Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Dharma and Virtue

Ajahn Mun and Ajahn Chah via Ven. Sujato; Ellie Askew, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

As a meditator, use the strategy of listening to the Dharma all the time, even when living alone. In other words, contemplate the Dharma day and night.

The eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body are physical phenomena (rūpa-dhamma) that are always present. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations are also present for us to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. The mind? It, too, is present.

Our thoughts and feelings about various topics -- good and bad -- are present as well. Development and decay, both within us and without, are also present.

These things naturally display the Truth -- the impermanent, ultimately disappointing, and impersonal nature of all things -- for us to see at all times.

When a leaf turns yellow and falls from the tree, for instance, it’s showing us the truth of impermanence.

So when we continually use this approach to contemplate things with mindfulness (bare awareness that is free of judgment, clinging, or rejection) and wisdom (keen discernment), we are said to be listening to the Dharma at all times, day and night.

Begin with virtue
Ajahn Chah edited by Wisdom Quarterly
At first we train the body and speech to be free of unwholesomeness. Such freedom is virtue (sila). Some people think that to have virtue we must memorize Pali [the world’s only exclusively-Buddhist language] phrases and chant all day and all night. But really all we have to do is make our body and speech blameless. That’s virtue. It’s easy to understand. It’s just like cooking food: We put in a little bit of this and a little bit of that till it’s just right. Then it’s delicious. And once it’s delicious, we don’t have to add anything else to it. The right ingredients have already been added. In the same way, taking care that our actions and speech are proper will give us delicious virtue, virtue that is just right.

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