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.

 

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In our daily life we tend to find it difficult to practice present moment awareness, especially when another person has done us wrong. Venerable Hasapanna offers us a simple forgiveness exercise, to help us let go of our past. 

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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.

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It sounds easy to just be in the present moment and let go of all the past and the future, but its hard to achieve this in meditation. Ajahn Brahm shows us how to find stillness in this present moment by embracing it. 

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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.

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Have you noticed its easier to meditate at place like a Buddhist centre, rather than at your home? "Having the right mood is important",  says Ajahn Brahmali. Ajahn also instructs us to think of meditation as relaxing.

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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.

 

 

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Ajahn Brahmali says that having right view will enable you to have less attachments and a more peaceful mind.

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Ajahn began the night with his own brand of wit and humour making everyone laugh and relax.  Ajahn then encouraged us to keep a light heart in meditation, relax to the max, be peaceful and let go.  When we let go of the past and the future, we have nothing to bother us, nothing to worry about.  As the great philosopher Snoopy once said "worrying about the future never stops bad things happening, whether you worry about them or not they happen, but what it does stop you doing is enjoying the present moment".  Like everything else in life we have to practice, we need to train ourselves how to let go.  So meditation is our training in how to let go of the future and the past, just live in the present moment.  Don't try to improve yourself.  Don't try to change yourself.  Just care for yourself.

When Ajahn had us all relaxed and had our attention, he led us in a thirty minute guided meditation well suited to beginners and experienced alike.

After the meditation Ajahn then regaled us with more stories and jokes. Leaving us feeling relaxed and in good humour when we then socialised with all present with chocolate cake.  A relaxing and enjoyable evening was had by all.

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Meditation guided by Ajahn Sujato. We apologize that the full meditation was not recorded due to technical failures.

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Bhante Sujato has been absent from Australia for 2 1/2 years, so when he arrived at Armadale Meditation Group (AMG) on Tuesday everyone was interested to know where he'd been and what he’d been doing. Therefore, this session is quite different to our normal AMG evenings. Bhante gladly started the evening by recounting his time spent on a tiny island in the South China seas just off the coast of Taiwan for 2 1/2 years, translating the Buddha’s texts into plain English.

To see and read the good work being done by Bhante Sujato and his team, please visit Sutta Central.

Bhante, having spoken very little during his time away, started to lose his voice early in the evening and so the meditation, rather than the usual guided meditation, was a silent one. With the majority of us, on the night, well practised, this was a chance for us to do, as a group, our own favourite meditations. Some prefer breath meditation while others prefer metta meditation. It made for a very pleasant meditation greatly appreciated by all.

After the meditation Bhante opened to questions relating to meditation and gave us a talk on the five hindrances that the Buddha detailed in the very early suttas. Very sadly all too soon we ran out of time. We would all have happily stayed for several more hours. One doubts whether Bhante's voice would have held out that long though.  Especially when we consider that since returning to Australia, he has had to speak a great deal.  Bhante was recently on ABC Radio National, to listen to or download his interview, please click here.

An excellent evening with Bhante Sujato appreciated by all and one we hope Bhante will be willing and able to to repeat soon.

 

 

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Ajahn Brahm teaches us about how to program our mind and Ajahn instructs us to mindfully give ourselves a clear instruction three times.

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Ajahn begins by explaining what meditation is likely to be to beginners, those of us that have never meditated before.  Ajahn brings our attention to our attitude when we wish to meditate, if our mind isn't settled or is in the negative, we struggle.  Ajahn further explains some of the hindranses that cause us to lose our focus during meditation.  The clock on the wall, the traffic going past.  Ajahn encourages us to simply be an observer and not to engage in these distractions.

To start the meditation, Ajahn encouraged us to relax, get comfortable and just be.  Ajahn guided us through a full body scan before guiding us in a 30 minute meditation.  Just be here, beautifully cool room, nice people around us.

After meditation Ajahn gave us a talk and opened to questions after bringing us all to laughter with light hearted humour.

 

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Meditation guided by Ajahn Brahm. We apologise the introductory talk was accidently not recorded.

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