It’s Time to Learn Something

Ajahn Sucitto

It’s Time to Learn Something

I think that one of the most helpful things in my practice was having to be in a lot of situations in which I wasn’t at all interested or engaged. I had to learn to be open to them. When I was in Thailand, at the beginning of my monastic life, I had to go to ceremonies. I didn’t know what the ceremonies were about. I didn’t know the people. I didn’t understand the language and I didn’t know the ch…

Class and Difference Disappear

Mae Chee Kaew

Class and Difference Disappear

Mae Chee Kaew was a countrywoman who lived a simple village life in the northeastern region of Thailand and overcame enormous diffculties in her attempt to leave home and follow the Buddha’s noble path to freedom from suffering. Her persistence, her courage, and her intuitive wisdom enabled her to transcend all conventional boundaries — both those imposed upon her by the world she lived in and tho…

The Jit and the Jai

Ajahn Jayasaro

The Jit and the Jai

Luang Por Tate, one of Luang Por Mun’s senior disciples, stresses the sense of knowing. He talks about the jit and the jai. By jai he means the sense of equanimity, the clarity of knowing; jit refers to thinking, feeling, perceiving. This is his way of talking. And he gives a very simple means of understanding what he’s talking about. He says to hold your breath for a few moments. Your thinking st…

The Buddha’s Safety

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

The Buddha’s Safety

A short reflection that’s often chanted in Theravada monasteries states, in part, “I am subject to aging… subject to illness… subject to death.” That’s the standard English translation, but the standard Thai translation is more pointed: “Aging is normal for me… illness is normal… death is normal for me.” The extended version of the reflection goes on to say that these things are normal for everyon…

This Body, Our Teacher

Bhikkhunī Ānandabodhī

This Body, Our Teacher

The Buddha said that everything we need to awaken is right here in this fathom-long body, but most people I know have a lot of difficulty being in their body. That presents a bit of a problem. If the main teaching is here in the body, and we can’t be with our body, how do we access that teaching? How can we start developing a relationship with our body that is kind, friendly, and curious, so that…

Sometimes Thunder; Sometimes Rain

Ajahn Chah

Sometimes Thunder; Sometimes Rain

Sometimes there’s thunder and there’s no rain; sometimes there’s rain and there’s no thunder. This is the complete “spiritual autobiography” that Ajahn Chah wrote for the ecclesiastical authorities when pressed repeatedly by them to provide one, so that the King of Thailand could award him an honorary title. This reflection is from the booklet, Thunder in an Open Sky, (pdf) p. 2.

A Special Kind of Appreciation

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

A Special Kind of Appreciation

In saying that kind and grateful people are rare, the Buddha isn’t simply stating a harsh truth about the human race. He’s advising you to treasure these people when you find them, and—more importantly—showing how you can become a rare person yourself. Kindness and gratitude are virtues you can cultivate, but they have to be cultivated together. Each needs the other to be genuine—a point that beco…

Virtue as Protection

Ajahn Jayasaro

Virtue as Protection

The idea of virtue as protection is a hallowed one in the Buddhist world. It is a concept that became a cornerstone in Luang Por’s teachings, especially to the laity, and helps to explain the great emphasis he was to place on keeping precepts. It was his firm belief that, in addition to its vital role in the development of peace and wisdom, virtuous conduct long-sustained has an enormous intrinsic…

People Are a Mystery

Ajahn Sucitto

People Are a Mystery

People around us are a mystery. How common it is to find conflict with each other! We are all ‘not-self’ and nobody will ever fit into the thoughts we have of them. Any thought you have of somebody is a personal creation, something that defines you. Any kind of perception of another person is actually a product of your own mind, isn’t it? And that other person will never really fit into it. They n…

Conscious Spiritual Friendship

Ajahn Sucitto

Conscious Spiritual Friendship

Conscious spiritual friendship is a careful practice because the guidelines the Buddha gave on correcting another person stipulate that you have to be based on compassion rather than irritation, and that you have to find the right time and place – and not be fearful of meeting the defensiveness or the hurt feelings of the other. Hence we train to willingly open ourselves to feedback. When there is…