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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    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).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    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.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    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.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Nibbana, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddha Offering Protection, Sri Lanka, mid-15th–16th century. © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe meaning of the word Nibbana clearly extends to the absence of mental defilements the cause of Dukkha. So that at any moment that our minds are empty of ‘self’ and ‘belonging to self’ then that is Nibbana. For example, at this moment as you sit here I will attest that everyone, or almost everyone, has a mind empty of the feelings of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ because there is nothing engendering them. In listening attentively you give no opportunity for self – consciousness to arise. So look and see whether or not the mind is empty of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. If there is some emptiness (and I merely use the word some, it’s not comp­letely or unchangingly empty) then you are dwelling within the sphere of Nibbana. Even though it is not absolute or perfect Nibbana, it is Nibbana just the same. Continue reading

Nobody Likes Being Disturbed, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

The Mountain is Empty; A Pinecone Falls, Zekkai Chūshin (Japanese, 1336–1405),© Metropolitan Museum of Art We must first be aware of these two categories, ’empty of I’ and ‘not empty of I’. The former is called ’empty’ and the latter is called ‘disturbed’ and to save time that is how they will be referred to from now on.

Here your common sense may say straight away that nobody likes being disturbed. If I were to ask those people who like being disturbed to raise their hands, if anyone did so it would have to be a joke. Everyone likes to be empty in one way or another. Some people like the lazy emptiness of not having to work. Everyone likes to be empty of annoyance, not having the kids coming to bother you. But that emptiness is an external thing, it is not yet true emptiness.

Inner emptiness means to be normal, to have a mind that is not scattered and confused. Anyone who experiences this really likes it. If it develops to its greatest degree, which is to be empty of egoism, then it is Nibbana. Continue reading

Emptiness True Health, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Miracle of Shravasti, Terracotta, 7th–9th century, Thailand © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtEmptiness is the most difficult to understand of all the Buddhist Teachings because it is their innermost heart. Being called a heart it must obviously be something subtle and profound. Its understanding does not lie within the scope of mere conjecture or the sort of pondering that ordinary people are accustomed to. It can only be understood by determined study.

The most essential meaning of the word ‘study’ is of the unceasing, dedicated observation and investigation of whatever arises in the mind, be it pleasant or unpleasant. Only one familiar with the observation of mind can really understand Dhamma. One who merely reads books cannot understand and what’s more may even go astray. But one who tries to observe the things going on in the mind and always takes that which is true in his or her own mind as a standard has no way to get, muddled. Such a person will be able to comprehend Dukkha and the cessation of Dukkha and ultimately will understand Dhamma. Then if books are read they will be understood well. Continue reading

Work with an Empty-Free Mind, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Work Must Be Practice

Blue Hydrangea.Work is an important problem for most of us, because we work to live. We can say our life has value because of work. This makes it a most important issue. Consequently, I like to raise work as a crucial issue.

An important problem for people is the issue of work, because we work to live. We can say our life has value because of work. This makes it a most important issue for us. Consequently, I like to focus on work as a crucial issue. On the back covers of our “Looking Within” series, I asked the publishers to print a little verse that concerns our topic.

Do work of all kinds with a free heart,
Offer the fruits of work to voidness,
Eat the food of emptiness as the noble ones do,
Die to one’s self from the very beginning. Continue reading

Spiritual Disease, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Buddha Seated under the Bodhi Tree . Thailand 7th–9th century. Photo © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe words ‘spiritual’ and ‘mental’ have widely divergent meanings. ‘Mental’ refers to the mental factors that are connected to and associated with the body. If we suffer from a mental illness, we go to a psychiatric hospital or an asylum. It is not a spiritual matter. The word ‘spirit’ here doesn’t mean spirit in the sense of a ghost or a being that takes possession of people or anything like that, but it refers to the subtle aspects of the mind that are ill through the power of defilement — in particular through ignorance or wrong view. The mind composed of ignorance or wrong view suffers from a ‘spiritual disease’; it sees falsely, and seeing falsely causes the mind to think falsely, speak falsely, and act falsely. The disease lies right there in false thought, false speech, and false action.

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Like a handful of fallen leaves, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

New Oak leaves

The Buddha refused to have any dealing with those things which don’t lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic in­herit­ance? These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so, they are not Buddhist teachings and are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism. Also, the one who asks about such matters has no choice but to indis­­crimi­nately believe the answer given, because the one who answers is not going to be able to produce any proof, but is just going to speak according to that person’s memory and feeling. The listener can’t see for himself and so has to blindly believe the other’s words. Little by little the matter strays from Dhamma until it’s something else altogether, unconnected with the extinction of Dukkha.

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