Better & Better

Ajahn Chah

Better & Better

When discernment arises, you can abandon your defilements. As your discernment grows, your behavior will change. You’ll abandon your old ways. It’s like going into the forest to look for fruit. At first you find some fruit that’s not especially good, but even though it’s sour, you take it. You carry it in your basket until you find fruits that are better than that. You throw the old fruits out of…

Refraining Is a Kind of Creativity

Ajahn Jayasaro

Refraining Is a Kind of Creativity

‘Not-doing’ or refraining, is a kind of creativity. This morning I was speaking to a group of art students. I mentioned to them how much I admire Chinese brush paintings. In these works of art only a very small portion of the canvas is painted on; the effect and the power of the picture is conveyed by the relationship between the painted form or the painted area, and that which is not painted. In…

The Influence of Romanticism

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

The Influence of Romanticism

Many Westerners, when new to Buddhism, are struck by the uncanny familiarity of what seems to be its central concepts: interconnectedness, wholeness, spontaneity, ego-transcendence, non-judgmentalism, and integration of the personality. They tend not to realize that the concepts sound familiar because they are familiar. To a large extent, they come not from the Buddha’s teachings but from their hi…

To Begin Like Children

Ajahn Liem

To Begin Like Children

Since you have come to ask for forgiveness, I don’t want to speak about issues from the past, as these are things that lie behind us. Actually there isn’t much to settle between us in this ceremony of asking for forgiveness anyway. Still, a ceremony like this is useful on the level of your personal practice. It affects the attitudes that you maintain and carry along throughout the training of your…

Learn to Listen and Trust

Ajahn Sumedho

Learn to Listen and Trust

So awakeness, then, is learning to listen and trust in the most simple state of being. It’s not jhāna or absorption in anything. It’s pure attention. So if you trust in this purity, there is no fault in it. There are no faults in purity, are there? It’s perfect. There’s no impurity. This is where to trust, in this attentiveness to the present. Once you try to find it, then you start going into do…

Meditation Is a Skill

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Meditation Is a Skill

…Meditation is a skill, and mastering it should be enjoyable in the same way that mastering any other rewarding skill can be. The Buddha said as much to his son, Rāhula: “When you see that you’ve acted, spoken, or thought in a skillful way—conducive to happiness while causing no harm to yourself or others—take joy in that fact, and keep on training.” Of course, saying that meditation should be enj…

Balance: Proactive and Relaxation

Ajahn Sucitto

Balance: Proactive and Relaxation

In practice, there needs to be balance between proactive applications and relaxation. The proactive applications consist of creating something or placing the mind onto an object such as body or breathing. You can do that by lifting your attention with a thought: ‘Where is the body now? … Where is the breath now? … What is breathing out like now?’ You deliberately bring that thought up. That’s why…

Responsive, Adaptable, Peaceful

Ajahn Amaro

Responsive, Adaptable, Peaceful

So to be accepting of the way things are does not mean to be passive. It doesn’t mean being numb or uncaring, or to be violent just because such a feeling arises. Rather it is a total caring, but a caring not based on self-view. A caring that is not neurotic or idealistic. It is a caring based on attunement. The hand doesn’t have to decide about whether it cares about your ankle. If you’ve twisted…

Questions

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Questions

At the same time, I began noticing discussions on the topic of questions in non-Buddhist sources as well. Two passages in particular underlined its importance. One was a story told by a man born in New York whose parents had been immigrants from Eastern Europe. They had placed great importance on his education, and his mother would ask him every day after school, not what he had learned that day,…

Thinking, Itself, Is Not the Problem

Ajahn Amaro

Thinking, Itself, Is Not the Problem

In Buddhist meditation circles conceptual thought tends to get the same rap as the ego. It is perceived as something bad, something that we don’t want or that needs to be eliminated. And it’s no wonder. Thinking can feel like a great burden. In our efforts to meditate we see how unruly the mind can be. It charges off here and there and everywhere chattering away insanely – all day and night. And b…