Posted on 19 August 2015 by Buddhism Now
Question: An academic friend of mine has done some research and come up with the theory that the historical Buddha didn’t really live, that the Buddhist teachings were of a later period. Is the personality of the Buddha important for Buddhist practice?
Ajahn Sumedho: It’s a convention. It doesn’t matter whether there was ever a Buddha or not, it still works. If you want to say there was nobody like Siddhattha Gotama who became the Buddha, and this was all made up by Joe Bloggs, or somebody, it still wouldn’t make any difference in terms of practice. People, now, want to prove that Jesus Christ never existed. There’s a great deal of interest in history, in trying to prove that this didn’t actually happen, or this person didn’t really exist, but that is being very simplistic and shows a blind faith in history as being reality.
What works? What really works? This you have to find out for yourself. I find the Buddhist convention a very skilful one for me. Buddha was really not leaving anything to be grasped, and so one often feels frustrated by the practice. There’s something in us that wants to grasp something and hold on, but every time we do, it’s pulled out. So you may become an Advaita-Vedantist for a while because you would really like a metaphysical doctrine, or you would like to have, say, Buddha-nature. ‘That’s it!’ You know, get a nice name for it, something you can name and have faith in. But in the long run, even that is relinquished, even the hope and the need for grasping anything, any concept. The Simile of the Raft is a very good simile of what the Buddha was teaching. He was just giving us a convenient vehicle, a practical vehicle to use, not something to hold or grasp, but to use. Continue reading
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Beginners, Buddhism, History, Theravada | Tagged: Buddha Shakyamuni, Five Past Buddhas, Maitreya, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Siddhattha Gotama | 2 Comments »
Posted on 11 July 2015 by Buddhism Now
Ethnicity 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
Filed under: Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Sumedho, Buddhism, Encyclopedia, History | Tagged: Amaravati Buddhist Centre, Buddhist Society, Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, Christmas Humphreys, Dhiravamsa, History of Buddhism in England, Wat Buddhapadipa | Leave a comment »
Posted on 27 June 2015 by Buddhism Now
Now, 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
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Beginners, Buddhism, Theravada | Tagged: Ajahn Sumedho, Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Theravada Buddhism, Theravadan Buddhist monk | 7 Comments »
Posted on 15 May 2015 by Buddhism Now
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.
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Foundations of Buddhism, Texts, Theravada | Tagged: Ajahn Sumedho, Buddhist online magazine, Buddhist talk MP3, Mindfulness, Theravada | 1 Comment »
Posted on 17 March 2015 by Buddhism Now
Sometimes 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
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Art, Buddhism, Foundations of Buddhism, Theravada | Tagged: Art © British Museum, Noble Truth of suffering, Photo Metropolitan Museum of art, photos, Universal love, WPLongform, WPlongread | 2 Comments »
Posted on 7 February 2015 by Buddhism Now
Is 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
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Beginners, Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Foundations, Theravada | Tagged: Amaravati Buddhist Monastery, Art © Marcelle Hanselaar, Buddhist blog, Buddhist online magazine, meditation retreats, Mindfulness | 6 Comments »