by Michael Rae

NV14c_colNanavira makes it clear at the start of Notes on Dhamma for whom the book is written and to whom it might appeal. This is the person who is reflecting on their situation in life and trying to find some meaning for their existence. At any point in time, this is not everybody and in fact this kind of enquiry may sometimes be brought on by a dramatic or unpleasant event in the person’s life, such as the death of someone dear or a medical scare. For whatever reason, all the usual pleasures of life become meaningless, the roles and activities that we have spent years building up seem shallow and trivial, and we may be filled with despair as we reflect on our superficial and selfish priorities.

This is a situation described by many writers and in the world of philosophy by the existentialist thinkers. In order to address the predicament, the existentialists describe the need for the person to at least be ‘authentic’ in their approach to the problem. They describe how most people are too weak or too scared to face up to the harsh reality of their situation, preferring instead to lose themselves in distractions of one sort or another. These may include losing oneself in the fantasy world of modern media, in addictive behaviours such as work, sex and drugs, or in other escapist fare such as a belief in a ‘personal saviour’. Anything that will take their minds off the horrible reality that stares them in the face in their darkest moments – that each of our lives is ultimately totally meaningless, our personal world is so fragile that it could be destroyed in an instant, and that, no matter how hard we try, we have no final control over our fates. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mrs Willett’s Mediumship by Balfour

Posted: February 21, 2015 by pathpress in News
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A Study of the Psychological Aspects of Mrs Willett’s Mediumship, and of the Statement of the Communicators Concerning Process
(Proceedings, Vol 43., 1935)
by Gerald William, Earl of Balfour

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Path Press is sharing this digital version of the original copy with the permission of the Society for Psychical Research since this book has been recommended by Ven. Ñāṇavīra Thera in his letters, described it as “a fascinating book”, but it could not be obtained in bookshops or on any online library. Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. M. John Stella passes away.

Posted: November 30, 2014 by pathpress in News

John StellaWe regret to inform that our friend and member of Path Press, Dr John Stella, passed away on 28th November 2014 in Gainesville, Florida USA, after suffering a massive stroke. Read the rest of this entry »

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Notes on Meditation

Posted: July 30, 2014 by pathpress in Bhikkhu's Notebook, Dhamma Article

pdf-downloadby Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli

 

1. Mindfulness of breathing, bhikkhus, developed and repeatedly practised, is of great fruit, of great benefit; mindfulness of breathing, bhikkhus, developed and repeatedly practised, perfects the four foundations of mindfulness; the four foundations of mindfulness, developed and repeatedly practised, perfect the seven enlightenment factors; the seven enlightenment factors, developed and repeatedly practised, perfect knowledge and freedom…

2. Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu, gone to the forest, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty place, sits down; having folded his legs crosswise, set his body erect, established mindfulness in front of him, ever mindful he breathes in, mindful he breathes out.

3. Breathing in long, he knows, ‘I breathe in long’; or breathing out long, he knows, ‘I breathe out long.’

4. Breathing in short, he knows, ‘I breathe in short’; or breathing out short, he knows, ‘I breathe out short.’

5. ‘Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,’ he trains himself thus; ‘experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,’ he trains himself thus.

6. ‘Calming the bodily determination, I shall breathe in,’ he trains himself thus; ‘calming the bodily determination, I shall breathe out,’ he trains himself thus…

Ānāpānasati Sutta, MN 118.

1. The practice of ānāpānasati or mindfulness of breathing represents a phenomenological exercise in developing the principle of simultaneity (akālikā dhamma). This is accomplished by the sufficient establishing of mindfulness and knowledge of what one is supposed to do and discern.1 It is an exercise because it requires one actively engaging in and being aware of the act of breathing, and it develops the principle of simultaneity because while one is actively breathing, one is aware of one’s actions (body, feelings, and thoughts). These are two different, simultaneously present things: the physical or bodily act of breathing, and the mental reflexive thoughts of one doing that very act. One is not supposed to be favoured on account of the other; a person should not be overdoing the breathing (i.e. turning it into a forceful breathing exercise) nor should he be underdoing it (i.e. forgetting about the act of breathing that is being performed, and letting it happen unawares). In the same sense one should not overthink one’s thinking (i.e. get lost in thought). The point is to mindfully breathe while remain fully aware of oneself-mindfully-breathing, or – to put it simply – to remain aware of the present phenomenon of “I am breathing.Read the rest of this entry »

‘MEANINGS’ by Bhikkhu Ninoslav Ñānamoli

Posted: June 26, 2014 by pathpress in News

meaningsMeanings

Essays and Letters on Dhamma

Limited Edition in hardback

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Doubt always remains present and it continuously needs fixing. But how to realize the ideal meaning, if not by following what others have done and by fulfilling commonly-accepted techniques and views? What is the real meaning of existence and suffering?

