Trying to Establish Permanence

Ajahn Sucitto

Trying to Establish Permanence

Consider how much of one’s thinking is about trying to establish permanence. How much of one’s planning sees a future with certainty? How many activities are supposed to sort things out so that we never have to deal with them again—and how much of our disappointment is because we thought we had something solid and then it changed? All that breeds an unwillingness to enter into something unknown, e…

Like a Snake Shedding Its Skin

Ajahn Yatiko

Like a Snake Shedding Its Skin

Many of us often live in a fog of time. We can become caught up in this fog—completely absorbed and obsessed with experiences that happened in the past or we hope will happen in the future. It’s as if this perception of time has a reality to it that’s independent of our own machinations and creations of the mind. But it’s not separate; it’s created and a part of our perception like everything else…

According With Conditions

Ajahn Pasanno

According With Conditions

In terms of living as monastics and lay practitioners, there are two helpful principles we can return to again and again in our daily life. The first of these is learning how to accept and adapt to whatever conditions we find ourselves in. This doesn’t mean being indifferent or not dealing with things but really engaging with conditions in a skillful, attentive way… What are our habits? How can we…

What is happiness?

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

What is happiness?

First, though, it’s good to think about happiness. What is happiness? The Pali term sukha has a wide range of meanings. It starts with basic pleasure and ease and works up to well-being and bliss. But it’s one of those terms that the Buddha never defines. Lots of other terms he defines very precisely, but some of the really basic terms—mind/citta, happiness/sukha, and stress/dukkha—never get defin…

With Nanda

Pāli Canon

With Nanda

Standing to one side, the god Nanda recited this verse in the Buddha’s presence: “Time flies, nights pass by, the stages of life leave us one by one. Seeing this peril in death, you should do good deeds that bring happiness.” “Time flies, nights pass by, the stages of life leave us one by one. Seeing this peril in death, one looking for peace would drop the world’s bait.” This reflection is from t…

Adaptability

Ajahn Amaro

Adaptability

The changing weather is a fine teaching in adaptability. One day warm sunshine, spring flowers, birds singing. Now, howling winds and snow. Tomorrow what will it be? If we are wise, then the heart will always adapt to receive the changing qualities of the present circumstance. Stillness and movement, calmness and wind, brightness, darkness, praise, criticism, gain and loss, the familiar or the une…

The Ethical Basis of Conceiving

Ajahn Sucitto

The Ethical Basis of Conceiving

The human mind is endowed with the capacity to think. In this capacity, the act of conceiving can generate an Ideal; but for truth and action, what is important is the ethical basis of the conceiving. This ethical basis must rest not on idealistic righteousness but on an empathic relationship that is structured around respect and compassion. When we get intoxicated with ideas, that relationship su…

My Alms Bowl —Soul of My Mendicancy

Ayyā Medhānandī

My Alms Bowl —Soul of My Mendicancy

My alms bowl is central to my life. A symbol of the Theravāda Buddhist monastic tradition in which I trained, it is the soul of my mendicancy – coming empty-handed before the laity to receive material nourishment and responding to their generosity. Sometimes that means reciprocating with a teaching from the Buddha, sometimes with a blessing chant or simply an expression of gratitude and kindness.…

Inching Along

Ajahn Viradhammo

Inching Along

In monastic life, we’re taught to work with very simple reflections that we try to bring forth at different times. For instance, before the main meal, we say: “Wisely reflecting, I use alms-food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the holy life. Thinking thus, I…

The Development of Friendliness

Ajahn Thiradhammo

The Development of Friendliness

The development of friendliness (mettā), sometimes translated as ‘loving-kindness’, progresses through various stages in much the same way as an evolving friendship gradually deepens. The practice starts with learning to be more friendly towards those aspects of ourselves to which we are averse or resistant. This doesn’t mean that we have to like them, but at least we can be less negative and mor…