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Mike
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New Aj. Sumedho Book - "The Sound of Silence"
« on: 20 August 2007 »

To be published at the end of Aug07



From http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display.lasso?-KeyValue=32984&-Token.Action=&image=1 :

Sound of Silence
Selected Teachings of Ajahn Sumedho
Ajahn Sumedho, Author

The sound of silence is like a subtlety behind everything that you awaken to; you don't notice it if you're seeking the extremes. Yet as we start to become more poised, more present, fully receptive of all this moment has to offer, we start to experience it vividly and listening to it can draw us ever — deeper into the mysteries of now.
Always skillful and good humored, Ajahn Sumedho's teachings defy boundaries. Anyone — from laypeople looking to deepen their grasp of the Buddha's message, to lifetime Buddhist monastics — will appreciate the author's sparkling insights into to such key Buddhist themes as awareness, consciousness, identity, relief from suffering, and mindfulness of the body. The Sound of Silence represents the best of Ajahn Sumedho's masterful work to help us all see each life with a new and sustaining clarity.

Praise & Reviews

"The American-born monk Ajahn Sumedho is one of the foremost teachers of Theravada Buddhism in the West. He is a longtime disciple of the Thai master Ajahn Chah. The Sound of Silence is a reader-friendly collection of his talks [though there are] detailed explanations of Theravada meditation. The teachings combine Ajahn Sumedho's thorough grounding in the Pali sources of the Thai forest tradition with the humor and humility of a teacher who speaks frequently from his own experience."—Buddhadharma
"A superb collection of Ajahn Sumedho's simple, direct, profound, and often humorous teachings. This treasure-house of wisdom and kindness will be of great value to all schools of awareness meditation."—Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath

"Sumedho's work is acutely practical and easy to read."—Library Journal

"Ajahn Sumedho’s warm, human, and reverently playful style illuminates so clearly the causes of our suffering and the possiblities of freedom. His words are a treasure-house of dharma understanding."—Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma

“This book conveys very powerfully and beautifully a sense of being in the presence of an extremely wise and caring teacher. Ajahn Sumedho speaks with clarity and directness from the depths of his practice and experience. Inspiring and illuminating, this is a wonderful guide to all of use seeking a greater freedom and peace.”—John Teasdale, co-author of The Mindful Way through Depression and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression

"Teachings from Ajahn Sumedho, a popular American-born teacher, have been hard to come by in print. So it's good to see that the talks collected in this volume preserve his warm, humorous style, and reflect his flexible view of teaching as 'presenting things for you to investigate.'"—Tricycle

 


Odd comment that last one as I have several books and you can pick up several for free at/via the monasteries  cool

Mike
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"If I hear Truth couched in a Sufi way or a Christian Mystic way or a Psychotherapeutic way or in a Paleontological way or whatever, you know, its still Truth for me." Ajahn Viradhammo
Ovidius
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Re: New Aj. Sumedho Book - "The Sound of Silence"
« Reply #1 on: 21 August 2007 »

Odd comment that last one as I have several books and you can pick up several for free at/via the monasteries  cool

That last comment can be good for a business Wink
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Panu

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Mike
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Re: New Aj. Sumedho Book - "The Sound of Silence"
« Reply #2 on: 07 October 2007 »

In a talk LPS mentioned that he had wanted to call the book "Wake up, Stupid!" but had thought this might be too irreverent lol... He was talking about how books printed in America have to have really catchy title... so Aj. Brahm's book of stories (from which I have quoted a few here) in Australia is published as "Opening the heart the Buddhist way" (or some such)... whereas in the US it is released as "Who ordered this truckload of dung"!

So when the publishers (Wisdom (but obviously culturally-conditioned wisdom wink )) said to him that "The Sound of Silence" was too dull he suggested "Wake up Stupid!" ... they stuck with the former  Happy
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"If I hear Truth couched in a Sufi way or a Christian Mystic way or a Psychotherapeutic way or in a Paleontological way or whatever, you know, its still Truth for me." Ajahn Viradhammo
Mike
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Excerpt from New Aj. Sumedho Book - "The Sound of Silence"
« Reply #3 on: 07 October 2007 »

Here is a selection from a chapter on the key teaching of "just being aware, being the knowing"... [the book is transcribed from various talks so the style is oral rather than written... I have taken the liberty of emboldening a couple of key elements for the acutely short of time  tongue]

Its quite a long chunk... but on the other hand if you manage to do what he is talking about here (which does of course involve reading it first wink ), you'll never suffer again 

Quote
Now, one of the epithets for the Buddha is lokavidu-knower of the world. Don't leave that up to some kind of abstract Buddha up there-I mean, you're taking refuge in Buddha. Our refuge in Buddha, then, is the Buddho-knowing the world as the world. And so this is reflecting on it, and not judging the world as bad. We're not against the world-we're not trying to destroy the world. We're not annihilationists or condemning phenomena. Sometimes Buddhists can sound like they're condemning every­thing: "It's all impermanent, not self, it just leads to suffering." You meet Buddhists like that-they just grasp at the conventional forms of Buddhism, and then operate from grasping at things like (speaks in a very gloomy voice): "life is suffering and it all ends in death"-(continues very morosely) "And there's no God, there's no self!"-That is not reflecting on the nature of the world, is it? Because the world is a changing experience.

