Samatha at Home is a newsletter and journal consisting of articles, poems, pictures and a video from the Jātakas or the Dhammapada commentary, a perfect bedtime story! Samatha at Home was published from April 2nd 2020 until June 3rd 2021. A new newsletter will be coming in the Autumn of 2021.
You can find copies of all the issues, available to download or read online in the right hand column of this page (you may have to scroll down a little to see them), and all the videos can be accessed and played below.
The Weaver's daughter receives a teaching from the Buddha about a certain meditation subject, and practices it constantly for three years. At the end of three years she meets the Buddha again and answers four questions he puts to her, at which point he pronounces a verse which leads to her attaining stream entry. This is the story behind verse 174 of the Dhammapada.
This story is about a young woman who rashly marries a thief who in turn plots to kill her and steal her jewels. She defeats him in spectacular fashion and then ordains as a Jain nun. She becomes famous across the land as an unrivalled debater, until she meets the Venerable Sāriputta, who matches her every question, then poses one question to her that she cannot answer. This is the story behind verses 102 & 103 of the Dhammapada
The Buddha and ecology is about the story of a tree spirit who was disturbed by a monk and how, as a result, the Buddha set a rule to protect trees. There then follows a Jātaka story telling how the Bodhisatta once came to the aid of another tree spirit in a past life many eons ago.
The story of Anāthapiṇḍika and the Goddess comes from the Dhammapada commentary about a goddess who is banished from the house of the Buddha's chief lay disciple and how she comes to make amends for her misdeed. These are the events behind verses 119 & 120 of the Dhammapada
This story is taken from the section of the Dhammapada entitled: "Flowers". It tells of how a goddess passes away while decking her husband, a god, with flowers, and how she recalls her past life in her next life and makes the wish, with every act of merit, to rejoin him. These are the events behind verse 48 of the Dhammapada
The Story of the Golden Goose is another tale from the Jātakas, birth stories of the Bodhisatta. It tells of how the Golden Goose, the Bodhisatta, is befriended by a great King, of the Golden Goose's formidable powers, and how the King comes to learn about the Dhamma.
The Story of the Treasurer's Son who married a Female Acrobat is a tale from the Dhammapada commentary. It is about a rich young man who joins a group of tumblers in order to marry a renowned female acrobat with whom he fell in love. Finally they return to Rajagaha to an encounter with the Buddha. These are the events behind verses 348 and 397 of the Dhammapada, including a story from the past.
"The Story of the Elephant who got stuck in the Mud" and "The Story of the Elephant who served the Buddha" are two short stories from the Dhammapada commentary concerning the events behind verse 327 and verses 328 to 330 of the Dhammapada.
The Story of the Mind Reader is another tale from the Dhammapada commentary. It is the story of how an ordinary lay disciple developed the path and also acquired the ability to read minds. These are the events that led to the Buddha giving verse 35 of the Dhammapada.
Kisā Gotamī and the Mustard Seed is the famous story concerning the events that led to the Buddha giving verses 287 and 114 of the Dhammapada. The story tells of how the Buddha helped a young woman, overcome with grief, become free from her suffering.
The Story of Sāmāvati and Māgandiyā is from the story cycle of King Udena. It is about two women, chief consorts of King Udena, and concerns the events behind verses 21,22 & 23 of the Dhammapada.
The Story of Tissa the Fat - A Dhammapada story. This is the story behind verses 3 & 4 of the Dhammapada.
The Story of the Tree Spirit and the Young Elephant is about the development of the tenth perfection of a Bodhisatta: Upekkhā (Equanimity)
The Story of Nandiya, the Deer, is about the development of the ninth perfection of a Boddhisatta: Mettā (Lovingkindness)
The Story of Temiya, the Mute Prince is about the completion of the eighth perfection of a Bodhisatta: Adhitthāna (Resolve).
The Story of the Quail is about the development of the seventh perfection of a Boddhisatta: Sacca (Truth)
The Story of the Elephant who looked after his Mother is about the development of the sixth perfection of a Boddhisatta: Khanti (Forebearance)
The Story of the Five Weapons is about the development of the fifth perfection of a Boddhisatta: Viriya (Vigour)
The Story of the Wise Sea Captain is about the development of the fourth perfection of a Boddhisatta: Paññā (Wisdom)
The Story of the Spade Sage is about the development of the third perfection of a Boddhisatta: Nekkhamma (Renunciation)
The Story of the Nāga is about the development of the second perfection of a Boddhisatta: Sīla (Virtue)
The Story of the Hare and the Moon is about the development of the first perfection of a Boddhisatta: Dāna (Generosity)
The Samatha at Home newsletter
The newsletter began being published weekly as a means for Samatha meditators to share experiences of practice during the difficult times of the pandemic.
Many thanks to Sarah Shaw and Guy Healey for all their work on editing and publishing the newsletter. If you would like to contribute to the future newsletters, please do get in touch with Sarah and Guy using the contact details in the editorial. All contributions are very welcome, reflecting on Dhamma and Samatha practice in general, in any form that you wish. Also, please do feel free to pass the newsletter on to any meditators, friends and family who you think would be glad to receive a copy.
Wishing you all the best on behalf of the Southern Sangha
Samatha at Home