Stability and Reliability

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Stability and Reliability

Another realization that has become clearer as I’ve been meeting people and teaching over the years is that those who’ve come from broken homes, or who have had very unstable family situations, assume that life is unsteady and unpredictable; they often have a deep sense of insecurity. I remember being struck during my first few years of meeting and living with such people, and there are a great ma…

To Get There Requires Desire

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To Get There Requires Desire

We go through life propelled by our desires. Sometimes we get what we want and we’re satisfied for a while, and then we’re not so satisfied, so we generate more desires. We take it for granted that that’s simply the way things have to be. Some of us think that, well, maybe if we get a lot of things, they’ll make up for the lack of other things. So people amass things—amass power, amass wealth—thin…

Eight Folds, One Path

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Eight Folds, One Path

When you look at the factors in the noble eightfold path, it’s interesting to note the order in which they come. The first two factors have to do with discernment, seeing that the big issue in life is suffering and stress, and particularly the kind of suffering that comes from our own thoughts. That right there tells you a lot: that this is a path where you have to look at your actions, look at yo…

Genuine Kindness

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Genuine Kindness

What does our mind do when it stops grasping? It actually starts to feel, just by itself. You learn to feel by not grasping. What do you do when your mind feels dull, negative or bored? If you look at it, you can witness that there’s a grasping there, an attempt to clutch hold of something. Then there’s the attempt to get out of it, the attempt to find a positive or happy feeling, the attempt to f…

Complete Involvement, Complete Surrender

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Complete Involvement, Complete Surrender

Chanting – what is this? Is this a valuable thing, or is it useless? If you ever doubt about it – to do it or not to do it - what goes on, do you know? Do you have to find reasons and justifications, do you have to be convinced? Or do you take some stand, saying ‘I am not going to do it’ or ‘I am going to do it’? Some people are always saying, ‘Oh, chanting reminds me of all those awful things Rom…

Befriending Our Emotional Nature

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Befriending Our Emotional Nature

Walking the Path isn’t hard in and of itself. But it is hard for the sense of self, that illusory entity called ‘me’ who is so resistant to liberation. Again, this self is a collection of habits, it’s not a fault. You don’t have a ‘me’ because you wanted one. It just happened. You didn’t want to have an ego, a deluded ego which you may hate right now: ‘My personality – I’m terrible!’ We are very g…

Befriend Every Guest at the Door

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Befriend Every Guest at the Door

Last year, at the start of my three-month retreat, I woke up deaf one morning. Prescribed steroids, it would be six weeks before I could have an MRI to confirm whether there was a tumour. For years, I had been the one to counsel and encourage others during illness and loss. Now, alone and in silence, could I walk my talk? I fought to maintain the simple rhythm of each day, cleaning, meditating, ch…

A Huge Range of Possibilities

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A Huge Range of Possibilities

One way of inducing rapture is to ask yourself, “Which parts of the body right now feel relaxed or even just okay?” When you breathe in, can they maintain that quality of feeling okay, or is there a little squeeze on them? Try noticing your hands. You breathe in, breathe out, and does the flow of energy at any point in the breath cycle put a squeeze on the hands—on any of the muscles in any part o…

Open to Possibilities

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Open to Possibilities

One of the main purposes of listening to the Dhamma is to get a sense of possibilities. We read the life of the Buddha to get a sense of what a human being can do, but all too often his story seems to be off there in never-never land, something someone far away in a far distant time was able to do. But to what extent is it relevant to us? To what extent can we make it relevant to what we’re doing?…

The Divine Mantra

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The Divine Mantra

I have written this book, The Divine Mantra, as a means of drawing to purity those who practice the Dhamma, because the chant given here brings benefits to those who memorize and recite it, inasmuch as it deals directly with matters that exist in each of us. Normally, once we are born, we all dwell in the six properties. These properties are brought together by our own actions, both good and evil.…