The Craft of the Heart, Seeing the Saints, and the Maiden of Ludmir

Welcome to our August newsletter!

We bring to our readers one of the most comprehensive works by Ajaan Lee, the renowned master in the Thai Buddhist Forest Tradition. The Craft of the Heart includes teachings on every level—elementary, intermediate, and advanced—so that the reader can conveniently pick out the teachings appropriate for his or her own level of attainment.

You who are wisely intent on the savor of right attainment, who desire the happiness of nibbana, should devote yourselves to the practices mentioned above. Don’t let yourselves grow weary, don’t let yourselves be faint in the practice of these two forms of meditation… They will form an island, a shore, a refuge and a home for you… they will lead you to mundane happiness and relief from the dread of sorrow. But if your perfections are fully developed, you will gain the heartwood of release.

• Paul Fenton’s article, “The Ritual Visualization of the Saint in Jewish and Muslim Mysticism”, describes the practice called in Sufi circles tasawwur “depiction” or tahayyul “imagination”, which comprises a reciprocal attitude: “the orientation of the heart of the master towards that of the disciple”, and “the orientation of the disciple’s heart towards the shaykh”. This applies either with the soul of a living mentor or with that of a deceased master, and entails a ritual involving concentration, often carried out at the saint’s tomb.

Rachel Tomb
Rachel’s Tomb (Qever Rahel/Qabr Rahil) in Bethlehem.

• Finally, we present a biographical extract about the Maiden of Ludmir, a famous 19th century Ukrainian Jewish saint, whose life shows many parallels to the lives of Christian women saints.

If I live it is only to be able to continue learning God’s Torah, to delve more deeply into the secrets of the Yotser (Creator) and the Yetsirah (Creation) and I will fully renounce all pleasures of the world.

• We invite you to a week of musical events with Marc Loopuyt, renowned master of the oud and the flamenco guitar, who will give three performance-lectures and two workshops in London and Cambridge by the end of September. This will be a unique opportunity to experience the living tradition of the king of instruments. Follow this link for further details and to book your place.