything you do will also become auspicious.
We must take the viewpoint that this is our last life on earth and our last opportunity to make a spiritual improvements.
Now is our final life. Let us improve ourselves in the best way. Let us accumulate as much merit as we can. Let our merit be as big as a mountain. If we want to build great merit we must meditate a great deal, and also make wishes or resolutions that are all-encompassing.
For your own benefit and for the benefit of others
I do things for my own benefit and for the benefit of others. We should do something worthwhile for ourselves. After having done something worthwhile for ourselves, we should also do something worthwhile for the mass. Then we can say that this life is worthwhile.
Bear in mind that you are getting older every day. Don’t take your youth for granted. I have been telling myself that I am old ever since I was a young woman, and it has motivated me to hurry up and pursue Perfections.
Don’t let time pass by uselessly
Our life is getting shorter and shorter. Hurry and do more good deeds. Don’t let time pass by you for naught. It’s a pity to be wasting time. Time wasted is life wasted.
Time waits for no one
Lazy people are feeble-minded. They don’t know how to think.
The moment you wake up, you should realize that days are going by, months are going by, years are going by, and time waits for no one.
If you want to do something good, do it now and do it well.
Do only good things. When you make merit, you take merits with you as your blessing. When you commit wrongdoings, you carry demerits with you as your curse.
Let us be neither blindly ambitious nor greedy. Instead, let us learn modesty and contentment. Greed can turn an honest man into a fraudulent one. I dislike a dishonest person.
When you are greedy for unwholesome things, in the end you will possess only misery. Strive to keep your minds pure and clean. If you have accumulated enough merit, then your desires will be met without the need for ruthlessness. And if you desire only to possess more virtue, that would be excellent indeed!
Learn to live a simple life and make use of your possessions prudently.
All things must be based upon virtue
Those ignorant ones, who have no virtue yet desire fame, power and prestige, are doomed to fail in the end. The louder they boast, the faster they will fail. All things must be based upon virtue.
Be a team player
I care for my community. We should learn how to be a good team player and get along with everyone. Arrogance only leads to isolation. If we have the attitude that we are better than others, at our time of distress, no one will be around to offer help.
We should learn how to get along with others. If someone does not talk to us, then we need to be the one to begin talking first. Soon we will have a pleasant conversation. We should reject the attitude of snobbery and arrogance. Instead, strive to relate well with every type of person. You never know, a day might come when you will need their help.
Hate no one
I have hatred for no one. I am afraid if I do, I too, will be hated in my next life. My mind always considers the consequences in the far future rather than merely the immediate present. Besides, I would rather have love than hatred for people.
Be cautious before speaking
Addressing a businessman : Whenever you have problems in dealing with other people, go find a peaceful place to close your eyes and calm your mind. Then the solutions will become clear.
It’s important that you compose yourself before speaking out. If you think you may say something that will jeopardize yourself, then it is best not to say anything at that moment; meditate first to appease yourself, and then return to the issue later.
Don’t say anything that may come back to bite you. Speak only what is beneficial. Life is too short. While you are still alive, capitalize on your opportunity to do good deeds and accumulate merits.
One drop at a time fills up a jar
Together, each tiny drop of water can fill up a big jar. Likewise, each act of good deed will fill up your “jar” of virtue. But with no good deed done at all, your “jar” of virtue is empty.
Never be lazy or preoccupied with what others are doing. In the end, your fate will be determined by no one else but yourself. So fight as hard as you can. The more merit you make, the more you gain; and the less you make, the less you receive. Take every new day as a new opportunity to make merit.
With merit, you will succeed in everything
My biggest fear in life is that I will not make enough merit. With great merit behind you, anything you wish can be attained and all you touch will become successful. No one can obstruct you if you have enough merit to support yourself. Having a good base of merit is a great blessing indeed.
Don’t give up
You can give up on anything, but never give up on building merit.
Succeed through merit
Whatever you set out to accomplish, keep your merits in mind. If you possess merit, merit will help you succeed in the things that you do. Merit is your refuge. Center your mind in it and everything will fall in place.
