Ethnicity and Buddhism in the UK, by Noy Thomson

Noy ThomsonEthnicity and Buddhism in the UK, by Noy Thomson (Thai name Mom Rajawongse Saisvasdi Svastis Thomson) at The ‘British Buddhist Landscape —Transplantation and Growth’ conference.

 Talk given on Saturday June 28 2008 at Taplow Court. The conference was organised by the Network of Buddhist Organisations (UK) & The Institute of Oriental Philosophy-UK

How Things Are, by Ajahn Sumedho

Laos Mosaic  Photo: Janet NovakNow, investigating the way things are, we observe. What I have been doing so far this evening is reflecting out loud. What it is that we all have to bear with is having to accept the sensory world for what it is, from whatever extremes it manifests, the best and the worst of it. And reflecting on it means that we have a perspective on it. We suddenly see that this is what life is all about; it’s being sensitive, and having to bear with this whole experience of being born, growing up, getting old, and dying. This is what we are all involved with. This is what life is for us at this time. We are all alive now, living within the restrictions of our bodies and minds. Whether you like it, approve of it, or whatever, it doesn’t matter. We are not saying it’s good or it’s bad — just re­flecting that this is the way it is. We are not judging it. Continue reading

Is awareness lonely? Ajahn Sumedho

Ajahn Sumedho at a Buddhist Publishing Summer School

Short talk of around 3 minutes.

Extract from a talk given at the Buddhist Publishing Group 2002 Summer School.

Click here to read more teachings by Ajahn Sumedho.

The Path of Wisdom, by Ajahn Sumedho

The Six Realms of Birth, 10 hanging scroll paintings Japan Edo period, 19th century ADSometimes people criticize Buddhism because they say it’s pessimistic — we just talk about suffering; why not talk about love? Love is much more in­spiring than suffering, isn’t it? Talking about universal love is a very inspiring subject. There is nothing wrong with contem­plating universal love, either. But if that’s all we are doing, then it can be merely a whitewash over inner pain and anguish. We might want to love all beings and live in a world of unity and total love. That might be a very appealing idea. What is it that prevents us from that unity? If we trace it back, we will find it’s the ignorance that we have about ourselves. The suffering that we create in life is always the tendency to divide and separate, compare, accept and reject. So the Buddha emphasized the Noble Truth of suffering — not as an absolute, pessimistic view, but as a truth that we can be free from. The Buddha said, ‘I teach only two things — suffering and the end of suffering’. Continue reading

Crashed out Buddhas, by Ajahn Sumedho

Art © Marcelle HanselaarIs there any object we can really trust forever and take refuge in? Is there another person we can feel completely happy with all the time? Is there a place, a book, a picture, a flower, beautiful scenery that we can enjoy all the while? Flowers are beauti­ful creations of nature, but how long can we sit and look at one without feeling bored? Most of us have to go from one flower to the next because one beauti­ful flower is not enough. People who do gardening, their minds are always creating something new, some new kind of arrange­ment, something that will be even nicer. No matter how beautiful anything is, it is never truly satisfying. There is always a snake in the grass, a worm in the apple, a fly in the oint­ment. Continue reading

Tathata or Suchness

Buddha in sitting posture.  © Victoria and Albert MuseumTathata means ‘Suchness’, or ‘as-is-ness of the moment’. When I first came across this word ‘Suchness’ in Zen literature, I thought, ‘What the heck is Suchness? Suchness! That’s nonsense! Can’t figure that one out.’ If we hold perceptions to be reality, then in order for our world to be real, we have to perceive it as something. It can’t be just what it is. We have to interpret it, or give it a name, or describe it in some way. We perceive the world through words, through ideas. This obsession with cameras and photography now, is just wanting to capture things, capture moments on film, petrify them in time, and make them fixed because everything is moving and changing. But Suchness, or Tathata, the Tathagata, is right now. This is the way it is. But sometimes, when I say, ‘This is the way it is,’ somebody will say, ‘You mean this is the way it is forever?’ No! RIGHT NOW — this is the way it is. The only way it can be is the way it is right now! It’s changing, but at this moment, the Suchness of this moment, is just this way. The thinking mind has to stop. Otherwise you will want to ask, ‘Where is it? What is he saying?’ You just have to stop your mind and listen, or watch. Then you will be relating to Suchness, the Suchness of the moment, the as-is-ness.

Ajahn Sumedho

Click here to read more teachings by Ajahn Sumedho.

You can find more Foundations of Buddhism here.

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