The daily schedule at Metta Forest Monastery includes a group interview in the late afternoon and a chanting session followed by a group meditation period later in the evening. The Dhamma talks included in this volume were given during the evening meditation sessions, and in many cases covered issues raised at the interviews—either in the questions asked or lurking behind the questions. Often these issues touched on a variety of topics on a variety of different levels in the practice. This explains the range of topics covered in individual talks.
I have edited the talks with an eye to making them readable while at the same time trying to preserve some of the flavor of the spoken word. In a few instances I have added passages or rearranged the talks to make the treatment of specific topics more coherent and complete, but for the most part I have kept the editing to a minimum. Don’t expect polished essays.
The people listening to these talks were familiar with the meditation instructions included in “Method 2” in Keeping the Breath in Mind by Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo; and my own essay, “A Guided Meditation.” If you are not familiar with these instructions, you might want to read through them before reading the talks in this book. You might also want to read the meditation instructions in With Each & Every Breath for further background. Additional Dhamma talks are available at www.accesstoinsight.org and www.dhammatalks.org.
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As with the previous volumes in this series, I would like to thank Bok Lim Kim for making the recording of these talks possible. She, more than anyone else, is responsible for overcoming my initial reluctance to have the talks recorded. I would also like to thank the following people for transcribing the talks and/or helping to edit the transcriptions: Kathy Forsythe, Marilyn Lemon, Jeffrey Miller, Addie Onsanit, Nathaniel Osgood, Xiao Quan Osgood, Barbara Pereira, Robert Rand, and Isabella Trauttmansdorff; Vens. Atthaññu Bhikkhu, Balaggo Bhikkhu, Khematto Bhikkhu, Kusali Bhikkhu, and Vijjakaro Bhikkhu. May they all be happy.
Metta Forest Monastery