The Wit and Wisdom of Ven Nanavira Thera

Posted: April 7, 2016 by pathpress in News, Review

Speech for the Opening of a Monument in Bundala, Sri Lanka, Friday 26th February 2016, by Michael Rae (Path Press Board Member)

24– Ven Nanavira was nothing if not a very serious person. He came to Ceylon with Ven Nanamoli to attempt to achieve just one thing – the enlightenment that the Buddha talked about. This was not common or socially acceptable so soon after the end of World War Two – but as Nanavira writes in L 50 “ for me the Dhamma is real, and it is the only thing that I take seriously: if I cannot practise the Dhamma as I wish, I have no further desire to live.” Nanavira later removed himself from contact with other monks and the support of a monastery by moving to a single room kuti (hut) in the hot coastal plains in the south of the country. There he was free of distractions and could spend his days in meditation, or reading and writing. He seemed to prefer his own company. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thoughts about Ven. Nyanasumana

Posted: April 3, 2016 by pathpress in News, Review

Speech by Steven Ganci during the Ven. Nyanavira Thera Memorial Day, Bundala, Sri Lanka, 26th February 2016.

V.Nanasumana

Ven. Nyanasumana (1941-1970)

Well, it’s a great pleasure to be here with all of you today (including the kabargoya [monitor lizard] and all the other creatures in this peaceful place). Though many of us are relative strangers to one another we gather as friends with a wholesome intention.

We’re here, of course, to remember the life of the Ven. Nanavira Thera, and the varied and extraordinary effects his writings have had on so many people over the past 50 years — including, I’m sure, many of us presently gathered. But I would like now, with these short comments, to ask us all to consider not Ven. Nanavira’s life, but rather the contributions and lives of others: those who’s efforts have protected, preserved, and ultimately made available the Ven. Thera’s legacy. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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

pdf-download

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)