A Buddhist Perspective on Guilt

Prisoners at BIA

I have frequently heard that there is no equivalent Thai word for ‘guilt’ in the Western psychological sense of an ‘inhibition to express one’s true emotions for fear of committing an unacceptable act’ or an ‘emotion of feeling responsible for others’ misfortune, whether or not this is the case.’ Continue reading

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Scratching the Itch

This is an excerpt from chapter 6 of ‘Buddhadhamma,’ on awakened beings.

Another important descriptive term for an arahant’s mind, which covers many of the characteristics already mentioned, is ārogya, translated as ‘without sickness’ or ‘freedom from illness.’ It can also be rendered as ‘health’ or ‘healthy.’ Ārogya is an epithet for Nibbāna.1 Continue reading

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The Buddhist Concept of Faith

Evening Vigil at Wat Pah Boon Lawm

This passage on faith is found in chapter 18 of Buddhadhamma, by Ven. Phra Payutto, on the unique attributes of awakened beings:

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Let us return to the first virtue of faith (saddhā) and examine how it is a crucial factor at the beginning of spiritual practice. Continue reading

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The Beehive Buddha

Phra Jao Nang Gone – the Beehive Buddha

A few months ago I was in Chiang Mai for an almsgiving ceremony and our group visited the ‘Beehive Buddha’ in Hang Dong. This Buddha image is remarkable in many respects. Continue reading

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The Buddhist Outlook on Hope

Some of the aspects of an arahant’s mind will be at odds with the views of ordinary people, since superficially these aspects are considered unpleasant or blameworthy. One such aspect that the Buddha mentioned often is nirāsa (or nirāsā), which can be translated as ‘hopeless,’ ‘wishless,’ or ‘without expectation.’1 Continue reading

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The Golden Bough

The Oak Man

Four years ago my brother and sister-in-law gave me the book ‘The Golden Bough’ by James Frazer. I picked it up many times over the past few years, but because of its extremely comprehensive coverage on the customs and beliefs of different cultures, I ended up only skimming through the second half (which in itself comprises 400 pages!). Continue reading

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Life in the Saffron Forest: Chapter 14

Forest Monk at Wat Pah Nanachat

Luang Pee Muan could be considered a distant uncle of mine. He was greatly inspired by Luang Por’s discourse on the ascetic practices. He made a vow in front of Luang Por that very morning, saying: ‘From now on I determine to eat only one meal a day, and in addition to this I will eat only vegetarian food, refusing to eat meat and fish from this day forward.’ Continue reading

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LIfe in the Saffron Forest: Chapter 13

Monks Chanting at Wat Pah Nanachat

During that Rainy Season, Luang Por gave exhortations to the monks and novices everyday after morning and evening chanting. The morning chanting at Wat Bahn Huay started at 4:30am. Continue reading

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Life in the Saffron Forest: Chapter 12

Child Offering Bananas to Ajahn Viradhammo

Let me say some more about almsround—piṇḍapāta (Thai: bindabaht). The Pali word piṇḍapāta is a compound of piṇḍa (lump of rice) and pāta (‘drop’). Literally, the word means ‘dropping rice.’ Continue reading

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Life in the Saffron Forest: Chapter 11

Luang Por Sumedho on Pindapat

Besides studying the three levels of formal Dhamma instruction (nak tham) and studying for the Pali language exams, the regular daily routine for members of the saffron forest includes: going on almsround, attending the morning and evening chanting, reflecting (paṭisaṅkhā) on the four requisites, and pouring water to share merit. Continue reading

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