Three Excerpts from
“Surface, Depth, and Beyond”
by Ajahn Sucitto
May 19, 2014
If the twentieth century was the age when we incorporated motorised transport into human life, the early twenty-first is the age of the screen, of the Internet and its social networks. They have similar world-spanning, potentially mind-broadening, and yet disembodying, effects. We’ve increased span; what about depth?
. . .
Ajahn Chah put his finger right on the Dhamma: the world of surfaces, however glittering and seductive, has no fulfilling depth. And the realization of that offers ‘disenchantment’ (nibbidā), the kind of knowing that leads to awakening. Because, as the vacuity of the surface is felt and acknowledged, the Path of awakening becomes the only valid option.
. . .
After experiencing the formless states of his early teachers, the Buddha practised deep embodiment – really inhabiting his body, not sticking on the surface at sense-contact, but going inwards through breathing to where the subtle energy-channels of the body open, find their still centre, and suffuse the practitioner with happiness and ease. In contact with that, the mind drops its wayward thinking, its sluggishness, agitation and passion, and gathers at one point. ‘Jhāna’ he called it, ‘touching the Deathless with one’s body,’ the meditative entry to nibbāna.