The blog is intended for comment, information, and opinion on Buddhism and related issues in contemporary context. It is a place for us to discuss how Buddhism works, or doesn’t work, in our challenging and changing world. I think that we Buddhists are often too quiet and afraid to articulate our views openly, and would like to encourage a more healthy climate of informed debate.
I am very happy to host a diversity of viewpoints and vigorous debate here, but please keep your posts kind, reasoned, and – if possible – grammatical. I’ll ban posts that get too personal, off-topic, offensive, potentially defamatory, or just plain silly. If your post doesn’t appear, and is none of the above, then it may have been dismissed as spam by WordPress’s automated filters. Let me know if this happens. I’ll check the spam folder occasionally.
I recommend that contributers use their own names as user ID when possible. I take a dim view of those who try to hide their identity behind multiple user IDs. However, if you suspect someone is hiding their identity, ask politely, don’t make accusations.
I won’t be using this forum very much for meditation or in-depth Dhamma, for which see my talks or books at Santipada.
All my material on this blog is dedicated to the public domain by way of Creative Commons Zero. Copy it, change it, or do whatever you like with it. I’d appreciate a notice of attribution, but this is not necessary.
122 thoughts on “About”
I have really enjoyed your views and the discussion about the ordination of Bhikkunis within your tradition. I respect Ajahn Brahm very much and as also a Western Buddhist monk, I feel it’s time to move forward on certain issues. I will follow this development with much interest.
Thich Chan Phap Son,
Plum Village, France.
I was wondering why my posts for some reason are not showing up on the your blog? I hope its not a case of all show no go.
No, it’s a case of life having various priorities, this blog being just one I manage to slip in now and then…
Ajahn Sujato, sorry about that, but this is my first time posting on a blog. So didnt know how it worked and thought i was just being censored. I just could’nt get my mind around monks bloging, it’s so western and modern. I just cant get a clear image of say Ajahn Mun or Ajahn Chah blogging. Maybe the Thai’s just need a bigger dose of the west. Its done wonders so far.
Ajahn, might you consider changing the text color of your blog from the dark grey it is now to black? I love reading your blogs, but find my aging eyes have difficulty seeing the print. Thank you for your writing.
I’m sorry about that, Katherine; I tried a number of WordPress themes and this seemed to be the clearest. I’ll see if the font color is changeable. meanwhile, does it help to enlarge the font size on the page (Ctrl+)?
Hello again Ajahn – yes, increasing the font does help, but even large it presents some difficulties for me. Since I am the person requesting the change, might I volunteer to find out how you might change the font color and send you instructions? I am a web designer, but without wordpress experience. I would be happy to learn for the sake of the knowledge, and your time would be free to write instead – an endeavor I would like to support.
WordPress allows you to alter themes by changing elements of the templates or the styles that are applied to the template elements, text and graphics. However, doing this presents a problem of then having to redo the alteration each time the theme is updated. Easily done if you know how, and remember. I’m happy to help on this as well, Bhante. Easy to do …
Go to the Appearance section of your wordpress admin dashboard, open editor. In the list of template files on the right hand side, open the style.css and change color: #555 in this:
background: #BEC3C6 url(img/bg.jpg) repeat-x;
font-family: Verdana,”BitStream vera Sans”,Tahoma,Helvetica,Sans-serif;
to #222, #111 or #000 to darken the typeface. Then save the changes.
If this doesn’t work, let me know …
Hi jackie and katherine,
Sorry for the belated response, it’s taken me a while to remember to check this… It seems that the free WordPress blogs like this one don’t allow changes to the styles. i’ll have a look and see if there’s a better theme….
just recently i ‘ve seen ajahn brahms video about the excommunication and of course this made me wonder what exactly happened. as the man speaking before ajahn brahm was a bit hard to understand for a swiss native, i started to surf for the topic and more reasons/explanation and landed here.
i just would like to say that i feel bewildered by what happened and i strongly feel that this whole thing might be something like a “quarrel” between thai and western monks and their respective cultural background. i might imagine that the thai sangha fears that things are getting out of their hands, because westerners maybe tend to adapt buddhism to their needs and modernize it in a way the thai sangha wouldn’t be able to accept.
i also supspect that “it-chaa” (envy, jealousy) might also play a role here. ajahn brahm has become quite popular because of his dhamma-videos, but hey what’s wrong with that ? for such a good cause and good message that helps many throughout the world, it’s perfectly okay.
what i appreciate is that finally i found someone who gives dhamma-talks in a language i can understand and he gives the talks in a very easy to understand-way so that people have access to wisdom and insight. (it’s not quite easy to gain access to dhammatalks here in switzerland, yes we have two to four wat’s but i never heard of dhammatalks given by them. so the internet is very handy.
to sum up my comment:
when i first heard about this topic one of my first thoughts was:
hey, what is going on here ? this reminds me to the roman-catholic church and their narrow-minded way of thinking and handling religion. i felt a bit dissapointed that such a thing can happen in buddhism. the thai-sangha does not seem to be free of certain fears and unwise feelings, even though we buddhists actually would know better.
but hey, aren’t we all just humans right 😉 ? …
exactly this narrow-mindedness and blind belief in a god and the little sound advice that can be found in the bible made me leave the swiss-protestant-church (which is much more modern than the catholic church). I resigned already many,many years ago. that was one of the best decisions i ever made in my life and i will never regret to have become a buddhist.
i whish everyone lots of wisdom and peace of mind, patrick
yep, I think envy does play a part here. Ajahn Brahm has been hugely successful in spreading hard-core, non-wishy-washy Dhamma-Vinaya to Western & Western-educated Asian audiences. He is tireless in giving as many people as possible access to the pristine teachings of the Blessed One. The bhikkhuni issue is now running it’s course, and soon we will rejoice in the fear that: “there will be female monks everywhere!” May it be so! However, monastic life is difficult to live, if one intends to follow the Vinaya strictly. Yet it is the supreme vehicle for Enlightenment, as ordained and set up by the Lord Buddha himself, for BOTH men & women.
I think I belong to the Asian audience (though I dont think Iam webstern educated) and I absolutely prefer the Dharma talks of Ajahn Brahm.