The nature of phenomena is to change-arising, ceasing, being born, and dying-that movement of what we call anicca, or impermanence. So we begin to use this concept of anicca, not projecting that onto experience. We're not saying that "every­thing is impermanent" as some kind of position we take. This ref­erence to anicca is to just notice change. Notice the movement of your breath. Nothing wrong with the breath moving, is there? It's not a judgment, but just paying attention to the reality of change that we're experiencing through the senses.

When you recognize the mood you're in-notice that you can't sustain a mood-when you really look at it, it's changing. It moves in different ways, arises and ceases. All sensory experi­ences-what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, thought itself, emotion, all conditioned phenomena-are impermanent. This is not a teaching or a statement to grasp, not a basis to operate from. It's a teaching to explore, so as to really be the knower of impermanence. Now, what is it that can know impermanence? Is a condition able to know another condition? It's by using aware­ness-because that's not a condition we create, is it? Just paying attention, staying alert here and now, allows us to reflect, to notice the way it is, to observe.

So the Buddho - or Buddha- is the knower, is the knowing. We call it Buddha, but I'm not saying, "Oh, I'm a Buddha!" because then it's getting back into me as a person again. We're not trying to convince ourselves that we've got a little Buddha inside us, or anything like that. We're not trying to conceive any­thing about Buddha; we're being that knowing, being that aware­ness. And that's why, on this retreat, we reinforce that knowing- that sense of confidence in knowing in this direct way. Because that's what is most difficult for most of us. We're so convinced, so bound to our thoughts, views, opinions, and identities, we never get any perspective on them. We just judge them. We make value judgments about ourselves, about the world that we live in-how it should or shouldn't be, how I should or shouldn't be. "I shouldn't think bad thoughts. I should only have loving, kind thoughts, I'm a senior monk, so I should only have com­passionate and kind thoughts, I should never have negative, selfish, or childish thoughts or emotions!" That's the critical mind, isn't it? The sense of myself, identifying with the age of the body: "I'm a senior monk, I'm an old man, I'm senior" and "I should be..." or "I shouldn't be...." But within that is the awareness that this is a creation-I create myself in this way. So by reflecting, by observing yourself, you begin to notice the dif­ference between awareness-which you don't create, which is not self--and the ways you create yourself. Now, how do I create myself as a person? I have to start thinking: "I'm Ajahn Sumedho." If I'm just aware, then there's no "Ajahn Sumedho" in my mind

Sometimes the perception "I'm Ajahn Sumedho" arises. But usually I don't think like that very much. I don't need to go around thinking "I'm Ajahn Sumedho" all the time. So if I'm not thinking about myself then I think, "I am a senior monk,"and I start getting caught up in remembering the past, thinking about mistakes I've made. I tend to judge thoughts as bad or good-that all comes from the critical mind, doesn't it? That's the critical faculty. Thinking is a critical faculty. Now, I'm not condemning thinking-it's a very useful function to have. But as an identity it's a failure. You're not at all what you think, you know-what you think you are is not what you are. And yet we tend to believe what we think we are. So we carry around with us these limited perceptions we hold about ourselves as a person, and we judge them accordingly: I'm not so good, I shouldn't
feel this way, I should be more responsible, I shouldn't be so selfish, I should be this, I shouldn't be like that, I shouldn't feel this way....   These are thoughts, aren't they?

Thought is a creation. So in this very present moment, what is it that isn't a thought? Awareness isn't a thought. When you try to become aware, you're grasping at the idea of awareness- that you're somebody who isn't aware and has to try to be more aware. That's another creation. Yet I've seen people desperately trying to be mindful and they don't see what they're doing. They've got some idea about mindfulness in their heads, some­thing they've imagined mindfulness is, and they're trying to become like that. And of course it doesn't work that way. The more you think you should be mindful, the more you tend to be heedless. I've made some hilarious mistakes in my effort at try­ing to make myself mindful. Because once you get caught, you're so intent on trying to be mindful, you trip over your own feet.

Mindfulness isn't something difficult or a refined state of being that depends on very specially controlled conditions. It's very ordi­nary-most ordinary! If you weren't mindful you'd be dead by now. I mean, it's mindfulness that keeps you going, whether you're aware of it or not. But it's just not noticed. Awareness is not a concept. Even though I thought I understood the word when I first started meditation, I didn't really know what it was. They talk about "being mindful," and then they talk about "con­centration." The first method I used when I was a layperson in Bangkok, was one where everything was done in slow motion. So I thought to be mindful you had to do everything in this exag­gerated slowness. And so I used to practice doing everything that way. That's not a very useful way to live one's life. You can only do that under certain conditions. If you're trying to catch the train and make it to Heathrow Airport on time and you're into slow motion, you're never going to make it. Can you run for the bus mindfully? These are mindfulness practices: it was a method for developing a kind of intense concentration on slow movement of the body, and so I assumed that that was what they meant by mindfulness, but then I realized that wasn't it.

Mindfulness is ordinary. It's just being aware of the movements of your body-sitting, standing, walking, lying down, breath­ing-or being aware of your mood or mental state.


Any comments, angles, understandings, disagreements?  smiley

Mike
« Last Edit: 07 October 2007 by Mike » Logged

"If I hear Truth couched in a Sufi way or a Christian Mystic way or a Psychotherapeutic way or in a Paleontological way or whatever, you know, its still Truth for me." Ajahn Viradhammo
Pages: [1] Print 
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