Sunday, May 29, 2005

Dharma talks

Here is an essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu: it's an insightful piece of cultural criticism, on how the Western post-Romantic worldview tends to distort Westerners' perception of Buddhist teachings. Audio versions of this and his other talks are here.

Leigh Brasington works as a software engineer, and also teaches and leads retreats. He's one of the few people around who really teaches the Jhanas. The Jhanas are states of absorptive concentration that the Buddha described as being necessary precursors to mindfulness. Interestingly, the Pali word Jhana (from some Sanskrit root that I don't remember offhand) became Chan in chinese and Zen in Japanese.

His talks are fun to listen to because he sounds exactly like a software engineer. He'll say, "Now, many people underestimate the importance of practicing attaining absorptive states of concentration" and you'll do a double take because you were expecting him to complete the sentence with "defragmenting your hard drive."

Anyway, his talks on the Jhanas are here, and an essay summarizing his thoughts on the Jhanas and the Brahmaviharas are on his geocities homepage. (I find it rather touching that he's still loyal to geocities.)

No comments: