When I was eighteen years old and at University, I fell in love. I had this powerful experience. For the first time in my life I would do anything for another person. That part was very pure. But, then, being eighteen I didn’t know how to handle the experience; my emotions were still very immature and I ended up being possessive, demanding and jealous. There was no wisdom involved. I thought, ‘If I have this girl, if I possess her, then I’ll get this feeling all the time.’ There was a kind of mystical moment of selflessness, but the emotions were unprepared. I simply reverted to the old habits of grasping, possessing, feeling jealous, making a general nuisance of myself and making myself totally unlovable. This was in about 1952. (more…)
Imagine 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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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Compose your minds, look inwards and become aware of the here and now ― the body, the breath, the mental state, the mood you are in ― without trying to control or judge or do anything; just allow everything to be what it is.
For many people the attitude towards meditation is one of always trying to change something, always trying to attain a particular state or recreate some kind of blissful experience remembered from the past, or of hoping to reach a certain state by practising. When we practise meditation with the idea of having to do something, however, then even the idea of practice ― even the word ‘meditation’ ― will bring up this idea that ‘if I’m in a bad mood, I should get rid of it’, or ‘if the mind is scattered and I’m all over the place, I should make it one-pointed’. In other words, we make meditation into hard work. So then there is a great deal of failure in it because we try to control everything through these ideas, but that is an impossibility. (more…)
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Teachings of a Buddhist Monk
by Ajahn Sumedho
ISBN 13: 978-0946672233
ISBN 10: 0946672237
Buddhist Publishing Group
Paperback, 148 pages.
£8.95 / $13.95
Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.
Spiritual life is not about becoming someone special but discovering a greatness of heart within us and every being. It is an invitation to inwardly drop our opinions, our views, our ideas, our thoughts, our whole sense of time and ourselves, and come to rest in no fixed position. Ajahn Sumedho invites us all, ordained and lay people alike, to enjoy the freedom beyond all conditions, a freedom from fears, from gain and loss, from pleasure and pain. This is the joy and happiness of the Buddha.
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