The last week of Rains has arrived. The monks will be with us again next week but we have one more guest speaker before then - Barry Gaskin. Barry has been an attendee at the Armadale group for almost 20 years. He has traveled much of South East Asia in his working career - Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Barry gave a background to his strange introduction to Meditation and Buddhism. He explained his observations as a Westerner living in Buddhist countries, his beliefs of Pre-Birth through to Post Death, how lucky we are and also how meditation can impact on happiness. Meditation is always taught "how to do" but he wants to explain "when to do" as a way of life, with difference and ease.

Barry then lead the group in a 30 minute meditation easily enjoyed by experienced and beginners alike. Barry began with a relaxing body scan, asking us to open our hearts to self-compassion and finishing with a difference.

After meditation Barry continued his talk on Buddhism in both the West and the East.

 

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It’s week 12 of our Rains Schedule already and this week, we have Richard Thomas. Richard came to meditation in the early '80s and discovered BSWA in 1992. He has completed several 3 month Rains retreats, has stayed at Bodhinyana and has also attended retreats at Kyaswa monastery in Myanmar. He was the editor of the book "Emptiness and Stillness" which marked Ajahn Brahm's 60th birthday. He was also a key co-ordinator of the 2015 Global Conference on Buddhism in Perth and a Member of the BSWA Committee and occasional teacher of the Introduction to Meditation course at Dhammaloka. So Richard brings both his experience and expertise to this weeks session.

Richard commenced the session by asking us to reflect on Metta, compassion in general and why we meditate. Richard used his own extensive experience and known facts about Metta meditation to instruct us before commencing the meditation. Richard then guided us in a 30 minute meditation well suited to beginners and experienced meditators alike.

After meditation Richard opened to Q&A before continuing his talk on Metta and compassion.

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Week 10 of Rains and this week we have U Zor Hane. Zor is originally from Burma, but has been in Australia for over 40 years. He is the Spiritual Advisor of the Buddhist Meditation Society in Joondalup. He has given talks at universities, schools, business organisations and at the Perth Detention Centre. He worked with drug addicted young people at the Palmerston Farm drug rehabilitation centre for 4 years, showing them the life skills that can be achieved through meditation and the Buddhist way of living with wisdom, awareness and harmlessness (to oneself and to others).

Zor lead the group in a 30 minute meditation session beginning with a body sweep then shifting to breath. This meditation is well suited to beginners and experienced meditators alike.

After meditation Zor spoke to us on Karma and before closing the night, opened to questions.

For further talks and meditation session from U Zor Hane please visit the Buddhist Meditation Society.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page: , choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Week nine of the Rains season and this week we had Ananda Thilakasiri. Ananda was born in Sri Lanka into a Buddhist family & frequented the village temple with his Grandfather from a very young age yet, came to practise meditation only after meeting the then Ajahn Jagaro & Ajahn Brahm, around 1987. He and his family started visiting Bodhinyana and Dhammaloka regularly from 1991. They have been members of BSWA since that time. He has been serving the Buddhist community in WA, also in other countries in various ways but, mainly as the Treasurer of BSWA. Even though he has been meditating for approximately 25 years, his progress has been rather slow. About 9 or so years ago, he started to attend meditation retreats at Jhana Grove, mostly of those taught by Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Brahmali, Bhante Sujato, on a regular basis. Also, retreats by a couple of visiting Sri Lankan monks. Around the same time, urged by Bhante Sujato, he also started to read the Suttas. The early Buddhist texts from the Tripitaka with the Buddha's teachings on mindfulness, insight, wisdom and meditation. Attending retreats & reading Suttas have helped his meditation practice, immensely! For anyone who has not attended a meditation retreat, yet, he recommends starting with a weekend retreat and then go on to do 9 Day retreats. You will start noticing the difference! Continuity is the key!

Ananda lead the group in a thirty minute meditation focusing on the breath though starting with a body sweep. This meditation is best suited to experienced meditators.

After meditation Ananda opened to questions before continuing to talk on a variety of subjects relative to both Buddhism and Meditation.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Week eight of the Rains season and this week we had Mark Simpson. Mark is a yoga teacher, writer, holistic health coach and facilitator. His work integrates postures, breathing practices, meditation and philosophy. He is interested in mindfulness and meditation practices and draws on them both in his own personal life and to help others observe and care for their bodies and minds. He has also attended retreats at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village including a retreat focused on Compassionate Leadership.

