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  1. About these miracles, they are part of teachings and traditions carried down from the very early days of Buddhism. Is it possible these tales were spun by later Buddhist teachers, like Aesop or Uncle Remus, who wanted to impart the message in a meaningful (at the time) way? If this doesn’t suit our particular spiritual needs, there are many other places to go in Buddhist study and practice to either fulfil our needs or help us understand why we have them.
    Vipassana may be the preferred practice of intellectuals and obsessives, while the stories appeal to the more socially inclined, and the miracles give hope to the hopeless (St. Jude?). And thus I would say, “Leave the miracles alone!” because I believe that the Buddha would say despair is bad for you. :)Keep smiling.

  2. Hi,

    A very interesting post and one I fully agree with. I especially like the way you suggest that following the fifth precept is the aim, if not the definition, of a Buddhist.

    But I do see many ‘Buddhists’ (their definition – who else’s?) drink. Not just Thais who are – after all – born into the religion, but also westerners who are keen enough to convert – but not keen enough to follow the basic lay precepts.

    And for those, people who claim to have been convinced by a new religion, to have joined it even, but who then choose not to follow its basic ethical rules, I’d quote Bhikkhu Bodhi from an article entitled ‘A Discipline of Sobriety’:

    “The fifth precept, it should be stressed, is not a pledge merely to abstain from intoxication or from excessive consumption of liquor.

    It calls for nothing short of total abstinence.”

    You can read the full article here:

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_36.html

    His conclusion:

    “If the current trend continues and more and more Buddhists succumb to the lure of intoxicating drinks, we can be sure that the Teaching will perish in all but name.

    At this very moment of history when its message has become most urgent, the sacred Dhamma of the Buddha will be irreparably lost, drowned out by the clinking of glasses and our rounds of merry toasts.”

    Perhaps, it might come across as preachy or as looking down on someone by insisting on complete abstinence, but if drinking really is drowning out the Dhamma, perhaps a little preaching is called for.

    With metta,

    Marcus

  3. Good comment.

    With all the precepts they are guide for improvement, and heavy preaching and absolute rules/interpretations serves to cut out the many rather than encourage them to grow.

    It is the same for monks – some people would like to cut out all the monks they perceive as ‘bad’ or ‘non-practising’ etc … but the temple is for people not devas. What would be the point of only allowing the very purest holiest people to ordain?

    Similarly for lay followers, we should approach kalyanamitta (friends on the path) with a sense of encouraging each other. And lets be honest – the occasional drink is the least of some people’s problems …. I have never mastered Right Speech for instance.

    Thus I would not like to disclude anyone for breaking a precept if they are basically good. At the same time, renunciation and purification is the name of our game.

  4. Thank you for your article.
    My opinion is that the ideal must be proclaimed, so that people know what is the right path in matters of precepts and behavior, but in the same time, as you said, we should encourage each others to improve ourselves and not give up the practice if at this moment, we are not still capable of observing all precepts. After all, the Dharma embraces us here and now, starting with our present state of mind, and not with what we should become. Buddhism is not for Buddhas, but for sick people like us.

  5. Maybe no one has killed their parents after drinking too much caffeine. But have you heard of the “Twinkie defense”? In 1978, Dan White killed the Mayor and a Supervisor and his lawyer claimed he had eaten too many Twinkies and sodas, thereby aggravating his mood swings with an excess of sugar. He was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder.

  6. Thank you for this great news.

    I plan to come to listen. While being there, would it be allowed to give out leaflets about our November Kundalini Yoga Festival Asia?

    If not can I leave them at some place for the visitors?

    Thank you.

    Tien

  7. ผมขอจอง 1 ที่ครับ ชื่อ กันธร ไกรกาบแก้ว โทร.0816403638
    Kanthorn Kraikabkaew

    กราบนมัสการครับพระอาจารย์

  8. Transforming the apparently ‘evil’ into truth, beauty and light(even eerie)…you’ve captured the essential fun of Halloween!
    …(but aren’t those whiskey bottles?)

    Cheerz

  9. Please reserve a spot for me.
    I assume that we will be maintaining noble silence throughout the day, including lunch time and coffee break?
    Audwin

  10. Wow, filling up fast.

    We will limit to 18 the places for the one-to-one guidence, and another 10 places to join in without the interview – there should still be chance after the day’s retreat to talk with Jeff individually for anyone who did not get to interview.

    I will mail to all of you who have booked in.

  11. Appreciate if you could book two spots, for the full day mediation and personal interviews with Ajhan.for myself and my wife. on the 15th November.

    Please conform by return E mail. to rohan.perera@ihgbangkok.com

    Thank you

    With mettha

    Rohan & Tishani

  12. I would like to make a reservation for the one day Meditation Workshop on Saturday 15th November from 9am to 6pm with visiting meditation teacher Ajahn Jeff Oliver.

    Thank you.
    Sareena Sernsukskul

  13. Please reserve me a seat for the Meditation Workshop on 15th November.
    Many thanks,

    Jan Favre

  14. If it is not too late already, I would be most grateful if I too could make a reservation for the Nov 15 meditation workshop. Thank you!

  15. I’ve been practising with A.Jeff and others for many years. He is GREAT! His teaching is practical.

    As adviced by him about this program, may I reserve for two persons on Sat.? No interview is find. Thank you.

    Benja

  16. I hope this is not too late for me to ask you to make a reservation for me for the meditation workshop with Aj.Jeff on this Nov. 15. It will be very much helpful to me. Many Thanks.

  17. I would like to join the meditation workshop on No. 15, if it is still possible. Thank you so much.

  18. I would like to reserve a place for the meditation workshop on the 15 th Nov.
    Thank You

  19. Please reserve me a seat for the Meditation Workshop on 15th November.
    Kind regards

    Beata Majewska

  20. I would like to introduce my husband to A. Jeff’s Meditation Workshop on Sat. 15th. I have known A. Jeff for many years and did enjoy meditation and talks. Please reserve 2 spots for us. Thanks.

  21. Hmm seem like I may be too late to reserve the seat. Anyway, if there any place left or any cancellation, please kindly let me know. I would like to attend it. Thank you.
    Phornthep

  22. I would like to participate if possible. I am not requesting any interview and if you are short of food I can bring my own. Please advise if its possible to come or not.

    Regards

  23. Is there ANY chance of one more place? I just heard about it and would so love to attend. If there’s any way you could let me know that’d be wonderful.

    Thanks a LOT

    jennifer

  24. Wow, that was quick. I only got the post up 10 minutes ago.
    Actually you can meet Phra Bhasakorn tomorrow [Sat 29th Nov] if you are coming. He will join us for lunch. We might even have some copies of the book to hand out.

  25. Thank you for the lovely introduction to Bhikkhu Phra Bhasakorn and his book. Sounds like an interesting read. Any idea where I can order the book? I’m Thai but not living in Thailand. Late bloomer in Buddhism so I’m always on the lookout for various interpretations of the Dharmma. Thanks also to the kind people writing all the entries to the Blog. Just can’t stop reading. =)

  26. We will have some copies of the book to give away tomorrow (on Thursday) for free. I can gladly mail a copy anywhere if needed. It is a handy book, and there is a Thai version also. There are always different interpretations of Karma. Phra Bhasakorn has his own take on the topic.

  27. Christmas Karma:

    ‘You are fettered,’ said Scrooge, trembling. ‘Tell me why?’

    ‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?’

    Scrooge trembled more and more.

    ‘Or would you know,’ pursued the Ghost, ‘the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!’

    —from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  28. Greetings Bhante & Arthur…was just pondering that discussion about the brain and the self recently and a comment from Phra Pandit that afternoon about some current speculations about whether the brain produces the mind or if the mind produces the brain!. Any futher comments would be appreciated.

  29. Unfortunately, I have another committment during Jan 9-11. Kindly inform me when the next one will be held as I am looking forward to join thi.s
    Best regards,
    tinny

  30. We have tentative plans for our own retreat from Friday 13 to Sun 15 February in Rajaburi province. The details need o be worked out yet, bu we have been to see the centre we will be using and it is superb – a great atmosphere and facility. More details will follow later.

  31. I’m not Buddhist but I’m interested to learn the vipassana especially from English speaking monk.
    Is it possible to join the event only by listening without practices

  32. How many people, historically and at present, have LAUGHED their way into nirvana? Any body know?

  33. Happy New Year!

    What a wonderful post, thank you so much!

    It reminded me a lot of the teachings of my root teacher Master Daehaeng Sunim. She talks about leting go of everything that confronts you and then moving forward while simply observing. A really beautiful teaching.

    Thank you!

    Marcus

  34. Hi,

    Wow, that looks great. Thank you. One not to miss.

    I definitely plan on going. Thank you for letting us know!

    Marcus

  35. 3 days during meditation retreat is very precious in my life. Phra Archarn is very excellent in Buddism explanation with simply techniques. I’m strongly believed our friends who attended this course will recieved unforgetable experiences. You’re what you thought…and only few days can changed our life!

  36. What a fascinating talk! Thank you so much LittleBang for letting us know about it, it really was an excellent afternoon.

  37. I agree with you, Nature’s Lover. I used to join several courses of YBAT both at Center I and Center II. It is unbelieveable that I could feel most calm and relax, even the whole course was conducted in English.

    On this occasion, I am really grateful to Pra Ajarn, Ven.Pandit, the co-ordinators and YBAT for all your kindness.

  38. I think a good experience was had by all, including myself. I shall post up some of the photos and suttas that were in the talks over the next couple of days. I have not had time to do it yet.

  39. Hi,

    I live in Sukhumvit. I´d like to attend to the course, but i do not know very much about meditation, though i practise it myself sometimes. What do i have to do to attend?

    Khob Khun Krab

  40. It was well-organised and the YBAT staff and volunteers were most gracious to assist and facilitate so that everything went smoothly. I felt that in their concern to make it easier for westerners, however, they’ve gone a bit too far, albeit with the best of intentions.

    They even prepared “American-style” breakfast (sausages, ham) and hamburgers for lunch (all vegetarian, of course).

    While the food was very good, even the imitation meats were tasty, I personally think that Buddhists in general (and Thai/Chinese Buddhist in particular) should try to do away with imitation pork, beef, fish, beef, shrimp, etc.

  41. Pingback:Digest for 02/07/09 | Buddhism Info

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  45. Wow. Its a fabulous opportunity 🙂 I’m thankful I’m my own boss and have flexi hours of work. So do hope to be there few times.

    Suchith

  46. Thank you,

    That’s a very useful reminder. Sometimes it really does feel as if I don’t have even ten minutes spare, and in those cases I find that simply performing three bows, a single prayer, or even a single mantra recitation is useful.

    Not only does it clear a little stress, often it leads to a few minutes more practice and, hardly without effort, you discover you have time after all!

    Another good idea is meditation on the bus. Or, if that’s difficult, reciting metta for all the people the bus passes by, or just reciting a mantra.

    But at the end of the day it is difficult to maintain a practice alone. Personally I find my practice slips a lot if I don’t have a group meditation session I can regularly attend to give it a bit of a boost.

    So thank you to LittleBang for making available to us all more chances to atend sits and draw on the energy of collective practice.

    Namu Amitabul,

    Marcus

  47. Thank you!

    What a lovely location and what a lovely teacher Ajahn Morakot is! Wonderful!

    And am I right in thinking that the next one is on the 15th of March?

    Namu Kwan Seum Bosal,

    Marcus

  48. Hi,

    Well, I went every day (although because of work I had to miss two of the films, but I did make the discussions afterwards) and i can honestly say that this festival was one of the best events I have ever attended in Bangkok.

    The organisers did a marvellous job of putting it together, each film was brilliantly introduced and there were a whole range of experts speaking after each one finished. And the discussions were wonderful.

    I saw one or two Littlebang regulars there (hi Will!) and made some great new friends too. And learnt a lot.

    Thank you to everyone that put this event together, and thank you to Littlebang for spreading the word.

    See you same time next year!

    Marcus

  49. But just one thought…. although not a sentient being, we experience this unconditioned, Buddha-nature, God, personally. That, of course, takes many forms. I like the formulation that sees Buddha-nature/God as a kind of inner light. Within and available to every single being.

  50. Yes – Even in Buddhism one experiences nibbana persoanlly. Even the Arahants kept their own personalities, such as Maha Kassapa keeping his style of being the rag-robe wearing renunciate.

    But we have to be careful of the idea that the Buddha nature is an inner light – kind of like the Hindu idea of the ‘spark’ of self/consciousness. I think nibbana is far more vast than our selves, and thus it is hard to describe us as containing it.

    But we are all on the same page with this one I think.

  51. I have been looking for this book since my return from Thailand. Can you agvise me ion how to get it?

  52. It seems to me Ajahn Wimoak offered an english meditaion program every 3rd sunday of the month @ soi 1 starting 8am. Does anybody have further info on what the schedule/format would look like (ie time ending…)

  53. I gather he is going to try and do something every month, one day in Thai and another in English. He is a little haphazard when it comes to schedules, and does not really stick to them. The starting time is fairly definite, and the meal time for sure. It seems that the end time is more flexible. Certainly it is over by late afternoon, by 4 or 5pm.

    He does have other things going on, not least of which is his PhD and trips to be with his own teachers, so it is not quite a definite monthly program.

  54. Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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  55. You have captured in material goods why I find studying buddhism in Thailand so internally acceptable…

  56. Hi Bill,

    I just clicked on your name and was taken to a blog on golf tips! LOL! I’m sure that’s not the blog you want to post this essay on!

    Of course I can’t speak for Littlebang in any way at all, but I’d have thought that a link to this article would be sufficient rather than re-posting it. Or a blog entry saying how good you found it and then directing your readers towards it.

    Just my personal, un-asked-for, opinion!

    Marcus

  57. I plan to attend this metitation retreat on March 28 th. at Ariyasom Villa.

    Thank You.
    Alice

  58. We are very pleased to announce that Elizabeth (Shanti) Olmstead will be the Assistant Director for this program! Both Craig and Shanti are great teachers; they were some of the first students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche!

  59. Looks very interesting, I will go, so please book one place for me.
    Many thanks
    Alice

  60. OK Alice I will call and book for you. I will be there and so look forward to seeing you. Stay for lunch afterwards, if you like Indian food.
    For others, for this event you MUST call yourself, as I don’t know when they are full up. There are only some 12 spaces (maximum), so contact the shop directly to reserve your seat.

  61. Please ask for a place for the abhidhamma lecture on 2 APril. Thankyou from Sara

    Wat Kow Tahm

    Koh PahNgan

  62. reservation for one please… I attended last sunday and was blown away with her student’s grasp of knowledge and natural delivery of topics! Can’t wait to hear from the teacher direct.

  63. Frank! I’ve seen you the last 2 sundays and your ordination has been all the gossip! Therefore you will have to squeeze me in (I’m the 6 foot blonde, so good luck with the squeeze part) P.S. I’ll try not to be a gawky on-looker, but this is going to be so very interesting of an experience.

  64. Hi folks, I am pleased to announce that Prof Soraj Hongaldarom, a philosopher lecturer at Chulalongorn who is exploring current as well as ancient dimensions of Buddhism, will be joining as a guest speaker in my Friday night openning talk of Shambhala Training. (Prof Soraj’s wife Krisana is fearlessly introducing vajrayana Buddhism to Thailand in the Tousands Stars Foundation.)

    Prof Soraj and I are partners in an effort to introduce Meaningful Broadband” to Thailand, which in my own view is an expression of “Shambhala warriorship” — in which the dark forces of the contemporary world are freed for the purposes of compassion and enlightenment. This is not an abstract agenda but a concrete effort to alter the course of the digital revolution inspired by Shambhala teachings. It has won support from the leaders of Thailand in all sectors of society.

    See these recent links from Bangkok Post

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/12708/broadband-to-the-fore

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/tech/technews/12709/new-group-will-help-delivery-broadband-benefits

    Craig.

  65. Sorry the message got delayed Dr Craig – if there are links included messages get put in the potential spam folder and await approval.
    Good news Dr Soraj will be there – along with Elizabeth should be a good introduction.

  66. Hi! I plan to attend with my friend. I would like to book for 2 seats.

    Thank you very much.

    Nim

  67. I am planning to attend the retreat in the afternoon as I am not available in the morning.

  68. I will announce closer to the time – but generally it will be the second weekend of each month, on the Sunday. So at a guess, should be the 12th April.

  69. Looks like there will be a good few of us. Others have booked in at Ariyasom directly.

    Ajahn Wimoak is one of few Thai monks who is really ready and willing to arrange things in English, so it provides an insight into how the Thai people approach Buddhism.

  70. Hi,

    I would love to attend if there is still space? I would bring one friend with me.

    Emily

  71. I missed the lecture because I work during the week. Anyone know where Sayadaw U Jotika is headed next?

  72. Hi,

    I don’t know about ordaining, but, you know, a formal taking refuge/precepts ceremony would be a great idea.

    I took refuge in a Korean temple last year with a number of my Dharma brothers from our Sangha in Seoul, the ceremony was carried out by our teacher and a number of monks from the temple and was a very significant and wonderful event for all of us.

    I’m sure such a thing here would be very popular and just as meaningful and beautiful.

    All the best,

    Marcus

  73. Yes – nice to see everyone. I will post some explanations of the ceremony if I get time.

    So who will we be ordaining next ? Any contenders ?

  74. He stopped off to see his publisher, and is heading off from Bangkok this week. He has no schedule to appear in public right now, but the invitation has been extended to him … so hopefully he will return more often.
    When he does the information will appear on littlebang.

  75. Personally, being one who is homeless and without any family anywhere, the most poignant part of Sayadaw’s talk was the “Mindfulness is my home” line.

    The Buddha gave a simile – that a ship out at sea carries small birds along. When land has disappeared for many days one of the birds is released. If it sees land it flies in that direction, and the ship can follow. Otherwise it will return to the ship. The Buddha said this is like some religious seekers – they seek truth elsewhere, but keep returning to him because they cannot find solid ground.

    As one who is completely homeless, many ideas, wants, dreams, intentions … invade my mind, but the only solid ground I can always return to is mindfulness. I have been sick, excited, tempted, bored – every state possible, but always mindfulness is the only ‘home’ I can find in my mind.

  76. Thank you so much for the explanations! And thank you again for making the event available to us. Truly beautiful. Thank you.

  77. RE: thurs 23rd, location detail; Hey, I’m on Tiwanon twice a day… so if you could publish, maybe say a number to narrow down the street search for me …or is it that big Wat I have to bike around to get to the orphanage? …or is it the hospital just a bit further south? …or the big lawn place with the school where the baby elephant comes to feed?! Come on, give a girl a little help here, I am pedelling after all!

  78. Hi,

    This is wonderful! Sign me up for the lunch and talk please!

    I’m already signed up for the Pure Land! 😉

    All beings, one Buddha-nature,
    Namu Amitabul, Kwan Seum Bosal!

    All beings, one Buddha-nature,
    Namu Amitabul, Kwan Seum Bosal!

    All beings, one Buddha-nature,
    Namu Amitabul, Kwan Seum Bosal!

    Praise to Amida Buddha!
    Praise to the Bodhisattva of Compassion!

    With palms together,

    Seok Jeong (Marcus!)

    🙂

  79. Parents, friends, home, power these all creates attachment, craving for attention and affection. By negating all these afflictions, one is really detached, could progess in the spiritual quest, otherwise the mindfulness only partial and induced state of mind which wavers between likes and dislikes constantly.

    As a samurai one attaches to his sword for his power and honour, once he relinqueshes even the sword shows that he is beyond likes and dislikes.

    In the modern days, even the monks who are supposed to renounce family, succeed but somehow get attached to the temples and monestaries to build more and expand. Constanly bless the followers who constantly hanker after wealth and power which encourage the greedy to seek the divine power. I hope this poem would appease one and all to be more mindful and make the mind strong to overcome greediness.

  80. I would like to signed up for 2 persons for the lunch and talk.
    Isabelle and Nick
    Thanks a lot!

  81. Is registration required? If so, how. I am interested in attending all sessions.

    Metta Karuna

  82. Dear Venerable Sayadaw, Supporters & Dhamma Friends,

    I am really appreciated to get the information about this post from one of my dhamma friends. I am one of Sayadaw’s disciples who have never seen him before but always close to his teachings and ways of approaching towards dhamma.

    It was a long time ago that I have known about this dhamma talk, “Mindfulness, the abode” which was delivered in Burmese language by Sayadaw.

    Anyway, it will be my great pleasure that if I can reproduce again and present Sayadaw’s updated talk to my dhamma friends through my two hosted blogs, http://vimuttisukha.blogspot.com and http://vimuttirasa.blogspot.com.

    At the same time, I would like to request to the owner of this site for the permission to reproduce this dhamma post in my blogs.

    I would like to give my bow respect to Venerable Sayadaw and say thank you so much to the post owners for distributing this dhamma information.

    with thanks and regards,
    Vimuttisukha

    (ps. I would like to invite all of you to visit “http://vimuttirasa.blogspot.com”, The Flavour Of Liberation. It is a place of the collection of all daily dhamma posts by Dhamma Bloggers around the world.)

  83. Please book me a space for all sessions, thank you for this opportunity
    Cathy

  84. Dear Dhamma Friends from Little BANG,

    Sawadee!!
    I am very happy to know the valuable information from your website.
    I stayed in AIT, Bangkok for 2 years from 2003 to 2005 as a Myanmar scholar.
    I well noticed that Thai people were religious, kind and helpful to us under the same roof of Buddhism.
    I had practised Vipassana meditation and Metta retreat under the guidance of Venerable Chanmyae Syadaw , Canadian Monk U Vamsa and Ko Jeff(Mr.Jeff Oliver) during 2 years stay in Thailand.
    It was GREAT.So I am always grateful to Thailand Buddhist community.
    Please kindly relay my humble respects and remembrance to them.
    Now you are worthy to receive the Dhamma from Sayadaw U Jotika who is my favourite teacher.
    Our AIT students were studying under stressful learning environment.We overcame our difficulties with Sayadaw’s Dhamma Talk like your posting which gave us mental energy.
    We could modify our behaviours and shape our future meaningfully.
    I am very happy to know the graceful combination of my favourite Sayadaw and my lovely country Thailand.
    Then I would like to be your Dhamma friend.
    Could you please to share Sayadaw U Jotika’s email address?
    May you and your noble activities be successful more and more.

    With Metta and Cetana,
    Thitsaralin(The Light of Noble Truth)
    Dr.Than Than Sein
    University of Camerino, Italy

  85. The regular Shambhala Group Monday Evening Meditation will be postponed this week so that everyone can attend the talk by Rinpoche at the Tawana.

  86. GREAT = Gratefully received email about teachings!

    Our present life span is “just like that” and it can never be shortened or lengthen as such.
    But we can expand its width with loving kindness, respect, virtues, compassion and wisdom.
    We learn to live well with the laws of Dhamma and Kamma and should not try be ignorant to waste our goodness to live in such a way like spelling “live” backwards which means “evil”.
    According to Mangala Sutta the first blessing is:
    “Associate with the wise ones and disassociate with the fools!”
    Level 1. The unwise need to learn from the wise and should not join and follow the ways of the fools.
    Level 2. Practise with the wise ones and help the fools to improve yet not affected or influenced to do their foolish ways.
    Level 3. Association with the external world needs more purification internally within ourselves. Wise ones and foolish ones are labels from the judgement of our heart. The new born babies come with past kamma and merits together with innocence before they learnt new lessons with the influence of their upbringing styles and causality of “Panca Niyama”.
    So we need to “Avoid evil, Do good and Purifiy our minds!” as we watch mindfully our thoughts, speech and actions from the moment we wake up early in the morning till we retire in the night.
    The past is done; let kamma come and go. Do not own them forever.
    The present is yours; be the best we can be.
    The future may not be certain; the present is our choiceto be morally self-reliant before conditioning and graspings take over.

    Happy New year to all who rejoice the auspiciousness of truth and love of goodness (no harm and hurt) to share with others and oneself!
    Sadhu x 3 with the blessings of the Triple Gems!

  87. i agree with what u say
    when i chant i always feel the buddha is with me
    n i can feel the light sometime

    whether there is pureland or not
    is not very imp

    may all beings have the chance to listen or chant buddha names

  88. Phra Frank (the elder) comments;

    Ah!!

    I attended a talk by HH Phakchok Rinpoche at Siam Society…he had a WONDERFUL air of Metta and was an EXTREMELY entertaining speaker!

    Perhaps Martin and I can make it ot the Sundau Tai Pan gathering.

    Metta,

    Phra Frank

  89. Cool. Glad you will be joining through the week.

    For these two talks with U Vamsa, there is no need to reserve a spot. There should be plenty of room.

  90. It doesn’t, of course, ultimately matter what I think or believe, but there is a sense in which it does matter what I profess to believe, if I am to be credited as a sane and rational human being. Now, I’m a newcomer to Buddhism, and most of what I have experienced so far is rooted in clear sense and considered wisdom. But rebirth? There seems to be precious little supporting evidence in the observable universe (unlike the evidence for the existence of Australia, which I’ve found to be fairly convincing!). 🙂

  91. Hi,

    Yes, it seems clear to me that rebirth is a core part of the teachings. The Buddha himself, as part of his attainment, saw his previous lives and spoke of the future lives of his followers.

    However, this is also, isn’t it, one of those topics that we are advised can never be fully worked out until enlightenment. Thus it is open to a whole variety of interpritations.

    A good many positions can be adopted on this question, and perhaps each one of them has some inkling of ultimate truth to it.

    So I love your formulation here: “It does not have to be a clear belief, but simply that one acts not just with a view to the present life, but to the next life too. Just enough belief to look after your karma. The details and mechanisms can look after themselves.”

    And then we realise that, even if we do have a position on this question, it can not encompass the entire truth, and going on to argue about it or try to defend it would be both useless and unskilful!

    May all dwell in peace and happiness.

    Marcus

  92. Yes, you put your finger on the issue.
    For meditators, it is not an important issue, and at the end of the day the only correct response must be “I don’t know”, rather than fixating on strong beliefs EITHER way.
    And yet, it is a common and real thread in the teachings, and so deserving of some attention – too often Buddhist schools brush over it, or air-brush it out altogether.

    So I liked the Telegraph take on it : The results indicate that people have a very diverse and unorthodox set of beliefs

  93. The candle flame analogy troubles me. How can something I do in this lifetime be passed ion to the next…of who? All flame is one. It seems to me the concept of rebirth has to smuggle in the concept of atman while denying it. For karma to work, there must be something of me to transcend death, so that this me is rewarded or punished in the next rebirth. But the doctrine of no self says there is no me. I’m comfortable setting rebirth and karma aside and confessing ignorance, but I cannot profess belief.

  94. I’ve enjoyed all of your illuminating comments. I’m going to carry on meditating and just let this one go without getting bogged down, I think. I’m getting much better at not getting tied up in ultimately unresolvable debates, either with myself or others.

  95. It seems to be true. But after years of hitchhiking and fun there comes to be a question of “Is a solid vehicle more reliable moving through the journey of life? The use of spare parts and assorted idealogical beliefs has left me wondering if they haven’t steered me down the wrong road altogether. Have others who took the time to really sort out all the options available and choose one vehicle, arrived somewhere greener? Are they where they are because of the vehicle they drove or are they there because no matter what vehicle they drove that is where they are meant to be? Sometimes the grass seems greener, but then, if now is all there ever really is and there is no final destination, the grass will do just fine right here. And what about vehicles that are made for carrying baggage…..did that affect the course of this journey? It seems all illusory anyway, but maybe it isn’t and at some point maybe all the hitchhiking will prove to have been effective, and maybe it won’t. Maybe a car was never needed at all….maybe it should have been an airplane.

  96. We experience the cycle of rebirth with every breath. Therefore it is wise to be a good custodian to our current human form, but defending ones self via flying bags of chicken poop is a new one for me!

  97. Sorry this is a late request, been out of town and out of internet reach. Would like to register for Saturday and Sunday sessions. Thank you!