Using merit correctly
The act of charity returns to us in good fortune. The act of mental cultivation brings us deliverance. Meditate frequently.
Before merit can be generated, there is a great deal of effort involved. Merit making can be complete only when the following elements are present: faith, a good “field of merit”, an act of good deed, and the right combination of everything else. Since merit is not so easy to come by, do not waste an opportunity to acquire it. Preserve your merit and know how to use your merit the right way. Merit is your vehicle to success and happiness.
Let merit be your refuge
Merit is my refuge. I love merit above all else because it is the one thing that can save me. Human beings still carry defilements. Sometimes a person can be good, and sometimes he can be bad. But merit is the one thing I can always rely on for goodness.
Don’t neglect merit-making
It is difficult to be born as a human being. Now that you are born a human being, do not waste your opportunity to make merit. If you have a little, then donate a little. If you have a lot, then donate more. Make a donation according to your ability, but don’t allow yourself to get into trouble for overdoing. Whatever your financial situation is, don’t neglect the act of charity.
For me, I perform merits regardless of what happens. I may be illiterate, yet I managed to build this temple, and I was able to preside at a major Kathina Ceremony. The merit I have accumulated has allowed me to do extraordinary things that are beyond an ordinary person’s ability. But with as much merit as I have already made, I still want to do more. I want to participate in the Kathina Ceremonies and all other meritorious activities. I want to acquire all forms of merit, mundane and transcendental.
Reap what you sow
We cannot escape the consequences of our actions. We can escape neither the effect of our merit (good kamma) nor our demerit (bad kamma). Both our merit and demerit are imbedded to the center of our body. It is the kamma that stays with us. There is no way to rid ourselves of it. We reap what we sow; when we do good deeds, these good deeds turn into merits which bring success and happiness to our lives.
Carrying merit & demerit
Whatever action (kamma) we commit, we carry the result of that action with us, good or bad. If our action is good, we carry merit. If our action is bad, we carry demerit.
You alone carry the burden you create for yourself. If others speak or act unkindly towards you, don’t get angry and retaliate back. Forgive them and put an end to the cycle of hostility between you now.
One who attracts
Build up your merit as much as you can. Build a mountain of merit! It doesn’t matter what other people do; for us, we just keep on doing good deeds even if no one finds out about it. One who is virtuous will eventually be noticed and will attract the company of others.
Do only good deeds
Build only good kamma. End all evils in this lifetime, so only good kamma will be ours in future lifetimes.
We are still subject to rebirth because of the defilements we carry, but from now on, avoid all bad actions and embrace only good ones so our rebirth will be a positive one.
The harm of killing
In the news these days, I see so many killings. Killing begets more killing. The killers and the killed are bound by endless cycles of vengeance from one existence to the next. You kill him then he kills you, taking turn in the never ending wheel of kamma.
I see the harm of killing in this way: if we kill them, we commit a negative kamma which cuts down our own virtue; if they kill us, they take away our chance to perform virtues and build merit.
I make the resolution to never kill anyone so that I will never be killed in any lifetime until I ultimately reach Nibbana. If someone wishes to harm me, let the thought of harming me quickly disappear from him.
Accumulate merit until you triumph
In merit-making, we have to do it continuously until we reach our final destination. If not, we may stumble into difficulties from time to time. We should make resolutions that we shall never fall into hard times. When I saw people who suffered from hardships, I knew they failed to perform their merits continuously in the past. When merit fails to bear fruit continuously, a person’s conditions decline.
So resolve to never encounter hardships.
Have fortitude and tolerance. Do not create any more bad kamma for yourself, or you will keep running into hardships.
The speed of the captain is the speed of the crew
Whatever you do, do it seriously without any laxity. A leader who does things nonchalantly will have subordinates who are also nonchalant. If a leader has a non-caring attitude towards his possessions, his subordinates will be no different. The attitude of the leader is the attitude of the followers. Like attracts like. Work attentively and competently, and you will have followers who are the same way.
