It was Vesak day on Tuesday and Ajahn Cittapalo joined us at AMG. Vesak Day commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha in the Theravada or southern tradition. Ajahn having attended Vesak celebrations at Dhammaloka on Sunday, where many people took refuge by becoming Buddhist, noticed that for many, the five precepts are hard and fast rules. Many of us do the same when we meditate. We try too hard and become disenchanted when we fail.
Ajahn would never say that it is ok to consume alcohol, rather that we consider that we really should try to stop. So it is with our meditations. When random thoughts occur, we should simply let them come and go. Don't get entangled, but don't try too hard and be overly critical that the thoughts continue. Over time the ability to simply stand back in your mind and watch will grow and the thoughts will be come less frequent. The same will happen with alcohol, each time we consume it, we consider it and do it less until we don't do it at all.
Ajahn tells us that our intentions matter more in all things. When we meditate, it is our intention to gain a peaceful mind that matters. Not being overly self critical for having thoughts. Just as with the five precepts, it is our intentions that matter.
Ajahn led us in a body scan to relax us then a very peaceful silent meditation.
After the meditation Ajahn continued his talk on our intentions, cautioning us all to not be too critical of our efforts both in life and meditation. After Ajahn concluded he joined the group in celebrating Vesak day.