Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree: The Buddha's Teaching on Voidness
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Clear and simple teachings on voidness and living an ethical life.
In Heartwood of the Bodhi Tree, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu presents in simple language the philosophy of voidness, or sunnata, that lies at the heart of the Buddhism. By carefully tying voidness to ethical discipline, Buddhadasa provides us clear and open grounds to reflect on the place of the philosophy in our lives. With his ecumenical, stimulating, and enthusiastically engaged approach to reading the Buddha's teaching in full flourish, Ajahn Buddhadasa transforms the jungle of philosophy into a glade as inviting as the one in which he famously taught.
“I” or “mine” is very hard to see. If you don’t take a genuine interest in it, you won’t be able to understand that it is the force behind dukkha, the power behind spiritual disease. EGO, EGOİSM, AND SELFİSHNESS That which is called attā or “self” corresponds to the Latin word “ego.” If the feeling of self-consciousness arises, we call it egoism because once the feeling of “I” arises, it naturally and inevitably gives rise to the feeling of “mine.” Therefore the feeling of self and the feeling
are innumerable. That being so, we aim to examine voidness only as absence of dukkha and the defilements that cause dukkha, and as the absence of the feeling that there is a self or that there are things that are the possessions of a self. This is voidness as it relates to our practice of Dhamma.15 If we ask which of the Buddha’s statements concerning this matter can be taken as authoritative, we will find that in many places the Buddha taught us to know how to look on the world as being void.
on any one day suññatā is there repeatedly. Even if it’s not a fixed, absolute suññatā, it’s still very good, as long as we take the trouble to observe it. If we take an interest in this sort of voidness right from the start, it will generate a contentment with voidness that will make it easy to practice and attain the real thing. Therefore, the phrase “we know suññatā” refers to having voidness manifest in awareness. The phrase “clearly seeing suññatā” must also be increasingly clear and
in Dhamma. But there is still a way to save ourselves: when vedanā has already developed, although there is already a feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, stop it right there. Let feeling remain merely as feeling and then pass away. Don’t allow it to go on and concoct taṇhā, foolishly wanting this and that in reaction to the satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Once there is satisfaction, there is desire, craving, indulgence, possessiveness, envy, and their string of consequences. Once there
“heartwood,” the pith, the essence of the Buddhist teachings is the practice of nonclinging. It is living with a mind void of the feelings of “I” and “mine.” He masterfully shows us how to develop this practice and how to take voidness as our fundamental principle. When we do this, we have a wonderful tool for understanding and making use of every one of the many concepts and skillful means that lie within the Buddhist tradition. This tool also allows us to distinguish those things that are alien