  98. I would like to come to the talk on Healing Meditation but not sure if there is a BTS or MRT nearby?

  99. from Bangkok take taxi; cost 200B.
    Go on expressway/#31 take the Chaengwattana/#304 exit, and veer/turn left toward Pak Kret.

    Go couple miles. Turn left onto Tiwanon/#306. Keep going past irrigation golf course, then just over the klong take u-turn (opposite Samakee) and get to the far left lane, soi 45 will be first left.

    Turn left onto 45 go straight (“main” pavement will veer left). The first big soi to right is Saitong. Turn right onto Saitong, then look for beautiful new complex on the left! No english on outside of building but has 3/1 on low gate.

    DO NOT tell taxi “Samaggi” it is Samakee or Samakhi, a very known street in my neighborhood. (Samaggi is not)

  100. Please reserve a place for me on Thursday thanks!

    I have one spare place in a car going (but probably not coming back) on Thursday…

    Anyone in the Sukhumvit area who would like to travel out with us? Let me know via email

    cathy.lynch@another.com

    and we can pick you up

    Best wishes
    Cathy

  101. Thank you all for leaving the messages. Don’t worry if you can’t come on the day – we don’t have place names, it is just to guage how many people to tell the Hotel to prepare for.

    Khun Channaphach
    Khun Chimrat
    Khun Natacha

    are all booked in too.

  102. I’d be flying in from Hong Kong to attend the lunch and talk – could you please reconfirm there’s still place available for 1 person – Thank you.

  103. Please include my name both in your list both lunch and talk. I will be there. Thank you very much. (from KittipongC.)

  104. Phra Pandit,

    I’ll be very pleased to pick-up the 2500 THB for the facility charge.

    Metta,
    David

  105. Hello my Dharma friends,
    Three of us will go to the TaiPan Lunch together, please reserve for us. TKS ——yen chu

  106. I will be coming up to Bangkok, and would like to attend the meal and the talk. Thanks.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

  107. Hey,

    Please count me in for the talk, and possibly for lunch too!

    Thank you

    Charlotte

  108. Thanks for the summary, Marcus! Very well done. It is almost like listening to the Venerable’s talk all over again. To everyone interested, present or not, this Marcus’ summary is highly recommended.

  109. Thank you for organizing this. I will be there for both lunch and talk. Best wishes, E.

  110. Hi,
    Is there still a few seats for lunch available? If so, I’d like to sign up for 2. If not, could I just attend the talk session?

  111. excellant article on Karma… I wish I could have been there to hear the talk…

  112. Hi,

    Thank you so much for this wonderful essay!

    I think one of the most interesting things, for me anyway, is this part here:

    “And more importantly does this mean that some kinds of experience of the mind that arise in meditation should not be rejected as simply impermanent, dukkha and non-self? Good questions for the scholarly.”

    Not just for the scholarly! My experience of meditation is itself an experience of letting go to, and dwelling within, Buddha-nature. Like the breath, it is something to which I can always return, like the rise and fall of in-breath and out-breath, it is sustaining and embracing.

    “I take refuge in Buddha-nature,
    my center, foundation, and teacher,
    which transcends existence and nonexistence,
    and through which enlightenment is attained.”

    (- Seon Master Daehaeng, ‘A Thousand Hands of Compassion’, Hanmaum Publications, Korea, October 2008.)

    By the way, Phra Pandit, I heard you on the radio this morning talking about the value of ritual, celebration, and community in Buddhism! It was a lovely talk! Thank you so much!

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  113. Hi,

    Thank you so much for making the details available here!

    It would be lovely if people who are interested in Korean Buddhism / Zen Buddhism can come along.

    If nothing else, it will give the good people there an idea of how much interest there might be from people outside the immediate Korean community.

    Plus, of course, it will be a wonderful day and a great way to celebrate Vesak!

    Hope to see you there!

    Marcus

  114. Hi,

    Thank you to those who came along! I’m sure you’ll agree that it was a beautiful and inspiring celebration!

    My report is in the usual place: http://marcusjournal.blogspot.com/2009/05/buddhas-birthday-at-bangkok-hanmaum.html

    and I’m pleased to say that it’s looking more and more likey that the Centre will be able to hold a regular (monthly?) English-language Seon group.

    No solid details yet, but as soon as something is arranged, I’ll let everyone know!

    Thank you again to those that came along, and to the wonderful Littlebang site!

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  115. Dear Littlebang,

    In a Tibetan book it says we should practice “the three yanas – Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana – without any contradiction or conflict between them”. There is a clear implication in this description of the Tibetan tradition that by practicing only Hinayana the practice is not complete. With this as part of HHPR’s tradition and learning Hinayanan practice cannot be complete. Is such a description, with Theravada and Hinayana being the same?, a fair representation of Theravada?

    This is the first of many semantic difficulties I experienced during HHPR’s riveting talk. He was saying Hinayanans do this, and then looking to the monks for glances of acknowledgement. Did they accept what he was saying?

    For him Buddha nature appeared to be a significant difference, and he used the Manhattan analogy. Therevadins are going to Manhattan, and Vajrayanans are in Manhattan but have to recognise it – the Buddha nature. How does one be “Manhattan”? Does Buddha nature have attributes such as the 4 Brahma-Viharas, metta, karuna, muditta, upekkha? So are these 4 the Buddha nature we be? Or are there more attributes?

    And as soon as we have attributes then we have limitation because of our own concepts – of metta for example. I love all sentient beings except for that mosquito that has just bitten me so my metta is flawed. In the litany Marcus quoted from Seon Master Daehaeng, what is the “Buddha nature” that you keep coming back to in meditation?

    So that brings me to the Unconditioned? Is that the same as Buddha nature if Buddha nature has attributes? Using Marcus’ same quote Buddha nature transcends existence and non-existence. Accepting this as a Mahayanan definition, is this truly Unconditioned if it transcends existence? Or does this Unconditioned also transcend existence and non-existence? So can this Unconditioned have attributes such as the 4 Brahma-Viharas?

    And then we come to Emptiness. Why is this not Unconditioned? My understanding is that these terms are synonymous. What is left when we remove all conditions or attributes? The nothing that is everything, Unconditioned, Emptiness, Tao.

    And what about the essential unity of the Tao? Don’t all beings return to the Tao? If so wouldn’t this Tao be a pool of Buddha natures?

    I remember a theosophy layer cake, the top three being Atma, Buddhi, Higher Manas. At the time (30 years ago) I saw the Buddhi (Buddha nature) pooling together into Atma, but that could be my interpretation or a theosophical interpretation – long ago.

    Personifications concern me. Is it not the practice to be “Manhattan” – to be the Boddhisattvva of Compassion? How can we be This as whatever we try to be is limited by our interpretation of language or concept?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  116. Hi Bill,

    “If so wouldn’t this Tao be a pool of Buddha natures?”

    Words get in the way, isn’t that the first teaching from the book of the Tao? But, yes, interesting point.

    My Buddha-nature is the same as your Buddha-nature. It’s the same as the Buddha’s Buddha-nature and the same as the Buddha-nature of the dog in the soi.

    But this Buddha-nature remains one. My root teacher when asked about this has used the term Hanmaum for Buddha-nature, and Juingong for the Buddha-nature in each person, but she is very clear that it is a mistake to talk of MY Buddha-nature or YOUR Buddha-nature!

    A question I sometimes have (and the question I asked in the talk) is to what extent Buddha-nature is active or passive, simply waiting to be uncovered. One answer, of course, is that it is in direct relationship to the work (practice, faith, whatever) you do.

    Roshi Philip Kapleau put this best when writing about the practice of calling upon the name of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (one of the few practices I actually sometimes remember to do! LOL):

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    So good, I’m going to post it again:

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    All the best Bill,

    Marcus

  117. Hi Bill,

    “If so wouldn’t this Tao be a pool of Buddha natures?”

    Words get in the way, isn’t that the first teaching from the book of the Tao? But, yes, interesting point.

    My Buddha-nature is the same as your Buddha-nature. It’s the same as the Buddha’s Buddha-nature and the same as the Buddha-nature of the dog in the soi.

    But this Buddha-nature remains one. My root teacher when asked about this has used the term Hanmaum for Buddha-nature, and Juingong for the Buddha-nature in each person, but she is very clear that it is a mistake to talk of MY Buddha-nature or YOUR Buddha-nature!

    BZ:-The teaching is clear, thanks Marcus.

    A question I sometimes have (and the question I asked in the talk) is to what extent Buddha-nature is active or passive, simply waiting to be uncovered. One answer, of course, is that it is in direct relationship to the work (practice, faith, whatever) you do.

    BZ:- Perhaps here Unconditioned is a useful notion. Unconditioned is, and we have blocked it out with our selves – defilements, ignorance, anger, desire etc. (conditions). Clearing these away reveals. Active or passive implies form, Unconditioned is formless – to use the Taoist description.

    Roshi Philip Kapleau put this best when writing about the practice of calling upon the name of the Bodhisattva of Compassion (one of the few practices I actually sometimes remember to do! LOL):

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    So good, I’m going to post it again:

    “If you selflessly call upon Kannon, trusting in this universal heart of wisdom and compassion, a response is assured, for, in essence, his compassionate heart and yours are the same. In fact, the calling of his name is possible only because he is already moving toward you in a dynamic invocation-evocation process.”

    BZ:- I am not comfortable with personifications. But my approach to this is similar to my reply concerning Buddha-nature. When we clear away what is not compassion, when we get rid of delusions then we become part of the already-existing Wisdom and Compassion. Personification for me introduces an “other”. Is there an “other” out there that we have to move towards or moves towards us? Is it not the case that if we remove all that is not-Wisdom or not-Compassion then we are part of All-Wisdom and All-Compassion?

    Thanks for taking time to reply.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  118. I too am not comfortable with personifications other than in an allegory tale (I Love fairy tales for this reason).
    Yet, viewing the path in a purely negative sense – not-greed not-anger not-delusion, or extinguishing the defilements etc.. – does not work for me either. I think we need some kind of positive notion of the goal, rather than just listing what it is not.
    In this sense, the ‘Buddha-nature’ teaching is useful, even if it is a way to sneak some kind of Atman back into the equation. In fact, in the Theravada suttas there are numerous positive references to Nibbana or the Unconditioned that have been overlooked.

  119. Dear Bhikkhu Cittasamvaro,

    Thanks very much for the reply.

    I am not sure about the “some kind of positive goal”. Suppose the goal is to “be Buddha-nature”. What is the Buddha-nature that we are supposed to be? Even if Buddha-nature could be simplified to the 4 Brahma-viharas, that Buddha-nature would be limited to our own view or mindset of what metta, karuna, muditta and upekkha are. Being Buddha-nature could well be limited to a very small subset of what actual Buddha-nature is.

    If by being positive means attempting to be the 4 Braham-viharas as an example then I agree but that too suffers from the above restriction.

    There is also a danger in goal-orientation. If my target is to be something and I am not that target, then there is dukkha. It also can become a desire – wishing to fulfil the goal.

    I would be interested in some of the positive references to Nibbana and Unconditioned if you have time.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  120. The Brahmaviharas lie within Samsara – hence their name – the abode of the Brahma’s, and can only lead to rebirth in the formless realms, so we should not define the Unconditioned with reference to them. Even Metta, Karuna etc.. are still conditions.
    There might be a danger of setting a gaol, but I think there is more in the opposite. We are told to ‘strive ardent and resolute.. like a man whose hair is on fire would strive to put out the flames.’ These kind of statements show that there must be an application of effort and energy for “the attainment of what is yet unattained”. This kind of desire we call aspiration (dhammachanda) and is not a cause of suffering as Craving (Tanha) is.
    It is the special ability of a Buddha, as opposed to a pacceka Buddha, that he can point to certain practises and insights that lead one to the Unconditioned, even though all the practises themselves are simply making adjustments to the Samsaric realm of impermanence.

    The ‘positive’ examples, aside from those of ‘striving ardent and resolute’ that I mentioned already, can be seen in the many different words the Buddha used to describe the ultimate insight – like Ultimate happiness (Paramattha Sukkha), The Peaceful, The Sublime, The Goal, The shore that has no shore beyond it etc…
    Another example is the sutta which says even if Enlightenment took 100 lifetimes of Hell, it would be worth it. But such is not necessary for Dhamma is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end.
    In terms of meditation it helps (I think) to follow the silence and brightness of the mind positively, rather than look around for defilements to battle with.

  121. Dear Bhikkhu Cittasamvaro,

    Thank you for this comment with necessary correction. I suffered from something I have done before. In an attempt to rationalise I lost sight of what I had previously understood. Specifically with regards to the brahmaviharas I knew they were in samsara but I was attempting to rationalise with regards to Mahayana – Boddhisattva of Compassion? But reflecting on that brought the following. I am not sure of the meaning of the “abode of the Brahmas”, but that expression adds strength to this simplification. These 4 might be considered “top level attributes” in samsara. And that led me to thinking about the personifications in Mahayana and Vajrayana. When describing personification this might also be “top level personification” within samsara whilst the Buddha-nature parallels Unconditioned. I would like to learn from someoone who uses personification.

    I have a difficulty here, and it is the issue of language across traditions again. In his talk HHPR placed a significant emphasis on Buddha-nature as a difference in the two traditions. In the above I am postulating “paralleling”. I use a looser term out of respect because in truth I cannot see a difference, and would welcome my eyes being opened. And I go back to Manhattan again. Why is Theravada “going to and Buddha-nature being Manhattan”? Removing conditions gives access to the Unconditioned, why is that different to “being Buddha-nature”?

    As to dhammachanda aspiration is a good word as a counter to craving, thank you. As to dangers 12 years ago I met a friend who was a drunk. He had been involved with a spiritual movement (not Buddhism) in his 20s in Devon somewhere I think. He had lived that “spiritual life” for a few years and it was significant in his development. However he had not achieved and considered himself a failure for not achieving, so he was drinking, and making no attempt. It had to be all or nothing. Made me sad.

    Thank you for the references to Nibbana in the suttas. In this process of rationalising traditions I note that HHDL is always talking of happiness, and here you mention about the Buddha and Ultimate Happiness.

    As to the meditation, thank you for the suggestions – brightness and silence. Personally I am conscious of many weaknesses but please be assured bashing myself on the head during meditation is not one of them.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  122. I’ll be there, and I’d really like to find a copy of Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat’s doctoral dissertation to read.

  123. I also have the same impression on the Buddha nature issue. Seems there is no real difference between the two traditions. I think HHPCR mentioned at one point that Buddha Nature had its origins in the Pali (Or was it me who suggested that?). So is it just part of this ‘Hey we are the Greater (maha) path’ syndrome?
    I have seen in some Theravada schools the view that enlightenment takes 1000’s of lifetimes of gradual practice of certain virtues before one has reached a level of purity associated with an Arahant. This view is particularly prevalent in Sri Lanka, today as in the past. I suspect that the Buddha Nature angle arose in juxtaposition to this view – to point out that the Unconditioned is something that necessarily pre-exists, and is not a ‘super’ condition that takes eons to develop. In this scenario the Buddha Nature teaching makes sense, until you remove the original context.
    As for the postive approach to meditation, I’m glad you don’t bash your own head 🙂 Re: ‘brightness and stillness’, I was referring to my own interest in the Dhammakaya approach to meditation which focusses on these aspects rather than the more common ‘Insight’ approaches. But that is a whole new topic.

    Curiously, the lecture at the WBU in June is about Buddha Nature in Theravada and Mahayana, which I will try to attend.

  124. Dear Bhikkhu Cittasamvaro,
    I am sure there is much more that can come from developing this discussion on Buddha-nature if someone who practises that way could explain in depth why HHPCR sees it so different. I have had no contact from them.

    “Suddenly happens.” I don’t know references to lifetimes but whilst there are moments of great joy isn’t it mostly about commitment to practice that leads to greater happiness? I do get the impression that some perceive enlightenment as just waiting to hit them suddenly. One friend described Theravada as too much hard work.

    Based on the quote I made in an earlier comment Vajrayana asks for the practise of three yanas, and has an obvious implication. What are your views on the heart sutra? Can the teachings in Mahayana and Vajrayana be taken on the basis that if we perceive they are true for us then use them?

    On Dharmakaya I had vaguely picked up this notion of evolving Dharma from reading Thich Naht Hahn. Yet in Thailand there is the Dhammakaya foundation, and then there is a Tibetan understanding. What do you understand by Dhammakaya? My own meditation is far from being Vipassana only.

    If I am in Bkk I too would like to attend that talk ….  

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  125. Hi anyone knows when he drop by Singapore?? I really wish to see him in person!!!

  126. Well, the only things that can be developed are conditioned things, not the Unconditioned. Therefore, it must be pre-existing and not something that needs to be developed. That said, certain states are more conducive to penetrating Dhamma.
    The happiness that comes from the practise is not the same as the bliss of Nibbana. Sariputta said
    “this nibanna is bliss, this nibbana is bliss”
    Asked how it can be that nibbana is bliss when there is no more vedana (pleasant feeling), he replied,
    It is BECAUSE there is no more vedana that it is bliss.
    It’s been a while since I read the Heart Sutra, but the Lotus Sutra says that the three vehicals are nonesense, and just a ploy to get you out of the burning building (suffering).
    Dhammakaya in Thailand is a meditation method, rather than the more theoretical take on the word in the Mayayana, but that is a whole new topic….
    I recall Ajahn Chah’s comment on the Buddha nature – the idea that our Buddha nature is pure.
    He picked up a tray and said “If I dipped this tray in a pit of mud, would you tell me it is actually clean”
    or something like that. Good analogy.

  127. This is not specifically in reply to the previous comment. I came across the passage below when reading Sogyal Rinpoche’s “Tibetan Book of Dying and Living”. It made me think there was a difference in their way of seeing Buddha nature, and then it made me think that it is my perceptions of what can be achieved rather than a Theravadin view of enlightenment that is the difference. To be quite honest I don’t know.

    “…. each of us can …. realize the nature of mind and so know in us what is deathless and eternally pure.

    “The wonder of this promise is that it is something not exotic, not fantastic, not for an elite, but for all humanity; and when we realize it …. it is unexpectedly ordinary. …. You don’t actually “become” a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded.

    “One of the greatest Buddhist traditions calls the nature of mind “the wisdom of ordinariness”. [p54]”

    This reads a great deal of accessibility to me. Realising something of the nature of mind through insight is far more accessible through meditation than the Unconditioned. For me the Unconditioned seems unattainable. Daily life brings with it conditions. How can I get rid of those conditions? How can I live 24/7 in a situation of mindfulness so that no conditions arise? Some people may be able to but me …. no way. So I do the best I can.

    And in doing the best I can I am occasionally lucky and have glimpses – insights. I realise the pleasantness of my ordinary life here in the sticks, and if any of those ordinary glimpses are truly wisdom I am grateful. Whether they are or not, they do feel attainable and accessible – occasionally.

    This leads me to consider samsara. Although things are pleasant enough for me now I look back and see all the grief I have been through and some that I have caused, and I think:- do I have to do that again? That sometimes weighs heavily, but in truth I feel I can never attain the enlightenment of the Unconditioned to prevent the return.

    But insight can teach me a little of the deathless, and I can perhaps prepare for the moment of death in a way where I might not have to come back. And again this feels more accessible than an impossible Nibbana – even if it isn’t.

    Perhaps it is a more accessible buddha nature HHPCR was referring to?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  128. Dear Jeff,

    Nice to hear that you are coming to BKK.
    You are most welcome to keep your stuff at our place.
    you can E mail me or call (+66)0819299937

    Regards

    Rohan

  129. Thank you for this discussion,

    Of course different branches of Buddhism, as well as different Buddhist practitioners, all have different approaches. The best you can do, probably, is dig deep into the tradition in which you find yourself and allow its teachings and practice and support to take you to the goal.

    So my comment is not to disagree with anyone, but just to point out that in the tradition in which I took refuge, Buddha-nature is of huge practical use. It is Buddha-nature which we let go to in meditation and in daily life, Buddha-nature that we rely upon, Buddha-nature that connects us to all things and which gives rise to all things.

    But, though I see Buddha-nature as being very practical, still I agree entirly with your conclusion – “For the meditator of course, the question we are more interested in is not ‘what is enlightenment?’ so much as ‘what do I have to do?’”

    Marcus

    PS – Regarding the defilements….. yes, trying to purify them away will take 1000s of lifetimes! Seeing through them is the key. I think it was Seon Master Seung Sahn who said (but don’t ask me for a source I’m afraid) that even the dust on the mirror, or the mud on the tray in this case, can awaken us – if we simply see it for what it is.

  130. Not that I know of. He is a nice person, and the talk was interesting, if way too long. I guess it is up to Jamie to invite him again.

  131. I quite agree that the buddha-nature teaching is not really something of much practical use when we are meditating or developing the Path. It is really a statement of the Goal, such as ‘the shore that has no shore beyond it” “the Unconditioned” or the more usual “nibbana”.
    Practically we have to focus on what gets us there rather than speculating on ‘where’ that is, or finding new names for it (which is what I think the whole Buddha-nature thing is about)

    The idea is that this nature is there exising in you and your experience if you can find it. It is already pure – hence the teaching that ‘you are already enlightened’ which HHPCR described as knowing you are already in Manhattan.

    This is opposed to the idea that your enlightened defiled, and you need to purify yourself to perfection. Rather like gold might be alloyed with other metals, and therefore has to be smelted and purified. With Buddha nature your gold is already pure, but is hidden by the dirt (defilements).

    Theravada is not opposed to this view, though admittedly many teachers seem to favour 1000s lifetimes of purification are needed to be Enlightened.

    For the meditator of course, the question we are more interested in is not ‘what is enlightenment?’ so much as ‘what do I have to do?’

  132. Dear Phra Pandit,

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer. It helped me a lot.

    I read your postings as well as all the other participants’ in the conversations. All taken and looking at my own observation, I suppose I no longer critically need scriptural support for Buddha Nature. Since a long long time ago, I knew(felt) that everybody is basically good, no matter what ugly things they do out of ignorance. To this day, I haven’t met someone intrinsically bad. So, yes, all must be basically good. The more layers of obsurations are removed, the further we move towards enlightenment, the more Buddha Nature is revealed ?

    Another point of observation : To me, Buddha Nature is a very good example of Mahayana/Vajarayana ‘s encouraging/coaxing/you-can-do-easily(I mean compared to Theravada) approach to prodding it’s followers. As opposed to Theravada’s austere/you-rely-on-your-own-effort/we-don’t-promish-much approach which would always attract fewer followers. In general, I think Mahayana/Vajrayana has far greater marketing tools.

    Finally, I suppose the concept of so many modern day Bodisattvas taking Bodisattva vows, has its very usefulness even if I find it literally not workable. I find that it is very uplifting and motivating to think of oneself as the savior to all sentient beings. You put yourself on the high pedestal of Bodisattva ; you are not going to stoop to do lowly things, right ? That’s really fantastic. As long as you know the parameters…

    Respectfully yours,

    Miemie

  133. Yes, you all have reminded me that it is not so important to see if a Mahayana teaching is in Theravada, so much as does the teaching work?
    ‘Upaya’ are skillful means, so if it is useful, use it.

  134. Big 4 – still living in the UK, not a Buddhist and hating the mess politics was making of teaching.

    Enjoyed reading this – thanks.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  135. Dear Phra Pandit,
    Thank you for wrapping it up so succinctly. I do hope to be skillful , at the same time, not losing track of what it is for.
    Respectfully,
    Miemie

  136. Dear Sayadaw,

    The most insightful line to me is ” I have no home; i make mindfulness my home”.

    it is about nothing and everything. Enlightenment starts with the mind and ends with the mind.

    The line explains Buddha’s teaching in a nutshell.

    I really hope to be the first to read Sayadaw’s new book – My mind is my home.

    saddhu and metta.

    goh

  137. Thanks for sharing your life.
    You made a monk close to human.
    Much metta,
    Miemie

  138. Ignorance vs. Buddha-nature: A Pseudo Difference

    Did you write this , Phra Pandit ?

    It was a very clear explanation. Thanks.

  139. I will attend as well. Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat is a member of my PhD programme’s board of Buddhist Studies at Mahidol University and I haven’t met him before … what a nice occasion!

    See you an Sunday,

    Volkmar

  140. I too thought being skilful wrapped it up, but does it? Or does it change the question?

    For HHPCR Buddha-nature was a major difference between the two traditions. So is it skilful to accept Buddha-nature? Marcus described his own use “Buddha-nature is of huge practical use. It is Buddha-nature which we let go to in meditation and in daily life, Buddha-nature that we rely upon, Buddha-nature that connects us to all things and which gives rise to all things.” For Marcus this is a skilful practice.

    So I ask myself is there anything to be gained in my practice? I came up with taking responsibility for my Buddha-Nature as being more personal than the Unconditioned. There is a danger in this but I think it is skilful for me. Discussed more in my blog

    And in Marcus’ same post he described seeing defilements for what they are can awaken us. If we have defilements see them and don’t purify them, are they not still defilements?

  141. Update – Rubby, Tanya and Vera offered a cake on Sunday afternoon, when poor birthday boy can’t eat any. So they ate it infront of me while I watched dribbling.
    By Tanya’s 4th peice I was worried there would be none left, but I finally got a piece this morning.
    Anumodana…..

  142. Haha… I’m a medical practitioner, it’s my job to notice these things…

    Happy Birthday. I am in Bangkok for a few days, if you’d like to meet or talk, please feel free to contact me.

  143. Sayadaw Phaya,
    It has been about ten years that I become one of the readers.
    I can find myself change a lot in comparing before. “A School Called Life” gave me a great concept of living . I try my level best.
    I usually remember the words you teach in books when I’m in trouble.
    I feel deep sense of gratitude to you whenever I’ ve overcome them in peaceful means.
    Please may I request you to propagate your teachings of Dhamma to all over the world in order to have the spiritual wellbeing of people.
    With due respect and regards,
    PPA.

  144. Sorry you only got one small piece on Thursday. I promise on your 50th BD we’ll give you the whole cake.

    Awesome reflection, we hope to visit you at Wat Paknam again sometime.

  145. Easy, just search for Little Bangkok Sangha on Facebook and join the group. See you there.

  146. Why do we need to build fences between the Dhamma and good causes? Recognition of the universality of suffering leads to compassion for the suffering of others. It is too easy to fall into the trap of depending on rebirth to solve the problems in this life. I agree that Buddhism is not defined by the good causes Buddhists support, but no Buddhist taking the five precepts can ignore suffering and injustice in this world.

  147. Hi,

    Yes, the aim of Buddhism is Enlightenment. Put another way, enlightenment is to see things for what and how they really are. This will, automatically, give rise to compassion.

    Living in compassion and wisdom, the ‘good cause’ at any given moment will be obvious.

    But, of course, our delusions get in the way. So we need to return, again and again, to Buddhism. Good causes, alone, don’t get you there, Buddhism does.

    Marcus

    PS – and, on a more arguementative streak (!), perhaps here I ought to mention vegetarianism…..! That for me is a clear of example of doing the right thing, and the more I practice, the more I could never again stomach the idea of eating the flesh of another sentient being.

  148. To use Will’s words, is Phra Pandit building a fence between Dhamma and good causes? I would not speak for Phra Pandit but for me what I took from the article was not a fence of separation but an emphasis for Buddhists that “The aim of Buddhism is ultimate enlightenment”.

    This is an issue I have often considered. Before retirement I worked in what could be seen as a “good cause” – teaching. In my later years I was drawn more and more into conflict because I was into the good cause and the institutions were into profiteering and careerism. At the same time the demands of the good cause produced in myself an almost schizophrenic lifestyle of working for the good cause with its stresses and demands and in holidays studying Buddhism. Again using Will’s words, for me the good cause built a fence between it and the Dhamma. Now of course not all good causes are as corrupted as teaching has become, and one could argue that it might be possible for someone in teaching to be emphasising the Buddhist aim – sadly I was never able to.

