Theravada

  • Language Classes for Peace Paid Member

    Express India reports that Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka will begin taking Tamil language classes. The classes are part of an effort to "create greater harmony and heal the decades-old animosity between the majority Sinhalas and minority Hindu communities," according to the report. The Sinhalese are traditionally Buddhist. Tamil-speaking Hindus represent the largest ethnic minority in Sri Lanka. In 1970, Tamils formed a movement seeking an autonomous Tamil state in response to perceived discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. The effort caused a political rift in Sri Lanka that eventually led to a violent thirty-year civil war that has devastated the country. More »
  • Stephen Batchelor in Insight Journal: You don't have to believe in rebirth to be a Buddhist Paid Member

    Not many things in life are free, but there are exceptions. One of them is Insight Journal, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies publication edited by the center's co-director Andrew Olendzki. You can either order the hard copy or, if you're eco-conscious, download it. Of course, it's always a great help to offer dana—a donation—when you do. The organization supports itself through its paid courses and the generosity of its members and friends. This issue features a piece by Stephen Batchelor on his doubts about (or nowadays, his outright rejection of) rebirth—and he finds what he feels is support in Pali Canon. Years ago we featured a debate between Stephen and Bob Thurman on the topic—Stephen played skeptic, of course, and Bob the true believer. But nowadays Stephen isn't particularly interested in arguing the point and is more likely to reflect on how he came to his beliefs and his ever-evolving understanding of the Buddha's teachings. Here's an interesting excerpt from the Insight article: I am not in any way suggesting that the Buddha rejected the idea of rebirth, or did not believe in it..there is just too much in the Canon to say the Buddha was even agnostic about this. But there is another strand of text that seems to not quite fit that very well. I think the Pali Canon actually has multiple voices within it, not a single, monolithic voice. You get contradictory perspectives introduced all the time, which is part of the very richness of that literature. In the Kālāma Sutta the Buddha says, don’t just accept what I say because I am your teacher, because the tradition says it, or because it seems to be reasonable. At the end of that text, he speaks about the four solaces, or rewards, that come from the practice of the Dhamma. One solace says, if there is indeed another life, if there is, indeed, a law of karmic cause and effect, then, after death, you will be reborn in a happy realm and benefit from the results of your present karma. The second solace says, if there is no future life, if there is no law of karma, then, too, by practicing the Dhamma you will live happy and content, here and now, in this world. That is very striking: the Buddha seems to be saying what really matters is not what may or may not follow after death, but the quality of your experience, here and now in this very life. Admittedly, this passage occurs once, whereas rebirth and karma occur everywhere. Nonetheless, it looks oddly out of place. For that very reason, it is probably original: It would have been in no orthodox tradition’s interest to have added it later. Even more to the point is “the declared and the undeclared” in the Mālunkyovāda Sutta, Majjhima 63: More »
  • Bad Meditation? No Such thing, says Ajahn Brahm Paid Member

    The mind can do wonderful and unexpected things. Meditators who are having a difficult time achieving a peaceful state of mind sometimes start thinking, “Here we go again, another hour of frustration.” But often something strange happens; although they are anticipating failure, they reach a very peaceful meditative state. My first meditation teacher told me that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. He was right. During the difficult meditations you build up your strength, which creates meditation for peace. - Ajahn Brahm, "Stepping Towards Enlightenment," Fall 2006 Click here to read the complete article. More »
  • An evening with Ven. Metteyya at New York Insight Paid Member

    From left: Bodhi (Ven. Metteyya's attendant), Sharon Salzberg, Ven. Metteyya More »
  • A happiness that can't be taken from you (and four reasons we fear death) Paid Member

    What was behind the Buddha's decision to go off into the forest? A desire to be happy, Thai forest monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu teaches in the talk below. In fact, he says, this desire underlay all of Buddha's efforts. More »
  • Knowing the story doesn't solve it Paid Member

    A few days ago I posted an interview with Jack Kornfield and said I'd post an earlier interview with him soon. Well, here it is. The interview was given in 2000, around the time Kornfield's After the Ecstasy, The Laundry appeared. Here are two excerpts that will give you an idea of some of the modes of practice Jack was thinking about and teaching nearly a decade before the later interview. More »