Appointment with Death

by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

Thaniyo: I was wondering if you could speak about the contemplation of death—how should we think about death?

The world is beaten down by death
and surrounded by old age.
The dart of craving has laid it low,
and it’s always fuming with desire.

(Thag 6:13, 2nd verse).

Nyanamoli: Walking, standing, sitting or lying down, you should be dwelling on the ultimate context, which is what death is. It’s the ultimate context of your life—it’s a non-negotiable context. Because people might think: “I must be going through the motions and methods of practicing mindfulness of death, thinking about it when I’m walking, sitting…” That’s true only in the sense that you need to discern the most fundamental, always present possibility of death, which is what makes it such an ultimate context of your life. Everything else within your life can come and go—what has been or could have not been—all these things. But one thing is for sure: when life is there, death is guaranteed, as the final outcome of it.

The reason why people would be pressed and oppressed—by their desires, by their intentions, unskillful actions—is because they turn a blind eye to Read the rest

NEW PUBLICATION: With the Right Understanding

WTRUby Bhikkhu Akiñcano
Buddhist meditation is usually taught as a set of techniques. Focus all your awareness on your breath. Feel the sensations in your body. And yet one cannot help but wonder: why do we not find these instructions in the Pali Suttas?
Instead of doing what the teachers recommend, what if we were to ask the following question: What are the underlying assumptions that are required in order for these meditation instructions to be intelligible? With this question we enter the domain of phenomenology. Enquiring in this way, it becomes clear that the Buddha’s teachings have been ‘naturalized’, hijacked by and incorporated within the modern scientific worldview that today reigns supreme. Furthermore, it becomes apparent how dangerous these assumptions are, for they obscure the fact that the Dhamma is entirely concerned with our understanding of things.
By (1) providing a close analysis of the Pāli Suttas and (2) adopting a phenomenological attitude and articulating this as explicitly as possible, drawing on the writings of influential phenomenological thinkers such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, this collection of essays gives priority to these two conditions for the arising of right view. Only with the right understanding can there be anything that
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Contemplation and Awareness

by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

Discerning the background

Thaniyo: In terms of contemplating the 32 parts of the body, how do you do that correctly? You actually cannot see your brain, your lungs, intestines, etc. And when you think about it, when you want to contemplate your brain, your lungs, etc, then what is there is actually an idea, a thought. So actually now I’m attending that thought, and then I’m picking up the signs of those things.Read the rest

Not Wanting the Wanting

by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

Wanting sense objects that you derive pleasure from, that is sensuality, it’s that wanting. So, in order to abandon sensuality, you have to stop being concerned with the objects that you want and start developing ‘not wanting’ of that wanting of the sense objects. Of course, restraint needs to be done first and then, on the basis of that, you can start discerning the nature of wanting anything sensual.… Read the rest

Comprehending the Mindfulness of Breathing and Death Contemplation

by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

I. Mindfulness of Breathing
Ven. Thaniyo: I wanted to ask about mindfulness of breathing, and how that should be done. You can read the sutta over and over again and try to follow some sort of method, step-by-step. “You breathe in, then you breathe out. I’ll breathe in, thinking about my body.”
Ven. Nyanamoli: “I attend to this, I attend to that. I do this, I do that.”
Ven. Thaniyo: And you can actually run through all those steps forward, backward, however you want…Read the rest

Ajahn Chah and the Original Mind

by Ajahn Nyanamoli Thero

Ven. Thaniyo: This is another talk by Ajahn Chah called “The Path to Peace.” Now, this is just a few paragraphs from it that I found interesting. In this talk, Ajahn Chah gives a complete outline of the practice. It’s about the middle of the talk that I’ll begin from: Read the rest