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65 Responses to “Ask a Bhikkhu”

  1. watsriboenruang March 15, 2011 at 6:41 PM #

    Anonymous said…

    I have heard that in bhuddism you tell people they should not love their families.This sounds not good.
    Jeff

    Chuntawongso said…

    Hi Jeff. There seems to be a slight misunderstanding of the teaching of the Buddha here.
    We talk about not being attached to things in buddhism.Knowing that all things are subject to change we need to be able to accept that even families can cause us to suffer.The most loving relationships can lead to suffering.Couples break up,one of the partners dies.A child can be killed. All of these things lead to suffering.Non attachment does not mean not loving, or not caring.It means accepting that the things or the people we hold dearest to us we must eventually let go of.

    fred said…

    We should love all beings…without attachment and without expecting anything in return.

  2. watsriboenruang March 15, 2011 at 6:41 PM #

    Hello Phra. I have a couple of questions regarding events in Japan.
    1) Is it the kamma of all these people to die like this?
    2) Is it the kamma of Japan because of what they did in the war?
    – Darryl K

    Chuntawongso said…

    Hi Darryl. Thanks for your question.
    First of all we all have great sympathy for the people of Japan.
    As for your your questions, the first thing I have to say is that I have no way of knowing the answer to the first part of your question.
    While it may have been the fruition of past kamma for some of the people to die this way, it may not have been.I will post a note on not everything being due to kamma for you to read.
    The second part of your question I will deal with now.
    The idea that these people died as a result of something that their nation did over 70 years ago is not a Buddhist concept.
    Paying for the sins of the father up to 7 generations is found in the bible, not in the pali suttas. We are heirs of our own kamma, not of any other persons kamma.
    I hope that this helps.
    Phra Greg

  3. Ngawang March 29, 2011 at 9:35 AM #

    Dear Bhante

    I have two questions. What happens if a monk:

    i) Needs to take medication in the evening which is to be taken ‘after food’?
    ii) For health reasons has been advised by the doctor to engage in vigorous exercise?

    • watsriboenruang March 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM #

      Hi Ngawang.
      The Vinaya Pitaka in the Theravada tradition makes allowances under certain circumstances, such as the taking of medicines after eating. A monk who is ill may even take food for the sake of his health after midday if this is deemed necessary. The original reason for the laying down of a rule regarding eating came about as some monks, in the Buddhas day, were taking advantage of the devotees and just turning up at any time to get a free feed.
      In regards to exercise this is something that I would need to check to be absolutely sure of. The walking meditation that we do is often enough excercise for most people, increasing blood circulation, a great cardiovascular workout and also aids in the digestion of food.
      There is an exercise that Kruh Baa showed Phra Fred and I once. I will try to find the video and post it.

      With metta, Phra Greg

  4. watsriboenruang March 29, 2011 at 8:13 PM #

    Hi Tina. Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your situation.
    It sounds like you are really struggling at the moment.Before you can be a rock for anyone else you need to be a rock for yourself.I don’t know how much you know about Buddhism but we see in the teaching of the Buddha, that all conditioned phenomena is impermanent,unsatisfactory and not self.
    You speak of being scared at the moment due to your employment situation. My question is, “What good is this fear doing you?”All it is doing is tearing you apart.
    The bare truth is either A- You will soon get a job,or B, you will not get another job as soon as you may wish.
    All you can really do is keep looking for a job until one comes up.
    What we need to look at now is your meditation practice.
    You say that you are doing 8 minutes a day. No problem,
    but I want to be sure that you are doing it correctly.
    So here we go.
    First of all sit comfortably, keep your back as straight as you can, but not rigid.
    If you cannot sit with your legs crossed(lotus position not necessary) you can always sit in a chair.
    Close your eyes and bring your mind to the rising and falling of the abdomin.We are not trying to control the breath here.Just breathe normally.At the moment of the abdomin beginning to rise, bring the mind to know the rising, and just note-rising, rising, rising.When the abdomin begins to fall, just note-falling,falling, falling.Do this for the full movement of the rising and then for the full movement of the falling.Try to ensure that the rising, and the mind that knows the rising are happening at the same time.Try not to note rising before the rising begins-this is thinking in the future, and try not to begin noting the rising after the rising has started-this is thinking in the past.Try to have them occur at the same time(it takes practice, so don’t worry if you don’t get it at first).If while trying to note the rising and falling of the abdomin you find that your mind goes off wandering(thinking)then just note-thinking,thinking, thinking, and then gently bring the mind back to the object of meditation-the rising and falling of the abdomin.
    Try to see if you can do this for about 10 minutes a session.Don’t push yourself too hard.We can increase your sessions as you get more used to the meditation.
    Please try this and let me know how you get on.You may like to look at the note I posted on this site the other day called-I Can’t Meditate.You may find it encouraging.
    I will be here to try and guide you through this.Please remember that I am in Thailand and so we may be on fairly different time zones.
    When I work out how to do so, I will try to upload some videos to help you along.Remember-Don’t give up.
    With metta,Phra Greg.

    • Tina March 29, 2011 at 9:33 PM #

      Thank you, I will try this again today. Thank you so much.

  5. Tina March 30, 2011 at 9:17 PM #

    Hello! Well today I “medidated” for 10 minutes. I put the word in quotes becuz I am quite certain if one can fail at this I am. Perhaps a better understanding to the “purpose” of meditating would be helpful. I thought one was suppose to reflect, see a light…..feel inspired. I’m antsy….bored almost. I know it will become a valuable tool and I have no desire to quit trying…..these are just my raw, unfiltered thoughts. Perhaps if I quit pretending everything I do is amazing, and my life is perfect I can get to the root of my unhappiness that I sit in silence with. Thank you.

    • watsriboenruang March 30, 2011 at 9:55 PM #

      Hi Tina. Congratulations on your break through to 10 minutes. I won’t give you too many answers at the moment as sometimes things can get confusing and we just start getting more and more thoughts.
      I will say that there are different types of meditation,but the one I teach does not encourage looking for lights etc.
      What we are trying to achieve here is a calm mind that you will be able to retain even when you are not sitting in a state of meditation.
      I have a question for you today Tina.
      When you are doing your meditation, rising, falling, rising, falling–What is more, the mind that is on the rising, or the mind that is off thinking? What percentage is the mind able to stay with the rising, and what percentage is off wandering?
      Due to our time difference, I may not see your reply for a while, so in the mean time, stick with your 10 minute session. Perhaps you can find the time to do this 2-3 per day.I will get back to you when I can to see how the mind is going with staying with the rising and falling of the abdomin.
      Remember, we don’t meditate to get anything.
      We meditate to get rid of things.
      Keep up the good work Tina. We can get through this.
      Phra Greg

      • watsriboenruang March 30, 2011 at 10:09 PM #

        Tina,are you on Skype? If you are you can send a message to me on my facebook account and we may be able to speak together, 1 on 1. If you are could you let me know where it is that you live so that we can work out the time difference between your home and Thailand.