    Good causes bring with them attachments, the pain of the Aids sufferer etc., and for myself I was never truly able to detach myself from the pain the children suffered within the careerist and profiteering aims that dominated the teaching institutions I worked in. Can the attachments of good causes be a distraction from the “aim of ultimate enlightenment”?

    Reference to Mother Teresa raised questions for me:-

    1) Would Mother Teresa have been able to work for ultimate enlightenment?

    Or perhaps even:-

    2) Was Mother Teresa already an enlightened being because she devoted herself 100% to the caring for others?

    For me this further follows into a difference noted by HH Phakchok Rinpoche, quoting his handout:-

    “Motivation:-

    Hinayana – Renunciation, and the wish to attain freedom from samsara and arhatship for one’s own benefit.

    Vajrayana – Bodhicitta, the wish to attain enlightenment of all sentient beings, and pure perception. ….”

    I want to focus on comparing two phrases “for one’s own benefit” and “for the benefit of all sentient beings”. On the Path is there a difference? I cannot see how someone who has worked towards freeing themselves from samsara possibly not be benefitting all sentient beings. In my own case however, it made me introduce the phrase “for the benefit of all sentient beings” into my approach to avoid a perspective that might be too introspective.

  149. I, Kanitha Silthornvisudh and my friend, Patchanee Natpracha, are interested in coming to the day retreat and would like to register.

    Thank you,

    kanitha .

  150. Compassion in Theravada is more about one of the good qualities of mind you develop, along with metta, wisdom, morality etc..

    Compassion in Mahayana soely refers to making the determination not to enter final nibbana, but to keep coming back to the world in successive births until all beings are enlightened. The compassion is leading others to nibbana, since it is the only real solution to suffering.

    Even in the mahayana view then, enlightenment is the goal of this life.

    I actually met Mother Tereas, and she put her hand on my head. After she passed away her diaries showed she had a lot of doubts – which is kind of reassuring. I can’t see in that Christian group any awareness of Enlightenment or the inner path. At the same time I was disappointed in my own reaction of fear and retreat when I witnessed the torment and suffering there.

  151. “The present situation of our world is so full of poverty, distrust, diseases, strife, that there seems to be no end. Hundreds and thousands of great men admired as saints and sages have appeared in the world in the past, and they have devoted their lives for the betterment of the world. Human suffering and unhappiness, however, do not seem to have decreased or ended. Over and over again they repeatedly, thanklessly endeavoured to fill up the well with snow. The true life of Zen is found here, when we all become true Great Fools and calmly and nonchalantly keep on doing our best, realizing well that our efforts will never be rewarded.”

    – From: “A Flower does not Talk”, Zen Essays by Abbot Zenkei Shibayama

  152. Dear Sayadaw
    My name is called Sai Lao(in SHAN), I was born in very small town in Shan State, called NamLan village. In 1995, when I`m 9 grate, my parents are very poor, every one my friends they went to the big city, and study at city, like Mandalay or PyinOolwin(May Myo), all in friend only me left in the town and continue study in my town. At that time i feel so hesitate between my friends because of poor life, at that time I went to Mandalay with my father, in here i want to say about my father a bit, my father is a track driver, at Mandalay in some books shop , the sale man introduce me to read the book you wrote, it already 13 year ago , from there i don`t feel hesitate because of poor and to study, after i rate you book, i have a lot energy and brave my self, from there i went to Yangon and find the way to continue study, now i study at University in Japan, before went to japan i study at Singapore about two year for diploma course, now at University, actually i don`t have money and also my parents also can`t support me, but i have a brave and find away how to get the money and how to earn for school fees? every thing until to today because of you books and you Dhamma talk is so power full and give me a lot energy to survive my life, one day i hope to see you face to face and share about how to define about the life, in my experience, if have a chance please reply me a mail or letter i will happy and thank a lot.
    Really respect and Best regards,
    Sailao
    a while in japan

    • Please email me your email. I would like to make a small contribution for your studies. Thanks for expressing yourself so well and wish you continued success in life. The dhamma is the best protection – even though having formal education does help in getting on in this world. BEST WISHES.

  153. “Desire causes suffering” is yet another unfortunate case of misinterpretation, or careless translation. The original Pali leans more toward ‘craving’ and ‘obsession’ rather than mere ‘desire’. So yes, craving and obsession do cause suffering; while desire in itself is neutral.

    So change the word “desire” to “craving” or “obsessing” in the opening sentence and it WILL be easy to see; as follows:

    “Craving causes Suffering” goes the Noble Truth. Obsessing for a good grade, job, house for your family – does this cause suffering? The answer this time is a resounding “YES!”

  154. oh, interesting topic! wish I could be there but will be back in the US for a few weeks.

    Metta,
    Mike

  155. This is our first year celebrating Asalha Puja and then Vassa. Thank you for this easy to follow description!

  156. Thanks Bill.

    A friend from Singapore just passed away from the same condition as FF. He was in good spirits last May when I saw him and one hopes that his long term spiritual commitment and merit maintained his composure throughout the 9 months or so since diagnosis.
    May the Dhamma keep on supporting you Vincent .

  157. See you guys & gals & the high priest of Buddhism (Phra Pundit Pandit).

  158. Just managed to get the day off….. so see everyone there for lunch, movie, and polite debate! Sounds like fun! 🙂

  159. What a blast to read the candid reflections of a monk’s life. We’re putting you into the Monk’s Hall of Fame.
    sleep smiling, richard

  160. Count me in for lunch and movie/discussion. Thanks for arranging another interesting topic…with food!! 🙂

  161. As was so famously chanted by he so recently departed:
    “I’ll be there ”

    With Metta,
    Phra Frank

  162. I would like to be there for the lunch and movie.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

  163. I really wanna go too na. It’s been a long time since the last film at Tai Pan. Unfortunately I have to work on Sat 🙁

    Will pretend to have swine flu…But if you guys don’t see me, it’s because I’m taking care of those who really catch it.

    Have fun.
    T_T

  164. Sounds just the ticket after being away for a month of intense qigong in Chiang Mai. (My teacher says our bodies decay and die but our energy lives on. Count me in for lunch and the movies too.

    See you all soon

    jennifer

  165. Rex told me about this…

    Would like to join for lunch and movie.

    Waiting for reconfirmation from another friend…will let you know if she is coming with me.

    Looking forward to meet the littlebang community as well! 🙂

    Namaste,
    christy

  166. Hi,

    Rex and Christy told me about this. I’m coming for lunch and film. Please count me in 🙂

    See you 🙂

  167. Hi,

    A wonderful afternoon! Thank you so much! Great lunch, great people, interesting documentaries and very nice discussion (sorry for talking too much myself again though!) – thank you to everyone who helped make all this possible.

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  168. Dear Sayardaw U ZawTiKa,
    I would like to pay respect and refuge to Sayardaw firstly.I read most of dhamma books written by Sayardaw who explained “about the level of Beings” in one of the dhamma book.

    Before I thought a person who is rich money or famous, honorable, possess a lot of good things, that can make to stay a good living and happy life and also standard of Living getting high. When I found sayadaw tayar I look only outside world.

    After I read sayadaw’s book the grate concept of Living is Mindfulness and we need to make our mind self perfection and spiritual well being.
    It is the grate concept of living.I have to look the inner world / life .I understand and I ‘m trying my level best.

    When I felt lonely I remember Sayadaw teach “my mind is my best friend”.
    I tried to make mindfulness about to know myself.

    Sayadaw Dhamma talk give me pleasure and Dhamma books give me reduce stress.
    When I try to do as Sayadaw Dhamma teach , I felt peace if mind .

    Sayadaw can teach dhamma simple and easy to understand way of spiritual wellbeing of people the nature in the modern world .

    Really respect and take refuge to Sayardaw be healthy and be peace of mind.
    For a While
    Singapore

  169. Excellent info on Velikovsky.

    He was a pioneer in the field in many ways.

    His sources were the myths and religions of the world as a record of human experience, but these days we can add plasma research into the equation – and electrified plasma can be generated and studied in the lab. Common examples of electrified plasma are lightening, standard arc welding equipment, or most readily seen, the common fluorescent light tube.
    An overview of the theory, if you have an hour spare to work through it, is here : http://www.electric-cosmos.org/indexOLD.htm

    A good example of all this is the planet Venus which Velikovsky predicted would be boiling hot. He thought it had been ejected from the mass of Jupiter in some way.
    Venus turned out to be extremely hot – far hotter than the sunlight that supposedly heats it up (forget ‘runaway global warming’ – Venus is far hotter than that). The Electric Cosmos theory provides clear explanations of how this might happen, and incidentally, switches the likely donor planet to Saturn.

  170. Rebirth is ‘YES’. I know about my previous birth. My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab.

    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.

  171. Thanks for all your comments.
    400 people have downloaded the talk so far, and 900 visits to this web page have been recorded. Venerable Sayadaw’s writings have certainly touched the lives of many people.

  172. Wow Pandi looks great!! of course I will come as much as possible.
    Alice

  173. I’m overcome with a desire to attend and extreme irritation that I won’t be able to, after the hugely interesting and useful talks last year. Unfortunately I fly to a new job in Manila on the very same day that the talks begin, so I can only say thank you again for last year and good luck next week. I will be eagerly reading the website and carrying on my meditation practice.

  174. Sayadaw has read all your comments and sent the following note :

    I went to your website and read all the comments.
    Yes, some of them are really touching.
    I am glad that I can be a candle in the dark.
    ….
    Thank you!
    With appreciation

    Internet connections are intermittent at best in Myanmar, so he can only visit this page occasionally. But he will see all the comments.

  175. Good Day Phra Cittasamvaro,

    I apologize for intruding this way. I looked around this excellent site and could not find a direct email for you. Could you send me your email address? I have questions for you that I would rather not ask on a public forum.

    Thank You

    with metta

    Jeff

  176. Thanks for this.
    I’ve recently started attending meditation classes at a Thai Buddhist monastery and I found what you’ve written to be very handy. Thanks a lot.

  177. I’d love to go on the firstday, but I won’t be able to be there.
    Would you mind if I try to be there on the second time?

  178. HAPPY BIRTHDAY VEN. SAYADAW PHONE PHONE U JOTIKA!!

    May you be healthy, long life and serve the Sasana’s responsibility with all of your efforts and give the splendid light to our fellow human beings.

    yours respectfully,
    Vimuttisukha

    ဘုန္းဘုန္းရဲ ့ (၆၂) ႏွစ္ေျမာက္ ေမြးေန ့မွသည္ အသက္ရွည္ က်န္းမာစြာျဖင့္ အမ်ားအက်ိဳး၊ သာသနာေတာ္ရဲ ့အက်ိဳးကို စြမ္းစြမ္းတမံ ဆက္လက္ေဆာင္ရြက္နိဳင္ပါေစေၾကာင္း တပည့္ေတာ္ လိႈက္လိႈက္လွဲလွဲ ဆုမြန္ေကာင္းေတာင္းအပ္ပါတယ္ ဘုရား။

    ရိုေသစြာ ရွိခိုးဦးတင္ ကန္ေတာ့လ်က္
    ဝိမုတၱိသုခ

  179. one is there already – all one has to find out!

    “GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA”

  180. I have met the group a year ago during this series of Dhamma talks, it was light for me. Because of this group I have been making my path in my own rhythm, it has been a pleasure to get together in regular basis. Sadhu!

  181. Thank you for putting the talk in writing. When I walked out from the studio, I asked myself what I have learned (or heard) today. The mind went blank, and I only remember about the ‘Relay’. It’s also good when one misses a session, so one can go back ti read and contemplate. With gratitude, Val

  182. I have already signed up (Meditation workshop with Mike & Hilge) for either Sat. or Sun. session, with Sunday as a preferred option. Is it possible to change to Sat. as an option? I just found out there are two interesting dhamma talks at WBU/WFB on Sunday. Thank you, val

  183. To avoid confusion I am turning off the comments for this page – the CONTACT box higher up is where you can book your place.

    There are still about 15 spaces left for both the Sat and the Sun.

  184. Pundit Pandit,

    I missed the first two tawks. Bad boy. I will be there tonite (Aug 20 2552). Good boy.

    sleep smiling,

    richard

    • john108th@gmail.com

      Dear Ajahn ,
      I have two questions.

      But first let present myself ;I am a 47 y.o. swiss citizen; I have been living in Thailand for 16 years; I speak thai fluently, I can read thai language quite well and can write it ..hmm.. ..not so good…
      12 years ago I did ordain as a monk for two years in Nong khai province.
      Now I plan to ordain again , this time for life, but in central Thailand.
      My questions:
      -Do you know any forest temple in Central Thailand with a good Ajahn ; the lineage of Luang Poo Man,
      Luang Poo Thet would suits me fine.
      – What did change about the visa things for monks since the last 10 years? Thanks Ajahn

      • Glad you are getting back to robes. I can’t help you on finding a temple as I am not familiar with Ajahn Mun temples, nor do I get out very much. If I am not working I stay in my room. Presumably you are going for the forest Kamatthana style rather than a more academic approach (I like both). I personally like Doi Suthep as it is cooler and you are left alone more to do your own thing.

        The visa situation has not changed. There is a thread about it on E-sangha. Basically get the forms from the NBO (national buddhism office or Samnak Phut Heng Chart) . You have to fill it all in including your education qualifications etc… and get signed by the head monk of your temple/district/province. Do 3 months in advance. They’ll issue you a letter (takes up to a month) and you take that to Immigration. So long as you have started with a non-O (or non-R or non-ed also possible) they will extend for one year. You get 10 years in Thailand and then they stop your visa and you have to leave or get a PR. You can apply at immigration up to 30 days before your 90 day non-O expires.

        The only thing that may have changed is that the NBO office is now under the Prime Minister, and based at Phuttamonthon rather than under the Ministry of Education near Wat Boworn.

        I attached the old version of the NBO form – you can still use it even though there is a newer version. The Immigration form is same as usual – you’ll need a letter from your abbot saying you are under the care of the temple for both NBO and Immigration. Surprisingly you can use a printed out copy of the immigration form as I attached. Good luck. When you are in Bkk let me know and I’ll be glad to meet up with you. Or say hello if you come to one of our ‘littlebang’ events.

        Oh, if you don’t have a non-O get a letter from the abbot who will ordain you explaining your intention and go to an embassy in another country. They’ll issue you with a 90 day non-O that you have to extend to one year as I outlined already.

    • Sorry Ajahn , I did not receive the forms that you attached,
      could you please send it to me to my email address,

      นมัสการ

  185. thank you very much for all you did online sharing on dhamma, and i had got various knowledge on buddhism for

  186. HI, dear compiler

    Hope you are well and happy today!?

    Sadly I’m down south.. and far from the various interesting events covered by the excellent ‘little bang’….

    However, I would like to do a bit of a retreat in September, and heard about a nun setting up a monastery and International centre in Rayong

    I noticed a nun was mentioned in a recent post on your site, at what sounds like an interesting meeting at he Korean Zen centre:

    “Dr. Lee Bhikkhuni (American) from the Women’s International Meditation Centre in Rayong”

    ….sounds lik e the same place??

    Would you happen to have any details you could forward to me?
    (names, address,location, tel, email,etc most welcome) and any personal insight you may have into what goes on there!?

    take care… always

    Koh Pah-ngan,

  187. I would like to attend the lunch and movie, I hope also to attend the Thursday prelude.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

  188. Dear Pgra Pandit

    thanks so much for referring my mail to Markus yesterday…
    he hopes to get the centre info from the USA nun on 5th Sep…

    interesting blog about the bowing pilgrimage – did you see that?!?! Anazing
    Patience Parami to the fore!!!

    Metta

    from
    Sara
    Day 6, Wat Kow Tham Retreat Team…

  189. Pingback:English-Speaking Sanghas in Bangkok « Wandering Dhamma

  190. “I came up with taking responsibility for my Buddha-Nature as being more personal than the Unconditioned. There is a danger in this but I think it is skilful for me.”

    Although I was concerned about the inherent dangers at the time, I did follow this approach briefly. I believe iut helped but now I won’t. I focus on insight through Vipassana.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

  191. Sorry I missed this talk

    Very nicely put together Description of the Hindrances role ,etc…
    ****Do you have a recording – onlineable? (please!/)****

    ….though I prefer the translations
    Aversion (ill Will) ‘ – eems to describe common states like ‘self-pity’ or ‘irritation’ better …
    ‘Restlessness & Worry’ (Agitation) as these are the most commonly experienced versions of agitation many of us find!

    re.
    “perception of light in meditation can also be used as a cure for s&t”
    DOes that perceptio mean the literal allow light to enter the eyes???, eg I know well the useful effects opening the eyes in a sleepy meditation can have…

  192. Oops. I thought I’d signed up but obviously I didn’t. I’ll be there, I’ll be there!

  193. Sirs:

    I tried to print out your notes, but I only got
    the Littlebang page. What am I doing wrong?

    By the way, it is very nicely written!!!

  194. Dear Bhante,

    Kindly avoid statements like “This is Thailand, so expect the schedule to be somewhat, ahem…. , fluid.” Can you get over your ‘tanha’?

    Besides, it is the rigidity in people’s minds and their expectations that causes their suffering!

    Based on my several experiences with Phra Ajahn, you may write:

    “The morning session usually starts with meditation instructions on mindfulness with regard to the body (kāya-gatā-sati) delivered in a repetitive (and some say hypnotic) manner not different from that of the ancient suttas. Development of this subtle kind of awareness will be taught and applied during both sitting and walking meditation.

    The afternoon continues with more of the same instructions, and an extended quiet session with the monk is to follow. During this time, the assessment of the individual’s progress as well as further refinement of meditation techniques by experienced tutors and disciples (of Phra Ajahn Wimokkha) may be made available, and may be held in a separate room.

    A question and answer session may follow where inquiries pertaining to individual experiences and needs are addressed, such as special meditations to promote healing.

    Lunch is provided, and refreshments are available throughout the day. The schedule is flexible and one is free to join and leave as appropriate. Registration is from 8:30 – 9:00, and ends at approximately 4 to 5 in the afternoon.

    Instruction and food are provided free of charge, but donations are always welcome.

  195. Yes, thank you very much for edifying a difficult subject. It seems that the point of cognition is where the self-image consistently makes an appearance, like an ever-recurring mirage drawing our attention away from viewing the world from an unfettered state of awareness.

  196. As an extra note – attaining to that base of mind that is prior to the senses is nibbana :
    Monks, that sphere is to be realized where the eye (vision) stops and the perception (mental noting) of form fades. That sphere is to be realized where the ear stops and the perception of sound fades… where the nose stops and the perception of odor fades… where the tongue stops and the perception of flavor fades… where the body stops and the perception of tactile sensation fades… where the intellect stops and the perception of idea/phenomenon fades: That sphere is to be realized.

  197. Hi Littlebang,

    Thank you so much for letting us know of the next meeting of the Zen Club!

    Just one little correction – believe it or not, but we’re still on Chapter two! We’ve found a lot in it to discuss!

    Thank you again and with palms together,

    Marcus

  198. wordpress report any google search terms that direct people to this website.
    A lot of people have arrived here searching for
    “Notes on the Fridge”

    Funny.

  199. If consciousness is a function of the senses, that “base of the mind” must also precede consciousness…if the senses are a function of consciousness, what you describe sounds like an out-of-the-body experience…or maybe what everybody’s having as vehicles of consciousness is an auto-body experience!

  200. You might say an out of body and out of mind experience.
    This ‘sphere’ is nibbana, or ‘buddha nature’ so it precedes everything, and it is unchanging and undying. It is the ‘Unconditioned’ that we are told is the goal of the Holy Life.

  201. I love your notes. You write so clearly. I think that I heard what I heard. Then, I read your notes. And then, it all comes through.

  202. Hi Sandra,

    Thank you for that – and such a pity you won’t be able to make the Saturday night.

    After October the 3rd the next meeting will probably (but not yet confirmed) be November the 7th. Basically, the first Sturday in every month. Hope to see you there!

    All beings – one Buddha-nature,

    Marcus

  203. He’s not the only one reading them, and some of us are now waiting not so patiently for notes to the Clockwork Universe talk last night.

  204. Hello, is the Zen meeting on the Saturday or on the Sunday 4th October. If it is on the Sunday I will be flying in from Australia and would like to come. can you let me know. thanks. sandra

  205. I should add that as far as I know, I am the only person who has ever linked kamma to the process of perception and to learning.
    If we take kamma to be this accelerated learning ( and there are many counter arguments) then we can compare to the psychologists with concrete research.
    You heard it here first !

  206. Anyone wanting to register needs to follow the links above and register with 1000 Stars.
    But the hall is large, and there will be no problem with space, so I am sure you can register at the door on the day.

  207. Amazing!
    This – Wat Tham Krissanadhammaram (Ban Sawangjai), –
    is the site of my condo and the place where I have spent much time over the last 6 years!

    GOOD LUCK!
    Metta,

    Phra Frank

    • Welll you know more than I. I went to MCU where part of their excursion is happening, and no one knew anything about it. I finally tracked down the organiser, and he knew less than nothing. TiT

      Yeti passed away at 4 pm today. He had been ‘brain-dead’ for a couple of weeks.

  208. Thanks again! That was very insightful…especially appreciated the emphasis on letting go of the past and the present being the only time/place we are free to make a change.

  209. Hi,

    And thank you! Thank you so much for eight great weeks of Dharma talks – each one full of interest, humour, and clear-sightedness. Thank you so much.

    And thank you too for providing the notes after each one. It’s been great to be able to re-read and re-consider all the points you raised in the talks, and have the opportunity to follow up links and references. Thank you!

    Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu!

    Marcus

    PS – ‘Buddha-nature’ as an imperialistic term! Yes, I guess, LOL, but it’s just a word (the finger not the moon) and a good one for Buddhists to use. Though there are many others: One Mind, Juingong, Hanmaum – and that’s just from the school I took refuge in. Personally I like the term ‘Buddha-nature’, it helps me keep things in focus.

    • I can’t reserve a spot exactly, as I am not the organiser for this event. However there is lots of space at the venue so there is no need to reserve. I plan to go myself so perhaps see you there. Pandit Bhikkhu

  210. Yes – I also think this teaching is important. It is enlightenment, and not just a mental state of bliss. It is temporary though. It lies way past thoughts and emotions.
    There is a tnedency to champion ideas and feelings by those who still have not gianed a whiff of what lies beyond them.
    The Pali word is ‘cetovimutti’ where ‘ceto’ means the heart/mind as opposed to the things/qualities of the mind. Vimutti is ‘liberation’ or ‘deliverence’. It has the same meaning as the Indian/Sanskrit term Vimokka (moksha).
    As Marcus points out in his appraisal , in the Lotus Sutra a father promises his sons a goat cart, deer cart and ox cart in order to get them to leave a buring house. In truth none of the carts exist, but something much more magnificent is gained instead.
    So ‘bliss’ or ‘enlightenment’ is promised, but the experience of it is beyond the thoughts and emotions that usually define experience.

  211. At the last talk, although it was not emphasized, I was struck by the phrase “liberation of the heart” in connection with “the refuge of disenchantment”. The heart, of course, always brings to mind the emotions, which more than any other property of human consciousness enslaves us…and the idea of finding a place(state of mind) free from their grip is a fascinating one. Many people, even those interested in Budhhist thought & practice here in Bkk argue that to deny emotions is to deny life. Can there be a clarification of this issue? Is metta emotional? Which suttas address this “liberation of the heart”? Thank you…with sincere appreciation for another series of mind-bending talks!

  212. Hi,

    Just to say again what I posted on your last set of notes, (it certainly can’t be said enough) – thank you! Thank you for eight great weeks of Dharma talks – each one full of interest, humour, and clear-sightedness. Thank you so much.

    And thank you too for providing the notes after each one. It’s been great to be able to re-read and re-consider all the points you raised in the talks, and have the opportunity to follow up links and references. Thank you!

    Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu!

    Marcus

    (PS – and thank you for pointing out my blog reports too! :))

  213. Hi,

    Just to say again what I posted on your last set of notes, (it certainly can’t be said enough) – thank you! Thank you for eight great weeks of Dharma talks – each one full of interest, humour, and clear-sightedness. Thank you so much.

    And thank you too for providing the notes after each one. It’s been great to be able to re-read and re-consider all the points you raised in the talks, and have the opportunity to follow up links and references. Thank you!

    Sādhu, Sādhu, Sādhu!

    Marcus

    (PS – and thank you for pointing out my blog reports too! :))
    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

  214. Hi,

    I’ve just discovered that next weekend is not only the regular meeting of the Bangkok Seon Club (October the 3rd) but also the Korean Chuseok holiday, so we’ll be celebrating by starting an hour earlier, at 6pm, with traditional Korean tea and cake.

    The regular meeting will still start at 7pm sharp with some sitting meditation as usual followed by discussion with Kun Hyaedan Sunim, but if people can make it at six we’ll be celebrating Chusok with some great Korean treats, and good conversation. Come along if you are able!

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  215. Hi Marcus and Bhante,

    Thanks for posting the talks and Marcus for your transcripts and comments. I shall be following the links, since I wasn’t able to make it to 7 of the talks.

    Congratulations Bhante on another season of successful talks.

    From the attendance, I can see that Littlebang has become part of the spiritual (and social) life of some people. It is wonderful to see it grow …

  216. Dear Bhante,

    Thank you for organizing the events. Yes, it is sad not to have a regular dhamma day/night anymore even though I couldn’t make perfect attendance (I wonder who won the prize, Dr. Holly or Ruby). I will be away for a while and won’t be able to participate in the future event. All the same. May you develop more and more in dhamma (so that you can share with all of us, the puthujana). Also thanks everyone for participating and making this happen. All the best, val

  217. Thanks for the messages.
    Each year I feel a bit more comfortable in the spotlight. Lots of good talks coming up in the near future with various speakers so keep an eye on Littlebang.

  218. Thanks for that article….

    As a fellow sportsman and long time admirer of Jonny it is inetresting to hear his views. It also helps as I sometimes question myself on the morals of using the things learned from Buddhism & meditation to enhance my professional goals.

  219. I don’t think meditation is an unfair advantage. Sports psychologists are in big demand right now – I think the UK rugby team made history with that…
    In fact, any sports teams who want some meditation training … I am open to offers 🙂
    Only down side is they might not want to win any more.

  220. I have a sports psychologist I am working with right now…..

    I think I will stick with her for the golf and you for the Dhamma, maybe safer….. 55555 lol

  221. Where can one find out more about this gathering of the mind at the center of the body?

    Thanks

  222. I feel joy when I listen to Sayadaw U Jotika. Does anyone know if it is possible to visit him in Myanmar?

    • We have invited Sayadaw to lunch at 11 am so it starts then. The actual formal talk is in the evening according to the times gives. During the day is a free-for-all. He will likely receive guests, talk with the visitors and maybe do some meditation together. Pandit Bhikkhu

  223. Hi,

    Thank you for a very useful article. And, yes, it seems to me that if monks make vows of celibacy then it’s a pretty good thing that society expects them to have no physical contact with women. That’s got to be good for everyone.

    Thank you again,

    Marcus

  224. Thank you for helping me to find an insightful answer for my prolonged doubts. FOG is a part of NATURE. Certainly, cannot control or understand, only observe it all with awareness (sati). A nice coincident to read your story. Thanks.

  225. Dear Ven.

    Thanks so much for the very detailed info. I could not have done it any better. Let us meet again in a few days.

    Best wishes,
    Soraj

  226. 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,

    Marcus

  227. 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.

  228. 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.

  229. Bhante,

    “the Buddha also allowed smoking….(but remember there is an allowance for smoking in the monk’s code).”

    Being no expert on Vinaya, the only instance of smoking that I found was in the medicines section. For those not familiar, basically, the monks try a medicine and when it doesn’t work they think of a new treatment, but doubt whether it is allowable or not. The monks approach the Buddha and ask if the new treatment is allowable, the Buddha approves, they try it, it fails, think of new treatment, doubt allowability, ask Buddha, get approval, try it, etc., for several pages. Smoking falls in this series of allowances.

