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  • Yes, whatever is the main task at hand,

  • that's what you are supposed to be aware of.

  • Next question. Please ask retreatants to

  • look out for one another if there's a

  • missing person, if they suspect he's missing,

  • please let us know. Two retreatants

  • were lost in the forest this afternoon.

  • Fortunately, a neighbour drove them back

  • to Jhana Grove. [laughter] Really?

  • Who was lost in the forest?

  • You can't get lost, there's a big fence around here.

  • You walked through the fence. Now this

  • is the reason why we have like precepts,

  • like a fence. [laughter] If you go over that

  • fence and break your precepts, if you

  • do naughty things, how far did you get, how far?

  • Cos the only property out there, is a prison

  • and if you walk into there [laughter]

  • you'll be stuck there for years. [laughter]

  • (Voice from background : It's quite far)

  • Okay, now listen, there is a fence around here,

  • so don't go through it. You know why we put

  • a fence there? So you don't go through it.[laughter]

  • So stay within the fence and you can't get lost.

  • Okay. Oh dearie me [laughter]

  • Does an Arahant ever get angry or become irritated?

  • No! [laughter] Now that's one way you can tell

  • if someone's enlightened or not. They

  • get irritated or angry, of course they're not

  • enlightened. Then you all know that, of course, okay, is

  • that story, happens through meditation? About the monk who went onto the

  • island to live alone, to become a fully

  • enlightened monk. He asked his abbot, he said,

  • "Look you got many monks here. Out, far

  • is an island in the middle of the lake

  • where no one ever goes, perfect for solitude.

  • I'll build a simple hut and all I ask,

  • all I ask, is once a week, get one of the

  • attendants to row across to the island

  • to leave me supplies for the week. Just simple things,

  • rice and a few vegetables. And he can

  • go back afterwards, so I can live in solitude."

  • And the abbot said, "Okay."

  • So for three years, that monk lived in

  • perfect solitude. Just once a week, the

  • attendant would come to make sure he

  • was okay and have enough things to eat,

  • and any other sort of medicines or stuff

  • he needed. And so after 3 years in perfect

  • seclusion, he decided he was enlightened, an

  • Arahant, perfectly free of all anger and

  • all wants. So he thought "what should I do next?

  • How do you let people know that you're enlightened?"

  • So the next time the attendant came over in

  • a boat, he asked the attendant, "Can I please

  • have some parchment, a pen and some ink.

  • I want to write some calligraphy", because

  • in the Chinese tradition, the way that you

  • write those characters, is a sign of how

  • advanced you are. And what you say can

  • raise your attainments. So one week later,

  • the parchment, the ink and the quill pen

  • came and then, as the attendant went away,

  • the monk sat in deep meditation, preparing himself

  • to write the words of an enlightened being.

  • When he came out of meditation, he picked

  • up the pen and dipped it in ink and wrote

  • with exquisite strokes. The diligent monk,

  • alone for 3 years is no longer moved by the

  • 4 worldly winds, which in Buddhism means,

  • you've cracked, you're an enlightened person.

  • And he let the parchment dry and he waited,

  • waited for the attendant to come the next week. When the

  • attendant came, he had the scroll neatly

  • rolled up, tied by a little ribbon and said,

  • "Give this to your abbot." And then he relaxed

  • because he imagined once the abbot saw

  • the calligraphy and the message, the claim

  • to enlightenment, imagine what would happen next?

  • Maybe become an abbot of an important monastery

  • somewhere, maybe that scroll be hung up

  • for monks in the future to be inspired by it.

  • And the days went by and the attendant came back

  • and gave what looked like his old scroll

  • back to him. He wondered, "Did you give

  • it to the abbot?" "Yes, this is what the abbot

  • gave you back." So with excitement, he

  • opened up that scroll. It was his scroll

  • with his calligraphy on it. But on top of

  • the first line, 'The diligent monk', the abbot

  • had written in red ball point pen, 'Fart'.[laughs]

  • What? The next line, 'is longer moved'. No,

  • 'The diligent monk alone for 3 three years',

  • there was another 'fart', this time in capital letters.

  • And the next one, 'The diligent monk is no longer moved',

  • there was a 'fart' with an exclamation mark on it.

  • And the last line, 'by the four worldly winds',

  • a big 'fart', capital letters, exclamation

  • marks and underlined. And that monk was

  • so upset. This was a calligraphy of an Arahant

  • and it's been spoilt by this, you know

  • these people do graffiti all over the world,

  • by the stupid incompetent abbot. He spoiled this.

  • He doesn't know enlightenment when it is

  • in front of his fat nose. He was so upset

  • and called the attendant, "Take me back."

  • And so the attendant had to row him back to

  • the monastery. And he stormed into the abbot's

  • office, he slammed the parchment on the table,

  • "Look at this, what have you done to my

  • beautiful parchment!" And the abbot was calm

  • and he slowly unrolled the parchment,

  • stood up and read it out to the monk.

  • "The diligent monk, alone for 3 years

  • is no longer moved by the four worldly

  • winds. Yet, monk, four little farts have

  • blown you clean across the lake." [laughter]

  • That's only little winds. [laughter]

  • And the monk realised, "Oh god, I'm not

  • enlightened after all" [laughter] and went

  • back and meditated some more. And that is

  • a traditional way we try and find out if someone's

  • enlightened. If someone comes up and says,

  • they are fully enlightened. I'll tell them

  • it's impossible for females to become enlightened.[laughter]

  • They go, "What?! What do you mean?!"

