Practice 10 virtuous acts.http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=4970
As for meditation such as sitting forms, I don't practice those. But practice paying attention to the mind at all time is actually fruitful. I think studying the mind and understanding how it works help a lot.
Would you say your approach/experience is characteristic of lay Buddhism in Vietnam and other countries in East Asia? In other words, emphasis more on virtuous acts and ethics as opposed to meditation?
“This dharma is the path of the ten good karmas. What are these ten? One forever quits killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, false speech, divisive speech, abusive speech, suggestive speech, greed, anger, and the wrong views.
“Dragon-King, if one quits killing sentient beings, one will acquire ten dharmas free from afflictions. What are these ten? First, one will universally give sentient beings fearlessness. Second, one will invoke the mind of great lovingkindness toward sentient beings. Third, one will forever eradicate anger and its habitual traces. Fourth, one’s body will be free from illnesses. Fifth, one will live a long life. Sixth, one will constantly be protected by nonhumans. Seventh, one will sleep soundly without nightmares. Eighth, one’s enmity will be eliminated and one’s grudges will be resolved by themselves. Ninth, one will have no fear of the evil life-paths. Tenth, one will be reborn in heaven. These are the ten. If one transfers one’s roots of goodness to one’s attainment of anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi, one will eventually become a Buddha, with a lifespan controllable at will.
My practice is mainly recitation of Amitabha. But I also practice paying attention to the mind when I don't recite Amitabha. I do practice giving also in various forms. It's wholesome that all work together. I listen to Dharma almost everyday through MP3 in my language. Anger is my number 1 concern right now, but it is getting better
I am no master first of all. Just to be clear on that. But here is my understanding. Feel free to comment.
I know that Vietnamese lay Buddhists learn the teachings and keep the 5 precepts. There are some who practice meditation, but this meditation is not anything near meditation taught to monks. So meditation practiced by lay Buddhists are provisional, meditation practiced by monks are advanced and required a teacher. So in general, lay practitioners will not enter deep meditative stages like monks do. There are some lay Buddhists who practice 10 virtuous acts that are equivalent of 10 precepts. But in general, the 10 virtuous acts or precepts are practiced by monks. The emphasis here is the 10 virtuous acts or precepts go with advanced meditation. For example if monks approach meditation with the mind filled with anger, greed, and wrong views/ignorance, will meditation be fruitful? To practice 10 virtuous acts or precepts is like practice withdrawing wood from the fire in order to extinguish fire. So in essence, meditation is a practice of detachment starting from the way we think and the way we do things. Would not it be ridiculous to meditate for peace when everyday one's mind engages in anger, greed, and wrong views/ignorance, body in killing, stealing, sexual misconducts, and in false speech, divisive speech, abusive speech, suggestive speech? By practicing meditation we are practicing the pure mind and body. Then meditation will advance to higher stages. So I hope it's clear what practice advanced meditation constitutes. And what practice for peace or clarity of the mind constitutes...most of us practice meditation for a long time but still possess intense anger, greed, and ignorance. At this point, we have to question the way/methods we approach meditation.
Lay Buddhists are taught by monks to practice paying attention to the mind constantly. For example, anger has to do with the way we think. If we expect others to do things our way, we will get angry when they don't meet that expectation. If we don't expect, we will not suffer. Too often when we get angry, we look at others for faults and blame but we don't look at faults of our thinking, our selfish thinking so that we can correct this false or selfish thinking to right thinking. Anytime we get angry, we are at fault. Even when others are at faults, we should not get angry at their faults for their faults have nothing to do with us. So practicing right thinking by correcting false thinking. Greedy thinking, we it arises also brings anger if expectation is not met...So we are trying to understand what causes suffering and decrease the cause here. By paying attention to the mind and its emotional reactions, we will understand what causes us suffering...it's also a way to process our emotional reactions so that in the future we will not react in the same way. When greed, anger, and ignorance/wrong view have decreased, peace and wisdom will increase.