Forest SanghaNewsletterOctober 1990

Dhamma: Naturally Delightful, Additive-free; Ajahn Amaro
Living Vinaya; Ajahn Sucitto
Question Time; Ajahn Sumedho
On The Path; A Tudong Special: varied experiences


Dhamma is the Centre of the World

It is a commonplace observation to note how unnatural our society's ways are; to a great extent, high-speed electronic machines and rhythms pervade our daily life in the West. To one who investigates the mind it is equally apparent that being connected to energies that ignore the mind's rhythms, needs and limitations brings some unhappy consequences on the individual consciousness. Furthermore, even when we are not actually working in such an environment, the predominant worldly values of achievement and efficiency take their toll on the available space of heart and mind.

Meditation itself is not immune to achievement attitudes, and even in a monastery life can become measured in terms of how much one has accomplished. It's so obvious, and as such accepted as the way things have to be; the world seems to be too vast and powerful for us to change it.

Rather than trying to get out of the world, or expecting something in it, the way out of suffering is based on a very full appreciation of the moment.
However, using the teaching of the Buddha, it is always possible to work on suffering by understanding and purifying the connection to the world: relaxing the hope and despair, the need for achievement and any position in or out of the world. Rather than trying to get out of the world, or expecting something in it, the way out of suffering is based on a very full appreciation of the moment; only that will bring the mind out of the spinning realm of time and cause and effect.

A training that emphasizes care for each thing in itself, and awareness of how one affects others, is a great help - and this is the key to the aspect of the teaching that we call the Vinaya. Vinaya is generally understood to mean the monastic discipline, but its principles of frugality, modesty and responsibility form an excellent basis for family life also. This discipline teaches one to be clear about one's motivations and to appreciate other beings and the requisites of life as they are.

In that way, our intentions move away from achieving results in the future - whatever the means - towards purifying the means and the approach to life. It makes it possible to live life from a Dhamma centre, a real human centre, rather than spinning like a lost spirit around the vortex of samsara.

It would be quite splendid irony if the ancient themes of Dhamma-Vinaya proved to be the most progressive means towards the improvement of the quality of life in this over-sophisticated age.

Ajahn Sucitto