    My guess is that the Buddha would have allowed morphine as medicine, but to extend that allowance to recreational use is a bit of a stretch. To my mind, it’s the same with smoking.

    Unless, of course, there is another allowance for smoking elsewhere, on which I would be happy to be corrected!

    Avuso

    • Weren’t we meeting up soon ? This Wednesday is good – there will be a few of us at the Vegie indlace on Tanon Pan, Silom. When are you in town ?

  230. I’m practicing meditation since 1993, but only now I discovered Sayadaw U Jotika by his books and conferences on line. I’m italian and I would like very much to write to him and if possible to visit him or to be present at conferences he would give. Is there anybody that could help me? I try to find a contact address through out internet without success. It is very important to me!
    Anna

    • For some reason I just couldn’t download any of the English dhamma talk by Sayadaw U Jotika. However just by reading Sayadaw’s book I’ve gained so much peace and insight. I really wish I could be given the opportunity to learn from Sayadaw. Is he base in Myanmar nowadays? Is possible to stay and learn in his monastery as a bhiksuni? I sincerely appreciate it if someone could provide some idea on this.
      TQ!

      chongzin

      • So far as I know, he moves around quite a lot in Burma supporting several projects (orphanes etc..) and does not havea regular temple. So while he would certainly be welcoming, it is in reality too difficult to find out where he might be at any one particular time.

        I am not sure why you can’t download the file – it is working ok from here. If you google about there are a number of his talks available online.

  231. My memory is hazy on the topic too, but I recall “Bhikkhus I permit you to smoke leaves through a pipe”.
    The vinaya experts at Amaravati temples quoted so anyway.
    Though of course, tobacco was considered ok until very recently, so I can’t see any reason why it would not have been allowed 2500 years ago. Knowing what we know now it would certainly be frowned upon.
    As an ex-smoker I might be biased…

  232. Wish for “Intellectual Buddhists” to discover a middle way and in doing so may they relieve their suffering, with Metta Deborah.

  233. Yes. In fact there is a lot to be said for an academic approach – that is one is interested in all views rather than just ones own. And being willing to look into things properly with a view to changing yourself, instead of looking for headlines.

    In that sense the refuges are a baseline of faith that is often overlooked in the purely rationalist approach. We take it on faith that there is a goal, it can be reached, and we help each other along the way. When this baseline is missing is when contention arises.

  234. Final note on smoking: I recall learning that tobacco was indigenous to the Americas and then spread by Europeans to the rest of the world…so what were they smoking 2500 yrs ago in India? According to one source: “Substances such as Cannabis, clarified butter (ghee), fish offal, dried snake skins and various pastes molded around incense sticks dates back at least 2000 years”. I’ve read that Egyptians smoked cannabis for medicinal reasons long before that (but dried snake skins…?).

    • I had wondered about the availability of tobacco or related plants. To non-smokers the whole concept must be pretty strange. As I recall monks were allowed to smoke leaves ‘through a pipe’. So the smokers argues a cigarette was pipe shaped…

      The Jains certainly had an influence on India of the time. But the whole issue ssems to have been a common one of the time. I feel that for Buddhists, the biggest factor is the precept against killing. It feels pretty silly to not kill a mosquito, but to eat a pig. Nowadays we know it is more healthy to stay off meat, and meditators tend to be fairly health conscious. The most important point is that eating meat was not considered a necessity or pre-requisite for gaining enlightenment. So I guess the choice is one’s own.

  235. Hi,

    Not just the belching cows, there are a million reasons for not eating lumps of slaughtered flesh and all the other products of other beings’ bodies.

    Health of course, but also an awareness that all these animals, raised and murdered in such horrific cruelty, are sentient beings just like us, inseperably connected to us, and that eating their bodies goes against not just the precept against killing, but also the precept against stealing.

    What right do we have to take the body of another sentient being (in many cases more intelligent and aware than young human children) to kill and consume for our own pleasure?

    Thank goodness for Thai veggie week, but surely the compassionate (and healthy, and environmentally friendly etc) thing to do is to maintain a veggie diet all year round?

    Wishing peace and happiness to all beings,

    Marcus

  236. Challenge :-

    But what to put on your pizza instead of cheese ?

    Here is a recipe for a healthy wholemeal pizza (vegan or macrobiotic):-

    http://zarendhara.com/health/wholemealpizza.htm

    Many traditional societies survived on whole grains and vegetables supplemented by a small amount of healthy organic (free range) meat or fish. Nutritional science recognises that such a diet can be complete provided care is taken over vitamin B12.

    • There’re many reasons to stop or lessen eating meat, of course. But it seems to get missed from Global Warming debates – that stopping eating meat will do far more for stopping greenhouse gasses than switching to a hybrid motor car. As for the recepies … I wish … I must admit, that I will not give up cheese. So rare that it appears in a temple that it makes little difference though.

  237. Pandit, please excuse my ‘disappearing act’ at lunch to day. I became quite ill quite quickly, and after spending some time in the facilities room, retired to my ‘kuti’ where I am now recovering.

    Please extend my apologies to George and the other guests. Thank you.

    • No problem – we were wondering where you got to … the talk was excellent (for an academic view) and charmingly presented. Georges will lead the discussion on consciousness at the Tai Pan on Sat 28th also.

      Pandit.

  238. Thank you for your email. I am planning to attend Dhamma talk on Monday 9 November at Baan Aree.

    Yours respectfully,

    Netnapa

  239. Hi,

    “Please do not be sucked in by the silly headlines. Ajahn Brahm and co., despite having been admonished by (some of) the Thai Sangha, are still official Buddhist monks. He is still a great teacher, an inspiration, and definitely one who has acted respectfully and sincerely with the best of intentions. It will make practically no difference if his temple is an official branch of Ajahn Chah tradition or not. It is still recognised by the Thai and worldwide Sangha as an exemplary temple.”

    Wonderful words. Thank you.

    My first reaction is, of course, to say “well done Ajarn Brahm!” at his decision to ordain women, ……. but it’s lovely to have all this context, thank you, and wonderful to see that – contrary to some far-fetched headlines I’ve seen recently – this is no schism!

    Thank you so much.

    Marcus

    • I don’t want to belabour the point – but he did not actually ‘ordain’ anyone. The other bhikkhunis did the ordination.

      This proceedure has happened lots of times, in lots of places. The only difference now is the issue is being more fully discussed and aired. And I guess some of the Bhikkhunis might be less likely to come to Thailand for a while – which is a shame as we have invited a number of them to talk for us.

  240. LOL! Wow – and there’s you putting it in bold too! Funny how you read enough headlines, you think you know what happened! Thanks again for the clarification! _/_

  241. I was there, and enjoyed it. Great to see so many of our group come – old and new.
    The rough survey shows about 200 people. 70% from Littlebang and the rest from Baan Aree.
    I know a lot of the Thai people like to listen to dhamma in English too.

    Also nice to be able to stop and chat afterwards – after Planet Yoga where we had to clear out for the next class.

    Special thanks to the Thawsi school for the many dhamma books – both this time and on previous occasions when Khun Terry had gotten Dhamma books from there for free distribution.

  242. An excellent and inspiring Dhamma talk. I hope we’ll be able to have another from Ajahn Jayasaro sometime in the future.

  243. Yes, I do agree with Craig, but time frame provided a bit too short, if more time available would be great especially during daytime on weekend holidays. Ajahn Jayasaro ‘s dhamma books are quite interesting , inspiring and impressive . His writing is quite up-to-date to the current events raised up on several similes.

    hope LB could arrange another in the near future

    Thank /

  244. Phra Pandit

    “4 practicing lay women from Ajahn Brahm’s temple in Perth took ordination with several Bhikkhunis. According to tradition they first ‘go forth’ in ordination with the Bhikkhuni preceptor, and then go for a second ceremony with the Bhikkhu Sangha, which kind of puts its seal on the ordination.”

    Did the 4 lay women after ordaining with the Bhikkhunis present then go for “seal on the ordination” with Ajaan Brahm representing the Bhikkhu Sangha?

  245. The Bhikkhus section has a main preceptor, and two assistants who do the examination (are you a human, are you free from debt etc..) – as with Bhikkhu ordinations. As memory serves A. Brahm was one of the two.
    Of course, it all went down in his temple, so he cops for the criticism from his former temple group.

  246. Dear Phra Pandit,

    Thanks very much for your comments on the Bhikkhuni ordination in Perth, as one who had asked you privately about this I was pleased to read it.

    There were some interesting comments by the Bhikkhunis (at the ordination I believe) as to how they had gained spiritually from ordination, and I have a clip (120Mb – collected from YouTube clips) of what they said:-

    http://zarendhara.com/Clips/Buddhism/Bhikkhuniordination.flv

    Personally I had considered that I nominally followed the Forest Sangha having gained much help from Harnham Buddhist Monastery. I believe this issue might have some implications for England with its Forest Sangha monasteries – might require intending Bhikkhunis to visit Scotland? Is there any difference between Forest Sangha monasteries, the Wat Pa Phong Sangha and the Ajaan Chah tradition you speak of?

    With regards to the position of women I believe there are educational and cultural differences between England and Thailand and Australia. It appears that Ajaan Brahm and his monastery felt the need to be defiant concerning the issue. Is it true that Wat Pa Nanachat (international wat?) was setup by Ajaan Chah to promote the Dhamma in the west? If that is the case, how will this expulsion help with that?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  247. I think the video you linked to was an old one of the conference they had on Bhikkhuni ordination in Aus. a couple of years back.
    Forest Tradition” does not really mean much. It is a description rather than any kind of title/header. Generally it refers to Ajahn Mun related forest temples … but many of those temples are now in the city due to urban sprawl. Ajahn Chah temples are not officially part of the Ajahn Mun lineage as they are Mahanikaya, not Dhammayut temples.
    The ‘Forest Temples’ tend to try and distinguish themselves from the decadent ‘Urban Temples’ as being superior on every level – practise, meditation etc.. These days however, there are actually lots of decadent forest temples, and excellent urban temples, so the distinction is not as valid as it once was.
    Wat Pa Phong tradition = Ajahn Chah tradition. They describe themselves as ‘Forest Lineage’.

    I really don’t think Ajahn Brahm felt any need to be defiant. The women in his temple were going to ordain as Bhikkhunis like it or not. He could send them off to do it elsewhere … but they were his follwers and were supported by the Perth Buddhist Society. He knew if he waited for the Abbots meeting of the Ajahn Chah temples he would be refused permission. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and did as his conscience told him.
    Remember, they would have ordained anyway. Ajahn Brahm could not have stopped that even if he wanted to.

    • Cittasamvaro: I think it is a misperception that the World Abbots Meeting is a decision making body and could have given “permission” for anything.
      It was decided in at least 2006 that the next WAM would be held at Bodhinyana. It has also been reported that Ajahn Brahm was going to discuss bhikkhuni ordination at the 2009 WAM, just like he had been talking about it for years. However this discussion was preempted by a Wat Pa Pong general meeting: “In June 2009 the Ajahn Chah Sangha at Wat Pa Pong reaffirmed its willingness to conform with the Thai Sangha governing council’s current position: that bhikkhuni ordination has ceased to exist and cannot be legitimately revived.”
      Why did this happen in June 2009 before the Dec 2009 WAM?
      The timeline implies that WPP “knew” this was a current issue and wanted to take care of it before there could be another group discussion.

  248. Hi,Grateful sayadaw
    I hope you are fine.
    I have listened ur mp3 so my mind becomes peaceful.
    I am appreciated in human life and i wanna stay meaningfully in life.I know that i am so happy and enjoyed when i am listening ur dhama.It is very important in life.
    I am 23 years old and i was in the middle east which called
    muslim country.i am gonna try to be the happiest man in life.

    may u livelong forever

    yoyar

  249. I just figured out what _/_ means ! Doh ! I thought it was a wizards hat .

    (if you have not figured it out either I will let you do so on your own)

  250. Sadhu on this issue.

    Another title which I came across. I’m sure you may have heard of it

    Kruba. Does it signify anything?

    With Metta.

  251. Kru Pa

    Kru is ‘teacher’ – comes from the root ‘guru’

    Usually it is used with special monks, generally in the North. Not many moks get to be called this. It is not a given title, but a special respect given to monks considered to be particularly gifted in meditation attainment.

  252. Back to the point that the Bhikkhu sangha has a way of doing things that emphasises openness, willingness to conform and be admonished, harmony etc.. It is not something that really affects laypeople as it is a monastic protocol.
    This is why the wider Sangha was not supportive of the recent events; even those who fully support the Bhikkhunis (including myself).
    Bhikkhu Bodhi, a keen supporter of bringing pure Theravada Bhikkhunis back into the picture, revised his earlier support in the light of this :
    http://sujato.wordpress.com/2009/11/08/bhikkhu-bodhis-revised-response/

    • thanks, good resource. I hope the whole issue blows over though. Most public just see a case of sexism, without understanding the issues involved.

      Pandit Bhikkhu

      • I don’t think the secretive part of the story holds much water.
        Why did WPP in June 2009 decide that Bhikkhuni ordination was invalid months before the ordination ceremony and the 2009 WAM in Dec when it was supposed to be discussed?
        What is bizzare is the mix mash of official policy and opinion from this doc:
        http://www.dhammalight.com/official/pdf/The_Gathering_Elders_7-9_Dec_2009.pdf

        From the document we have:
        “In June 2009 the Ajahn Chah Sangha at Wat Pa Pong reaffirmed its willingness to conform with the Thai Sangha governing council’s current position: that bhikkhuni ordination has ceased to exist and cannot be legitimately revived.”
        contrast with:
        “The source of these feelings was not outright opposition to bhikkhuni ordination as such (in fact a number of our Western elders consider the arguments supporting its legitimacy to be well-founded), but the sense that the way the ordination had been arranged constituted a serious betrayal of trust.”

        The official stance as of June 2009 was that bhikkhuni ordination cannot exist but some of the “Western elders” think it might be possible? That is some disconnect.

  253. Yes, but by ‘The Sangha’ what is meant is the ‘Wat Pa Pong Sangha’, NOT the Thai Sangha as a whole. And the truth is, only a couple of monks within that group were pressing for the declaration that the ordination was invalid.
    None of the Western temples declared the ordination invalid – because it isn’t. This very proceedure, using both Theravada and Mahayana monks/nuns has been done lots of time before, just not in the WPP group.

  254. Bhante,

    I understood that this meant the WPP Sangha.

    My apologies for pursuing this issue but I am interested in the implications of the institutional discipline. I understand that the WPP Sangha expelled Ajaan Brahm for breaking discipline and effectively going alone realising that the WPP Sangha would not sanction Bhikkhuni ordination – especially as the matter could have been formally raised in December.

    The statement I quoted says the WPP Sangha does not accept the act of ordination as valid in this case. Based on this I assumed, incorrectly from your reply?, that the affiliated monasteries, such as the UK Forest Sangha monasteries, would also be unable to accept the act of ordination as valid.

    Bodhinyana monastery broke ranks to perform the Ordination, yet Harnham for example, could, if they chose, recognise the ordination as valid even though the WPP Sangha, overarching body?, does not. This appears inconsistent, that’s why I am confused.

    Or is Harnham not what you mean by a western temple?

    “And the truth is, only a couple of monks within that group were pressing for the declaration that the ordination was invalid.”

    Does this really matter if the institution formally makes a statement, aren’t all the group bound by the statement?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  255. “Declarations” are not what they are in the West. There are thousands of declarations by groups/leaders and the Sangha Council. How many times have monks been declared not allowed to visit Pantip Plaza ?
    The Western temples couldn’t start a Nuns vihara (temple) for instance, but that does not mean they would treat a visiting nun disrespectfully or regard her as not ordained.
    I would not say that the branches are particularly ‘bound’ by much.
    Thailand has a way of having one ‘official’ position, and another ‘reality’ position. Look at Bhikkhuni Dhammananda – no official status, but no one is arresting her or treating her as a ‘fake’ of any kind.

  256. Bhante,

    Thanks.

    This clears a lot up for me with regards to institutional discipline.

    I had understood the matter with regard to some “Thai laws”, you are suggesting it is effectively the same for such declarations.

    Perhaps the importance of the declaration with regards to Ajaan Brahm and Bodhinyana could be considered in the same light. But then Bhikkhu Bodhi’s retraction as a reflection of general sentiment is perhaps more important, as well as your

    “This is why the wider Sangha was not supportive of the recent events; even those who fully support the Bhikkhunis (including myself).”

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ

  257. Phra Pandit,

    Having lived for many years in Thailand, I still find I need to reminded that I can best show my respect for Thailand, its people and the gift of Dhamma by following traditions even when they contradictory to my own cultural and ego conditioning. As a Westerner in the East, it’s sometimes too easy to judge without recognizing that many of my judgements are based in Ignorance rather than Compassionate Understanding.

    An honorific title here, a bow there…Thanks for this post as a gentle reminder that giving Respect need not be require the recipient to earn the gift; rather, Respect can be given freely as a sign of humility, helping me to grow in the Dhamma by more fully living the Dhamma.

    With Respect,
    David

  258. On the calendar page, it says the time is 1-3 (pm) but here it is 9-12 am. Which one is correct?

    • Well spotted, and thank you for pointing it out ! I the correct time is 9am to 12 noon, according to the information from Dr Martin. I changed the time on the Calendar.

      Pandit Bhikkhu

  259. Hi,

    I remember seeing this film many years ago and loving it.

    Sadly, though, another such movie is unlikely ever to be made again – not just because it was unrepeatable, but because the climate these days has changed entirely in terms of how the media dare approach religion, especially after the widespread riots and killings in response to the Danish cartoons.

    Which is a pity. Life of Brian was a superb movie, incredibly funny, and though banned and picketed against in some places at the time, is now sometimes even shown by churches to encourage people to come along and learn more about Christianity and who Jesus actually was.

    And yes, I remember at school, almost 30 years ago, my classmates putting on their best Monty Python voices for “He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”. Wonderful!

    All the best,

    Marcus

  260. Sorry to have to correct you bhante but the new bhikkhunis in Australia were not ‘four practicing lay women’. They were 10 precept nuns wearing brown robes and the most senior, Ajahn Vayama was a student of Ayya Khema’s and has been ordained for at least 20 years. I don’t think it’s possible for a lay woman to become a bhikkhuni unless she has trained as a sikkhamana for at least two years. Maybe you could make this correction in your blog entry here as it may help to clear up some confusion for your readers that may result from them thinking that the nuns in question were unprepared for such a step.

    • These four women were indeed 10 precept Dhamma practitioners with ‘Ajahn Vayama’ having completed 24 years of practice, ‘Sister Nirodha’ having completed 6 years of practice, ‘Sister Seri’ had completed 5 years of practice before Bhikkhuni ordination, and ‘Sister Hasapanna’ had completed 3 years as a Dhamma practitioner. All four of these women are members of the Dhammasara (womens) Monastery in the Perth, Western Australia area. Sister (now Bhikkhuni) Nirodha was instrumental in the establishment of the Santi Forest Monastery in Bundanoon, NSW, Australia.

  261. Thank you for the correction. Actually, all the focus had been on Ajahn Brahm so that I, like many, had not really looked at the ordainees. I have heard some of Ajahn Vayama’s dhamma talks in the past.

    • Yes all the focus has gone to Aj. Brahm and the monks as usual, but no surprise there. In reality this is all about the nuns and making bhikkhuni ordination viable for them so that women have the smae conditions within which to practice as men do, just as the Buddha intended.

  262. Do i need to reserve for a spot or there is no limit for number of people who want to attend
    I am always interested to listen to good topics like this.:)
    Please advise thank you.

    • Hi Connie, you don’t need to book – for a long time I tried to get people to indicate if they were coming … but I gave up in the end. I just have to estimate the number to tell the hotel. There will be at least 20 of us for lunch, sometimes double that. The Tai Pan is pretty large so can accommodate any number. See you there.

      P.P.

  263. H”i there!!

    im a little bang “member” but ive been away for a while. i cant wait to come to this sat 28th event. it has me excited about the whole week now 😉

    • Well, I am glad you are back in Bangkok. The lunches/film is always fun at the Tai Pan. We watched the Life of Brian there last month. See you then.

      Pandit Bhikkhu

  264. With respect to the conventions regarding use of the honorifics ‘Ajahn’ and ‘Venerable’ in addressing ordained monastics, Luang Por Chah’s Thai Forest Tradition will use ‘Ajahn’ for monastics practicing the Dhamma for ten Vassa or more, and ‘Venerable’ for monastics having completed less than ten ‘Rains Retreats’. ‘Samanera’ is employed in addressing ordained (10 precept) novices, and ‘Anagarika’ for wannabees following 8 precepts.

    For female Dhamma practitioners of the Forest Tradition, ‘Ajahn’ is used in addressing those who have completed 10 or more Vassa, while ‘Sister’ is used for those who have completed less than ten ‘Rains Retreats’.

  265. At the recent Dhamma talk, the Venerable Jayasaro returned everyone’s wai, to my astonishment … and delight! Such humility from a great teacher… the venerable did not allow his status or robes to let him show that he appreciated and respected us mere lay people. What a wonderful thing … I was truly touched! The more he commands my respect.

  266. Yes, the Western Ajahn Chah group (not the Thai temples of the group) call monks over 10 Pansa ‘Ajahn’. But it is a bit confusing in Thailand where you are often called ‘Ajahn’ even if a layman, if you have ever or even look like you have ever, taught something. The nuns in that lineage also sometimes use the term ‘Ayya’ instead of ‘Ajahn’. I think they discussed it for a long time but in the end the nuns felt they should have the same title as the monks, rather than making a distinction.
    The term ‘Ajahn’ comes from the Pali ‘Achariya’ which referred specifically to a well respected Bhikkhu/Bhikkhuni of long standing. It can also be transcribed ‘Ajaan’ or ‘Ajarn’.
    I am not sure A. Jayasaro was not wai-ing the Monks rather than the laypeople. Normally the two groups wai separately for this reason. It is nice when the Dalai Lama wais the people, but in Thailand it is not the custom. When Mahayana monks come here and wai the Thai monks they are always very confused if they should return the wai or not. Of course, there are other ways Thai monks can and do return respect to the lay community.

    • All this hair-spitting and nit-picking over correct honorifics seems, to me, to be just a tad ego-centric. Skillful?

      Reminds me of the time I first met Yantra near Wat Rachatiwat (in the years before he was summarily disrobed by the Supreme Sangha Council) and I was instructed (by two of Yantra’s robed attendants) to kneel as Yantra wished to speak with me. I quickly left, leaving Yantra with whatever thoughts he wanted to share with me.

      Humility is very subjective and in all cases, a commodity very difficult for one person to impart to another. It must originate with the subject, in the subjects own time and manner. But, I could be wrong.

      • Indeed, nit-picking over the proper honorifics IS ego-centric, and needless to say the desire to be addressed in a certain way is of course ego-driven. Deep down inside, at the very core of our being, this is inconsequential. But alas, we live in a human world and come with personal psychological and cultural baggage. Most of the time, we just do not want to offend and we try to abide by the norms. The real challenge is of course to the one being honored… Does it really matter if one was addressed the wrong way? Will it hurt if we kneel or bow, or give an extra wai, etc.? These are but external manifestations of our INTENTIONS… and for as long as we have the right (proper) intentions, then mistakes can be forgiven.

        Addendum: I am reminded of a ‘gem’ that was shared to me by a much respected Venerable. He said to me, “Heirarchy will always exist… in nature, in society. It is a given. What we may feel sometimes is aversion towards heirarchy that is CONTRIVED rather than those that come naturally. In most cases, practice of discernment would be well advised.” Ah…Saddhu!

  267. Seems to me the best way forward is to find some middle ground and reconcile. I understand that Aj Brahm has offered to apologise and make up. In response, the WPP sangha visited his preceptor who subsequently revoked Aj Brahm’s Upajjhaya status. What’s the thinking behind such intransigence?

  268. Hello Pandit i am back in BKK! as told you in my previous mails i am ready to attend as much as i can meditations “issues”.. I will be there for lunch next Saturday to see all of you.
    Alice

  269. Another line of the man’s comments describing his feeling :
    “Powerlessness. Utter powerlessness. At first I was angry, then I learned to live with it.”

  270. Oh bother – as another famous bear would say – I can’t make Saturdays, but it sounds like a great idea! I wish I could join you all 🙁

  271. Thank you for your concern. Whatever happens, happens. We still have to take care of our mind and body. It is probably the best thing to do now. However, Chiang Mai is not as red as the media makes it to be.

  272. Bhante,

    Can you put up a link for downloading the consciousness movie for those unable to attend?

    Hope you are keeping well,
    All the Best,
    Bill Z

  273. Bhante,

    Thanks for the URL. Did you use the talk at the Skeptics 2005 conference?

    Hope you are keeping well,
    All the Best,
    Bill Z

  274. Wow! A new tradition. How great! And I’ll be back by then. And hopefully not as jetlagged as I was flying to London.

    I do have one suggestion, however. Why not just call it a potluck picnic and your contribution could be the rice/noodles. Perhaps you could bring enough for ~10 people (which is actually a lot). Then everyone else can bring something they’d like to eat. (Which most of the respondents are doing anyhow.)

    That way you don’t need an exact headcount because there’s bound to be enough for everyone. And then you get to let go and enjoy yourself!

    I’ll bring something for sure but whether it’ll be a homemade brown rice salad or just fruit will depend on jetlag.

    What a lovely treat to look forward to upon returning to the warmth and smiles of Bkk!

  275. Oh, I will be late, cant make it for the lunch. Will join later as I have to teach saturdays. Tanya

  276. Bhante,

    Very interesting.

    How is this form of meditation supposed to prepare you for death? As opposed to any other form?

    Hope you are keeping well,
    All the Best,
    Bill Z

  277. I just love all these get-togethers before Christmas, so I will be there for sure.:-)
    I will bring some cake, candy, biscuit or anything with a lot of bad sugar.
    See you then,

  278. Well, it is all part of the ‘secretism’, and though in Theravada everything is open to all, I do respect tradition. One is supposed to take the practise and teaching with the master.
    That said, the general idea is nothing really complex. The normal visualisation involves moving the consciousness up and down the central channel. At the point of death, one moves it up and out, to merge with Amidaba Buddha.

  279. Respect to one and all.
    I am not a buddhist,just a simple guy, average person.I owe total respect to Miss Khin for having introduced me to the greatness and simplicity of buddhism.
    Its very fulfilling and peaceful.

  280. Fruit is always good. As for ‘potluck’ picnic, some of the men are pretty useless at things like that, So I’ll provide enough rice/noodle things, and then potluck add to that.
    Also there is no wine or beer allowed in the park – so there won’t be any precept breaking !

    • Yes. It is in the ‘hole’ which is actually a soft area at the crown of the head. The more I think about these Tibetan practises, the more I see their value. Amida Buddha is a quality of Fatih – it is that which is being developed through skillful means. Many people asked questions like why is he red, or how the blessing overflow from him to us through the spot in the crown, or how exactly he helps when we die. HH Phakchok Rinpoche’s answer was usually laughter and ‘you think too much’. At one point he said ‘in the temple the monks and nuns don’t ask like this – we just do it and see what happens’ which struck a chord with me.

      • I enjoyed your acount very much – you are a good writer Achaan – you must do more with this skill! How about a book?
        I have a similar problem with visualising but I think it works just as well with “empty essence” (Sunyatha) above you too. This I can easily rely on and have “faith” in so to say. Different strokes in Tibetan Buddhism and this depends on the understanding of the student. An interesting time, although I struggled with the situation a bit too at times, glad I went…

  281. I will bring a frisbee, cha cha cha and salsa tapes in case there is dancin’ in da picnic park

  282. Sayadaw Phayar,

    I have read your books since 1998. Your books cannot understand immediately, have to stop and think for it many times. I listen your Dhamma many times too. Sometimes I have listened one topic for 50 times to understand very well.

