Fresh Beginnings

How will you grow in your Buddhist practice in 2012?


Image: New Years Day 2007, Sensoji, Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. Many people come from near and far to make Sensoji, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, their first temple visit of the New Year. This first temple visit is known as Hatsumōde and is an annual tradition for many Japanese of all ages. The smoke in the background is ceremonial incense. (From the Flickr photostream of Slap Ayoda)


The dharma often reminds us that each second is a fresh beginning. As a moment starts, ends, and gives way to another, each new beginning is a new opportunity to deepen our practice. Despite all the reminders, though, we know how difficult it is to notice this as it's happening, moment by moment. Most of us need something that operates more slowly and concretely to remind us that now is an opportunity to grow—like the start of a new year.

Now that it's 2012, how do you hope to grow with your Buddhist practice in the upcoming year? Perhaps you have made a resolution to meditate more, or to pause before speaking angrily, or to be more generous. Whatever your Buddhist New Year resolution may be, we would love to hear about it here. And if you haven't made one yet, now is a great time to do so!

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mettamichelle's picture

1. Moved close to my community zen center for group sitting once a week.
2. Started keeping a daily journal on challenges.
3. Joined Tricylce community and Tree Leaf.
4. Daily practice of Brahma Viharas.

Oh... this will be 2012-2013!

robertomainetti's picture

studing the sutta from pali...it is great....keep reading tricycle daily

LaceyR's picture

I've been meditating 10-30 mins a day since the beginning of the year and I resolve not to worry about the fact that I don't seem to be any better at taming my monkey mind, I resolve to walk up and down the stairs for at least ten minutes a day, not worrying about how it MIGHT make my body look, but know that it is healthy for my heart, and apparently my sweat glands. I resolve to discover the middle way when it comes to food, especially Chinese food, and know that it will not make me happy for any longer than the time I am actually eating it, as everything is impermanent.

marlajs's picture

Like many above, I plan to deepen my practice and sit every day, even if only for a few good minutes. I'm also finally (after considering it and pulling back a few times) taking the 5 precepts and getting more involved in my sangha, after years of waffling and practicing at home. "Buddha, dharma, sangha" was likely not intended as "Buddha, dharma, and it's too hard to show up regularly/I don't need anyone else...."

viviancreekmore@gmail.com's picture

I don't know any Buddhists, don't know of any retreats nearby (and don't find any when I "Google"), & don't know the "language," so no where to go but up! I do mediate.

del7's picture

I'm new to Buddhism, also to the Tricycle community.
I hope to get to the point where I'm meditating daily and hope to find good experience and information here.

ToonForever's picture

To me it's not so much resolution for the year as it is for today. If I was to define where I focus my practice... well, let's see:
1 - More time on the mat. I love my time sitting, but have a tendency to let the pressures of life get in the way, especially from the job.
2 - Being awake to my unskillful actions and responses to what is.
3 - Cultivating the seeds of a sangha in the small town I live in. Not many Buddhists I can find (yet!)
4 - Eliminating my attachment to particular outcomes, instead focusing on skillful action driven by right intention. I have always gotten very tied up in outcomes, imagining outcomes I wish would be and fighting outcomes that are different than my unreasonable expectations :)
5 - Cultivating a kinder and gentler relationship with my wife and my children. I'm happy with the direction of this conversation over the past 8 months (since I turned to Buddhism) but there is more to do. My younger son also shares my penchant for anger (see #4) and I hope to gently teach him about attachment and suffering :)
Here is to a year of awareness and awakening for everyone :)

Kathryn123's picture

My resolution is to take better care of myself and my family! For a long time I shunned basic chores out of fear of being old fashioned, but through my Buddhist practice I've come to realize that cleaning can be a great way to be mindful. Doing great so far, I've already been exceeding my own expectations.

fherman894's picture

More kindness and acceptance of self & other.

PCV_Ellen's picture

I'm new to Buddhism, and therefore to the Tricycle community. Hey folks! I hope to get to the point where I'm meditating daily. I also hope to be able to make it to the Buddhist center in the capital (about 2 hours' travel away) every couple weeks. It's the only one I've found in the whole country so far, so cross your fingers I like it!

baldfrog's picture

Well this all good and meditating daily is wonderful.It is about all the greatest Roshi there ever was could do,is meditate daily no matter when,where,or how long.Now,yes,Now,that is always interesting,I see the time to begin is then,but then is now.And then repeat.Now,whoops the voices are going to drag me away from,what was it I was going to say just now.So you have a great sangha here and where you go when you let go of what fear or story that is telling you what is more important than your own being in relation to presence awareness.See and then that is catch too,for I didn't do it the right way.So what would I do is just what you do,sit down with however you sit,and breath in breath out,count,mantra,or whatever but know there are folks much wiser than me to help guide you,and the idea of having such a Buddhist Center so close is wonderful..make an appointment with your time to sit then try to arrive as close to as possible and experiment with how long you want to stay.The voices are going to pull you away with all kinds of things that need to be other than breathing in and breathing out.They have been doing that all your life,give your self a break from the scams pulling you away from being in the present moment and breath,and the deal is don't resist,just let them go and keep sitting,if meditation doesn't work as they say you can always go back to what you were doing before and double up to make up for lost time.My experience is we are just sitting around in our heads wasting a lot of time anyway,so why not sweep up the house.
why did i write this......talk to your guru he or she is right inside...

pwoodall's picture

Hey there, yourself! I've been kind of/sort of meditating on a daily basis for a little while, and it's wonderful! I certainly wish the best for you in this new year!

