Brightening the Mind

Ajahn Karuṇadhammo

Brightening the Mind

Many of us can be so caught up in what we think of as Dhamma practice or meditation practice that we create a narrow focus for ourselves. Several of us here came to Buddhism with a focus on the practice of meditation in the context of silent retreat, oftentimes with a very specific technique related to quieting the mind. Sometimes it’s easy to get the idea that Buddhist practice boils down to righ…

Skillful Desires

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Skillful Desires

The notion of a skillful desire may sound strange, but a mature mind intuitively pursues the desires it sees as skillful and drops those it perceives as not. Basic in everyone is the desire for happiness. Every other desire is a strategy for attaining that happiness. You want an iPod, a sexual partner, or an experience of inner peace because you think it will make you happy. Because these secondar…

Fearless

Pāli Canon

Fearless

Then Jānussoṇi the brahman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “I am of the view & opinion that there is no one who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.” …(The Blessed One said:) “And who is the person who, sub…

Trying to “fit in”

Ajahn Sundara

Trying to “fit in”

The natural pattern of the deluded mind is to think that suffering happens outside of oneself – that there is something or someone out there to blame: ‘The reason why I am upset is…’ Each of us can fill in the blank with our own story; someone or something outside of ourselves has hurt us, irritated us, upset us. We come closer to the truth by recognising that we’re upset because our minds are gen…

Your Last Three Minutes

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Your Last Three Minutes

Q: Suppose you know you’re going to die in three minutes. How do you train your mind at that point? A: The first point of advice is: Don’t wait until you’re two or three minutes from death. Try to practice in advance as much as you can. But if you suddenly realize that death is imminent, remember that you really have to let go. Of everything. The Buddha’s advice is that if you’re worried about wha…

Courage and Renunciation

Ajahn Metta

Courage and Renunciation

When looking at the qualities of courage and renunciation, you might notice that these are both important ingredients of any spiritual path. In the Theravada tradition renunciation is at the top of the list in terms of practice and training. For monastics, all of our life revolves around this theme. And the five precepts, the ‘training’ of the lay community, are also very concerned with these qual…

Joy: Rising Up and Going Forth

Ajahn Yatiko

Joy: Rising Up and Going Forth

I was speaking with somebody recently who shared that he was finding it difficult to settle into the joy of life, to sit back and enjoy being alive. He thought that something was wrong with that. I explained to him that from a Buddhist perspective it’s not about settling into a joy that’s supposedly inherent in life. Rather, joy is something that comes from past action, from kamma. As my father us…

Rest in the Here and Now

Ajahn Sucitto

Rest in the Here and Now

The here and now that offers rest and peace is not a thought, sensation or state of mind. These things, which we customarily mistake to be the real business, continually defy and tantalize us with their scintillating changeability. Right here and now is the awareness that takes embodiment as location, empathy as felt relationship and silent attention for clarity. Embodied awareness, one that sees…

Awakening in Practical Terms

Ajahn Thiradhammo

Awakening in Practical Terms

The Buddha didn’t talk very much about awakening, but when he did he referred to it in very practical terms. For example, the word ‘nibbāna’ literally means ‘going out’, in the sense that a flame goes out. You could make a play on words by saying, ‘The candle has nibbāna-ed’. But if we translate it too literally, ‘nibbāna’ becomes ‘extinction’ – we’re going to be extinguished. This may sound ex…

Our Mother’s Love

Ajahn Ñāṇadhammo

Our Mother’s Love

According to one of the Suttas, it is very difficult to repay the debt of gratitude to our parents. The Buddha says that even if we can carry our mother and father on our shoulders for a hundred years, we cannot fully reciprocate their kindness. Even if we were to carry them, one on each shoulder, for the rest of our lives we will still not repay the debt we owe them because the kindness they have…