The Middle Way is the term the Buddha used to refer to the Noble Eightfold Path – a practice avoiding extremes of austerities and sensual indulgence.

Ajahn Brahmali discusses The Middle Way in regards to the Buddha’s own practice and also our own meditation practice.

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Ajahn Brahm talks about how we can use the traditional practises of meditation for huge amounts of benefits, which are well researched and scientifically proven. Ajahn shares with us some of the amazing results you get from learning how to meditate well and emphases the importance of preparations, getting your understanding and attitude right and learning how to be in the present moment and silent.

This Buddha Dhamma talk was given in a workshop at the 2009 World Fellowship of Buddhist Conference in Thailand.

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Ajahn Sujato gives a Dhamma talk the evening before Australia Day and therefore talks about what it means to him to be an Australian practising Buddhism and whether there is such a thing as Australian Dhamma. Ajahn looks at the characteristics of Buddhism in Australian culture.

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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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How can laypeople become enlightened in this life? How can we go further than just living a peaceful happy life?

Ajahn Brahm explains what enlightenment really is and teaches us how to learn to love and embrace ourselves and life.

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Ajahn Santutthi shares his experience on how the Buddhist teachings have helped him in his many years as a monk. Ajahn points out that monks and laypeople both wish to overcome suffering and difficulties in life and that this is what the monks learn to do in the monastery and one of ways you do this is to change the way you see things, situations and people.

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Ajahn Brahm offers a deep explanation on the meaning of wisdom in Buddhism. Ajahn explains how wisdom is something you get through investigating, contemplating and looking very deeply into the nature of yourself, relationships and into life and is not something you can get from reading a book or listening to a talk.

Ajahn emphasises that Buddhism doesn’t tell you what to believe, but how to find out for yourself. In other words 99% of Buddhism is teaching you how to find out the truth for yourself.

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Religions should not be enslaving, but liberating. Ajahn Brahm challenges the ideas in Buddhism and other religions about autonomy & freedom, and knowledge & faith. Ajahn looks at how Buddhism challenges you to be free and to take responsibility for your karma and Ajahn ponders the problems of authoritarian religions.

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Venerable Bhukkhuni Seri explores the concept of a spiritual warrior. Venerable explains what the spiritual warrior path is and why this particular term resonates with her. Venerable shares some Dhamma stories to inspire us to also train and practise the eight-fold path and attain liberation and freedom.

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How do you really practise Buddhism when everyone around you isn’t practising? Such as living as a Buddhist in a western country. Ajahn Brahm gives some practical advice for living with people who share different world views.

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Venerable Hasapanna reflects on what the Buddha really meant by letting go. Venerable looks at the satisfaction that comes from getting things, compared to the joy and happiness that comes from letting go, that is from letting things be and not craving. Venerable explains how letting go only happens through training the mind to let go and cannot be done by willpower.

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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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How do you deal with people who are angry and violent right in front of you or towards you?

Ajahn Brahm shares his wisdom and personal experience on resolving these conflicts.

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Ajahn Brahmali encourages us to look at what the Buddha actually taught by reading the suttas; the word of the Buddha. Ajahn recommends we begin by reading what is inspiring, enjoyable and really captures our attention such as the similes. To inspire us to go and read the suttas Ajahn reads to us some of the similes of the Buddha from the Buddhist discourses.

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Ajahn Brahm offers a topical talk on winning and losing. Ajahn talks about the enormous amount of suffering and pressure we experience from living in a society where we celebrate winners and feel guilty and depressed when we are losers. Ajahn offers a different perspective to what is meant by winning and losing i.e. success versus failure and explains how the very idea of a winner and loser is totally against the spiritual path.

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Ajahn Sujato talks about some common problems we face in meditation, such as taking idioms too literary, trying to stop our mind from thinking and also worrying about reaching meditation stages and using meditation techniques. Ajahn looks at the process of breath meditation and explains how this is not about making your mind peaceful because that is doing and controlling.

“The breath wants you to calm down. If you only will let it, get out of the way, stop trying to control and let the breath soothe you, let peace come to you.”

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Ajahn Brahm responds to a request to talk about parental alienation. Ajahn explains that parental alienation is when you are a parent of teenagers, it is like you are living with aliens, because you don’t understand what they are up to or where they are coming from and they cause you a lot of suffering.

Ajahn shares some Buddhist stories to help us get some understanding on how to raise kids and Ajahn points out that people you associate with mold your character and that is why is so important for teenagers to hang around with good influences such as parents, grandparents and so on.

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Ajahn Brahm discusses the significance of Vesak Day (Wesak Day) – which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha on the full-moon day in May. Ajahn talks about how we can use the teachings to make ourselves better people and to have a better world.

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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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Ajahn Brahmali discusses the difference between common sensual pleasure and spiritual pleasure. Ajahn explains how sensual pleasure is fleeting and susceptible to many external conditions out of our control, while spiritual pleasure is longer lasting and is something we can directly affect.

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