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The Sound of Silence: The Collected Teachings of Ajahn Sumedho Paperback – 31 Aug 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications,U.S. (31 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861715152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861715152
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By wayitis on 15 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
Ajahn Sumedo's The Sound Of Silence is at once simple to read and at all times direct in its approach. It is beautiful that a man who is the head of a monastic tradition is so straight forward and uncompromising in his teaching of the dharma, seemingly unencumbered by the demands of tradition and the codes of behaviour which though mentioned fall second to the continual encouragement to see through the nature of self to this, here and now. This teaching is always of the nature of this existential moment, as in the end of suffering is now, where the self is seen simply as a view. He also shares a little of his own struggles and set backs in this, which are delightful and revealing of the very human striffing to make sense of it all. If you want anicca, dukkha and anatta and you probably do not, you have it and a guide to open up this moment, to see through the views which create these chains. Not a book for those who want an all singing approach as it constantly points to awareness and no self, though is so valuable in doing just this.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard Prangnell on 7 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
Luang Por Ajahn Sumedho (born Robert Jackman in Seattle, Washington in 1934) is a prominent figure in the Thai Forest Tradition. His teachings are very direct, practical, simple, and down to earth. In his talks and sermons he stresses the quality of immediate intuitive awareness and the integration of this kind of awareness into daily life. Like most teachers in the Forest Tradition, Ajahn Sumedho tends to avoid intellectual abstractions of the Buddhist teachings and focuses almost exclusively on their practical applications, that is, developing wisdom and compassion in daily life. His most consistent advice can be paraphrased as to see things the way that they actually are rather than the way that we want or don't want them to be ("Right now, it's like this..."). He is known for his engaging and witty communication style, in which he challenges his listeners to practice and see for themselves. Students have noted that he engages his hearers with an infectious sense of humor, suffused with much loving kindness, often weaving amusing anecdotes from his experiences as a monk into his talks on meditation practice and how to experience life ("Everything belongs").

From 1967-77 Ajahn Sumedho lived at Wat Nong Pa Pong in northeast Thailand, training under Ajahn Chah. He has come to be regarded as the latter's most influential Western disciple. In 1975 he helped to establish and became the first abbot of the International Monastery, Wat Pa Nanachat, founded by Ajahn Chah for training his non-Thai students. In 1977, Ajahn Sumedho accompanied Ajahn Chah on a visit to England. After observing a keen interest in Buddhism among Westerners, Ajahn Chah encouraged Ajahn Sumedho to remain in England for the purpose of establishing a branch monastery in the UK.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. S. Sutherland on 10 Dec 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wasn't blown away with this book and have read better ones in this subject so my personal view would be to look around.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The clarity of understanding. 27 May 2008
By Richard Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The bulk of this book comes from "Intuitive Awareness", a free publication book published by Amaravati Publications (Amaravati being the monastery where Ajahn Sumedho lives). This Wisdom publication makes Ajahn Sumedho's teaching in "Intuitive Awareness" available to a wider audience than just those who visit Amaravati or the other monasteries associated with Ajahn Sumedho. The clarity, wisdom, humor and (above all) practicality of Ajahn Sumedho's teaching usually come as a surprise to those not familiar with him. This is not a book of esoteric or metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. It is, instead, the deep insight and wisdom of a Buddhist monk who has dedicated his life to discovering the immediacy of Ultimate Truth and who is sharing with us his knowledge and wisdom as he encourages us along the Path. There are many, many spiritual books offering helpful (and not-so-helpful) guidance. Very, very few offer the practical, non-proselytizing guidance and wisdom found in "The Sound Of Silence."
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Great for beginners and seasoned meditators, NOT for scholars 3 Feb 2009
By Mclusky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a worthy compilation of Ajahn Sumedho's teachings. It was originally a free book called "Intuitive Awareness" filled with talks geared towards the monastic community of the early Western Forest Sangha but this book has talks geared towards lay retreatants as well so you can't go wrong with this. Ajahn Sumedho is very unconventional for a Theravada monk in terms of his teaching style and the things he emphasizes but his methods are no joke. He has proven himself over and over to be the real deal and the upaya(skillful means) he brings to Western Buddhists in this book are not to be scoffed at. This is really a great book that can be opened up again and again by beginners and seasoned Buddhist meditators alike. This is not for scholars unless you want to put aside your assumptions, sit down and meditate. There are plenty of scholarly books on Buddhism but nothing Ajahn Sumedho puts out is what you are looking for.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Refuge in Awareness 21 Sep 2008
By J. Daugherty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ajahn Sumedho is practical and down to earth as he offers encouragement to take refuge in awareness of the way things are in the present moment, whether it means being aware of the neutral, of joy, or of confusion or aversion. There is a distinct shift between being lost in an emotion and in being aware of the way it is.

He covers a wide range of material often coming back to the creation of a sense of an unchanging self and to the realization that all things are always happening in the present - whether we are caught up in planning for the future or worrying about the past. As was said in Richard Smith's review, this book includes all the material in the dana book Intuitive Awareness, plus some additional chapters.

In keeping with the Thai forest tradition, Ajahn Sumedho's talks are not planned out in advance, so there is a conversational feel to them, as though you were sitting in on an evening talk at a retreat.

[...]

This is by far my favorite book. He has a way of getting right to the heart of things, and of helping me to see that there is no particular situation or mental state needed for mindfulness - just a willingness to trust in awareness instead of changing conditions.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Diamonds on every page 21 May 2010
By Observer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been fortunate enough to have met and spent time with Ajahn Sumedho. This collection of some of his teachings is a gem. He offers insight, not through complex Buddhist theology or intricate practice, but using everyday experiences as a way to 'see' the mischief of the ego that seeks distraction and chaos. With a steady, often humorous, style of 'talk' he gently guides us toward an understanding of the silence that we can achieve with application rather than slavery. If you cannot meet him, this book will give you a real human feel for the style and wisdom of his Dhamma talks.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Taking refuge... 6 Mar 2013
By Elizabeth A O'Hara-Fisher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book. Ajahn Sumedho introduces the practice of awareness of the sound of silence, which I find to be very helpful both in meditation periods and in daily life. He also emphasizes taking refuge in awareness, rather than in one's personality. His words are a great finger pointing at the moon...
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