These Sri Lankan monks are further increasing the gap between the people and the Sangha. A group of monks calling themselves protectors of Buddhism started a violence, unBuddhist attack against he Muslim community. A monk was shown throwing stones at a shop belonged to a Muslim. They keep preaching people NO NO NO. Dont do this and dont do that. They are obsessed with vegetarianism and patrotism.
Really like the “Monochrome by mono-lab” look. Very pleasant and easy to read.
Thank you for all the time you spend writing this blog. It is very appreciated.
Hmmm, was reading Katherine’s comments about the text color and realized she had a good point, so other then the text color, I really like the “Monochrome by mono-lab” 😉
I received a mail from someone and in it was your Blog.
I enjoyed the views and comments made. On Friday I was blessed to be able to attend my first Dhama talk and it was by Ajahn Brahm. He spoke on “making Merits for good fortune and the path to greater happiness”
Ajahn message is encouraging, easy to understand and his tone kept everyone awake and I personally look forward to attend more Dhama talks.
Bhante: A Venerable Noah Yuttadhammo has written an extension to Firefox which allows one in his words: It’s “a Pali-English text reader Firefox Extension that allows Pali students to read the Pali Canon. Automatically recognizes pali words and gives definitions from the CPED and PED, as well as DPPN if available. Includes text search and dictionary lookup.” I thought you might be interested in it. I donwloaded Firefox specifically to run it and it does just fine. Here is the link: https://gaea.site5.com/~sirimang/pali/digitalpalireader.xpi and here is his Facebook page in case you wish to contact him: http://www.facebook.com/yuttadhammo?ref=nf
thanks for the tip. Actually, I already have it installed, it works well and is cross-platform too, which is great for Ubuntu users like me… Actually, though, I mainly read Pali texts either through Suttacentral or on paper. But the reader is especially useful for those learning.
Bhante: Do you feel that Sutta-central is a better source?
Also, I notice that he’s put out a Google Chrome version as well which is cleaner in my opinion. http://j.mp/DPRChrome
It’s more useful for me, as it gives instant access to both translations and alternate texts in original languages. (gee, i sound like an ad!) Also, SC uses the tipitakastudies.net site as its basic text, which is an edited and corrected version of the Goenka text most other sources use, including the DPR. The disadvantage is that SC only covers the four Nikayas/Agamas. The Goenka version has a very large range of texts.
Dear Ajahn Sujato,
would it be possible to publish some of the essays of the santipada website on theravadablog.de?
yes, please feel free to republish what you like. And thanks for the interest!
Santipada is being completely revamped, so keep an eye out for changes…
Dear Bhante Sujeto,
I appreciate that you provide a forum for Buddhist jokes; a bit of lightheartedness is quite refreshing. A first time participant, I submitted some jokes on April 10. (Zen priest with interest in Greek philosophy states, “I think, therefore, I am not.”)
There is a statement,”your comment is awaiting moderation.” placed just above the written jokes.
I’m not quite sure what this means, can you explain?
When someone submits a post for the first time, it waits until I approve it before it appears. This will happen whenever i get the chance, which is usually within a day or two, although sometimes I don’t have the chance to check my blog for a few days. Once one of your comments has been approved, future comments should usually appear immediately without needing approval, although sometimes it seems this system is not 100% accurate.
Normally I will approve all comments unless they are spam, trolls, abusive, incoherent, etc.
Dear Bhante Sujato, metta meditation is blissful in the mind, but really over-powering at times. I often reach a stage which I cannot handle the bliss and have to get out of the meditation. Why is it so? Are there any ways to stay inside the bliss? Thanks so much!
If the bliss is overpowering, this an excess of rapture (piti) over pleasure (sukha). I would suggest to take the meditation slower. Build up a stronger base of tranquillity before starting metta. Perhaps do breath meditation for 10-20 minutes before starting metta. Keep the breath meditation fairly dry and tranquil. Then start the metta, allow the bliss to build and keep it focussed inside your body. If it gets too strong, take a couple of deep breaths, and on the outbreath, let the excess flow out. Pay attention to the tranquility, which you have already built up in the breath meditation. This will calm your metta down and enable you to stay there longer.
Thank you Bhante! (Bows)
Ajahn Brahm suggested I contact you to confirm where he will be speaking in Sydney after the MITRA conference. The BSWA web site today shows:
Indonesian Buddhist Society (Alexandria) on Monday 3rd May.
Unspecified (Sydney) on Tuesday 4th May.
Your web site shows:
Roselea Community Centre (Beecroft) on Monday 3rd May.
With thanks and metta,
The BSWA information is incorrect. for updates, please keep an eye on our Santi Sydney blog. The main event is the Roselea community center on the Monday evening. There will be no events in Sydney on Tuesday – Ajahn Brahm is at Santi.
Thank you for your brave and cogent words. I am buoyed by your taking a fair and reasoned stance on Bhikkuni ordination.
Thought you may be interested in the developments within the Catholic Church regarding Reform for women priests.
In Feb 2010 the Roman Catholic Women Priests held the first ordination of women Priests and Deacons in the state of Florida. These women are taking positions reserved for men under Catholic Church law
The Rosa Parks’ spirit which sparked the Martin Luther King campaign is therefore alive and well!
The responses from the Catholic Church in this film are attempting to maintain a line, which in this monk’s humble and mindful opinion never had any credibility in the past, doesn’t have any credibility today and never will have any credibility in the future.
Moreover, the secular world looks on in total disbelief, which means that any credibility the Catholic Church may have crumbles on a wider scale.
This is sad, as there are some wonderful treasures in the Catholic Church and a well of great wisdom. But at the moment these treasures lay buried under a pile of incredulous rules and regulations, whose time for radical review has come. Period.
Maybe this is why I am Monk of Mirth. I have to keep my spirits up, in the face of the current treatment of my fellow Sisters in the Church.
Indeed I run the gauntlet of being thrown out, as I mindfully and non violently refuse to sign up to holding the ‘party’ line on this matter.
When Martin Luther King spoke of his beloved community, I didn’t hear him preach on the role of second class female citizens in our spiritual community. Us mystic monks ‘know’ that we’re all ONE anyway, so what exactly are we waiting for regarding female ordination?
