Tag Archives: Dhamma

Abhidhamma Empty and Not Self

Observing Tilakkhana

Observing the Three Marks of Existence, or Tilakkhana, involves cultivating mindfulness and insight through direct experience.

Buddha sees no Illusion

Here’s how one might practice observing these characteristics within all things, including inner experiences and thoughts:

  1. Impermanence (Anicca):
    • Outer World: Direct your attention to the external world, such as observing the changing nature of the environment, seasons, or people. Notice how nothing remains static.
    • Inner World: Observe the sensations within your body, the rising and falling of your breath, and the constant flux of thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to the changing nature of your inner experiences.
  2. Suffering or Unsatisfactoriness (Dukkha):
    • Outer World: Reflect on the unsatisfactory nature of worldly experiences, such as the fleeting nature of pleasure or the inevitable challenges and difficulties in life.
    • Inner World: Acknowledge the moments of discontent, stress, or dissatisfaction within your mind. Observe how attachment and aversion contribute to a sense of suffering.
  3. Non-Self (Anatta):
    • Outer World: Contemplate the idea that everything in the external world lacks a permanent, unchanging essence. Recognize the interdependence and interconnectedness of all phenomena.
    • Inner World: Investigate the sense of “I” or “self” within your thoughts and emotions. Explore whether there is a permanent, unchanging core to your identity. Observe thoughts arising and passing without identifying with them as a fixed self.
    • Buddha in a Tree

Practical Steps:

  • Mindful Awareness: Cultivate present-moment awareness by bringing attention to your experiences without judgment or attachment.
  • Meditation: Practice mindfulness meditation to observe the breath, bodily sensations, and mental phenomena. This helps develop the ability to notice impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self.
  • Reflection: Regularly reflect on the transient, unsatisfactory, and non-self nature of experiences. This can be done through journaling or contemplative practices.
  • Daily Life Integration: Extend your practice into daily life by observing impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self in routine activities, interactions, and thoughts.

By consistently applying these principles, practitioners deepen their understanding of Tilakkhana, fostering wisdom and insight into the true nature of existence according to Buddhist teachings.

Ajahn Khao Khorata's Biography

The Life of Ajarn Khao

Khao Khorata, born on 28 December 1888 in Baan Bo Chaneng in Ubon Ratchathani province in Thailand, was the fourth child in a family of seven children. Khao was a farmer. He worked hard to be wealthy, and was known as a person who was easy in social interaction. His personality was primarily characterised by honesty and generosity towards friends and family.[1]

When he reached the age of twenty, his parents arranged a marriage for him. Khao and his wife – Nang Mee – had seven children. Though he had to work hard in order to provide for his family, yet his income was just enough to provide them with the basic necessities of life. Hence, for the sake of his family’s well being, he decided to go and look for a job in another province. Once he had gathered sufficient funds, he would return back home. However, when that time finally arrived, Khao found his wife sleeping with someone else.[2]

Though Khao had previously already been informed by his friends, who told him about the adulterous behavior of his wife, yet he nearly lost his self control when he heard the news. Hence, armed with a machete, he went out to confront the unlawful couple. His rage and anger took complete control over him, and so he pointed the machete at the sleeping couple. However, coincidentally, his wife’s lover noticed what was going on, and saw Khao standing at a short distance with the machete in his hands. Terrified by what he saw, he immediately raised his hands and begged Khao to spare his life. The man then instantly admitted the grave mistake he had made to sleep with another man’s wife. Due to the man’s sincere confession, Khao suddenly changed his mind. His anger turned into compassion when he saw the anxiety in that man’s eyes. When Khao saw that man’s his fear of death, his anger disappeared, and he regained his sense of reality again.