    I listened Ah Thay Wa Na Sa Ba Lar Nan which you talked in Singapore and shared to the children whenever I open a camp for the children anywhere (already in Namatee, Kachin State; Myaing, Magwe Division; Kungyangone, Yangon Division; and will be in Naung-Oo from 26 to 28-Dec-09). To be able to share them, I have to listen many many times.
    I listened Mitta Tayartaw talked in KyarKu Monastery. I love to listern and also love to follow it.
    And I also love to share to people about all these Dhamma.

    I met you in person twice at Mingalar Street last 6 years ago together with my elder son. We wish to meet you again, but have no chance.
    I got a practice of informal meditation which taught by you. But until now the formal meditation is still difficult for me as I have no place at home and also cannot go somewhere.
    When the time of abandoned by my husband in 2003, I was stay with my two sons and listened “Forgiveness” every day and night to recover my pains.

    The books “Living with Tha-di” “Tha-di so te Nay Ein” “Basic Meditation””Basic Wipasana””Forgiveness”and all I have in books and in CD too. As I am older and older I prefer listening rather than reading.

    I thank you for your Dhamma talks to lead me to get peaceful mind in a hard time. I am in a hard time now too, so I try to have time to listen Dhamma. But I am very weak in meditation so that I can’t recover quickly.

    Whenever I read a Dhamma books I shared with my sons and let them get Dhamma thought too. The elder son is very fond of you. He wishes to stay very near by you to be able to listen all your words. But he cannot get this chance. But luckily he is now closed to U Chaykeinda and quite familiar with Dhamma.

    We all wish to listen your Dhamma talks and wish to read your books. We are waiting your new books to be published.

    I would like to follow Dhamma but I am not good at yet. But still trying to be closer.

    My personal inspiration is “to be a peaceful minded person”

    Wish you in good health.

    Yours obediently,

    May Aye Oo

  283. No work after all – so count me in!

    “Shariputra, in that Buddha-land there are heavenly musical instruments always played on; gold is spread on the ground; and six times every day and night it showers Mandarava blossoms. Usually in the serene morning all those who live in that land fill their plates with those wonderful blossoms, and make offerings to a hundred thousand kotis of Buddhas of other regions; and at the time of the meal they come back to their own country, and take their meal and have a walk. Shariputra, the Sukhavati land is arrayed with such good qualities and adornments.” (The Smaller Amida Sutra)

    🙂

  284. May Christian be in a place of peace and joy.
    May his family and friends have comfort and support.

    Kwan Seum Bosal, Kwan Seum Bosal, Kwan Seum Bosal

  285. Suddenly there’s a lot going on this Saturday and taking it easy on Saturday morning after flying in late Friday afternoon seem like a more sensible plan. So it’s looking increasingly unlike that I’ll be one of the Little Bangkok Sangha Picnic charter members after all. Sorry about that. Enjoy yourselves!

  286. Don’t forget to count me and Nat, another friend of mine in na ka. I’ll bring my home made thai food and something to nibble, she’ll bring mixed vegetable and fruit shake. I’m up for cha cha cha and salsa or even frisbee in the park. They even provide bicycle rental for only 20 baht so you can roam around the park(but most of them are bright pink and have a basket at the front.)

    Everybody seems so excited. Cool!!

  287. I’ll be there…and having chatted with Venerable, I’ll be bringing the plates, cups and forks/spoons along with something to eat. But does anyone have a cooler that we might use??

    Metta,
    David

  288. Cool. Glad you are all in! I will mail everyone tomorrow, but I think its all organised – at the very least there are shops and places nearby so we can go over to buy things if needed. Many of you don’t know each other, but thats normal – just come along and join in. You are all part of the LB Sangha even if you don’t know it. Should be fun.

  289. Thanks for posting that lovely note. Sudden death provides a time for reflection on impermanence and while I can say that easily, I certainly don’t “do” it easily.

    I wish Christian had stayed around longer because we were just getting to know and really enjoy each other’s company. Yet knowing him even briefly was a special gift for he. was an incredibly loving, caring and gentle soul. He adored his partner Tonn so much and learned so much about death through caring for Tonn. I’m sure they’re happy together somewhere out in the cosmos.

    I to wish him peace and a serene journey.

  290. hi,

    Just wondering, what about little girl who is below 12yrs old or baby girl? had seen a monk so call “touches” a 6 yrs old girl during a prayer session, so was curious to know if the “no touching” meant for certain age only

    • Thai monks should not touch any girl, though the boundaries are not always clear – I was given a new born baby girl to hold. I was not comfortable with this, but only because I am afraid of babies (and children). When it is family, or in an informal situation with people around thngs get more fuzzy. Sri Lankan, Burmese and Cambodian monks are much less rigid about the issue, and Tibetan monks/nuns stick to the original vinaya rule of not touching the opposite sex with lustful intent, but otherwise it is ok.

  291. Does any one have a sound system? I will bring cha cha cha & salsa CDs. With a mini-sound system we can dance in da picnic park. Thank you soooooo much.

  292. PLAN TO ATTEND WILL BRING PEANUT BUTTER AND HONEY PLUS A COUPLE OF LOAVES OF BREAD…..MY MOT HERS OLD TRICK TO KEEP MY M OUTH SHUT AT SUCH GATHERINGS THANKS PHRA

  293. i felt seriously disgusted on dec18, 2009 with how the ‘suggested donation’ deal works at shambhala – extremely pushy and i couldnt get over my idignation at the unashamed greed i sensed in how this business – yes, business! – is run. if you want buddhism, look elsewhere. this is not it.

  294. I am very saddened to hear about Christian’s death and my thoughts and sympathies go out to him, and to his family and loved ones in this difficult time.
    I only got to know Christian a few months ago, and the Christian I met was a very cheerful, caring and sensitive person, with a strong wish to learn and to grow in the Dhamma. I felt deeply impressed by his openness, courage and willingness to face the heavy Dukkha he was confronted with in his life. I feel fortunate to have met Christian, and I hope that the good Kamma he has made will always carry and support him, wherever his journey takes him.

  295. Great event!!! Thank you, Bante, for the inspiration & other Bangers for the enthusiastic participation. For the First Ever Annual Picnic, it was a great start. Can’t remember when I ate so much. Ooof! Next year, more egg salad.
    Thanks Everyone!
    With metta,
    Holly

  296. Dukkha teach us how to go on in life, is the only Master and Healer.
    Possibly Universe, Energy or whatever will make Christian join Tonn again.

  297. He was a very gentle, tender man. I only talked with him twice
    and I feel blessed for having had the opportunity.

  298. Nice shot of the “lake”…but it is – Anicca – gone already!
    It is now a field,
    that will be the site of our temple’s grand pillar-setting ceremony on Sunday, December 27…

    NOT “December 29” as I had previously broadcast.

    Yours in the Dhamma,

    Phra Frank

  299. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. ~ Albert Schweitzer

    Happiness it boils down to this simple equation:

    Pleasure + flow + meaning = happiness

    With this formula the fleeting and passing nature of pleasure sticks around for longer. By this I mean if you are really engaged, focuses and engaged in what you do then you’ll enter a state of flow. You know you’re in a state of flow because:

    * are completely focused on the task at hand;
    * forget about yourself, about others, about the world around you;
    * lose track of time;
    * feel happy and in control; and
    * become creative and productive.

    The meaning of your life has to come from within you, rather then it be imposed on you by others. This is what’s called living an authentic life. While we adapt quickly to more money and material possessions, it seems we adapt less quickly, if at all, to meaningful things. This is also a vital component of contentment, because essentially you are not connected to your innermost self.

    Without that connection, it’s hard to feel a true meaning in some part of your life, and without the connection it’s hard to feel happiness, other than the transient pleasure from time to time as described earlier, that most of us have mistaken for real happiness.

  300. Hi,

    It depends, doesn’t it, on the vows this monk took. If he had vowed as part of his ordination not to engage in sports, then taking up skateboarding (or table tennis, or frisbee throwing, or whatever) is breaking his monastic vows.

    I imagine the best response to that would be to apologise for the lapse and re-commit to his vows. I remember Ajahn Jayasaro in Bangkok not so long ago talking about the vows he took that govern things even as seemingly unimportant as how to place his bag when taking a seat.

    No talk from him about ‘modern lifestyles’, rather, he talked about how the discipline of vows is itself the practice – and brings about confidence and self-respect.

    Perhaps the order this monk belongs to allows the playing of sports? If so – no problem. If not, surely he should accept it was a mistake. If he can’t do that, perhaps he ought to re-ordain in a less strict order?

    Just my two-penny’s worth.

    Marcus

  301. Funny story… yeah, the spokesman of the temple says that it is allowed along with other sports. So, there was no breaking of vows there.

    I’ve seen many monks playing soccer or other sports on temple grounds before. Good exercise! 🙂

  302. Well, we recently had a monk dramatically playing frisbee in a public park. Thai society does not accept this as acceptible, and it seems to be against the Vinaya. Inside temples usually things are more relaxed. There is a feeling that one should not do things the public dislike, but that does not mean being rigid in private.

    But the questions always hover on the topic of MONKS behaviour. What about lay-people’s behaviour ? We monks see lay people drinking, fighting, cheating on partners etc… and yet those same people criticise monks for silly little things that are in no way immoral.

    As for monk’s ‘vows’ I rarely find a lay person who even knows what they are, or how they were taught. Yet ‘certain’ newspaper writers seem obsessed with banging shaved heads together in the National Press on silly points.

  303. Hi,

    Well, you know, it is always better to turn the light of criticism onto one’s own practice rather than onto other people’s.

    I half suspect, Phra Cittasamvaro, that you posted this partly in response to not just the Chinese story (which appeared all over the Buddhist Blogosphere when it first came out) but also to the fact of the frisbee-throwing in the park here in Thailand.

    I have nothing to say about that, except that of course the actions of a monk will always be scrutinised more closely than those of a non-monastic. After all, monks choose to take on the extra vows, are considered teachers, are looked up to be society and are supported by society. So its not a surprise that they are scrutinised as they are.

    Of course, personally, I couldn’t care less if a monk throws a frisbee! I care just a little more if a monk knowingly breaks a vow and then attempts to justify it rather than apologising for it, but in the grand scheme of things I have more than enough to occupy me watching my own five vows to be overly concerned with what other people (monks, teachers, whoever) do.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Marcus

      • HI
        thankyou for your efforts – past present and , hopefully future…
        esp for those of us who cant attend these fascinating events in person

        LONG May you continue to find energy and inspiration

  304. Thankyou for this thoughtful post
    Though we practice death reflection (Maranasati),as part of the Theravadin tradition, it is always difficult to prepare for the death of “dear ones” – even someone who was a relatively new friend.
    Yes, it was a joy to talk and spend some time with Christain, only a short time ago, when he attended retreat here at Wat Kow Tahm.
    He seemed very much ‘full of inner joy’ after the 10 days – one could tell he got a lot from the teachings in the retreat… and I believe he was strengthened by it.
    I was also impressed by his ability to talk so openly about his recent challenging life events, having himself supported a dying partner.
    Here’s hoping his practice helped him “shuffle off this mortal coil”… in a beneficial way, and that he has found a good rebirth already…

  305. I assume Christian had been aware for quite some time about his health predicament and I am overjoyed that Little Bangkok Sangha afforded him various opportunities to reflect, meditate and prepare for his final departure.

  306. Pingback:Bangkok International Buddhist Film Festival « Touching earth with humbleness

  307. I might mention, when I was a novice in England Ajahn Sumedho was generally away travelling/teaching. The temple operated very well without him, but there was a vacuum at the top.
    At this point Ajahn Amaro swept in from the US, and there was a general uplift in the atmosphere. He could take control and put a steady hand on the tiller, with his easy manner and great Dhamma Talks. There was always something of a buzz of interest and sharpening of committment when he was around. I have not met him again since then, so I am particularly glad he will be here this time.

  308. Dear Sayadaw,

    I pay deep respect to Sayadaw.
    I downloaded Sayadaw’s mp3 talks so that I can upload them in my dhamma web.
    I had read & listened almost the books & talks in Myanmar language until 2008.
    Now I’ve been working in Malaysia & I’m also trying to distribute my favourite dhamma talks & books in my personal dhamma web (www.dhammabooks.co.cc).

    May Sayadaw & all be happy & well!
    SoeWinHtut
    (www.dhammabooks.co.cc)
    (www.trueanswer.co.cc)

  309. Venerable,

    Thank you for posting this interesting perspective; I found myself considering the topic on several different levels. As such, may I offer comments on your final summary thoughts on Dhamma Talks?

    By “types of Dhamma Talk,” I assume you mean the different styles of presenting Dhamma. But what about content of Dhamma Talk? How does one measure the “goodness” of a talk? Is “goodness” based on the Right Intention of the speaker to illuminate the Dhamma for those listening? Or, might it be the result of Right Intention, Right Understanding and Wisdom of the speaker in his/her own grasp of Dhamma, irrespective of the level of Right Intention, Right Understanding and Wisdom of a listener to discern the “Dhamma behind the words”?

    You made a very good point about the ability of a practitioner to appreciate all kinds of speakers. However, I would use the term “skillful” rather than “good” in relationship to both practitioner and Dhamma Talk. I can see where “unskillful” Dhamma Talk might can occur and can lead to continued or increased Ignorance for listeners/practiioners that lack sufficient Wisdom to discern the “Dhamma behind the words.”

    Finally, like the style of Dhamma Talk, it does not seem beneficial to judge Dhamma Talk content as “unskillful”; rather, awareness of one’s reaction to the apparent “unskillful” Talk provides a useful tool for discerning Dhamma in it’s apparent absence and for increasing one’s Right Understanding and Wisdom.

    Respectfully,
    David

  310. Your comments are on the mark. What is a ‘good’ talk?
    Generally people mistake ‘good’ with ‘enjoyable’ or ‘interesting’, which is a natural enough outlook for the general public.
    ‘Skillful’ is a better word than ‘good’ in many ways, and is a concept Buddhists are generally aware of (it is a translation of ‘kusala’) – but it might seem slightly odd if one is not conversant with the terminology.
    The idea behind writing this post is that people have different expectations of Dhamma Teaching. For example, you can’t really expect concise information and content from a Forest Dhamma Talk, nor a focus on practise from an academic lecture.

    One thing – when I was a new monk we were all made to go and attend the talks of the Abbot. I could not understand a word of it, but was still expected to go. Somehow, I got just as much benefit from those talks as I did later when I could follow some of the Thai.

  311. We are a couple from Sweden, arriving to Bangkok 20 jan.
    We would like to take part of this teachings.
    We are buddhists and our sangha is Karme Tenpe Gyaltse, Stockholm.
    Is it OK?
    May triple gems bless you all

  312. The retreat at YBAT by Ven. Pandit was excellent by all accounts. There was plenty of time for formal meditation, and silence was maintained at a maximum for those who prefer it that way. The highlights were as usual the very inspiring Dhamma talks which were always based on the suttas.

    The YBAT staff and two coordinators K. Parnus and K. Ratana were always very helpful with whatever needs to be done to keep the retreat running smoothly, and even so kindly arranged for a van to send us back into Bangkok at very reasonable cost.

    The talk by Sayadaw U Jotika was no less engaging. One cannot help notice the ‘buzz’ as one steps out into the 22nd flr. K. Danai’s staff was all busy making sure that people were ushered in the right direction and that everyone was able to buy the Sayadaw’s books (of which the proceeds were to be donated to Sayadaw’s causes), that shoes were properly stored in a separate room – for sanitation and safekeeping, and that people get to a seat. It pays to come early if one wishes to sit in the same room as the venerable; otherwise one gets to sit in the cafe or along the corridor. I was surprised to find front seats reserved for VIPs. This seems to be the norm in Thailand. I’m quite sure the Buddha would have been amused at the segregation.

    A few forgetful people (read: mindless, stubborn, obstinate; pardon my dosa) had kept their mobile phones in a non-silent mode despite being reminded, and the intermittent electronic beeps and digital ring tones interrupted the listening for most. One elderly lady managed to make her dissatisfaction known by turning toward the sound and making a face AND a very noticeable sigh at EVERY interruption. Most people seemed to have controlled their dosa and blocked out this auditory distraction. Either that or they are very good at not showing their irritation.

    As mentioned by Phra Pandit, the talk would have been easier to follow had it been in a single language. One needed to keep a mental note of how Sayadaw ended his previous segment to make the connection. I shall patiently wait for the All-English mp3 tract as the talk is worth a second listening, at the very least.

    I have to mention the very efficient translator at the talk. Her rendition was excellent, as she was also able to convey the nuances/mood of the Sayadaw’s statements. Having said this, there was an unfortunate minor mistranslation, but this did not affect the overall message of the Dhamma talk.

    Her grasp of Pali (and the Pali scriptures) was excellent and she was able to translate them into Thai instantly. I was impressed, as I am always interested in the Thai equivalent of the Pali.

    I was also delighted that the talk was preceded by evening chanting. Having chanted two evenings at the YBAT retreat, the Pali was still fresh in my mind, and I was able to participate in it. The singing, and recitation/spreading of Metta to close the talk came as a welcome surprise, and was a perfect way to end the affair. Is this generally how Dhamma talks are closed by Thais? I have no idea as this is the first non-pure English Dhamma talk that I’ve attended.

  313. Ajhan
    i’m very appreciate to you for took me to the Dhamma talk .
    May you be peace and healthy………

  314. Very good report Ajhan, at that night i decided something and i will make it soon……….But not now i have to study and finish my degree.After that i will ask my parent to do so….
    This is only one talk but many meaning to me
    Thank you very much
    May you be free from physical and mental suffering………

  315. Sayadaw’s talks always touch many people. Several people commented that it felt like he was talking to them persnoally.
    I tell him each time how he affects so many people, but he really comes to Thailand to rest from running his three temples in Myanmar, and so only makes one public appearance.

  316. It will be a week or so before I will get time to edit out all the Thai parts and upload the talk. In the mean time it should appear as video on youtube, with both thai and english. I don’t know the youtube address.

  317. well, thanks for the very inspiring clips on meditation, I am still very far away from these relaxed states of mind :))

  318. Nice description. Thanks.
    Do you know where can i get Sayadaw’s books in Thailand?

  319. I don’t live in Bangkok and I’ll be going to Burma next month, somewhere i can get them there?

  320. What is more important? Practising wisdom and compassionate? Or following tradition blindly? Ajahn Brahm did a great job in this occasion, as he set his priority right.

  321. Sorry, I have no idea about Myanmar. Best to pick up some copies in Bangkok when you are passing through. Things are still very difficult in Myanmar, and the books are printed and distributed from Bangkok.

  322. เจ้จัยฟ้าสงมาไห้ ยุวพุดเค้าส่งมาไห้ดูอ่า

  323. sorry that i heard lately. if this such seminar is hold again, please let me konw.
    thank you for your kindness
    natpawee k.

  324. What’s interesting about the Thai Forest Tradition is how much it has lost. The stand-out practice of Ajahn Man according to his biography and Ajahn Boowa’s Patipada was the utilization of fear. You spent long periods alone in the most dangerous places in the mountains, in caves frequented by tigers and evil spirits, and you tamed your citta through fear.

    Even tudong is a walk in the park these days, the tigers are almost all gone, and I suspect the devas and yakkhas too.

    Tudong and living close to death were the hallmarks of the Ajahn Man’s Forest Tradition until around the 60s (before foreigners came on the scene), but you don’t hear about it much now and Ajahn Chah replaced the suffering of jungle tudong and sleeping in charnel grounds with the suffering of “long and seemingly boring work projects.”

    Ah, well, nothing lasts forever…

  325. I asked Ajahn Pasanno about this last night – was the hardship of the 70’s Isarn area a benefit to the practise? One suspects that it probably was, but still not many (least of all the monks) would want to creat it artificially.

    • In one of the books on Ajahn Chah (possibly “Venerable Father”) it’s mentioned that as soon as Ajahn Sumedho was made abbot of Wat Pa Nanachat he changed the regime to more meditation and less work projects because he felt it was more appropriate for Westerners (whatever that means). 🙂

      But Ajahn Man and his students back in the 20s and 30s come across as tough as nails and ready – as they often said – “to die for the Dhamma.” I wonder how important that attitude is in attaining arahantship? The risks of the jungle must have been very similar in the time of the Buddha.

      The same kind of dicing with death is present in Lama Govinda’s description of practising in Tibet in the 1930s (“Way of the White Clouds”) – one wrong turn in the mountains and you could freeze to death in an hour.

      BTW, good talk last night. Ajahn Amaro’s MP3 talk on anatta is one of the best explanations out there.

  326. Hi,

    We had a very lovely meeting yesterday. Really inspiring. Thank you to everyone!

    The next Seon Club is on the 27th of February, and it would be really nice if everyone could, if possible, read Chapter Four of ‘No River to Cross’ before coming.

    Yesterday we found it really useful to be able to stick to the text and so had a really fruitful discussion. Hopefully, we can do much the same next month.

    The book is available in the Kinokuniya bookstore in Paragon, but if people can’t get hold of it, no problem- you’ll be more than welcome to come and join in anyway!

    See everyone on the 27th!

    Hapjang,

    Marcus / Seok Jeong

  327. How is it Sayadaw says the simplest things, that seem to go so deep!

    A common question from people new to Buddhism is ‘isn’t it selfish? What is desirable about detachment?’

    Mindfulness is a quality of detachment, in a wholesome way. You help yourself and society by its power.

    Sayadaw’s recent talk in Bangkok will be posted in mp3 form in the next week.

  328. I would like to join this Sunday 7th Feb meditation. Please book me in. Thanks in advance.

  329. latest schedule: (might not be too late to join – you will have to try and contact)

    Schedule

    Friday 12 February 2010

    09.00 – 09.30 Registration
    09.30 – 09.45 Opening Ceremony
    – Assoc. Prof. Noranit Setabutr
    09.45 – 10.30 Welcome Address and Orientation
    – Dr. Chris A Stanford
    10.30 – 10.45 Coffee / Tea Break
    10.45 – 11.30 Chanting and Meditation
    – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phra Sudhiworayan
    11.30 – 13.00 Lunch
    13.00 – 14.30 Buddhist Culture of Peace : Theory and Practice
    – Dr. Mano Luahvanich
    14.30 – 14.45 Coffee / Tea Break
    14.45 – 16.00 Understanding Buddhist Morality in the Present Thai Life
    – Dr. Somboon Duangsamosorn

    Saturday 13 February 2010

    09.00 – 10.30 Chanting and Meditation
    – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phra Sudhiworayan
    10.30 – 10.45 Coffee / Tea Break
    10.45 – 11.30 Understanding Buddhist Morality in the Present Thai Life
    (workshop) Dr. Somboon Duangsamosorn
    11.30 – 13.00 Lunch
    13.00 – 14.30 The Implementation of Internal Peace and External Peace
    (workshop) Ven. Phramaha Supol Khantipalo
    14.30 – 14.45 Coffee / Tea Break
    14.45 – 16.00 Implementation of Internal Peace and External Peace
    (workshop – Continued) Ven. Phramaha Supol Khantipalo

    Sunday 14 February 2010

    09.00 – 10.30 Chanting and Meditation
    – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phra Sudhiworayan
    10.30 – 10.45 Coffee / Tea Break
    10.45 – 11.30 Buddhist Contribution to Social Development
    – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pataraporn Sirikanchana
    11.30 – 13.00 Lunch
    13.00 – 14.30 Cultivating the Buddhist Mind through Education
    – Ven. Phra Khru Baitika Dr. Barton Yanathiro
    14.30 – 14.45 Coffee / Tea Break
    14.45 – 16.00 Cultivating the Buddhist Mind through Education (workshop)
    – Ven. Phra Khru Baitika Dr. Barton Yanathiro

  330. I intend to be there. And will be in Mashoors Indian Veggie Restaurant afterwards for anyone who who wants to join me. Can’t beat the food there.

  331. why do u mention the skytrain, if the course starts at 6 am but also the skytrain open its doors at 6……….

  332. “I don’t teach Korean or Mahayana or Zen. I don’t even teach Buddhism. I only teach don’t know. Fifty years here and there teaching only don’t know. So only don’t know, okay?”

    – Zen Master Seung Sahn

    “I hope from moment to moment you only go straight, don’t know, which is clear like space, try, try, try for ten thousand years, non-stop, get enlightenment, and save all beings from suffering.”

    – Zen Master Seung Sahn

    http://www.oxherding.com/my_weblog/2009/04/korean-zen-seung-sahn-dont-know.html

  333. yes, 6:30 pm. Not too many people up at 6 in the morning – though it would be handy for those of us on the other side of the river as the traffic is still light at 6am

  334. Pingback:Education Chinese Style – Part 7 « iLook China

  335. In the evening, from 7:00 pm -9:30 pm, we’ll meet (same place) to practice the sadhana of mahamudra and make a feast offering. Everyone is welcome to join! Please register on the website (www.bangkok.shambhala.info) so we know how many to expect.

  336. Count me in Please, im on school break so very free im glad this one falls on my holiday period. Seems very interesting topic.

  337. Dear Sayadaw Phayar
    I have been reading your books since 1997.I like your idea , opinion very much . I have listen your dhamma tapes many. Now I have your 84 topic of Dhamma MP3 tapes and listen regularly.I have got your Photo that I take whenever I move to other place. I listen and obey your talks . I heartly want to meet with you in person .But I ‘m not lucky Phayar because I still not yet to meet with you in person. Eventhought I usually listen to your talks and pay respect to you.
    I deeply request to you that to come and give dhamma talks in U.K, LONDON.
    I will very happy if I get a change to meet with you in person.

    I wish you to get long life with healty and give Dhamma talk to worldwide.

    I pray every day to meet with you .

    your dhamma thame
    Aye Aye San Paudel

  338. I’m still hoping for MP3 or youtube of Sayadaws Bangkok talk on Praise and Blame.
    Perhaps I’m just not finding them and a few links would solve this for myself and others?

    • Sorry, I still have not had time to cut all the Thai parts out – it is quite time consuming, but I admit I have hardly even started – still waiting for that quiet few days!

      I will post on the front page when it is done and ready.

    • Actually, of all the teachers we invite, and the other teachers I know personally and call ‘mentors’ I actually find Ajahn Wimoak the most useful and helpful to my own practise. For some not so familiar with the technical terms of Buddhism he might be difficult to follow sometimes. For example he described an experience of ‘being without mind formations’. In the Pali this is the mind free from Sankhara. Not a common experience – but one listed in various suttas alongside cetovimutthi – liberation of the mind. We’ll be inviting him again.

  339. I will be there from 4pm in case anyone wants to go early and hang out a bit. Anyone new to meditation can also come and chat a bit beforehand informally to get some one-on-one pointers depending on your prior experience.

  340. Hi,

    Wonderful! A regular weekly English-language meditation group is just what this city has been in need of for ages!

    For the past few years the Littlebang group has been based around irregular visiting speakers, the odd film show, and other special events – all of which have been, and are, totally wonderful and thank you so much – but a weekly group sit will do so much in terms of creating a real sense of Sangha. Thank you.

    (And it will certainly boost my own practice in those long weeks between Zen Club meetings!)

    And yes, I think chanting is agreat idea! We could start and finish with some each week. That’d be great!

    As for refuge, were you thinking of going beyond just reciting the refuges each week, which I personally think is essential, and having a a special formal refuge ceremony some time? That’d be a great idea too.

    I remember when I took formal refuge, in Anyang, Korea, along with our study group called Saturday Sangha led by Chong Go Sunim – having a special day and a special ceremony, with Dharma names and everything, make it a truly significant and meaningful event. A real life marker.

    Fabulous stuff! See you on Monday!

    Palms together,

    Marcus / Seok Jeong

  341. oh, yes, great ideas. . . I agree with Marcus. A regular weekly meditation session in a group is very supportive to individual practice. Occasionally offering some techniques, such as Phra Wimoak’s suggestions, would be helpful as well.
    Taking refuge could be affirming. . . can we have string?

