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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.

The First Truth, by Ajahn Sumedho

Wheel of the Buddhist Law (Rinpō). Japan, Kamakura period (1185–1333) © Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe 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

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

Dhamma – the way it is, by Ajahn Sumedho

Ajahn SumedhoAjahn Sumedho points to the real message of the Buddha’s teaching.

The talk (28 minutes) was given on 17 January 2010 at Uttama Bodhi Vihara in Selangor, Malaysia.

Try to have a Permanent Emotion, by Ajahn Sumedho

Standing Buddha, Southern Cambodia, mid-7th century. © The Metropolitan Museum of ArtMy 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

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

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