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Ajahn Brahm inspirational quotes - Make Peace, Be kind, Be gentle
“Another simile is that of the man who was born and raised in a prison and who has never set foot outside. All he knows is prison life. He would have no conception of the freedom that is beyond his world. And he would not understand that prison is suffering. If anybody suggested that his world was dukkha, he would disagree, for prison is the limit of his experience. But one day he might find the escape tunnel dug long ago that leads beyond the prison walls to the unimaginable and expansive world of real freedom. Only when he has entered that tunnel and escaped from his prison does he realize how much suffering prison actually was, and the end of that suffering, escaping from jail is happiness.
In this simile the prison is the body, the high prison walls are the five senses, and the relentless demanding prison guard is one's own will, the doer. The tunnel dug long ago, through which one escapes, is called jhana [meditation] (as at AN IX, 42). Only when one has experienced jhana does one realize that the five-sense world, even at its best, is really a five-walled prison, some parts of it is a little more comfortable but still a jail with everyone on death row! Only after deep jhana does one realize that "will" was the torturer, masquerading as freedom, but preventing one ever resting happily at peace. Only outside of prison can one gain the data that produces the deep insight that discovers the truth about dukkha.
In summary, without experience of jhana, one's knowledge of the world is too limited to fully understand dukkha, as required by the first noble truth, and proceed to enlightenment.”
— Ajahn Brahm