Yours in support
Monk of Mirth, standing up for equal ordination rights for all.
Hi Monk of Mirth,
Thanks so much for the contribution and reflection. For some reason I missed your comment earlier, so I’m sorry for my slow response. I am indeed interested in the struggles for equality in other religions, especially the Catholics, as I was brought up Catholic. Any news, reflections, or resources that you have are most welcome here.
Suajto, check out these fine winter robes:
Of course, in Australia heat not cold is the issue 😉
This week Buddhist bloggers gave awards to various sites. I was the recipient of one such award in the category “Best engage-the-world blog”. I have passed that award on to you for reasons explained in the blogpost attached to the following link. http://wp.me/pc8tJ-Dp The principle reason is that I feel it would be beneficial for more people to read your viewpoint.
Marnie Louise Froberg
That’s all kinds of awesome. I’m really stuck for words – which, as my dear friends on this blog would know, is not a frequent happening. I’ve read your post, and the question of awards for blogs is not something I’ve really considered very much, so your opinions are very interesting.
I remember a psych experiment i read about years ago. They got a bunch of chimps, some paint, and canvases. The chimps loved to paint, and neglected their other favorite pastimes – even sex – so they could paint more. Then the experimenters – the devils! – started to reward the chimps. They gave them a banana for each painting. Soon enough, the chimps would just throw a bit of paint on the canvas and them come over, hands out: “Where’s my banana!”
So I too have reservations about the whole competition thing – even way before I was a monk I was never into it. Now that I think about it, I think this is the first prize I’ve ever got (O, except for a math prize at school!). And the lovely, eccentric way it came about makes it all even better.
As for whether I’ll keep it or re-gift it, I’ll have a think about that! Perhaps it could become a mathom, handed on from person to person, each time multiplying in meaning and resonance, and truly becoming a vehicle for “engaging” Buddhism.
can’t find email so will post this publicly, with no little embarassment …
i’m being invited to speak (on buddhism) to educators, in sydney … april 18-20 … and possibly could stay over for a week and visit melbourne for a week in may… … and wondering if anyone there might wish me to speak or teach
i recently offered a few talks as well as led a day of mindfulness in malaysia … i’ve taught buddhism at graduate and undergraduate levels at university of british columbia … teach buddhism regularly at stanford continuing studies … am author of the complete idiot’s guide to buddhism … … & quite regularly publish in periodicals … and the buddhist channel …( where the recent ordination story was followed rather closely ) …
… also teach haiku, to adults & kids … edited what book!? buddha poems from eat to hiphop … and translated 3 books from korean by ko un … etc etc etc
please email if this sets of any sparks in imagination … thank you
if nothing else, am completely grateful to know about your blog which i will follow with keen interest
Hi Gary, I’ll contact you via email.
Homage to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
I’m currently reading “Dignity and Discipline;” I had just gotten to your essay in the book when I found this blog by chance the same day.
As a probationary nun (shiksamanani; that’s romanized Sino-Korean) preparing for full ordination next year, I wanted to say thank you for your research, writing, and efforts on behalf of the entire sangha, and not just the bhikku sangha.
Thank you. I’ll be reading with interest.
Seon Joon, palms together.
Thanks for the acknowledgement and support, and may you have all success in your spiritual path!
Dear Ajahn Sujato,
In this talk:
you mentioned that there is roughly 26 main Suttas that have the majority of the important content and that most of the other Suttas are variations of that?!
Would it be possible to know which Suttas those 26 are?
(I met a guy at Bodhivana in January who was heading to Bodhinyana and I asked him to ask them, but they couldn’t remember talking about that particular point (it was 2003 so very understandable :)), so I just googled “Ajahn Sujato” and your blog came up straight away!!)
I have heard Ajahn Brahm say monks do not watch movies. I know it is in our precepts. But I see a lot of Asian monks do that.
Could you explain this, please.
Well, there’s a general precept against going to shows and the like, which is usually understood as meaning, no TV, no movies, and so on. Which is obviously true in general; however, when the old texts speak of entertainments, it is in a context where you would be literally going out for a night on the town; drinking, dancing, and so on. Obviously not a context a monk would want to be in! These days much entertainment is private, and there is some material that no monk would find objectionable; for example, at Santi last year we watched a DVD of a BBC series on Buddhism in ancient India. Equally, there is much material that is obviously inappropriate; and some that would be in a grey area. The Buddha laid great emphasis on sense restraint, and I think erring on the side that less is better is the best policy…
Could you be a Buddhist and still eat meat?
I honestly feel it is moral to eat meat; since I’m not above my animals friends; and they consume each other. I feel there is a grace and cycle to it all.. since animals seem more Present and Conscious and not filled with a trouble mind as humans are by analyzing things and not staying in the Here and Now? And we are spiritual creature in physical forms and such partake in the physical side for a full experience?
Are there any readings on this subject??
I only been listening to the Youtube talks for the last few months. I find such peace listening to Ajahn Brahm and others.. so perhaps I’m still very ignorant and perhaps will change my mind as I continue my personal journey on what is acceptable to eat or not.
I have a friend and I that keeps discussing topics lately as we grow more consciously. It is good we have each other to share without fear of what the other will express (meaning it does not matter if we agree on all issues).
This is an article by a Theravadan monk Ven. Abhinyana about meat eating that will answer your questions. He is very forthright and does not mince his words. He quotes “I’ve never been able to reconcile the preaching of metta-karuna (loving-kindness and compassion) with the practice of meat eating; they contradict each other.” I’ve picked this out because I feel the same too. As for the remainder of his article I fully agree. He ends by writing “Be kind to animals by not eating them.” Here’s the link http://www.shabkar.org/download/pdf/Taking_a_stand.pdf
Here’s a link to another Theravadan monk’s (Ven. Anandajoti) blog on vegetarianism http://records.photodharma.net/tag/vegetarianism
There are also many other articles written by monastics from the Mahayana and Tibetan schools about why Buddhists should avoid eating meat and if you are interested I’ll post the links.
I hope these blogs and articles help.
Although I’m a vegetarian, I think it is totally fine to eat meat.
