Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso of Australia to hold discourses on meditation

Lanka Daily News, Feb 2, 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Venerable Ajahn Brahmavamso, abbot of Bodhinyana monastery in Western Australia, renowned for his teaching on meditation, will be in Sri Lanka next week and will hold sessions relating to various aspects of meditation from 11th to 14th February in Colombo, Kalutara, Mahragama and Kandy.

<< Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso

This is a rare opportunity for those interested in meditation to learn from and erudite master on the subject.

His schedule in Sri Lanka includes handing over donations of significant value arranged by Buddhist followers in Singapore to organisations engaged in, providing relief to Tsunami victims and reconstructing disaster stricken areas.

Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso was born in London in 1951. He regarded himself a Buddhist at the age of 17 through reading Buddhist books while still at school. His interest in Buddhism flourished while he was studying at Cambridge University.

After completing a degree in theoretical physics and teaching for a year, he travelled to Thailand to become a monk.

He was ordained at the age of 23 and he spent the next nine years studying and training in the forest meditation tradition under Ven. Ajahn Chah.

In 1983, he was asked to assist in establishing a forest monastery near Perth, Western Australia. Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso is now the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery and the spiritual director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia.

Theravada Buddhist meditation is often flatly identified with the practice of vipassana, even to the extent that those who practice within this tradition speak of themselves as vipassana meditators.

However, the Pali suttas, the ancient records of the Buddha's discourses, do not treat vipassana as an autonomous system of meditation but as a member of two paired meditative skills called samatha and vipassana, tranquillity and insight.

Far from being opposed, in the suttas tranquillity and insight are held to be complementary aspects of mental cultivation which, to yield the proper fruits of the Buddhist path, must eventually be yoked and harmonized.

According to their aptitude and disposition, meditators will develop these two qualities in different temporal sequences.

One important source (Anguttara Nikaya, The Fours, sutta 170) states that some develop tranquillity first and insight afterwards; others develop insight first and tranquillity afterwards; and still others develop tranquillity and insight in close conjunction.

While most teachers of Theravada meditation in the West have leaned towards the second of these models, in the Buddha's own discourses it is the first that predominates.

Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso, teaches meditation in accordance with this ancient paradigm.

Like many other meditation teachers, he takes mindfulness of breathing as his primary subject of meditation, but he emphasizes the development of breath meditation in a particular way designed to induce states of deep concentration culminating in the jhanas, the exalted stages of mental unification.

"In the way that I teach meditation, I like to begin with the very simple stage of giving up the baggage of past and future and abiding in the present moment.

You may think that this is too basic, that it is an easy thing to do. However, if you give it your full effort, not going ahead until you have properly reached the first goal of sustained attention on the present moment, then you will find later on that you have established a very strong foundation on which to build the higher stages of meditation", explains Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso.

Ven. Ajahn Brahmavamso will be holding discourses on Buddhist meditation during his visit to Sri Lanka as follows:-

February 12 from 8.30 - 11.00 am at the BMICH, Colombo. From 3.00 - 6.00 pm at Kalutara Bodhiya.

February 13 from 9.00 - 11.00 am at Amawathura Asapuwa, Pittugala, Malabe. From 4.00 - 6.00 pm - at Maharagama Dharmayathanaya.

February 14 from 3.30 - 6.00 pm at the Governor's official Residence Kandy.