How to Define the Dhamma?

Ajahn Amaro

How to Define the Dhamma?

When we talk about Dhamma, the descriptions can seem a little vague because we have to use terms that point to it but don’t exactly explain it. When the Buddha describes the qualities of the Dhamma, he uses terms like sanditthiko, akāliko and ehipassiko, meaning respectively ‘apparent here and now’, ‘timeless’ and ‘encouraging investigation’. That doesn’t give us a lot to chew on, does it? The th…

A Special Attitude

Ajahn Jayasaro

A Special Attitude

[Ajahn Chah] said that listening to Dhamma talks requires a special attitude: “Keep listening, keep listening. Don’t just believe what you hear and don’t disbelieve. Make yourself neutral. Keep listening. It will bring good results, and there’s no danger in it. The peril lies in believing too much in what you hear, or in disbelieving. Listen and contemplate. This is what practice is about: being a…

It’s the Clinging, Not the Convention

Ajahn Sumedho

It’s the Clinging, Not the Convention

Excerpt from: Ajahn Sumedho [AS] Interviewed by Roger Wheeler [RW], Part 2: RW: …Now, your and [Ajahn] Sucitto’s presence here has been an obvious display of the carrying on of a tradition that has existed for over 2,500 years…I wonder if one could get too caught up in form, missing the intended purpose? Or another way of stating it, how does one avoid getting caught up in form? AS: Well, it’s lik…

Feeling at Home

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Feeling at Home

We focus on the present moment so that we give the mind a sense of feeling at home here. This is the place where you belong. Now, for most of us, we don’t live here. We live in the past, we live in the future, and come running through the present moment just for a moment, like a kid who doesn’t spend much time at home. He wants something from home, comes running in, and then he goes running out ag…

Steadiness in Practice

Ajahn Pasanno

Steadiness in Practice

Ajahn Chah used to emphasize the need for steadiness in our practice, especially with our application of effort—finding a level that pushes the edge a little bit, but is also sustainable and doesn’t lead to our burning out. Sometimes we want to focus on tangible results, and it’s certainly gratifying to feel we’re really getting somewhere, that something’s really happening. But I think it’s much m…

Mindfulness of Death

Ajahn Chah

Mindfulness of Death

If you were to break the law, and in seven days they were going to execute you, how would you feel? If you were sentenced to death, and in seven days they were going to execute you, what would you do? I want you to reflect on this. As you are, you’re already sentenced to be executed, simply that you don’t know how many days you’ve got left. It might even be less than seven. Do you have a sense of…

Leave the Day Open

Ajahn Amaro

Leave the Day Open

When we look forward to the coming day, if we’ve already written in what we expect to achieve or what we expect to experience, then we’ll make that happen. We create the world out of our expectations, fears and hopes. We limit our experience by the patterns of what we anticipate. Instead of following this habit, we try to open the mind and ready ourselves for everything. We don’t know how today wi…

A Gift to Everyone

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

A Gift to Everyone

All in all, the act of going for refuge occurs on three levels: external, internal, and—beyond external and internal—the level of nibbāna. These three levels can be summarized in two different ways: in terms of what they protect you from, and in terms of what they depend on to protect you. In terms of what they protect you from: The first level protects you from the unskillful actions of others; t…

Separate Work from Rest

Ajahn Chah

Separate Work from Rest

They offered me a bowl, but it was cracked and it had no lid. Then I remembered once as a child taking the water buffaloes out to graze and seeing other lads carving vines and weaving them into hats. So I asked for some rattan. I wove a disk and a rectangle and then joined them. I had my bowl-lid – the only thing was it looked like a sticky rice basket. On alms-round, it was a real eyesore. The vi…

I Could Die Any Time Soon

Ajahn Dtun

I Could Die Any Time Soon

You have to reflect on death because it arouses the mind, warning it to not be heedless. Death is something we must frequently recollect, for if we don’t we will just go about occupying ourselves happily throughout our days and nights, letting time drift by as days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years, allowing our thoughts to proliferate about ‘at the end of the year…’ or ‘at…