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Training to End Craving

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  • Training to End Craving

    Dear Venerable Ajahn,
    In 2003 the BSWA sent me (to my Denver, CO USA address) 3 MP3s--one with Ajahn Brahm's meditation talks from a 1997 retreat in WA. I DEEPLY APPRECIATE THIS DANA. It has enabled [me] change in [my] life. I wish to thank Ajahn Brahm, the BSWA, and the Sangha of Bodhinyana. (Actually, I already have--but gratitude is important and the Gift of Dhamma exceeds all other gifts!). TO THE POINT: Ajahn's final talk, "Bringing it all back home," hit on numerous major Dhamma points such as the following: 1) "Letting Go" to the End 2) doors to sotapatti 3) the [World of] 5 External Senses as anicca, dukkha, anatta 4) "choiceless-choice," or the "true" nature of volition/will. Ajahn provided the example of "the driverless bus"--no REAL"Doer" can be found in Consciousness/vinnana and also the "hypnotist's lecture" example 5) samma ditti and sekha, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, 6) The Buddha's Arising in the World and His impact on one's will and on one's meditation practice. For the past 7 months (due to a near-death experience) I have accelerated my "wholehearted practice of the complete 8-fold path" (p 218 of Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond)--practicing "as if my head was on fire." With recent, deeper samatha-vipassana combined with study of the teachings, I HONESTLY FEEL I apprehend the above. Finally, Ajahn Brahm emphasizes: A sekha (not saying that I am one--but do FEEL the qualities as described on pp. 218-226) must begin "training to end craving." I resolve to begin training to end tanha.
    QUESTION: CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE?--especially to one (living in the USA) who, presently, lacks access to a meditation teacher, kalyana mittas, and a Sangha "devoted to a wholehearted commitment to a complete 8-Fold Path." (p 211, M,B&B)
    Metta Wishes On Vesak, Tom Green / Preeda

  • #2
    Dear Tom,

    I suspect Ajahn Brahm has already replied to your question. But I can perhaps add a few points.

    You never really lack a meditation teacher or a kalyānamitta, since the Buddha is the primary example of both. Read the suttas carefully and you should be able to pick up numerous ideas on how to practice better. There are sutta classes available on-line right here on the BSWA website, and these can be very useful companions to personal sutta study. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi also does sutta classes; they are available here.

    The Buddha said that it is good for any serious practitioner to occasionally withdraw from ordinary life and practice in greater seclusion. Try to attend occasional retreats. If you do not fully agree with the teachings, you can usually practice according to your own understanding. There are a number of teachers in the US who emphasize samatha practice, such as Bhante Gunaratana, Leigh Brasington, Shaila Catherine, as well as Ajahn Thānissaro, whom you mentioned earlier. If you feel confident enough in your own practice, you can perhaps find your own little hideout somewhere.

    Lastly, do not underestimate the power of mettā to keep you on the right track.

    Good luck!

    With metta.

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