Ajahn used his experience when writing the book “Good? Bad? Who knows?”, to encourage us not to try constantly for perfection but rather to accept who we are and what is happening in our lives.  We can’t see the future, we can’t change the past, so just be happy in the present.

Ajahn then guided us through a meditation suitable for beginners and experienced alike.

Following the meditation Ajahn kept us well entertained with stories plus jokes about life experiences.  As Ajahn says “Good? Bad? Who knows?”.  If something happens that seems a disaster, look for the silver lining or rather, accept it for what it is and live in the moment”.

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Venerable Nitho led us on a guided walk through the mountains of Norway.  Venerable used his Rains Retreat experience to teach us that our thoughts, emotions and day to day experiences are just like meeting someone on a walk.  Don’t engage them, you smile, say hello, then continue walking.  Just as we notice the thoughts that enter our minds and let them go.

After the meditation Venerable opened the floor to a Q&A.

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Venerable Cunda lead us first through a guided meditation most suitable to those of us that need to relax both physically and mentally.  The meditation was suitable for beginners and experienced alike.  A body scan and simply relaxing as much as possible allows us to also relax the mind.

After the guided meditation Venerable introduced himself and gave an excellent dharma talk. He then encouraged us in our practice by relating why he became a Buddhist Monk, the impact it has had on both his health, life in general and all those around him.

Venerable then spoke on the five precepts and then opened the floor to Q&A.

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Ajahn regaled us with his usual wit and humour, teaching us to relax our bodies beforehand so that we may then relax our minds.  Ajahn used his stories and jokes to both relax us and move us to a more happy state of mind before leading us in a beginners meditation.

Following the meditation Ajahn again used wit and humour to keep us relaxed.  As Ajahn has said to us many times “Stop looking into the past, reliving bad things that have happened, or imagining a future that may never happen, and live in the moment”.

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Venerable JR led a relaxed evening of meditation encouraging us to let go of the past and future.  Venerable instructed us that our only responsibility at this time, is to relax.  Nothing to do but relax.  Allow the thoughts to come and then let them go.

Venerable then led a very relaxed breath meditation.  After the meditation Venerable talked about anxiety, then opened the session to Q&A.

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Bhante Sangharatana talked to us about breath meditation, encouraging us to present moment awareness (bringing our attention to the meditation object, or focus on, for example, our breath).  Bhante further explained that present moment awareness is of itself not the meditation, but rather the goal.  By having, or achieving, present moment awareness we leave the past behind and have no thoughts of the future.  We are just here and now, thinking not of the past nor of the future.

Bhante then explained for the beginners amongst us [that would be most of us], the need for meditation or why we meditate.  He further explained the technique used for a simple but successful breath meditation.  He then guided us through a 30 min beginners breath meditation after which he opened the floor to questions and continued the talk.

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Ajahn Santutthi talked to us about finding the calm in the storm of our minds through meditation.  Over thinking can lead to us becoming anxious, we need to live in the moment, not dwell on the past, nor worry about our future.

When we over think, dwell in the past or worry about the future we don't live in the present.  Our minds become tired and so do our bodies.  Meditation can help us clear our mind, live just in this moment and recover some of our energies.

After his talk, Ajahn led us in a guided meditation for approximately 45 minutes.

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Ajahn Appi explains the basics of meditation and why it is beneficial to us all in so many different ways.

Ajahn then led us through a 30 minute beginners meditation.  After meditation, Ajahn talked on dealing with anxiety and stress, suggesting a number of different techniques using meditation to deal with it.

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Ajahn Appi tells us to take a minute, just 60 seconds, to think of all the goods things in
life and then to use a simple mantra to reinforce that thought.

Ajahn then led us through a 30 minute beginners meditation.  After meditation, Ajahn talked on dealing with modern life and the stress that comes with it.

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Annie Keating, a former nun in both Santi(NSW) and Dhammasara(WA) monasteries, now returned to lay life, speaks of preparing the mind throughout the day, with kindness and silence, for a better meditation.  She then guides us through a body scan and breath meditation followed by a Q&A.

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Sol spoke to us on meditation by relating his own experience over many years.  He explains meditation in a way that is different to what we normally hear from our regular Monks.  His experience ranges from a rock star to a monk and now a high school teacher.  He has dealt with his own health issues as well as the issues we all face throughout our lives.  He explains how he used meditation to simply accept those circumstances and issues for what they are, then move on.

Sol then led us through a very relaxing 30 minute meditation after which he gave a dharma talk.  At the end of the talk, he opened the floor to questions.

Relax, it's all out of control.  It's ok.  It doesn't matter so much what happens to us, it matters how we react to it and how we accept it.

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Ajahn regaled us with his usual wit and humour for the final time before the Rains Retreat.  We look forward to his return in three months.

