‘life’s not an easy thing, it’s no smooth run – sometimes it weighs us down so much; life taxes us with more than we’d choose – life’s unstable, always, perhaps, and ever flowing, flowing through our fingers – life’s like a dream it’s true and a short dream, such a very short dream and then one day, one lifetime, you wake up; you ask yourself this: all of this… why? for what? the world is hot, said the Buddha, hot and burning with the fires of greed, the fires of aversion, the fires of delusion – and human beings, longing for coolness, stoke those fires again and again, and again – the furniture may be exquisite and the bars of solid gold but once the bird realizes that the cage is a cage, it finds within that cage, no joy – what is goodness? what is evil? how can you decide? what cleanses the mind, by what is it defiled? and how can you know? what is happiness? what is suffering? and what is, or is there an ultimate joy? know that in the beginning, it is not the answers that matter, but the asking.’
‘Seen In Their True Light’ by Ajahn Jayasaro.
‘Last year I decided to produce a Dhamma book that would be of interest to the many people in Thailand who do not usually read Dhamma books. It would be a book of photographs. I asked for photos on any subject at all from my students and through them their families and friends. In all I received some three or four thousand images, which I whittled down to a few hundred of my favourites. And then I began to impose a narrative on the material. I chose as my subject the path to liberation. The demands of metre can affect the content of a poem, bringing forth phrases from the poet’s mind that might otherwise have remained unformed. Similarly, In seeking to present the Buddha’s teachings within the framework provided by a random set of photographs I have found new ways of expressing myself. I hope my readers will enjoy the experiment as much as I have.
In Thailand, performing an act of goodness without hope of reward or recognition is compared to attaching gold leaf to the unseen back of a Buddha image. I would like to express my deep appreciation of all those who have attached gold leaf to this project.
The book is an English version of the Thai original. It is not an exact rendering of the original, more a non-identical twin.’
Janamara Hermitage March 2012