Some people die because of their desires; others nearly do—that’s how to be stuck in the way of the world. Worldly wisdom seeks after the senses and their objects. However wise the search may be, it’s wise only in a worldly sense. No matter how appealing the object, it’s appealing only in a worldly sense. It isn’t the happiness of liberation; it won’t free you from the world. (more…)
A collection of eight new or significantly revised translations of Ajahn Chah’s Dhamma talks by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Two of them have never been translated before into English, and four of them are based on entirely new Thai transcriptions of the best and most complete source recordings available.
Dhamma is a condition that can cut through and reduce the problems and difficulties in the human heart—reducing them, reducing them until they’re gone.
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People often believe contemplation is the same as thinking about something. But when I use the word it means rather ‘contemplating what an existing condition is like’. If you feel angry or resentful, contemplate that feeling. This isn’t to say you should try to figure out why or where the feeling came from, but look at the way it is. Let it be and notice what it feels like as an experience in the present.
The three characteristics of impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and not-self (anatta) are the guiding suggestions. Not in the sense of going around thinking that anger is just impermanent, unsatisfactory and not-self, or to project those ideas onto experience, but to look at impermanence and to contemplate it. I remember noticing the passage of time—of how the sun rises and sets—and using impermanence as a subject to contemplate for the day or for several days. We can notice visual change and sound. When an aeroplane flies over or somebody says something, for example, we can be aware of how sound is very definitely impermanent, fleeting, ephemeral. And taste and touch—are these things permanent? No! (more…)
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I once asked Phiroz Mehta what the central problem of our lives was. He pinched his arm and said: ‘We think we are this body, but we’re not.’
When I lost my mother after looking after her for five years, not only had I lost the last member of my family, but I also lost the main motivation for getting up in the mornings.
First comes the self-pity. But since no amount of that helps you or the way you feel — it just makes you feel worse! — you have every reason to put it aside and no reason whatsoever to let it nibble at you; that’s just as pointless as concerning yourself with the weather!
Much more of a problem for me was seeing something interesting or going to the theatre or a concert, and not having anyone to discuss it with. If I went on holiday — I went to Mexico in the spring of 2011 — I could tell someone all about it, someone who was genuinely interested. But suddenly there was no one to tell, and no one to be interested in what I was, or did, or anything. Unsurprisingly, I lost interest in myself. (more…)
Television program on Buddhism with an interview with Ajahn Chah.
Ajahn Chah (17 June 1918 — 16 January 1992)
In 1977, Ajahn Chah was invited to visit Britain by the English Sangha Trust, a charity with the aim of establishing a locally-resident Buddhist Sangha. He took Venerable Sumedho and Venerable Khemadhammo along, and seeing the serious interest there, left them in London at the Hampstead Vihara (with two of his other Western disciples who were then visiting Europe). He returned to Britain in 1979, at which time the monks were leaving London to begin Chithurst Buddhist Monastery in Sussex.
Theravada Buddhism, video, The Mindful Way, duration: 20 mins.
When I was eighteen years old and at University, I fell in love. I had this powerful experience. For the first time in my life I would do anything for another person. That part was very pure. But, then, being eighteen I didn’t know how to handle the experience; my emotions were still very immature and I ended up being possessive, demanding and jealous. There was no wisdom involved. I thought, ‘If I have this girl, if I possess her, then I’ll get this feeling all the time.’ There was a kind of mystical moment of selflessness, but the emotions were unprepared. I simply reverted to the old habits of grasping, possessing, feeling jealous, making a general nuisance of myself and making myself totally unlovable. This was in about 1952. (more…)