Awakening the Compassionate Heart

Ajahn Santacitto

Awakening the Compassionate Heart

It may be that we find there are times in our lives when we feel a call to serve, a selfless desire to give or help in some way. Often we respond to another person just because we think they will respond to us; we’ll give and then maybe they’ll give – or it’s socially expected to do so. But there’s a dryness in that and one can go through life without ever really feeling where one’s heart is. But…

The Dedication of Merit and Blessings

Ajahn Pasanno

The Dedication of Merit and Blessings

The dedication of merit and blessings is a practice that is very common and ordinary in Buddhist cultures like Thailand. This practice helps counteract our tendency to focus on the problems, the flaws, and the obstacles we believe we have to overcome, whether real or perceived. We can set all that aside and instead, bring our attention to the conditions in our lives that are blessings—those condit…

A Perfect Teaching 2

Ajahn Sumedho

A Perfect Teaching 2

You have to make the teaching work, though. Just to worship it, praise it, read it, and analyze it is one thing. There is nothing wrong with that. But the main point of the Buddha’s teaching is the paṭipadā; put it into practice, make it work for you. I can only encourage you; I can’t make the teaching work for you. And of course the Buddha couldn’t either. He just gave a teaching which we had to…

It’s a Matter for the Heart

Ajahn Jundee

It’s a Matter for the Heart

If we know what it is to make effort and to make sacrifice, then more and more we’ll experience this lightness. That’s also an experience we can have in the present moment. It’s like the instant you put down something heavy, then you feel the relief straightaway. The instant you pick up something heavy, then you feel that burden straightaway. It’s the same in our minds. The instant we grab at a me…

The Bowl and Robe as Charitable Foundation

Ajahn Jayasaro

The Bowl and Robe as Charitable Foundation

On one occasion, a group of monks, following the lead of some other well-known monasteries, put forward the idea of registering Wat Pah Pong as a charitable foundation. Luang Por was getting old, and charitable status would guarantee the financial stability of the wat after his death. Luang Por gave them his opinion: It’s a good idea, but I don’t think it’s a correct one. With a charitable foundat…

Creating a Supportive Social Environment

Ajahn Viradhammo

Creating a Supportive Social Environment

The monastery is a vehicle for creating a supportive social environment for our Dhamma work… We, as a community, as a group of human beings, can uphold certain traditional values; we can honour these values, and we can give each other feedback when traditional values are not honoured, when behaviour becomes unacceptable. If we see someone who comes to the monastery and is abusive, if we see a mona…

A Pool of Options

Ajahn Pasanno

A Pool of Options

Ajahn Chah had the sense that there is a pool of options and opportunities that we have to learn how to apply skillfully. Practice is not “by the book, this one method is going to work for everybody.” Ajahn Chah’s approach to practice was not to just “dig in” to a technique, meditation or training and “put your foot to the pedal” and go to the end of it. It’s not a sprint; it’s more like a maratho…

Not Looking for Answers, Not Asking for Favors

Ajahn Sumedho

Not Looking for Answers, Not Asking for Favors

The freedom from suffering the Buddha talked about isn’t in itself an end to pain and stress. Instead, it’s a matter of creating a choice. I can either get caught up in the pain that comes to me, attach to it and be overwhelmed by it, or I can embrace it, and through acceptance and understanding, not add more suffering to the existing pain, the unfair experiences, the criticisms or the misery that…

Cultivate and Fear No Demons

Master Hsuan Hua

Cultivate and Fear No Demons

When I was young, I heard someone say, “As soon as you cultivate the spiritual path, demons will appear.” I did not believe it and arrogantly said, “I am not afraid of demons at all! Witches, ghosts, and goblins do not frighten me in the least.” I thought that it did not matter what I said. Who could have guessed that soon after my boast, a demon would show up? What kind of demon was it? It was a…

Doing What’s Difficult to Do

Ajahn Ñāniko

Doing What’s Difficult to Do

Living in a monastery can be very difficult—eating one meal a day, keeping precepts, trying to live and work together as a harmonious community. But as Master Hua said, “If we want to practice Dhamma, we have to do what’s difficult to do, what others would not choose to do.” Even though most people wouldn’t choose to live in this way, there’s an enormous benefit to what we’re doing here. Living in…