Concrete Beds & Wooden Pillows

Overcoming Addiction with Buddha Dhamma – Interview with Vince Cullen
Concrete Beds and Wooden Pillows… Waking Up the Hard Way

…or Finding Insight but not much Serenity.

Sixteen years ago, in March 2004, I sat the first of several 10-day silent ‘Anapansati’ retreats at Wat Suan Mokkh monastery in southern Thailand. Wat Suan Mokkh has a separate retreat centre that is famous for its basic accommodation which includes concrete beds and wooden pillows. There, from a seeming inability to meditate came a small but ultimately profound and eventually life-changing understanding. At the time I might have called this unexpected understanding an ‘Insight’ but right now I would say that it lacked ‘Mindfulness’ and at the time it didn’t lead to ‘Serenity’!

The Buddha says

“…for the direct knowledge, for the full understanding, for the utter destruction, for the vanishing, for the fading away, for the cessation, for the giving up, for the relinquishment of hatred, delusion, anger, hostility, envy, miserliness, deceitfulness, arrogance, intoxication these two things are to be cultivated.
Which two?
Serenity and insight.”

Together, Serenity and Insight can bring to an end to greed, an end to hatred and an end of ignorance, including all of the countless other intoxicating inclinations.

But both Serenity and Insight need to be supported by Right Mindfulness.

When we cultivate Serenity and Insight with Mindfulness, we open up new ways of seeing the self, new ways of seeing the world, and new ways of seeing ourselves in the world.

It is said that we are all living in a dream, that we are all asleep, we are all under a spell, an enchantment that blinds us to the inherent biases, distortions and dissonances that are deeply embedded in fundamentally and simply being human; in being ourselves.

The Buddha says that to find liberation, we must become disenchanted; we must break the spell in order to reveal what has been hidden from us. You do not have to sleep on concrete beds and wooden pillows to wake up to how things really are!

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This episode is brought to you by the: Buddhist Recovery Network