Ajahn used his stories and jokes to both relax us and move us to a more happy state of mind before leading us in a beginners meditation.

Ajahn used his stories to show us what we unconsciously do to ourselves all day, every day, especially when we are dealing with stressful situations and or health issues.

Following the meditation Ajahn talked about anxiety, relating it to his annual visit to the Cancer Clinic in Cottesloe.  Ajahn explained to us that our anxiety is our own mind imagining what may, or may not, happen in the future.  We focus our attention on our own "two bad bricks" to such an extent that we don't see all the other perfectly laid bricks.  We spend so much time trying to control our minds and being unkind to ourselves that we don't see what's good in life.

As Ajahn has said to us many times “Stop looking into the past, reliving bad things that have happened, or imagining a future that may never happen, and live in the moment”.

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Bhante Sangharatana talked to us about mindfullness and breath meditation encouraging us to see the difference between the two. Mindfulness being our attention to the meditation object or focus on, for example, our breath.  Bhante further explains that mindfulness is of itself not meditation.

Bhante then explained for the beginners amongst us, the need for meditation or why we meditate.  He further explained the technique used for a simple but successful breath meditation.  Bhante then guided us through a 30min beginners breath meditation after which he opened the floor to questions.

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USA CIA with Venerable Bodhidhaja.  USA is an acronym for unburden settle arrive.  CIA is an acronym for the mind or central intelligence agency.  Venerable used these acronyms to get us interested and grab our attention.  Venerable then described the basics of meditation in terms easily understood by all beginners and experienced alike.  Venerable then guided us through a 30 minute meditation well suited to beginners encouraging us to treat each thought that arose by saying to it "I value your presence" and then let it go.

Venerable then opened to questions giving very detailed answers using synonyms and practical examples.

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Venerable JR lead a relaxed evening of breath meditation encouraging us to not pressure ourselves by looking for success in the stages of our practice.  But rather to simply accept our progress and continue to practice.  So, don't treat your practice as a video game, win the level and then move on.  Be happy with your progress and continue to practice.

Venerable also gave a practical demonstration of walking meditation, demonstrating the different speeds and so showing us that we need not all keep the same pace.  Some of us will walk slowly and some will walk a little quicker.

Venerable then led a very relaxed breath meditation.  After the meditation Venerable encouraged us to stretch our practice times.  For those of us just learning, 5 or 10  minutes seems a long time to sit and meditate.  As we progress in our practice it does become easier to stretch our meditation time to much longer periods.  Or, try more regular small sessions in one day.

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Ajahn joined us again this week at The Armadale Meditation Group.  He suggested that we spend much time in our busy daily lives collecting rubbish within our minds and meditation is the means to get rid of it, empty the garbage.

Ajahn then guided us through a meditation with relaxation of our bodies first.  The focus of our meditation was our breath or breathing.  Ajahn then opened the floor to questions.  Following Q&A Ajahn told us of his recent visit to Thailand were he met with Ajahn Gunhah, the original happy monk.

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Venerable Upasama gave us a dharma talk before meditation on dukkha and being happy.  Dukkha (Pāli - Sanskrit) is an important Buddhist concept, commonly translated as "suffering", "pain" or "unsatisfactoriness".

Following the dharma talk Venerable Upasama guided us through a meditation well suited to beginners and experienced meditators.  The meditation was different in that he guided us through the beginning with a story to trigger our imaginations.

Following the meditation Venerable opened the floor to questions on any
subject.  His answers were detailed in that he provided examples.

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Ajahn explains to us our compulsion to own everything.  We see the news, read the newspaper and engage in discussion, we involve ourselves so much that we own it.  We need to have the courage to say "this is not my business".  We need to leave it all behind before we meditate.

Ajahn then guided us through a 30 minute meditation well suited to beginners, encouriging us to free ourselves from the compulsion to "own it" with the small mantra of "this is none of my business".

Ajahn then gave us a dharma talk on love and kindness followed by a Q&A.

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Ajahn Brahmali talked to us about happiness and comfort before and during our meditation.  Meditation should not be a task, a duty, something we have to do.  We need to be patient with ourselves and allow ourselves to become peaceful, comfortable and happy to be in that moment.  A positive attitude [not forced], comfortable position and being happy will make for a good meditation.

After our guided beginners meditation Ajahn used his wit, humor and experience to answer our questions.  In answering our questions, Ajahn had us all on the edge of our seats for the rest of the evening.

All to soon it was time to go.

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Ajahn Appi guided the group through his favorite beginners meditation which focuses on breath and the sensations caused by breathing.  Ajahn then spoke on the benefits of meditation and encouraged us to experiment and investigate.  Ajahn then led the circum-ambulation of the court yard in celebration of  the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha.  The group then enjoyed a small Vesak feast.

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