So, instead of killing the man, Khao called upon all the villagers as a witness to this scandal, and let them testify against the shameless act of the couple, so that in the future no doubt could remain about this matter. In the presence of the entire village community, among them were Khao’s relatives, he publicly accused his the of committing sex with his wife; the man admitted his faults, and agreed to pay a financial compensation to Khao. Khao then publicly announced that he hereby handed his wife over to her lover.[3]

Before all this happened, Khao was merely concerned about how he could achieve his worldly ambitions. But because of the martital unfaithfulness of his wife, Khao was inspired to contemplate the Dhamma. Soon after that he understood that there are many hidden dangers in the life of a householder. And so he realized that his worldly dreams and wishes would only cause him to suffer even more in the future. This insight, of course, upset him so much until it became almost unbearable for him to carry on living this way. After a while he had lost the will to live, for he could not find any motivation to get his worldly life back on track.

Eventually Khao decided to renounce his worldly life in order to put an end to all his suffering. The Dhamma made him realize that there is in fact a way out of this suffering. Thus, Khao put all his trust and faith in the teachings of the Buddha, and went forth as a member of the saṅgha[5] to put the Dhamma in to practice. Through his dilligent practice, he found that the Buddha’s teachings are true in the sense that there is indeed a way to transcend beyond samsara, which leads to final liberation from suffering.

Ajahn Khao Khorata's Biography



[1] Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 11.

[2] Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 16.

[3] Ven. Ācariya Mahā Boowa Nanasampanno: ‘Venerable Ajaan Khao Analayo: a True Spiritual Warrior’, p. 17.

[4] Saṅgha: the monastic community of Buddhist monks.

Ajahn Chah's Wisdom - click image to read a Quote from the Master

What is Dhamma? What Isn’t?

“Everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our Physical Eye, But also the things we see in our  Minds”.

Ajahn Chah

Ajahn Chah's Wisdom - click image to read a Quote from the Master

Ajahn Chah Supatto – His Wisdom is endless – click image to read a Quote on Seeking Peace from the Master of Teaching Dhamma, with Simplicity.

Ajarn Spencer’s Notes;

“The Contemplation of Rupa and Nama Dhammas leads to Intuitive Understanding (Insight) of the True Nature, or Essence of all Phenomaena (Dhammas) namely, that they are empty (Sunyatta) – empty of an owner or governing body, that is unchanging (Anatta), Impermanent due to constant change (Anijja), and lead to Eventual Dissatisfaction due to Impermanence (Dhukkha).  And that all of this, worldly existential soup of phenomaena, is a mass of blubber known as ‘Sangkhara’. And that only that which is not any of those Sangkharas, is Nibbana”.

“Nibbana is not so far away, in fact, it is ever present, but our minds are unable to experience it because of the Dhamma of the veils.. the Dhamma of illusory perception and the Dhamma of assumption”

The Dhamma is Ultimate truth, but even such a thing as ‘A Lie’ is a Dhamma, for Dhamma are Phenomaena, and ‘The Dhamma’ as meant by Humans, is the word used to refer to ‘Ultimate, Absolute, Eternal Truth’

I hope you now have a deeper understanding of the word Dhamma. (Words are ‘Nama Dhammas’ – Mental Objects, Forms are ‘Rupa Dhammas’ – Physical Objects).

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No Ajahn Chah – Free Download – Dhamma Teachings from Ajahn Chah (Ebook)
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Taking Refuge

Taking Refuge in the Triple Gem

The Buddha Dhamma and Sangha are the True refuge of Buddhists

Taking Refuge means, that we Refuge in the Attainments of the Lord Buddha, as a Faith instiller to let us know that a Human can do this (self liberation).
We Refuge in the Dhamma, the teachings which lead to liberation.
And we Refuge in the Sangha

What does ‘Sangha mean?

The Sangha is generally used as a word to refer to the company of Monks and Nuns, but actually, Sangha means the company of true spiritual practitioners who should be sought out as true companions and positive influence on our life.

So we Take Refuge in those that have Attained Liberation, and follow in their footsteps, by Taking Refuge in the study and practice of the Dhamma in the present time, and by Taking Refuge in the right company and Refuging in those who have gone further and attained more self mastery, and can be seen as our guides and teachers, as well as spiritual companions.

The Sangha – Dhamma Diary
What is The Triple Gem?
What is Dhamma?

What is The Triple Gem?