I mean, what’s wrong in eating meat?
If killing is the is the issue, who said being vegetarian don’t? How ignorant of people to think that vegetables are not a form of life? As Ajahn Brahm said, if you eat a lot of soy product, you are killing a lot of soy bean.
Putting that aside, when vegetables are pulled out off the ground, we are harming/killing numerous insects living in and around the vegetables patch. Ain’t that killing/ harming? Just because they are small, that doesn’t mean it’s not harming.
Putting that aside too, when we walk on the street, we step on little insects and creatures on the ground without knowing. How can we? They are so tiny. But at the same time, we can’t help it. As long as we live in this world, we are constantly killing beings all the time. It is quite inevitable. What different is that to eating meat? How about harming the people around you? We do that all the time, well at least i did whether or not it is intentional or unintentional.
Having said that, i think its the intention behind your action. It is wise not to have any form of hate behind your action. You shouldn’t think that you are ignorant for eating meat (Ajahn Brahm eats meat, and so does many other monks). However, there are definitely advantages being a vegetarian. The most popular reason for being vegetarian is helping the environment. well, it also gives you better health (which is arguable as you need meat for protein).
Anyway, I hope my little comment helps you. if it doesn’t , i’ll try better next time. =P
With jumbo metta
Yes vegetables are a form of life but plants do not have a mind and after death are not reborn. That’s the essential difference between animal and plant. In fact the in first precept of not to kill,the word “paanatipata” refers to living beings with breath so plants are excluded. The first precept is not broken by pulling out a soy plant but is certainly broken if you intentionally kill an animal.
“You need meat for protein”. I refer you to this link http://www.idausa.org/campaigns/vegan/ask_dr_wilson.html to an article by a qualified physician on whether plant protein is inferior to animal protein and the answer is that plant protein is superior.
Also the mainstream American Dietetic Association says “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” The link is http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8357
I am a vegan. For me the main reason for becoming that was the teaching of ahimsa or non-violence. I think to refrain from animal products in diet and lifestyle is a form of compassion and it is not really difficult to do.
Of course complete ahimsa is not possible and vegetables are also a form of life but there is less suffering involved in eating vegetables than in consuming meat, eggs, milk or other animal products.
I think it all comes down to the intention to create less suffering.
I really would like to know what Ajahn Sujato thinks about this. Did the Buddha made clear statements concerning this important subject?
I’m vegetarian, and was vegan for many years. The Buddha did not insist that one must be a vegetarian; we should remember, though, that the situation has changed greatly since his time. The cruelty involved in animal raising, and the negative environmental impacts, has multiplied exponentially. I strongly support vegetarianism, or even better veganism, as a positive contribution to the welfare of sentient beings and the health of the planet.
It is difficult to have a free-flowing discussion unless comments are vetted quickly. I am also curious as to why one of my comments did not appear in the “Secular Buddhism” discussion.
I read an interesting article in the Herald about the meat industry. I thought you may be interested in. It reminds me again how eating meat is killing poor creatures, what is worse is the disconnect between dying and dinner… published in sydney mrning herald, thursday 14/7
the inscriptions at the rock cut caves of Western Deccan reveal a plethora of information about nuns. However none of them ever mentions the monastic order that they belonged to. Amidst the conflicting opinions about the dating of these caves, it is difficult to ascribe them to Hinayana, Mahasanghika or Mahayana traditions. Has anyone discussed this issue?
Hi there, Bhante Sujato, and “Sawasdee Kha” as we say in Thailand, where I am originally from.
This is Srisuda Hongthai from The Buddha Garden.
I wanted to contact you by email, but I couldn’t find an email address or form to contact you. I am sorry about that. 😦
So I hoe you don’t mind that I am contacting you through the comments on your blog.
I wanted you to know that we are conducting a survey on Buddhism in the ten years since the 9/11 Tragedies, since many people found solace in the teachings of Buddhism after 9/11. The survey is at:
We want to share with the Dharma community why so many people become interested in Buddhism after the 9/11 attacks? Does Buddhism still play a role in their lives ten years after the attacks? How do the attitudes of new Buddhists differ from those who were Buddhists before 9/11?
Because we don’t have any outside financing to promote awareness of the survey, many bloggers are helping us spread the word about it to their readers
Will you kindly let others know about the survey by mentioning it on your blog, FaceBook or Twitter? The more people who take the survey, the better we will ALL understand how Buddhism is viewed in the decade after September 11th.
Thanks in advance. Every mention of the survey helps the Buddhist community.
The Buddha Garden
This may be of interest to readers of this blog:
“In the Shadow of Buddha, a compelling and exquisitely shot film by Heather Kessinger, takes us to the seldom seen world of Tibetan Buddhist nuns and refugees in Ladakh, a region in northernmost India.”
We are a group of university students who are currently producing a feature-length documentary film about modern-day Tibetan Buddhist nuns in Nepal. Might this be publicised in your blog? It’s our first serious production and we believe it will be of a very unique nature, tackling issues like modernity and gender in different generations of nuns. This is the official documentary trailer. It is calle Daughters of Dolma. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFBsNOTXEIg. It will be finished by Spring 2012.
I am a student at the University of Bristol in the UK, studying for my degree in Theology and Religious Studies. My main area of interest is Buddhism and I have found your blog very interesting to read! I especially liked the article on Schopen. I am currently writing my dissertation on the eight requisites and was wondering if it would be at all possible to perhaps ask you some questions regarding your view on them, such as what they mean to you, their symbolism, if you still think they are relevant in Buddhism today, if you would perhaps add any more items to the list, etc? I would love to hear from you.
Sure , if you have any questions, leave them here and I’ll see if I can help. As this is a blog, done quickly among the day’s events, and not a research paper, I appreciate it if questions are specific and limited.
Thank you so much for offering your help. I appreciate that a lot! I shall keep it brief and specific!
Of the 8 requisites does a particular item hold special significance to you and if so, why?
Do you think that the 8 requisites are all still relevant in today’s Buddhism?
In Buddhism today, would you retain the 8 requisites as they are in the Vinaya or add any items to the list?
Those are what I would say are my main questions and I completely understand that you are busy, so please do not feel obliged to have to answer them all.
