Saturday, November 15, 2008

Advise on Relationship between Husband and Wife

In his book, "Life of Inner Quality" (the link opens into a pdf file) under the chapter "Human Values, Human Worth", Luangta discusses that in order for a relationship to sustain between husband and wife, the following qualities have to be present:

  1. contentment with one's belongings while not infriging on those of others
  2. fewness of wants

Husband and wife have trouble getting along with one another because they have strayed from the principles taught by the Buddha.

I find the writings to be a good read and everything is well explained by Luangta. Click on the link above and go to the chapter "Human Values, Human Worth" (you can click on the contents on the left hand side of the pdf file) to read the entire transcribed talk.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Teaching of Ajahn Panna- Cittas and Kilesas

The following teaching was taken from a board in Wat Baan Taad:

When discussion the khandas, I use the simile of a computer. The body is like the hardware, and it must be there. The 4 nama-khandas are like the software, and the computer is useless without it. You must have the software. The citta is like a person who uses the computer. The person using the computer can make it do good things or bad things, or stupid things. He can push it about all over the place. It is similar with our khandas. The citta is the one which plays with them and pushes them around. It's their master. Ad the khandas are all used for the citta's sake- for developing whatever it wants. If the citta were pure, it wouldn't matter. But it's not pure. It has kilesas in it. And it is the citta with kilesas that causes all the trouble. If the kilesas were in the body instead of being in the citta, hen the body dies the kilesas would all disappear- there would be none left. But the fact is, the kilesas are in the citta, which does not die. So the kilesas carry on and go to the next life. Because of that, we come back again and again.

So it is essential to understand that the kilesas are in the citta and not in the khandas. But the khandas take n those aspects of the kilesas which the citta makes them take on. For instance, anger. Anger starts off in the citta. This triggers a response in the khandas. First of all, consciousness become aware of it, and memories associated with it begin to arise. Then the thinking process builds it up and causes anger to increase. Then feelings arise. These feelings came from the anger inside the citta. This brings us back to the citta and the kilesas. The kilesas are the things that push us around all the time. And the whole purpose of the Buddha-Dhamma and the Buddha Sasana is to get rid of those kilesas.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Short Autobiography of Venerable Acharn Pannavaddho Thera (1925- 2004)

The following are writen by Venerable Acharn Pannavaddho Thera (Peter J Morgan) about his background. I came across this from a poster in Wat Baan Taad:

My father, J W Morgan and my mother, V M Morgan both came from South Wales in the United Kingdom. My father was a mining engineer and went to work in South India in the Kolar Gold fields in Mysore state (now called Karnataka).

I was born in this gold mining area on the 19th of October 1925 (2468) and stayed there for about 7 years after which I went to the UK for education. My primary education was at a school in Malvern Wells in the English midlands. When I left this school the second world war started and I went to a secondary school in Tonbridge Kent in the South East corner of the UK. After about a year I moved from this school because of the war and went to Cheltenham in the midlands. When I left Cheltenham I went to an electrical training college in London, called Faraday House. The war ended at about the time I left Faraday House and got my degree.

After this I spent 2 years in India working as an Electrical Engineer on the mine and then returned to the UK and got a job as an "application engineer" in Stafford where I stayed for about five years. I then got another job working for the Canadian Standards Association in London. Then after eighteen months I was ordained as a Samanera in London.

My samanera ordination (pabbaja) took place in the London Buddhist Vihara which was set up by the government of Sri Lanka, and it took place on the 31st of October 1955 (2498). The uppajjhaya was Bhikkhu Kapilavaddho who had been ordained in Thailand.

On the 15th of December 1955, Bhikkhu Kapilavaddho, two other Samaneras and I flew to Bangkok and went to stay at at Paknam. On the 27th of January 1956 (2499), three of us were ordained as Bhikkhus with Mangalajamuni (Luang Poh Soth) as the Upajjhaya.

We did not stay long in Thailand and returned to London on the 16th of July 1956 to stay in a Vihara that was set up in London by a Buddhist organisation. In due course the others all returned to lay life and I was left to look after the Vihara.

