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The Buddha’s Teaching When a Beloved Disciple Passed Away

This beautiful sutta from the Pali canon tells the story of what happened after the beloved disciple and arahat Sariputta passed away.  Sariputta—(Sāriputta (Pāli) or Śāriputra (Sanskrit)—was a truly remarkable student of the Buddha’s, and along with Ananda, was considered his greatest pupil. As Nyanaponika Thera writes of him in The Life of Shariputra: “Shariputra..was […]

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The Skill in Looking at Emptiness as a Mode of Perception Rather Than a Worldview

Few words in Buddhism are more well-known, and more debated historically among Buddhists, than the word “emptiness.”  What do we find about “emptiness” in the Pali canon, the oldest records we have of the Buddha‘s teachings?  In this essay Buddhist monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains how Theravadan Buddhists understand the word in terms of these earliest […]

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What Am I Doing Right Now? And Why Does it Matter?

In this essay Thanissaro Bhikkhu analyzes the profound importance of understanding the nature of our intentions and the actions that arise out of those intentions.  In many ways, as he points out, this issue is at the very heart of the Buddha’s teaching—looking deeply into intention, into cause and effect, and seeing how to “unbind” […]

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How the Buddha talked about “Not-self”

§ 128. “Form, monks, is not-self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’ But precisely because form is not-self, this form lends itself to dis-ease. And it is […]

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Look at Karma in Terms of What One is Doing Right Now

Karma—It’s About What We Can Do Now An excerpt about karma from “Noble Strategy” by Thanissaro Bhikkhu Karma is one of those words we don’t translate. Its basic meaning is simple enough—action—but because of the weight the Buddha’s teachings give to the role of action, the Sanskrit word karma packs in so many implications that […]

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Working with The Six Properties in Meditation-Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Space, and Consciousness

For the past few months I’ve really been focusing on “body work” in my dharma practice.  I’ve been working with full-body awareness and vipassana, as well as using deep loving-kindness meditation to embrace mental and physical pains.  This essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu has been especially helpful in getting in touch with the actual feelings of my […]

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Did you know that the Buddha almost didn’t teach the Dharma?

According to the Pali canon, not long after the Buddha attained enlightenment, he mused to himself: “This Dhamma that I have realized is profound, hard to see and hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, unattainable by mere reasoning, subtle, to be experienced only by the wise.” The Buddha then apparently seriously questioned whether he could […]

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The Importance of Alertness and Attention in Developing Concentration

As I have grown in my meditation practice, I have been able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration and corresponding insight. And yet, when I’ve read about some of the various deeper levels of jhana (deep concentration, or samatha) I’ve sometimes wondered about my progress and whether I’m going “deep” enough. This great […]

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How Letting Go Helps Us See the Truth of Non-duality

Ayya Khema is a highly-skilled Theravadan teacher who brought a remarkable love and light to her service as a nun in the Theravadan tradition. I highly recommend her book Who is My Self? A Guide to Buddhist Meditation.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read on developing deep concentration and insight (samatha and […]

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How Not to Get Swept Away by Mindstorms

Here is another skillful teaching by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  We’ve all been swept away by the “storms” and epics stories and worlds we create in our minds.  Happily, the Buddha showed how we can not only find safe refuge from these storms, we can learn how to stop their creation. Mindstorms Thanissaro Bhikkhu There’s a part […]

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The Buddha on Attachment to Views and Disputations

In Buddhism, Right View is part of the Noble Eightfold Path.  But attachment to views, even right views, is always a hindrance. In The Mind Like Fire Unbound, Thanissaro Bhikkhu comments: “Attachment to views can block an experience of Unbinding in any of three major ways. First, the content of the view itself may not […]

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The Great Freedom of Seeing the Body for What It Is

Here is a very helpful teaching on the body by Ajahn Chah from a talk he gave called “Clarity of Insight.” “The Buddha taught to transcend delusion. The way to transcend it is through clearly seeing the body for what it is.” Ajahn Chah “With penetrating insight you must see that the true nature of […]

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Life Isn’t Just Suffering-but Clinging Always Is

Here is another great teaching from Thanissaro Bhikkhu.  I have to admit that in my pre-dharma days, I too had the impression that Buddhism was “negative” or “pessimistic.”  Looking into Buddhism for myself and breaking free of the dogmatic beliefs of my religious upbringing, I found the way of the Buddha to be the happiest […]

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The Unshakable Peace of a Mind that Can Let Go

The following in an excerpt from a dhamma talk by Ajahn  Chah titled Unshakable Peace.  It is a wonderful and deep teaching explaining how to practice the mind that lets go—the mind of liberation and peace. The Buddha did not teach about the mind and its psychological factors so that we’d get attached to the […]

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Training the heart by seeing what is and letting go

Here is more on “Training the Heart” by Ajahn Chah.  It is a follow-up and further development of yesterday’s teaching: Train your heart!  Don’t just follow its moods! May this teaching help liberate your heart and awaken the mindfulness and presence that lead to liberation and freedom! Training the heart by seeing what is and […]

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