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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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

 

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

Ajahn Appi began by asking us all to reflect on all the good we have done through out our lives to up lift our minds. As an indicator, Ajahn pointed out to us that many of the people he meets daily that look at their lives in this way, are by default happy and joyful despite economic pressures. They are not typically easily distressed or unsettled. They have built a store of emotional strength on which to call when times are more difficult. By reflecting on all the good things in life rather than the negative.

Ajahn then guided the group in a longer than usual meditation asking us all to be as comfortable as we are able first. Then to reflect on all the good qualities that we each know we have. After reflecting on ourselves we moved to the good we have done for others, then to breath meditation. This meditation is more suited to experienced meditators.

After meditation Ajahn opened to questions. In response to a question, Ajahn then reminded us that no matter who we are we are all capable of reaching very deep meditative states. So for many of us, when random thoughts intrude, we need to address them, to understand why they continue to intrude. Looking as deeply as we can into such thoughts helps to diminish them. Then they eventually go away. Samadhi is attained.

 

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.

Ajahn Cittapalo began by pointing out to us that our use of the word meditation instead of samadhi sometimes leads us to the wrong mindset when we meditate. Lost in translation like so many things said or done by Buddha, the word meditation to us in western society means “Continuous and profound contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects of a deep or abstruse nature”. When we meditate we are usually trying to achieve the opposite. A mind state of calm, relaxation and clarity. Thoughts arise and we let them go. Ajahn used this odd fact to point out that we do tend to allow our minds to latch onto thoughts, rather then letting them go. The result is we spend our time contemplating rather than in peace. Having made us aware Ajahn asked us to allow ourselves to just let the thoughts go and not fall into contemplation.

Ajahn then guided the group in a longer than usual meditation [samadhi not contemplation], beginning with a body sweep and progressing onto just watching the breath. A meditation well suited to beginners and a pleasure to do.

After the meditation, Ajahn was asked questions relating to euthanasia and suicide. Subjects we in western society try to avoid. Ajahn answered as best he could after pointing out that Buddhism doesn’t have an opinion and that any answer given would be his point of view.

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: https://bswa.org/teachings/, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Ajahn Brahmali doesn't often get the time to visit us at AMG and we are most grateful when he does because he is an excellent teacher.

Ajahn began by reminding us that the instructions while the same, repeated as they are help reinforce our meditation practice. The changes in our minds happens over time. The time it will take to reach deeper meditation states will vary greatly between each of us. The instructions though usually very simple can actually have a very profound affect on you over time. Hence the need for repetition.

Ajahn then guided us through meditation slightly longer than 30 minutes that is well suited to experienced and novice. Following meditation Ajahn opened to questions. Ajahn then gave a talk on that one subject we in western society tend to avoid. Ajahn delivered an explanation using his own very recent experience of having arranged and conducted a funeral for his father.

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: more teachings, choose the AMG teaching
you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

It was only Venerable Mudu's second visit to the Armadale Meditation Group's Tuesday evening session and as such, a most welcome surprise. Venerable started the evening by letting us know that he doesn’t really have a preferred method of meditation. In Venerable’s words “I really don’t have a fixed kind of meditation of step one, two, three and four. I roll them all into one, I sit down, shut-up and just watch what goes on in my mind”. Venerable does recognise that those of us new to or still learning, need guidance though. With that in mind Venerable related to us his experience when he first started to learn meditation techniques of breath and metta etc. On a nine day retreat when still a lay person, his view of daily life differed from what he is now learning. In this example he demonstrated how the simple mantra of “Make Peace Be Kind Be Gentle” helped him to overcome his conditioned response of self criticism.

Venerable Mudu then led the group in meditation. Venerable started the meditation with a short body sweep giving thanks and being grateful to our bodies for the work they do each day. For the balance of the meditation we all went in search of the beautiful breath.

After meditation Venerable continued his explanation of why we should meditate each day. Venerable concluded the night with a joke he was asked to deliver to us by Ajahn Brahm. Everyone in attendance left relaxed and happy. This meditation is well suited to both beginners and experienced alike.

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: https://bswa.org/teachings/, choose the AMG teaching
you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

When visiting us at the Armadale Meditation Group, Ajahn Brahm always starts and ends the evening with humour. Tonight was no exception. Cleverly, Ajahn uses humour to bring us into the present moment. We are listening, we are focused, we are laughing and at ease. Forgotten are the troubles of the day, the plans for tomorrow. We are here in the present moment with Ajahn Brahm, listening intently to his jokes, funny stories and his instructions on meditation.

Ajahn Brahm led us in a thirty minute meditation easily enjoyed by beginners and experienced meditators alike. To begin, Ajahn simply asks us to make ourselves comfortable and as much as possible to relax. Not a traditional body sweep. Ajahn then progresses us to simply dealing with what is in front of us, rather than trying to suppress or dismiss our thoughts. Instead, encouraging us to focus on the silence between thoughts. As we practice this, the silence between thoughts gets longer.

After meditation Ajahn opened to questions. Several of the questions are those many of us face.

 

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: https://bswa.org/teachings/, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Ajahn Jhanarato [Ajahn JR], prefers an unstructured meditation so begins the night by explaining why. We do have a tendency when learning something new to want or need instructions or structure. Though many of us still like to have a guided meditation, sometimes it's interesting to just start our meditation and see what arises.

Though preferring an unstructured meditation, Ajahn then led us through a longer than usual body sweep meditation.

 

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: https://bswa.org/teachings/, choose the AMG teaching you want, then type the title into the Podcast search box.

Load more