Thank you so much for this.
I just came across your entry on your new Sanghati (which I guess isn’t so new now!) and has given me some more things to think about! Thank you! Your blog always seems to offer new information for me on a whole host of topics.
Greetings from Costa Rica Sujato!
I have one question that make mad haha.
I know that to attain Nibbana, one should leave home life, but it’s necesary to became an ordained monk or it’s only necesary to go into homelessness regards of being ordained or not?
I don’t know whether it’s necessary to leave the home life; at least we can say that the first three stages of Awakening are attainable by laypeople, and some say that arahantship is not – but there is no strong canonical justification for this. Personally I think it is all about letting go, and whether you have performed a ceremony of going forth is not relevant. There are plenty of things for monastics to get attached to!
Did the Buddha say something about qi or energy like in Tao or Ch’an, it is something to be discarded or prohibited? I’m referring the energy or qi used in Tai Chi or Acupuncture.
Another one is if there can be a female buddha or is something only for mens?
There are various references to ‘winds’ or ‘airs’ or ‘life -force’ and so on, but these don’t play any particular role in buddhist practice as such.
Female Buddhas – a controversial topic. In very brief – there are one or two references to the idea that a woman cannot be a Buddha but these are highly unlikely to be authentic passages.
Dear Bhante Sujato.
I’m sorry to bother you with this question, which is a veritable ocean of vagueness! I seem to recall you mentioning *somewhere* that historically a decision was made at some time at some monastery (possibly in Sri Lanka?) that the monks would focus on preserving the tradition rather than trying to practice (or at least rather than trying to practice meditation). Does this ring any bells, and could you give me more details of this incident or point me to where you said this — if indeed you did!
And more power to you and your work. You’re an inspiration to me.
I know of the reference from Nyanamoli’s Visuddhimagga translation, Intro. p. xi (top of page). He says: “Meeting of mahavihara bhikkhus decides that care of texts and preaching comes before practice of their contents” and gives AA 1.92f as primary refrence, also Adikaram’s early History of Buddhism in Ceylon, p. 78.
I can’t recall where I might have referred to this – sorry! But if you haven’t read it, Nyanamoli’s introduction to the Visuddhimagga is really superb.
Thank you! That’s perfect, Bhante. I have Ñāṇamoli’s translation of the Visuddhimagga, but for some reason I’ve never read the introduction. I’ll definitely put that right.
All the best,
Yes, you must, right away!
Will you be able to respons to this.
Killing the Buddha
“Kill the Buddha,” says the old koan. “Kill Buddhism,” says Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, who argues
that Buddhism’s philosophy, insight, and practices would benefit more people if they were not presented as a religion.
Click to access killing-the-buddha.pdf
I’m a Phd student. Sorry to bother you. I’m glad to read your book relevant to my work.
In your book ” A History of Mindfulness”, you mentioned that:
“The Chinese adds another similar group, called ‘Abandoning’, to these. These minor saṁyuttas have been spun out of a few discourses of the Khandha-saṁyutta. These are reckoned as vyākaraṇa according to Yin Shun’s interpretation following the Yogacārabhūmiśāstra; and they are also vyākaraṇas by my reckoning. The Anuruddha-saṁyutta is a similar case, being a brief appendix to the Satipaṭṭhāna-saṁyutta.”
I’m wondering the original sources you said.
Can you show me where is the Chinese group called ‘ Abandoning’? I mean the specific area in the Chinese text. Also, which part of Anuruddha-saṁyutta that you indicated?
Sorry to bother you.
Thank you very much.
Dear Bhante Sujato,
One of my female friends asked me the question as why there were no female Buddhas and Bodhisatvas in the history? What should I say to her?
Thanks a lot
Say to her, “Then it’s about time we starting making them!”
🙂 Thanks for the brilliant answer
Hi Bhante. I thought you might be interested in this http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/a-book-in-progress-part-19-buddhism-reason-faith/
It is great objective that you start this blog. We practising Buddhists should voice our doubts. The Budha invides investigations! I think there should be an investigation on the translation of Paticca Samuppada. The Dhamma is here and now, yet some translations explaining it as a 3 or 2 life’s occurance. The end of the Paticca Samuppada (sorry I’m unable to quote the original Pali words) says that is how dukha arises! Our dukha is very much moment to moment so it does not make sense to me. What do you think ?
If you are interested in an alternative interpretation of the teachings on Dependant Arising I recommend a series of posts by Linda on the Secular Buddhism website. The first in the series is here: http://secularbuddhism.org/2012/05/21/a-secular-understanding-of-dependent-origination-1-ignorance/
I’m a young immigrant to Buddhism and a disillusioned ex-Catholic. I was confused by a religion who looked down upon me for being bisexual and a born sinner. I was dazed by a suburban existence which seemed hinged on hedonism, privilege and complacency. Suffering through the the storm of anxiety I was given hope by the light of the Tipitika while at high school for the last two years. I never formally took the Five Precepts, but I began to follow them and the rest of the Eightfold Path. To practice meditation I tried to maintain a disicilpine in Mahasi Sayadaw’s method. This was supported by courses and half-day retreats I attended at the Buddhist library. But despairingly I found noting/switching between the abdomen and arising experiences too complicated for my over-thinking mind. Much to my dismay, the meditation made me more stressed! Now I’d Like to try the breath meditation of the Buddha found in the Anapanasati Sutta. The meditation I first discovered in the Tipitaka but never knew how to practice, and which I believe you also teach. How could I go about starting?
Thank you if you can help out,
I found the following articles the best on the internet.
Ajahn Brahm :
THih Nhat Han :
I’m part of Bosque Theravada, we are finishing the translation of the MN to Spanish and we will create the eBooks for it.
I´m evaluating the software to do this. Do you recommend Latex for this? I have knowledge of it. Does it look good printed? We will use this to create a printed edition in the future and to create ePub from it. What do you think? Any suggestion?
Great to hear from you. And, ooo!, can we put your texts on SuttaCentral, too? I’ll email you about this.
LaTeX is essentially for fixed text. It was developed in the age of print. These days, we use it to make a pdf, which might or might not be printed. For that, it is the best there is. Use Luatex and you can use any font on your system easily, with native Unicode support.
