The Development of Loving-kindness

This was said by the Lord.

Stone Buddha in Dartington gardens“Bhikkhus, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth,[i] all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness.[ii] The mind-release of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.

“Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal a sixteenth part of the moon’s radiance, but the moon’s radiance surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness.

“Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and free of clouds, the sun, on ascending, dispels the darkness of space and shines forth, bright and bril­liant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit pro­ductive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness…. Continue reading

Five Spiritual Powers, by Mahesi Caplan

Awakening: The Five Spiritual Powers (Faith, Energy, Mindfulness, Serenity, and Wisdom).

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Golden Buddha Centre Totnes Nov 2012 Continue reading

Direct Knowing, by Ajahn Sumedho

Cambodia Photo © Janet NovakWe identify with what we look like, with our faces. We also identify with the conditioning of our minds, the ways in which we have been trained to think and feel, with values, with habits acquired in our lifetimes, and so on. But, beyond the conditioned realm is the unconditioned, the unborn, the uncreated, something without form, quality, or quantity. This is where everything ceases, and our abilities to imagine and perceive end. By speaking in this way, however, we still create images of the conditioned and unconditioned!

For most people the conditioned is all they ever really relate to, the unconditioned remains a kind of metaphysical belief, or some abstraction they might accept. And some do not even consider it. Even in metaphysical doctrine the unconditioned is given conditions. So, we give God attributes; we give God all kinds of qualities which are, of course, conditioned. An attribute, a quality, a quantity, is ‘born’, ‘created’. Continue reading

Dreams: The Forest of the Night, by John Aske

‘Dreaming is one of our roads into the infinite.’ (Henry Havelock Ellis)

Butterfly on Blue Flowers.You might sensibly ask why those interested in following the Buddha’s path should pay any attention to dreams. They represent—to many of us at least—a retrograde step; a falling back into the emotional and the irrational, and this does not seem to sit easily with the idea of balance and enlightenment. But balance and enlightenment refer to the whole human, not just a part. And if the irrational and emotional are part of us—and they are—then we must deal with them too, and the resulting balance must inevitably take them into consideration as well.

The Buddhist saying that ‘the passions are the Buddha’ was not made idly. The problem is that our conscious mind is too often blind to our faults and problems, and only our whole psyche is directly involved with them and can deal with them. The fact that the rocks are invisible does not mean that they can be ignored, and too many come to grief by doing just that. The dream is one of the psyche’s most effective and powerful means of unmasking and displaying the problem, and often guiding us to its solution. Continue reading

The Pain of Attachment, by Corrado Pensa

 Wall painting, Sri lanka Photo: © Hazel WaghornThere are various ways of expressing the combination of light and warmth. There is a flame, and this flame means both light and warmth at the same time. Now, if this is the culmination of the path—this light and warmth—it has to have been there right from the beginning, at least in a potential form. This is why I tend to emphasise `affectionate’ awareness, `affectionate’ mindfulness, `accepting’ awareness, `accepting’ mindfulness. I think we shall spare ourselves a little suffering if we start right away to cultivate this gentleness in combination with the thing itself, and more and more we realise that they are not two separate things.

When we say `nonjudgemental’ awareness, `nonjudgemental’ mindfulness, we are talking about `accepting’ mindfulness. We can also say, I believe, that when we understand acceptance, truly understand it, at that point we truly understand awareness, and vice versa—once we really understand awareness, we understand and realise true acceptance. Acceptance is an intrinsic path to mindfulness, to awareness; as with wisdom and compassion—they are two sides of the same coin. So the big picture comprises wisdom and compassion; the small, initial picture has a little mindfulness which, to some extent, is accepting. It goes from there, but I think it has to be correct from the beginning. Continue reading

Satipatthana Sutta

The Buddha’s Teaching of Mindfulness

There is this one way for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrows and griefs, for the going down of sufferings and miseries, for winning the right path, for realizing nibbana, that is to say, the four applications of mindfulness.

The Buddha

Satipatthana Sutta

 Top: a text in Sanskrit (praise of Vishnu), written in devanagari. Bottom: a text in Pali from a Buddhist ceremonial scripture called "Kammuwa" from Burma (probably in old Mon scipt).Thus have I heard. At one time the Lord was staying among the Kuru people in a township called Kammassadhamma. While he was there, the Lord addressed the monks: ‘There is this one way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrows and griefs, for the going down of sufferings and miseries, for winning the right path, for realizing nibbana*, that is to say, the four applications of mindfulness. What are the four?

[* Nibbana (Pali), Nirvana (Sanskrit): The unborn; the utmost security from the bonds of greed, hatred and delusion; beyond eternity and annihilation; beyond description and conception; the very basis and foundation of what we are and of all that is.] Continue reading

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