No Secret Teachings.

Many early Buddhist suttas are repetitive, covering the same ground as many other suttas.  However, every once in a while you come across one that has a very different message.   Interestingly, these messages tend not to get repeated a lot and at least in my opinion are useful for preventing people from going in a direction that isn’t useful.   Here is such a sutta:

Not A Secret Doctrine

AN 3:129; 128


In The Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Page 88

“These three things, monks, are conducted in secret, not openly.

What three? Affairs with women, the mantras of the brahmins, and wrong view.

“But these three things, monks, shine openly, not in secret.

What three?

The moon, the sun, and the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata.”


Meditation – The Only Way by K. Sri Dhammananda




Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda was a Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist monk who wrote many books on Buddhism for free distribution.   Many of them have been digitized and made freely available online.   This one hasn’t been, until now.   Out of print for many, many, years the only option is to pay a ridiculous price for a used copy via online bookstores.  I didn’t like that as the poorest of the poor people in Buddhist countries will take money they do not have to donate it to Buddhist organizations so books such as the one below can be distributed freely to help people.   I had a copy ( destroyed in the scanning process ) on my bookshelf that I bought from a Buddhist temple in the 1990s. I decided to use a few of my own dollars to have it scanned and make it available for free, online.   Feel free to leave your opinions about the book in the comment section below.  Enjoy!


Video: How to stay with unpleasant feelings?

The dhamma talk for this week at the Buddhist Society of Western Australia was given by Venerable Hasapanna.   The topic, how to stay with unpleasant feelings.

Here is a summary of what I remember from this video.

Why deal with unpleasant feelings?

The Buddha said feelings lead to thoughts, thoughts to words, words to actions.
The Buddha there are 4 kinds of actions:
1. actions that are unpleasant in the present and produce unpleasant results in the future.
2. actions that are unpleasant in the present, but produce pleasant results in the future.
3.  actions that are pleasant in the present, but lead to unpleasant results in the future.
4. actions that are pleasant in the present and lead to pleasant feelings in the future.

Actions become habits and habits become patterns in regards to the type of actions .

Unpleasant feelings that are not dealt with lead to actions, habits, and patterns that produce unpleasant results.

Unpleasant feelings that are not dealt with lead to the frequent occurrences of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression as is seen in societies of today.

People develop a habit of not dealing with unpleasant feelings by pushing them aside.  It is such an ingrained habit they do not notice that they do it, nor are they ever fully conscious of the feeling being there ( “suppression” ).   This leads to the aforementioned problems with anxiety and depression, and the habit patterns of choosing actions that lead to more unpleasant results.

Doing metta meditation in the morning can keep unpleasant feelings from arising, but it doesn’t always work.

Thought substitution can bring temporary relief.

Metta meditation and thought substitution can be abused, in that people can use them to suppress and wallpaper over their problems with happy thoughts, which will only lead to the suppressed feelings growing stronger.

Suppressing a feeling strengthens a feeling making it more likely to recur and lead to bad further bad actions.   Suppression is when you push a feeling away without being aware that the feeling was ever there.

The way to deal with unpleasant feelings is to gradually build up the ability to be fully aware of them as they happen, and then to sit with the unpleasant feelings ( stay in awareness of them ) passively.  You also want to practice passively watching your thoughts.

You can develop the ability to be aware of feelings as they occur by bringing your mind back to the present moment whenever you notice it isn’t there AND do so without getting frustrated that your mind doesn’t stay in the present moment.   This will also strengthen your mind in other ways.

Keeping unpleasant feelings in your awareness, staying with them, is simple, but unpleasant to do.   You can build up to it, starting with short amounts of time and gradually lengthening the time you do it.






Sutta Talk: Setting The Wheel In Motion

On Behalf of Dr. Robert Rhyne:


Bhante Dhammasiri of the Washington Buddhist Vihara requested that I begin offering sutta classes again. About every Friday after the 7 pm to 8 pm silent meditation we will meet to discuss a sutta until 9 pm. I prefer to meet in the Dhamma Hall upstairs, not in the basement. This Friday we will take an informal look at the Buddha’s first discourse, Dhammacakkhapavatthana Sutta (SN 56.11). It’s translated in various ways. Here’s one:
This is a major discourse. We can spend many weeks on it. Let’s begin with basics:
— historical background
     – the speakers and the audiences
     – the places
— text
     – the location in the canon
     – the history
     – the structure
— meaning
     – what is a noble truth? Is it the same as ultimate truth? Does the difference include shared characteristics? Or is it a radical shearing from theoretical truth to a practical one?
     – what are the 4 noble truths?
     – How does the Buddha define them? Descriptively or proscriptively? Both?
     – birth of the religion
     – birth of Sangha. Triple Gem.
— application
      – how do the 4 help me?
            Compass, medecine, etc
      – you and the noble truths?
      – tool box of investigative wisdom?
      – Awakening the same or more or different than the 4 noble truths?
— commentaries vs. canon? Any differences?
This discourse can be a multi-life journey of discovery. These questions are long-term questions. So no need to have an opinion about these questions just yet. Just open up your heart to a long-term project in a relaxed environment among Dhamma friends.
My best wishes to you,

What Buddhism Is Not

People have many misconceptions about what Buddhism teaches.  Below is an interesting essay ( 9 pages ) by Buddhist monk Thanisarro Bhikkhu listing those common misconceptions and showing that those misconceptions actually come from 19th century European literature.

The essay is extracted from his book “Purity Of Heart”.

The Roots Of Buddhist Romanticism, by Thanisarro Bhikkhu

Video: How to deal with difficult events: Ajahn Brahmali

Ajahn Brahmali is a Norwegian Buddhist monk.   He is a student of the famous British monk Ajahn Brahm, who studied under Ajahn Chah.   This dhamma talk was inspired by the recent political events in the United States.

The Present Moment