Unhappiness (dukkha, disappointment, woe, suffering) is not due to impermanence alone, but by the very threefold nature of "things." Conditioned phenomena are unsatisfying by their very nature.
Buddhism is the path to seeing the true nature of things directly. This opens up the possibility of liberation from all unhappiness. Practice, not theory, is essential. These Western monks, early students of Ajahn Chah, returned to the West and took up the monastic life to benefit the world.
- One of the best and most accessible books ever written on the subject is What the Buddha Never Taught by Canadian journalist Tim Ward.
- Keeping the Breath in Mind by Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo (translated and distributed freely by the eccentric American monk Ven. Thanissaro) is a very helpful "how to" guide.
- Place right foot on left leg, right hand on left.
- Eyes closed, "look" at the breath with the mind's eye.
- Bhutto means Buddha. When breathing in, think "bhu."
- When breathing out, think "tho."
- Do this all the time.
- Have a feel (sensation, awareness) when the breath touches the nostril or upper lip.
- Know the breath when breathing in and when breathing out, slowly, comfortably.
- Do it for 10 minutes every day at first, and build up to one or two hours.
- Practice every day 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes and more.
- Up the level of meditation until, like a battery, it is charged, intensified, and concentrated (samadhi).
- When it is full, it can be of use for insight (vipassana) to know what things are true by heart, which is far better than normal thinking.
( I visited Wat Pah Nanachat (and Ajahn Chah's other temple Wat Nong Pah Pong) in 2011. It is a great place. There were only a few monks about, so I walked around shooting video. I stayed overnight and found that the Australian monk in charge, a young guy maybe 28, was way too engrossed with getting chores done and having a big result from it. He was kind of like a military drill instructor. He was completely stressed out about some new people who had just arrived.
) I feel fortunate to just be a layperson with enough conviction and wisdom (which I hope lasts) to keep practicing the Noble Eightfold Path alone, with only the Internet for guidance. I'm not sure I could survive life in a forest monastery! But I believe it would be a wonderful opportunity for intensive training and practice for anyone strong enough to undertake it.
( ) Seems like there are politics everywhere, even in a Buddhist Monastery, in all traditions. And it's no better in Western Dharma centers.