  342. Buddhadhasa’s Mindfulness with Breathing, based on the anapanasati, was one of the first books I found when I came to Bangkok and it really helped me in my practice/practise. But reading it is not as good as actually hearing it from A. Wimoak and feeling it with his guidance. One reaction I noticed was that I sat perfectly still, no twitching or switching, unlike the week before when I was seriously worried that I might never be able to sit still.
    Thank you, Bante Pandit, for putting his teaching in context and giving us references for more.

  343. Buddhadasa really attacks empty ritualistic practises in his opening chapter on the Preliminaries and reminds us that habitual practise of ceremonial processes is potentially vacuous and meaningless, or worse. It is refreshing and inspiring to read material that comes from such a well-grounded and reliable starting point. Wonderful.

  344. An additional note from the most respected Sayadaw U Jotika regarding this topic:

    I have lived in forests for many years.
    Got malaria and almost died.
    I had dysentery and many other stomach problems.
    I slept in a chair for three years. No mosquito nets.
    I have learned some things.
    Make your life as simple as possible but take great care of your health.
    Don’t ever compromise your health for anything.
    Have medicines you need with you at all times.

  345. Hi,

    I am a Lay Minister of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (Soto Zen). I am over for a week from the UK and I am reading No River to Cross.
    Would be OK/appropriate for me to come along on Saturday?

    In gassho,

    Andi Sinclair OBC

  346. Hi Andi Sinclair OBC,

    Wonderful! It will be good to see you!

    The Bangkok Seon Club is a pretty small group – and yet also (like most English-language Dharma events in Bangkok) very diverse, with people coming along from all kinds of different backgrounds and traditions. It will be fabulous to have you there.

    Some of us (but not the Sunims though as they have to get up early the next morning) usually go out for a late dinner afterwards too if you’d care to join us. See you on Saturday!

    Hapjang,

    Marcus / Seok Jeong

  347. Hi,

    I really enjoyed that first sit last Monday. Thank you so much to Phra Cittasamvaro, to the very generous Ariyasom Villa, and to everyone who was there. Fabulous, Mondays have now become the highlight of the week!

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  348. The simple living Sayadaw talks about is what we monks follow – we don’t need a lot. We see regular people spendign so much on so many things …
    Mindful living truly is the only way to live at ease, whatever your situation.
    Sadhu!

    While internet is intermittent from Myanmar, do leave your comments for Sayadaw below, and when chance arises we will print and give to him.

  349. Hi,

    Nice words and nice comment….. and, yes, you are right, this doesn’t apply just to monks – but to anyone no matter their situation.

    Getting in touch with that mind which is “without greed, anger, pride, envy, jealousy” is a job for us all!

    Thank you!

    Marcus

  350. Graab Namuskarn Pra Ajahn Bundit! Is it possible for Thai to join the Meditation class ?
    Thanks
    Sukjit

  351. wonderful!
    I LOVE IT AND IT WILL BE IN MY NOTE BOOK THAT I KEEP WITH ME FOREVER IN MY LIFE.

  352. This is so nice and meaningful. It inspired me alot. Hope this will keep me reminding me and i will become better person too! Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!

  353. Hi,

    A big thank you to Hyaedan Sunim, Mrs Nam, Young, Arthur, Kirsten, Andi from the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, and to everyone at the Bangkok Hanmaum Seonwon for a wonderful and very inspiring Seon Club meeting last night.

    The next meeting of the Bangkok English-language Seon Club will be on Saturday, March the 27th. Same place, same time, more wonderful teachings, practice, and sharing. Open to anyone interested in Seon / Zen Buddhism.

    And thank you again Andi for coming along last night and all the best for the rest of your week in Bangkok. Hopefully see you at the Littlebang meditation group tomorrow!

    With palms together,

    Marcus / Seok Jeong

  354. thank you for your invitation. can i reserve my place right now? how many places avilable? because i may invite my friend together with me.
    sincerely yours,
    natpawee k.

  355. Dear AJhan,
    Please also post the full version with Thai language. I’m sure many thais living abroad, like me, would love to hear the talks in Thai as well. Thank you so much.

  356. “The Buddha nature knows neither decrease nor increase … When it is [caught up in] the passions it is not defiled; when it is meditated upon, it does not thereby become purer. It is neither annihilated nor abiding; it neither comes nor departs, it is neither in the middle nor at either end; it neither dies not is born; it remains the same all the time, unchanged in all changes.”

    What a wonderful quote by Hui-neng! Thank you!

    As for non-action being a practice, well, yes, it certainly is! In the Korean Zen tradition it’s a practice of letting go or entrusting to this eternal Buddha-nature, which, paradoxically, does not mean ‘no action’ but, rather, allows action to spring from it.

    Oh dear, I’ve not put that very well. So I’ll turn this into a plug for the Zen Club on the 27th of this month where such stuff is better discussed!

    Thank you for showing how all this is, actually, already there in the Pali texts!

    Marcus

  357. Pingback:Just be mindful – it’s the most loving thing! « Green Papaya Sangha

  358. This workshop will go ahead as planned. The Demonstrations won’t affect us at all.
    Just be sure to avoid Democracy monument and Sanam Luang on your way.

  359. I would like to know how much is the prices of the rooms at the village, coz the server is not avalible at the internet…i’am arribing in Banh Kok atmarch 16 and i woud love to stay at there.
    Please awnser me soon as possible.
    thanks alot.

  360. Would Pra Ajahn Pandhit invite Pra Ajahn Brahm to have a Dhamma Talk at Tawana ?
    Thanks

    • We can invite him, to various venues. But I am flat out busy right now and after all the balhooha with the ordinations in Perth best to let things settle a bit. But yes, we will be glad to organise his talks here.

    • Good link. The summary for the book starts :

      In my new book Dead Drunk I discuss how a Thai temple called Wat Thamkrabok helped me beat my addiction to alcohol. It is now almost four years since I left the temple and it really does feel like my addiction has; been completely defeated. I have no idea what the future holds for me, but all I can say is that alcohol does not seem attractive to me at all these days. I have experienced some wonderful highs in recovery; highs that would have once offered plenty of reason for alcohol-fueled celebrations. I have also needed to deal with lows that previously would have had me running to the bottle

  361. It’s nice to see Ian looking so well. Life must be treating him well. It’s been awhile since the 1960’s when we studied geology at UBC. Back then, geology and geography were in the same building, just up the hill from UBC’s beautiful and serene Nitobe (Zen) Gardens.

  362. I found Venerable Kusalo’s comment very revealing.

    Often, it seems a venerated monk’s teachings become his own, rather than what they truly are, a re-statement of the Buddha’s own experience and teachings. And, while one monk or another might be skilled in relating the Dhamma in terms that are more easily comprehended by today’s ‘modern’ practitioners, I am reminded that it was on hearing the Buddha’s words, from the Buddha himself that many were able to free themselves from the cycle of Birth, Aging, Disease and Death, a benefit that seems lost in this era of the Dhamma. Still, I remain ever-so-thankful for these learned monks for helping light my path to and thru the Buddha Dhamma. So, I listen and learn what I can from whom I can, then return to the Buddha’s words to try to experience the deeper understanding.

  363. Pingback:About Healing Meditation

  364. Ven Kusalo has had an interesting time – in his home country Dhamma is only ever presented in terms of a pali stanza, translation, and then explanation. That’s the only way they do it! So it is a new experience for him here. He is not for or against, just interested. But it is nice to remember that with all the great teachers about, getting back to the original suttas is always useful.

  365. Wow!! It is an awesome article. May I know where Sayadaw is now. Is he still in Singapore or in Bangkok or in other countries? I am also waiting for your English mp3 edition of Sayadaw’s last talk in Bangkok.

    with metta,
    Vimuttisukha

  366. A thousand thanx for Pundit Pandit for posting this info. I signed up for the free course. My attraction is the Jain ritual of dying. The person goes without food, water and pain killer medication. This is not suicide, nor is it mercy killing. The ritual is done on a voluntary basis. The person must be of sound mind. It is believed when the person exits this life for the next existence he/she will have purified the mind, body and soul.
    The person will depart in a state of bliss and enter a higher level of existence.
    The tradition has been practiced for several thousand years.

    • Jainism and Buddhism are branches of the same Shraman tradition in India, i.e so called non beleivers in supreme authority and firm beleirs in karma doctrine.

      The art of dying,a s we call ita s sallekhana in jainism , is a unique aspect of jain ethis. it details the preparation and manner of practicing to have a peaceful and pious death. remmebr the saying ” All is well that ends well’. You will know about daily practice ( for accidental death), pracxticing when faced with a natural calamity (famine or earthquake) and the in the end when the body is unable to support our self development activities.

      Come join and have lots of experience and fun at mahidol from April 26th to May 15th.

      ISJS

  367. Wonderful!

    Next Seon Club… – May the 1st. Same time, same place!

    With palms together,

    Marcus / Seok Jeong

  368. Thankyou! sometimes my path gets a little muddy and I need to read posts such as this one!!

  369. Well, that’s a moral judgement. If you make a moral judgement then you expect the ‘moral’ establishment to follow ….
    But as pointed out, the monk’s have opinions too. They don’t feel they are involved in party politics so much as a struggle for what is right (democracy in this case).
    The robe is not a symbol of the ‘law of the land’ as the Sangha may well feel that some laws are wrong.
    But as you say, yes, by attending the demonstrations those monks are making a public viewpoint heard.
    I should add that the Sangha is much less involved in politics and governance than any Sangha in other countries.

  370. ” He was keen to keep the monks order independent of the politics of the day.”

    “But gladly the monks limit their support to private conversations, and do not make public declarations.”

    Isn’t attending a public demonstration a public declaration, far more than a private opinion?

    Isn’t it the case that once you put on the orange robe you represent what orange robes represent – the integrity of monastic life? Political life is fundamentally corrupt and Thaksin has been legally found guilty of corruption. Is it appropriate for orange robes to be active in this world of corruption?

    For an orange robe to attend a Red public demonstration isn’t that particular robe then supporting someone who has broken the laws of the land? If the orange robe is not supporting the law of the land doesn’t that bring into question all orange robes?

    Would it not be legitimate for monks to call for political parties to give an equal share of the cake for all the peoples of Thailand?

  371. Sorry what is the moral judgement?

    Monks do have opinions but doesn’t the wearing of the robe carry with it a certain responsibility, and therfore a control on the public expression of those opinions?

    I was not suggesting that those in robes substantively create the “laws of the land” but by supporting a movement that has been corrupted by a man who is legally a criminal it can easily be claimed by that criminal that the monks support him in crime. This is why entering a political arena in any form can leave monks open to abuse. At the same time if monks are publicly active in going against the law of the land, is that not an encouragement for lawlessness? It is not the disagreement with the laws that is the issue but the public display that the law of the land can be disrespected.

    This is why I suggested the politically neutral, yet morally integral position

    ” to call for political parties to give an equal share of the cake for all the peoples of Thailand?”

  372. From an excellent article on the Buddha and politics:

    “The Buddha had no blueprint for a peaceful or a fair society, nor did he advocate or practice any form of what we would call political activity.

    The Buddha seemed to feel that all political activity is inherently pernicious, because politics has to do with, on the one hand, power, and on the other with grand abstractions like freedom, democracy, justice.

    Following a path of conduct based on power and on abstract principles, the Buddha must have felt, would always lead to trouble.”

    – Zoketsu Norman Fischer

    http://www.everydayzen.org/index.php?Itemid=26&option=com_teaching&sort=title&task=viewTeaching&id=text-57-30

    • Dear Marcus,

      My views concerning political activity are similar to the referred article. It has always seemed to me that if there is dukkha in the world then the politicians as some form of leaders can be given some responsibility for creating this dukkha. Not attaching to the cravings that are part of the power that goes with political ambition seems to be the Path.

      Yet at the same time I support “Engaged Buddhism”, where do you go?

      For the sake of this discussion it would be interesting to know whether the Vinaya makes any statement regarding political activity.

      Hope you are keeping well,

      All the Best,

      Bill Z

  373. Thank you very much (For free download,Dhamma Talk and for all your kindness)
    May you be free from physical and metal suffering …
    May you be long live for propagation Dhamma to the whole world…

  374. The moral judgement is about Khun Taksin. The monks in the Red Shirt rally have a different opinion.
    They feel they are taking a moral stance, not a political one. Of course, lots of people have the opposite opinion.
    Ideally of course, monks would be completely neutral, but they are also Thais and citizens so that would be asking too much. Thailand does have the least politically active Sangha of all the Buddhist countries.

    “The Buddha had no blueprint for a peaceful or a fair society, nor did he advocate or practice any form of what we would call political activity.”

    I’d agree with this line wholeheartedly. The Buddha was not the one to ask for advice on raising children, managing kingdoms etc… even though he did his best (with some nice, but limited teachings). He was an expert on Enlightenment, and unsurpassed at that.
    I am not sure there is any solid sutta evidence that the Buddha felt politics to be ‘inherently pernicious’ – guess I should read the full article….

  375. Bhante,

    I have my own opinion (moral judgement) as to whether Khun Thaksin is corrupt but in my comment above I was discussing the legal question, and Khun Thaksin has been found guilty by the law of the land. My concern remains that monks are demonstrating against the law of the land.

    Are law and morality the same thing – perhaps in an ideal society?

    Politicians use and abuse power, by entering a public demonstration those wearing the orange robes are allowing their own accrued responsibility to be used by these politicians.

    If these monks wished to make a statement concerning the need for greater democracy, such a statement could easily have been made in a non-political manner.

    In this case the legitimate desire for greater redistribution of wealth in Thailand has been used or manipulated by a politician, Khun Thaksin, and as a result legitimate needs remain unheard. What is happening in the corridors of power as to why “democrats” don’t redistribute I have no idea, that is the real sadness of the involvement of the politicians such as Khun Thaksin and Khun Abhisit.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

  376. Hi,

    Sorry, I’ve not been able to make it for the past couple of weeks. I live near Phan Fa Bridge and (though I’ve never much liked going out late) since the Red Shirt rally, getting home in the evening has become even more of a major undertaking. Sorry.

    But I really miss it and would like to attend again soon. Is there a sit next Monday (Songkran)?

    With palms together,

    Marcus

  377. Thank you Venerable. I love the list of unsuitable topics such as ‘well-talk’ which must have been where all the gossip went on…. For those who have not studied suttas very much this is a list often repeated throughout the Tripitaka.
    In the Upakkilesa sutta these conversations had developed into dispute, with the monks “quarrelling and brawling, and deep in dispute, stabbing each other with verbal daggers”
    The Buddha told them to stop, and they told him to go off and be peaceful somewhere and they would take care of putting an end to the dispute – which means trying to win of course.
    But it is interesting that even the Buddha’s direct disciples in the forests of India were got caught up in these things – so much more so will the Thai Sangha. All things considered, Thailand has a pretty good and restrained Sangha.

  378. Friends,

    The Kathavatthu Sutta speaks directly to this matter of appropriate speech for the monk. Ajahn Jayasaro, for one, is unequivocal in stressing that a monk’s responsibility is to teach the Dhamma ; that a true samana will devote himself one-pointedly to the training. Otherwise, by espousing a political position, a bhikkhu stands to alienate those who perhaps would have been receptive to Dhamma teachings. As terms go, “pernicious” seems fairly apt considering how the Buddha frequently groups kings and ministers of state with robbers and others of low moral fiber.

    Kathavattu Sutta Topics of Converstaion 1 (AN 10.69) trans. Tahn Ajahn Geoff

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Now at that time a large number of monks, after the meal, on returning from their alms round, had gathered at the meeting hall and were engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about kings, robbers; ministers of state; armies, alarms; battles; food, drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women; heroes; the gossip of the street; the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world or of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.

    Then the Blessed One, emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the meeting hall and, on arrival, sat down on a seat made ready. As he was sitting there, he addressed the monks: “For what topic of conversation are you gathered together here? In the midst of what topic of conversation have you been interrupted?”

    “Just now, lord, after the meal, on returning from our alms round, we gathered at the meeting hall and got engaged in many kinds of bestial topics of conversation: conversation about about kings, robbers; ministers of state; armies, alarms; battles; food, drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women; heroes; the gossip of the street; the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world or of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.”

    “It isn’t right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation ….

    “There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun and moon, so mighty, so powerful — to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.”

    With metta,
    Piyadhammo

  379. We have been waiting for so long for this dhamma talk.
    I have attended the talk but there are so many points that it is difficult to remember every thing.
    This talk needs to be listened to many times.
    Thank you very much for your work.
    We hope sayadaw gives more talks in the near future.

  380. Thank you Achan!
    Really appreciate that.
    I need to listen to this talk again and again.
    Can I get E-mail address of Sayadaw?
    I would like to thank him.

  381. Hi, I am wondering if there are any published documents on the outcome of the ‘Global Financial Crisis and Buddhism’ conference that was due to be held on the 20th September 2009. I am writing a report on the world’s response to the GFC and I believe this information would be highly relevant, if I could please have any information on the outcome of the conference that would be wonderful.
    Kind regards, Kate

  382. That’s good to know! Wonderful!

    (But, unfortunately, I still won’t be able to make it! My apartment is within the Red Shirt area, and last Saturday night I had to cross through first army roadblocks and then Red Shirt barricades to get home, – and then I got tear gassed in my own room! LOL!)

    But your sits starts in just under an hour from now and I’ll sit at exactly the same time too, – thus joining you even if not in the same physical space.

    Wishing you a fruitful sit tonight and with palms together,

    Marcus

  383. I’ve never thought of the 4 N Ts is such a simple way – brilliant… The whole ‘mind seeing the mind’ bit is where things begin to become very difficult to understand unless experienced through meditation! but I guess that’s why they refer to this type of meditation as Insight meditation 🙂

  384. apparently his wife was something of a dragon, and he perhaps spent so much time in the market to avoid her. On the other hand he was known for not washing much, so maybe she was glad to keep him out of the house.

  385. I will post more from LP Doon. The mind seeing itself is a controversial issue in the lineage of Luang Phor Mun. They said you experience the citta which is permanent and not-dukkha, inside the body as a bright sphere. Opponents claim this violates ‘anatta’, but of course they do so based on text, where the LP Mun meditators were basing their teaching on direct experience.

  386. Yes, well, I gyuess that the mind seeing itself is the whole point of Vipassana meditation – the mind (sati) watches the thoughts; when we can control the sati, we can control the thoughts etc. With regards to the whole sphere thing, I suppose it is just a visualisation technique akin to that of the Dhammakaya schools. Not that there is anyhthing wrong in that type of thing, but I can understand that dimension (seeing things as images etc. Buddha taught us to ingnore those visual images during meditationetc.) of interpretation/understanding to be contentious. Again, I would say that any kind of academic debate about it is meaningless, as we can only realise these things truly through meditation (which is where we gain Insight [as long as we focus on Vippasanna, not Samatha!]).

  387. “Opponents claim this violates ‘anatta’”

    As if Buddhism were a set of theological statements to be analysed and debated and defended rather than a set of methods, some of which may connect with some people, others with other people.

    Yes, direct experience is the point, isn’t it.

    As for the Vipassana/Samatha thing, of course again it all depends on how it works for each individual meditator, but persoanlly I’ve always loved A.Brahm’s teachings about how they are basically one and the same (plus metta too!).

    With palms together,

    Marcus

    • Hi Marcus,

      Yes, Anapannasati, the form where both are practised simultaniously. As far as I know, it is the only form that the Buddha advocated. However, they are not the same when separated, but can be amalgamated. I guess it depends on whether you want to become more ‘mystical’ (i.e. develop the ability to do ‘miracles’ etc., such as read others’ minds, make solid objects appear from nothing etc. – some do not even agree that this is possible) via the ‘Samatha’ route, or become more ‘wise’ and ‘insightful’ via Vipassana. I would say that Vipassana is much more helpful in our everyday lives, as we are taught to watch the mind all the time (i.e. be mindful and in the persent moment), but Samatha is a good way to become more relaxed and tranquil. Someone once explained to me that Samatha is only useful to a degree, really only when you are in a meditative state, as it supresses the mind and makes the spirit/mind (jid) still and tranquil; however, life is not always still and tranquil, therefore when one come sout of the meditative state, the mind goes back to its usual state. They used the analogy of a tiger to explain this: using the ‘samatha’ method is akin to caging a tiger – once the cage is opened again (when one comes out of the meditative state) the tiger goes back to its prowling dangerous and potentially destructive state. In short, Vipassana trains the tiger, and Samatha cages it!

      It’s a shame what happened to Ajarn Brahm – I’m not sure that I fully understand it all… I have also enjoyed listening to his teachings (being an Englishman, too, I like the poor quality of his jokes!).

  388. Hi guys,

    When all this kicked off a few years ago, I found myself getting utterly embroiled in it all – to the point where I was stressing myself out trying to get my opinion understood by others. I was busy judging and gosspiping until I realised that I should be firmly rooted in the middle way; therefore, now I simply observe what it going on, try not to get emotional about it and certainly don’t talk about the political situation anymore (although I still harbour an opinion).
    If we become embroiled in it, we become attached, which defeates the point of Buddha’s teaching, as we all know – it is all ‘gileyd’ (not sure how to spell that Thai word phonetically in English – hopefully you’ll know what I mean!). It doesn’t matter whether some monks of Buddha’s time, or of this time choose to get involved, it doesn’t mean that it is right of them to do so. I simply feel that if I, as a simple and unadept layman, can aviod this obvious pitfall, a pitfall which derails the mind from its intended course, then why can’t they? Anyhow, whatever, none of it is actually that important in the grand scheme of things…up to them!

  389. I remember watching a clip about this ‘temple’ on YouTube – the black monk – I can;t remember his name now – looked like a particularly scary chap! His story about how he came upon the temple and found his ‘calling’ is interesting. I must say that when I heard how he talked to some of the ‘druggies’ I was suprised that a monk could utter such things. But then again, I was suprised when I heard that one ‘orahaan’ kicked a monk in his charge to the floor in order for them to get him out of his sulk and ‘wake-up’; I guess that there are various ways to train humans and the human mind, and that it is the result, the liberation from addiction in the druggies’ case or understanding the correct view for the monk in question, that is important. Although I struggle to see the ‘metta’ in some of these methods – perhas that is my failing, not theirs!
    Anyhow, an interesting place nevertheless, although a temple that I hopefully won’t be visiting soon!

  390. Thank you.

    So good you made this talk available for those of us not able to attend in person.

    finding it’s meriting several listenings!

    A gifted ‘Dhamma expounder’, indeed!

    ..and so good to hear explanations of how the Dhamma pans out from his personal life perspective, rather than more abstract terms and examples…

  391. I listened to this talk several times over while editing out the Thai translation parts. Quite amazing how it fits together and you cannot tell where the breaks were.
    We are all praised, and we are all blamed. Both hit on the ego. The Dhamma is the only even ground. I hope Sayadaw comes back and talks on the other ‘Worldly Winds’ soon.

  392. The whole Samatha (or Samadhi) vs Vipassana issue is a complex one, and a duality not found in the suttas. There we find jhana practised and recommended endlessly. The Dhammakaya schools have a valid Samadhi/Vipassana technique, albeit a rather difficult one. Pretty much all schools of Buddhism (and other yoga approaches) actually mix concentration and insight aspects.

    Regarding the ‘direct experience’ or sutta accounts, we find another balancing act. Sometimes ones own experiences might be misguided, trapped or heading off in the wrong direction – this is expecially so with some people who have jhana or jhana-like experiences. So measuring ones experience up against the suttas accounts is worthwhile. Of course, being human, this becomes somewhat dogmatic at times.

  393. thank you.. gossip is SO easy to fall into… Good to have another memory jogger…

    Thinking about the advice the Buddha is quoted to have given to Prince Abhaya (Abhaya Rajakumara Sutta)
    helps us too… AS TO WHEN TO SPEAK AND WHEN NOT TO
    albeit on a rather more sophisticated level…

    “At that time a baby boy was lying face-up on the prince’s lap. So the Blessed One said to the prince, “What do you think, Prince, if this young boy, through your own negligence or that of the nurse, were to put a stick or a piece of gravel into his mouth, what would you do?”
    “I would take it out, Venerable Sir. If I couldn’t get it out right away, then holding his head in my left hand and crooking a finger of my right, I would take it out, even if it meant drawing blood. Why is that? Because I have compassion for the young boy.”
    “In the same way, Prince:
    “As to words that the Tathagata knows to be untrue, incorrect, unbeneficial, unwelcome and disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
    “As to words that the Tathagata knows to be true and correct, but unbeneficial, unwelcome and disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
    “As to words that the Tathagata knows to be true, correct, and beneficial, but unwelcome and disagreeable to others, he knows the proper time for saying them.
    “As to words that the Tathagata knows to be untrue, incorrect, unbeneficial, but endearing and agreeable to others, he does not say them.
    “As to words that the Tathagata knows to be true and correct, but unbeneficial, yet endearing and agreeable to others, he does not say them.
    “And as to words that the Tathagata knows to be true, correct, beneficial, endearing and agreeable to others, he knows the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has compassion for living beings.”

    An extract from Majjhima Nikaya 58
    (Version edited by Steve Weissman, Wat Kow Tahm meditation teacher)

    So we correlate with Socrates here about need to be TRUE, and GOOD and USEFUL ( beneficial) , but the Buddha adds another factor – whether the listener is likely to want to hear it!

    So, even when all the good stuff is there – true, beneficial… one has to judge when is the proper time to say them!

    However – & maybe the most seductive for the speaker – even though “true and correct”, speech may be “endearing and agreeable” for their audience but be unbeneficial in the long term!

    And, sometimes our intended speech may lead to beneficial results but “unwelcome and disagreeable” for the intended listener, so we may have to put up with their disgruntledness…

    Not always that easy, eh!?

    eg. Applying this advice to written dialogue: Is the adulterous bit ‘true’ or just gossip? (… is it “beneficial” to read!?!?) 🙂

  394. Thaks for this interesting discussion…

    Richard, while understanding and agreeing int he main part with your comments, I am not sure what you mean by “the only form”:

    “Anapannasati, the form where both [Vipassana – insight and Samatha – concentration] are practised simultaniously. As far as I know, it is the only form that the Buddha advocated.”

    Do you think it’s only form of formal meditative technique to develop insight into the 3 characteristics or four noble truths which the Buddha Expounded?

    The Satipatthana Sutta lists many areas to investigate…

  395. Hi Sara,

    Satthipatthana is another word for Annapannasati! They are interchangeable terms – and you are right, there are many differing types of meditation which incorporate both dimensions of this type of practice… 🙂

    The Buddha was simply the first person (well, not the first, but the first for a very, very long period of time – there have been Buddhas before him, of course, as there will be afterwards) to develop real insight via Vippassana; others at the time were simply practising Samatha (e.g. yogis). Therefore, he expounded ths form as the most superior, and the only form which will help attain Nirvana… I hope that this doesn’t sound like too much rambling – and you probably know all this already. I’ll be quiet now…!

  396. I think what Sayadaw has said is said simply, yet efficiently. I am having a lot of problems right now and trying to deal with the negativity in my mind with mindfulness in my daily activities and also focusing on breath. It has helped, but I still find my mind wandering to negativity. I continue to have determined focus on living simply as Sayadaw says. Thankyou for this post.

  397. It is interesting to read in “opinions 2” that Ajaan Suthep has been given the opportunity in the media to express his neutrality and his peace-making roles. The problem with the Red-Yellow scenario is that it is totally confrontational, and whilst there might be many different opinions concerning the rights and wrongs of either side non-confrontation is surely the peaceful path of the Buddhist. My interpretation of the previous presentation on opinions was that monks had the right to opinions and to express those opinions. It is the second that I bring into question as I do with all people in how they express their opinions; for a monk with leadership ascribed by their followers there is a greater responsibility as to how those opinions are expressed.

    One has to be careful in the choice of demonstration, and how those demonstrations are organised. For example I believe that the Aldermaston demonstrations were safe (although I wasn’t there to testify to that). The Poll tax demonstration around 1990 was not safe and fringe elements were able to hijack it even though there were many families present there. The G# demonstrations clearly allow violent elements to take over. And that has happened with the Reds. Whilst it is not clear to me where the fault lies, I am as certain as I can be as an observer from 300km, that there were dubious elements from the left and security forces involved leading to the violence and deaths.

