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 : Win 2012
WINTER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 27 Along with the more well-known meth- ods designed to help practitioners of Buddhist meditation ground their attention in the present moment— such as focusing on the rhythm of the breath, paying attention to the feeling of foot- steps, or internally repeating a mantra—is a less familiar method known as nada yoga. Nada is the Sanskrit word for “sound,” and nada yoga means meditating on the inner sound, also referred to as the sound of silence. (Interestingly, nada is also the Spanish word for “nothing.”) To detect the nada sound, turn your attention toward your hearing. If you listen carefully to the sounds around you, you’re likely to hear a continuous, high-pitched inner sound like white noise in the background. It is a sound that is beginningless and endless. There’s no need to theorize about this inner vibration in an effort to figure out exactly what it might be. Just turn your attention to it. If you’re able to hear this inner sound, you can use the simple act of listening to it as another form of meditation practice, in the same way one uses the breath as an object of awareness. Just bring your attention to the inner sound and allow it to fill the whole sphere of your awareness. In a small number of people, the inner sound is oppressively loud, usually for an organic reason. In these cases, inner listening is unlikely to be helpful as a meditation practice, since the subjec- tive intensity of the sound makes it less useful as an object to encourage peace and clarity. One of the great virtues of meditating on the inner sound is that it easily supports both aspects of samadhi (meditative concentration): samatha (“shamatha” in Sanskrit, meaning calmness or tranquillity) and vipassana (insight). Samadhi can be described as the fixing of the mind on a single object for a period of time. And this single- ness of focus, or one-pointedness, can function in two distinct ways. The first, which is the basis of samatha, can be thought of as “the point that excludes.” It’s like using the spot-focus beam of an adjustable flashlight to lock onto a single object and block out everything else. The second way, the basis of vipassana, can be described as “the point that includes.” The one-pointedness expands into an awareness that makes the whole experience of the pres- ent moment the object of meditation. Using the broad-focus beam of the same adjustable flash- light, all the various aspects of the present—not just a single, brightly lit spot—are encompassed in the light of awareness. You can use the inner sound just as you would use the breath to directly support the establish- ment of samatha, making it the primary object of attention and letting it fill the whole space of your present experience. Very consciously, you leave everything else—the feelings in your body, the noises you hear, the thoughts that arise—on the periphery, allowing the inner sound to completely fill the focus of your attention. If you focus on the inner sound for a length of time sufficient to bring stability, in which your mind is resting easily in the present, you can allow the sound to fall into the background. It then becomes like a screen on which all other sounds, physical sensations, moods, and ideas are pro- jected. And because of its plainness, uniformity, and steadiness, it’s a very good screen. It doesn’t confuse or interfere with other objects that are arising. It’s like watching a movie: if you pay attention, you are aware that there’s a screen on which light is being projected. The inner sound’s presence in the background helps remind you that “this is just a movie; this is not reality.” Listening to the inner sound helps you rec- ollect that all mental formations, or sankharas, are unsatisfactory. If something is formed, if it’s a “thing,” there is a quality of dukkha in its very impermanence, in its very “thing-ness.” The sound’s presence can support the ease with which we see every sankhara as empty and own- erless—whether it’s a physical sensation, a visual object, a taste or smell, or a refined state of happi- ness. It helps us sustain an objective, unattached, unentangled participation in the present, amid the feeling of the weight of our body and the flow of our moods, whether they be tiredness, doubt, understanding, or inspiration. AJAHN AMARO is the abbot of Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in southeast England. He was ordained as a bhikkhu by Ajahn Chah in 1979 and was the founding co-abbot of Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California, where he served until 2010. WADELEEHUDSON