Entering the Wisdom Division
New Year's Eve Note
Reflecting on the Power of Resolutions
New Year's Eve moon day greetings, dear Dhamma friends,
A very many of us now join together around the world in making resolutions for the New Year.
Let us make them well.
What did the Buddha teach on resolutions?
Resolution or Determination - Adhitthana - is the eighth of the Ten Perfections or Paramis.
Determination or Resolution is needed for undertaking the Path of the Perfections...it gives focus, motivation and direction to the practice... The four aspects of skilled determination: wisdom, truth, relinquishment and peace, when studied carefully, cover all ten of the Perfections.
The Four Determinations or Resolutions
One should resolve:
to not be negligent of Wisdom
to guard the Truth
to be devoted to Release
to practice only for Peace
— MN 140
--Adapted from The Ten Perfections: A Study Guide by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Samma Sankappo or Right Resolve (aka Right Intention) is also the second of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path, and belongs to the wisdom division of the path.
"And what is right resolve?
on renunciation (giving up the harmful),
on freedom from ill-will,
This is called right resolve."
— SN 45.8
--from Ajahn Thanissaro's brief and excellent article on Right Resolve
Amongst the many teachings on karma the mysterious, the Blessed One is said to have taught that "kamma is intention". If this is true then our intention, our resolutions, and how we apply our mind rightly -- "Samma Samkappo" -- becomes exceedingly important, for it is said:
All living beings
(each one of us)
are the owners of our kamma,
Heir to our kamma,
Born of our kamma,
Related through our kamma
And live dependant on our kamma.
Whatever we do,
for good or for evil,
to that will we fall heir.
-- A Chanting Guide edited by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
To learn more about this fascinating subject that determines our destiny, you may like to read the late Venerable Ayya Khema's talk "Kamma is Intention" in the e-book (To Be Seen) Here and Now.
Thus, with the power of kamma in mind, we set our intention, our determination and our resolution about the longterm welfare, peace, happiness and liberation of ourselves, all of our loved ones, all those unseen and unknown, and all that lives:
Sabbe satta sada hontu
Avera sukha jivino
May all living beings be happy
And live free from animosity.
Tesasa sijjhatam subha
May all attain the Serene State
And may your radiant hopes and wishes be fulfilled
~ * * * ~
With thoughts of Peace and Loving Kindness
to all, blessing us all
in the New Year,
Ayya Tathaaloka Bhikkhuni