The Triple Gem, or “Pra Ratanatrai” in Thai (Pra refers to “high” or “sacred” things, Ratana means gem,and Trai means triple) is the term used to refer to the three objects of Refuge taken by all Buddhists.

When you become a Buddhist, you will be asked to take refuge in the Triple Gem as part of your Initiation process, and (hopefully), in most cases, will receive a teaching on the meaning of what the triple Gem represents in Buddhism.  This article intends to explain the basic importance of paying reverence to the triple gem, and the reasons why they are seen as so important by Buddhists of all traditions and lineages.

Symbolic Image representing the Triple Gem

symbol of the Triple Gem

The three objects of Refuge are these;

  • The Buddha
  • The Dharma
  • The Sangha

These three objects are seen as the essential core elements which keep the Buddhist faith in existence, and are thus considered to be the source of inspiration in the practise which leads us to Enlightenment and release from further suffering in the Realm of Causal Existence (Becoming and Passing away – all things are impermanent, have a beginning and an End, which leads to dissatisfaction).

For this reason, a Buddhist takes refuge in the Triple Gem until reaching Enlightenment.

This is normally chanted to oneself whilst bowing three times before the image of the Buddha in the Shrine, or even mornings before beginning the day and night times before sleeping at home.

This is normally performed using the Pali language. The chanting goes like this (Thailand phonetic pronunciation);

  • Puttang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Buddha)
  • Tammang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Dhamma)
  • Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami (I take Refuge in the Sangha)

Then the same again with the word “Tudtiyambi” as a prefix – which means “for the second time”

  • Tudtiyambpi Puttang Saranang Kajchaami 
  • Tudtiyambpi Tammang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Tudtiyambpi Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami

Then the same again with the word “Dtadtiyambi” as a prefix – which means “for the third time”

  • Dtadtiyambpi Puttang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Dtadtiyambpi Tammang Saranang Kajchaami
  • Dtadtiyambpi Sangkhang Saranang Kajchaami

Alternatively, in other countries, the words are spelled like this;

  • Buddham saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Buddha.
  • Dhammam saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Dharma.
  • Sangham saranam gacchāmi – I go for refuge in the Sangha

The reason why all of these three aspects are seen as equally precious, is the fact that;
If there was no Sangha (monks), then the Dhamma would not be able to reach us, for it is the monks who are the living embodiment of the teachings (Dhamma), and it is they who speak the teachings to us and write books for us, and it is they who propagate the practice in the present so that it may still continue in the future.

The Dhamma is the truth of all things in the Universe, always was, is and shall be valid, and is thus the true source which can be uncovered or revealed, enabling our Enlightenment. The Dhamma is the direct cause of our Enlightenment, and is synonymous with the practise.

The Buddha is the being who became Enlightened (knowing the Dhamma in it’s entirety), and is the one who expounded the Dhamma, revealing it to us, so that we could know it and learn to abide by it, using it as a tool to attain Enlightenment with. Without the Buddha, we may never have been lucky enough to encounter the Dhamma, and therefore, the Buddha is seen as the source of the existence of the Dhamma teachings on this planet. Without him, the Dhamma would indeed still be existent, but it would be invisible, unheard of and unknown to Humans, and perhaps the Devas as well.

Important Notes;

The Buddha did not invent the Dhamma, the Dhamma is the true nature of all things in Existence (this is in fact the meaning of the word Dhamma – “nature of things”).
The Buddha even said that the Dhamma existed before he found it, was always true, is now in the present also true, and will still be true in the future, regardless how long a time passes. The Dhamma is the Universal laws that apply to the physical world, and also the non physical world (emotional, mental, spiritual) and these rules and laws apply to life, becoming and all things in existence. They are pure, and unchangeable. The Dhamma teaches that all things are impermanent and changeable, but in fact, the Dhamma that refers to the laws which govern existence itself never changes. The fact that all things are impermanent was true then, is true now, and in the future will still be true – this is an unchangeable truth, and that is what we call a “Dhamma”.

This is of course seemingly self contradictory to say all things are changing, but that this fact is unchangeable.. but this is one of the perplexities of Dhamma when seen from our unenlightened perspective. Once the basic principles of Dhamma have been grasped however, these perplexities disappear and the practitioner ceases to wonder about the self contradictory concepts which occur when attempting to explain the limitless with a limited tool such as Human language.

