2 May
Posted in: Retreats
By    Comments Off on Enjoyment. Pleasure. Simplicity. Beauty.

Enjoyment. Pleasure. Simplicity. Beauty.

Enjoyment was a big theme of the retreat led by Ajahn Sucitto. (Which may be a surprise to many who think that all we Buddhists ever talk about is suffering.) Enjoyment. Pleasure. Simplicity. Beauty. These are words he used over and over again, in all his talks, during the entire 8 days of the retreat.

Here are just a few examples, all from the talk he gave on the first full night (which you can listen to by clicking here):

The first thing is to acknowledge: “I have aspiration.” Then ask what is that aspiration triggered by….what really resonates for me. If it resonates for you, you’ll have energy for it. When you apply energy to something that you find resonant, you’re bound to get results. That gives you increased confidence. And enjoyment. 

Enjoyment is the sign of proper energy. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy. You get a feeling that this may be work–but you’re enjoying it. That’s the mark. If it isn’t there, then you’re not going to keep going…..

Breathing is very helpful for that because breathing has an energy in it, a natural body energy, and so as you apply yourself to that, you begin to get the feedback of that, a subtle vitality, a clarity — that’s enjoyable….

What one begins to see is that radical simplicity from the manifold events of our lives…..when you can get it down to just the one point, for example: “This is ill will,” or “This is passion,” or “This is longing,”….then you see it for what it is. You see the danger of adding to it. You handle it carefully. You handle it wisely. You never lose respect for yourself with that. “This is beneath me.” “I don’t need to do this.” “This is belittling.” “This disfigures me.” Then you dispel it….. Faith in oneself is required. Confidence in oneself….. You are not the hindrance. You mustn’t confuse the disease with the patient. You have to remember that you are the Beautiful, and this is not worthy of you. Then just put it aside. You can do that….

You’ve got to simplify….. If it’s not necessary, not helpful, not appropriate — don’t bother. There’s not so much time. We could go any day! Don’t bother wasting your time and energy in stuff that is not resonant, not purposeful, not furthering. There is something good for us if we stay on track…. “Could this be simpler?” Just keep the question there. It could be more complex, that’s easy. But could it be simpler? Try bearing that question in mind. That’s the kind of fundamental inquiry/question that gives rise to samadhi [concentration]…

For example with the breathing… Is it bright? Is it clear? Is it strong?…. Gradually the breathing becomes simplified to a single sign. The sign of something clear, bright, encouraging for the mind to gather around. You need to learn the skill of simplicity.

If that simplicity is cultivated with mindfulness and appropriate attention, you see the results of the mind beginning to unify. And as it unifies…..the mind seems to have a particular body to it. And the feeling, the particular feeling is a pleasant feeling, a bright pleasant feeling…. And this is called the world-stopper, because the world — what is called the world — really means the diversification, where the mind’s energy is scattered over many, many things. In unifying, all that energy comes back and it starts to unify to something you can really enjoy and stay with…..

From the point of view of the world, this sounds like annihilation, but from the point of view of experience, it’s release. Freedom. Peace…. That’s where it goes. That’s what happens. And the path is marked by happiness and joy.


Want more? Listen to the talk. Click here. And enjoy.

(image from Mindful magazine, June 2014)

Comments are closed.