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One of the most deeply rooted deceptions in the mind is its tendency to identify the body as “self.” Recognizing that this seductive but distorted view of reality can be a stubborn impediment to progress in the Dhamma, the Buddha taught his students some practices and reflections specifically designed to undercut this illusion. This book is a marvelous anthology of many of these teachings, taken from the Pali canon and related texts, plus many more from the author's own writings. Caution: The readings in this book are very powerful, and are probably not suitable for beginning meditators. To paraphrase the author's comments in the Introduction: Meditation on the unattractiveness of the body should be practiced with moderation and care, especially if one has no personal contact with a meditation teacher.
Pindapata is the ancient ascetic practice by which Theravadan monks and nuns walk from house to house, accepting whatever offerings of food are placed in their bowls by laypeople. This essay describes a typical alms-round in lively detail and explores how this humble gesture defines the relationship between monastics and the lay community.
This is a useful introductory guide for laypeople who wish to understand how they can be supportive to monks, whether during a visit to a monastery or when a monk comes to stay in one's home. Includes an overview of the monks' training rules and extensive discussion of practical day-to-day matters such as how to greet a monk, how to offer food, how to provide suitable accommodation, etc.
These eloquent verses, from the Theragatha, chronicle the many “conversations” that Venerable Talaputa, a former actor and contemporary of the Buddha, had with his own mind during the course of his practice. As these verses reveal, while he was still a layperson Talaputa yearned deeply for a life more in harmony with Dhamma; following his ordination his stern admonishments of his unruly mind ultimately led him to his ultimate goal: final liberation. The translator's easy conversational commentary sheds light on these verses from several different angles, and paints Talaputa as an exemplar of the ancient forest meditation tradition that still lives today.
A helpful practical manual for lay Buddhists covering devotional practice (bowing, setting up a shrine room, etc.), uposatha day observances, lay precepts, and basic meditation techniques.
Introductory text to meditation practice at home, in daily life, and on retreat. Also discusses the cultivation of the divine abidings (brahma-vihara) and the perfections (parami), as well as some of the possible pitfalls of meditation practice. </dd>
(From the anthology: The Three Basic Facts of Existence: I. Impermanence (Anicca), with a preface by Nyanaponika Thera.)
A vivid and detailed commentary and interpretation of early Buddhist paintings that depict the Wheel of Samsara (death and rebirth).
A compelling introduction to the way of life for a meditating forest monk in Thailand.