TW77's picture

I just joined this site...this will be my first post! It's so cool to have access to this...I plan on deepening my meditation by sticking to a daily practise but also, in combination, keeping my anger in control in all aspects of my life. To do that i need tools like this site and people like everyone here who follow the Dharma. Another key piece for me is compassion for others and trying my best to stop living just to please "me". Meditation, anger and compassion.

pwoodall's picture

Hello Travis. Yes, indeed welcome to Tricycle. This is indeed a cool slight, is it not? It sounds like you are planning to work on the same things as a lot of us. One thing that I've always found very helpful is the idea that we're all Buddhas already; gosh, I just love that idea!

Emma Varvaloucas's picture

Welcome to Tricycle, Travis!

TW77's picture

Thanks ;)

jshanson's picture

I also want to study Dogen this year but the sitting will come first.

jshanson's picture

To build my meditation practice so it is a natural and effortless part/habit of my day. All the Buddhist books, talks, readings, and thoughts I wrap my head around I hope will clarify from there as I'm convinced more and more that to practice Buddhism is to sit zazen and I do so haphazardly. I will be gentle and kind to myself about this, if it is 10 minutes it is 10 good minutes, if it is longer than it is a good longer sit.

Anicca1956's picture

ditto.

ToonForever's picture

Double-ditto ;)

swastan's picture

Judge less, listen more. Talk less, practise more. Practise less, just be more.

Jim Spencer's picture

2011 was a year of investigation and searching, beginning with the question, "What does Western Zen look like?" I found the answer in the most unlikely place. My question was answered by a Trappist monk who told me to continue my Zen practice without wavering, as he and I were on parallel paths to the same end. He reaffirmed that universal truth is just that, and that how we come to the full experience of that truth is inconsequential.

I could say that I resolve to do this or to do that, but that would all be superfluous. All that I can say is that I vow, for 2012, to get out of my own way and allow my practice to continue to unfold. I resolve to doubt everything that I experience. I resolve to stop doubting myself. In the immortal words of Ken Kesey, "Further!"

rickyferdon's picture

I have intention to conduct my life according to the Five Trainings (precepts) and follow the Noble Eightfold Path.

Philip Ryan's picture

Thank you, rickyferdon. You may be interested in exploring the Tricycle Retreat focusing on the Precepts going on now!

rickyticky46's picture

I often proclaim myself the "worst Buddhist in the world" and have no doubt 2012 will not elevate my current status. But due to many personal changes I really have no choice but to make a more thorough effort. How about daily meditation? And perhaps much closer attention to the precepts. And maybe, just maybe a Zen retreat. Darn, pooped myself out just thinking about it. But that is my resolve....

Dominic Gomez's picture

A journey of a thousand miles (or 365 days) begins with a single step. But if those first few steps are taken with personal doubt and trepidation then of course 2012 will do nothing to elevate your present status. Such is the strictness of cause and effect.

Dominic Gomez's picture

"A person who celebrates this day will accumulate virtue and be loved by all, just as the moon becomes full gradually, moving from west to east, and as the sun shines more brightly, traveling from east to west." Nichiren Daishonin reminds us of a basic attitude towards life, or the progression of time. Appreciation and fresh determination return to us as blessings.

Jimhere's picture

Thank you for this. I am in a period of transition, coming out of a a few dark months of loss & grief. This quote is like sunshine.

Sam Mowe's picture

Thank you for this quote.

bsalie's picture

I came so far in my practice in 2011 and found a wonderful yoga community. In 2012 I will be strengthening those bonds and striving to move forward in my life.

matthewoconnell's picture

Arhatship: how about that? Could be a nice achievement to tick off the list when 2013 comes around. Otherwise full realisation of Mahamudra will do just fine :)

Sam Mowe's picture

Arhatship? That would be impressive! Are you suggesting that there is a fine line between a resolution and an ego trip? I don't mean to say that we should come up with goals to "tick off the list" when the year is over—which might lead us into the trap of spiritual materialism—but just that it's healthy to have an idea to strive toward.

Although, now that I think about it, my resolution might be to be more gentle with myself when I don't accomplish all of my goals & dreams...

Jimhere's picture

I stopped making resolutions. Mainly because I never seem to be able to keep them and then they become just another failure. Or if I succeed, another of my accomplishments. At the same time, I agree that it's healthy to have a goal to strive for.

My "resolution" though looks a lot like yours, except it's double-sided. I want to be more gentle with those who don't live up to my expectations.