by AJAHN SUMEDHO
Size: 5.5” x 8.25”
Pages: 184 pages
Published with permission from Amaravati Publications (ISBN 1 870205 17 0)
Awareness is your refuge:
Awareness of the changingness of feelings,
of attitudes, of moods, of material change and emotional change:
Stay with that, because it’s a refuge that is indestructible.
It’s not something that changes.
It’s a refuge you can trust in.
This refuge is not something that you create.
It’s not a creation. It’s not an ideal.
It’s very practical and very simple, but
easily overlooked or not noticed.
When you’re mindful,
you’re beginning to notice,
it’s like this.
This book is compiled from talks given mostly in 2001 by Ajahn Sumedho; they convey an intuitive understanding of the Buddha’s teaching which has arisen from over 35 years of practice as a Buddhist monk.
This approach starts with accepting ourselves as we are, not as some ideal of whom we think we should be. By doing this a relaxation can take place that creates space for insight to arise. For some people this space arises as the sound of silence, or simply a quiet or empty mind. However it manifests, this points to the unconditioned; beyond body and mind objects.
From this place of spaciousness, social and personal conditioning can be investigated or reflected upon, thus freeing the heart from the delusion of identifying with the personality. This is not a process of rejecting ourselves or of considering certain thoughts and feelings as wrong, but of learning to be a silent witness to all that arises without attaching to that experience or rejecting it.
In essence it’s about trust, accepting what arises in experience as “the way it is” or, as Ajahn Sumedho likes to say a lot, “welcoming the suffering”. It is about listening, being receptive to and fully including everything.
It may seem confusing that the reflections in this volume sometimes contradict each other, one talk suggesting that “suffering should be understood” and then the next cautioning against using the word “should”. But what can be noticed is the all-encompassing point behind the confusion and contradictions. This is the point to trust: mindfulness.
So the refuge is not in a teacher or scriptures but in the heart’s own purity, the point that never changes, which has no views and opinions and is not affected by anything and yet is fully alive, responsive, spontaneous and compassionate — fully here and now.
This book has been transcribed, edited and designed by various Sangha members and lay people. The editor would like to thank them very much for the hours of work put into this. Whilst the talks have been edited to aid clarity, they may not be grammatically flawless. This is to keep the text as close as possible to Ajahn Sumedho’s manner of speaking. Any misunderstandings or errors arising from this rest with the editor. This book is offered as a sharing from the various people who have benefited from Ajahn Sumedho’s teachings, his great devotion to dhamma and his encouragement.
May whatever merit that arises from this book be dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings.
American-born Ajahn Sumedho (Thai: อาจารย์สุเมโธ) (born July 25, 1934 ) is a seminal figure in the Thai Forest Tradition and Western Theravada Buddhism. The word "Ajahn" is not a proper name, but a title which means "Teacher" in Thai. He is also affectionately known among his students as "หลวงพ่อ" which means "Venerable Father" in Thai. He has been an ordained bhikkhu for 40 years, and is perhaps the most senior living Western Theravadin bhikkhu.
Other books by Ajahn Sumedho