by Ajahn Candasiri, Ajahn Sucitto 2001 English

Introduction

The practice of Buddhism is most frequently associated with the quiet, reflective and introspective aspects of formal meditation, with little recognition or realisation of the many means by which we can cultivate such qualities as joy, gladness and the uplift of the heart.

The devotional aspects of our practice as seen through solitary meditation can seem pointless, or even foolish, but experience teaches us that meditation alone is not a guaranteed entry into the sublime – it can be a wearisome struggle with a wayward mind!

This booklet therefore is about the recognition and cultivation of those means whereby we bring emotive forces into our daily lives.

We need to make the Buddha-Dhamma-Sangha a vital, integral part of our world-view, to inculcate a clear sense of reverence and pride in being disciples of the Blessed One and a sense of fellowship with all those who have trodden and are currently treading the Path to Peace and Truth.

We can feel gladdened and uplifted by the sense of aspirational belonging. So we are seeking to create a ‘crisis-free zone’ – to develop a sanctuary or refuge of our own which we can call upon or retire to, not just in formal meditation, but at all times throughout our daily lives.

This booklet is not concerned with quiet absorption or introspection. It refers more to those outward forms of practice which help us dislodge negative moods or states of mind and substitute in their place, a contemplative space of joy and saddhå.

Although saddhå is translated as ‘faith’, it refers more to a heart-felt sense of ‘rightness’ – an instinctive, intuitive awareness that ‘this is Right’. When our saddhå is unshakeably rooted in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, they, in their turn, evoke a sense of zest and enthusiasm to continue.

Once we are firmly established in the Triple Gem, and once we can call upon our sanctuary whenever there’s the need, we have a sound foundation for the cultivation of concentration and calm. This is because the mind, being thereby lifted up, gains perspective on the realm of mundane existence with all its worries, doubts and regrets. However, this is not a refuge that we can simply conjure up at will; it needs the right conditions and we must create them.

 

Excerpt From: Ajahn Sucitto and Ajahn Candasiri. “Rituals and Observances.”