Paying Attention to Details

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Paying Attention to Details

When bringing our Dhamma practice into daily life it is important to learn how to pay attention to detail, to pay attention to small things. One can have a woolly, universal, “just be mindful” attitude and not be clear about what one is doing. It’s important to look after one’s duties and not overlook things and to keep things neat, tidy, clean and orderly. Attention to detail cultivates an attitu…

The Impact of Right Speech

อาจารย์ กรุณาธัมโม

The Impact of Right Speech

There are three ways we act on the inclinations, impulses, and intentions that come through the mind. We act on them through body, speech, or mind. Particularly in a monastery, we notice speech because there are many restraints on the activities we engage in. Things are often expressed in the form of speech, so it’s good to focus our attention on the habit of speech. We can learn a lot about ourse…

Patterns of Nature

อาจารย์ สัญญโม

Patterns of Nature

I’ve been thinking about these patterns of weather and patterns of nature the last little while. At the community work day a few days ago, people dragged dead branches and leaves out of the forest. Everything there on the ground was alive and growing with sap running through at one time. The leaves were green; they were living and functioning. Now they are on the ground dead and they’ve changed. I…

The Mood is Not Who You Are

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The Mood is Not Who You Are

There’s always a mood present in our experience. It’s amazing to think how the presence of a mood so completely shapes and conditions both our attitude and the way that we see things. It’s really important that we have straight vision, some sense of what our life is about, what it’s for, and what we aspire to. This vision or aspiration provides a compass when moods arise, tear us apart, and someti…

Earthworm Practice

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Earthworm Practice

Last night, I gave encouragement to reflect around themes of death and the drawbacks of physical existence. These recollections around death bring up a sense of urgency or cognition that there isn’t time to waste, that there aren’t unlimited opportunities for spiritual practice. We have excellent conditions right now and we should make use of them. The image that the Buddha uses for this sense of…

Seeing Clearly into Causation

อาจารย์ อมโร

Seeing Clearly into Causation

Last week at the Spirit Rock family retreat we saw many small, young humans beings surrounded by wholesome structures and examples and offered much in the way of skillful guidance. Seeing the good results of that in just a few days made me reflect on the idea that if you catch things early and have an influence at the beginning, as something is setting out and taking shape, then a small influence…

Strengthening Our Aspirations

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Strengthening Our Aspirations

During the time of the Buddha there was a lady who was pregnant for a long period of time. After asking the Buddha for a blessing, the monks chanted some protective verses for her and she finally gave birth to a child named Sivali. The woman was very grateful to the Buddha and asked if she might be able to offer the meal to the Sangha for a whole week. The Buddha asked Mahamogalana and some other…

Respecting Our Many Boundaries

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Respecting Our Many Boundaries

I had a learning experience when I was a junior monk of two or three pansa. A good friend of mine with whom I ordained was the monastery stores monk. Once he went away to Pu Jum Gorm for a week and I was stores monk in his absence. I was keen to be helpful and do something supportive or generous as a show of kindness to him. So while he was away, I cleaned up and reorganized the stores room. I tho…

Exploring Uncertainty in Daily Life

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Exploring Uncertainty in Daily Life

We often think of insight meditation as something that we do as part of the formal practice. The usual instructions are to take some time to focus and concentrate the mind, and when it is steady, begin to reflect upon the flow of experience in terms of anicca, dukkha, and anatta—impermanence or uncertainty, unsatisfactoriness, and selflessness or things not being self. Luang Por Chah encouraged us…

Directing Attention to Contentment

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Directing Attention to Contentment

The theme of contentment is a good theme for all of us - the aspect of learning how to be content with both the circumstances around us as well as our own mind. Sometimes the agitation, restlessness, negativity and fault-finding that the mind cranks out is not so much about any big thing that’s happening outside, it is almost invariably a lack of contentment internally. When the mind is internally…