Clearly Focused

Ajahn Sundara

Clearly Focused

One thing that I appreciate, of which I’ve become more aware during this week, is of the temple here at Amaravati.

You could say it is the focus, the heart of the monastic life. You could say that externally, the heart of monastic life is really the meditation hall. That is the physical place where we remain connected with the heart of the path that we follow, the path of our inward practice.

How do we keep our life clearly focused?

I can see that in monastic life, whether we are on a pilgrimage, whether we are a wandering monk or nun or whether we are part of a community, the focus is the same. It has to do with simplicity, and sometimes it can be mistaken for controlling life to keep things simple.

There is an aspect of our training that is about keeping things simple.

If you think of the routine we have on a daily basis, the fact that we observe Precepts definitely keeps us out of trouble externally. That doesn’t mean that trouble stops internally, but at least externally we are not in the pub, smoking cigarettes all day long, watching TV or being carried away by the fascination of the sensory world.

Externally, things are simple. The temple is a simple, beautiful space. There’s not a lot of furniture around, not a lot of distractions.

This focus has to do with keeping in check what may distract us from the focus of our life. What is it that can almost obscure why we came to this life in the first place?

By meditating more intensively as we’ve done in the past few days, we can begin to see more clearly the world that we carry around.

What kind of world are we aware of in ourselves? What is the feeling tone of what we are experiencing right now? What is the texture of our feeling experience at this moment?

It’s interesting: we regularly chant the description of the five khandhas, the aggregates that make up the body and mind. There’s the body made up of the four elements and the mind with its feelings, perceptions, thoughts and consciousness What is the consciousness of what we are feeling right now?

What is the world?

This reflection by Ajahn Sundara is from the book, Walking the World, (pdf) pp. 139-140.