  6. Emmy April 12, 2011 at 4:43 AM #

    Hi Phra Greg,

    Hope you are well. I have a couple of questions for you:

    1) On the day that I practice 8 precepts, can I take vitamins/mineral supplement after noon? (They involve swallowing only, not chewing.) I’m not “sick” but there’s a certain mineral supplement that the doctor suggested I take 3 times a day.

    2) In one of your posts to Tina above, you wrote, “keep your back as straight as you can, but not rigid.” When I meditate, can I lean my back against the wall to make sure that my back is straight? Or is that not recommended?

    Thank you very much ka!

    With utmost respect,
    Emmy

    • watsriboenruang April 12, 2011 at 5:43 AM #

      Hi Emmy. Yes it is fine to take vitamin supplements after midday.They come under the catergory of medicine and so this is allowable.
      In regards to your back, you could use a wall to help keep your back straight, as long as you have your butt up close to the wall so you are not leaning backwards. Leaning backwards can make you fall asleep.

      • Emmy April 12, 2011 at 9:53 AM #

        Thank you, Phra Greg, for your quick response. Hope Bhante Dr Apisit will have a wonderful stay at the temple. Happy Songkran to you and all monks! šŸ™‚

      • watsriboenruang April 13, 2011 at 8:29 AM #

        Happy Songkran Emmy.

  7. JC August 17, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    Hi, some questions,
    1.) In the commentaries it is said that arhatship is only possible in
    the first 1000 years of the Sasana, non-returnership the first 2000,
    once-returnership the first 3000, and stream-entry the first 4000, after
    this only erudites will know of the Awakened One’s teachings. IN light of this, for those who want to achieve arhatship, I would like to ask if its possible to achieve it as a deva or brahma?
    2.) If one has sex with a courtesan without knowledge that she is married before the deed but only revealed it to you after the deed, is this a breach of the third precept? What if a husband gives consent to the wife that she can have sex with other men? would this be a breach of the third precept for the other man?
    3.) I’ve got a paragraph of a section of the Pali Tipitaka here about effort, I was hoping you could help me translate it?

    It said that the Awakened One said “Viriyavato kim nama kammamna sijjhati” which means “To a person with viriya(effort),nothing is impossible.”
    You can find “Viriyavato kim nama kammamna sijjhati” in ā€œParamaththadepani Sangahapahatikapathaā€. It is mentioned in the ā€œChetasika Sangahaā€ chapter.
    Hereā€™s the Pali text of the same..
    VÄ«rassa kammasÅ«rassa bhāvo kammavā vÄ«riyaį¹ƒ. Taį¹ƒsamaį¹…gÄ« puggalo hi kammasÅ«ro hoti. Mahantaį¹ƒpi kammaį¹ƒ appakato gaį¹‡hāti. Dukkaraį¹ƒpi sukarato, bhāriyaį¹ƒpi abhāriyato gaį¹‡hāti. Attakilamathaį¹ƒ nagaį¹‡eti. Kammasiddhiyā niccaį¹ƒ paggahita kāya cittova hoti. Tasmā taį¹ƒ tassa puggalassa tathāpavattiyā hetubhāvoceva tathāpavattassa ca tassa puggalassa kāya cittakriyābhÅ«taį¹ƒ hotÄ«ti. Vidhināvā nayena upāyena vÄ«riyavato kiį¹ƒ nāmakammaį¹ƒ na sijjhatÄ«tiādikena pubbābhisaį¹…khārena Ä«rayitabbaį¹ƒ pavattayitabbanti vÄ«riyaį¹ƒ. Visesenavā sakaparahitahetu Ä«ranti kampanti taį¹ƒ samaį¹…gino etenāti vÄ«riyaį¹ƒ. Etthaca vÄ«riyu patthambhitā sampayuttadhammā sadā anikkhittadhurā paggahitasÄ«sāviya hutvā attano attano kiccasampattiyā niccaį¹ƒ ussāhajātāva honti, tesuca tathāhontesu taį¹ƒsamaį¹…gino puggalāpi attanovā paresaį¹ƒvā hitahetu niccaį¹ƒ byāvaį¹­akāyacittā honti. Tasmā Ä«ranti kampantÄ«ti
    vuccantÄ«ti. Tathā hi taį¹ƒ upatthambhanalakkhaį¹‡anti ca paggahalakkhaį¹‡anti ca ussāhalakkhaį¹‡anti ca gehassa thÅ«į¹‡Å«patthambhana sadisanti ca sammā āraddhaį¹ƒ sabbasampattÄ«naį¹ƒ mÅ«lanti ca vuttanti.
    Can you translate the the context of the phrase “To a person with viriya(effort),nothing is impossible” in this paragraph to English?

    • watsriboenruang August 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM #

      Hi JC. Thanks for your questions.
      First of all I will need a little time in regards to the pali – english translation so please bear with me.

      In regards to your first question.
      i am not sure that I can agree with the time frame that is sometimes mentioned. The reason for this is I have personally met people that I am convinced, due to a variety of reasons , are in fact Arahats, and if not, non returners.
      I have to wonder if this is not largely due to the Suttas having been written down, thereby slowing down the decline of teachings, although they do continue declining.
      In regards to the part of your question about achieving Nibbana in the Deva worlds, for some the answer is definately yes.
      I cannot recall which Suttas state this off the top of my head, but it is in there for sure.

      Now to the second question.
      As Kamma is intent, then I would imagine that to go with a married person, unknowingly, would probably not be a breach of the bthird precept, to continue in the relationship would.
      In regards to the husband giving permission, even if this was due to the wife wishing for this, I believe it would be a breach.
      The precept makes it clear that sex with a married person is not a virtuous act, it does not give an exception to this rule.
      With metta,
      Phra Chuntawongso.

  8. Nats October 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM #

    Hello all,

    i would classify myself as a first year student of buddhas teachings – mainly involved in learning the teachings theory at the moment and applying them slowly in daily life. I view the practice as a 24/7 activity.

    My question:
    Nowhere in the teachings of dependent arising, the 5 aggregates and anatta – can i find an explanation of how the decisions for any action come about or happen. If there is no “I” doing all this, which is understood, how does the deciding or choosing process, come about to do anything?…from beeing mindful, to deciding of what to be mindful of, to choosing to to think and study or to choose to make a meal…or to choose anything, really.

    Consciuosness itself is dependently arising, ok.
    Somewhere, somehow there is memory, ok. With or within conciousness, i don’t know yet.

