Question: I didn’t attend a regular group Dharma practice session because of a slight headache and tired eyes.
Answer: Another time, perhaps. Actually, the point of regular group practice is to train in discipline, to practise even when a little unwell or tired. Practice when done well, is energising too – unless one is really very uncomfortable, which means rest would make more sense.
Question: A family member also commented that I have too many Dharma sessions each week, which affected me. Is this a karmic obstacle?
Answer: It is natural, when we are more diligent in Dharma learning and practice, that those who don’t understand its value think that it is too much or ‘extreme’. This is why it is important to gradually and skilfully share with family and friends on why the Dharma matters. Here is a related article to share on this: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/
Question: Working full-time, I have to juggle household chores, family time and Dharma practice. Sometimes, I’m so tired that I chant a short sutra without much mindfulness.
Answer: Since the sutra is not very long, try to rest a while before chanting it. If it is always done unmindfully, there’s not much point.
Question: I do everything in a rush, trying to complete stuff within the shortest time. But the chores just seem endless. I usually do the chores first as I tend to get stressed up if they are not done.
Answer: Chores are indeed endless – spilling over from previous lives! It’s time to prioritise what’s more important then, or this habit of being caught up in mundane tasks will spill over to future lives! It might be useful to set a time-table. If there is enough time for each task, there should be no need to be stressed up. If there is not enough time, it’s time to get some help. The stress is partly from attachment to wanting to finish the tasks quickly. Try to be more flexible. But for now, using a time-table might be useful. A time for everything and everything in good time – including Dharma practice.
Question: I tried to practise nianfo (mindfulness of Amituofo’s name), but my mind is too tired at times. I tried to fix regular times in the morning and at night to practise, but it doesn’t seem to work.
Answer: Try to set smaller targets first – beginning from 3 to 5 minutes of nianfo – but make it quality nianfo. In this way, lack of energy and time won’t be an ‘excuse’. You can later extend the durations when you master these short sessions.