Buddhist Studies Review, Vol 35, No 1-2 (2018)

‘I’m Not Getting Anywhere with my Meditation …’: Effort, Contentment and Goal-Directedness in the Process of Mind-Training

Ajahn Amaro
Issued Date: 8 Jan 2019

Abstract


This article draws on the teachings of the Pali Canon and the contemporary lineages that are guided by its principles. In particular, reference is made to the author’s mentors in the Thai Forest Tradition. It explores the respective roles of goal-directed effort and contentment in the process of meditative training, and skilful and unskilful variations on these. Effort is needed, but can be excessive, unreflectively mindless, unaware of gradually developed results, or misdirected. Contentment can be misunderstood to imply that skilful desire has no role in practice, and lead to passivity; though it is needed to dampen down an over-energized mind, or motivation rooted in aversion or ambition, and comes from insight-based non-attachment. Right effort avoids the craving to become or to get rid of, but is associated with a skilful chanda/desire that is an aspect of the iddhi-pādas, the Bases of Spiritual Power. Mindfulness aids the balance of energy and concentration in the Five Faculties, and the energizing and calming qualities in the Seven Factors of Enlightenment. In the end, from practising Dhamma in a way that is truly in accordance with Dhamma (dhammānudhamma-paṭipatti), progress naturally flows from seeing and becoming Dhamma.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £5.00 )

DOI: 10.1558/bsrv.36752

References


Chah, Ajahn. 2001. Being Dharma, trans. Paul Breiter. Berkeley: Shambhala Publications.

———. 2011. The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Chah. Belsay, Northumberland: Aruna Publications. Downloadable for free from: www.forestsanghapublications.org in a single volume or three separate ones.

Mun, Bhuridatta Mahathera, Phra Ajaan. 1995. The Ballad of Liberation from the Five Khandhas, trans. Bhikkhu Ṭhānissaro, Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/mun/ballad.html

Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu. 1972. The Life of the Buddha: As it appears in the Pali Canon the Oldest Authentic Record. Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society.

Nichtern, Ethan. 2010. Huffington Post, 20-8-2010.

Pasanno, Ajahn and Amaro, Ajahn. 2009. The Island: An Anthology of the Buddha’s Teachings on Nibbāna. Redwood Valley, California: Abhayagiri Monastic Foundation: http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/the-island/

Seng-ts’an. Hsin Hsin Ming, or ‘Verses on the Faith Mind’ (Hsin Hsin Ming), trans. Richard B. Clarke: http://www.soul-guidance.com/houseofthesun/hsin.htm

Sumedho, Ajahn. 2014. The Anthology Vol. 1 — Peace is a Simple Step. Great Gaddesden: Amaravati Publications: http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/anthology-vol-1-peace-is-a-simple-step/

———. 2014. The Anthology Vol. 2 — Seeds of Understanding. Great Gaddesden: Amaravati Publications.

———. 2014. The Anthology, Vol. 4 — The Sound of Silence. Great Gaddesden: Amaravati Publications; also by Wisdom Publications, 2007.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.



Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email: info@equinoxpub.com

Privacy Policy