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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.

Intuitive Insight, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Shakyamuni Triad with the Sixteen Protectors of the Great Wisdom Sutra. Nanbokuchō period (1336–92)Now intuitive insight, or what we call ‘seeing Dhamma’, is not by any means the same thing as rational thinking. One will never come to see Dhamma by means of rational thinking. Intuitive insight can be gained only by means of a true inner realisation. For instance, suppose we are examining a situation where we had thoughtlessly become quite wrapped up in something which later caused us suffering. If, on looking closely at the actual course of events, we become genuinely fed up, disillusioned and disenchanted with that thing, we can be said to have seen Dhamma, or to have gained clear insight. This clear insight may develop in time until it is perfected and has the power to bring liberation from all things. If a person recites aloud: ‘anicca, dukkha, anatta’ or examines these characteristics day and night without ever becoming disenchanted with things, without ever losing the desire to get things or to be something, or the desire to cling to things, that person has not yet attained to insight. In short, then, insight into impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and non-selfhood amounts to realising that nothing is worth getting or worth being.

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Not being Buddha is suffering

‘One thing I teach, dukkha and release from dukkha.‘ The Buddha

Maitreya Bodhisattva. National Museum of Korea, National Treasure 83

In the Four Noble Truths the Buddha gives the essence of his understanding, his awakening.

The truth of suffering (dukkha).

The truth of the origin of suffering.

The truth of the cessation of suffering (nirodha).

The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering. Continue reading

Foundations of Buddhism—some notes

Stone Buddha Photo © David BlancoThe Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, lived approximately 563-483 bce in the north of India (today Nepal).

The Gotamas were a branch of the Sakya clan. His mother, Maya, gave birth to him in Lumbini Grove. She died seven days later and his aunt, Prajapati, took over as foster mother. The family were of the warrior (khattiya) caste.

As a young man, a prince, he began to contemplate sickness, old age, and death. Are we born just to get old, to get sick, and to die? Isn’t there more to life than this? He decided to leave his comfortable surroundings and to search for the truth of existence. Turning his back on everything, he cut off his hair, exchanged his fine clothes for rags, and set out on a spiritual journey. With great determination he began his new way of life.

For six years he sat at the feet of respected gurus and practised their teachings, living as a wandering ascetic. Earnestly he followed these revered teachers but didn’t find what he was looking for. Then one day, sitting in the shade of a tree, he composed his mind, looked within, and decided not to move from that spot until he had understood what he was, what life was, and the workings of his own mind. There, within himself, he found freedom from birth, decay and death. That was his awakening, his enlightenment, his Buddhahood.

The Buddha is just this ‘one who knows’ within this very mind. It knows the Dhamma. Ajahn Chah

If you think Buddha’s a person, you’ll never know Buddha. Zen Graffiti

The tathagata appeared for the sake of sentient beings lost in wrong views and inverted thinking. Avatamsaka Sutra

Even one’s livelihood and everyday work, are applications of the form and functioning of the tathagatas wisdom. Chinul

The Buddha is also known as the Awakened One, the Tathagata, and Shakyamuni Buddha (Sage of the Sakya clan).

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Is Your Hair On Fire? by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Burmese Stupa Photo © John AskeImagine a person who feels completely healthy, completely free of all illness, sickness and physical disability. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous for that person to get medicine? What would be the point of that? What would be the rationale in getting medicine when you feel completely healthy? Those people who don’t see any problems, who are not aware of any dukkha, unsatisfactoriness, in their lives, what would be the point in their attempting to study the dhamma and to practise meditation?

If you are new to this thing called ‘dhamma’, and new to meditation, then you are not expected to immediately agree that you have all sorts of problems and are suffering from many burdens in life. However, if you are not completely sure that your health is perfect, you could examine yourself, you could get to know yourself and find out what kind of shape you are in. Continue reading

Natural Cure for Spiritual Disease, by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Standing Buddha Rock carvingBuddha-Dhamma is as vast as the universe and as concise as a moment’s flash of insight. Many sentient beings have got lost between the two, unable to resolve through direct personal experience the many teachings available today. Fundamental perspectives are required for us to begin sorting out the multiplicity of experiences and concepts. Here, we offer a clear, direct, and practical guide into the essentials of Buddhism, that is, the Dhamma.

While many Buddhists take Dhamma to be “the Buddha’s teaching,” it really means “Natural Truth” or “Natural Law.” Of course, this is what the Buddha taught and demonstrated, but we must be careful to distinguish the teaching from the Truth itself. Thus, to understand Buddhism one must begin with the Dhamma. Continue reading

What is Dukkha? by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Meditation Buddha China. Photo: David BlancoWhat are the characteristics of dukkha? What are the symptoms? One is the lack of relaxation for the spirit — the suffering soul has no place to rest its weary bones. This is an aspect of dukkha. Conditions spin round and round compounding each other. And this is constant. This constant process of conditioning doesn’t give the spirit, or soul, or whatever, any chance to relax.

Things don’t happen according to our wishes and desires. Nothing in this world goes the way we want it to. every now and then something accidentally pleases us, but all of us are aware of countless things that don’t fit in with our wishes. Wars, starvation, the political messes, economic exploitation — none of these things are according to our wishes. This is dukkha. And, coming closer to home, we can see that our bodies get old, get sick, fall apart. Our bodies don’t go the way we want them to, either; they aren’t the way we want them to be. This is dukkha.

Dukkha is the ‘wanting’ in our lives. There is always something stirring up wishes and desires, craving and wanting. And this thing that stirs up all these desires is avijja, ‘not knowing, ‘ignorance. This lack of correct understanding, this lack of correct knowledge, gives rise to craving. Ignorance produces these states of mind which come up and interfere with the natural peace and brightness of the mind.

Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.

If you enjoyed this Buddhadasa Bhikkhu post there are more here.

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