Reference Links;

Wikipedia – Three Jewels
How to Chant Namo Tassa

What is Dhamma?

“Dhamma” in Pali, meaning “Nature”, or, “the way things really are”. The study of the Dhamma consists of the renunciation of the causes of suffering and rebirth in illusory existences and realm, in order to escape the suffering that is inherent in all incarnate lifeforms by not havng to ever return. This is acehived by attaining what has come to be known as “Enlightenment”, or “Sainthood” (Arahantship).
Dhamma is a technique for self transformation and self  liberation (from suffering and eventual rebirth into further states of unsatisfactoriness (suffering/dhukka) Dhamma practise is applied on the basis of contemplation, renunciation and devotional practise whilst maintaining the precepts (either 5, 8, 10 or 227), and applying one’s life to the Eightfold Path as taught by the Buddha Sakyamuni. The liberated state (known as Arahantship whilst still alive, and Nirvana when cessation has occured), is attained by practising various techniques of what is now referred to as “Mindfulness meditation” or “Vipassana/Kammathana” practise. The word Vipassana means to develop the mind, or to develop the perception. Kammathana is a phrase which begin to be used more commonly in Thailand by the Forest Tradition Monks of the Tudong lineage of Ajarn Mun and Ajarn Chah. Kamma, meaning “action”, or “behaviour” and Thana meaning “basis” or “base”.

Bhikkhu Bua Nanasampanno (Ajarn Maha Bua Probably the only living student of the Master Ajarn Mun Bhuridatto, the founder of the Kammathana Ascetic tradition. Ajarn Pra Maha Bua Nanasampanno, is well known for the fluency and skill of his Dhamma talks, and their direct and dynamic approach. He was the abbot of Wat Pah Bahn Tahd in Udon Thani, Thailand, until his passing in 2011.

Here is Wikipedia’s explanation of the word Kammathana;

In Buddhism, Kammathaana is a Pali word (Sanskrit: karmasthana) which literally means the place of work. Figuratively it means the place within the mind where one goes in order to work on spiritual development. More concretely, it refers to the forty canonical objects of meditation (samatha kammathaana), listed in the third chapter of the Visuddhimagga.
The Kammatthana collectively are not suitable for all persons at all times. Each kammatthana can be prescribed, especially by a teacher (kalyaana-mitta), to a given person at a given time, depending on the person’s temperament and state of mind.

The path to becoming an Arahant is preceded by 3 other stages, known as Sotapanna, Sakitakami, Anakami (and fourthly; Arahant). The Sotapanna state is known as “stream enterer”, Sakitakami is known as “Once returner”, Anakami as “Never Returner” and lastly the Arahant status (direct entry into Nirvana upon cessation of the five khandas). These 4 states are considered to be all states of “Noble Beings” – the four kinds of Noble persons are subclassified into 8; 4 path states and four “fruit” states.

Path means that one has not attained the state yet, but that one has entered into the way leading to the attainment of that state (fruit state) The most important goal for any serious Buddhist is to acheive as a minimum condition, the Sotapanna state (stream enterer). This is due to the fact that once attainment of stream entry is acheived, one is safe from danger of being reborn as a hell being, asura, peta, or animal. The Sotapanna will only be reborn as a Human Being or in the Celestial Realms as an Angelic Intelligence or a Brahma What is Dhamma? The Dhamma is the doctrine, or Teaching, way, of the Bhuddha. Dhamma also means “nature” or “the way things really are”.

The Dhamma is a path of practise that leads to wisdom and liberation from suffering. One’s understanding of Dhamma becomes ever deeper and profound as one advances along the path, old lessons revealing new truths as one develops deeper insight and understanding of Dhamma; “Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (Dhamma-Vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch”. The basic gist of practising Dhamma is to Mindfully practise meditation, learn and teach Dhamma as one has understood it, and combine it with the moral principles of Sila (precepts), and to use these tools to live according to the principles of the Noble Eightfold Path..