Cultivate and Fear No Demons

Master Hsuan Hua

Cultivate and Fear No Demons

When I was young, I heard someone say, “As soon as you cultivate the spiritual path, demons will appear.” I did not believe it and arrogantly said, “I am not afraid of demons at all! Witches, ghosts, and goblins do not frighten me in the least.” I thought that it did not matter what I said. Who could have guessed that soon after my boast, a demon would show up? What kind of demon was it? It was a…

Doing What’s Difficult to Do

อาจารย์ ญาณิโก

Doing What’s Difficult to Do

Living in a monastery can be very difficult—eating one meal a day, keeping precepts, trying to live and work together as a harmonious community. But as Master Hua said, “If we want to practice Dhamma, we have to do what’s difficult to do, what others would not choose to do.” Even though most people wouldn’t choose to live in this way, there’s an enormous benefit to what we’re doing here. Living in…

Comfortable With Uncertainty

อาจารย์ ปสันโน

Comfortable With Uncertainty

As we reflect on the traditional explanation of anicca—how things are impermanent, inconstant, always changing—it is especially useful to also reflect on anicca as a sense of uncertainty, or as Ajahn Chah would say, “It’s not a sure thing.” We tend to deny or gloss over the fact that we don’t know things for sure. We feel uncomfortable with uncertainty or uncomfortable with not knowing something.…

Death and the Nature of Waves

อาจารย์ อมโร

Death and the Nature of Waves

We received news yesterday from Koṇḍañña’s partner that he’s fading rapidly. He’s in a hospice in San Francisco. Jay passed away a few days ago. Ajahn Karuṇadhammo is having surgery today. While we were sitting this morning after doing the paritta chanting for Ajahn Karuṇadhammo and Koṇḍañña, an image came to mind of different waves coming in from the ocean and moving toward the shore. T…

Cycles of Negativity

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Cycles of Negativity

There’s a discourse where the Buddha says that, for the ordinary, unenlightened person, the only escape from dukkha-vedanā is to try to immerse themselves in sukha-vedanā in some way: some kind of pleasure or gratification to take the edge off the dissatisfaction. (S 36.6) It’s important to recognize and reflect on this in terms of the culture we have, which conditions all of us: the amount of d…

Diligent Effortlessness

อาจารย์ อมโร

Diligent Effortlessness

Tsoknyi Rimpoche, a Tibetan Lama I first met back in 1992, has a very neat phrase to describe this approach to mind training: ‘undistracted non-meditation’. ‘Non-meditation’ is an expression of not doing any ‘thing’. We tend to make meditation into a task or some ‘thing’ that ‘I’ am doing. Instead we let go of the doing-ness and the thing-ness. That said, it is not a matter of letting the mind dri…

Not Taking Refuge in the Weather

อาจารย์ โชติปาโล

Not Taking Refuge in the Weather

On mornings like this—when it’s pouring down with rain, when it’s not comfortably warm, and we have been assigned a wet and inconvenient job working outside—in this situation, the mind may rebel or complain. It was quite a cold morning and pouring down rain during the first work meeting I attended at Abhayagiri. Everybody was going to be working outside because of last-minute preparations for the…

The Way It Is

อาจารย์ สุเมโธ

The Way It Is

A skillful reflection is: ‘This is the way it is.’ Venerable Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, the renowned Thai sage, said, ‘If there was to be a useful inscription to put on a medallion around your neck, it would be, “This is the way it is.” This reflection helps us to contemplate: wherever we happen to be, whatever time and place, good or bad, ‘This is the way it is.’ It is a way of bringing an acceptance in…

Fear of Awakening?

ฐานิสสโร ภิกขุ

Fear of Awakening?

Q: Is it possible to have fear of awakening? A: Yes, it is possible to have fear of awakening. Usually it’s a matter of your defilements. They don t want you to be awakened. There’s also fear of abandoning your sense of who you are, which is why the Buddha has you focus not on what you are but on what you’re doing. When you focus on your actions, then the fear of awakening gets weaker because you…

Leaves in the Trees

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Leaves in the Trees

Another image Ajahn Chah used for practicing meditation is the leaves in the trees and the forest. Quite naturally, the leaves in the forest are quite still. Only when the wind blows will the leaves vibrate or shake, be blown back and forth. In the same way, our mind, our actual mind, our real mind, is always still and steady. It’s the moods of the mind that shake it. When the winds of our moods,…