    But how does the deciding process arise? Where in the chain of dependently arising phenomena can i find it? If there is a choice – to practice mindfulnes for example, or to not do it – how does that choice come about and who or what chooses or how does choice arise and how are decisions made?

    I hope i have made myself clear. It was kind of difficult to even “word” my question.

    I am so looking forward to your answer. Thank you very much.
    Lots greetings from
    Nats

    • watsriboenruang October 28, 2011 at 7:03 PM #

      Dependent origination doesn’t attempt to answer the question put, it is not a general formula, but a specific one (part of idapaccayatā, conditionality), meant to show how birth occurs.

      However, it is the decisions that are made in the first part that get us there: Avijjāpaccayā saį¹…khārā, because of ignorance there are (volitional) processes.

      Here it is talking about good and bad actions of course, not general decisions, but they would arise in a similar way.

      I am not sure if that answers the question?

      • Nats October 29, 2011 at 1:27 PM #

        Hello watsriboenruang,

        thank you for trying to answer my question.

        I have found out in the mean time, that what i was asking about is volition or will or intention “cetana” and how that comes about.

        Since there is no choice in sense-door impressions,i was questioning the seeming choice in volition that there seems to be.

        “I” can not make “myself” not hear a soud happening, but “I” can choose to move or not move a leg in walking meditation or so it seems and the one choosing it seems to be “me”. So what is directing the mind in this way to make stuff happen? If absolutely everything is arising conditionally then why is there a choice? And what chooses or depending on what are choices made?

        Lots of greetings and thank you.

        Nats

      • watsriboenruang October 30, 2011 at 8:44 PM #

        The choices you have are grasping and aversion.
        As you say you do not make yourself hear a sound, but due to conditioning, you either like or dislike the sound that you hear.
        Remember that there is, in a conventional sense, you.
        From the time of your birth, you have been conditioned by family, friends and the society in which you live. Along with this, we also carry Kammic impressions that we may not be aware of, but are there anyway.
        What makes the mind react one way or the other is ignorance.
        It is important to remember that kamma is not some type of pre-determination.
        A person born into a poor family can become rich, a person born into a rich family can become poor.
        Kamma is not fatalism.
        So you see, we have choices that we all make.
        If you are sitting in meditation and there is a dog barking, you can choose whether or not you will allow this to make you angry, happy, or neither anger or happy.

  9. peter December 2, 2011 at 7:19 PM #

    Hello, I did a 10 day retreat at the Goenka center in Lampang in August, which was my first “guided” meditation experience, though I had been fiddling with it at home after reading various books on the subject. It was an interesting and valuable experience which left me with perhaps even more questions. How does your Vipassana teaching differ from that of the Goenka school (if you’re familiar with it)? I wasn’t able to ask many questions at the retreat and am left with so many riddles spinning around in my head and no one to set me straight. Would this be something I could address at your temple?

    I am in Chiang Mai until around 20 January and would be interested in spending some time at your temple. However, I don’t have 10 days to spare in this period. In reading on your site, I see that shorter time periods are sometimes possible. How do things look between now and the 20th of January? Would a 4 or 5-day stay be possible?

    Having read a number of books on Vipassana and having attended the 10-day course, I am still curious as to how observing the bodily sensations translates into an understanding of impermanence. As I understand it, these sensations are vibrations rising and falling away instantaneously. Thus they are impermanence manifested. I can understand that intellectually but it doesn’t seem to register in a more profound way. Is there some point that one reaches where this knowledge just sort of “kicks in” and becomes part of you, without you having to think it?

    Thanks so much, Peter

    • watsriboenruang December 2, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

      Hi Peter.
      First off, yes I am familiar with the Goenka method of meditation, but by no means an expert.
      I know that for some people it is a difficult coarse to go through and I often hear people say they left with a fair amount of confusion.
      On the other hand I also know of many people who have benefited greatly by their experience and continue using this method as their preferred method.
      The Mahasi method focuses on the rising and falling of the abdomen and the four major postures as well as the six sense doors.
      We balance our meditation sessions equally with walking meditation and sitting meditation.
      Our students also start with shorter sessions, as opposed to the Goenka method of 1 hour sitting from the start.
      Your guided meditation here will include daily question and answer sessions with myself where we can discuss various aspects of things that may arise during your meditation session.
      There is also an introductory talk to help you to understand why we meditate, talks on impermanence and some general Dhamma talks, all designed to give you a greater understanding of things.
      Is there a point where this knowledge just “sort of kicks in”.
      Yes. This is the way it tends to happen. Remember all things are momentary.
      I can arrange a shorter stay for you if you wish.
      To arrange your stay here at the temple, go to the contacts page and leave a message there, stating the days which you would like to stay and I can then make your booking.
      In the mean time, if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.
      With metta,
      Phra Greg Chuntawongso

      • peter December 2, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

        Greg,

        What an amazing service you are providing. I came back to the site to correct a mistake in my first post (the center is in Lamphun, not Lampang) and found you had already responded. Incredible. Thank you.

        Do I have any other questions? Yes of course! So many. I feel like a complete beginner but I suppose I am less of a beginner than someone who has never done any meditation or retreats. Will I be in sync with other folks at the temple? Will the meditation sessions feel too “lightweight” for me? I am also concerned that I will become even more confused when learning the Mahasi method as there will be conflicts with the Goenka method. Do you have any insight into that? To be honest, I am interested to try another method specifically to explore these differences but cannot deny that I am anxious about adding even more gasoline bombs to my bonfire of doubts. How does one explain the contradictory meditation methods that abound? The Goenka method claims to be the method truest to that of Gautama and the only way to reach true liberation. But I would bet my bottom dollar other methods make the same claim. How is one to know which path to take? Or perhaps they are all relevant, despite the Goenka claims.

        Thanks again, Greg. It is wonderful to have a sounding board for these questions and doubts. They have been on my mind for some time.

        PS: For some reason, I am also adverse to prostrating before a buddha image or any image, for that matter. It seems like blind adulation to me and real respect will be in ones heart and mind, not in some requisite action. So who are we showing off to? I can do it if I have to but admit that it makes me uncomfortable. Comments?

  10. peter December 5, 2011 at 10:47 PM #

    Dear Phra Greg,

    Sorry for the delay in replying. I guess I have a lot to learn about the way time is spent at your monastery. I didn’t actually see a link or anything on the website explaining that so I based my ideas on my past experience. Oops! There I go living in the past. My comment about being out-of-sync was based on an over-night meditation experience I had in the past where things were geared toward giving a brief overview of buddhism and meditation, not really toward serious meditation, not that I am anything but a novice… The two ends of the same stick is a nice analogy. I’m sure many of these questions that I have fall by the wayside as one progresses or the answers become clear(er). As far as prostrating before the buddha, I can understand it from a humility perspective as a way to banish the ego. As far as showing respect to the buddha, he doesn’t care about that, correct? Is respect the same as humility? I suppose it rather is, two ends of the same stick.

