Examen Particular of St Ignatius

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Examen Particular of St Ignatius

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Nov 03, 2009 5:16 pm

Hello All,

This is most likely going to receive zero responses but I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Jesuit technique of the Examen Particular or the examination of conscience. I see it as very similar to the Rahulovada Sutta inasmuch it would have one reflect on one's past actions to determine if they were skillful and develop a sense of hiri-ottappa. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Metta.
:anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Examen Particular of St Ignatius

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:02 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:This is most likely going to receive zero responses but I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Jesuit technique of the Examen Particular or the examination of conscience.


No, I have not done that.

I see it as very similar to the Rahulovada Sutta inasmuch it would have one reflect on one's past actions to determine if they were skillful and develop a sense of hiri-ottappa. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Metta.
:anjali:


But isn't the Rahulovada Sutta referring to actions that just happened, pretty much still the present moment?

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Does the Jesuit practice go further back into your past?
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Re: Examen Particular of St Ignatius

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:14 pm

One of the five reflections in the Abinhapaccavekkhitabba Sutta (Five subjects for Constant Recollection) is to reflect on the ownership of kamma. The other four being old age, sickness, death, and separation from loved ones and things.

“Whatever kamma I shall do, for good or for ill, of that I will be the heir.”

Such reflection was recommended by the Buddha for lay people as well as for monks. Abinhaṃ means frequently, or constantly.

I would be a bit wary of guilt trips though. Dwelling on remorse is not beneficial. It is like self-flagellation — another practice used by several religious traditions — that is not the Buddha's Middle Way.
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Re: Examen Particular of St Ignatius

Postby notself » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:33 pm

Here is an outline of the examen:

I start my day by acknowledging the desire to change this particular area and asking God for the grace to improve.
Twice in the day I spend a little time reviewing progress so far:
I give thanks to God for all the good that I have received.
Then I consider whether I have failed in this specific behaviour so far today and if so, how many times. I jot this down.
I keep the record of my lapses for a week to see if, with effort and God's grace, I can slowly get out of the habit and live a life more pleasing to myself and God.
To keep this area before my mind, Ignatius suggest that I make a sign to myself each time I fall into the offending behaviour.

At the end of the day---

I stop and quietly sit with my loving God.
I consider all the good that has happened in the day: everything I have done that I'm proud of.
Then I give thanks for all this good.
I then ask for God's grace to see what I might have done wrong, my sins and faults.
I consider too how I might have hurt others unintentionally.
I become aware of my moods and feelings. Overall how would I describe my day.
I then go over my day: all my thoughts, words and actions.
What are the good things that have brought me joy, consolation and a sense of being alive?
What has disheartened me, made me uneasy, unhappy, bad tempered and dispiritied?
I ask God's pardon for my faults, for hurting others, for not using my own time and gifts wisely.
I give thanks for using my gifts well, for loving others, for all that brings me joy and consolation.

Looking back on the day; are there good things I need to repeat and other things I need to avoid?
I ask God's help to live a more fruitful and joyful life.
I finish my examen prayer by speaking to God in my own words or using a formal prayer such as the Lord's Prayer. http://www.beunos.com/prayerexamen.htm


There are several things that make this different from Buddhist practice. First, it depends on an outside being (god) for support rather than emphasizing that the individual is in complete control of his actions. Second, it is a reflection of past actions where the Reflection Sutta is reflection in real time. Third, it emphasizes remorse for negative behavior through maintaining a diary of sin rather than emphasizing positive skillful behavior. If as a Buddhist I were to maintain a diary, the diary would be of successful skillful behavior.

I was raised Roman Catholic and still struggle to overcome useless guilt. I have to keep reminding myself that what is past should be left behind. It is skillfulness in the present moment that is important.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: Examen Particular of St Ignatius

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:40 pm

Thank you all for the excellent replies. I see for the nth time that there really is no reason to look outside of the Buddha's dispensation for answers. Metta.
:anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
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