But it won’t make you an eBook. For that, you are best starting with a clean html file (NOT one produced from a word processor).
The workflow I have developed for my books is:
1. Create LaTeX file. If the text is in a word processing format or a dirty html file, you’re in for a word of hurt. I use Abiword for the initial conversion, but this does not natively pick up the Unicode characters.
1. Markup the texts in LaTeX. Make pdf from this.
2. Convert LaTeX to html. (I use a script called tth).
3. Clean up the html file by hand (not so much, just some errant styling and so on). Validate the html.
4. Convert the html file to epub using Sigil. Validate the epub file.
5. Convert the epub to .mobi or whatever using Cailbre. (Don’t use Calibre for the original conversion, as it does not produce valid epub output.)
This is a pretty straightforward process, but you have to get your hands dirty. Designing the document in LaTeX is tricky, but the actual markup of the text is easy.
Don’t rely on automated conversion, not for something like the suttas that should be built as a archive for the future.
I do all editing just in a text editor (gedit).
If you want some support for this, we’d be happy to help. We have already cleaned and marked up thousands of suttas for SuttaCentral, and are working on many more. It would be really terrific if we can develop a consistent way of designing the back end of Sutta files.
Stancliff Building in Belmoral Beach
Informations is in the above link, if anyone is interested visiting the site as you mention in the Early BUDHISUM COURSE
For your information with metta
Dear Bhante Sujato,
I am nealy sure that you will dislike my post here at the first point. But still there is small possibility to get a benefit out of it and so I will not miss it.
* To run a discussion on a not given place is not proper for a monk. Most will not be disturbed by such, as it is their usual way and they simply feel supported in their own doing.
It’s not a good way, if you like to teach them the very roots and the door to dhamma and this is to understand Dana for the laity and not how to get the better fruits out of the forest or even send them out do do so in the jungle of the today’s Brahmarealm with all its brahma-purohita devas and brahma-parisajja devas.
* In regard of “I’ll ban posts that get too personal, off-topic, offensive, potentially defamatory, or just plain silly. If your post doesn’t appear, and is none of the above, then it may have been dismissed as spam by WordPress’s automated filters. Let me know if this happens. I’ll check the spam folder occasionally.”, I would like to remember, that somebody who still carries weapons, still use them, will cause fear and an appearance of enemy for many. If it is needed to carry weapons in a certain environment, its really reasonable to request if it makes sense to step into the battlefields.
So I like to remind on a stanzas, a monkey once had told:
“All around us see them stand, warriors armed with bow and quiver,
All around us, sword in hand: who is there who can deliver?”
and with the stanza…
“Men have many things to do; something will disperse the meeting;
See what still remains for you; eat, while fruit is left for eating.”
… the monkey walked on his way, as the “warriors armed with bow and quiver” will always remain and it’s there own choice.
metta & mudita
Just for the case that the wise, having come across here, are to shy to do what is good for the worthy one:
“It would be good if you care for a proper internet-kuti and for the maintenance so that the worthy one are able to remain in the internet realm as well.”
And if, it is still on a level of worldly Dana to turn on, it would be a possibility to minimum pay something gained and received back and stay at the level of existence balanced without drifting down.
The possibilities are here and if you can share, it would be a good place to do. We have to learn and train a lot and its good to do basic trainings on and on.
It’s really up to you and your choice.
There are some censured posts left and hidden, just for the case you change you mind.
May you find the way to real peace for your self with ease.
Ayu vanna suhka balam panna
metta & mudita
the quote I mentioned in regard to Buddhist and Christian correspondence is
The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.
Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.
.Mark 14:7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.
John 12:8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Hi Bhante Sujato! I couldn’t find the private message button on your blog, so I had to resort to leaving a message on your ‘About’ section. Sorry! I was wondering if you could tell me the name of the monk who has had 12 months of experience of working in a hospital? I called up Bodhinyana on perhaps Tuesday and I asked for the head monk. Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Brahmali were not available so I got this monk. I can’t remember his name (I think it was Ajahn Appi?) and would like to praise him for helping me to Ajahn Brahm.
Among other things, I’ve been reading your blog since 2011, Bhante Sujato! 🙂 I follow it on blogger.
Yes, I think the monk you are thinking of is Ajahn Appicchato (or Appi for short). I will pass on your message.
My name is Jahn. I live in Toledo Washington USA, almost equidistant between Seattle and Portland Oregon. You, Ajahn Brahmali, and Ajahn Brahm have been my sources for the Dhamma. Your Dhamma talk on Dependent Liberation was the nudge needed to surrender into Jhana. Many times while listening to you speak there have been bouts of clarity in regards to the Teachings. And so for these things, and for being part of a long-distance Sangha, Gratitude Gratitude Gratitude, Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!
Dear Bhikku Sujato,
Your initiatives to read Buddhist texts “against the grain”, especially in relation to the status and ordination of Bhikkunis in Theravada Buddhism has significantly influenced my own reflections and research. Our brief discussion on my work on Inter-textual readings of Disability in Buddhism before your AABS seminar in March was extremely thought provoking. As I greatly value your input, I wish to invite you and others who are interested to attend a seminar that I will be presenting in Sydney titled “Sensing Disability in Buddhism: A Reading Against the Grain”. This is an exploratory project and I would appreciate any feedback. Do you have any suggestions on how I can get the word out to a wider audience? I’ve provided the abstract and event details below:
Sensing Disability in Buddhism: A Reading Against the Grain
Australasian Association of Buddhist Studies Seminar Series
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
5.30pm – 7.00pm
N208, Woolley Building, University of Sydney
Popular Buddhist narratives and iconography abounds with images of bad physicians who become blind or disfigured monks, lepers who put the Buddha in trouble, menstruating nuns who shame the Sangha and a perfect Thathagatha who embodies the 32 marks of moral perfection. “Dwarf” Arahants, overworked doctors, Vedic notions of pollution and Buddha’s chronic illnesses are often left out of the picture. This presentation will explore themes surrounding constitutional, legal and normative paradigms of inclusion and exclusion embodied in and enforced by Buddhist hermeneutics of the body, karmic multi-life commentaries and hegemonic readings of the Vinaya.
