Golden Opportunities

Paul Breiter

Golden Opportunities

“What is a day worth?” - Chakdud Tulku Rinpoche - Dispensing good advice about practice comes easily to us armchair Buddhists. Milarepa noted that, “Dharma practitioners may talk with elation, but when a task is set them they are wrecked and lost.” Still, while I rarely encounter real difficulty in life, and skillfully avoid it as soon as it appears on the horizon, when others are in deep trouble…

Bring to Life the Contemplation of Death

Debbie Stamp

Bring to Life the Contemplation of Death

> This reflection is adapted from a talk offered by Debbie during the 2013 Thanksgiving Retreat. > > In a sutta in the Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Buddha asks King Pasenadi, “How is your day going? What’s your day been like?” King Pasenadi says, “Well, it’s a normal day for a king. Wars, keeping our territories, sensual delights…” and so on along the very worldly lines of a king’s life. > > So the Buddha…

Tales from Varapañño - Ajahn Sumedho and Ven.Varapañño Visit Forest Ajahns

Paul Breiter

 Tales from Varapañño - Ajahn Sumedho and Ven.Varapañño Visit Forest Ajahns

February, 1976. It was that ominous time of year when the hot season could begin at any moment. I was lolling around the kuti, trying to shake off early-afternoon lethargy, when someone came to tell me to pack up my alms bowl (the bhikkhu’s suitcase)—Ajahn Sumedho was inviting me to accompany him on a trip around the Northeast. Every year Ajahn Sumedho would go to pay respects to his preceptor in…

Tales from Varapañño - Reflections on Luang Por Sumedho, Part 2

Paul Breiter

Tales from Varapañño - Reflections on Luang Por Sumedho, Part 2

Paul Breiter (who, thirty years ago, was Varapañño Bhikkhu) recollects his experiences with Ajahn Sumedho in the early 1970s. Part 2 After the Magha Pūjā observances, I finally got sent to stay with Ajahn Jun. While I was there, Ajahn Tieng came and told me that Ajahn Sumedho and some farang1 monks were establishing a new monastery near the railroad line not far from Wat Pah Pong. Projecting my ow…

Tales from Varapañño - Reflections on Luang Por Sumedho, Part 1

Paul Breiter

Tales from Varapañño - Reflections on Luang Por Sumedho, Part 1

Paul Breiter, who, thirty years ago, was Varapañño Bhikkhu, recollects his experiences with Luang Por Sumedho in the early 1970s. My first year in college I had one of those rare instructors who prodded and provoked students into thinking and investigating the world and themselves. One day he was talking about myth. He said that myths are something relevant to their time and place and fill a nee…

Awakened Consciousness

Ajahn Sumedho

Awakened Consciousness

A Dhamma talk given by Ajahn Sumedho at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery on the Lunar Observance Night, June 18, 2008 This is the Uposatha Night and the full moon, the month of June, and you’ve gathered to listen to the Dhamma—for practicing. This evening you took refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha. This can be a Theravadin ceremony, or it can be a reminder of what a refuge is, and why we would repeat…

Attending to the Here and Now

Ajahn Sumedho

Attending to the Here and Now

(Editor’s Note: In honor of Luang Por Sumedho’s 80th birthday on July 27th and his recent visit to Abhayagiri, we will be posting a series of Luang Por Sumedho reflections.) Bring your attention to this moment, here and now. Whatever you’re feeling physically or emotionally, whatever its quality, this is the way it is. And this knowing of the way it is is consciousness; it’s how we experience the…

The Island That You Cannot Go Beyond

Ajahn Sumedho

The Island That You Cannot Go Beyond

(Editor’s Note: In honor of Luang Por Sumedho’s 80th birthday on July 27th and his recent visit to Abhayagiri, we will be posting a series of Luang Por Sumedho reflections.) A difficulty with the word Nibbana is that its meaning is beyond the power of words to describe. It is, essentially, undefinable. Another difficulty is that many Buddhists see Nibbana as something unobtainable—as so high and so r…

Early Years in Thailand

Ajahn Sumedho

Early Years in Thailand

I’m not usually here for this special event—the remembering Tan Ajahn Chah’s birthday. We have another celebration on January 16 for his death. Usually I go to Thailand for that and also for many big meetings and a meditation retreat event at Wat Pah Pong, Ajahn Chah’s monastery. So, this is his birthday. He always thought celebrating birthdays was a bit of a joke. I think they have a different at…

A Visiting Elder Talks About His Time as a Novice with Luang Por Chah

Ajahn Preecha

A Visiting Elder Talks About His Time as a Novice with Luang Por Chah

A transcibed and translated Dhamma talk by Ajahn Preecha of Wat Santacittarama, Italy from the book “Ging Gahn Haeng Bodhinyana’ (Twigs and Branches of Bodhinyana)” Ajahn Preecha will be visiting Abhayagiri from June 11th to July 6th. An elder of our broader international community of Ajahn Chah monasteries, he has been resident at Wat Santacittarama, Italy for two decades. Luang Por Pasanno has k…