A Happy Monk
When we adopt the renunciate life we aren’t condemning the world of the senses per se, because that leads to aversion and negativity. Instead we are learning to accept whatever is offered to us with full appreciation. Whatever arrives is received and cherished, but we don’t try to add anything. I think many people listen to music because they love the place to which the music takes them, which is the present moment. You are not thinking about anything else; you are experiencing the harmony, balance, and rhythm that the music suggests. But all those qualities are present in a meditative mind. If we need music to take us there, when there isn’t music (or delicious food or beautiful surroundings, or whatever it might be), we are likely to feel bereft. We immediately start to look for another experience which will take us to that place of beauty. What the Precepts do is shut the door on all our habitual sources of satisfaction, so that our entire attention is directed inwards. That is where we discover a beauty and clarity, and a vastness of being, which are unshakeable, independent of circumstances and conditions. Then, when we hear a piece of music, or see a beautiful blue sky or the fine shape of a tree, that’s an extra.
This reflection by Ajahn Amaro is from the book, Roots and Currents, p. 21.