    It sounds wonderful having a chance to speak with the teacher on such an intimate level. I sort of got the feeling that Goenka wants you to struggle with the personal questions that arise, as I found myself frustrated/angry/scared by not being able to ask about my doubts. Perhaps this is all premeditated on Goenka’s part, to force you to break through the suffering.

    So are the folks staying at the temple (non monks) all on different schedules? Is there complete silence? No books, writing, etc…? Wake up at 4, bed at 22? I’m curious as to the routine.

    Thanks Phra Greg.

    • watsriboenruang December 6, 2011 at 8:29 PM #

      Hi Peter.
      In regards to respect for the Buddha, this is just something we give for his teaching of the Dhamma.
      When I was at school, there were a few teachers who I respected because of the way they taught, and because they genuinely had our welfare at heart.
      Of course when Lord Buddha was about to enter into parinibbana, he was asked how we should worship him after he was gone,who was going to teach us and who should take his place.
      Lord Buddha said that we should not worship him, the Dhamma was to be our teacher, and that no one was needed to take his place, he had taught well, all that needs to be taught.

      In regards to the Goenka retreats, I remember at the place I did my retreat we had daily small group meetings with the teacher and we could also make an appointment to speak with him on a one to one basis if needed.

      When I began studying vipassana meditation here in Thailand, we had daily private meetings with our teacher, where we not only received instructions for our next 24 hours, but we also were given the opportunity to ask questions in relation to our practice.
      This was an invaluable aid to both the teacher and the student.
      When I did my teaching course I sat in on many sessions and eventually, under the guidence of my teacher began to use the same method. This is how I teach today.
      So basically yes, people who come to stay here are often on different schedules.
      We also have people arriving on different days.
      The temple stay which you will have read about the most on this blog is not a retreat as such.
      What we aim to do is an introduction to Theravada Buddhism, with Dhamma talks, guided vipassana meditation, and also some discussions on Thai culture in general.
      The day starts at about 6:15 am, when our guests accompany us on alms rounds.
      The schedule is fairly loose and flexible, though we attempt to hold the Dhamma talk at the same time every day and the same with the meditation instruction.
      Noble silence is not applied, however I do (try to) get the guests to only engage in noble speech.

      As you may know, we have purchased some land where we will be building an International Vipassana Center.
      This land is located next to where our old temporary center is.
      If you would like to come for a silent retreat, my Abbot, Bhante Dr. Apisit will fix up some of our old meditation huts so that we can move in and use it.
      Here is a proposed schedule and the rules for meditators wishing to do a retreat.

      Wat Sri Boen Ruang InternationalMeditationCenter
      Fang, Thailand
      Meditators schedule:

      Day 1- Registration Day.
      Meditators should arrive at the main temple between 9:00am and 14:00 pm for registration and orientation.

      15:00- Going for refuge and taking 8 precepts.
      This will be followed by a short talk and Vipassana meditation instruction.
      (Noble silence begins here)
      Meditators will now begin individual practice.
      17:00- 1 hour group meditation. This will also involve a short talk by your teacher.
      18:00- Individual practice.
      20:00- 1 hour group meditation.
      21:00- Evening chanting.
      21:30- Sleep.

      Daily Schedule
      04:30- Wake up.
      05:00- Morning chanting- Taking 8 precepts.
      1 hour group meditation.
      06:15- Individual practice.
      Monks and novices- alms rounds.
      07:30- Alms round in center- Breakfast, followed by free time and/ or individual practice.
      09:00- 1 hour group meditation.
      10:00- Individual practice.
      11:00- Lunch, followed by free time and/or individual practice.
      13:00- 1 hour group meditation.
      14:00- Individual practice.
      15:00- Reporting, followed by individual practice.
      17:00- 1 hour group meditation.
      18:00- Individual practice.
      20:00-1 hour group meditation.
      21:00-Chanting.
      21:30-Sleep.

      Schedule- Day 10.

      04:30-Wake up.
      05:00-Chanting- Taking 5 precepts.
      05:15-1 hour group meditation.
      06:15-Individual practice.
      Monks and novices- alms rounds.
      07:30-Alms round in center- Breakfast.
      08:30-Tidy rooms. Make sure you have all belongings and return keys to office.
      Noble Silence ends- Noble Speech begins.
      09:00-Monk Chat (Optional)

      Please note that chanting and group meditation are compulsory.
      Alms rounds for monks and novices is compulsary, unless there is good reason not to go.

      Every tuesday, thursday and saturday there will be a Dhamma talk at 20:00 hours.
      Dhamma talks will also be held on Buddha days at 20:00 hours.

      Rules For All meditators.
      1- Meditators will observe Noble Silence from the afternoon of day 1 until the morning of day 10 when Noble Silence will be broken and Noble Speech will be observed.

      2- All meditators will observe the 8 precepts while on the course. The meditation center is part of the temple and therefore these precepts are expected to be kept.

      3- Meditators should dress in loose, white, non transparent clothing while on retreat.

      4- Meditators should keep a respectful distance between them selves and the monastics.
      Women should not sit, stand or walk to closely to any monks or novices.
      Men should keep a respectful distance from Mae chees.

      5- There should be no romantic talk or gestures displayed amongst fellow guests.

      6- No mobile phones, laptops, radios, etc, are allowed to be used while on the retreat.

      7- When meeting with your teacher each day, please answer, honestly any questions he or she may ask. Keep your answers to the point and do not engage in discussions not relevent to your practice.

      These rules are intended to make everyones stay here at the center as pleasant and rewarding as possible.

      • peter December 8, 2011 at 1:48 PM #

        Dear Phra Greg,

        I didn’t realize you had replied already. At the Goenka retreat we did have the opportunity twice a day to speak with the teacher, however, he was Thai and I cannot speak much Thai. There was a translator available but the back and forth was very difficult and I found it hard to express myself. You have heard of the movie, “Lost in Translation”? Anyhow, you get the idea. Also, perhaps my expectations were for something else. Being in silence with very little, if any, back and forth with the teacher, during the intense 10 days was difficult. You devote so much effort to what you’re doing and when you feel like you are going down the wrong street with the technique you want to correct it and not “waste” all that effort. Anyway, sounds like a great learning experience at your Wat and as soon as I know when I can spare the time I will set something up if it coincides with space at your Wat. The 10 days interests me also, for a later time, and sounds pretty similar to the Goenka as far as schedule.

