Theravada

The "Teaching of the Elders," rooted in the earliest complete teachings of the Buddha
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    A Story for Sophie Paid Member

    Can you really just see?” the Theravada monk had asked. “Can you just listen?” We had gathered on the porch of a farmhouse in upstate New York. The weekend retreat had ended and a dozen of us sat with the orange-robed Bhante from Sri Lanka sipping tea in the early spring sun. Sophie, a college student like myself, had complained of the tedious "labeling" in the Vipassana practice as a technique for paying attention. And so the monk had challenged her. "Try it," he had said. "Try right now, for one minute only to just be, no labeling, no 'you' watching your breath. No 'rising, rising of the abdomen,' no 'falling, falling of the abdomen,' nothing, just being. Right here. Right now. Forget one minute. Ten seconds. Try it for ten seconds. All of you. No labeling, but no thinking." More »
  • “We are what we think.” Paid Member

    There are several kinds of Fake Buddha Quotes. Some are sayings that have been ascribed to the Buddha, often accidentally, although they are actually the words of modern Buddhist authors. Others are anonymous quotations, or quotations from sources relatively unknown, that someone, somewhere, decided would carry more heft with “The Buddha” as a byline. And then there are actual verses from the scriptures translated in such a way that either the essential meaning has been lost or new meanings have been added. This last category is well represented by the words “We are what we think. / All that we are arises with our thoughts. / With our thoughts we make the world.” You may well recognize these words as the opening of the Dhammapada, and some readers may wonder what could possibly be wrong with them. Isn’t this what the Buddha taught? Didn’t the Buddha say that the world is an illusion, that we become what we think? More »
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    Going for Refuge Paid Member

    Born Dennis Lingwood in London in 1925, Sangharakshita was stationed in Sri Lanka and India during World War II. He remained in India after the war, and was ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1949. Returning to England in 1964, he founded the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) three years later. Today nearly six hundred men and women have been ordained in the Order. While most of its activities are based in Britain and among the ex-untouchable communities in India, there are a half-dozen centers in the United States as well. This interview was conducted by Stephen Batchelor, a contributing editor to Tricycle, at Sangharahshita's apartment in Bethnal Green, London, in April 1995. More »
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    It's Not Our Karma Paid Member

    THE SRI LANKAN VILLAGE where the Theravadin Buddhist nun P. G. Ranwala built her temple is in the upcountry, miles from any city. One-story mud-and-thatch houses painted pastel pink, blue, and green, and deeply ridged paddy fields carved into the mountainside below give the village a prosperous feeling, although the people here live on the edge of poverty. Before Ranwala came, the villagers waited weeks for monks to come from the city of Kandy to perform chanting ceremonies and other Buddhist rituals on their behalf. Most parents relied on weekly radio programs to provide religious education to their children. More »
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    Like a Mirage Paid Member

    Distorted perceptions are like a mirage. Deceived by a mirage, a deer runs quickly toward what it perceives as water. As he runs, he sees that the water-like mirage is still far ahead of him. So he keeps running toward it to drink. When he is even more tired and thirsty, he stops and looks back. Then he sees that he has gone past the water. When he runs back, he perceives that the water is ahead of him. So he runs back and forth until he is exhausted and falls to the ground. More »
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    The Power of Receiving Paid Member

    When I am given something, I sometimes feel indebtedness, which makes me uncomfortable. What is this discomfort in receiving? Is there a way to receive with grace and generosity? The practice of true generosity is rare; it is an exchange in which both giver and receiver are enriched. In the Tibetan tradition, the custom of exchanging ceremonial scarves, or khatas, perfectly evokes this spirit of giving and receiving freely. When you offer a scarf to someone, it is received with grace and immediately offered back to you, completing the circle. Today, however, the culture of giving and receiving is often burdened by a complex mix of social obligations and expectations. More »