Ajahn Nissarano explains how to practice the AFL Code - to acknowledge, forgive and learn - and how this can bring peace and understanding into our lives.
When it's done it's finished. Meditation allows us to leave the things that have happened in our busy lives and be peaceful, be calm. Forget about what's happened before and just be in this moment. Sit down, close your eyes and relax. Many of us don't give ourselves that opportunity to let it all go. We wake in the morning full of beans and by the end of the day we are mentally tired. We need to train our minds to let the day go. Meditation allows us to do this.
Ajahn guided us in a thirty minute meditation well suited to people learning to meditate.
After the meditation Ajahn related a story about the growth of a fire tree at Bodhinyana Monastery. He had watched the tree grow for many years and wondered why, given the care it received, that it hadn't seemed to grow. Ajahn continued his training in Wat Buddha Dhamma Buddhist Monastery in Wisemans Ferry, New South Wales for five years. On returning to Bodhinyana Monastery, he was quietly walking past the fire tree and wondered how it was faring. He was surprised to find that it was now an enormous mature tree. Just as Ajahn didn't notice the slight growth of the fire tree, when we begin to meditate, we often don't see or rather, notice any progress. Each time we meditate, be it for five minutes a day or half an hour each week, we are retraining our minds and this has a cumulative effect. One day we will sit down and realise that we can let it all go just as easily as sitting down.
What is the meaning of life? After Venerable Hasapanna's mother passed away, she realised she could no longer avoid this unanswered question. Venerable shares her insight, that life is not about how much you can accumulate, but how much you can let go.
The Buddha taught the way out of suffering. Ajahn Vayama offers some reflections on the Buddha’s teaching “Transcendental Dependent Arising”, which Ajahn explains is a teaching on the chain of cause and effect, one thing giving rise to the next, that starts with suffering (dukkha) and goes all the way to the end of suffering; enlightenment Nirvana. This teaching starts with dukkha and looks on it as a teacher, because suffering is an invitation to wake up in our life, to wake up to the realities of life. Ajahn talks about how suffering can motivate us to find a way out of suffering; for us to put in the effort and energy required to find peace and wake up.
We apologise for the quality of this audio, this Dhamma talk was given in 2000.
In early March, Ajahn Brahm lectured at the University of Hong Kong on the topic of “Seeing Meaning in Life through Buddhism and Science” to talk about Buddhism, science and life. In the first half of the lecture, A Jiang spoke first of all about scientific threats to religious beliefs. He cited several scientific research results to clarify that Buddhists are most qualified to think outside the box without being limited to academic knowledge;
In the second half, three experts from different fields came together to discuss the meaning of life with Ah Jiang. They are Dr. Berry Kerzin, Professor Guo Xin and Professor Chen Lichang. Kerzin is a member of the monks, teachers and doctors. He is currently a scholar of the Center for Spiritual and Life Studies and a therapist for the Dalai Lama. Guo Xin is a renowned astronomer and dean of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, while Chen Lichang is at the University of Hong Kong. Professor of pathology, director of the Center for Medicine and Humanities, is dedicated to humanistic care in blood cancer research and development medicine. The four people went through a two-hour conversation together. Everyone has a great reputation for explaining the meaning of life, science and the mind.
This talk was recorded in front of a large audience in an auditorium in Hong Kong. It is hosted by the organisation Buddhistdoor.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Ajahn Brahmali offers a teaching on Right View, the first factor of the Eightfold Path. Ajahn says people tend to argue over who is right, but he explains how having the right view makes us more humble about our opinions.