        Thanks again, Peter

  11. peter December 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM #

    Hi again Phra Greg,

    Don’t feel obligated to answer these next questions as they are only curiosities on my part and I don’t want to take up your time. I thought it was great how you admitted to having some issues with your ego coming up now and again. On a similar note of personal things:
    1. Do you miss anything from your pre-monk life and if so, what?
    2. Do you ever feel sexual desire or at least notice if another person is attractive to you?
    3. Do you ever feel lonely?
    4. Do you ever have feelings of regret toward choosing the monk’s life?

    I don’t want to invade your personal space but I’m curious, as I’m sure others are, as to what goes on in a monk’s head day to day.

    Thanks again, Peter

  12. Serkan December 8, 2011 at 2:33 AM #

    Hello dear Master Phra,

    First of all I would like to send my warm greetings from Istanbul, Turkey. Here there are many many good teachings, thank you for all. I have been trying to learn and practice Dharma both from Mahayana and Theravada schools for almost 1.5 years, and for a short while ago I decided to focus more on the Theravadin teachings. So far, I am trying to practice anapanasati, metta meditations (that I really love so much), and to read some suttas, and books from Burmese and Thai masters. I’d like to learn the Vipassana technique that you are teaching, and decided to ask you whether you may recommend some good books to me that I may find them in the net. Here, unfortunately we do not have any temple or monks that could guide me. Because of that I’d like to read, study and practice your technique. If you do not mind, I shall ask some questions to you through this wonderful blog.

    Thank you & kind regards,
    May all beings be happy. Om mani padme hum.

    Serkan.

    • watsriboenruang December 8, 2011 at 8:21 AM #

      Hi Serkan.
      Give me a day or two to check out anything online for you to read.
      I will say that all though there are many books on meditation, in my opinion books can never replace a personal teaching.
      However, I understand your situation.
      I have a question for you, which may help me decide the best path for you.
      What do you know about vipassana meditation,or what is your understanding of vipassana meditation?
      The reason I ask is it may be easier for me to give a video talk to you and possibly post some vipassana exercises on line for you to view.
      Are you on skype? If you are can you give me your skype name so I can contact you this way.
      My skype name is Phra Chuntawongso.
      Just remember we have a time difference between Turkey and Thailand.Probably 5 or 6 hours.
      With metta

      • Serkan December 9, 2011 at 5:17 AM #

        Dear Master, thank you for your directing me in thinking of what I understand from vipassana.. I just really want to learn, work on and internalize the below ideas although I feel that this task is really tremendously difficult:

        -learning and gaining skills on having a mind which has non-reactive awareness,
        – seeing contents of the mind, watching – observing the mind with non-reactive manner as much as possible,
        – not always hankering after what I like, and rejecting, getting rid of the ones that I dislike. – understanding upekkha in emotions, thoughts..try to apprehend the meaning of something that is beyond likes, dislikes …
        – Day by day more and more allowing myself, accepting the ideas that I have anger, irritation, many many desires, cravings, attachments, ambitions, lust or ill will..When they emerge, just wanna learn not to pressure them, but instead more allow them to emerge in a natural way. In those cases try to understand the meaning of anger, the sensations that it gives me…and not immediately associate it with the people, situations, blaming.others…
        – to have a silent mind, instead of reacting one,
        – when face with difficulties, try not to react in the first step, but to stop, and then try to look into and later if you can, let it go..
        – letting go of desire for happiness…

        I’d like to say that I have tried to read the book of Venerable Mahasi Sayadow, namely Practical Vipassana Exercises. But this book came to me very difficult to apply as a meditation technique although I enjoyed so much his book, Brahma Vihara Dhamma. On the other hand, I liked more the one, Living Meditation, Living Insight of Dr. Thynn Thynn. More exercises that one may apply them into one’s daily life.. Both books are available in the following link if you just wanna glance (http://buddhanet.net/ebooks_m.htm).

        Anyway, I found myself that I wrote too much :((( sorry for this if I bothered you Master. I will open a skype account in following days.

        Thank you so much, and best regards.

  13. Isabelle December 14, 2011 at 3:58 AM #

    Really nice website, a lot of interesting posts. I would be interested in trying monastic life in such a place but I guess here it’s only for men…Do you know if there is a place where women can becme novice for a while? I know that women don’t ordain but just stay with 10 precepts, if I am not wrong…
    Thanks for your reply, and sorry for the eventual mistakes, I am french.

    • watsriboenruang December 14, 2011 at 6:35 PM #

      Hi Isabelle.
      The Mae Chees tend to be on 8 precepts as 10 preceptors are actually Samaneri.
      The 8 preceptor Mae Chees have a slightly different precept ceremony to other lay 8 preceptors.
      I have spoken to my Abbot and we are able to do this here, if you wish to come and stay for a while.
      If you are actually interested in taking the 10 precepts of the Samaneri(female novice)then contact me again and I will see if i can find out where this can take place.
      Despite what some people may say it is possible to ordain as a Bhikkhuni here in Thailand, but there are not many places where the Abbot is currently authorised to carry this out.

  14. Kent Soh January 17, 2012 at 7:17 AM #

    Dear Master Phra Greg,

    I chance upon this web from Thai Visa as my heart been searching answers to buddhism dharma and percepts.

    I am Singaporean, I would appreciate if you would be able to assist me in several queries that I have in my thoughts:

    1] As a Singaporean, I am given a 3o days Tourist Visa. I have intention to be ordinate as a Novice Monk for 3 weeks. However, if I decides to extend between 2-3months. Would the temple be able to assist in providing documents of extension letter to Thai Immigration ?

    2] Should my heart decides to follow the path of living full time as a monk, would Wat Sri Boen Ruang be able to provide Letters of Support for long time visa and stay in Wat Sri Boen Ruang.

    • watsriboenruang January 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM #

      Hi Kent.
      Welcome to our blog.
      The best thing to do is to apply for a multiple entry tourist visa.Preferably a triple entry.
      This way you will get 60 days per entry.
      This should be plenty of time to take care of things if you decide to ordain full time.
      If you do make this choice, then we can certainly help with the paper work to change your visa status for Thailand.
      Both Phra Fred and myself have gone through this procedure and are now comfortable with all the paper work needed and the various agencies that need to be visited.
      If you do wish to ordain as a Bhikkhu we will certainly be happy to have you stay with us.
      If you need anymore information please feel free to ask.
      With metta,
      Chuntawongso Bhikkhu(Phra Greg)

      • Kent Soh January 17, 2012 at 10:39 PM #

        Good Day Master Phra Greg,

        My heartful thanks for your speedy response.

        I have check with Thailand Embassy in Singapore, unfortunately, they do not issue Multiple Entries Visa for Singaporean. The officers told me that a temple need to issue a Letter of Guarantee (Sponsorship) and with that letter, I would be able to get a 90day Stay Visa.

