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Banner of the Arahants Print E-mail

Introduction

Stream-winning and Arahantship—four more Arahant Bhikkhus—Buddhas and Arahants—meanings of Sangha—Arahants and attachment—the Holy Life—Going forth—Story of Yasa—Exhortation to the 60 Arahants—1st, 2nd and 3rd methods of ordination (acceptance)—the 30 Bhikkhus—the three Kassapa brothers—the pair of Foremost Disciples—the lives and verses of some Arahants.

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What is Contemplation (Question and Answer Session) Print E-mail

Introduction

Question: When you teach about the value of contemplation, are you speaking of sitting and thinking over particular themes—the thirty-two parts of the body, for instance?

Ajahn Chah: That is not necessary when the mind is truly still. When tranquillity is properly established the right object of investigation becomes obvious. When contemplation is “True,” there is no discrimination into right and wrong; “good” and “bad”; there is nothing even like that. You don’t sit there thinking, “Oh, this is like that and that is like this,” etc. That is a coarse form of contemplation. Meditative contemplation is not merely a matter of thinking—rather it’s what we call “contemplation in silence.” Whilst going about our daily routine we mindfully consider the real nature of existence through comparisons. This is a coarse kind of investigation but it leads to the real thing.

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The Direct Path for the Purification of Beings Print E-mail

Introduction

In his introduction to the Middle Length Discourses, the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi has explained the tight focus of investigation of the Satipatthana Sutta [in a nutshell], writing (on page 5):

… “at the close-end of the spectrum, the Buddha’s teaching discloses the radical impermanence uncovered only by sustained attention to experience in its living immediacy: the fact that all the constituents of our being, bodily and mental, are in constant process, arising and passing away in rapid succession from moment to moment without any persistent underlying substance. In the very act of observation they are undergoing “destruction, vanishing, fading away, and ceasing” (MN 74.11).”

Systematically, we could explain the whole of the Buddha’s teachings by taking the individual words and phrases of the above sentence as inter-dependent terms and analyzing and explicating their inter-related meanings, but, let’s do it in an even- more direct way by interpreting the sutta itself, in which the Buddha gives directions upon:

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This Generation is all in a Tangle Print E-mail

Introduction

In The Connected Discourses of the Buddha, Samuttya Nikaya, Chapter IV, 625, in the Brahmanasamyutta (p.259), edited by Bhikkhu Bodhi,

A Brahmin asks the Buddha:

“A tangle inside, a tangle outside
This generation is entangled in a tangle.
I ask you this, O Gotama
Who can disentangle the tangle?”

This is a question that we could ask, now, about the generation of our own day, in our own country, right now. But, before we can answer such a question, which is framed in a simile, let’s begin by explicating the imagery, line-by-line, just as students of literature might do with stanzas of poetry: first, attempting to clarify the words in the lines, before going on to explain what they mean within in the broader context in our society and culture and within the wider world.

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What is Contemplation Print E-mail

Introduction

Question: When you teach about the value of contemplation, are you speaking of sitting and thinking over particular themes—the thirty-two parts of the body, for instance?

Ajahn Chah: That is not necessary when the mind is truly still. When tranquillity is properly established the right object of investigation becomes obvious. When contemplation is “True,” there is no discrimination into right and wrong; “good” and “bad”; there is nothing even like that. You don’t sit there thinking, “Oh, this is like that and that is like this,” etc. That is a coarse form of contemplation. Meditative contemplation is not merely a matter of thinking—rather it’s what we call “contemplation in silence.” Whilst going about our daily routine we mindfully consider the real nature of existence through comparisons. This is a coarse kind of investigation but it leads to the real thing.

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