  • Sorry, you're not enlightened, you failed the test. [laughs]

  • We'll do anything to try and

  • upset them. That's the best way you can find out

  • whether you're enlightened or not. So they get angry, if

  • they don't doesn't mean enlightened. If

  • they do get angry, they're certainly not.

  • Venerable sir, please read the questions

  • slowly [laughter]. Your angmo English is

  • hard to catch by the China man, hehe. [laughter]

  • I will read the question slowly if you write

  • them slowly. [laughter] How can you read

  • something like this slowly? It is so

  • small, you got a .. Dear Ajahn, thank you for being so

  • inspiring. Just want to share this, I took a

  • nature walk today and then I realised

  • that I'd wandered off too far. Oh, no.

  • I finally spotted Jhana Grove to my very,

  • very far right, looking rather small.

  • There was no track leading through the trees

  • and thick brambles. I just went in the general

  • direction, parting and parting away with

  • many tall brambles without being able

  • to see further ahead, but finally did

  • come to a clearing but still with no view

  • of Jhana Grove. I walked in the general direction

  • I remembered and lo behold I found the Buddha,

  • a lovely statue in a quiet sitting place.

  • That's the secret Buddha Garden. So it's not

  • that far, it is within the fence.[laughter]

  • So don't go too far. [laughter]

  • So I thought to myself, if you are on the

  • right path you can't really get lost. [laughter]

  • Exactly. Now remember in that book, "The Art of

  • Disappearing", have you read that book? In the preface, I told you

  • to get lost. But I didn't mean in the forest. [laughter]

  • Dear Ajahn Brahm, what is nama rupa? What about

  • the 5 elements, earth, wind, etc? How is the

  • nama rupa and the 5 elements linked to

  • meditation? Thank you Ajahn Brahm.

  • Nama rupa is just one way of looking at

  • the objects of consciousness. In particular

  • regarding the 5 skandhas which make up the

  • body and the mind. The first skandha is the body rupa,

  • it's called. And then the other 4 skandhas

  • has got to do with mind. Things like

  • vedana that's the feeling of happiness or

  • pain associated with each one of the 6 senses.

  • And there's perception, there is what we call

  • ?? formations which include thoughts and will

  • and that's nama. And the consciousness is the

  • fifth. So consciousness and nama rupa, the

  • Buddha said, those 2 lean against each like

  • 2 sheaves of reeds, using agricultural simile.

  • So when you got 2 sheaves of reeds leaning

  • together, that's consciousness and nama rupa. ,You take one

  • of those away, the other one falls over.

  • So basically, you can't have consciousness

  • without something to be conscious of.

  • And when you start to be conscious of,

  • there's no consciousness. That's nama rupa

  • and the, and the, consciousness. And the 5 elements, usually

  • it's usually the 4 elements, you can always

  • add few other elements onto it if you like, earth,

  • wind, fire and water. That was just the old

  • way they understood, know, rupa, body, stuff.

  • Now, that's that past that's used by the 4 elements,

  • because now if you've ever done science,

  • there're quarks, there's Higgs Boson, there's

  • all sorts of stuff out there. And Higgs Boson,

  • is that earth, fire, water or air? It's none of

  • those. So you can use the earth, fire,

  • water and whatever else is, but you don't really need to

  • these days, just you know, stuff.

  • Dear Ajahn, I have had a few experience when

  • I'm feeling quite still and very contented

  • with my breath, when I feel tear drops

  • forming at the corner of my eyes. Can you

  • please help me understand this?

  • If you feel tear drops, if it's happy, it's supposed to

  • happen. It's a form of piti, joy.

  • So you cry from joy. You could be crying

  • because you're sitting so long in here[laughter]

  • and your legs hurt like hell. You could

  • be crying because of the old jokes,

  • oh, not that one again. [laughter]

  • You could be crying because of the bad

  • chanting. [laughs] Whatever it is, but anyway,

  • if it happens, let it happen. Cry, it's good for you.

  • Dear Ajahn, sometimes when we wake up from

  • sleep, the mind is awake but the body is not.

  • I can't feel the body, is it similar to jhana? [laughs]

  • No, no, you can't get jhana that easy.

  • So, yeah, your body is quiet and relaxed

  • and your mind is waking up but when it's

  • jhana, it's incredible bliss. Bliss better than

  • sex, so when you wake up, is that better than

  • sex? [laughter] If it is, you're weird.

  • So incredible happiness and bliss in jhanas.

  • Dear Ajahn, sometimes when I get into deep

  • meditation, very still and blissful, Good, I thought I saw the nimittas

  • but I realised that the stream of light

  • seem to be coming from outside. I felt

  • my eyes not totally shut. Why is that so?

  • Look, it's very hard for you to see light

  • streaming in from outside inside this hall.

  • You have to be looking up for a start and the right

  • place if there's any sun coming up here.

  • So if it's in this hall, that was a nimitta,

  • nothing else. I notice some tradition

  • taught meditation with the eyes open,

  • looking downward. What's your view on that,

  • wouldn't it be more difficult to focus on the breath?

  • Exactly. So the whole idea is allowing the

  • 5 senses to disappear. The easiest way is to

  • close your eyes. I mentioned yesterday or

  • day before, about, in Zen retreats, you look at

  • the wall with your eyes opened but still that's

  • another way. It's not as good as closing your eyes.

  • In some tradition,they ask you to keep

  • your eyes open just