        I also understand that there are a limit of 7 times to disrobe as a Bhikkhu (not that I am planning) but I would like to during the two phase to walk the path of a Bhikkhu eg. shaving head and eyebrows, following the schedules of Bhikkhu etc.

        I am planning my schedule as follows –

        1st Phase – Between 10 – 21 days stay (Planning 5th – 18th Feb still tentative)
        2nd Phase – Between 1 – 3 months stay
        3rd Phase – When my heart is ready to follow the path of a monk.

        I would sincerely appreciate if I could have your email to discuss in detail of the ordination and other miscellaneous queries eg. Whtie / Yellow Saffon Robes, Alm Bowl etc as I do not wish to hog this section for all my queries. Hope you understand my intention.

        Also if it is possible your mobile for me to call you instead.

        Yours sincerely,
        Kent

      • watsriboenruang January 17, 2012 at 11:31 PM #

        Hi Kent.
        My email address is: phrachuntawongso@gmail .com
        I am going to try contact a Singaporean monk here in Fang about what he did.
        We can discuss things in a day or two.
        I may be quite busy over the next couple of days but will do the best I can.
        Speak to you soon.
        Phra Greg.

  15. Maya January 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM #

    Dear Dharma Masters,

    My question is pertaining to ‘false thinking’. Please allow me to give a brief detail of my practice… I have meditated before, but read that it is dangerous to do so without a guided instructor. My experience with meditation has been I experience and see deep infinite space, and can’t find my body, and that freaks me out a little bit so I disturb my meditation an come out. I used to go to sleep allowing myself to go into meditative trance, but of course I fall asleep and awaken seeing stars as if in space, but furniture in my room is there in background, and I have to rub my eyes for it, the space/stars to go away. So I realize that without a teacher to help me understand I should wait.

    I read the Sixth Patriarch Sutra of Bodhidharma by Master Hsuan Hua commentaries. In it it says you don’t have to sit to meditate only, you can apply the practice in everyday life…practicing of letting go of false thoughts that would normally arise during formal sitting meditation. I have been using this method. My false thoughts are still very much alive and persistent. Not so much like before I started, but I am not satisfied with my result. I am thinking maybe I am not applying the right method in letting go of false thoughts, because I am becoming increasingly in the present moment, but more forgetful, and the false thoughts still arise along with emotions. How I practice is when I am aware of the thought I let it go. Sometimes unwholesome thoughts arise and I try to analyze it. The more I analyze to save face the more predominate it hinders my practice thereby causing obstacles.

    The question I would like to ask is how do you let go of false thoughts, good and bad? My monkey mind has become a real pain, and it is causing me to loose the one thing I want more than anything right now besides being a Buddha is to be able to propagate the Buddhadharma in a monastic setting.

    Thank you for your time.
    Namo Buddhaya!

    • watsriboenruang January 18, 2012 at 7:33 PM #

      Hi Maya.
      This is quite a complex question and so I would like to do a video response in order to try and give the best answer that I can.
      I will post the video response in a day or two and notify you when it is uploaded.
      Don’t worry you are not doing as badly as you may think.
      With metta,
      Phra Greg

      • Maya January 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM #

        Dear dharma master Phra Greg,

        Firstly, I would like to say thank you for your quick response, and I look forward to the video. If you don’t mind, I would also like to add that today I had an eye opening experience. What I realized is the false thought’s has no essence in that it is not even a human. By that I mean, the human that is taken to be me. The thoughts have no soul if you will. There’s no entity that exists in false thoughts. I claimed them thoughts as me, mine all this time, but there’s nobody there. These thought’s just arise, again, and again, and again. The thoughts only regard is for the ‘I’. It is selfish. It only thinks of itself. Yes, I understand what is meant by the no self. Now where do I go from here?

  16. Maya January 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM #

    Sorry, excuse me dharma master Phra Greg… The five aggregates are empty of a self. I understand I must keep letting go of false thought’s and not attaching to them. The Feeling skandha is also from mind consciousness. Everything arise’s from the mind. Now I may be ready for some formal sitting meditation. All phenomenon that arises during meditation is to be let go like letting go of false thought’s, yes?

    Thank you again for your time. I understand you are very busy. Please take your time.

    Namo Buddhaya!

  17. turtle January 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM #

    Hello Phra Greg.

    I am another one with a complex question for you. First, some background on me. I have been learning the Dharma for a few years now, but have not had the opportunity to find a teacher. I live in an area where there aren’t many Buddhists, and there are no retreat centers, monasteries, or groups within hours of where I live. I also live a householder’s life, with a job, a husband, a house, pets, a toddler, and a baby on the way. All of these commitments make travel difficult. Instead I rely on audio teachings available on the web, books, and meditation practice. I practice with a small group of non-buddhists. We meet once a week to meditate and discuss books we read together. These tend to be popular books on Buddhism geared to a western audience, such as The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. I also try to meditate on a daily basis. Often these are short sittings or walking, maybe 5-20 mins depending on my energy. Lately I have been sitting or walking twice a day, when I first get up and before going to bed. I don’t know how long I will stay motivated to keep this up.

    Anyway, the question I have is, without having a teacher to work with, can one distinguish insight from delusion? How does one know when to let go of a thought? Is it better to let go of an insight than to risk being caught in delusion?

    I ask this because I have had a few persistent thoughts regarding the Dharma lately. There are a few of them, but they are all intertwined.

    The first is on no-self. Drawing on Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching of interbeing, Jack Kornfields use of the terms small self and large self, and Joseph Goldstein’s use of the word selfless to translate no-self I have come to understand no-self as a feeling of connectedness with everything. I am particularly struck by the word selfless, because in English this word is used to describe a kind, compassionate, generous, and perhaps even wise person. With this background I begin to wonder if the feeling, the realization, on no-self leads to a feeling of connectedness that naturally allows for the falling away of the three unwholesome roots of attachment, aversion, and delusion, and if the falling away of these unwholesome roots is the meaning or gateway to liberation. I then begin to wonder if birth is the cause of these unwholesome roots. That is, is it because we are born into an identity, on this realm into a body, that leads to the misunderstanding (delusion) that we all exist as separate identities, which in turns leads to an attachment to our own identity, which leads to other attachments, and also to aversion to anything we perceive as a threat to our own identity? Then doubt comes into play, and I wonder if I have just misunderstood the teachings, and if the thought that no-self is a connectedness with everything is just another way of clinging to the idea of a self.

