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by Richard Gilliver, England, The Buddhist Channel, May 26, 2012

I have been reading a Sutta lately which I have found exceptionally useful in day-to-day life. The Sutta is the Dhajagga Sutta: The Top of the Standard (SN 11.3).

One of the reasons this Sutta has touched me so much is its simplicity. If I am honest I am usually drawn more to the Suttas that are subtle, that you have to come back to in order to appreciate their full range, but this one is one of those special little ones that is plain, it is its very simplicity that contains the ‘magic’. I think the Dhammapada is like that, and that is why it is so enduring amongst Buddhists, and respected amongst non Buddhists alike, it is straightforward, not so much a treatise of the Dhamma but a handbook for life.

I know that when my mind is wavering (or simply chooses to flutter off on its own little adventures) that if I recall the Dhajagga Sutta I will soon be mindful and alert again, I will be ’back on track’. I feel that sometimes, especially for we who are not ordained, not part of a community that are there to strengthen each others practice, these little Suttas can be much more important than the ‘big’ ones that talk about the gradual subtleties of the jhanas or the effects of kamma. These are real, accessible, touchable right here, right now and I think being able to direct your attention like that, and even the awareness to know that it needs directing is the beginning to understanding the subtleties on the road to nibbana.

I hope you get chance to read the Sutta yourself, and I sincerely hope that it touches, and inspires you as it has me.


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