Dennis Sheppard (president of the Buddhist Society of WA) guides a meditation for approximately thirty minutes. Recorded at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre in Perth, Western Australia during the Rains Retreat. This meditation goes with his talk called Stillness, which can be found here: http://podcast.bswa.org/e/stillness-dennis-sheppard/

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Ajahn opened the evening by having us make bubbles and laughing. Ajahn then explained that like popping bubbles we can pop our thoughts as they arise during meditation. Ajahn further explained that trying to meditate without joy and happiness in our minds is so much more difficult than with peace, harmony and joy. If you try to meditate with a heavy, dark or unhappy mind it will be difficult, if not impossible, to have a good meditation. Letting go of our thinking mind is the object we all seek. Popping the thoughts as they arise, just as we would a bubble, is where we wish to go. In this way we become an observer of our thoughts rather than being a controller. We let our thoughts pass more easily and more quickly as an observer.

Ajahn then lead the group in a 30 minute guided meditation starting with a body sweep. This meditation is well suited to beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation time seemed to have vanished for all of us so Ajahn reiterated that we need to start our meditation from a peaceful happy place.

 

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According to the Buddha, you should raise your mindfulness before meditating on your breathe. Ajahn Brahmali explains that contemplating on death is one way to increase your present moment awareness because it helps you to let go of your past and future.

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Bhante Buddharakkhita was about to start the evening when he noticed that the Christmas lights were on in our room. Bhante asked that they be left on, and the main lights turned off, so as to mark the time of the year which, to those of us in western society, is Christmas.  Such things, that may seem not to be an issue to us, are to others a trigger for anxiety and stress.  As this was the case for some in our audience, Bhante explained that to run for a lifetime from such things does not make them better or resolve them.  Sooner or later you have to face such triggers and where better than in a group of like minded people who are all learning to meditate.  Bhante then further explained that to help resolve such issues in his own life he would reverse the process by acknowledging the event, and trigger, and instead of allowing it to stress him, he would tell himself to relax.  In this way he managed to resolve his anxiety and simply relax.

Bhante continued his talk, returning to his subject of gratitude, prior to leading the group in a meditation with gratitude foremost in mind. Bhante used the image of floating in a swimming pool to relax and extend his gratitude to the universe before moving to a breath meditation.

After the meditation Bhante used his ample wit and humour to continue his subject of gratitude.  Bhante encouraged us to look for gratitude in all situations and used, as examples, his experience in teaching meditation to a group of children of various ages.  In doing so we can resolve situations that make us anxious or annoyed.

 

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Ajahn Brahm teaches that you cannot calm your mind through concentration, but instead you must let go and you let go by being content.

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Ajahn spoke to us on the impermanence of thoughts in our meditation. Thoughts arise and then they pass. Just let them go. We know that, in life, nothing is permanent, things happen then they pass. So it is with our meditation. It doesn't matter if it's metta, breath, counting or a mantra the thoughts will arise and then pass. What matters is that we don't latch onto them, just let them go and return to our meditation.

Ajahn then asked the group which meditation they'd like to do. We chose body contemplation or body sweep and then moving to a breath meditation. Ajahn then reminded us that it isn't so much the method of meditation, it's more that our mind changes over time as we practice. The more we meditate the more relaxed we become.

 

 

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Ajahn Brahmali advises us to start by relaxing into our meditation, because he says relaxing and letting things be helps our minds to calm down so we can mindfully and easily watch the breath. Also reminding ourselves to have gratitude and metta from time to time helps us to lift up our mind and to direct it in the right way.

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Venerable Hasapanna conducts an intermediate / advanced meditation class for approximately one hour. Recorded at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre, Perth, Western Australia. 

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Ajahn Brahm guides a meditation for approximately twenty five minutes. Ajahn Brahm guides a meditation designed for children, but which adults can enjoy too. 

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Venerable Cunda used his own life as an example of our habit of overloading ourselves with stress. Business, home life or in our working lives, we tend to allow the stress to build up and then overload. We need to find a time in our daily lives to peacefully meditate, leaving the stress behind.

Venerable Cunda leads the group through a peaceful meditation starting with a body scan. The meditation then progresses to the breath with long peaceful silences. The simple but relaxing meditation is well suited to both beginners and experienced alike.

After meditation Venerable expanded on the benefits of meditation - we are more relaxed, more calm and physically relaxed when we meditate. Venerable then opened to Q&A.

 

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Ajahn Cittapalo conducts an intermediate/ advanced meditation class for approximately one hour. Ajahn Cittapalo reminds us not to try and stop or control anything, but instead to have a kind awareness of what’s going on in our mind and to treat everything that arises as a friend. As well as confidence in watching very closely what is happening so that we see what is going on and learn.  

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Recorded at Dhammaloka Buddhist Centre, Perth, Western Australia.

 

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Each year we are blessed with a visit and teaching by Ajahn Nissarano. This year we have been fortunate enough to have him visit twice. Ajahn is based in Sri Lanka, visiting his home city of Perth once or twice every year or so. On such visits Ajahn is usually in high demand so we at AMG are very grateful of his time.  On this occasion Ajahn began the night with an explanation of meditation and programing our minds before we start our meditation. Being aware of negative states of mind prior to our meditation will help immensely. The two most important states of mind being motivation and intention. Ajahn talked to us about these states of mind and how they affect our meditation as well as our daily lives.

Ajahn then guided the group through a 30 minute scanning [body sweep] meditation suited to all, beginners to experienced alike.

After the meditation Ajahn opened the floor to "comments, questions or complaints". Ajahn then continued his talk on programming our own minds and the external influences we are subjected to in modern life.

 

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