    The second thought is on rebirth and Karma. Seeing no-self as a connectedness with everything, the idea of individual karma or the reincarnation of individuals feels overly simplistic. Instead, I feel drawn to metaphors from the physical world. My body is made up of chemical elements like hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. All of these elements had a history before they came together to make up this body. They will continue to exist even after this body decomposes. But to say that this body has been reincarnated doesn’t capture this process precisely. I also like to use baking as an analogy. In baking ingredients come together, like mixing flour, eggs, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and blueberries to make muffins. To say that these ingredients are reincarnated into a muffin feels silly. Even sillier is to say that the muffin is reincarnated onto my thighs, into this posting (by giving me the energy to stay awake to write), into waste, and the myriad of other outcomes that arise from eating a muffin. Reincarnation implies a more direct continuity than is seen in the change that happens on the physical realm. But still, I feel echos (I don’t think they are strong enough to be called memories) of past lives. Some are neutral, that flavor the landscapes and music I prefer. Some are beneficial, they call me to keep learning the Dharma. Some are dark, and they color thoughts I don’t share that persist. Then there is one that stands out as having taken a vow, perhaps the Bodhisattva Vow of the Mahayana tradition, to use all of the difficult circumstances in my life as a chance to move forward on the path, a chance to see my own shortcomings and to develop virtues like patience and lovingkindness more deeply. I don’t think I see these as being my past lives, lived in a sequential way. Rather they are just elements from lives past that have come together in the formation of this life, the life I call mine. Some aspects have been handed down through my parents, but some come from sources I cannot identify. Then I begin to wonder if I am crazy to have these thoughts, or if perhaps they are just a nice way view my current circumstances that explains things I don’t understand and keeps me motivated to keep practicing, but if the thoughts are based in delusion nonetheless.

    Anyway, there is more to the thoughts, but they are hard to organize into writing, and I have perhaps said more that I need to already. I’m not really sure what I am looking for. Would it be best just to let go of these thoughts? Do I need to find a teacher to work with? How can I find a teacher given the geographic obstacles in my life?

    Thank you very much for your time.

    • watsriboenruang February 2, 2012 at 3:40 PM #

      Hi Victoria, I have posted a video response.You can view it on youtube@ chuntawongsotube.

      • turtle February 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM #

        Venerable Chuntawongso Bhikku,

        Thank you very much for the video. I still cling to self very much, and it is interesting to feel how the self reacted to posting a question and getting a response. It’s funny because I felt much anxiety after posting, and almost had a hard time watching the video, but I found your answer very helpful. Thank you for helping me feel a little less crazy. I live in the northeastern corner of the state of Wyoming, USA, in a little town called Sheridan. The nearest city is Billings, MT, unless you count Casper, WY as a city. The New Kadampas (a Tibetan group) teach classes in Casper, its about a 2 hour drive. I wasn’t sure about the New Kadampa Tradition, so I went to one class but haven’t been to any recently. Maybe there are groups nearby I haven’t found yet, but I think most are in Colorado, which is a long drive for me.

        Victoria

  18. Naveen kumar February 1, 2012 at 8:34 PM #

    Venerable sir;

    I am from Delhi, India.
    I want to become a Buddhist monk and my father did not allowed me, i belongs to a Hindu family. I am 18 years old , is the parent permission still necessary?

    • watsriboenruang February 2, 2012 at 5:18 AM #

      Hi Naveen.
      It is not possible to ordain as a Buddhist monk, in the Theravada tradition at least, until you reach the age of 20 years.
      It is possible to ordain without your parents permission, but not usual.
      This would need to be discussed with your intended preceptor who would have to make the ultimate decision.
      With metta,
      Chuntawongso Bhikku.(Phra Greg)

  19. Dayna February 2, 2012 at 7:39 AM #

    Hello,

    I recently returned from a two-week meditation retreat in Thailand.

    I had such a positive experience during the retreat that I have continued, as instructed, to practice the in/out breath meditation. However, I unexpectedly found myself increasingly dissociating and growing more dissatisfied with my surroundings, or rather, with life when I am not meditating. I heard it is common to feel a major discrepancy between life at a retreat and life after. Since I do not have a teacher, I decided to stop meditating because I was concerned that I do not have the right guidance to continue. I started to feel as though regular life was a bit off and that maybe I should return for a more intensive retreat. I’ve read that it is advisable for beginner practitioners to participate in 1-2 month retreats in order to receive the proper guidance so they do not go down the wrong path. I wonder what your thoughts are on this. I do feel like I received too little guidance, but am wondering if there are circumstances when an intensive retreat might not be appropriate for an individual.

    Thank you!

    • watsriboenruang February 2, 2012 at 3:42 PM #

      Hi Dayna. I have posted a video response on youtube@ chuntawongsotube.

  20. holybrook February 19, 2012 at 5:11 PM #

    What I want to know is what does it mean to be a Buddhist? What does daily life entail for a Western, Buddhist lay person? Specifically how does Buddhism effect their lives, day by day?

    Meditation hasnā€™t been doing anything for me, I guess I shouldnā€™t expect it to. But I donā€™t feel any different, I donā€™t learn anything. I sit, I think about my breathing, I scan my body, I think about the feelings that occur, which all tend to be discomfort. Then when it ends, I feel a little calmer due to the breathing, but that vanishes after a minute or two and Iā€™m just as I was before meditation. Maybe Iā€™m not doing it right.

    Iā€™m still thoroughly enjoying the Buddhist teachings, the ideals and the morality. Meditation just doesnā€™t seem to be doing much for me and I donā€™t see how it really ties in to everything that Buddhism teaches.

    • watsriboenruang February 20, 2012 at 10:23 AM #

      Hi. I will try to post a video response to your question as soon as I get a little time.

    • watsriboenruang February 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM #

      Hi there.
      I just had a quick look at your blog.
      It seems that you are quite new to Buddhism and obviously have many questions.
      First of all I believe you will learn quite a lot from watching some of Ven. Yuttadhammo’s videos.
      He is an extremely good and competent teacher.
      Life as a Buddhist lay person really just entails trying to live your life by the 5 precepts.
      When we keep the precepts, we not only refrain from harming others, but we also refrain from harming ourselves, both now and in future lives.
      As far as your meditation is concerned, the first thing to remember is not to expect anything.
      Meditation is a process that, depending on the individual, and on past Kamma, that will take it’s own natural course.
      If we sit down to meditate, hoping for things to arise, we will often find ourselves being disappointed.
      This is because of craving, craving leads to greed, and greed leads to suffering.
      I cannot say if you are doing anything wrong as I do not exactly know what your practice is.
      The important thing is not to give up, however do not try too hard either.
      You need to use right effort as well as right concentration.
      Do you do walking meditation before you do your sitting meditation?
      When you are doing sitting meditation, just be aware of the rising and the falling of the abdomen.
      See the beginning, the middle, and the ending of the rising, and then just see the beginning……of the falling of the abdomen.
      If thoughts arise, just be aware of thinking, without becoming attached, or adverse to the thoughts.
      It is just thinking.
      It seems as if you are getting a few short periods of calmness during your practice and so you must see the benefits of meditation already.
      As your practice progresses,you will begin to get insight into the true nature of all conditioned phenomena.
      Go through Ven Yuttadhammo’s videos. He really does have some excellent things on meditation.
      Remember, don’t stop and don’t struggle. This is the way to cross the flood.
      With metta,
      Phra Greg

