using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
buddhadharma| 51 |summer 2005 it’s completely dependent. You can be hurt terribly on a personal level, or you can be exhilarated. People find you just the most wonderful, thrilling, exciting personality, and you feel happy. When I was a young monk, I used to pride myself on how well I kept the vinaya discipline, that I was really, really good with the vinaya. I really understood it and I was very strict. Then I stayed for a while on this island called Ko Sichang, off the coast of Siraja, with another monk. Later on this monk told somebody else that I didn’t keep very good vinaya. I wanted to murder him! Even vinaya can be another form of the self- view: I ask myself, “How good a monk am I?” And somebody says, “Oh, Ajahn Sumedho is exemplary, a top-notch monk!” and that’s won- derful. Then, suddenly, I hear, “He’s a hopeless case, doesn’t keep good vinaya,” and I want to commit murder. This is how untrustworthy the self is. We can rise to great altruism and then sink to the most depraved depths in just a second. It’s a totally untrustworthy state to put your refuge in, being a person of any kind. Even holding the view that “I am a good monk” is a pretty dodgy refuge. If that is all you know, then when someone says you are not a very good monk, you’re angry, you’re hurt, you’re offended. Sati-sampajanna, in the midst of all the fluctua- tions, is constant. It is a refuge. As you recognize it, realize it, know it, and appreciate it, you come to know it as a refuge, because a genuine refuge is not dependent on praise and blame, success or failure. There are various methods of training ourselves to stop the thinking mind. One kind, for example, is a Zen koan or self-inquiry practice, such as ask- ing, “Who am I?” These techniques or expedient means that we find in Zen and Advaita Vedanta stop the thinking mind so that we begin to notice the pure state of attention, where we are not caught in thinking and the assumptions of a self, where there is just pure awareness. When you hear the sound of silence, because your mind is just in that state of attention, of pure awareness, there’s no self. You understand, “It’s like this.” Then you can learn to relax into that, to trust it, and not try to hold on to it. It’s tempting to grasp on to the idea: “I’ve got to get the sound of silence and I’ve got to relax into it.” That’s the dodgy part of any kind of technique or instruction. Bhavana (meditation or cultivation) isn’t grasp- ing ideas or coming from any position. Rather, in this panipada, this practice, we recognize and realize through awakened awareness, through direct knowing. When the self starts to break up, some people find it very frightening. Everything you have regarded as solid and real starts falling apart. I remember years ago – long before I was a Buddhist – feeling threatened by certain radical ideas that tended to challenge the security of the world I lived in. At times such as those, it seems that somebody is threatening or challenging some- thing that you depend upon for your sense that everything is all right. You can get very angry and even violent, because they are threatening “my world, my security, my refuge.” You can see why conservative people feel very threatened by foreigners, radical ideas, or any- thing that comes in and challenges the status quo, because one is depending on that world to make one feel secure. When you are threatened, you panic. Reading about the tragic earthquake in Gujarat, India in January 2001, I was struck with how tenuous our security actually is. The quake just happened out of nowhere. In a town in Gujarat, some schoolgirls were practicing march- ing on the school ground for a parade, and the merchants were placing their wares out in their shops. Just an average, normal day. Then suddenly, within five minutes the girls were all dead, killed by falling masonry. The whole town of twenty- five thousand people was completely demolished within five minutes. Think what that would do to your mind! It’s frightening to think what a dodgy realm we live in. It seems like a solid and safe envi- ronment, then suddenly out of nowhere there’s an earthquake and the whole lot collapses on top of them. Even without earthquakes, we can recognize how easily we can have a heart attack, a brain hemorrhage, be hit by a car, or struck by a plane crashing into our monastery. The conditioned realm that we perceive, cre- Whatever assumptions you have about yourself, no matter how reasonable they might be, they are still a creation in the present. By believing in them, by thinking and holding to them, you’re continually creating yourself as a personality.