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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Visit to Laos

I have recently returned from a two-week trip to Laos, where I travelled with my father and step-mother. We started in the North, at Huay Xai, then travelled by boat down the Mekong to Luang Prabang, and finally spent a couple of days in Vientiane. Although I had spent almost three years as a monk living by the Mekong River, in Ubon Rajathani, and had looked over each morning at the forested hills of Laos, this was my first visit there. I was especially interested in getting a sense of how Buddhism is surviving in this ‘communist single-party socialist republic.’ On the whole I was delighted by my visit—by the encounters with Laotian people, by the beauty of the landscape, and by the apparent vitality of Buddhism in this land. Following are a few photos I took, which provide a feeling of this unique country.

Monk's robe hanging at Wat Pa Phai, Luang Prabang

Monk's Robe at Wat Pah Phai, Luang Prabang

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The Dhamma Is Our True Mother – Part 3

Old Women Being Carried at Wat Pah Pong

We should all consider how much trouble we may have caused our parents. What sort of worries and anxieties have we created say for our mothers? If we realize that we are causing distress to our parents, we should change our ways. Continue reading

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