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…

Figure It Out

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Figure It Out

So as a teacher, he [Ajaan Fuang] tried to instill in his students these qualities of self-reliance, ingenuity, and a willingness to take risks and test things for themselves. He did that not only by talking about these qualities, but also by forcing you into situations where you’d have to develop them. Had he always been there to confirm for you that, “Yes, you’ve reached the third jhana,” or, “N…

Women, Equal to Men

Mae Chee Kaew

Women, Equal to Men

Monks who are skilled in meditation are not biased by cultural conditioning. They have no doubt that women who observe the eight precepts and practice seriously can attain exceptionally high levels of meditation. In truth, women have a remarkable capacity for understanding Dhamma and can achieve deep levels of samādhi and develop extraordinary knowledge and wisdom. Many nuns and laywomen in Thail…

Types of Desire

Ajahn Pasanno

Types of  Desire

Of course, one of the things we have to do is recognize the things that distract us. We need to examine the nature of dukkha in order to relinquish its causes. The Buddha points to three different types of desire that cause suffering: kāma taṇhā, desire for sensual gratification; bhava taṇhā, desire for being or becoming; and vibhava taṇhā, desire for non-becoming or non-being. When sensual…

Sila and Harmlessness

Ajahn Jayasaro

Sila and Harmlessness

In the “Ovada Patimokkha” the Buddha laid down the most basic and important guidelines for the samana’s path, and there we find that harmlessness is the principle he most emphasized. Through our way of life as samanas we offer the gift of harmlessness to the world. People may be inspired by how we live our lives, they may be indifferent, or they may even be contemptuous of us, but whatever the var…

Conflict Among Desires

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Conflict Among Desires

In addition, desires often pull in opposite directions. Your desire for sex, for instance, can get in the way of your desire for peace. In fact, conflict among desires is what alerts us to how painful desire can be. It’s also what has taught each desire how to speak, to persuade, to argue or bully its way into power. And just because a desire is skillful doesn’t mean it’s more skillful at arguing…

Mature Emotions

Ajahn Vajiro

Mature Emotions

In the teachings of the Buddha there are mentioned the Brahma Viharas. These are usually translated as the divine, or heavenly abidings. This is from a literal translation: Brahma - God, and Vihara - Dwelling. They can be brought down from the heavens, to earth, by considering that as emotions they motivate and encourage the transcending of the limitations of basic human existence. This ‘transcend…

Love

Ajahn Sundara

Love

‘Love’ is a loaded word. I ‘love’ my sandwich. I ‘love’ my wife. There is selfless love and selfish love. The love in the Buddha’s teaching has to do with compassion. He talks about universal love. He also talks about the danger of love based on attachment. We don’t have to judge these different aspects of love. We experiment starting from our own experience in life. What is this love which is not…

Love as Undivided Attention

Ajahn Munindo

Love as Undivided Attention

What does it feel like to be loved? What does it feel like to be loving – as it is happening? To receive love from another is to receive somebody’s undivided attention. They’re not preoccupied with anybody or anything else; they have forgotten themselves and are wholeheartedly attending to us. There’s a tremendous beauty, richness and fullness in so receiving the heart of another. If we were to co…

Celibacy

Ajahn Jayasaro

Celibacy

The Buddha taught that on the path to enlightenment, sexual desire can, and eventually must, be completely transcended. To this end, monks undertake an absolute form of celibacy in order to isolate and reveal the impermanent, unsatisfactory and impersonal nature of sexual desire, and thus uproot identification with it. The weight of the Discipline is thrown behind this practice by making intention…