Venerable started the evening by relating an interesting story of events that occurred when receiving dana sometime ago on a particularly hot day. A lady was standing in bare feet on hot concrete, as was Venerable, and they both had to dance to avoid their feet being burnt. Venerable used this story to relate to the way we have rain storms in our minds. Rather than running away and hiding, we need to learn how to dance in the rain of our minds.
"Life is not about waiting for the rain storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain". Venerable Nitho.
Venerable continued by encouraging us to follow the first noble truth in Buddhism; Life is suffering or dukkha. That doesn't mean it is awful, just that we need to learn how to dance in the rain and be happy. Life starts where your comfort zone ends. If you stay in your comfort zone, you don't extend your life.
Venerable then guided us in a body scan meditation ending with five minutes of silent observation of our minds.
After the meditation Venerable opened to Q&A. Several of the questions, relating to things that trip us all over when we begin meditation, needed an in-depth explanation, which Venerable Nitho was able to give.
Ajahn Bodhidhaja talks about how things going wrong in our lives can spiral downwards in a vicious cycle, but how through practicing wholesome behaviour and mindfulness a virtuous cycle upwards can develop. Ajahn Bodhidhaja reflects upon the dual nature within ourselves, and offers tools to help develop the virtuous cycle.
It sounds easy to just be in the present moment and let go of all the past and the future, but its hard to achieve this in meditation. Ajahn Brahm shows us how to find stillness in this present moment by embracing it.
Ajahn Brahm wrote the first half of his book "Opening the Door of Your Heart" in 2 weeks, writing one hour per day. Each day he would meditate for an hour or two before writing his stories. Whether you have a book to write or an exam to pass, Ajahn teaches us that life often goes more smoothly when you give yourself some time to be peaceful.
Ajahn Brahm guides a meditation for approximately 30 minutes.
Why is it that we get jealous? What are you jealous for? Is it something that you really want, which is really valuable in this world? Ajahn Brahm points out how being jealous of someone else is sacrificing your own happiness, when you could be rejoicing in their success and thereby increasing your happiness. In other words jealousy is a huge problem which stops you from being happy and stops you from getting happiness in other people’s successes.
In this talk Ajahn Nissarano gives instruction on the eighth factor of the Eightfold Path - Right Stilllness.
In this talk Ajahn Nissarano gives instruction on the seventh factor of the Eightfold Path - Right Mindfulness.
In this talk Ajahn Nissarano gives instruction on the factor of the Eightfold Path - Right Effort - explaining that this doesn't necessarily mean going over the top with our efforts by applying effort with the right attitude and in the right way.
Rather than describing meditation as a means to an end, or a tool we use to achieve nibbana, Venerable Bodhi describes meditation to us as coming home to stillness and peace. Venerable goes on to describe how we have unlearned the way to enjoy silence, stillness and peace. Venerable tells us that meditation is actually quite easy, it's something that everyone can do. The hard part is to maintain it, to be there and actually prolong that moment and to come back to it when our thought process interrupts. To start again is always difficult for a beginner. Venerable describes all these situations really well and encourages us to persevere and practise.
Venerable then leads the group through a 30 minute guided meditation with the primary focus on our body. The meditation is well suited to beginners and more experienced alike.
After meditation Venerable gives a talk on karuna or caring. Karuna is a Sanskrit word and is used in Buddhism. It is translated to mean any action that is taken to diminish the suffering of others and could also be translated as "compassionate action". Venerable’s talk on karuna is well presented and easy to follow, encouraging us to care for ourselves and others mindfully.
Have you noticed its easier to meditate at place like a Buddhist centre, rather than at your home? "Having the right mood is important", says Ajahn Brahmali. Ajahn also instructs us to think of meditation as relaxing.
What is delusion in Buddhism? Ajahn Brahmali explains that if you have not understood the Four Noble Truths through insight, then you are deluded. Furthermore Ajahn says that your delusion declines by being kind and living well.
Ajahn Brahmali guides a meditation for approximately 30 minutes.
Ajahn Brahm answers questions about his recent resignation from his position as Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia.
Ajahn Vayama offers practical reflections on what we can do to prevent and stop social conflicts arising, such as anger, arguments and blaming others. Ajahn explains that there is no quick fix, or one answer to solving these problems, so she goes through step by step what the Buddha taught on how to deal with conflict, which includes developing and having right view.
Ajahn NIssarano is a disciple of Ajahn Brahm having ordained with him over twenty years ago. In this talk Ajahn Nissarano asks us to give ourselves a reality check contrasted against the Buddha's teaching on Right View.
Ajahn Nissarano gives a talk about two of the factors of the Eightfold Path - Right Action and Right Livelihood - framing this in the forming of developing goodness in one's daily life.
Ajahn Nissarano reframes Right Speech not merely as a set of rules governing what we can't say, but as a positive gift that we can share with all the others we come in contact to, and inspires us to take to heart this factor of the Eightfold Path.
Venerable Mudito tells us that "we come first". You can't give love and kindness [metta] to someone else if you don't give love and kindness [meta] to yourself first. If you don't have anything to give, you cannot give. So we must love ourselves first and foremost in our lives, then we are better positioned to give to others.
Venerable Mudito tells us that meditation should be fun, what a blessing to sit and meditate. Venerable then lead us through a 30 minute body contemplation meditation. Look as closely as you can at each and every part of your body. Just focus on relaxing the whole body. This meditation is well suited to both beginner and experienced a like.
After the meditation Venerable Mudito opened to questions. With everyone so relaxed and spaced out that there were no questions, Venerable related his own experience with beginning meditation and how it can be of great benefit to us. From health issues to anxiety meditation, being kind to ourselves, will benefit us and all those around us.