Bhante Buddharakkhita started the evening by speaking briefly on the current big news items, the rescue of the soccer team from the cave in Thailand and the world cup soccer in Russia. This lead us to a happy or pleasing mind state referred to in Pali as Bhavana. Bhavana was translated in the 18th century to mean meditation, the development or cultivation of the heart/mind. Bhante used this and current events as an object for our meditation to encourage us to see that we are part of a much greater whole. Though we view ourselves as unique, wonderful and special, just as we view our children and loved ones, we are all just a part of a greater community which is just a small part of the entire cosmos.

Bhante guided us in a 30 minute bhavana or meditation well suited to beginners and experienced meditators alike.

After the meditation Bhante asked us how we felt, how the meditation has left us feeling. Bhante then spoke on our concepts of self, to re-enforce that we are part of a whole.

 

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We all have an identity and know who we are. Or do we? Ajahn Brahm gives a talk elucidating what's really going on behind what we take to be our selves.

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Ajahn Brahm conducts an intermediate/advanced meditation class for approximately 1 hour.

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Ajahn Sujato guides a metta (loving-kindness) meditation. Ajahn instructs us to give metta to ourselves first, then to a loved one and finally to all beings.

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Ajahn Sujato entertains us by covering topics from veganism, death and Buddhism. Ajahn offers us advice on how to live well and shares with us the benefits of meditation.

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Ajahn Brahmali conducts an intermediate/advanced meditation class for approximately 1 hour.

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Benefits of making merit and supporting service-oriented values to bring out the happiness in the mind. This talk was an offering for the Theravadin Forest Tradition Bhikkhunis residing in Dhammadharini Vihara in Santa Rose, CA, USA during Feb 15-24, 2015. You can help by contributing money to Dhammadharini by visiting: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/support-feminine-wisdom-in-buddhism#/

Teaching retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X19PSgL13so (YouTube Channel: Ajahn Brahm's Benefit Talks for Dhammadharini)

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Sometimes things are not as they seem. This causes delusion which can easily lead to suffering.The way to prevent this suffering is to see things as they truly are.

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Ajahn Brahm talks about the profoundly deep, blissful states of mind attained in meditation known as the jhanas. He explains where the come from and what they mean so that meditators know where they are heading and how the jhanas fits into the Eightfold Path.

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The idea of "letting go" of attachment seems simple enough, but in practice it can be so hard to do! Ajahn Brahm gives advice on how to let go of attachment the easy way.

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To find the answer to the question above, you'll need to listen to the session.

Ajahn, despite recovering from a bout of "pony virus", regaled us with his presence on a cold night at Club Med. Using humour, jokes, funny stories and common sense Ajahn warmed our hearts and calmed our minds while teaching us how to meditate.  Ajahn then led us in a 30 min guided meditation well suited to beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation, Ajahn continued to instruct us using humour, jokes, funny stories and common sense.

 

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Ajahn Brahm briefly explains the process of how relaxation leads into deep meditation and inspires us to experience the deep levels of meditation.

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Ajahn Brahm often says that he has met people that have done terrible things, but never met a person that is evil. Ajahn gives some examples on how people really are kind deep inside their heart.

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Ajahn Brahm describes how letting go of fear frees up the possibilities and potentials within our minds. 

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It's not what you experience that is the problem, but rather, how you experience it that can cause (or solve) problems. Ajahn Brahm uses the Five Hindrances as a lens through which to understand our relationship to life, and how this understanding can give us the choice to relate to the difficulties in life with more patience, compassion and wisdom.

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Ajahn Brahm talks about how to develop the power of mindfulness through 'total listening'. This ability can help us wake up to life and find success in life.

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Do you know what you really want? When you get what you want will you really be satisfied? Do we really know what we want? Ajahn Brahm gives a talk on how to find out what we really want ... and how to get it.

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Venerable opened the evening with a talk about a not often mentioned subject, preparing for our meditation and what we do as we end our meditation.  Venerable used the simile of a gate keeper allowing people to pass.  When we start our meditation we need a gate keeper to stop all thoughts but allow only those that are relevant to pass.  By doing this we enjoy a much quieter meditation.  When we end our meditation we need to take a moment to examine what has occurred during our meditation, look into the reasons such thoughts occur and what effect they may have had.  By doing this we slowly but surely build resistance to such thoughts occurring during our meditation.

Venerable then lead the group in a relaxed breath meditation.

After the meditation Venerable talked to us about the tradition of tudong.  Tudong is a Thai word used to describe Buddhist Monks when they go wandering or travelling in the wilderness.  Venerable then opened to Q&A.

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