Where There Is No Self

Ajahn Sumedho

Where There Is No Self

There’s a certain level of consciousness in all life, in the fact that there is receptivity to the environment; and trees are very receptive to the environment they are in.

One begins to change the perception of mind to one of a consciousness that pervades everything. Then it’s not just a human mind; there’s something more to it. But in Buddhism it is never named; you never try to form a concept about it. Instead you contemplate the totality, the whole sensitivity, the sensory realm and what it is really about. And this we have to contemplate from our own ability to be conscious and to feel but not seeing it in terms of ‘me and ‘mine’ – ‘I feel these things, but nobody else does,’ or ‘Only human beings do, but animals don’t’, or ‘Only mammals do, but reptiles don’t’, or ‘Only the animal and insect kingdoms doubt, not the plants.’

Consciousness does not imply thought, but it does imply receptivity to what is impinging, to what comes to it. We begin to see that consciousness is a vital, changing universal system. It’s like a plenum: it’s full with all possibilities, all potentials of form, of what can be created. Whatever we can think of, we can see it in terms of the human ability to imagine, through which we can create all kinds of fantasies that come into material form.

But the greatest, most profound and meaningful human potential is overlooked by most people, and this is the ability to understand the truth of the way it is, to see the Dhamma, to be free from all delusions.

When you are contemplating reality, begin to reflect on where there is no self. Whenever there is the cessation of self, there is just clarity, knowing, and contentedness – you feel at ease and balanced. It takes a while to be able to give up all the striving and restless tendencies of the body and mind. But, in moments, that will cease; and there’s a real clarity, contented peacefulness.

And in that, also, there is no self, no ‘me’ and ‘my’. You can contemplate that.

This reflection by Luang Por Sumedho is from the book, Ajahn Sumedho Anthology, Volume 3—Direct Realization, (pdf) pp.111-112.

An Unstable and Uncertain Nature

Ajahn Amaro

An Unstable and Uncertain Nature

When considering the second of our essential questions – ‘How can we best handle the world’s unstable and uncertain nature?’ – we turn to the Buddha’s contemplative training known as the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. This practice shows us how the mind and the world meet and how great the benefits are if that meeting is brought about in an ongoing, mindful way, fully attuned to the natural orde…

What Is the World?

Ajahn Amaro

What Is the World?

When we consider the fragile and fleeting biosphere that we live in, these changes we are seeing and experiencing all around us can easily lead us to fear: What is going to happen? Will my home be destroyed by flood or fire? Will the droughts lead to food shortages? Will all the birds and fishes die? Will our children and grandchildren – and we humans – survive? And is there anything I can do in r…

When Help Is Needed

Ajahn Pasanno

When Help Is Needed

One focus of our practice is to look after each other and help each other out. In one discourse where the Buddha finds Venerable Anuruddha and his friends living in the forest, we see that they are intent on formal practice, but whenever something needs to be done, they come out of meditation and help each other. That is a very beautiful story from the suttas. Our tendency, however, is to try doin…

What Is Your Strongest Fear?

Ajahn Piek

What Is Your Strongest Fear?

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Pariyatti as Active, Applied Contemplation

Ajahn Viradhammo

Pariyatti as Active, Applied Contemplation

Applying the Buddha’s teachings to one’s own life is also an aspect of study. Pariyatti encompasses both intellectual study and the study of one’s inner world. So consider what it means to apply the theory of dependent origination, the three characteristics of existence, and so on, to your own conscious experience as viewed from a Buddhist perspective. While it’s fine to read what Carlos Castaneda…

Wrong to Feel Afraid?

Ajahn Munindo

Wrong to Feel Afraid?

So who is it that says that it’s wrong to feel afraid? When we experience fear, and we hear a voice within us saying we shouldn’t be afraid, who is saying that? When we first hear this question, we might hear the emphasis as, ‘Who says it’s wrong to feel afraid?’ as if we could find out who it is that says ‘it’s wrong’ and teach them to say that it’s okay. This would be an understandable kind of r…

Peace Inside, Not Outside

Ajahn Chah

Peace Inside, Not Outside

Know what is good and bad, whether traveling or living in one place. You can’t find peace on a mountain or in a cave. You can even go to where the Buddha attained enlightenment without getting closer to the truth. Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It’s not found in a forest or on a hill top, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience sufferin…

Mindfulness and Awareness Sustained

Ajahn Pasanno

Mindfulness and Awareness Sustained

With mindfulness we attend to the ability of the mind to be aware and to sustain awareness. In formal meditation, we attend to the breath, refining and clarifying how we attend to the meditation object because we may be trying too hard. If that is the case, we squeeze and crush that clarity, that spaciousness and stillness. We try so hard, and that’s a becoming, isn’t it? Or we disturb the mind by…

What Is Meditation?

Ajahn Amaro

What Is Meditation?

People have all sorts of ideas about what meditation is, based on a wide variety of experiences and influences. For example, we might have the idea that meditation is about seeing into past lives, reading people’s minds, making the mind go off into some sort of blissful state or inhabit some kind of wonderful esoteric realm while we take a break from our busy lives, and so on. Perhaps we have come…