5 May
Posted in: Retreats, Talks
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A Particular Kind of Beauty

As I posted on Friday, Ajahn Sucitto spent quite a lot of time at the retreat talking about beauty. This is not a word I’d often heard on retreat. “Wholesome” — yes. “Noble”, “Beneficial”, “Good” — yes. But “Beautiful” — not so much.

He said: The practice of the path is beauty. “Beauty” meaning admirable, lovely, uplifting. It’s a particular kind of beauty that’s encouraged. Beauty of intention. Beauty of heart. (You can listen to the entire talk here.)

He started the talk in reference to the morning rituals of chanting and lighting candles. “Awakening the wise like the sun awakening the lotus.”

He quoted the suttas, which say that the Buddha’s teachings are: “Beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle, beautiful in the end.”  Then he went on to say: For the faith mind, this is exactly right. Incline toward beauty. Flowers, candles, incense. You don’t need these, specifically, but you do need beauty. And offering. Because this what beauty is. Spiritual beauty is just this–the beauty of offering…..

In in the morning, when you’re not feeling very beautiful at all, just: OK. Let’s get up. Breath it in. Move it around. Freshen it up. Sit down, make an offering. Open to that.

In monasteries, that’s the day. That’s the beginning. It’s not a rule, not on the level of rules. But it’s certainly on a level of loyalty. Where’s one’s faith, if you’re not doing that? What are you here for?

So you rise up….

Our life is continually passing. Could that be beautiful, rather than the fumbling of uncertainties and disappointments… Letting things end beautifully. And the awareness of that–the awareness of being with the beginning of things….persisting in the middle…letting it change, letting it slip away, letting it move on. The kind of intentions that support that — these are truly magnanimous, free from blemish, free from grasping.


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