Turning Coal into Diamond


‘Insignificant is the loss of wealth, relatives and fame:

the loss of wisdom is the greatest loss.

Insignificant is the increase of wealth, relatives and fame:

the increase of wisdom is the highest gain.’ *



Let us bring that black and dirty substance coal to mind: it is coarse, it is bland, it is nothing special. We don’t want to handle it more than is necessary. True, it’s invaluable to us, but it’s still a very unrefined material. The black stuff is, putting aside its usefulness, one of the less desirable substances on earth.

But, given the right conditions, what happens to coal after a certain period of time? It turns into the most precious material on earth. It turns into diamond.

Our suffering is like coal. It is dirty, it is unrefined, we don’t like to handle it; we’d rather put it down. There’s also plenty of it.

But, being like coal, it has the potential to become something very special. This is because, given the right conditions, our suffering will eventually be transformed into the most precious thing – material or immaterial – on earth. Our suffering will transform into wisdom.

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Full Moon Day: Dhamma Curry

November 12, 2008




Being in the Thai Forest Tradition we naturally eat a lot of Thai Food. Sometimes Thai people bring food in the morning to offer at the meal; sometimes our resident chefs knock up a little sticky rice and chilli; and whether the above happens or not we virtually always pull out one of Yod’s curries from the freezer.

Now some of these curries I love. Sweet and Sour, MILD Green Curry, Massaman – delicious. But there are some that – when introduced to your tongue – make a volcano’s scorching rivers of lava seem like playful and refreshing streams. When you are not used to these you soon learn what it must feel like to have your tongue stretched on to a metal plate and whacked with a hammer. And if sweating is your aim, then you need go no further.

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