Adaptability

Ajahn Amaro

Adaptability

The changing weather is a fine teaching in adaptability. One day warm sunshine, spring flowers, birds singing. Now, howling winds and snow. Tomorrow what will it be? If we are wise, then the heart will always adapt to receive the changing qualities of the present circumstance. Stillness and movement, calmness and wind, brightness, darkness, praise, criticism, gain and loss, the familiar or the une…

Whole-Life Path

Ajahn Sucitto

Whole-Life Path

This whole-life Path is founded in deep attention: in seeing experience not in terms of self and becoming, but in terms of qualities that lead out of suffering and stress or into it. This sets us up to meet contact-impressions without reactivity; and that changes intention on a wider scale – away from getting things done on time, or my way, to one of a patient assessment of what is skilful right n…

My Alms Bowl —Soul of My Mendicancy

Ayyā Medhānandī Bhikkhunī

My Alms Bowl —Soul of My Mendicancy

My alms bowl is central to my life. A symbol of the Theravāda Buddhist monastic tradition in which I trained, it is the soul of my mendicancy – coming empty-handed before the laity to receive material nourishment and responding to their generosity. Sometimes that means reciprocating with a teaching from the Buddha, sometimes with a blessing chant or simply an expression of gratitude and kindness.…

Inching Along

Ajahn Viradhammo

Inching Along

In monastic life, we’re taught to work with very simple reflections that we try to bring forth at different times. For instance, before the main meal, we say: “Wisely reflecting, I use alms-food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the holy life. Thinking thus, I…

The Development of Friendliness

Ajahn Thiradhammo

The Development of Friendliness

The development of friendliness (mettā), sometimes translated as ‘loving-kindness’, progresses through various stages in much the same way as an evolving friendship gradually deepens. The practice starts with learning to be more friendly towards those aspects of ourselves to which we are averse or resistant. This doesn’t mean that we have to like them, but at least we can be less negative and mor…

Going for Refuge

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Going for Refuge

The act of going for refuge marks the point where one commits oneself to taking the Dhamma, or the Buddha’s teaching, as the primary guide to one’s life. To understand why this commitment is called a “refuge,” it’s helpful to look at the history of the custom. In pre-Buddhist India, going for refuge meant proclaiming one’s allegiance to a patron—a powerful person or god—submitting to the patron’s…

Gratitude

Ajahn Munindo

Gratitude

Sometimes when gratitude appears, it is familiar and expected, like how we feel when we take off a heavy backpack at the end of a long day’s walk. At other times gratitude feels both familiar and surprising at the same time, such as when, towards the end of a long dark winter, the warm sunshine might suddenly break through, triggering a release of the fragrance of hyacinths and jonquils. Then ther…

With a Heart of Letting Go

Ajahn Candasiri

With a Heart of Letting Go

Life is uncertain. It was this reflection that led the young prince, Siddhartha Gautama, to leave the apparent security of his family and the palace where he had grown up in search of a different, more reliable state of security and inner peace. For some people, what he eventually discovered during his search may seem shocking. He had surrendered his position, relationships and material comfort, a…

Dimensions of Consciousness

Bhikkhu Dick Sīlaratano

Dimensions of Consciousness

Deva consciousness is another form of sentient existence governed by the laws of kamma. Mae Chee Kaew’s samādhi meditation introduced her to a rich spectrum of otherworldly experience. Sometimes her consciousness separated from her body and wandered to explore the heavenly realms or the different levels of the brahma world. She visited the various types of subtly formed beings, called devas, who e…

The Punch Bag

Ajahn Sundara

The Punch Bag

Sometimes we come to a monastery with a real sense of purpose but discover later that things may be very different from the purpose we envisaged at first. After reading lots of books on Buddhism, we perhaps enter the monastery with the idea that we must become a good Buddhist, or become kind, or compassionate, or loving and so on. And thus we enter into conflict with ourselves because the reality…