Poetic and Attentive

Ajahn Sucitto

Poetic and Attentive

The Middle Land, other than being the area of the Ganges Valley that the Buddha frequented in the course of his forty years of wandering, is that present awareness that stands between impressions and their designation. But it’s dynamic, it’s not purely internal, and it keeps shifting. Travelling this fluid country is the theme of Dhamma practice. As meditators know, the nature of this Land depends…

Small Choices Lead to Big Decisions

Ajahn Yatiko

Small Choices Lead to Big Decisions

A lot of big decisions we make in life are dictated by the many small decisions we make on a daily basis. That can be a very powerful reflection, and one to keep in mind. In the book Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, the main character offhandedly fantasizes about killing a certain woman and stealing her money. He’s not really serious about it, but he asks himself, “What if I were serious?” He…

Death or Deathless?

Pāli Canon

Death or Deathless?

Not up in the air, nor in the middle of the sea, nor going into a cleft in the mountains –nowhere on earth– is a spot to be found where you could stay & not succumb to death. —Dhammapada 128 At Savatthi. “Monks, remain with your minds well-established in the four establishings of mindfulness. Don’t let the deathless be lost for you. “In which four? There is the case where a monk remains focused on…

The Buddhist Cosmos

Ajahn Puṇṇadhammo

The Buddhist Cosmos

Traditionally the very diverse array of beings [which inhabit the cosmos] is divided into five gati or “destinations of rebirth” (DN 33). From lowest to highest, these are: The niraya beings which live in great misery, in a world of fire and cruelty, The peta beings which exist as wretched shades, The animals, The humans, and The devas, beings of splendid subtle forms who enjoy long lives of bliss…

Everything Covered

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Everything Covered

When you deal with pain, you’re told don’t think about how long the pain has been in the past or how long it’s going to be in the future. It weighs the present moment down unnecessarily. It places restrictions on how much freedom you have in the present moment. The same applies to all your other old habits. No matter how long you’ve been a lazy person, you don’t have to keep on being a lazy person…

The Most Important Breakthrough

Ajahn Thiradhammo

The Most Important Breakthrough

The most important breakthrough is the uprooting of personality view. Recognizing that the self is really just an artificial creation and not an ultimate entity is the first really profound insight. It’s a very significant insight into impersonality. The self is interpreted in different ways, but one primary interpretation is that it has control. This is my body, I can tell it what to do. This is…

Gather Thinking Within the Breathing

Ajahn Sucitto

Gather Thinking Within the Breathing

A lot of the time we’re thinking and that isn’t always good or helpful. Thinking (unlike thoughtful attention) is about constructing: a future, a past, another person – or oneself. It’s often about creating an alternative to the direct experience of the here and now. And there’s stress in that. So what we do for clarity and calm is to come into the present and rest in that. It’s like our thinking…

Is this really 'me?'

Ajahn Mettā

Is this really 'me?'

Can we allow ourselves to perceive the body as a process? This process is the four elements working together, building, forming, falling apart, over and over again. When we do this, it becomes more difficult to identify with the body as being ‘me’ and ‘mine’, even as an entity in itself. The body as a static entity dissolves and we begin to see it in terms of the elements working in this way. What…

Karaṇīya-Mettā Sutta

Ajahn Pasanno

Karaṇīya-Mettā Sutta

One of the striking things, given that this is the Buddha’s best- known discourse on loving-kindness, is that it is about a third of the way into the sutta before the Buddha even mentions loving- kindness. I think this is great, in the sense that loving-kindness is to be cultivated, but that there is also that which should be done to get to that point. We need to be skilled in goodness and know th…

Keep Up with the Defilements

Mae Chee Kaew

Keep Up with the Defilements

Everything is created by our minds. The eyes see images, the ears hear sounds, the nose smells aromas, the tongue tastes flavors, the body feels sensations, and the heart experiences emotions. But the mind is aware of all these things. It knows them and it thinks about them, imagining them to be this or that. When our mindfulness and wisdom are strong, we can see these creations for ourselves. But…