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Listening to Dhamma — 4 Comments

  1. Hi Will,

    You say: “I do feel that a public talk before an English-speaking audience should be an opportunity to present the Dhamma in an engaging way.”

    Interesting comments, and thank you for the nod to my blog post, but I’m afraid I have to disagree with your implication that the talk was not engaging, and with your secondary implication that all Dharma talks need to be delivered in a way that their western audiences might find enjoyable!

    Okay, if you couldn’t hear that is a problem and perhaps something that needs addressing. But where were you sitting? Could you have moved closer to the front? Was it the quality of the sound system? Or just the way the Bhikku spoke?

    If the later, then there’s not much you can do about it! I’m lucky in that I’m familiar with the accent, and, apart from the accent, the talk was delivered in pretty much flawless English.

    And I certainly wouldn’t wish to see a great scholar and practitioner Bhikku prevented from speaking because his delivery wasn’t exactly as some of his audience would have like it! LOL!

    Different strokes and all that. I loved it, others didn’t. I’d go and see him speak again without a doubt. Perhaps all you need do is chalk this one up to experience and don’t go see him next time he’s in town?

    All the best,


  2. I was looking forward to the talk, but due to my poor hearing, a sound system unable to overcome that disability, and to Sayadaw U Sujana’s soft monotone style of speaking, I was unable to take away anything of value. Marcus’ blog post was helpful. But I would have learned more from reading something by the ajahn, or maybe just suggested suttas. Perhaps he is more animated one-on-one. I did see him smile once briefly when he looked at Phra Cittamasvaro. I do feel that a public talk before an English-speaking audience should be an opportunity to present the Dhamma in an engaging way. Some speakers cannot due that.

  3. Any hearing problems were likely due much to the many pali words that were used. In fact, he defined each word first, but then used just the Pali each time after, which is VERY tricky for those not familiar with all the terms.
    ‘We aim to entertain’ but in this case the benefit is more on a feeling level. I think most of the experienced meditators could tune in…
    The thing is to let people know what to expect – but we only know that afterwards.
    We’ll be inviting Rinpoche again, but just go to meditate/ask questions during the day.
    It was marvelous meditating with him in the afternoon.

    For my part I sat through years of dhamma talks as a young monk that were all in Thai. Even now I struggle to listen to dhamma talks in Thai. Marcus has had the same with his Korean teachers. Yet in the end …. its hard to quantify, but you get just as much benefit somehow.

    Luang Phor Sumedho said when he was a junior monk Ajahn Chah would talk for several hours at a time in the evening. He had to sit on bare concrete with the heat and mosquitoes. He asked Ajahn Chah, ‘quite reasonably’ (Luang Phor’s own words) if he could go back to his hut and meditate during the talks as he could not understand a word of it. Ajahn Chah said ‘no’. So he taught himself how to ‘let go’ instead.