Posted on 25 February 2013 by Buddhism Now
When we hear or read the word ‘liberation’ (nibbana), we often get the idea that it is unattainable, otherworldly, reachable only by spiritual giants, and that it has very little to do with us. We do not have to look at it that way. Let us consider the three kinds of liberation—’signless’, ‘wishless’, and ‘voidness’ liberation. Signless liberation is attained by completely penetrating impermanence (anicca), wishless liberation by completely penetrating unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and voidness liberation by penetrating coreless substance (anatta).
We’re all familiar with impermanence, but what is signless liberation? Suppose we are attached to or highly appreciative of a person, a situation, a belonging. Can we let go of clinging to it? We can try to let go of anything at all, no matter how small. We direct our attention to the fact that all we examine is totally fleeting. We fathom that truth in everything, in all living beings, and, having seen it, we let go of our belief in the solidity of things. We thereby let go of our attachment. If we can do that with anything or anyone, even for a moment, we have won a moment of signless liberation—a moment of direct knowledge that nothing has any intrinsic value, that it’s all a passing show. Having had that experience, even for one moment, gives us an inkling of what the Buddha meant when he spoke about freedom. Freedom is often misunderstood as the ability to do anything we want. We have probably tried that already and found that it doesn’t work. Even if we were to follow only our desires, we would soon be satiated and then feel unfulfilled. (more…)
Filed under: Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Theravada | Tagged: anatta, Anicca, Ayya Khema, Buddhist blog, dukkha, nibbana, spirituality | 1 Comment »
Posted on 7 February 2013 by Buddhism Now
I’ve been here at Amaravati for fifteen years . We have a nice temple with cloisters now, and somebody has donated funds for a very nice kuti, the nicest kuti I’ve ever had. And one may become attached to Amaravati, or ideas about Amaravati, or the sangha, to monasticism or Buddhism, to being a good Buddhist monk or to the Theravada tradition, to the Thai forest tradition, to establishing Buddhism in the West. All these things are very good and one gets praised for them. People sometimes say, ‘Isn’t it wonderful what you’ve done! You’ve established monasticism in the West.’ I get a lot of these kinds of messages. But one has to be careful not to start attaching to these things, and suffering when one doesn’t get the compliments or when the monks and nuns start disrobing and people start finding fault with you. When one responds to praise and blame, success and failure, those are the signs of attachment. This is where I’ve made a strong determination. In my practice the priority is always towards this purity, never towards any worldly thing, not towards the monastic life, towards Buddhism, individual monks or nuns, orders of monks and nuns, Buddhism in the West, Buddhism in the East, Buddhism in the North, or Buddhism in the South. Even if I am successful at these things, even if I do establish Buddhism permanently for the next thousand years in Europe, the priority can only be to realise nibbana, to cross over the sea of suffering. We’ve made this temple at Amaravati so sturdy it’ll last a thousand years. Buddhism may not survive, but the temple will. The architect said twenty elephants could dance on the roof of that temple and it would not cave in! But to realise nibbana is the whole purpose of ordaining as a monk or nun. This has always meant a lot to me. I could see that it might be sometimes easier to build temples than to practise and to keep that practice going until you really know so that it’s not theoretical. Each one of us has this opportunity to know this for ourselves. That’s the only way we can be liberated, through knowing it for ourselves, not through anyone else’s understanding. (more…)
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Beginners, Biography, Buddhism, Theravada | Tagged: Amaravati, awareness, Buddha Sangha, Buddhist blog, Buddhist monk, religion, spirituality, Vipaka-kamma | 4 Comments »
Posted on 26 January 2013 by Buddhism Now
A 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. (more…)
Filed under: Books, Buddhist meditation, Encyclopedia, Karma & Rebirth, Theravada | Tagged: Bhikkhu Puriso, kamma, Karma, Luang Por, not-self, Photo: Hazel Waghorn, spirituality | 1 Comment »
Posted on 22 December 2012 by Buddhism Now
Season’s greetings from all at
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Buddhist Publishing Group
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Thanks for your support.
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Posted on 30 November 2012 by Buddhism Now
You see people sometimes trying to have right speech: ‘I’m going to vow not to talk badly about anybody! I’m not going to gossip any more. If I speak it will just be on the dhamma! I’m not going to talk about worldly things like politics and football or anything like that.’ So I make this vow before the Lord Buddha. It might work for a while. Then you have tea with the bhikkhus and they are talking in very worldly ways about what kind of cheese they like and so on, and you think, ‘I’m not going to join in with them,’ in a rather supercilious way. So you then go and sit, or read a dhamma book, or find someone who wants to talk about serious things.
You might try your very hardest to live up to this vow, but one day you lose it and start talking in foolish ways. Perhaps somebody starts criticising other people and you get caught up in your own views about them. And then suddenly you think, ‘Oh gosh, I got lost again. Here I go gossiping; saying bad things about others; being foolish. Oh, my vow!’ Then comes remorse and often feelings of despair and just hating yourself. (more…)
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Beginners, Buddhism, Theravada | Tagged: bhikkhus, Buddhist blog, Dhamma talk, Eightfold Path, religion, spirituality | 4 Comments »
Posted on 13 October 2012 by Buddhism Now
It is interesting that there are now all kinds of stress reduction programmes; people are aware of stress and tension in society. A modern life is a very stressful one and things move too quickly for us, actually. We’re propelled through high technology and a fast-lane type of life whether we like it or not, and this does affect us. We get a sense of this kind of driven quality, this quality that makes us very restless, and we tend to distract ourselves endlessly. This then creates tension and stress and when we do this to the body, the body stops. It can’t take it any more and starts creating problems for us. Relaxation is therefore something that is encouraged now very much in our society, just on a popular, worldly level. (more…)
Filed under: Ajahn Sumedho, Beginners, Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Theravada | Tagged: Ajahn Chah, arahant, Dalai Lama, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Relaxation, spirituality, Stress | 4 Comments »
Posted on 29 September 2012 by Buddhism Now
One thing, 0 Monks, developed and repeatedly practised, leads to the attainment of wisdom. It is the contemplation of the body.
Wherever we go, all day long and all night long, we have a constant companion. We are joined at the hip and everywhere else. Yet we seldom consider this most profound of relationships. We pass it over without a thought, as if it were of no importance whatsoever. But in ignoring it, we ignore both the source and solution of many of our problems and put off our encounter with the mystery of our real nature.
Our bodies go back in a long chain of being to our most distant ancestors, and beyond them to microscopic plants and the inorganic matrix of the world. If over the billenia one tiny part had been different, we might never have existed. We are part of the great chain of being that nature is, part of that interbeing of which Thich Nhat Hanh speaks. Not only are we all made of the same stuff, but without one another we would almost certainly die. Not only do we have all that is necessary for that study at hand, but we can begin nowhere else.
How do we know about the world? — via the body, perception, sense consciousness and so on, all dependent on this embodied state. (more…)
Filed under: Beginners, Buddhism, Buddhist meditation, Ch'an / Seon / Zen, John Aske, Theravada | Tagged: Buddha, Buddhist blog, Pali Canon, spirituality, Therese Bertherat, Thich Nhat Hanh | 5 Comments »