The Temple Within

Ajahn Amaro

The Temple Within

The Refuges are where stability, security can be found. That’s why they are called Refuges. Like this Temple – it’s a warm, secure, still place while the storm rages outside, wailing winds and snow. On a physical level, this Temple is a refuge. On the internal level, the contemplative mind, the templum of wisdom, of vijjā, clear awareness, that is the refuge.

Just as sitting here in the Temple, we hear the winds howling and the snow blasting at the windows, but inside it is warm, still, peaceful. In exactly the same way, when the heart takes refuge in awareness, is attuned to the reality of the way things are, to Dhamma, then there is stillness, ease, security. Just as the weather can do whatever it likes outside the Temple, similarly, when the heart abides in the Triple Gem – tisāranā, the Three Refuges of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha – then the world of the senses, thoughts, feelings, the body, can do what it likes. It can rage away. Let the rain fall, the wind blow. Rain if you like, because the heart is the greatest shelter. That is why it is a refuge. It is reliable.

When we establish the Refuges in this way, we begin to trust more and more. The trusting heart can adapt to changing circumstances, to gain and loss, sickness and health, praise and criticism, happiness and unhappiness. And that adaptation is built around the attitude of ‘this is the way things are.’ The heart does not create a perception of wrongness. Even when what is perceived, the sense object, might be painful or ugly, unwanted, shocking; the heart does not add the feeling of wrongness to it. It does not create the idea that it shouldn’t be this way: ‘It’s not fair. Why is life doing this to me?’

When the heart takes refuge in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, there is no feeling of wrongness. Everything belongs. Still, bright days belong. Wild and stormy days belong. Kindness and generosity belong. Violence and selfishness also belong. To be adaptable, then, is to be openhearted, to acknowledge that this is the way the world is. And on the basis of that acknowledgement, when the awake mind knows the way things are, when the Buddha sees the Dhamma, what arises is the Sangha, wholesome activity. Dhamma is the substance, Buddha is the function, Sangha is the manifestation. When the awake mind sees the way things are, it responds with wholesome action, unselfish action.

This is how the Triple Gem works as a single unit.

This reflection by Ajahn Amaro is from the Dhamma article, “Every Thing is Uncertain,” Amavarati Dhamma Articles.

Listen Carefully; Be Open

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Listen Carefully; Be Open

Part of developing a skill is remembering which approaches worked among those that you’ve tried. As we meditate, we’re developing a skill. For skill to develop, you have to remember which ways of focusing on the breath, of conceiving the breath, of playing with the breath in the past have enabled the mind to settle down. It’s good to have that knowledge on tap. But you don’t want it to get in the…

Letting Go Within Action

Ajahn Jayasaro

Letting Go Within Action

One of Luang Por Chah’s most well-known teachings is that of letting go. And one of the key phrases that he used to explain what letting go means, and how it is to be developed, is that we should let go ‘within action’. This immediately reminds us that letting go is not a refraining from action, not passivity, but that the letting go takes place within the action itself. As monks and nuns in this…

Stress Is the Price We Pay

Ayyā Medhānandī Bhikkhunī

Stress Is the Price We Pay

Stress is the price we pay for the happiness we seek. Driven by busy schedules, obligations, needs, and ambitions, or caught up with worry, even while on holiday, we hardly leave our cares behind. Hurling ourselves into work, entertainment, or physical distraction brings only temporary relief – for the root of our suffering is within us. What exhausts us – more than the hectic regime of daily life…

The Wisdom of Emotions

Ajahn Sundara

The Wisdom of Emotions

Our emotions can be triggered by something very small: a physical sensation, a passing thought, a sense contact, a feeling. In the context of Dhamma we begin to notice that in fact emotions are constructs: amalgams of thought, feeling, perceptions, past conditioning, trauma, family stories; all these things come together to generate emotions. Sometimes we are in a situation where for no apparent r…

Pouncing on Fire; Why Wait

Ajahn Chah

Pouncing on Fire; Why Wait

Pouncing on Fire We should all train our heart, look after our mind. Our mind, when it’s not trained, is like a small, innocent child that doesn’t know anything. Whatever it comes across, it pounces. If it comes across water, it pounces on the water. If it comes across fire, it pounces on the fire. It keeps causing harm to itself. Why Wait? As soon as there’s anything unskillful in your thoughts,…

A Solid Anchor Within the Heart

Ajahn Pasanno

A Solid Anchor Within the Heart

Yesterday, I introduced a method for the cultivation of loving- kindness using the phrases: “May I be well, happy, peaceful. May no harm come to me. May no difficulties come to me. May no problems come to me. May I always meet with spiritual success. May I have the patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.” The…

Differentiation

Ajahn Sucitto

Differentiation

Peace. Restfulness. Wholeness. Aren’t these the kind of experiences that we seek? A sense of not having to rush to the future or get anxious about it; to not be pushed by time? And wouldn’t it be a relief to not have to handle and juggle all kinds of stuff, or pack things away into boxes, or tidy things up and sort things out? How satisfying it would feel if all that stress could fade out! One ski…

Forgiveness and Compassion

Ajahn Anando

Forgiveness and Compassion

NEW YEAR’S EVE. THE ENDING OF 1986. Soon it will be the beginning of another year. Today I glanced at an article in a journal I have, which sparked something off in my head. It was about the psychology of peace, and I suppose one of the things that is most desperately needed in the world these days is peace. There seems to be a growing feeling, a growing change in awareness of the need for peace.…

Doubt Before Death

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Doubt Before Death

The Buddha’s instructions for dealing with the hindrances at the approach of death make most sense when viewed in the context of his teaching about how those currents of the mind influence death and rebirth. This teaching, in turn, is based on his explanation of kamma and rebirth: that skillful actions tend to lead to good results in this life and the next, while unskillful actions tend to lead to…