  21. Masaki Takeda February 20, 2012 at 5:47 AM #

    Hello, My name is Masaki Takeda,
    I was simply wondering if a person wants to become a monk but they also want to be a person who draws manga (graphic novel) and feels that they can help people through manga as well can they be still be a monk and draw comics.
    Thank You

    • watsriboenruang February 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM #

      Hi Masaki.
      I do not see any harm in wanting to be a monk and doing manga comics, if the reason for doing manga is to spread the Dhamma.
      I believe that manga is not only popular in Japan but has a world wide audience.
      I would be interested to see what sort of work you do if you have done some already.

      • Masaki Takedaa February 21, 2012 at 9:09 AM #

        thank you very much. I appreciate your help.

  22. Mey Sopheakdei March 20, 2012 at 7:49 AM #

    You are what you think!
    Your are the result what you have done.

  23. anya April 6, 2012 at 3:13 PM #

    Good afternoon,

    Firstly, thank you so much for this page.

    I would like to ask about the Theravadan Buddhism perspective on the idea of ‘self’. I come from a Yoga tradition where there is great value placed on the higher consciousness and of the value and, essentially, divine quality of each individual’s true nature. To recognise this in others as well as in one’s self can really help one to act with compassion for others and also with respect for themself. When reading about Buddhism, it seems that the concept of Anatta, or selflessness denies this. However, I am trying to understand this concept in a positive way. In a way, I see that to point to the importance of a ‘Self’ may just be the workings of the egoic mind, clinging to this life under a different guise. But I would like of course to believe that there is something- not necessarily unique- but divine in each person. What does Theravadan Buddhism say on this?

    Many thanks,
    Anya

    • watsriboenruang April 6, 2012 at 8:37 PM #

      Hi Anya.
      I will try to post a video response to your question in the next day or two.

  24. David K April 27, 2012 at 8:38 AM #

    hello, I have a question regarding dealing with cynical and vindictive people.
    two of the people i live with are almost insufferable with the amount of negative stuff
    that comes out. I used to be a positive person but now I am struggling to have a good thought without it changing to a negative one. I would like your advice on how i should deal with this situation without offending either or the two people i live with.
    David K

  25. Jonah May 15, 2012 at 7:34 AM #

    What is the role of Jhana and Samadhi in your approach to meditation?

    Thank you Bhante!

    • watsriboenruang May 15, 2012 at 2:35 PM #

      Hi Jonah. Your question raises a number of issues, from my own personal point of view.
      The actual meditation taught at the temple is really a combination of concentration and insight meditation.
      Of course it is possible( despite what some may say ) for Jhana to arise while practicing this way.
      I do not teach a method for attaining Jhana because I do not feel competent enough to do so and therefore will leave that up to others.
      I am concerned when people tell me that they “want” to attain one or more of the Jhanic states.
      While it may not be seen as a bad thing to desire, it is still a desire and therefore needs to be abandoned.
      Remember, meditation is about letting go, not about getting.
      Letting go of anger, lust and greed.
      As we begin to understand the hold these things have over us, then the other things (i.e. Jhana )can naturally begin to be developed.
      There are countless discussions, arguments, call them what you wish over the importance of one thing,over the importance of another thing.
      People will drag up a snippet from this sutta, grab a little from such and such a commentary and use this as a defense of a particular nmethod, while others will do exactly the same thing in order to defend their particular method.
      In my opinion, when people are arguing about which method is the best, or the only method, I would suggest that either way, these people need to practice more.
      The need to argue shows a lack of practice as there is way too much ego involved.
      I am hoping to find the time in the not too distant future to actually go and spend some time in a meditation center where the attainment of Jhana is the prime purpose( not sure that’s a good term of speech)so I can experience for myself the method taught.

  26. Marmot June 1, 2012 at 1:11 AM #

    Could you make a video about Buddhist ethics, and what makes something right or wrong in Buddhism? Without a God figure, how can things be good or bad?

    • watsriboenruang June 1, 2012 at 6:53 PM #

      Hi Marmot. I will try to post a video in the next couple of days..

  27. victoria June 10, 2012 at 6:00 AM #

    Hello again. I am looking for some suggestions on daily practice. Living the householder life with a full-time job outside the home and two boys under 3 years old leaves little energy for formal practice, but I try practicing mindfulness in daily activities like washing dishes. Lately I have noticed more thinking and would like to incorporate some formal practice, but am not sure what would be most beneficial if I only practiced a short time each day. At various times I have tried breath meditation, metta meditation, walking meditation, and reciting the refuges. If I only have time in the day for one of these practices is it best to stick with the same practice everyday or to rotate through them in a predictable order? And if I do stick with just one how do I choose? Also, if I like the Metta practice how do I choose a person or people for whom to practice Metta for?

    Lately my mind has been too restless for breath meditation to feel effective. It feels like my mind just jumps around and I get lost in thought. Metta meditation is a bit better in that my mind still wanders, but I am aware of the thinking and not as lost in it. But I have had trouble choosing a person to practice Metta for. I feel like I jump around, offering Metta to myself, then to family, then to a benefactor, then someone else, and never sticking with any one person for long, and worry that could be undermining my Metta practice.

    Could you talk a little about the different practices and when different practices are useful, as well as about the Metta meditation as taught by Mahasi Sayadaw and how to choose a person for offering Metta to?

    Thank you.
    Victoria

    • watsriboenruang June 10, 2012 at 11:17 AM #

      Hi Victoria. I have uploaded a video for you

      • victoria June 11, 2012 at 3:14 AM #

        Thanks for the video & quick response. I have more questions but I’m going to try your suggestions first & try to find a good time of day for me to meditate. In the meantime I’d like to make a donation to the monestary. Have you ever thought of posting info on making donations in the Faq’s or adding a donate now button? I found info on donating thru paypal but I had to dig for it and there wasn’t anything about what currency is best.
        with metta
        Victoria

      • watsriboenruang June 11, 2012 at 4:57 AM #

        Hi Victoria.
        Thank you for wishing to make a donation.
        Any currency is fine as it will just get converted to Thai Baht when it is received. Perhaps I should add a donate button as you suggest. I will look into how to do this.

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