Meanings is not a book to give direct answers to such questions. There is nothing here that you can take up as a belief, an empty speculation or a theory. The author, Ven. Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli, refrains from explaining Dhamma, an act which he regards as mere psychological investigation and linearly-connected facts. Here is no intent to set up a fixed theory. What the author does do is describe the nature of experience as it is: not about this or that problem or fact in the world, but the experience as such—Dhamma, which has to be investigated with proper attention e.g. seeing the present simultaneous relationship of an arisen thing and its determination. With proper attention, the being of things is gradually revealed—and not understanding the nature of this being, the author says, is the fundamental ignorance. He then describes nothing but the nature, the dhamma, of things—not by looking for the meaning, but understanding meanings.NyanaPPP

Essays’, the first part of the book, contains just that: descriptions of the experience. This is no doubt difficult material to digest: it demands that the reader recognize those described things in his own experience. Without developed mindfulness and right attention, these writings will be impossible to grasp.

The second part of the book, the ‘Correspondence with Mathias’, provides useful support in understanding the essays. This private correspondence has been taking place with a German friend, Mathias, since 2009.

The third part, ‘Additional Texts’, contains questions posted on http://www.pathpress.org by people who wanted to understand the essays and sought clarification, with answers by Ven. Ñāṇamoli. (From the Preface)

A review of “The Hermit of Bundala”

Posted: June 11, 2014 by pathpress in Review

From: The Island, May 10, 2014, 6:14 pm
http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=103092

by Thusitha Jayawardena

“Only in a vertical view, straight down into the abyss of his own personal existence, is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does apprehend this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s Teaching.”

HoBfinalOne day in 1948, almost a decade before the flower children’s exodus to the East, two Englishmen—one, twenty eight, in the prime of life, and the other, fifteen years his senior—arrived in Ceylon. They proceeded to Vajirarama, a Buddhist temple in the capital, Colombo, where they received the novice ordination and, eventually, the full ordination as Buddhist monks. The Hermit of Bundala (THB) by Bhikkhu Hiriko Nanasuci is the story of one of them—Harold Edward Musson. The book traces Musson’s unusual life through numerous interviews and Musson’s and the other Englishman, Osbert Moor’s, correspondence with their relatives, friends and fellow seekers of the Path. It is an engaging narrative of Musson’s extraordinary life: A childhood spent in an upper class English family, Cambridge days followed by a stint in an army intelligence unit during the Second World War, a decadent post-war interlude, a Herculean effort to understand and follow the Buddha’s teaching, and his last days in a secluded kuti in the remote village of Bundala in the jungles of southern Ceylon. Had that stark contrast of Musson’s beginning and end been the main story, The Hermit of Bundala would remain a book about an eccentric Englishman. It is much more. THB is the story of Nanavira Thera—as Musson was known post-ordination—and his single-minded quest to follow the Buddha’s teaching. Read the rest of this entry »

Books for Free Distribution… An Invitation

Posted: February 26, 2014 by pathpress in News

In order to make available books published by Path Press Publications to people who, though interested in their contents, do not have the opportunity to access them, Path Press Publications has begun a project of free distribution of its titles to a small number of monasteries, libraries and individuals (monastics who, of necessity, haven’t the means to purchase them). The expectation is that in doing so these books are likely to find readers who will both appreciate their value, and benefit, perhaps profoundly, from an encounter with them.

Funds, however, in support of this project are limited. As those familiar with them are aware, these books are not intended for the casual reader, and cannot really be considered ‘commercially viable’ in the conventional sense. Hence their sales do not generate significant revenue—all of which is used entirely for the printing of more books as well as in the preparation of new titles. (Path Press Publications is a strictly nonprofit enterprise, administered through the efforts of volunteers, with no financial compensation paid to any of its officers or associates.)

Because of these financial constraints funding of this important project must rely on the support of interested donors, and Path Press invites those who appreciate the usefulness of these books, and are inclined to do so, to contribute at whatever level is comfortable. Simply add a note when offering a donation requesting that the sum be used to sponsor the free distribution of books. Your help will be gratefully received, and every effort will be made to ensure that books are sent where they are most likely to be put to good use.

If you would like to make donation, please click here: http://www.pathpresspublications.com/paypal/donate.php

Path Press Committee