Mark then lead the group in a thirty minute meditation focusing on the breath and being kind to our bodies. This meditation is well suited to both beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation Mark continues his talk on the common areas with Buddhism and Yoga. Towards the end of the evening Mark opened to questions.

For further information on Mark, Yoga and Buddhism, please visit his website.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Week six of the Rains season and this week we had Rob Hendry. Rob is a recent convert to meditation and an Armadale Meditation Group (AMG) regular. Rob grew up entrenched within Christianity and has a Bachelors’ Degree in Theology. He has preached regularly in Christian churches, and turned to meditation during last year’s AMG Rains schedule as a way to deal with both stress, pain and illness. He was quickly converted to the trans-formative power of meditation and is eager to share its benefits with others. Rob’s talk this evening focused on his interest in the areas of commonality between Buddhism and Christianity.

Rob then lead the group in a thirty minute meditation focusing on the breath and simplicity. This meditation is well suited to both beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation Rob continued his talk on the common areas with Buddhism and Christianity. Towards the end of the evening Rob opened to questions.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Week five of the Rains season and this week we had the President of the BSWA, Dennis Sheppard. Dennis focused our attention right from the start onto one of the many things meditators like/try/hope to achieve. A stillness of the mind. By letting go of the world around us, the past, the future and even the body we can slowly but surely achieve this state, arriving very much into the present moment.

Dennis guided us in a meditation with stillness of the mind as our goal. To begin we focused on our posture, feet resting flat on the floor, back straight, head upright, body comfortable and relaxed. The meditation is slightly longer than the usual 30 minutes, well suited to beginners and experienced meditators alike.

After meditation Dennis continued his talk on the silence of the mind.

Dennis is a very experienced long time meditator and has a number of videos available on his web site specifically directed towards beginning Buddhist meditation.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page: , choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Kathryn’s fourth and final session for the rains period of 2019, her chosen subject, Equanimity or Upekkhà. Kathryn started the session by giving us a formal definition of equanimity and then providing real world examples.

Upekkhà is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna.

Equanimity is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. The virtue and value of equanimity is extolled and advocated by a number of major religions and ancient philosophies.

Equanimity is something many of us tend to not recognise and to have difficulty in achieving. This occurs often for those of us dealing with suffering of family, friends or even peoples of the world. We become trapped within our emotions.

Kathryn then lead the group in meditation with equanimity as the focus. The meditation and subject is perhaps best suited to intermediate and advanced meditators.

After meditation Kathryn continued her talk on equanimity and opened to questions. Kathryn also answered questions she had not had time to answer in previous weeks. One of the last questions asked of Kathryn was “how long should we meditate for”. Kathryn’s answer was “do what-ever you’ll do”. So we should be happy with any length of meditation that we can achieve at that time.

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This is Kathryn’s third of four sessions at AMG during the 2019 Rains Retreat period. Tonight's subject is compassion, specifically in 3 forms. Kathryn describes how we may feel compassion for someone that is suffering. How we may receive compassion because we are suffering. Finally, we may feel compassion toward ourselves. Kathryn continued by giving examples of the each form of compassion. Before meditation and to conclude her talk, Kathryn asked the audience to form a circle of sorts around the room. She then asked us all a series of questions and to raise our hands if we felt the answer applied to us as an individual. It was not surprising to find that nearly all present answered in the affirmative to the questions. We all need to practice both sending compassion and receiving compassion in our lives to help us deal with the stuff of life.

Kathryn then lead the group in meditation with compassion as our focus. The meditation is perhaps best suited to intermediate and advanced meditators.

After meditation Kathryn continued her talk on compassion and opened to question. At the close Kathryn suggested the following titles for those of us interested in furthering their study of compassion.

Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert
Compassion: Concepts, Research and Application edited by Paul Gilbert

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

This is Kathryn’s second of four sessions at AMG. The subject, or rather object of meditation is our habit of judging others, situations and circumstances. We often get it wrong and this moves us more toward reaction instead of a softer response. Reaction and often over reaction, releases chemicals into our systems that are not needed in most situations and not beneficial to our current situation. To avoid this we need to step back mentally and be mindful instead.

Kathryn then lead the group in meditation asking us to notice everything. The trucks on the highway and all other small sounds. Then to look at our thoughts, are they a suitable response, or an over-reaction? Gradually we learn to simply be mindful that those sounds are there and let them go along with the negative thoughts.

