Friday, June 23, 2017

The Meaning Of Life by Ajahn Brahm




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Phra Visuddhisamvarathera, known as Ajahn Brahmavamso, or simply Ajahn Brahm (born Peter Betts on 7 August 1951), is a British Theravada Buddhist monk. Currently Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia, the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, Patron of the Brahm Centre in Singapore, Spiritual Patron of the Bodhikusuma Centre in Sydney, and most recently, Spiritual Adviser to the Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project in the UK.

On 22 October 2009 Brahm along with Bhante Sujato facilitated an ordination ceremony for bhikkhunis where four female Buddhists, Venerable Ajahn Vayama, and Venerables Nirodha, Seri and Hasapanna, were ordained into the Western Theravada bhikkhuni sangha.

The ordination ceremony took place at Ajahn Brahm's Bodhinyana Monastery at Serpentine (near Perth, WA), Australia. There is no consensus in the wider tradition that bhikkhuni ordinations could be valid, having last been performed in Theravada communities over 1,000 years ago, though the matter has been under active discussion for some time. Brahm claims that there is no valid historical basis for denying ordination to bhikkunis.

I thought too when I was a young monk in Thailand that the problem was a legal problem, that the bhikkhuni order couldn’t be revived. But having investigated and studied, I’ve found out that many of the obstacles we thought were there aren’t there at all. Someone like Bhikkhu Bodhi [a respected Theravada scholar-monk] has researched the Pali Vinaya and his paper is one of the most eloquent I’ve seen – fair, balanced, comes out on the side of “It’s possible, why don’t we do this?”

For his actions of 22 October 2009, on 1 November 2009, at a meeting of senior members of the Thai monastic sangha, held at Wat Pah Pong, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, Brahm was removed from the Ajahn Chah Forest Sangha lineage and is no longer associated with the main monastery in Thailand, Wat Pah Pong, nor with any of the other Western Forest Sangha branch monasteries of the Ajahn Chah tradition.

Whilst still a junior monk, Brahm was asked to undertake the compilation of an English-language guide to the Buddhist monastic code - the vinaya - which later became the basis for monastic discipline in many Theravadan monasteries in Western countries.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Just This - The Bhiya Sutta by Doug Phillips

This talk by Doug Phillips is on one of my favourite Suttas, the Bhiya Sutta.



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Douglas Phillips is founder and guiding teacher of Empty Sky Vipasssa Sangha and a long time practioner of Vipassana and Zen. His teaching is strongly influenced by Vimala Thakar and J. Krishnamurti.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Emptiness And Solitude by Stephen Batchelor

In this talk Stephen Batchelor explores the concept of emptiness and the fact that both it and solitude are described in relation to what is lacking.



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Friday, May 05, 2017

In Between Experience by Gil Fronsdal

Gil Fronsdal is the primary teacher for the Insight Meditation Centre in Redwood City, California; he has been teaching since 1990. He has practised Zen and Vipassana in the U.S. and Asia since 1975. He was a Theravada monk in Burma in 1985, and in 1989 began training with Jack Kornfield to be a Vipassana teacher. Gil teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre where he is part of its Teachers Council. Gil was ordained as a Soto Zen priest at the San Francisco Zen Centre in 1982, and in 1995 received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman, the abbot of the Berkeley Zen Centre . He is currently serving on the SF Zen Centre Elders’ Council.




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Friday, April 28, 2017

A Concept of Self by Joseph Goldstein

One of our Sangha members suggested that the series of talks on the Satipatṭhāna Sutta by Joseph Goldstein might be appropriate for the Thursday Zen meetings. As I suspected they are just too long at an average of an hour for each talk. However, I did manage to find the following talk at a mere 45 minutes.

But what I also discovered when checking as to whether or not we had already had this talk was that we hadn't had ANY talks by Joseph Goldstein before!

So enjoy this classic on the real nature of The Self.



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Friday, March 10, 2017

The Noble Eightfold Path by Jill Shepherd

This is a series of talks on the Noble Eightfold Path by Jill Shepherd. She began practising insight meditation in Thailand in 1999, and since that time has lived and worked at several meditation centres and monasteries in the US, Australia, England, and Thailand.

She recently spent seven years on staff at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, where she participated in several long retreats and Buddhist study programmes, as well as offering weekly meditation classes at a nearby men’s prison. She is a graduate of the IMS / Spirit Rock teacher training program in the US, under the guidance of Joseph Goldstein and Gil Fronsdal.

Developing Wisdom, The Four Noble Truths And An Overview Of The Noble Eightfold Path.



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Right View And Right Thought



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Right Speech



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Right Action And Right Livelihood



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Right Effort



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Right Mindfulness Right Concentration



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Friday, February 24, 2017

Karma; Reframing An Imponderable by Tony Bernhard

A new and refreshing take on the significance of the concept of Kharma by Tony Bernard.

Tony Bernard is an ordained Chaplain and teacher. He maintains an active practice with inmates in Folsom Prison and hosts sitting groups in Davis. He sits on the board of the Sati Center for Buddhist Studies and teaches regularly around the Bay Area and Central Valley. His practice is non traditional, guided by his chaplaincy work in prison, his teaching and by his study of the early Pali scriptures.




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Friday, February 10, 2017

Awakening by Shaila Catherine

Awakening is the profound aim of the spiritual life. Awakening is not described as a mystical goal,
we wake up to the four noble truths. We look squarely at the world and recognize that we cannot fix it, and through this clarity we realize the end of suffering. Enlightenment does not imply a separation from life, instead, it brings us to face the reality of lived experiences without resistance. Profound realization brings a deep equanimity and peace into every encounter; it is defined as the ending of greed, hatred, and delusion. Awakening is known through the result—the end of defilements, craving, and ignorance. This talk teases out the meaning of several difficult "D" words: disenchantment, dispassion, detachment. These terms do not imply an aversive response to experience, instead they play a vital role in the process of awakening. The talk explores profound spiritual experiences. It considers the danger of arrogance and conceit arising, clinging to, and corrupting enlightenment experiences. It discusses how to express, describe, and speak about our spiritual awakenings without identification.



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Friday, February 03, 2017

Birthing The Quiet Mind by Rodney Smith

Another great talk by Rodney Smith. Here he talks of how the constant chatter and dialog of opinion in our minds drowns out the stillness and quiet of reality and what to do about it........








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Friday, January 27, 2017

Inside Vasubandhu's Yogacara by Ben Connelly

This fascinating and lively talk is by Ben Connelly, a Soto Zen teacher and Dharma heir in the Katagiri lineage. He teaches at Minnesota Zen Meditation Centre. Ben is also a professional musician and teaches mindfulness in a wide variety of secular contexts. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.






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Friday, January 06, 2017

The Art Of Samadhi by Brian Lesage

In this talk Brian Lesage explores the art of cultivating samadhi by offering an initial understanding of it and its importance in relation to the whole of the Buddha's teaching of the Four Noble Truths.



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