Is Your Hair On Fire? by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Burmese Stupa Photo © John AskeImagine a person who feels completely healthy, completely free of all illness, sickness and physical disability. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous for that person to get medicine? What would be the point of that? What would be the rationale in getting medicine when you feel completely healthy? Those people who don’t see any problems, who are not aware of any dukkha, unsatisfactoriness, in their lives, what would be the point in their attempting to study the dhamma and to practise meditation?

If you are new to this thing called ‘dhamma’, and new to meditation, then you are not expected to immediately agree that you have all sorts of problems and are suffering from many burdens in life. However, if you are not completely sure that your health is perfect, you could examine yourself, you could get to know yourself and find out what kind of shape you are in. Continue reading

The Burden of Selfishness, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Six Arm Kuan Yin. Photo RSR, V&A, LondonAs soon as there is ‘self’, there is selfishness. These two are very different, nonetheless, they are inseparable. The ‘self arises, then selfishness comes. And selfishness is a powerful and destructive burden which can easily be observed in oneself and in the world.

Selfishness gives rise to love, greed, anger, hatred, fear, worry, frustration, envy, jealousy, possessiveness. All of these are aspects of selfishness. Love through fear and worry, are just different aspects of selfishness. All this is such a powerfully destructive burden upon the mind. It weighs the mind down. If we get outside of our little worlds and start to observe what is really happening around us and also within us, if we come out of our clouds, break free of our daydreams, and really look, we shall see all this selfishness and all the harm and pain that it causes, both to ourselves and to others, This is the burden of selfishness. Continue reading

Four Noble Truths, talk by Ajahn Sumedho

Ajahn Sumedho © AmaravatiAjahn Sumedho gives a Dhamma talk on meditation, the Four Noble Truths and the impermanence of all conditioned phenomena.

Short film 43mins

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The talk was given in January 2010 at a retreat center in Janda Baik, a small town in Pahang.

Read more articles by Ajahn Sumedho

We have a choice, by Corrado Pensa

Yoshi Yoshi. Calligraphy by Tangen Harada Roshi, Bukkoku ji

Calligraphy by Tangen Harada Roshi

As a result of impermanence our lives go from unpleasant situations to pleasant situations to neutral ones, on and on—sometimes on a small scale, sometimes in a dramatic way. The point is, we have a choice. Every difficult or unpleasant situation can be used as further training for our aversion, anger and hatred or as training in our dharma practise. Any pleasant situation can be used to further our training in attachment, fantasising and possessiveness or to kindle attention and exercise our capacity to open up and let go. Neutral situations can be used as further training for our boredom and confusion or as training for the practice, as another way of learning and relearning how to kindle the flame of attention. This means that within this painful situation, we have a choice which is very promising in terms of freedom. Continue reading

Have your Dealings with Heaven, by Trevor Leggett

Moss on treeThere is a saying: ‘Don’t have your dealings with people. Have your dealings with heaven.’ If you have your dealings with people as they are you will be entangled in like and dislike. Have your dealings with heaven, with space, and there is heaven in them, heaven in yourself.

Don’t have your dealings with the clouds. Have your dealings with the sky. The clouds are the sky frowning, so to speak. There used to be an old song ‘Painting the Clouds with Sunshine’. Well, this is the opposite of the Buddhist training which is not trying to paint virtues onto something basically deluded, but is trying to dissolve delusions. There is a Japanese poem: Continue reading

Trust in your awareness, by Ajahn Sumedho

Wheel and dear above a Buddhist temple. Photo © Lisa DaixNow, the word ‘ignorance’ as used in Pali means ‘not knowing the Four Noble Truths with their three aspects and twelve insights’ (that is the formula of the Four Noble Truths). And the path is in terms of being eightfold (the Eightfold Path). But the Eightfold Path is really just awareness. Awareness is the path, and the eight parts are more or less positions for reflection rather than actual steps on an actual path. It is not a matter of taking this whole conception of a path too literally, thinking that one step leads to the next ― first you do this and then you do that. Taken in personal terms, you might start wondering, ‘Do I have right view? Is my speech really right speech all the time?’ And then maybe thinking, ‘Oh, I’m not on the path! I said something the other day I shouldn’t have said.’ If you start thinking about yourself in that way, you just get confused. My advice is not to make a problem of yourself. Give up making a problem about yourself, or how good or bad you are, or what you should or shouldn’t be. Learn to trust in your awareness more, and affirm that; recognize it and consciously think, ‘This is the awareness ― listening ― relaxed attention.’ Then you will feel the connection. It is a natural state that sustains itself. It isn’t up to you to create it. It isn’t dependent on conditions to support it. It is here and now whatever is happening. Continue reading

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