I'm not even sure if nituke is a proper word - it's a dish I came across when looking at macrobiotic cookbooks. Anyway, I like cooking things with weird names and this side dish has become a regular fixture in my meal plans. It's basically braised vegetables and it's very easy to do. I like to cook it with carrot, celery and Chinese leaf. Here's what I do:
3 carrots, cut into chunks
4 sticks of celery, cut into chunks
1 clove of garlic, mashed
1 red onion, cut into chunks
1/2 a whole Chinese leaf, chopped up
some chilli sauce
soy sauce of some kind
toasted sesame seeds (if you can be bothered)
a splash of water
1. Put a splash of oil in a saucepan or casserole dish.
2. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and celery
3. Turn the heat on, put the lid on
4. Let the vegetables fry gently for a minute or two
5. Add all the other ingredients apart from the Chinese leaf and sesame seeds
6. Let the vegetables steam gently for 10-15 minutes in the pan …
Here is a diagram of the Jhana states as they are generally explained. The first row consists of the Jhanic factors (I have compressed the first two, applied and sustained thought, into one called "Settled mind" to make the diagram more consistent). The second row are the first four Jhanas, and the bottom row are the formless states of mind. (If you click the image, it gets bigger).
So then, how do we use this kind of information as we meditate. Well, I spent many years wondering about various experiences that occurred during meditation and only when I discovered this information was I able to get a sense of the whole map. This was helpful.
Generally, I like to use these states not as a list of achievable things but as a conceptual map of what is possible with the mind. As you meditate, it can be useful to incline the mind towards contentment and wide open space rather than simply counting 10 breaths. Even though the depth of the actualized Jhana states is tremendously profo…
I wanted to write about Pamoja because it's a nice word and it indicates a pleasant state of mind known as delight. (Pamoja means delight in Pali). I have a choice of course - I could write about how difficult my life is, but today I am in the mood for delight. (In some ways, this is our mental choice with regards to thoughts everyday, but let's not go there just yet.)
So then, Pamoja or delight. Delight occurs when the mind gives up on it's usual gropings, dislikings, annoyances, wantings and generally uncharitable thoughts. It's that moment when the sun comes out, and we stop to admire the warmth on our cheeks. Or when we drive to the seaside and see the sea for the first time. Our minds stop and we are momentarily free - it just feels nice.
Luckily we don't have to wait for the sun to come out to experience Pamoja. It occurs quite readily when we start to meditate. We sit there, the mind settles down, we let go of our concerns and, pling, we feel a sense of plea…