    Since the discussion in Opinions 1 I have read this Bangkok Post article dated at the time:-

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/172089/monks-to-join-red-shirt-rally

    It is clear that some monks were peace-makers then, were they all? I interpreted at the time that some monks were partisan – pro-Red.

    In view of the entrenched egos expressed on all sides (including the politicians) – with for example the Yellows now demanding the Reds off the streets, I would hope that all leaders start demanding peace and reconciliation, and hopefully monks can themselves engage in such a call.

  398. I wanted to point out that ‘monks have opinions too’ and that they are therefore going to express them. Not so sure on whether they ‘should’ or ‘are right to’ so much as ‘they are going to anyway’.
    I had not read the Bkk post article at the time, and had no idea about their rally. I wonder if it did any good?
    This new Yellow shirt stuff – this is really dangerous. There is no good intention behind it at all, and if they go ahead and gather in public I worry it will be the start of a rapid downward spiral.

  399. Having lived literally within the old Red Shirt camp at Phan Fa I met these people every day for weeks and never, for a single moment – even when crossing over the Red Shirt baricade on that Saturday night when they clashed with the army – felt anything but safe.

    On Wednesday night I was on the number 15 bus on my way home from Silom to Phan Fa and as it rounded the corner between Silom and Lumpini park I saw a crowd of people standing on the Silom side of the junction cheering every time an army vehicle went by and then shouting slogans towards the Red Shirts on the other side of the road.

    I don’t know what the slogans were, but they were accompanied with waved fists and even middle fingers being flashed – something I’ve never seen from Thais before in all my life. It was one of the nastiest and saddest things I’ve ever seen here.

    On the other side of the road the Red Shirts were watching on from behind their barricade of tyres and sticks. I am certain that the vast majority of them want simply to protest the unfairness and lack of democracy suffered by the poor people of Thailand and do not want a fight with the state and with nasty gangs of people who have come out to insult and threaten them.

    Of course as we all know, later that night the opposition group of people were filmed throwing rocks towards the Red Shirts while the police looked on and did nothing. Goodness only knows what might happen tonight after the granade attacks of yesterday (blamed instantly, within minutes, on the Red Shirts).

    Phra Cittasamvaro Bhikku is absolutely right about the danger the yellow shirt/multi-shirt opposition poses. Unlike the Red Shirts I’ve safely been among for the past few weeks, the opposition to them is – from my own direct observation – virulent and full of a nasty spitting hatred.

    Thankfully, the ordinary people of Bangkok are continuing to do what they have done all along – living around the disruption and remaining calm and peaceful. But these latest groups on the street are clearly escalating the problem and it is my hope, and most people’s I imagine, that there can be a peaceful settlement of all this, or at least a way that will first allow both groups to step down a little without losing face.

    Marcus

  400. Downward spiral indeed. Bup and the kids have a flight scheduled to BKK in mid-June. BUT, the way things are going, I’m not so sure I feel comfortable letting them go.

    Thank you for this post, Pandit. I was wondering about the Sangha’s take on all this secular madness, so I found the bookmark to your blog. Of course, it must be difficult to remain impartial and detached when the bombs start going off!

  401. As a teacher I spent years being told that I was not allowed to express my opinions to the students. It is not unusual for lay society to have disciplines placed on them to control their expressions of opinion. They ” have opinions too” but don’t express them.

    I believe Engaged Buddhism is important but don’t necessarily consider that that means active political participation. On this I take my guide from Thich Naht Hanh who I consider was a peace activist. There is a clear need in Thailand for peace activism at the moment as the hotheads appear to be holding sway.

  402. Thanks for this comment, Marcus.

    Are you suggesting that there are not armed Red shirts?

    I have been surprised by the tone of the intercession of the Yellow shirts. From my observation 300 km away the Yellow shirts at Suvarnabhumi were populist – certainly in my Jangwat. Has there been a change in “yellow shirts”?

    I too am sad to hear of your descriptions of “ordinary Thai people”, but Thai people in Bangkok must be unhappy at the continued disruption of daily life especially given that, as far as I understand it, Bangkok predominantly supported the yellow shirts.

    As far as I understand it I agree with you that the underlying cause is the issue of poverty, and the lack of governmental fairness in addressing this poverty. It is also my view at the moment that electoral democracy is unlikely to yield a solution.

    I do hope a movement for peace and reconciliation will grow, and within that movement a strategy for dealing with the poverty.

  403. Hi guys,

    In the article, Phra Suwichano mentions that ‘there are various reasons why monks have aligned themselves, adding that monks are after all individuals and human, and so there might be some people who they don’t like.’ Aligning themselves, fine, but openly protesting (or beeing seen to be)? Aren’t I correct in saying that, theoretically, monks should be above these kinds of judgements and attachment to ideas, especially if the ideas are negative (i.e. not liking someone)?

    Monks do have opinions too, but it is their responsibility to process them and then deal with them wisely. That said, the monks that engaged in these types of acts are the vast, vast minority; the vast, vast majority in Thailand are more skillful.

  404. Yes Richard, as you say – ‘theoretically’.
    Actually it seems to be a habit of all societies to discuss what their ordained ones ‘should’ be like, ‘ought’ to do etc…. There’s little profit in such discussion as it is always coming from an extreme ideal … Actually ordained ones are just the same as others. Perhaps they ‘should’ do this, and ‘shouldn’t do that’, but really, a Buddhist looks to their own hearts with mindfulness.
    I have a high impression of Thai monks personally. And I can’t blame them for getting involved, even if they ‘shouldn’t’.
    I might add that as you say it is the minority that are seen activly supporting one side or other, but the majority hold strong views that are not kept quiet.

    I’d also echo Marcus – the Reds have been very nice people. Not threatening, and with a justified grievance they want to campaign about. But this new ‘no colours’ (which are likely yellow shirts) are outright nasty in their approach. I don’t feel comfortable anywhere near them. They are spitting hatred, and that is not the right way.

  405. Ven. Cittasamvaro,

    ‘Actually it seems to be a habit of all societies to discuss what their ordained ones ‘should’ be like, ‘ought’ to do etc…. There’s little profit in such discussion as it is always coming from an extreme ideal … Actually ordained ones are just the same as others.’

    Yes, agreed. To an extent…! 🙂

    It is often easy to think of ‘monks’ as being one all-seeing, all-thinking collective of buddhas, which, of course they are not. All monks are part way along a journey – and some have progressed further along that path than others… Afterall, not all monks are ‘arahant’, far from it. So, I suppose that it is unreasonable to expect all monks to faultlessly represent the ideal you mention – although there are some that most definitely do.

  406. Fair points, David. Although I guess that in reality (unfortunately, although perfectly understandably) some monks are better at sticking to the vows than others! Monks, especially in Thailand, come from very diverse backgrounds. Some actively study the Dharma and scriptures, and some don’t! Strange but true…

  407. Venerable,

    I’d respectfully counter that your argument is faulty.

    If the ordained are truly just as others, then there is no monkhood, the differentiation between lay people and the ordained having fallen away. However, the difference does exist – in the vows of ordination, in the expectation to learn, practice and develop in the Dhamma, to live in the Dhamma so others might be encouraged to do the same. Speech and actions which alienate are not consistent with said vows and should rightfully be questioned by both ordained and lay people.

    Of course, monks have opinions. But, I would argue that in consideration of the vows monks take to live and practice Dhamma, it is inconsistent to act on personal opinions, understanding that opinions are not Truth, are not Dhamma. To your point about “a Buddhist looks to their own hearts with mindfulness,” I would say that a monk, who takes a side in an argument is being mindful of his own ego rather than of the Dhamma. However, if the same monk, being mindful of his desire to “participate” and unable to overcome this desire, chooses to leave the monkhood and pursue his desires, then he is showing respect for both the Dhamma and the Sangkha, doing what is best for all parties rather than just for himself.

    So yes, we all have our opinions, we discuss our opinions, we act on our opinions. But we might try to remain mindful that opinions are the opposite of Dhamma; there is no profit in anything that is not Dhamma. And this is especially true for monks and the Sangkha in general.

    Respectfully,
    David

  408. Well, being on the inside so to speak, I have fewer projections on the monks. Before I ordained i had lots of notions about what monks ‘should’ be like. After a while I found I was neither the best nor the worst of the monks in any temple I visited.
    It takes all sorts. And Thai temples will accept a wide range of ordainees. If you can behave tolerably well you can stay.
    At first I did not like this – criticised other monks dreadfully. Now I appreciate the opportunity given to so many. Otherwise we’d just have an ‘elite’ monkhood (that I probably would not be able to get into).
    Perhaps the monks ‘should’ not be involved in demonstrations or putting forth their views. But while not the ‘same’ as ordinary folk, they are not that different either. They actually have views, and will find ways to express them regardless of ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ . I think the Thai Sangha is very restrained in this matter. Just talk to Ven Kusalo – our Sri Lankan friend about this.

  409. in respect and devotion,

    I would like to say it is absolutely within the “rights” of the monks to choose a side, but I would say if the monks have taken vows that they plan to commit to long-term, it is quite contradictory and their role as mediators would be lost. I know in Thailand that many monks do not ever intend this long-term life choice, so it is it’s own unique and tangled situation.

    My concern with red-shirt protests…Thaksin. I will openly equate him with George Bush (Sr. and Jr.), Chairman Mao, Stalin, Hitler…you can see where I am going with this. Using vast wealth to buy popularity while ordering the police to kill thousands of drug-traffickers and becoming a billionaire while Thailand’s PM, paying ALL of the red-shirt protestors to protest. Can this be called supporting democracy? I have studied political theory, Buddhism, and Culutural Anthropology at the University level and find the support of Thaksin to be a very dangerous development.

    I fully agree that some red-shirt protesters have justification and the need to express a request for “democracy”, but coming from the U.S., it is also very clear to me that in current life “democracy” is just a marketing tool of capitalism and an excuse to cloak the misuse of power via greed and economic gain/control.

    The King is Thailand’s figurehead because he is the role of the Buddhist King- the role of power holds great responsibility to all of the people. It is of great use to ensure that this is happening and I do support those who seek this, but those who try to point to the King’s wealth as a criticism are sadly mistaken. His wealth is not his own- Thai Kings have hundreds of years worth of illustrious “tribute” gifts and this wealth is not at all a liquid asset like those of Thaksin.

    The corruption that is espoused within the ranks of Thaksin is so much of what is wrong with current politics and economics. How could he possibly be seen as “grassroots”. It is sad.

    I also completely disagree about the feeling around red-shirt protests. I have been practicing meditation and Reiki for over 10 years and have been extremely upset by the unfocused anger around red-shirt protests…I have also participated in several marches on Washington D.C. along 300,000-500, ooo other people. The mood at those protests was so different, but I acknowledge I was different and younger at the time.

    I know this email is long and covering many areas, but I am very grateful to have a forum like this. I respectfully hope those who read it do so, and let the words fade away, like so many drops of rain. I have done the same as I read.

    I also do not come to any solid “conclusion” because the river of life keeps flowing and I hope for the enlightenment of all. Know your heart and know the world!

    with love, Mark

  410. I think the reds shirts have not ‘been nice’ at all.

    They forced the partial closing of Chulalongkorn Hospital
    by using terror against patients and medical staff.
    This lead to forced transferring of very ill people.
    They have held hostage the city for seven weeks, disrupting the lives
    of millions. People have no access to hiv medicine because
    anonymous clinic had to close its doors too, this is located between Rajprasong and
    Silom intersections.
    The red shirts leadership are using the basis which may have fair claims of its own
    as canon fodder, I think its naive to think the red shirt movement
    will change anything for the rural and urban poor.

    Monks who show with these groups are tacitly condoning this and the dyo not have my
    respect.

  411. Hi Nika,

    Thank you for the comment! Unfortunatly the Korean Zen (Seon) Centre doesn’t offer English-language weekly meditation sessions at the moment.

    What we have in English is a monthly meeting for meditation, teaching from one of the sunims at the temple, and some discussion. And of course you are more than welcome to join us in that!

    However, this month is rather different! The English-language group is very busy preparing to take part in the Buddha’s Birthday celebrations on May the 28th. We are rehearsing a Korean Dharma song to sing in the evening.

    You are very welcome to attend the Buddha’s Birthday ceremony on the 28th of May at 10am (in Korean) and the evening celebrations at 6pm (also in Korean) – but even better would be if you’d like to join us in our singing!

    Leave another comment here if you’d like to sing with us and we’ll get in contact with you right away with the schedule of rehearsals.

    After May we will resume our normal monthly meetings with the next being on June the 26th.

    Hopefully see you soon!

    Marcus

    _/_

  412. Can you please send more information about weekly meditations at the temple.

    thank you.

    nika

  413. This reminds me of the talks you gave for LittleBang a couple of years ago Pandit….Love it! When are you going to give another series of Dhamma talks again, Ajahn?

    • This year’s talks are in the pipline. 8 talks about Mindfulness. And should be at the Tawana. I will be starting the artwork soon, and right after that work on the PR – takes a lot of planning… But afterwards I would like to do more in the following year, with or without a centre of our own.

      • Just read the essay by Boeree and will look for The Eye of the I by Dr. David R. Hawkins. This is good stuff, thanks Pandit!

      • I have to thank Boeree for donig most of my psy. degree for me 😀

        His summaries of the personality theories are excellent.

  414. I will come. Thank you for all this events you organize for us.

    • It is looking like Chit Lom will be open by then so we are still intending to go ahead with this event. At any rate, you we can enter/exit the building by the skytrain passage for those using Chit Lom BTS.

  415. Unconsciousness, as in not “self-conscious”? It would seem that feelings i.e., sensations, are not emotions until combined with thought, so neediness(craving) is the distress felt by ‘personalized’ desire. Without that looping of feelings to thoughts to more feelings, sensations are purely instinctual.
    If it can be interpreted to mean that pleasure and delight can be felt as we move towards selfless awareness then yes, that would be akin to ‘mindfulness’.

  416. You can count on me being there. Karma has always been one of my favorite things to study and learn about.. I have always thought to myself, if I could understand completely about karma, I could understand about this life and beyond.. and even maybe, hopefully pass it on to others.

    • I couldn’t promise that Karma is the topic of his talk, but I presume it is. The WFB did not giv eme topic details. I will mail Phra bhasakorn asn ask him.

      • No, he did not answer the email I sent him. So it is pot luck I guess. He is quite a good speaker anyway, though he finds it hard to come to conclusions…. since his Thai workshops go on for days, he is not so good at sumamrising. But it should be good.

  417. Nice digs! Can you please let me know when the next retreat will be taking place? Bup and I would love to join you.

  418. It’s a long way to come for a weekend Tristan … but I intend to do one of these retreats every two months at least. Venues will alternate between luxury, semi-luxury and basic but intensive.

  419. This is infinitely comforting to me, considering that my family will be in Bangkok in but four weeks time.

    This definition of Power vs. Force was very refreshing, even empowering for me. I shall ponder it for a long time to come.

    As for Thailand’s political machinations, I hope that the powerful base of dhamma lifts all involved above the petty, mean level that so often seems to dominate the news. (Here in the US, we need a LOT more dhamma!)

  420. Pingback:red, yellow, and white « Wake Up and Laugh!

  421. Thank you so so much for putting this up Pandit. As you know I’ve been collating interesting and unusual articles, blog posts, opinion pieces etc. on Thai Politics and emailing them to a growing list of interested people since the 2006 coup. The current crisis has generated a tsunami’s worth of material and lately I’m definitely feeling sucked into the vortext.

    You’ve calmly and sensibly put everything back into perspective helped me realize the insidious destructiveness of focusing too much on all the fear and terror mongering. I’m one of the lucky foreigners whose main inconvenience is getting from A to B because of the MRT and BTS stoppages. (However many farangs do live within the ever-expanding area affected by the protest and are definitely impacted on a more fundamental level than I.)

    In any case, I’ve allowed myself to become swept up by the Force of this drama to the detriment of all the hard won progress I’d been making in my spiritual practice. You remind me to focus on true Power which transcends that ever-changing misnomer termed “reality.”

    I truly have NO idea how to get to the meditation tomorrow night, but after reading your comments I feel more motivated to try.

    I’ll be sending out YOUR post to my list. If some of the truly crisis-addicted subscribers actually read it, perhaps they’ll be encouraged stop for a moment and reflect.

    Take care

      • I only have a photocopy of the book, that is not cut and bound like a book, but you have to flip the book around all the time to read the pages. In short, it’s not very useable. I might buy a new copy though. The second book, the Eye of the I, – I have that one, nearly finished.

  422. One movement no one has mentioned in this thread is the Nonviolence Network. Members are, as far as I can tell, primarily Buddhists. They believe that the violence on either side (promoting duality) cannot solve the problems that underlie these conflicts. The Network includes well-known Engaged Buddhists such as Ven Phaisan Visalo and Sulak Sivaraksa.

    It’s important to note that not all engaged Buddhists, monks or otherwise, engage in partisan politics. The Nonviolence Network is actively trying to mediate, and calls on all sides to step back and begin real dialogue. This is Engaged Buddhism in the mode of monks like Thich Nhat Hanh.

    • Non-violence, which in the modern era began with Tolstoy, represents Power, where politics is driven by Force – the Power vs Force idea, popularized by David Hawkins, is talked about in a later post : http://littlebang.org/2010/05/14/red-yellow-and-white-shirts/

      While those with specific aims rely on force to change things around, non-violence lifts everything with it. It is just hard to see immediate results when strength and force seem to be so much more effective.

      It is something akin to a tree that takes 200 years to grow, but a few minutes to be blown/chopped down. And yet the power of growth is much stronger.

  423. Is there a link in English for the activities of the Non-Violence Network?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

    • No – there is nowhere handy to park – there are a couple of private spaces in the posh little malls… but it is not handy for parking so far as I have seen.

  424. To me, this was the single most important, most actionable and useful learning from Theravada tradition, that the real point of this practice is not some distant, abstract state of being. But rather that we have the capacity to bring mindfulness and lovingkindness to our everyday activities.

    I find it very hard to set aside time in my busy layman’s life to sit and meditate. But I can, at any time, bring mindfulness to whatever I happen to be doing. Just slowing down, paying attention to my breath… I’m not yet developed to the point where I’m “automatically” mindful. I still must make effort. But hey, it’s right effort!

  425. Lots of teachers talk about the ‘effortless’ concentration/mindfulness. Ajahn Pramote, who is high a being as they come, told me ‘No no, you should never ‘try’.
    Yet in the suttas, the Buddha talks about effort as a man whose hair or turban was on fire – they whould put forth ardent effort to extinguish it.
    My current favourite teacher, David Hawkins, talks about seeing most people in the street lost in the world of what they want. He says it is very rare someone walks down the street with an eye to liberation.
    And this is one problem; most of us would rather just a little less suffering, and a little more happiness, than enlightenment itself.

  426. Thank you for organizing a great retreat.

    May I ask next time that the A/C be turned down a bit so it won’t get so cold for me as to lose concentration. At one point after walking meditation session it started to get so cold I had to retreat to my room as I couldn’t afford to take sick leave from work any more. Granted the hottest season was barely over, but we were after all at beach resort and I saw some people wearing jacket in the room and one person who couldn’t stop sneezing while having lunch. I also had problem hearing not only because the teacher was soft-spoken but because of the A/C running at full blast and poor room acoustic in such a plain, shelf-less room. Same with Ariyasom Monday meditation session. I choose to sit in the back of the room so I won’t get the full blow of the A/C but because it seems to be always running at full blast I have problem hearing you. Otherwise the room was spacious, cozy and clean and food was great. Not to mention very quiet, serene setting.

    • Well, Jennifer took control of the AC … There are usually hot and cold spots – where I was sitting was very hot. Sometimes it’s a case of moving around to find the right place. Personally I don’t like strong air-con, but everyone is different. In the morning I suggested we turn it off and open the windows, but was out-voted as most people wanted the air-con. Next time I will set it to 28 degrees, medium fan and swing motion. for the walking there was a whole room next to the bigger condo room that was unused for walking – I mentioned it a couple of times, but noone went in there. There are enough rooms in the condo next time that we can have hifgh air, low air and outside for people to choose from.

      • In the evening talk on the 2nd day I went all the way back to the room outside the door but then I could hardly hear Ajahn Pannyavaro. I guess I didn’t even have to be in the room during self-practice session but I seem to have missed a lot of talk/teaching from 2nd day noon onward. I would imagine everybody would complain at 28C so I suppose you can set it a bit cooler but how about turning the fan at low during the talk/teaching so people who found warm spot wouldn’t have hard time hearing.

  427. Do you still have copies of Ajahn Pannyavaro’s “The Vipassana Retreat” with CD-ROM? I know it’s available from Buddhanet.net but is it available in Thailand too?

  428. I’m coming from Khok Samrong, Lopburi, I only have the afternoon. I am coming to hear his talk on Karma, if I don’t get that, I will be a little disappointed.. but that’s life isn’t it. I would like to pick his Karma book up while in Bangkok, any suggestions? I mean, exact suggestions, going around to all the Asia bookstores in search, is out of the question. thanks.. see you this Sunday.
    Phra Bill

  429. “But the Westerners sat debating for a long time over whether using locks was ‘attachement’ or not, and if it was appropriate for a monastery to use a safe.”

    You’ve got to be kidding right? A group of western monks in a Thai temple really had this discussion? How long had they lived in Thailand? What do you think it was that made them leave their brains aside when they put on robes?

    I mean, really, this would be an interesting discussion about how some people might enter a new religion (and not just as laypeople, but as monks – in a position of authority and respect) with totally ridiculous expectations and ideas.

    I wonder how they became monks if they knew so little about Thai society and if they were so blinded by the fantasies in their heads that they could have such a discussion. Was this a kind of group dynamic in which each was trying to be more ‘spiritual’ than the next do you suppose? Was there no senior person to guide and train them?

    The strangest thing is that I’ve never actually met anyone like this. In the last year I’ve been to four ordination ceremonies in Thailand of westerners putting on Thai robes, and not one of those people would for a minute have a qualm about locking a door or would have wasted much time discusing it – especially if thefts were already happening!

  430. Thank you so much, ven.
    I am waiting for this dhamma tape for a long time since the talk has held in Bkk.
    If it is possible, please send me the dhamma trip schedule of Sayadaw for 2010. Some of his disciples want to know about it.

    with respectfully,
    Vimuttisukha

  431. Great article… yes, some people forget it takes money to run even a temple. I have been to only one temple in Thailand that didn’t offer something for the people to buy. And it wasn’t really a temple, it was more of a hermitage.. Ajahn Sumano’s place in Pak Chong.

  432. When I was in medical school, somebody gave me the following paragraph before I went for viva in medical school exams and he said it will make me more confident and ensure the success in the exam.

    Phutthassa lokadhammehi
    Cittam yassa na kampati
    Asokam virajam khemam,
    Etam mangalamuttamam

    To tell the truth I recite this paragraph many times without knowing the meaning and I achieved many success in my life. So I asked a good friend of mine who have some knowledge in Pali and he gave me the direct translation of this paragraph. I remember I even had goose bumps after hearing the meaning. After hearing Sayadaw’s talk, my understanding of this Buddha teaching becomes fuller and at the same time I can feel the need to cultivate myself of spiritual qualities that is required to face the rises and falls of life.

  433. I had a really great time Sunday.. I so much enjoyed listening to Ajahn Bhasakorn. He invited me to stay at his temple in Chaing Mai for the Pansa season. I am really thinking of taking him up on it, I could learn so much from him…

  434. Pingback:The Bangkok Seon Club « Wake Up and Laugh!

  435. I recycled the announcement from the last Meet and Eat – saves writing a new one each time! That’s why old comments are here.
    But when I do this the people subscribed via WORDPRESS don’t get the announcement (and complain) so I guess I’d better write a new post each time from now on.

  436. Yeah! I’ll be back by then. I’m looking forward to it already. (And BTW, how come all these outdated comments are still showing up for this event?)

  437. How can I become to be your membership? I look forward to hearing from you!!! Thank you.
    Ai

  438. I remember when my wife (a Thai) and I met Phra Pandit 8 years ago, while he was studying at the Buddhist University in Bankunnon. He invited us to see his dorm room at the wat and lo and behold! there was a PC connected to internet. Not only that, he had tricked the box out with several fans to cool it in the non-aircon room. My wife was at first surprised or a little shocked that a monk would be allowed to surf the net. But it soon made a lot of sense.

    Ever since, we have referred to Pandit as the ‘cyber-monk’. I think he represents that new class of tech-savvy, East-meets-West Sangha who will be critically important to translating the dharma into a 21st Century form.

    • “cyber-monk” otherwise known as a ‘Panthip-Phra’ …

      Although, I am still on that tricked out computer case. New ones are much more quiet.

      Without the internet we would have no group – and the group is a great thing. We just held two weekend retreats in the last couple of months, both full up.

      I think I will see you next month too, Tristan.

      • Late comment, as I just stumbled upon this blog now.
        Completely agree with Ven Pannyavaro, and I greatly admire monastics who can keep up with technology. Without Buddhism presence in the Internet, there will be much less people who get the chance to learn Dhamma, and Sangha members who traditionally are the role models for everyone else will certainly find themselves even more in spotlight than before. People would expect some representatives of Sangha members who are savvy enough, and not only able to teach through the new medium, but even more importantly, can help everyone choose and pick the true teachings out of all those noise in the Internet.

        Isn’t that they say it’s all in the intention? Nothing wrong with a monastic using Internet with noble intention. People have to learn to trust.

        I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t come across some sweet Buddhism sources on the Internet, and I believe there are millions like me.

        As a beginner, I stick to those in the Internet who have titles like Ajahn, Bhikkhu, Ayya, Venerable, Bhante, etc, just to be safe, until I know a little bit more 🙂

  439. It was a great ‘getaway’, thanks again Phra Pandit & thkxxx to everyone for being such wonderful company : ]

  440. The first thought that came to mind was, “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law.”

  441. That’s an interesting quote Tristan – from Aleister Crowly, who invented modern occultism and Satanic worship.
    Together with the Kalama Sutta the line is taken by many to justify whatever is convenient. The Buddhism of drug-users.

    Kalama Sutta:

    Believe nothing on the faith of traditions,
    even though they have been held in honor
    for many generations and in diverse places.
    Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it.
    Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past.
    Do not believe what you yourself have imagined,
    persuading yourself that a God inspires you.
    Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests.
    After examination, believe what you yourself have tested
    and found to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.

    “Enlightenment is an inside job” hehe. Classic.

  442. Whether island or lamp is preferred, the essential meaning is the same: The truth can only be found within each heart & mind and not in something(or someone) ‘else’.

  443. I don’t mean to sound hedonistic but enlightenment really is an inside job…and the Dhamma helps us to surrender what is falsely considered to be who we think and believe we are, to that which is far greater than our own personal self-constructs.

  444. In pop-Buddhism the Kalama Sutta usually gets reduced to:

    Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

    … as you can hear in the “Wisdom of the Buddha” YouTube clip narrated by horror-movie actress Sarah Swofford: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTsb-woP3jI

  445. I guess the important question would be: Is she happy? Although she bought the winning tickets on occasional visits to her father, she lives in Las Vegas and could well be a slot-machine zombie. I don’t think I’ve been in a slot-machine hall but Japan’s pachinko parlours are surely a modern-day hell-realm.

    If you plot everyone’s random luck on a chart it will probably look like a standard distribution curve (a.k.a. bell curve) in which a few people are at one end having no luck at all and a few others are at the other end having recurring good luck. Some would say that those on the wrong end of the curve are working off a truckload of bad karma.

    Ajahn Chah always used to criticize reliance on good luck and magical charms, preferring people to invest in something which would truly serve them. But it happened that he died on January 16th and his funeral was on the 16th. The memorial stupa had 16 pillars, was 32 metres high and had foundations 16 metres deep. Consequently a huge number of people in Ubon province bought lottery tickets with ones and sixes mixed together – and won. The next day the newspaper headline read “LUANG POR’S LAST GIFT TO HIS DISCIPLES” and a couple of local bookies went bankrupt.

