Thread: The Way It Is

  1. #1

    The Way It Is

    I continue to find some of Ajahn Sumedho's talks very inspiring, so I thought I'd share this one which was given to the monastic community of Amaravati Monastery before the winter retreat of 1988.

    Excerpt:


    Our society tends to reinforce the view that everything is 'me' and 'mine'. 'This body is me; I look like this; I am a man; I am an American; I am 54 years old; I am an abbot.' But these are just conventions, aren't they? We're not saying I'm not these things; rather we're observing how we tend to complicate them by believing in the 'I am'. If we attach to them, life becomes so much more than it actually is; it becomes like a sticky web. It gets so complicated; whatever we touch sticks to us. And the longer we live the more complicated we make it. So much fear and desire comes from that commitment to 'I am' -- to being somebody. Eventually they take us to anxiety and despair; life seems much more difficult and painful than it really is.

    But when we just observe life for what it is, then it's all right: the delights, the beauty, the pleasures, are just that. The pain, the discomfort, the sickness, are what they are. We can always cope with the way life moves and changes. The mind of an enlightened human being is flexible and adaptable. The mind of the ignorant person is conditioned and fixed.

    More at the link:

    http://www.budsas.org/ebud/see-way/way-is.htm
    Comments relating to the text are welcome .



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    But anxiety is not ultimately true. It's something we create. Worry is just that much. Love and joy and all the best in life, if we are attached to them, are going to bring the opposite along also. That's why in meditation we practise accepting the feeling of these things. When we accept things for what they are, we're no longer attached to them. They just are what they are; they arise and cease, they're not a self.
    http://www.budsas.org/ebud/see-way/way-is.htm

    This certainly strikes a chord with me, I feel sure on many occasions I have created anxiety, in the same way I have created expectation, whether it be through boredom or just the way I am conditioned. Ajahn Sumedho is a true inspiration, many thanks Aloka!

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    I'm currently reading through the Ajahn Sumedho anthology published by Amaravati, and I'll have the good fortune to see him speak and record his talks when he comes here in July. He's always an inspiration!
    One of my favorite terms related to his use of "conventions," stated often by Ajahn Amaro, is "convenient fictions." We should believe in and hold conventions lightly, just enough to validate their necessity to navigate daily life, but beyond that we should recognize they are completely false.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by JMGinPDX View Post
    I'm currently reading through the Ajahn Sumedho anthology published by Amaravati, and I'll have the good fortune to see him speak and record his talks when he comes here in July. He's always an inspiration!
    One of my favorite terms related to his use of "conventions," stated often by Ajahn Amaro, is "convenient fictions." We should believe in and hold conventions lightly, just enough to validate their necessity to navigate daily life, but beyond that we should recognize they are completely false.
    Ajahn Sumedho was a huge inspiration to me after I decided to leave Tibetan Buddhism. I first started going to his talks and question & answer sessions at Amaravati Monastery in 2010 and was fortunate enough to be able to talk to him one-to- one about my practice on two different occasions. (I've also been to quite a number of Ajahn Amaro's talks & have received some personal advice from him too.)

    I quoted some of Ajahn Sumedho's anthology in response to your post in the secular thread in our Independent Buddhists forum, by the way.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Ajahn Sumedho was a huge inspiration to me after I decided to leave Tibetan Buddhism. I first started going to his talks and question & answer sessions at Amaravati Monastery in 2010 and was fortunate enough to be able to talk to him one-to- one about my practice on two different occasions. (I've also been to quite a number of Ajahn Amaro's talks & have received some personal advice from him too.)

    I quoted some of Ajahn Sumedho's anthology in response to your post in the secular thread in our Independent Buddhists forum, by the way.

    I assume by this post you're indicating you live nearby Amaravati? If so, you are fortunate indeed! I have yet to make it down to Abhayagiri to see his old mate Pasanno (multiple attempts have been foiled by circumstance, it is like this!), although I've had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with him when he's come here.
    Amaro visited here last year and one of my favorite questions came from a teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition who asked "do you think Secular Buddhists have gotten too far away from basic morality?" to which Ajahn stated "yes!" and then expanded on what he saw as a bit of a steering away from the 5 Precepts within that tradition. I appreciate Amaro's sense of humor and speaking style, definitely my favorite of the bunch!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JMGinPDX View Post
    I assume by this post you're indicating you live nearby Amaravati? If so, you are fortunate indeed! Amaro visited here last year and one of my favorite questions came from a teacher in the Insight Meditation tradition who asked "do you think Secular Buddhists have gotten too far away from basic morality?" to which Ajahn stated "yes!" and then expanded on what he saw as a bit of a steering away from the 5 Precepts within that tradition. I appreciate Amaro's sense of humor and speaking style, definitely my favorite of the bunch!
    No, I don't live near Amaravati, but its not impossible to get there.

    I don't identify with the "Secular Buddhist" movement myself, by the way. I identify more with the Theravada Forest Tradition than anyone else - and I'm agnostic about rebirth, other realms, and superstitious woo in general. (in spite of the fact that I was heavily involved with all of that when I was practising Tibetan Buddhism!).


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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    No, I don't live near Amaravati, but its not impossible to get there.

    I don't identify with the "Secular Buddhist" movement myself, by the way. I identify more with the Theravada Forest Tradition than anyone else - and I'm agnostic about rebirth, other realms, and superstitious woo in general. (in spite of the fact that I was heavily involved with all of that when I was practising Tibetan Buddhism!).

    Some might say you are agnostic about them BECAUSE of the fact you were so heavily involved in them before! I'm like that too to a large degree - I was raised as a preacher's kid in the evangelical Assemblies of God, so I spent the last 30 years or so very much agnostic about all things religious, and approached Buddhism with a wary eye in general in regards to those things. My belief in rebirth is somewhat tenuous; most of my positive attitude towards it stems from the fact that quantum physics and certain philosophies of conscious realism are starting to show the possibility cannot be ruled out, in contrast to the rational materialist and physicalist theories based on classical physics.

  8. #8
    Some might say you are agnostic about them BECAUSE of the fact you were so heavily involved in them before!
    Yes, maybe, that and the fact that any sort of afterlife after the death of the body doesn't actually make any sense to me now, especially when others get fundamentalist about it. Rebirth beliefs certainly haven't had any relevance to my practice for a number of years now .. and its good to no longer have to get invoved in silly conversations such as " Maybe we knew each other in another lifetime." and so on.

    Anyway, to return to the text mentioned in the topic #1: "All that arises ceases. All dhamma is not self."


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