Don’t lose self-control
Keep arrogance out of your heart, even if you think you know better than others. Be humble and patient. Your teachers and elders have only good intentions for you. Remember what I say here. Make resolutions to not lose yourself on this point, or you will miss the opportunities to gain the knowledge and know-how that allow you to complete your Path.
Compromise for the sake of merit
I am the compromising type. I keep my ego in line and I maintain my humility at all times.
We should learn to compromise and get along with everyone, and allow everyone to benefit from the virtues that we are pursuing together. If we are working together to make merit, then there should be a give-and-take attitude between everyone just for the sake of harmony and for the sake of merit. When patience and conciliation are observed, the task becomes easier and the merit benefits everyone.
Love of cleanliness
My love of cleanliness has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I have fought for a long time to keep cleanliness wherever I go. Cleanliness has become a symbol of this temple. It has contributed to the faith, confidence, and respect of the people who come here. They see this place as a sanctuary and as a serene place to practice meditation. Please do not abandon the way of cleanliness that I have worked so hard to maintain.
To be admired by humans and angels
Upon seeing some brooms lying around haphazardly, I would order them to be put back neatly.
We must learn how to keep everything neat and tidy. After we finish using something we should put that thing back in its own proper place. Maintain cleanliness and tidiness. Keeping this habit will help you find orderliness in everything that you do in every lifetime.
Where there is civilization, there is decline. Where there are the wise, there are also fools. With so many people attending the temple, let’s work together to observe the regulations for the common good.
Possessions well protected
Wherever I go, I respect my own property as well as the property of others. Treat other’s property as if they are your own. In this way, your properties in future lifetimes will always be well looked after by yourself and others.
Use your resources wisely
Whatever resources we have, use them wisely and do not be wasteful. Whether it is water, electricity, or money, use it wisely, lest we end up being deprived of them. Even a small amount of water should not be wasted.
When managing a construction project, pay attention to expenses and leakage. Don’t let things slip through the cracks. Every bit of money we have comes from donations. People have worked hard to earn this money. Whether it is a few dollars or a few pennies that people donate, it is our duty to spend it in the most prudent way. Before donators part with their hard-earned money, they make one hopeful resolution after another for that money to bring them meritorious outcomes. If you spend their donations carelessly, beware that you may end up causing more demerit than merit.
Look after what you create
If you build something, can you also take care of what you have built? Having the ability to create something is not enough unless you can look after it too. If not, you might as well not build it.
I built this temple and I also have the ability to look after it.
Be a good role model
Learn to do things right. Learn to be clean and tidy. People will see your behavior and set you as a good example. There will always be new people coming to the temple. I cannot always be present to teach or to show them how to do things. After I am gone you can be their example. Practice good behavior and teach others to do the same.
Use kind speech
Addressing volunteers at the temple:
Kind words are better than harsh speech. Kind words engender respect and cooperation from the person you are speaking to, rather than fear. If people fear you, they will not want to help you in the future. Then your work will be slow, and since they did not help you they will miss the opportunity to gain merit. Disagreements should be addressed civilly and sensitively and people will be willing to learn from you. Then we will accomplish our work and they will also gain merit.
Desire gives rise to suffering
Desire is the source of suffering. Whether it is the desire for wealth, beauty, or fame, they all lead to unhappiness. Because I have no desire for these things, I have no suffering.
Protect your mind
It is the natural condition of the world to have both the good and the bad. Sometimes we are joyous and happy; sometimes we are sad and worried. This is a part of life.
However the world may be, just let it be. Don’t worry, be happy. It is better to preserve the quality of our mind. Thinking about negative things and the problems of others can only affect your mind. You can lose anything but don’t lose the quality of your mind.
Like preparing food, everything should be arranged in the right proportion. Apply the right balance in everything you do. Too much or too little is not good. The Middle Way is the way to go.
Humans are the most blessed
Human beings are the most capable creatures. Even big, bulky metal can be made to float on water. To be born human is the highest blessing indeed. No creatures can be more capable or well-blessed than a human.