A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).
Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.
The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.
Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.
An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.
Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.
Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.
Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.
Creating a small space between tasks stops the accumulation of emotional states.
Missing the alarm in the morning and oversleeping, Jack suddenly wakes up and realizes he’s going to be late for work. Panic! From that moment on there’s a world-shattering rush to try and get there on time: the morning wash at top speed, water and soapsuds everywhere; breakfast shovelled in; scalding tea gulped down with a yelp; legging it to the bus stop; spending the ride tapping the fingers and biting the lip, or driving like a madman, swearing at friend and foe, prepared to run over man, woman, child, cat or dog and finally arriving at work. Is that the end of the panic? Of course not! Late or not he’s set the pace for the whole day which turns into a frenetic onslaught of rush, anger, frustration, anxiety and stress, at the end of which his only comfort is an aspirin! Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
In the last discourse given by the Buddha called the Parinibbana Sutta, the Discourse concerning his passing away into total nibbana, there is a special section on body movement and posture:
And again when the meditator is walking, she or he is aware of walking, when standing, aware of standing, when sitting, aware of sitting, when lying down, aware of lying down. Whatever position or movement the meditator is in, that is what she or he is aware of.
In other words, sitting meditation is only a part of the meditation. What the Buddha wanted us to do was to develop a meditative life—to know what we are doing at all times, leading a life of full-time awareness. Continue reading →
In the late seventies I began to meditate in the Soto Zen tradition with my first Buddhist teacher, Vajira Bailey in Birmingham. In August 1979 I underwent Jukai and committed myself to Buddhism as a Zen Buddhist at Throssel Hole Priory in Northumberland.
During this period I was living in Birmingham where a Burmese monk, Ven. Dr. Rewata Dhamma, had set up a Vihara. I began to visit and out of interest joined a course of meditation in the vipassana technique with Achaan Sumedho, now the Chief Monk of the Thai Forest Tradition based at Amaravati Buddhist Centre near Hemel Hempstead. That experience convinced me that Vipassana was to be the technique that most serviced my needs.
Soon after I met my core teacher, Sayadaw U Janaka of Burma (Myanmar). He is one of the main teachers in the Mahasi Tradition. I went to spend six months with him in Yangon. It had a deep effect upon me. I returned to my former job, but I began to have thoughts about joining the Sangha in order to do even longer periods of intensive meditation.
Once we have established a basic meditative disposition, as it were, towards daily life, we can be more pro-active; we can take the offensive; we can search for techniques which will enhance our lives the more.
The first thing we can do is to tackle the ‘tough nut’. We all have habits or personality traits we would dearly love to lose. It could be a strong habit such as smoking, or a social nuisance such as a loud voice or a habit of always opinionating. The first thing to do is make the resolution to change. Then we need to use our self-observation techniques. (Here a diary is very useful in order to observe when, where and with whom the habit is likely to occur.)
As we get to know when the habit occurs, we can form strategies — firstly so that we are not overcome by it and secondly so that we can undermine its hold on us. My father used to be a heavy smoker, forty cigarettes a day and the full-blooded, thick tar stuff. He also used to sing in a choir, but had to stop because of continual sore throats. The doctor even then — this is fifty years ago, mind! — advised him to stop smoking if he wanted a long singing life. He did. And he hit the habit where it hurt most. The one cigarette most difficult to abandon was the one after lunch when he would sit and relax, and perhaps doze. He decided that instead of getting irritable with others, he’d take it out on the piano. Not only has he never smoked since, but he has become a dab hand at the piano. Continue reading →
Header photo left to right: Jisu Sunim, DaeHungSa, Korean Son (Zen / Ch'an) Monk, Geshe Tashi Tsering, Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London, and Ajahn Sumedho, Amaravati Buddhist Monastery.
The photo was taken at a BPG Buddhist Summer School in Leicester, England, around 1998 by Gerda Chapuis.