In the first section of my presentation, I will discuss the ideal of moral or virtuous bodies in Buddhism, including the Buddha’s body. It will present contradictions and disruptions in selected Karmic multi-life narratives in the Dhammapada Attakatha and Thera Apadana. These inter-textual inconsistencies will be contrasted with Buddhist concepts of inter-subjectivity and multi-conditional embodiment in Suttas like Sukkamala Sutta, Upajjhatthana Sutta, Sivaka Sutta and Girimananda Sutta. This section also explores how resorting to explanatory frameworks of multi-life karmic causality to understand exceptional bodies and events can lead to karmic social hierarchies and marginality. This has significant implications for Buddhist ethics in contemporary society.
In the second half of my presentation, I will examine codes relating to bodies “out of order” in the Vinaya; particularly Mahavagga 1.39 – Mahavagga 1.71 and its attendant commentaries and sub-commentaries. I will shed light on how textual modalities of differentiation, notification, prioratisation and ranking are adopted to create an elusive monastic ideal of embodied virtue in relation to exterior embodiments (‘deformed’, criminal, female, intersex etc.) which are negated or granted provisional subjectivity. Drawing on narratives of a “dwarf” Arahant, a serial killer and celebrity monks on youtube, this presentation will highlight how such provisional subjectivity both affirms and disrupts karmic and monastic normative ideals.
Niuka Gunawardena is a Doctoral candidate at the Law School at Griffith University. She has a long standing commitment to Disability rights and Dhamma practice. She has been working on a campaign to make all major Buddhist religious sites of worship in Sri Lanka accessible for all. The recent pledge to provide ramp access to Ruvanveliseya in Anuradhapura was a major collective achievement in this regard. She is also a passionate educator and has worked in secondary schools in USA and Sri Lanka. She is dedicated to helping children understand disability, diversity and marginality in a framework of compassionate, inter-subjective Buddhist Ethics.
Thanks so much, I’ll contact you offline. Meanwhile, I’ll put your comment as a post, hopefully this will raise the profile a little.
I am not very up to date on the issues, but when I was at a Human Rights forum in Canberra a few weeks ago there was substantial discussion of the new disability care act. So it seems at least some things are going right for people with disabilities. It would be wonderful to see your work getting more attention, so that Buddhists stop seeing the disabled as people not worth helping because of their bad karma.
In not-really related news (and I probably shouldn’t be saying this yet), there is talk of having Ajahn Brahm getting together for a discussion with Stephen Hawking. I know, right? Nothing’s confirmed: but since this will be a high profile event, and will attract a lot of attention from Buddhists internationally, perhaps this would be a good chance to ask Prof Hawking what he thinks of the idea that disabled people have bad karma…
Dear Bhante. Will it be possible to take the five precepts with you when you visit Norway in late november? I look very much forward to meet you. Kind regards, Rune:-)
I will see if i can fit them in my luggage.
Thank you so much Ajahn 🙂 It Means a lot to me 🙂
Great to have discovered your blog!
For what it may be worth to you, the link above doesn’t work properly; or at least didn’t for me.
Thanks for letting me know. The redirect has expired, I will have to fix it. The address of Santipada is: http://santifm.org/santipada/
Dear Bikkhu Sujato,
I wonder whether you might have any up to date information on a situation in English Sangha, mainly in relevance to Siladhara issue. Has anything changed? I`m asking as someone who is researching possibilities of ordination and UK would be my first choice as I`m an European. However, I find the events around 5 points very discouraging and it leaves me with somewhat uncomfortable feeling…
As far as I’m aware, nothing has changed on an institutional level. The five points are still very much alive, and the Wat Pa Pong sangha remains committed to institutional sexism. Find a place where you can pursue your spiritual development without being regarded as lesser simply becuase of your gender.
Thank you for your response, Bhante!
Unfortunately, there is not many options in Europe, as far as I am aware no other options in fact! Would you know about something?
I have just attended a retreat in Amaravati, it was led by a nun and she seemed to be a pretty happy one! She spoke very highly of her monastic years and seemed to be really content. I spoke to her about my feelings and intentions however I did not know about 5 points then so couldn`t ask her about it. So I am very much confused now.
If only Australia wasn`t on the other side of the world! 😉
There’s Anenja Vihara in Germany. And a growing number of places internationally. But it really depends on your circumstances.
BTW, Australia is on the right side of the world; England is on the other side. Just sayin’.
😉 How about we agree on sides being just “right” or “left” 😉 Not to mess with “other” or “wrong”. Just sayin`..;-)
I would say it has to do more with my preferences rather than circumstances. I used to live in the UK so I would feel very comfortable there. It just seemed to be such a good and easy option! Which I might have to let go of…Basically, trying to get together some information.
The thing I wonder about the most – and you being a monastic might be able to help me bring some clarity into it – is this: how important is it to be a fully ordained bhikkhuni? Institutionally. The reason for which I would seek an ordination is (one amongst many) to be able to lead a holy life, follow the path on a deeper level, develop my practise in a supportive environment of like-minded people.
I found an article on this issue where one of the former Siladhara nuns says: “The siladhara, who are categorized as ten-precept nuns, actually lived and still live as bhikkhunis in all but legal status.”
She still had left and sought higher ordination though. So this is where it gets confusing for me – if I have space and place and support to practise, access to teachings and all that, isn`t that all that matters? Or am I wrong on this one? Hard for me to say as an outsider…
Btw, this is the article I was quoting from: http://saranaloka.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/sima.pdf
It also says that: “the siladhara training is actually very close to bhikkhuni training; there are not many changes in daily life for me after bhikkhuni ordination..”
So this is where it gets confusing for me…I just want to follow dhamma path and practice…
Eva, if you haven’t seen the articles at ‘Alliance for Bhikkhunis’ you might find some of interest:
Thank you, Linda!
Dear Ajahn Sujato,
I am a newly ordained Samenera from Singapore and will be going to a village monastery in Thailand which I have practised in for over a year for my Higher Ordination in February. My teacher has been pressing me to enrol in a Buddhist University to go through a structured course but I never believed in scholarly studies. I am more inclined towards forest monasticism whereby the importance of Vinaya and meditation is stressed. I have been doing self-study and research across other buddhist traditions, to the extent of travelling to Dharamsala to learn from Tibetan teachers, hoping to map some of their philosophical concepts of Emptiness. However, your profound works has deeply inspired me and left a deep impression.
