Clinging to Self, by Bhikkhu PA Payutto

Standing Buddha, Sri lanka Photo: © Hazel WaghornA certain Mr Porng went to visit the abbot of a nearby monastery, and he asked, ‘Luang Por [Reverend Father], the Buddha taught that everything is not-self and is without an owner—there is no one who commits karma and no one who receives its results. If that is the case, then I can go out and hit somebody over the head or even kill them, or do anything I like, because there is no one committing karma and no one receiving its results.’

No sooner had Mr Porng finished speaking than the abbot swung his walking stick down like a flash. Mr Porng could hardly get his arm up fast enough to ward off the blow. Even so, the stick struck solidly in the middle of his arm, giving it a good bruise. Clutching his sore arm, Mr Porng said, ‘Luang Por! Why did you do that?’ His voice trembled with the anger that was welling up inside him. Continue reading

The Middle Way, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddha in wall The bright mind is balanced and the defiled mind is imbalanced. When defilements (kilesa) come in, they take over. Then things are no longer in balance. And when the mind is out of balance, sometimes it goes off to the left, sometimes to the right, sometimes it goes up, sometimes down, or there is too much, or too little. This is what happens with defilements—the natural, pure balance of the mind is interfered with. This shows the importance of getting away from the influence of the defilements in order to live in the balanced Middle Way.

When the instincts are out of control, they become selfish, and this gives rise to all the defilements. The out-of-control instincts pull the mind off the Middle Way into the dead-end of the kilesa (the mental defilements). This is very important to know.

We often call these things the defilements, but we can see that they are just instincts which are out of control. Seeing this gives us an insight into how to bring them under control so that they no longer become defilements. This is something to be very interested in in order to get back on the path, to return to the balanced, right state of mind. To make it easier to understand, we can look at certain pairs of things which take us off the Middle Way. Continue reading

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

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