Ayya Khema

All of Us: Beset by Birth, Decay and Death

All of Us: Beset by Birth, Decay and Death

This book, containing transcriptions of twelve talks by the renowned Buddhist nun Ayya Khema, is for all people everywhere who seek liberation from suffering and desire true happiness. The Buddha taught: “there’s only one thing I teach: suffering and its end.” Suffering is not only pain and grief, but all the unsatisfactoriness all of us experience during our lifetime. It is that unfulfilled striving in heart and mind which keeps pushing us in so many directions to find the ultimate satisfaction. When we have realized that all the avenues we have tried have brought us to a dead end, then the time has come to turn to Buddha’s teachings and see for ourselves whether his promise of an end to suffering can be experienced within ourselves and whether true fulfillment is possible. In clear and accessible language Ayya Khema explains in this booklet how we can let go of our preconceived ideas about happiness and suffering, and come upon uncharted landscapes within ourselves, which provide a totally new concept of life, its purpose, its value and its ultimate reality.


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About Ayya Khema

Ayya Khema (August 25, 1923 – November 2, 1997) was a Buddhist teacher noted for providing opportunities for women to practice Buddhism, founding several centers around the world. Over two dozen books of her transcribed Dhamma talks in English and German have been published.

Khema's desire to become a Buddhist nun led her to Thailand where she studied with Tan Ajahn Singtong for three months. Sri Lanka was her next destination where she met Nyanaponika Thera who introduced her to Narada Maha Thera. Naranda Thera gave her the name "Ayya Khema". A 1983 return trip to Sri Lanka, led her to meet her teacher, Ven. Matara Sri Ñānarāma of Nissarana Vanaya, who inspired her to teach jhana meditation. As it was not possible at the time to organize an ordination ceremony for bhikkhunis in the Theravada tradition, Ayya Khema then received complete monastic ordination at the newly built Hsi Lai Temple, a Chinese Mahayana temple under the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, in 1988.

You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the way

Buddha, Dhp 276

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