Sowing Rice

Ajahn Chah

Sowing Rice

Sit watching your in-and-out breath. Stay relaxed and comfortable, but don’t let yourself get distracted. If you’re distracted, stop. Look to see where the mind went and why it isn’t following the breath. Go looking for it and bring it back. Get it to keep running along with the breath, and one of these days you’ll come across something good. But keep on doing what you’re doing. Do it as if you’re…

Physical Therapy for the Mind

Ajahn Karuṇadhammo

Physical Therapy for the Mind

(From a talk recorded in July 2013) Recently I’ve made visits to a physical therapist because I have some ongoing muscle issues that have plagued me for the last twenty years. Often this type of situation originates with a small abnormality that causes pain, and many people will subconsciously allow the body to adjust to it or slump in a certain way to relieve that pain. Although this gives tempor…

Greedy for the "Extras"

Ajahn Viradhammo

Greedy for the "Extras"

In our monastic training, we try to create a very low standard of what we need in life. I took care of my elderly mother for about nine years until she died. During that time, I lived with her in her condo apartment in Ottawa. When an extremely old person died, it was sometimes mentioned on TV or in the newspaper. Once, there was a British airman who died at 113 years of age; my mum was ninety-thr…

The World vs. the Dhamma

Ajaan Dune

The World vs. the Dhamma

On March 12, 1979, Luang Pu went to Sri Kaew Cave Monastery on Phu Phaan Mountain, Sakon Nakorn province, for more than ten days of solitude and rest. On the evening of the last day before he was to leave, Ajaan Suwat together with the other monks and novices in the monastery came to pay their respects. Luang Pu commented, “It’s been comfortable resting here. The air is good, and the meditation ea…

Beyond Self-Concern

Ajahn Amaro

Beyond Self-Concern

You think, ‘This is a rip-off! I’ve been struggling away for five or six years with fear and lust and so on, and now I get to the free space – here we are out in the open – and it’s a desert. This is not right!’ But then, what you realize is that this is not what the Buddha was pointing to as the goal of the holy life, because even though one can’t see any outstanding objects causing obstruction o…

Self-Concern: A Desert Experience

Ajahn Amaro

Self-Concern: A Desert Experience

Theravada Buddhism, for instance, is often taken to represent the Hinayana position, the self-concern of ‘Quick, let me out of here, I’ve had enough of this mess; I want this to be over as quickly as possible.’ One can see that that represents a very definite stage in one’s own spiritual development. For example, we start out with just a worldly attitude; basically we’re not interested in spiritua…

Three Fires

Ajahn Candasiri

Three Fires

The Buddha often spoke of three fires—three ailments—that we, as human beings, are afflicted by. These three things keep us continually moving, never able to rest or to be completely at ease. They are listed as greed, hatred and delusion (lobha, dosa, moha). He also, out of compassion, pointed out the antidote. Actually, these fires are based on natural instincts. For example, greed, or sensual de…

How Far Until Awakening?

Ajahn Sucitto

How Far Until Awakening?

Do you ever wonder how far you’ve got in terms of Awakening? Maybe, when you review it, you see it like this: ‘Well I live with a sense of conscience and concern for the welfare of others. I do meditate, and from time to time my mind gets quite peaceful. The thinking stops; there’s a sense of wonder and ease. Then I come out of that, but in the flow of events of people and things and ups and downs…

Everything Gathers in the Ocean

Ajahn Chah

Everything Gathers in the Ocean

The water in the ocean comes from little rivers. They flow into the ocean from different directions, but they all come together there. It’s the same when we meditate. We all bring the mind to stillness, and then we practice not clinging. Big rivers, small rivers, all gather in the same ocean. It doesn’t matter where they come from, they all gather in the ocean. We practice meditation to make the m…

How Do You Abandon a Feeling?

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

How Do You Abandon a Feeling?

But how do you abandon a feeling? When the Buddha talks about abandoning, or letting go, it’s not that your mind has a hand that’s grasping things. You’re engaged in habitual activities, habitual ways of reacting, habitual ways of thinking, habitual ways of breathing, habitual ways of perceiving things, habitual ways of fashioning feelings. And as long as you keep repeating those habitual patterns…