I remained in England looking after the Vihara for five years, then another Bhikkhu came and took over. Then I came to Thailand again on the 22nd of November 1961 (2504) and went to stay at Wat Cholapratan under Acharn Pannananda. My purpose in returning to Thailand was to find and stay with a Teacher who was skilled in ways of practising the Teaching of the Buddha. Fortunately a Thai friend took me to meet the Venerable Acariya Maha Bua who had come to Bangkok on business.

After meeting Venerable Acariya Maha Bua two or three times, I asked if I may go and stay at Wat Pa Baan Taad. He accepted me and I went to stay in Wat Pa Baan Taad on the 16th of February 1963 (2506). I was reordained in the Dhammayuta Nikaya on the 22nd of April 1965 (2508). My upajjhaya was Somdet Phra Yanasamwara (then abbot of Wat Bovorniwet and the present Sangharaja). My kammavacariya was Phra Thepyanakavi and my anusasanacariya was Phra Acariya Maha Bua Yanasampano. I have remained in Wat Pa Baan Taad since I first came here.

Bhikkhu Pannavaddho
Wat Pa Baan Taad
May 1999 (2542).

Note: Venerable Acharn Pannavaddho Thera passed away at Wat Pa Baan Taad at 8.30am on August 18, 2004. He died of internal cancer. He was 78 years old and had been a Buddhist monk for 39 years.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Morning Desana on 1 Nov 08

In case you are not aware, Luangta's daily morning meals and the desana that he gives after that is published live on a special Thai channel. I had the chance to watch it when I am in Thailand.

On 1 November 08, the Thailand Princess Chulabhorn Walailak, came to visit Luangta at Wat Baan Taad. She sat and waited for Luangta to take his morning meals. After the morning meal, Luangta gave a desana and then blessing. After blessing, the Princess presented offerings to Luangta, spoke for a while, with Luangta giving some guidance. After that, the Princess took leave and left- it was raining quite heavily that morning. The Princess has faith in Luangta and do come and visit Luangta on several occassions.

There are also some visitors from Sri Lanka. They were dressed in white- and sat around the front roll. Their demeanour were inspirational- how they paid respect (anjali) to Luangta- especially the elderly ladies. One can't help but feel glad that Luangta's teachings had reached and touched the hearts of many all over the world, thanks to translations of his teachings in English by the English speaking bhikkhus residing there. Of course, they were probably not aware that they actually had appeared on national television :)

For those who are not aware, every morning after his meals and desana, Luangta will give blessings. And after the blessings, the dogs residing in the monastery (I think about 7 or 8 of them) will be released to the area where Luangta is sitting. Frequent visitors are well aware of that but not the Sri Lanka visitors. So, as the first dog was released and came barging through the area that Luangta is sitting, one Sri Lanka man got very concerned- he must have thought that the dog was going to disturb Luangta and had tried to shoo away the dog. The camera man actually cheekily direct the camera at the man.

But after a while, these visitors got the idea and even smiled in amusement at the dogs' antics.

In the morning desana hall, at any given time, you will be able to find many foreigners who came to the temple and observe 8 precepts. If there are Asians (like from Malaysia, Indonesia or Singapore), you will almost could not tell any difference between them and the local native. But the giveaway is when Luangta tells a joke and everyone laugh except them because they do not understand Thai. Still, it is an inspiration to go and practice there. The kutis may not have electricity (only the main hall has) but many people had came from all over the world into the small town of Udon Thani just to be able to see this great Master.

Luangta had indicated a few times in his morning desanas that his body had bee unwell lately. As such, if you want to see Luangta, it will be good to make the trip to see him. Previously, he goes for morning pindapat (alms round) with other monks and he had been too weak to walk (he is already 95 this year). When he previously had taken his evening walks by foot, he has to go around in a golf cart because his disciples are too worried- since he had walked a few times and suffered a fall (because his legs suddenly gave way).

For me, I had not gotten the chance to see other great disciples of Ajahn Mun- but I am glad I have been able to see Luangta. I had missed the chance to see Ajahn Pannavaddho as he had passed away in August 2004 (I only began to visit Wat Baan Taad a few months later). I would feel if one had the chance and kept finding excuses, one would suffer great regret when the teacher is no longer around. There is no use in regret.