Bhante Buddharakkhita was about to start the evening when he noticed that the Christmas lights were on in our room. Bhante asked that they be left on, and the main lights turned off, so as to mark the time of the year which, to those of us in western society, is Christmas.  Such things, that may seem not to be an issue to us, are to others a trigger for anxiety and stress.  As this was the case for some in our audience, Bhante explained that to run for a lifetime from such things does not make them better or resolve them.  Sooner or later you have to face such triggers and where better than in a group of like minded people who are all learning to meditate.  Bhante then further explained that to help resolve such issues in his own life he would reverse the process by acknowledging the event, and trigger, and instead of allowing it to stress him, he would tell himself to relax.  In this way he managed to resolve his anxiety and simply relax.

Bhante continued his talk, returning to his subject of gratitude, prior to leading the group in a meditation with gratitude foremost in mind. Bhante used the image of floating in a swimming pool to relax and extend his gratitude to the universe before moving to a breath meditation.

After the meditation Bhante used his ample wit and humour to continue his subject of gratitude.  Bhante encouraged us to look for gratitude in all situations and used, as examples, his experience in teaching meditation to a group of children of various ages.  In doing so we can resolve situations that make us anxious or annoyed.

 

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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 haven't seen Bhante at Club Med for some years so it was a welcome surprise to see and hear him.  Bhante started the evening in an unconventional way which was an unusual but welcome change.  Bhante, having been present in areas of the world that have suffered greatly from both natural and man made disasters, replayed a podcast from the US radio station website "This American Life".  The podcast documentary tells the story of a phone booth in Japan that attracts thousands of people who lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.  A Japanese TV crew from NHK Sendai filmed people inside the phone booth.  The phone line, however, is not connected.  The episode by Miki Meek is incorporated into our podcast but can be listened to independently by following the link below.

Bhante thankfully warned us that hankies and tissues would be and were required.

Bhante used this podcast to highlight the need for us to come to terms with ourselves more than anything and in doing so, forgive ourselves. Don’t wait for the forgiveness of those we have  trespassed against.  Forgive ourselves now -  for ourselves.

Immediately after the podcast had concluded, Bhante lead us into a body scan meditation.  Toward the middle of the meditation, Bhante used the Metta Sutta as a mantra in and for the rest of the meditation.  After the meditation, Bhante continued to talk on forgiveness and why we should forgive ourselves.

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

This American Life - episode 579 - One Last Thing Before I Go - act one

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Bhante Buddharakkhita leads a guided contemplation on gratitude and goes on to explain how reflecting with gratitude on the good that has been done to us can be the basis for a perception of abundance, and to help us to not feel like we need to acquire more things in our lives.

This talk was recorded by the Buddhist Society of Victoria. You can subscribe to their Youtube channel here.

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