The significance of the Buddhist teaching lies in the fact that it isn’t doctrinal. It’s not an attempt to tell us how things should be, it’s more a way of bringing our attention to the way things are.
Most of us are educated to think in terms of how things should be, and we often don’t understand why life is the way it is. So it surprises us, shocks us, upsets us. We become overwhelmed, even with good fortune, not to mention bad. The Buddhist teachings are guides that help us to look at the experience of being alive. Continue reading “The First Truth, by Ajahn Sumedho”
To think ‘I am screwed up’, is a value judgement, isn’t it? ‘Screwed up’ makes the ‘I am’.
My parents died many years ago, but I remember going to see them in America when I was fifty-five years old. To them of course I wasn’t Ajahn Sumedho or anything like that, but just their little boy. Pretty soon the old ways of relating to each other started up again, and I found it really strange; it really affected me. Try to notice those kinds of relationships, the assumptions that go with father-son, mother-son, mother-daughter and so forth, just the assumptions and habit-tendencies that we have personally and emotionally. You could say that your parents shouldn’t treat you the way they do, that they should accept you as an equal adult. But that would be a should of life; it would be an ideal. The way it actually is, is ‘like this’. By allowing experiences to be consciously accepted, you realize that even if your parents can’t change, at least you can; you can change your attitude and not get caught up in adolescent resentments that arise ― when you are fifty-five years old! Continue reading “Try to have a Permanent Emotion, by Ajahn Sumedho”
Maybe disease isn’t something to get rid of; maybe it’s something to understand, to contemplate, to come to terms with. Being born itself implies that we are going to be subject to different forces beyond our control. We can, of course, learn how to live more carefully, respecting life, not misusing our bodies, nor exploiting them…
A very common illusion in the materialist world is that we should try to get rid of disease. I remember about twenty-five years ago (From a talk given in Australia in March 1987) in the States, before I ordained, people thought that modern science was going to get rid of all disease within the next twenty-five years. Now, twenty-five years later, we’ve got new diseases! And cancer seems to be a kind of disease that isn’t going to go that quickly.
Maybe disease isn’t something to get rid of; maybe it’s something to understand, to contemplate, to come to terms with. Being born itself implies that we are going to be subject to different forces beyond our control. We can, of course, learn how to live more carefully, respecting life, not misusing our bodies, nor exploiting them. People exploit their own bodies, using them for all kinds of harmful things, dangerous things. So the body starts breaking down, getting weak, and so forth. This is the result of not understanding the limits, and a lack of respect for the body. Continue reading “Dealing with Disease, by Ajahn Sumedho”