After meditation Kathryn continued her talk on “Working With a Judgemental Mind”. Kathryn also takes questions. In closing the night Kathryn mentions a number of books that she recommends for those who may further wish to explore the deeper functions within our minds.

The first title is - Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz
The second title is - The Invisible Gorilla co-authored by
Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons
The third title is - Mistakes Were Made But Not by Me
co-authored by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Kathryn's first of four weeks at AMG. Kathryn began meditating over 25 years ago at the Armadale group (AMG). She is the founder of “Mind and Movement”, a leading provider of mindfulness programs for individuals and organisations and is a certified teacher of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program, “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) and recognised as a Senior Teacher by the Meditation Association of Australia.

We humans have a tendency to react rather than respond to all manner of situations, both internal and external. Kathryn explains why this occurs and how best to retrain the mind to respond rather than react. When we react to stimuli, both internal and external, a chemical is generated and released within our bodies. Kathryn details ways of shortening the time it takes for us to return from those situations that cause us to remain in that stressed state of mind. Mindfully being aware that it is happening will allow us to return to normal in a shorter period of time or, at the very least, shorten the time it takes for those chemicals to dissipate.

Kathryn then guided the group in meditation asking us to observe what occurs and how we react to it. Be it to a small sound or part of our body, how we react is what matters. This meditation is a smidge over 30 minutes and suitable for beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation Kathryn continued her discussion and talk on our reactions to the sensations we felt during the meditation with a focus on what we noticed or became aware of and not over-reacting.

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The Armadale Meditation Group was privileged this evening to have three monks visit us for the last meditation session prior to the annual rains retreat. Ajahns Santutthi, Jhanarato and Sukhakamo from the Cambodian forest monastery, Wat Dhammayanaram in Kelmscott, joined us for what was an interesting evening. Ajahn Santutthi started the evening with an introduction of all three monks, a brief talk, then passed onto Ajahn Jhanarato to lead the meditation.

The meditation being lead by Ajahn JR was simply to relax and do nothing. Our minds have so many thoughts happening that it is like the snow globe after shaking. Ajahn asked us to simply allow our minds to settle, just as with a snow globe, so that we may see the thoughts more clearly and just let them pass.

After the meditation, all three monks were happy to answer any and all questions relating to monks, meditation and the Dharma.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page: , choose the AMG teaching
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Ajahn Santutthi started the evening off by asking us to view meditation as a process. Not a compulsory task or job, but an ongoing process. Just as we might plant a tree, we must prepare the soil, plant the seedling with care, then fertilise and water the tree as it grows. And we know, that it will not happen over night, it will take time. So it is with our meditation, it will take time. With each meditation we are [often without noticing], improving.

Ajahn then guided us through a body contemplation meditation that lasted slightly longer than the usual 30 minutes. This meditation is easily done by beginners and experienced a like. On this occasion there were a number of children present along with those that have never meditated.

After meditation Ajahn opened to questions before continuing to talk on meditation in general.

 

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Bhante Bodhidhaja always starts the session a little differently to most and tonight was no exception. He arrived carrying a bucket with a number of not often seen in a meditation class, strange props. Having been a primary Teacher with some acting experience, Bhante is adept at using props. Bhante asked us to use our imagination to do body painting. After the surprise and laughter subsided Bhante explained that the paint [imaginary], would consist of three primary paints each consisting of the sub parts;

     care             interest             gratitude
     kindness     curiosity           rejoicing
     warmth       awareness

Having mixed the ingredients, we are instructed to paint our bodies during the meditation, from top to toe using first a brush then a roller for the larger areas. As we do this, we are asked to feel the sensation on that area, of the brush, roller and paint. In doing this we will be in the present moment and most definitely focused on that particular part of our body.

Just prior to commencing the guided meditation, Bhante asks us to recite in our own minds the following mantra:

     Nothing to Do
     No-where to Go
     Time to Relax and Let The Peace Grow

Having been suitably instructed we are then led by Bhante in a slightly longer than 30 minute meditation, that surprised most if not all. At the end of the meditation there were smiles all round.

This meditation is suitable for beginners and experienced alike.

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Bhante Upasama asks us to be kind to our mind during meditation. Bhante begins the evening with a brief talk on Metta. Bhante asks us to use metta to ourselves in our meditation, lower our expectation to below zero and be kind to our minds. Just relax and do nothing.

Tonight's meditation is NOT a guided meditation and is best suited to experienced mediators.

After the meditation Bhante talked on a wide variety of subjects.

