The Buddha’s Advice for the Open-Minded Seeker

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At a time when we are confronted with conflicting ideas, views, opinions, beliefs, and “facts” about so much in life – including spirituality – it can easily lead to a sense of confusion, bewilderment, and frustration. This can result in a sense of indifference and loss of purpose or guiding principal in how we approach life.

The Buddha addresses this very problem in one of his famous discourses, the Kalama Sutta which has at times been referred to as “The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry.” In this discourse, the Buddha provides very useful guidance on how to evaluate diversity and the often-conflicting sources of information in order to ascertain what is worth following and implementing in one’s life. Although this discourse was given over two thousand years ago, it remains incredibly relevant to our current situation. In this lecture, John Cianciosi will explore the Buddha’s advice for the open-minded seeker.

John Cianciosi was born in Italy and educated in Australia. In 1972, he was ordained a Buddhist monk in Thailand and trained under one of that country’s most gifted and influential meditation masters, the late Venerable Ajahn Chah. While living in remote jungle monasteries, he led a disciplined, celibate life devoted to the practice of mental cultivation. This unique experience fostered his profound appreciation for the meditative path. Later, he was appointed abbot of Wat Pah Nanachat, the International Forest Monastery established to provide training for the growing number of Ajahn Chah’s Western disciples. In 1982, he was asked to establish a Buddhist monastery in Perth, Western Australia. For the next 14 years, he was instrumental in successfully establishing Bodhinyana Monastery and Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre. As abbot and spiritual director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Cianciosi was responsible for the training of monks and teaching in the lay community.

In 1995 he left the monastic life and moved to the Chicago, Illinois area, where he continues to share his insights and wisdom. He is the author of The Meditative Path and is currently the Director of public programs at the Theosophical Society in America.

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