    • hehe. I had not heard that story before…. As well as the bell curve, which sounds perfectly reasonable to me, we might note that the slot machine zombie (etc.. for scratch cards) must number in the millions of people, who would also have a bell curve graph – some of whom would win. But being ‘in’ the game would give them more chance.

      I bet she whittles away that money gambling more over the years.

      A bit like the joke of the guy who asks God to help him by making him win the lottery. God replies in a booming voice from the clouds “ok, I will”

      Months later the guy has not won, and complains. The voice from the coulds appears again “meet me half way, and buy a ticket”.

  446. You’re welcome! I always really enjoyed anything M. Sagan wrote or presented. He was a great inspiration to me as a kid. I remember watching Cosmos and just being blown away!

    g

  447. The odds that Joan Ginther would hit four Texas Lottery jackpots for a combined nearly $21 million are astronomical. Mathematicians say the chances are as slim as 1 in 18 septillion – that’s 18 and 24 zeros.

  448. Who is it that controls the mind? When I was able to see that controlling (pushing/forcing/trying) was just another painful process, preceded and succeeded immediately by another painful process (holding/clinging/thinking..whatever), there was continuity to the mindfulness, and the insights started. The determination to keep watching is there and unnoticed for a while, until it is noticed as one of the things that arises and falls, and then mindfulness happens by itself – no one is doing it anymore. Initially, lack of satisfaction (dukkha) did the controlling; so the same program that was the problem was trying to fix the program – impossible. And all the while, the temple of emptiness is here, unnoticed, not jaded by dukkha, and unaffected by a person fighting to achieve it. We can’t fix ourselves to enlightenment, only to better births and better fortune.
    Thanks to the author for the inspiration to write my first comment. May the above article and this comment help in your practice and not cause more confusion. I never achieve much by thinking about my practice; thinking is never-ending, always making more puzzles. We can do a disservice by stimulating more thought. I’ll stop writing now if you stop reading, and we’ll both go practice immediately! 🙂

  449. I agree absolutely regarding the conundrum of using the mind to let go of the mind. The trick of letting go of the mind, at least as I’m learning it through a very intense Qigong practice, is to use the mind as a tool, not a weapon. In Qigong I use my mind to see/understand a highly nuanced arm movement or a broad notion like “relax.” Then, trusting in the mind ‘s ability to grasp concepts, I try to relinquish control of my mind and allow the body, breath and energy to do their stuff.

    The more I “think” about what I’m trying to do, the less I can do it. However once I have an idea where I’m heading with a movement and can relax into it, awareness, mindfulness and even power arise.

    As in meditation, performing a Qigong movement or entire form acceptably on one occasion means nothing. Conditions, awareness and mindfulness are constant only in their inconstancy. At the next session I’m often back to square one. Yet each time my understanding grows and, in infinitesimal increments, I release the mind that controls out of fear and habit instead of from understanding and peacefulness.

  450. I also have distanced from my parents. Although I can’t say there was ever a time when there was any closeness.
    I sincerely hope that the mindfulness training will shape us as we get older, but I am a fan of scientific investigation – and would need some good long term surveys to really be sure.
    From seeing people who practise, and how they age, I would say anecdotally that you age better as a meditator. And certainly you are more able to handle the crisis of illness/dying.
    The important thing with family is to fogive. That does not mean you have to become friends with them, or suffer abuse of any kind. But in your own mind, we have to have ‘let go’ and ‘let be’.

  451. I remember after watching this film you said whatever the personal trait people have tends to get amplified or aggravated when they reach old age, quoting a caretaker you met at some nursing home in Bang Khae. Does meditation from younger age help attain self awareness that prepares one for old age in this regard? I’m asking this because me and my wife came to agree this is exactly what we’re observing in my mother who turned 70, (my parents live just 15 min from our home in Bangkok), although somewhat subsiding for my father. Unlike most Thais I found that I have distanced myself more and more from my parents as I grow older and I’ve only recently learned from my wife that she complained bitterly about me not coming to visit her. Yet the older she gets the more difficult a person she seems to becomes. I recently gave up on the idea of taking her to accompany us on our next trip to Europe that me and my wife once planned to do before she gets too frail to travel faraway destination.

  452. Jun, any effort you make now will make you feel so much better after they have died.

  453. Thank you for the comments.
    My mother stopped dying her hair since last year. Even before that I could tell she got older every time I met her. It’s hard to see my own parents in accelerated aging when they turn 70 and 80. What’s even harder is knowing they’ll soon leave this world maintaining their ignorance. I’ve never bothered to invite my mother to Ariyason for Monday sessions even though they live so close to soi 1.

  454. We will be at Ariyasom as usual on Monday evening.
    As for the special program this year, we have been dealt a blow, and the place that we were going to use is not available. I am working on alternatives.

  455. Just saw “Inception” and reading this was like taking a nice antidote…thanks!

  456. “The foolish reject what they see, not what they think; the wise reject what they think, not what they see.”

    “Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained.”

    “The One Mind alone is the Buddha and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood.”

    – Zen Master Huang Po

  457. Inception I just saw at the almost absurdly posh Paragon Nokia theater. Really fantastic film, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to convey about the mind’s ability to construct its own reality(s) via the pop film format. I’ve seen plenty of films that make one wonder, “was it all a dream?”; but this one goes even further. (I don’t wish to spoil the plot for anyone, so I shan’t say more about that.)

    Inception’s central thesis is that, at our cores, we are irrational, emotion-driven creatures that produce elaborate illusions to either hide or justify these feelings. One really effective plot device the filmmaker employs to effect the feeling of peril is the idea that what happens within each level of dream reality actually matters a great deal in waking reality. The stakes, therefore, are quite high. Bad choices (or bad luck) can leave you in a subjective state of limbo practically forever; but on the other hand, by directly confronting one’s deepest fears–and prevailing–a profoundly therapeutic healing can take place.

  458. Pingback:notes on karma « Wake Up and Laugh!

  459. Due to a clash of schedules at YBAT it looks like this workshop will have to move to Sunday 29th. I will get the details and work it out on Wednesday.

  460. I like the black and white photo too. Looking pretty cool.

    I can only book when it gets closer to the retreat to make sure that my schedule allows me. Sounds very interesting though.

  461. Monks soon sort out who has been ordained longer than who…. but its no big deal between them.
    “Bhante” is fine to use alone without a name. Just that if there are a bunch of monks they won’t know which one you are addressing.

  462. Bhante, if monk comes into a room with a lot of other monks (or nuns) that he doesn’t know, how do they know who to bow to and not? Everyone is wearing the same robes.

    It’s interesting how actually should we use “Bhante”, because in my home country (Indonesia), many people put names behind it, like Bhante Uttamo, Bhante Pannavaro, etc, probably because it sounds endearing. I just call you Bhante, because of habit… just not used to use other honorifics.

    I have to learn though, actually I NEVER once talked to a real-life bhikkhu, mostly I just watch from afar 😮 , only one time a monk talked to me, but just to tell me where to put the plate I was carrying during dana.

  463. I have a lot of questions in my mind, and I have started to find answers to them, one by one. Not all questions answered yet, and the more I learn, the more questions will arise. But I believe that if I keep open-minded and follow the flow, then everything will fall into their places. Thanks for the post.

  464. This raises(if not begs ; ]) the question whether the teachings of the Buddha were at the very onset, divided into esoteric for his disciples and exoteric for the general public, who would have found it too difficult(and still do) to let go of traditional beliefs & superstitions, including supernatural entities, reincarnation, deities, magical powers, etc. Isn’t it possible that stripped of all religious trappings The Sangha would have never found the public support it needed to survive?

    • I read somewhere recently that the Buddha assumed there would be basically three kinds of followers; 1) those that were uneducated and superstitious about many things such as amulets and rites and rituals, 2) those that were more educated and would chose only some things to be superstitious about, and 3) those that were highly educated and would leave all superstitions behind. The wonderful thing about Buddhism is that belief in ghosts, divinities, lucky charms or lepricons and reincarnation is not relevant to the extinguishing of suffering. Maybe they all exist but it doesn’t matter. What matters is letting go of attachment to them and all forms.

  465. Wonderful post! Thank you!

    And yes, practices like those in the video definitely make me feel queasy, but this is a very valuable post for showing how some people’s condemnation and dream of a stripped-down Buddhism is a condemnation of the very things taught by the Buddha Himself.

    Thank you Phra Pandit,

    Marcus _/_

  466. Is there a need for reservation of space here ,,if so Please save a seat or a spot for me Thank you.

    Connie

  467. The clip discusses kuman tong, I found this as more information:-

    http://www.newageinfo.com/kuman-tong1.htm

    Am not sure why the monk is involved, and from my own point of view why he should be involved.

    This opens up institutional questions such as “how much does one align oneself to such practices by putting on the orange robe?”

    When I say I am a Buddhist to Thai people they ask about merit, going to the temple etc. Then maybe I am not a Buddhist. And then I mention 4 Noble Truths, detachment etc, and often get blank looks. Agreement about compassion though!!

    But this needs being put into context as I am not Thai-bashing. As a youth I went to a catholic church where many people arrived early so they could sit at the back and be seen, where many Christians diligently went to church, put money in the plate, and then did everything they could to take it out of others’ plates during the working week!!

    As westerners learning about Buddhism here in Thailand we have the advantage of not being weighed down by the burden of some ritualistic practices.

    Whilst there is much I don’t know about what the Buddha said and did, I doubt whether he would support cutting open a woman to remove the dead baby to use as a fetish. And to Marcus I ask about some of the traditions the Buddha did practice. As a prince 2500 years ago he might have practiced certain everyday contemporaneous customs, would it then be expected of people of this day and age to practice the same customs? Surely the issue is what is being stripped-down?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    Bill Z

  468. This sounds very interesting but its too bad as i just left Bkk yesterday and i stayed at Sukhumvit 2 which is very close to the place! well, i hope you would consider have this show another time! Ireni

  469. I am interested but can I and my wife go on our own? Our work is half way there from Bangkok so we’re thinking of spending a night in Pak Chong on Sep. 4th rather than coming back to Bangkok on Saturday only to drive long distance back the same direction next morning. I can share ride with others on our way back to Bangkok.

    Is it true Ajahn Jayasaro lives in a cave in that area? And for how long?

    • Sure, you can go by yourself. I am not sure of the way though, and will have to find someone who can tell you or draw a map. Ajahn Jayasaro lives in a nice Kuti (hut) in a very nice parkland private plot of land. He has several acres to himself. Ajahn Sumano lived in a cave up in that area, but I gather he has developed it extensively, now that he is in his late 60s. Phra Frank knows more about him than I do.

  470. Persoanlly I see the Buddha as a product of his times as much as anyone. The colour of the robes .. that is a former tradtion. The rules of vinaya for the monks, were all tradtition.
    Also many superstitions were based on something real in the first place. Maybe chanting really does keep the hostile deva’s happy? Can we assume that it was a) just a placebo the Buddha gave foolish monks? b) something that he actually believed? c) something that actually works/happens.
    I’d agree with Gzen that superstitions are not really ‘wrong’ or to be denounced, but are just something that happens in the world, while the wise get on with the job of liberation.

  471. I have been living in Bangkok for about two years and have settled well
    but would like to learn more about meditation and dhamma.

    • I think I saw you there last night? I did not get chance to go over and say hello, but I saw that Denise greeted you, so hopefully you felt at home.

      You’re always welcome to come to events. Everything I know about goes on to the blog, both events taht I organise, of other speakers I invite, and events of other organisations. See you soon.

      Pandit Bhikkhu

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  474. I don’t have any problem with No. 2 and No. 3, but daydreaming has been a lifelong habit that’s hard to kick. 🙁

  475. Hello,

    Is there a way to contact Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro directly? I am based in the US and am unable to attend his functions.

    Thank You.
    With Metta
    — Sannaka

  476. any pictures from the day?

    i’m going back to NZ today and i’ll catch up with you once i’m back in a few weeks, in time for the series of dhamma talks.

  477. But does it speak its lies in pleasing tones? :0) Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in The Science of Being and Art of Living comments on Speaking Rightly and Speaking Harmoniously when he writes, …..

    …the art of speaking necessarily has its basis in the plane of Being.However, the basic considerations of the relative nature of the art of speaking involve the projected art of thinking; so all that is valid for the art of thinking is valid for the art of speech. Right speech has its basis in right thinking…… Speech is the expression of both the heart and mind together. Therefore for the speech to be right, it is necessary that the man be right in his heart and mind. ……. For speech to be harmonious, appropriate and suitable, thinking has to be clear, sharp, and, at the least, harmless – and, at the best, life-supporting to the whole environment. ….. Even if “no” is to be said at any point, the art of speech demands that it should be expressed in words that will not be apparently abusive or harsh. The art of speech lies in truthful speech; yet, at the same time, the truthful expression should not hurt anyone. …. Many people think truthfully by nature, and they believe that truthfulness lies in speaking out just what they think. It many be truthful speech, but it is also tactless and displeases the listener and results in a disharmony which mars the very purpose of speech. …… Even if you have to give a ruling against something, express it in decent words. This quality of kindness and delicacy of the heart develops when the heart begins to melt at the experience of bliss and great happiness of (meditation). The heart becomes softer and then, by nature, a man cannot be harsh or displeasing to anyone. Speech will naturally flow in all harmony.

    Well, on closer inspection, I guess this applies to only humans, so beware of your computer. Its divest of heart and mind.

  478. It’s a pity that I again shall be away on retreat from 20-24 Sep; hopefully next time. Sadhu

  479. What a shame that the qualities weren’t gender neutralised. Being a woman and trying to fit in somewhere in the Thai forest tradition is becomingly increasingly more tedious.

    • Thanks for mentioning it – this had not occurred to me.

      One note; the Pali uses three genders, Masc. Fem. and Neuter. Nouns tend to fairly random as to which gender they take. This particular teaching comprises the wodk ‘Purisa’ which is masculine, but used in the Pali to cover both genders much like the word ‘mankind’. So there is no particular gender connotation from the Pali, though the correct translation is ‘man’.

  480. Reverend Shri Cittasamvaro,
    I am Amit from India. Just landed in Bangkok this month. Was searching for some spiritual discourse and dhamma refugia since last few days. Incidentally, I found this blog. I would be very happy to join your talk. Would you allow a Hindu to join Buddhist discourse?
    Regards,
    Amit

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  482. Maharishi always has something relevant to say 🙂
    There is a good point there too – being divest of heart and mind, in theory, the computer has no ‘intention’ and therefore no karma. It can lie away, without getting bad Karmic result. Or do they go to Silicon heaven/Hell?
    In Red DwarfBetter than Life , all machines are programmed to belive in Silicon heaven, to make sure that they behave themselves properly and don’t try to take over the world.
    More seriously, how about the programmer? If he/she makes a computer lie to you, to get your credit card number or sell you something fake, does their bad karma increase everytime someone clicks on the bad link? Does the universe only count the intention, and not the real world uptake?
    One of the latest scams is a worm that will harvest all your browsing/downloading habits, and post anything unsavoury up on a website. You pay 20$ to have it removed.
    Now the worrying thing is they could post up things that are not even true

  483. I’m not sure about video. Someone else has to do that. But I can record. It’s just that with everything going on, and worrying about all the little details, I usually forget to turn the recorder on.

  484. I hope there will be some videos from these Dhamma talks which you will share with all fans of your Dhamma talks who are not able to attend.??!!!

  485. Do we have to be wearing white and in pants to attend the talk? Since I’m not that flexible sometimes sitting on the floor, it would be good to prepare beforehand.

      • I would like to thank the Venerable. Cittasamvaro, as well as each of the two accompanying Venerable Sirs, The Pharmaceutical Association, and all of those who came to put together this first of the Dharma Talk Series. On my first-ever attendance of such a talk on the Dharma, I was very pleased by what I heard, and praise how welcoming everyone in attendance was. I am in great anticipation of further talks.

        Sincerely, Loyd

    • I did record the talk on my phone. It is quite clear. If you’d like a copy, please notify me where to email it.

      Alternatively; If you did video tape it, and would like me to combine the two, I could do it too.

      Loyd 🙂

      • Hi Loyd,

        I see that you have recorded the first talk on your phone. Would it be possible for you to sent me the recording? It would be much appreciated.
        jonnyk27@gmail.com
        thank you

        Jonny

      • There seems some interest in the recordings – They will need a bit of work, editing and cleaning up the sound, and then I will post up after the series ends.

  486. Interesting talk. What exactly is the difference between sampajañña and sati? From the example I’ve seen in a Pali dictionary, sampajañña seems to overlap with one of the four sati-upatthāna – contemplation of body – in that it seems to be an awareness of one’s actions as they happen.

  487. Good intro to a thought-provoking(or is it revoking?) subject! This could definitely be illuminatingly lots of fun. Thanks for another fascinating series of talks ajahn.

  488. Thank you for these clear notes. Unfortunately I will not be there at the second talk,
    have a bad throat ache/head cold. Metta.

  489. My husband and I enjoyed the first session and are very sorry to miss the other five. We’ll be away for the monthof October,but hope to join activities when we return.

    • The recordings will be posted eventually, but the WordPress system charges extra for Mp3 files to be hosted. So the plan is to put on a Youtube channel, which is free, but will take time to edit, add text and make into a video.

  490. New word of the day: “catastrophise”

    Describes the behavior of several people close to me.

  491. I’m so glad I found this post. I have a daily meditation practice and am considering going here in March. I’ve been so curious about this center and yours is the first personal experience I’ve read. Sounds wonderful and challenging all in one. I do have a few questions:

    -Are you expected not to read this entire time? Do you have much time to yourself? If so, what are you expected to do, meditate more?
    -How is the yoga there? I have a pretty deep yoga practice and would want to practice on my own most likely.

    Thank you for any info you can provide.

    Namaste,
    Amy

  492. Hello Amy~

    Time outside the meditation sessions or lectures can be spent as follows :
    chores, laundry, hot springs, rest. Mindfully, off course.
    You are asked to deposit your reading materials before the retreat starts.
    Limiting external-sense input will help to develop concentration being the rationale.

    The yoga consists of exercises to support your meditation practice. Many participants have no experience with yoga and a lot of experience with sore muscles and aching joints.
    It is not a meditation/yoga retreat.

    Level depends on who’s teaching. When nun Aree is present she will give yoga for women and is very appreciated. I am a man so I have no direct experience with this. Sometimes a yoga instructor is recruited from within the group of participants, always many experienced yogis there, maybe you? You can also practice by yourself, within yoga-time only on the grounds, otherwise in your cell.

    More of practical info can be found in the link below,
    Best,
    Jan

    http://www.suanmokkh-idh.org/

  493. Our centre has recently had a series of talk by a well-known Dhammaduta from Indonesia. He said when he was young, on a somewhat public meeting he was forced to reflect on his own swearing words. Probably he was ashamed of the words he used, so since then when he got angry, he uses incoherent words to swear. For example, when he feels like swearing, instead of reciting the names of zoo residents, he would yell “Toothpaste!”, or to his wife: “I love you!!”. That works well, because the person he’s upset to would laugh instead of yelling back to him.

  494. Thank you for the summary Phra Cittasamvaro. I wasn’t at the Dhamma talk, but having read your notes I can see that you dissected Buddhist teachings and conveyed them in your characteristically accessible way.

  495. Weekly meditations please. And in one immutable venue if possible. Dhamma talks come and go but the meditations were a reassuring anchor I always looked forward to!

  496. I agree with Jennifer. I think the weekly meditation it’s one of our most important activities. We could begin on Wednesdays inMonterey place if possible?

  497. I agree with Jennifer and Rubby. My ideal would be a weekly at Ariyasom not linked to a yoga session. I understand there is impermanence but must we therefore add to it? 🙂
    I could live with a changing venue as long as it’s a clear deal. Do receive my gratitude for past meditation sessions, work shops and dhamma talks.

  498. good 🙂 lets get a few more views over the next week or so.
    We’ve been working on the Monteray angle but it has to pass the board meeting, and I think the next one is in January. I’m quite keen on Way Yannawa for the cold season, as we can go outside on the roof.

    • I’m for Yannawa. Make the most of the cooler climate I say, and as you often say – not everyone likes aircon!

    • I have enjoyed the break but would also like to continue meeting with others weekly. Outside sounds nice!

  499. I’d vote for weekly meditation too (preferably at Ariyason). Please note not everyone is skytrain liners and the traffic at South Sathorn near the Sathorn bridge is … you know it well. If whatever the event you’re going to organize at Wat Yannawa will be held at the same evening rush hour as the weekly meditation at Ariyason, it makes the access by motorist like myself totally unrealistic (even though I live not far from there). Wat Yannawa is near the 3rd busiest intersection in Thailand called Surasak.

  500. I’m aware of transport issues – but we don’t have a lot of options. And any place is good for some, and not for others. Jun and I would be better on the Thonburi side 🙂 – I have to do the most travelling, getting over Sathorn several times a week. Some people are on the skytrain line, and others on the underground…
    But I think Wat Yannawa should be accessible from the tollway – it lands very close by. Just the one big set of lights to get through.
    Also we can change around once in a while. Ari or Mor Chit have some options we could look into too over the hot season.

  501. I guess if any of us could find any other place we could use more conveniently located, free of charge, we could see those possibilities also. The idea is to have a place (any) for the time being, to continue with the weekly meditation, otherwise we could stop until we get the chance of finding another place as convenient as Ariyasorn. Maybe in a month or 2 or 3 or…
    We all could be proactive and help to find a place (located near BTS or MRT stations, free or very cheap, and proper for meditation) or accept what P. Pandit can find for us (BTW, Thanks a lot, Pandit) … or meditate at home :-).
    Unfortunatelly sometimes we take for granted what we have and just complain when we don’t have it anymore!!

  502. Thank you very much for my info in this page. May I add more detail about my class?
    Some time people came with misunderstanding.

    ‘Restorative yoga with Nat’ @ Ariyason Villa 3rd floor meditation room

    Every Monday and Thursday from 5:30 pm to 6:30pm
    400 baht for drop-in, 1000 baht for 3 class ticket.
    After the class, yoga students can stay
    for meditation self-practice until 7pm.

    People coming for meditation self-practice,
    please enter quietly after the yoga class has finished,
    The studio will close at 7pm.

  503. Hi , I am Vietnamese Buddhist. I am so interested in Bhante U Jotika’s Books. This end of october I would like to visit Bhante in Myanmar. But I don’t know where is Bhante? If you have any informations where BHante is now? Could you pls tell me, thank you so much ! My mail is :thang10hoasua@yahoo.com.

  504. I have not been ot one of your talks yet; just been introduced by a friend whilst discussing ‘the journey…’ Very much looking forward to ‘enriching mindfulness…’

  505. Just returned from visiting family and a Breast Cancer patient in the US and hope to be able to ‘weather the storms’ i.e. the waters to attend.
    Thank you for all your efforts,
    Anumotana…

  506. Thank you very much Phra Pandit. Very good, I’ve saved it for future reading. See you next Thursday 28/10/10 at PPA

  507. UPDATE
    David Holmes has told me that the topic is not Dependent Origination, but a talk on the famous, and probably central meditation teaching – the Satipatthana Sutta.
    This is a better topic … more easy to cover in the space of an hour.

  508. Cindy & I went to Sangklaburi and attended the Tak Baht Thevo at the Mon Temple (5 syllables, 3 W’s), a lively event, maybe thousands of people dressed in their finery. We gave some of the young women at our hotel a ride to the temple. They excitedly compared shoes they’d bought the night before for the occasion, all encrusted with jewels. There may have been a hundred monks with double the number of assistants grappling with the offerings, followed by a half dozen Maechee (no Temple attendants for them). They began at 9 and were still at it when we left at 11.
    The other seasonal event we witnessed was the hatching of gazillion flying insects called “jeep-ba-gao,” I think. Some time in the night, the cocoons or chrysalis of these bugs coated the Mon Bridge. Most of the bugs had hatched by morning, like very small dragonfly-like insects, double wings, long thin body & two long kite tails out the back. The long bridge had an almost fluffy look with millions of empty cocoons, like tiny empty snake skins, fluttering in the breeze.
    Fascinating phenomena. . . is anyone familiar with this?

  509. In 1996 I started the Cyber-Temple referred to in this book. Also several of the old Cyber-Temple articles are still available along with several of the Thai publications

    Without the Internet there would have been no American community.

    Now 12 years after disrobing, and just getting back into teaching via Applied Awareness, I can say that a good Internet presence is a must. When I started the Cyber-Temple and Acharn Pannyavaro started BuddhaNet things were much different than they are Now. People use the Internet for so much more than ever before, and it’s snowballed into the first place people look for information. Now with so many wireless ways of connecting, People use the Internet to look up topics on their netbooks or phones. They browse Online content to read more while waiting in lines, riding buses, eating lunch, etc.

    Now do monks need Internet access, and does the persona of a recluse cause problems? If a monk is in the position of being a teacher I would say using the Internet is a very good practice. Emails, instant messaging, facebook chat are all excellent ways to keep in touch, and what a large portion of the world population uses as their main means of communication. When a monk can incorporate modern communication methods it shows that they are still in touch, at least to some extent, with the lives of those they teach.

    If a monk is not teaching the laity then there is really no need for the further distraction. In all honesty, if I had been Online at the Thai monastery instead of meditating in my open hut, which was strategically built 30 ft away from the funeral pyre, I would have never attained the understandings I am so fortunate to have today. The ability to actually be a recluse and devote yourself to your own practice, knowing the basics of food and clothing will be provided, can turn a monks entire existence into one big meditation. As an example, going for alms becomes a walking meditation with brief stops to challenge our cravings as alms are offered.

    In my experience as an American monk, and US citizen, there is also a difference between SE Asia (or administering to a transplanted Asian community) and teaching Americans in the US. Here in the US most would be “students” are lay-folk who come to learn meditation. If you can be available to them in the same ways as their circles of friends (email, facebook, IM, SMS) there are plenty of opportunities to teach and learn. Without using these new technologies the meditation teacher/monk tends to come into play only outside of the realm of their normal every day life.

    If anyone may wish to discuss this further feel free to contact me via voice, text, IM, or Email.

    Todd Robinson
    (formerly the Monk Suwattano)

    • good info on the Thai side of this mythlolgical creature. The fiery Dragon/Serpent appears worldwide – suggesting it is based on something real, or at least real to the ancients.

      • I think it is a combination of asteroids and flying dinosaurs. In the distant past, during the day people [if you could call them that] could have seen the flying dinosaurs and at night they could have seen the asteroids and they put 1 and 1 together to get flying creatures that had fire.

  510. An end to a great Dharma Talk series.

    Thanks again to Venerable Cittasamvaro for a wonderful experience.
    And thanks to all of you that made these talks a success.
    I met a lot of good, kind-hearted people, and felt a great energy in the room from each week’s talk.

    Best wishes to all.
    Loyd

  511. Ah the wonderful Acid Comments! Certainly the most entertaining of commentaries on the Heart Sutra! As fresh as if written yesterday, thrillingly iconoclastic, as sharp as Manjushri’s sword. Thank you for the reminder to go back to it!

    —–
    Cherish the Great Charm of your own nature,
    That turns a hot iron ball into finest sweetest manna;.
    Heaven, Hell, and the Floating World of Men —
    A snowflake falling on a red-hot stove.
    —–

  512. “What’s Real’ is the mind jumping between the senses, getting lost in them. Mindfulness is when recollection returns. As for the content of the senses – that is irrelevant. One sutta goes:
    In the seen he knows there is only what is seen. In the heard … in the perceptions, there is only perception.
    Becoming aware of awareness, the vision, hearing, thinking content are not really relevant.

    I always get stuck on Hakuin’s teaching – so much in so few words !

  513. How to divide what is real what is not? Our organs of senses very limited and also can lie to us (hypnoses, hologram..)