How to Succeed in Meditation

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How to Succeed in Meditation

Chanda means bringing up of motivation, desire. If we have a particular goal we want to succeed at, to develop some kind of accomplishment in, then we have to motivate ourselves with desire and interest. In short, we have to be interested in what we are doing. I think of the times when I was a young student, and not a particularly good one. I just couldn’t get any interest and motivation going to…

Papanca and the Path to the End of Conflict 2

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Papanca and the Path to the End of Conflict 2

The act of assuming an identity on either level requires looking for food— both physical and mental (SN 12:64)—for if you don’t find food for that identity, you can’t maintain it. In fact, the need to subsist on food is the one thing that characterizes all beings (AN 10:27). This fact is so central to the Buddha’s teachings that it’s the first item in the catechism memorized by novice monks and nu…

Papanca and the Path to the End of Conflict

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Papanca and the Path to the End of Conflict

These ways of thinking all qualify as objectification because they derive their categories—self/not-self, existence/non-existence, here/there—from the mental label, “I am.” The fact that the issues surrounding this mental label can multiply so quickly and spread so far gives some credence to the idea that papañca is proliferation. However, liberating insights can proliferate as well, as when an i…

Sotapanna III

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Sotapanna III

It cannot be overemphasized that ‘confirmed confidence’ in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha plays a key role both in the suttas – which use this template over and over again in the reference to entering the stream – and within the mind itself… Internally, such confirmed confidence is not just a new belief or fleeting faith that arises in the heart of the practitioner. It is a radical change, a going-…

Preventative Work

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Preventative Work

One of the saddest and most difficult things for people in our Western culture seems to be their inability to actually make friends with themselves, to accept themselves as they are. We can be kind, forgiving and accepting of other people, but when we look into our own minds and how we relate to ourselves, we see that often we can be very unkind, very demanding and harsh in our judgements. So my e…

A Perfect Teaching

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A Perfect Teaching

Sometimes the scriptures seem too idealistic when you read them; you don’t feel they may apply that much to your own particular personal problems at the time. I always found it very helpful and encouraging when Luang Por Chah would talk about how he dealt with very strong emotional blocks or problems. When I first met him I idealized him. I thought, well, he is an enlightened master, he probably n…

Not Looking for Answers, Not Asking for Favours 2

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Not Looking for Answers, Not Asking for Favours 2

Notice how diffIcult it is when you’re trying to resist things all the time, trying to get rid of bad thoughts, of emotional states, of pain. What is the result of resisting? When I try to get rid of what I don’t like in my mind, I become obsessed by it. What about you? Think of somebody you can’t stand, someone who hurts your feelings: conditions of feeling angry and resentful with that particula…

It Can Be Very Simple

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It Can Be Very Simple

Q: What do these moments feel like, when you actually experience insight? A: It’s not like a major fireworks experience where everything is suddenly just blown apart. For me it can be very simple, just suddenly noticing a habitual way of the mind seeing things. You contact the world, and suddenly you see the dukkha and you know. You just see the experience of tension and the tanha (craving) behind…

Working Within the Conditioned Realm

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Working Within the Conditioned Realm

We are always looking for reassurance, safety, and security in the conditioned realm. Whether we look for them in the material conditions of the world, the material conditions of the physical body, or the immaterial conditions of thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, and ideals, they are all within the realm of conditions. If we don’t understand the nature of conditions, then we become disappointed…

Questions of Becoming 2

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Questions of Becoming 2

Processes of becoming can operate simultaneously on many levels, both short-term and long. The fact of your being a human being in this human world is a becoming that resulted from a desire that appeared in the mind as you were leaving your last lifetime. Within this larger becoming there are many shorter-term becomings that coalesce around particular desires related to possibilities in the physic…