A few days ago, my teacher finally agreed to allow me to select any forest monastery I’d like to practise in after my Higher Ordination. It has always been an aspiration to go to WPN as I feel that the training is conducive. But, I recalled the crudeness of WPN’s current abbot, Ajahn Kevali, in regards to the Bhikkhuni Ordination Saga. No doubt WPN will be a good training place for a young monk (25) like me but I’m feeling dodgy about the abbot, I don’t know if there will be a good teacher to guide me in meditation.
Do you have any advice for me? Especially in an English-speaking forest monastery where i can train in. Is the place more important than the teacher, or are they equally important? Or is a conducive environment sufficient and I rely on the suttas and books by Ajahn Chah, Brahm, Sumedho, and yours as my guide if i can’t find a suitable teacher? That said, I haven’t been to WPN and am wondering if they removed books authored by you and Ajahn Brahm from their library.
“a dim view of those who try to hide their identity…” it reads in this blog’s introduction. I find this rather amusing in a what-is-the-actual-purpose-of-Buddhism kind of way. To those who find their identities hidden (intentionally or not) I say, welcome to the club. A great blog, btw (judging from what little I’ve seen). Thank you, “sujato.”
Just wanted to let you know, that we have linked to your blog on Our Religiosity:
I saw your blog on what the Buddha thought of women. I have also written a blog on this topic at http://palisuttas.com/2014/03/11/the-status-of-women-in-ancient-india-and-the-pali-tradition/
Just to let you know about this (https://dana.io/thedharmabum) – project for a documentary film about U Dhammaloka (?1856 – ?1913), an Irish hobo, sailor and freethinker who became a Buddhist monk and anti-colonial agitator in imperial Asia.
Wow, that looks amazing. I’ve heard rumors of such a monk, but even the few details on the site page reveal more than I’ve ever known. Please let us know how things proceed, and I wish you all the best in your fundraising.
Also, I had not heard of dana.io, which is a fantastic project. We often don’t appreciate how much of the technology we use is based on dana: we all use freely donated software every day, as most of the internet runs on Linux, for example. Yet it has taken a long time for the Buddhist world to catch up on ways of engaging in the commercial world that are based on Buddhist principles. I will be following the progress of this site, and I’m already thinking of possible crowdingfunding possibilities!
Oh, and by the way, he’s not really the first western Buddhist monk.
The honor of being the first confirmed western Buddhist monks goes to Yonaka Dhammarakkhita (“Greek Dhammarakkhita”). He lived around 200BCE, in the time of King Ashoka. He was a member of the leading group of monks who went as missionaries from Ashoka’s capital at Pataliputta. While contemporaries, such as Ven Mahinda, went to Sri Lanka, or Burma, or various parts of India, he went back to his home country, the city of “Alasanda” (Alexandria) in the western regions, which were then under Greek rule.
Dhammarakkhita had an illustrious career: he was (probably) the founder of the Dharmaguptaka school of Buddhism, which was instrumental in establishing Buddhism throughout Western India, then Central Asia, and finally China; their Vinaya still forms the basis of East Asian monastic life. He maintained contact with his friends in the Sri Lankan Theravada school, being consulted on questions of Abhidhamma, and visiting the island on at least one occasion, to celebrate the founding of the great stupa at Anuradhapura.
There were, no doubt, many more monks of Greek descent in those times, but none with the influence of “Greek Dhammarakkhita”.
How do I contact you?
Is it possible to add an appendix to the Sattipatana Mula which provide intersection of the different sources. (Everything from all the sources.)
I know you like the Science-Buddhism connection. There is one course you may like, called “Buddhism and modern psychology”.
The course was available here previously (https://www.coursera.org/course/psychbuddhism) , but currently the registration is closed.
However, I think you can find it on the web and maybe create similar videos for “BuddhistSocietyWA” channel. I think that ideas which are mentioned in this “Buddhism and modern psychology” course are fascinating and they really shed light on our human condition.
Thanks for the link, it looks like a great course. Somewhat similar to the Buddhism and Psychotherapy course we run here in Sydney, but we have more of a practical therapeutic orientation, and it is only for experienced therapists and monastics.
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for the efforts you have made to help establish Bhikkhunis in Australia. Also, thank you for this blog as I have been researching the topic for the past couple of days and have found it to be an excellent source of information on the ordination.
I do have, however, one question remaining on the subject. Now that Bhikkhunis are established, does an experienced Bhikkhuni still have to make way for even the most junior Bhikkhu? For example, would a Bhikkhuni of 30 vassas line up behind a Bhikkhu of only one vassa in the food line? Or would an experienced Bhikkhuni have to pay respects to the most junior monk?
I disagree with this rule and believe that it should be dispensed with. There are strong historical grounds for concluding that this rule was not taught by the Buddha, and is in fact the opposite of the Buddha’s intentions.
Regardless, however, it is up to the bhikkhunis to decide how they want to practice. It is not up to me, or any monk, to tell them what they must do. The Vianya gives no monk a power of command over bhikkhunis. So if I am asked to advise, I will advise them to not do this, but whatever they decide I will respect that.
could you please share with us some books suggestions on meditation practise ?
Thank you very much
I haven’t read any meditation books for many years, so wouldn’t know what to recommend! Perhaps someone else here can suggest something.
‘Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook Paperback’ by Ajahn Brahm. (1st choice)
Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana. (best seller)
I attended the recent talk on Karma and rebirth at Buddhist Library in Sydney. The following evening I was in the audience for The Australian ballet :Giselle .Giselle is a romantic story of innocent love and betrayal set in the European country side over a century ago. Giselle dies of a broken heart. She is buried deep in the forest and becomes a Wili .The Wilis are ghostly apparitions of folklore girls who have died betrayed by their loves. The whole second act is filled with dancing by the ghosts and their Queen who lures wayfarers ( men ) to dance until exhausted and then die at dawn !