The Buddha’s Autobiography

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

The Buddha’s Autobiography

In telling his own story, the Buddha was not motivated by the desire, common at present, to simply tell “what it felt like to be me.” He gives very few details of his personal life, mentioning his luxurious and refined upbringing simply to prove that when he talks of the drawbacks of sensual pleasures, he’s talking from experience. Aside from that detail, he recounts only the events and decisions…

Beautiful Work, Beautiful Mind

Ajahn Viradhammo

Beautiful Work, Beautiful Mind

Whether it’s sewing robes or making a footpath, the Forest Tradition has a high standard of workmanship. But quite often we’re asked to do things we’re not competent in or used to doing. There’s a learning curve we all go through in the Saṅgha. If we’ve never had to do welding and we end up assigned a welding job, or if we’ve never been an abbot and we end up being an abbot, it becomes a real tra…

With Subrahmā

Pāli Canon

With Subrahmā

Standing to one side, the god Subrahmā addressed the Buddha in verse: “This mind is always anxious, this mind is always stressed about stresses that haven’t arisen and those that have. If there is a state free of anxiety, please answer my question.” “Not without understanding and austerity, not without restraining the sense faculties, not without letting go of everything, do I see safety for livin…

Return to the Core

Ajahn Pasanno

Return to the Core

From a Buddhist perspective, anything to do with other people can be considered social action: how we relate to the individuals close to us such as family or neighbours, to society at large and to the world around us. The field of social action expands out, but it begins with ourselves and our relationships to others. The individual is at the core of all relationships between any parts of society.…

The Greatest Help to the World

Ajahn Chah

The Greatest Help to the World

The world is in a very feverish state. The mind changes from like to dislike with the feverishness of the world. If we can learn to make the mind still, it will be the greatest help to the world. This reflection by Ajahn Chah is from the book, No Ajahn Chah, (pdf) p. 40.

Kamma and Compassion

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Kamma and Compassion

Doesn’t the teaching on kamma teach people to be callous toward the sufferings of others? No. Knowing that you have both good and bad seeds in your field that haven’t yet matured, the teaching on kamma teaches you to ask this question instead: What’s the wisest way to view other people whose bad seeds are currently sprouting? And the answer is: with compassion. Is your compassion so rarified that…

It’s Better Not to Follow the Storyline

Ajahn Viradhammo

It’s Better Not to Follow the Storyline

Sometimes it’s good to bear in mind how our uncertainties or fears compare to what other people have to go through. At times, this can help us to gain a perspective on our own situation. Nevertheless, we’re still affected by what we’re feeling… So when we have a life circumstance that brings up uncertainty or fear, the key thing is to practice with that mind-state. We can learn to bring awareness…

Temporary Relief

Ayyā Medhānandī Bhikkhunī

Temporary Relief

It is hard to think of fighting the forces of greed, hatred and delusion ‘out there’ when they are very much within us. We march for peace and attend rallies and vigils but true peace in the world must begin with personal disarmament. It is an interior work that each of us can nurture through moral vigilance and spiritual discipleship and its hiddenness does not make it any less powerful. We can s…

“Not-self” from the Beginning

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

“Not-self” from the Beginning

There are a lot of things you could focus on right now, so focus on something that’s good, that brings the mind a sense of peace and well-being. Just pay careful attention to what you’re doing right now and the effect that it’s having on the mind. One of the reasons why we meditate is to train the mind to realize how important it is where it chooses to focus its attention. As for things right now…

What’s Most Difficult to Relinquish?

Ajahn Sucitto

What’s Most Difficult to Relinquish?

The first things we feel we don’t require so much are the sensual objects: fine clothes, entertainment, and sexual activity. When I first entered the monastery, it was easy to relinquish entertainment and relationships. I’d had enough of all that anyway, at least for the time being! But in the monastery one also has to give up one’s own time to following a routine, which is a testing thing. Giving…