by BHIKKHU PESALA
Size: 6” x 5.5”
Pages: 52 pages
In clear and direct language, this booklet addresses questions of perennial spiritual urgency — life, afterlife, and liberation. It is the uncertainty of life that impels the search for meaning; and that same uncertainty provides the key to unlock that meaning. Difficult teachings like not-self, rebirth, and the process of liberation are here explained with vivid examples and moving stories drawn from traditional Buddhist texts and from contemporary life. This booklet aims to clear away doubt regarding some key Buddhist doctrines in the modern context, and shows how our approach to spiritual practice is shaped by our understanding of the nature of life.
"Hard is birth as a human being,
hard is the life of mortals.
Hard is the hearing of the sublime truth,
hard is the appearance of the Buddhas."
~ Dhammapada v 182
The second part, the author talk about how extraordinarily rare and precious opportunity to learn the Buddhadhamma and to do meritorious deeds. As he was born in non-Buddhist country, before the age of twenty-two, he had no contact at all with Buddhism. If he ever heard the word 'Buddha' he never paid any attention to it. Like most Westerners, he was only thinking about enjoying life as best he could, with little thought for his long term future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
BHIKKHU PESALA is the Spiritual Director of the Association for Insight Meditation, which he set up in 1995 with the help of Christine Fitzmaurice and David Glendinning.
His first contact with Buddhism came through meeting two meditators who had practised the U Ba Khin meditation method with Sri Goenka in India. After an intensive ten-day retreat with Mr John Coleman, the author of “A Quiet Mind,” he resolved to dedicate his life to the practice of insight meditation .
Bhikkhu Pesala ordained in 1979 with Venerable Mahāsi Sayādaw as his preceptor, and Chanmyay Sayādaw U Janaka as the examiner. Later the same year, he went to practise intensive meditation for six months at Mahāsi Yeikthā in Rangoon. Altogether, he has been to Burma four times to practise meditation under senior disciples of Mahāsi Sayādaw, especially Chanmyay Sayādaw U Janaka.
Over the years, he has edited many books by Mahāsi Sayādaw, Ledi Sayādaw, and other Buddhist monks and scholars. He has worked tirelessly for many years to promote the systematic approach to insight meditation taught by the late Mahāsi Sayādaw.
After returning to the UK in 1985, he worked closely with Venerable Hammalawa Saddhātissa, helping him to prepare a number of publications including:
• A Buddhist's Manual
• Pāli Literature of South-East Asia
• Facets of Buddhism
In addition, he has endeavored to share his understanding of Dhamma through writing, editing, and translating many Dhamma books, notably his abridged translation of the classic Theravadin text The Debate of King Milinda.