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In 1978, I spent the Rains Retreat with Ajahn Sumedho…

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Ajahn Jayasāro's Yellow Pages Teaching

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Twice weekly handwritten Dhamma teaching by Ajahn.
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In 1978, I spent the Rains Retreat with Ajahn Sumedho's small monastic community in the English countryside, close to Oxford. Shortly before I left to see ordination as a monk in Thailand, a man called B. arrived to take the place I was vacating. Until recently, B. had been a Zen trainee in Japan. On his return to England he had felt drawn towards Theravada. he said that he was especially inspired by its emphasis on looking into suffering and investigating the ways in which it was created unnecessarily by craving. B. fitted into the community well enough but encountered one major unforseen challenge. Whereas we all meditated sitting flat on the floor in the Thai style, B. had only ever meditated using a zafu. Adapting to a new sitting posture was very difficult for him, and he found it deeply frustrating. The Zen meditation posture had been his refuge and he had lost it. When he complained to me about how much he was suffering, I reminded him - perhaps a little unkindly - that surely he'd found what he was looking for. He replied, 'Well yes, I want to look into suffering, but not this kind of suffering.

 

I have never forgotten those words. They seem to me to express a universal lament. As Buddhists, we accept the importance of facing up to suffering in the abstract, but find ourselves resisting the particular reality. We'd prefer some other kind of suffering. Ajahn Sumedho had a simple remedy for such deluded thinking. He taught us to reflect, 'It's like this!' In other words, he was saying that we don't get to choose. Right now this is what is before us. Don't feel sorry for yourself. Use the tools the Buddha has given us, and deal with it.

 

- Ajahn Jayasāro

(no human translation)

(no human translation)

(please suggest and also assist to translate)

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