Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering, just as the Buddha himself did two and a half thousand years ago.
Mindfulness or awareness is knowing, isn’t it? It is a direct knowing, immanent here and now. It is being fully present, attentive, to this present moment as is. But defining mindfulness tends to make it into something — and then it is no longer mindfulness, is it? Mindfulness is not a thing; it is a recognition, an intuitive awareness. It is awareness without grasping. With this recognition, we have perspective on the conditions that we experience in the present — our thoughts, identities, and the conditioning we have. Concentration, on the other hand, is usually on a form. We choose an object and then put our full attention onto it in contrast to mindfulness which is formless and immeasurable, and does not seek a form. That is why describing mindfulness or awareness leads to the wrong attitude. Terms like ‘wake up’, ‘awakening’ or ‘pay attention’ are not definitions; they are suggestions to trust in this moment, to be present, to be here and now.
Ajahn Sumedho, an American Buddhist monk, practised for ten years in Thailand with the well known monk, Ajahn Chah. He has since spent over thirty years in England and is the founder of the Cittaviveka Forest Monastery in West Sussex and the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire.
Don’t Take Your Life Personally, by Ajahn Sumedho
ISBN 978-0946672318, 2010, Paperback 420 pages. £18.95 / $27.95, Kindle £9.99 / $13.19.
Buddhist Publishing Group, Edited by Diana St Ruth
Ajahn Sumedho’s many books include Teachings of a Buddhist Monk.
You can buy Don’t Take Your Life Personally from: The Book depository for around £15.90 with free worldwide delivery. (The Book Depository is owned by Amazon.)
All prices are approximate.