Theravada

The "Teaching of the Elders," rooted in the earliest complete teachings of the Buddha
  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    Just Another Thing in the Forest Paid Member

    Venerable Ajaan Amaro has been a monk in the Thai forest tradition for twenty years and is the co-abbot of Abhayagiri, a monastery he helped to found two years ago in northern California. He grew up J. C. Horner in the English countryside and studied physiology and psychology at the University of London, where he realized that "after forty years of studying the mind, my professors were no happier or wiser than I was." As a student, his mind-expansion technology consisted of listening to music, reading mystical literature—"Ramakrishna and the like"—and pursuing Dionysian revelry. But a Rudolf Steiner-school philosopher, Trevor Ravenscroft, pointed him toward Asia. At the age of twenty-one, he landed at Wat Pah Nanachat, a monastery in the forest tradition for the Western disciples of meditation master Ajaan Chah. Ajaan Chah ordained him sometime after his twenty-second birthday, and Amaro Bhikkhu, as he was then known, spent two years training in Thailand before returning to England. Here he joined the man who would be his teacher, Ajaan Sumedho, an American disciple of Ajaan Chah, at the newly founded Chithurst Monastery in the woods seventy miles southwest of London. Abhayagiri sits on 250 mountain acres in Mendocino County that were donated to Ajaan Sumedho and the order by the late Master Hsuan Hua, the Chinese Buddhist teacher and founder of the California temple City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Nestled amidst madrone-covered hills are the meditation hall, a common building with kitchen and offices, and a half-dozen isolated wooden huti, or meditation huts, where nine monastics—seven men and two women—live and practice, each hut adjoining a shaded path for walking meditation. Some of the monastics as well as lay visitors to the community stay in tents and trailers. Abhayagiri, unlike its sister monasteries, whose funding comes largely from Thailand and other Asian communities, is supported by "good old Caucasian middle-class intellectual meditators." Ajaan Amaro is the author of Silent Rain, a collection of journal entries and dharma talks. He spoke with Mary Talbot at Abhayagiri in May 1998. More »
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    Recollection of the Buddha Paid Member

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    The Four Protective Meditations Paid Member

    Watch Bhikkhu Bodhi's retreat here. More »
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    Moral Health Paid Member

    Research over the past decades has shown pretty convincingly that physical health is influenced by the quality of the nutrients we ingest, the activities we engage in, and the habits that guide our behaviors. Such quality is measured on a sliding scale between healthy and unhealthy. If we eat unhealthy foods, engage in unhealthy behaviors, and develop unhealthy habits, then the outcome will be unhealthiness. The reverse is equally true, when healthy modes of living replace unhealthy ones. This is a matter of understanding the biological laws of nature; it has nothing to do with moral judgment or religious decree. More »
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    Primordial Soup Paid Member

    Greed and hatred are efficient survival tools. Deeply embedded in the operating system of sentient beings, perhaps from the days when a brain stem first developed in vertebrates, these instincts trigger behaviors that enable a creature to seek out and chase down the food it needs and to call forth the ferocity required to kill its prey or fight for its life. Each is an opposite expression of the same primordial force: desire. Greed is the desire to get and hold on to what one wants, while hatred is the desire to ignore or destroy what one does not want. They require little or no understanding, function best at rudimentary levels of consciousness, and thus thrive in conditions of ignorance and delusion. More »
  • Tricycle Community 17 comments

    From Thought to Stillness Paid Member

    I am struck by the way many of us hold the dharma to a strict interpretation of the suttas, as if Buddhism could be conveyed by only one possible translation and intention. When we have questions, many of us look to the Pali scholars for the derivation of a phrase or word, seeking its exact meaning, and we often confine our own practice to that explicit definition, even if the suggested wording runs counter to our insights. We must be careful not to know too much or interpret too precisely what the Buddha meant, because that intellectual knowing may distract us from the realization of his message and leave little room to probe the depth of his teaching in personally meaningful ways. If we look upon the suttas with a little more ease, the foundation of his teaching clearly emerges and the mystery of his message invites our own exploration. More »