New Moon Day: Ajahn Tommy

October 29, 2008

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Ajahn Tommy

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As Buddhists we view difficult people and situations as opportunities to cultivate our practice. The Chinese master Kuang-ch’in said: “Without hardships there can be no attainment in practice.”

In our monastery we have a little teacher who is particularly adept at enabling us to develop a bottomless well of patience and love. If we didn’t develop these things he might well have found himself in a new home by now.

His name’s Tommy, Ajahn Tommy. Ajahn means teacher and Tommy teaches us in ways that we don’t always immediately appreciate. Because Tommy is a Jack Russell, and he likes to pee.

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The Five Factors of Concentration

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In order to progress in our meditation we must be clear in our minds what exactly it is we are trying to develop. The Buddha taught that full concentration comprises five factors. It is therefore these five factors that we need to develop.

By understanding these factors and their functions we are able to see where our meditation is lacking and where it is progressing. Understanding our own practice in terms of these factors will serve to give us a definite direction; a clear path with recognisable markers along the way.

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