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Ajahn Appichato asks us the question “What Are We Looking For In Meditation”.  Ajahn then spoke of the many variations of meditation, metta, breath etc and the benefits. Ajahn reminds us that we should try each if not all until we find one that best suits our own nature. One size may well fit many but nothing beats a perfect fit.

On this occasion, Ajahn asked us to find within ourselves an emotion that we would associate with an event from the past. For example, sadness for a lose. We then began our meditation by using a mantra asking for example; may I be happy, may I be well, may I live in peace. After approximately 10 minutes we moved onto breath meditation. An easy meditation well suited to beginners and experienced meditators alike.

Following the meditation Ajahn opened to questions.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

It's wet and cold outside. Still Ajahn Brahm starts the evening with a joke about his own voice. He explains that he has the "Pony" virus... It makes his voice a little "horse". Clearly a little unwell and tired from his recent trip, still he is happy. Ajahn as always, has us laughing from the start. Even joking that to fit the microphone headset, we will need to widen it to allow for his new big head. The reason for his new big head, Ajahn Brahm has been appointed a "Member of the Order of Australia". Ajahn received this honour for services to Buddhism and gender equality. How do we get to this level of contentment, peace and harmony. As Ajahn explains, we meditate and practise as often as we can.

To begin our meditation, Ajahn asks us to look as closely as we can at our own bodies, to be happy with who and what we are. Look deeply into those areas that may be troubling us, like a sore throat and make ourselves comfortable as much as possible.

After meditation Ajahn opened to questions. The first question was "what is a good life". There went the rest of the night. How-ever, Ajahn still managed to inject a few jokes and funny stories into the explanation.

This session was enjoyed by all present from children to elderly and so can be easily done by beginners and experienced alike.

 

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Bhante Upasama always starts the evening a little differently to what we expect. Bhante also points out that many of us have a great many expectations about meditation and life in general.  Doing this leads us to disappointment or dukkha. Bhante explains that the job of a meditator is to rest the mind. Not to achieve something or do another task. Just to rest the mind from our normally very active lives.

In keeping with being different, Bhante then led the group in a 30 minute silent meditation without guidance, asking each of us to simply do nothing. Just allow the meditation to progress, think about nothing, just allow the thoughts to arise and pass.

This meditation is best suited to intermediate and advanced meditator.

After meditation Bhante talked on the purpose of meditation. Letting us know that it isn't a job, not another task for us to do.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Ajahn Khemavaro is the Abbot of Wat Buddha Dhamma and as such, doesn't get out much. To have him at the Armadale Meditation Group for our Tuesday night was a rare privilege. So many thanks to Ajahn Santutthi of Wat Dhammayanaram for inviting him across the country for a visit and our Co-ordinator Marlene for inviting him to our group.

Ajahn began the evening talk explaining meditation and comparing it to cleaning our homes. Just as when our homes become dusty and unkempt, they need to be cleaned or cleared. So to our minds from time to time need to be cleaned or cleared. When we return home we often flop down into our favourite chair and simply "chill out". We do our best to forget the day and not plan for the future. Often as not we sit in front of our TV or computer and just get lost. All this to only have it all return the following day. Ajahn explains that by using a simple mantra [being mindful], even when working, we can overcome most of the things that bother us.

Ajahn then reminded us that if our body is not comfortable the meditation will be difficult. So we are encouraged to find a body position that can be maintained for at least 30 minutes. Ajahn then guided us through a 30 minute meditation using a simple mantra. This meditation is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators alike.

After meditation Ajahn opened to Q&A.

 

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To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page: , choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Ajahn Brahmali, barely off the plane from Singapore and almost straight to us at AMG. Ajahn began by reinforcing those simple to follow but often forgotten instructions we should all follow when meditating. Ajahn doesn’t just give us the instructions, Ajahn includes an explanation that we all can follow and easily implement.

Ajahn then guided us in our meditation. This meditation is approximately 40 minutes and easily done by beginners and experienced meditators.

Following meditation Ajahn talked to us about Vesak Day. Ajahn related to us some of the main aspects of the Buddha’s life. Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and eventual death. More importantly he talked to us about the often overlooked aspect of the Buddha, that he comes across from the sutta as being a very ordinary human. Ajahn then points out that what the Buddha had, that made him the Buddha, was insight into how our minds work.

 

Please support the BSWA in making teachings available for free online via Patreon.

To find and download more Armadale Meditation Group Teachings, visit the BSWA teachings page, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

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