The Unborn, a talk by Ajahn Sumedho

The Unborn, the reality beyond birth and death. One of the great teachings of Buddhism. Buddhist talk given at the 2001 Buddhist Publishing Group Summer School. 62 mins

Miyajima's (宮島) sacred deer (日本鹿 'Nihon-jika') are thought to have lived on the island for over 6000 years. Photo © @KyotoDailyPhoto
The Unborn, the reality beyond birth and death. One of the great teachings of Buddhism.

Buddhist talk given at the 2001 Buddhist Publishing Group Summer School.

60 minutes.

More from Ajahn Sumedho click here.

Patient Awareness, by Corrado Pensa

There is this line in the gospel of Luke:
In your patience, you will own your heart. (1)

Buddhist deity Benzaiten (Sanskrit: Sarasvati), is depicted playing a biwa. Photo  © @KyotoDailyPhotoThe Greek word for patience also implies constancy, perseverance. It is a strong word. ‘Heart’ comes from ‘psyche’ and psyche also means life, mind, soul. So, in your patience, you will become one with your heart. I remember when I first read this line being struck by it. A word like ‘patience’ which is a rather grey word in our normal way of talking comes out rather luminous and strong from this passage.

Then, years later, I happened to read some important reflections on this topic by a well-known Christian author, Henry Nouwen and a couple of co­authors, in a book entitled Compassion (2). He says: ‘If we cannot be patient, we cannot become patient. We cannot be compassionate. If we ourselves are unable to suffer, we cannot suffer with others, which is the meaning of compassion.’ Now, in dharma language we may say: ‘If we are not open to our suffering, if we are not ready for a direct experience of our suffering, there is not much hope of having empathy for other people’s suffering.’ Henry Nouwen continues, underlining a couple of very crucial things: ‘Patience is the capacity to see, hear, touch, taste and smell as fully as possible the inner and outer events of our lives. It is to enter our lives with open eyes, ears, and hands, so that we really know what is happening. Patience is an extremely difficult discipline precisely because it counteracts our unreflective impulse to flee or to fight.’ And then he concludes: ‘Patience requires us to go beyond the choice between fleeing or fighting. It is the third and most difficult way. It calls for discipline because it goes against the grain of our impulses.’ (3) Continue reading “Patient Awareness, by Corrado Pensa”

Buddha-Life, by Katagiri Roshi

Amida Nyorai (Buddha of Infinite Light & Life).  Photo: © @KyotoDailyPhotoBuddha is always present in what-is-just-is; buddha just is. If we think we understand ourselves, this is already not exactly what-is-just-is, or thusness or as-it-isness. This what-is-just-is, or thusness, is not a state of being that we can know through our consciousness. In Zen Bud­dhism it is said that this is ‘the self prior to our parents’ birth’ or prior to the germination of any single thought. This is the self before some­thing runs through our consciousness. The problem is that our con­sciousness is always working, going this way, that way, in every direction from moment to moment. So how can we know the state of ‘the self prior to our parents’ birth,’ or thusness or what-is-just-is-of-itself? This is a big question, a big project for us to research. The best way to do this research is just to sit down and do zazen, and let the flower of life force bloom in thusness. That is all we can do. Nothing else. In other words, whatever problem we have, we have to take care of it and constantly keep walking. Continue reading “Buddha-Life, by Katagiri Roshi”

The Buddha’s Discovery, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

What happiness is and what it isn’t.

Putting the Buddha’s discovery into practice is no quick fix. It can take years. The most important qualification at the beginning is a strong desire to change your life by adopting new habits and learning to see the world anew…

Working Tibetan women photo via Athur BravermanRapid technological advances. Increased wealth. Stress. Stable lives and careers come under the pressure of accelerating change. The twenty-first century? No, the sixth century BC—a time of destructive warfare, economic dislocation, and widespread disruption of established patterns of life, just like today. In conditions similar to ours, the Buddha discovered a path to lasting happiness. His discovery—a step-by-step method of mental training to achieve contentment—is as relevant today as ever.

Putting the Buddha’s discovery into practice is no quick fix. It can take years. The most important qualification at the beginning is a strong desire to change your life by adopting new habits and learning to see the world anew.

Each step along the Buddha’s path to happiness requires practising mindfulness until it becomes part of your daily life. Mindfulness is a way of training yourself to become aware of things as they really are. With mindfulness as your watchword, you progress through the eight steps laid down by the Buddha more than twenty-five hundred years ago—a gentle, gradual training in how to end dissatisfaction. Continue reading “The Buddha’s Discovery, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana”

Animals do Zazen Naturally, by Zen Master Kozan Kato

SamPeople who haven’t awakened to the true nature haven’t fulfilled their mission as humans. For other creatures, even insects, there is no need for awakening. They are nature as they are. Humans have fallen from their natural state because of delusion. So they awaken to their original nature that everything is one—to that original feeling. The mission of humans is to cease producing the waves [of thought] that have occurred up until now as a result of egotism. When that is done, a human being is born for the first time; that is the definition of a human being. Without that experience, no matter how renowned or eminent one is, no matter how great one’s achievement in history is, one is after all a scoundrel, no different than the criminal [waiting to die] on the gallows. Without that [experience], no matter how respectable one may appear to be, everyone (excuse me for saying this), even the emperor, is a villain on the ­gallows. . . . So we have to do zazen. It’s the most important thing in the life of a human being. Other animals are doing zazen naturally, so they don’t have to make a special effort. Even insects, bugs, and worms are all doing zazen. Continue reading “Animals do Zazen Naturally, by Zen Master Kozan Kato”

Metta, by Ajahn Sumedho

A talk by Ajahn Sumedho. Loving-kindness (Metta) to oneself and others is one of the major teachings of Buddhism. 72 minutes.

A talk on how to put Metta (loving kindness) into practice.

Loving-kindness (Metta) to oneself and others is one of the great Buddhist teachings.

Geshe Lobsang Thinley and Ajahn Sumedho at the BPG 2005 Buddhist Summer SchoolA talk given at the 2001 Buddhist Publishing Group Summer School.

72 minutes.

More articles and talks by Ajahn Sumedho here.

Buddhist practice: Overcome animosity by practising loving-kindness.