Going for Refuge

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Going for Refuge

The act of going for refuge marks the point where one commits oneself to taking the Dhamma, or the Buddha’s teaching, as the primary guide to one’s life. To understand why this commitment is called a “refuge,” it’s helpful to look at the history of the custom. In pre-Buddhist India, going for refuge meant proclaiming one’s allegiance to a patron—a powerful person or god—submitting to the patron’s…

Community Life: Unity in Diversity

Ajahn Jayasaro

Community Life: Unity in Diversity

At the conclusion of an Ordination ceremony for Western monks, Luang Por would usually take the opportunity of this gathering of the Western Sangha to give a Dhamma talk which would encompass the whole monastic training from its most basic foundations to the ultimate goal of the Holy Life. On one such occasion, he began – as was his custom – by emphasizing the importance of living together in harm…

Conditioned to Believe

Ajahn Candasiri

Conditioned to Believe

I find it interesting to contemplate the sense of gladness and joy when thinking about this time together - and then noticing too the slight sense of sorrow, a kind of longing in the heart, at the thought of separating. Sometimes we can think that this is wrong - that we shouldn’t feel sad. If we were true Buddhists, we would be completely dispassionate. There would be none of these untidy emotion…

Ghosts

Mae Chee Kaew

Ghosts

The years Mae Chee Kaew spent living at Phu Gao Mountain were a fruitful time for her meditation practice. With each new foray into the invisible world of sentient spirits, she gained increased expertise in the realms of nonphysical existence. With Ajaan Khamphan’s assistance, she strengthened her ability to explore varieties of phenomena within the many lowly but subtle nonhuman states of existen…

The Punch Bag

Ajahn Sundara

The Punch Bag

Sometimes we come to a monastery with a real sense of purpose but discover later that things may be very different from the purpose we envisaged at first. After reading lots of books on Buddhism, we perhaps enter the monastery with the idea that we must become a good Buddhist, or become kind, or compassionate, or loving and so on. And thus we enter into conflict with ourselves because the reality…

Good Intention, Good Result?

Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu

Good Intention, Good Result?

If your intentions influence the quality of the result, does this mean that every action done with good intentions will tend toward a good result? For an intention to give good results, it has to be free of greed, aversion, and delusion [§31]. Now, it’s possible for an intention to be well-meaning but based on delusion, which can easily disguise subtle aversion or greed. When that’s the case, acti…

Honest Feedback Out of Compassion

Ajahn Sucitto

Honest Feedback Out of Compassion

So it’s interesting that the Kathina season begins with what’s called the Pavaranā – which means ‘Invitation.’ Pavaranā is the invitation that the samanas, the monks and nuns, offer to each other; it’s a kind of voucher. And this voucher says: ‘If you see or even suspect that there’s something that I’ve been doing wrong – please let me know.’ The Buddha said this is the most precious gift we can…

Until Wisdom Becomes Perfectly Clear

Ajahn Munindo

Until Wisdom Becomes Perfectly Clear

Alert to the needs of the journey, those on the path of awareness, like swans, glide on, leaving behind their former resting places. Let us consider together this short teaching from the Buddha. When we begin on this journey we are all seeking, in some form or another, an increased sense of freedom. Maybe we were motivated by an altruistic vision of living with greater compassion. Or perhaps it wa…

Counteracting Superstition

Ajahn Amaro

Counteracting Superstition

One of the characteristics for which Ajahn Chah was most well-known was his keenness to dispel superstition in relation to Buddhist practice in Thailand. He strongly criticized the magic charms, amulets and fortune-telling that pervade so much of that society. He rarely spoke about past or future lives, other realms, visions or psychic experiences. Anyone who came to him asking for a tip about the…

The Secret of Walking Meditation

Ajahn Liem

The Secret of Walking Meditation

The secret of walking meditation is to walk in a manner that will imprint nothing but peaceful happiness with each step. This reflection by Luang Por Liem is from the booklet, Walking with Awareness, (pdf) frame 3.