A Generative Process

Ajahn Munindo

A Generative Process

It can be helpful to consider spiritual practice as a generative process, generative in the sense that when we are sufficiently prepared, when the basic elements are rightly established, the process takes over and does itself. It becomes less predictable and we need to be ready to step back. To always be thinking that it is up to us to do the awakening can create unnecessary problems on the journe…

The World Is Our Moods

Ajahn Chah

The World Is Our Moods

The world is our moods, our preoccupations. Our preoccupations are the world. If we aren’t acquainted with the Dhamma, aren’t acquainted with the mind, aren’t acquainted with our preoccupations, we grab onto the mind and its preoccupations and get them all mixed up. “Whew! My mind feels no ease.” It’s like you have many minds, and they’re all in a turmoil. Actually, that’s not the case. You don’t…

Beginning to Melt

Ajahn Sucitto

Beginning to Melt

In the practice, there is a lot of emphasis on coming into the body: being aware of your body, feeling it more fully. Can you get your breathing? Can the breathing become long, complete, involuntary, pleasant, so you’re not struggling around it? Can you tune into that? Now, you might take these instructions to mean ‘hurry up and get mindful of the breathing, hold it together, focus intensely on it…

Underlying Dispositions

Ajahn Thiradhammo

Underlying Dispositions

The Buddha recognized various obstructions to the realization of truth. One of the most primal ones is referred to as the ‘underlying dispositions’ (anusaya), sometimes translated as ‘underlying tendencies’ or ‘latent tendencies’. Although various qualities are referred to as underlying dispositions, the standard list comprises seven: sensual lust (kāmarāgā), aversion/repugnance (paṭigha), vie…

Sleep

Mae Chee Kaew

Sleep

Going without sleep, however, was a different matter. Mae Chee Kaew passed most of the second month of her retreat in three postures: sitting, standing and walking, but never lying down. She started the “sitter’s practice” as another experiment, an attempt to find a practical way of accelerating her meditation that took advantage of her natural strengths. She discovered that refraining from sleep…

Fasting

Mae Chee Kaew

Fasting

Mae Chee Kaew experimented with fasting, going entirely without food for several days at a time. But she discovered that lack of food left her feeling mentally dull and sluggish, and vulnerable to changing moods and wayward thoughts, as if the flow of her spiritual energy was somehow constricted. That subtle hindrance seemed to lessen her motivation to intensify in meditation. She knew that many o…

Be Patient…

Ajahn Sumedho

Be Patient…

I also used to think: ‘My mind is too alert and bright; I’ve got so much restless movement in my mind.’ Because I had always wanted to have an interesting personality, I trained myself in that direction and acquired all sorts of useless information and silly ideas, so I could be a charming, entertaining person. But that doesn’t really count; it’s useless in a monastery in North East Thailand. When…

The Virtue of Patience

Ajahn Sumedho

The Virtue of Patience

Patience is a virtue that is highly praised within Buddhist circles but not considered so terribly important in the materialist world, where efficiency and getting what we want instantly are far more desirable. With all the instant things that are produced now, as soon as we feel a desire, a need for something, we can get it quickly. And if we can’t get it quickly we become very annoyed or upset,…

Putting Aside Greed and Distress

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Putting Aside Greed and Distress

Q: When we talk of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the world, this seems to me at a height inaccessible to human beings—of course, without any real evidence—and it gives me an impression of being an inaccessible star of separation from sadness and discouragement. What are the best ways to think about this? A: The attitude of putting aside greed and distress with reference to the…

Questioning More Subtle Perceptions

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Questioning More Subtle Perceptions

Ultimately, when you reach a perception of the breath that allows the sensations of in-and-out breathing to grow still, you can start questioning more subtle perceptions of the body. It’s like tuning into a radio station. If your receiver isn’t precisely tuned to the frequency of the signal, the static interferes with the subtleties of whatever is being transmitted. But when you’re precisely tuned…