Below are Ajahn Brahm’s succinct explanations for three seminal terms which constitute the basic structure of the Buddhist path. These concepts also provide structure for a lovely on-line book offered by Ajahn Brahm and Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery in Perth, Australia, where Ajahn Bram is Abbot. You can view the full version of All You Need Is Kindfulness, complete with inspiring quotes and beautiful photographs, online by CLICKING HERE.
Sila is the Pali term for virtue. It is the cultivation of harmlessness, kindness, generosity and care by body, speech and mind. It could also be translated as character, habit or morality. Your understanding of what is skillful and what is unskillful, and the inspiration you get from your own heart or from seeing living examples, will enable you to let go of unwholesome habits and tendencies and to develop the wholesome qualities in your mind. The practice of morality makes your heart pure, and a pure heart is a happy heart well prepared for the practice of meditation.
Samadhi is the Pali term for deep meditation, or for collectedness and unification of mind. It is not achieved through force or striving, but through restraining and relinquishing unwholesome qualities and through the cultivation and development of wholesome ones. Mindfulness and kindness will allow a positive and happy mind to settle down, and to enter deeper and deeper into stillness and peace. The purification that happens through the practice of meditation will give your mind the strength and clarity required to uncover, to face and to penetrate to the truth.
Pañña is the Pali term for wisdom or insight; seeing the world clearly without distortion. It is the deep understanding of the human condition that emerges out of the pure and peaceful mind. Pañña is always born of silence and stillness, of an open, receptive and unbiased heart. A mind full of thoughts is not ready to listen deeply enough. Insight into the nature of things, whether small or huge and life changing, always sets you free and fills your heart with unconditional love and compassion for all beings.
Our deep gratitude to Ajahn Bram and Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery for making all this available to students and seekers of the Dhamma.