Some people die because of their desires; others nearly do—that’s how to be stuck in the way of the world. Worldly wisdom seeks after the senses and their objects. However wise the search may be, it’s wise only in a worldly sense. No matter how appealing the object, it’s appealing only in a worldly sense. It isn’t the happiness of liberation; it won’t free you from the world. (more…)
. . so the retreat continues and today wasn’t so noisy. We didn’t have such a good chance to meditate and make friends with the cement mixer and the pneumatic drill, but that is being facetious. In a way, it is also an opportunity of adopting a realistic attitude towards meditation, and not creating hostility towards the way it is. There is noise and unpleasant things happen, but if we become averse to them, then we are creating hostility. When we are mindful and accept the way it is, then we are not creating hostility. So the real suffering is not the sound of the pneumatic drill and the cement mixer, but the stuff you create in your own mind—that is what dukkha is. (more…)
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What is, in the classical Buddhist tradition, called papanca in Pali and prapanca in Sanskrit is usually translated as ‘emotional-conceptual proliferation’. It has a very central role in the understanding of the dharma and in the practice of the dharma.
I want to quote from the Buddha himself. There is this passage where he says, ‘What one perceives, one thinks. Then one starts proliferating about what one has thought. And because of this, concepts and images attack him from all sides.’ Yes, it sounds familiar! On the other hand, the man or woman who is realised, the realised one, is described as someone who rejoices and delights in the state or in the field of nonproliferation, a condition in which the proliferation has evaporated, where there is freedom from papanca. The original meaning of papanca is ‘unfolding’, the constant unfolding, constant proliferation of our mind. (more…)
by Bhante Bodhidhamma
Observing the Breath at the Abdomen
We observe the breath, or rather the sensations caused by breathing, in order to bring a moment-to-moment concentration. This calms the heart-mind because it is a neutral object. There are various places where people feel the sensations of breathing more acutely—at the nostrils or upper lip, at the rising and falling of the chest, and in the abdomen. All of these places are valid in terms of vipassana meditation. The Mahasi, however, favoured the abdomen as a place of observation. (more…)
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The Unborn, the reality beyond birth and death. One of the great teachings of Buddhism.
Buddhist talk given at the 2001 Buddhist Publishing Group Summer School.
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There is this line in the gospel of Luke:
In your patience, you will own your heart. (1)
The Greek word for patience also implies constancy, perseverance. It is a strong word. ‘Heart’ comes from ‘psyche’ and psyche also means life, mind, soul. So, in your patience, you will become one with your heart. I remember when I first read this line being struck by it. A word like ‘patience’ which is a rather grey word in our normal way of talking comes out rather luminous and strong from this passage.
Then, years later, I happened to read some important reflections on this topic by a well-known Christian author, Henry Nouwen and a couple of coauthors, in a book entitled Compassion (2). He says: ‘If we cannot be patient, we cannot become patient. We cannot be compassionate. If we ourselves are unable to suffer, we cannot suffer with others, which is the meaning of compassion.’ Now, in dharma language we may say: ‘If we are not open to our suffering, if we are not ready for a direct experience of our suffering, there is not much hope of having empathy for other people’s suffering.’ Henry Nouwen continues, underlining a couple of very crucial things: ‘Patience is the capacity to see, hear, touch, taste and smell as fully as possible the inner and outer events of our lives. It is to enter our lives with open eyes, ears, and hands, so that we really know what is happening. Patience is an extremely difficult discipline precisely because it counteracts our unreflective impulse to flee or to fight.’ And then he concludes: ‘Patience requires us to go beyond the choice between fleeing or fighting. It is the third and most difficult way. It calls for discipline because it goes against the grain of our impulses.’ (3) (more…)
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