Greetings fellow pilgrims,
I am happy to be able to share with you one more talk in the Pilgrimage series (now just two more to go!) This reading and commentary was given at the historical site of the Jetavana monastery in Savathi, where Lord Buddha spent 18 rainy season retreats and offered thousands of enlightening teachings.
When thinking of ways to try and describe or illustrate the wonderful qualities and abilities of the Buddha, it is difficult to know where to start. So on this occasion we are going to start towards the end of Lord Buddha's life. When King Pasenadi of the Kosalan Kingdom was 80 years old, so was Lord Buddha. In this sutta that I am reading, the King has gone out of his way to pay special obeisance and demonstrates great affection for the Buddha. When the Buddha asks why such a great King should feel so much affection and respect, King Pasenadi relays the many things that he has observed that have given rise to feelings of deep respect and conviction in the goodness of the Buddha and his order. The Jetavana, Lord Buddha's main monastery was situated on the outskirts of the capital city of the Kingdom, so the king had been able to observe many wonderful phenomena over the course of several decades.
This sutta, 'The Monuments to the Dhamma' is touching in many ways. It offers great cultural insight and it also gives us a glimpse into the breadth of the Buddha's teaching and executive skills, which made such a huge impact upon society in his day, and which had so impressed the King. The 'monuments' are actually beautiful qualities and modes of behaviour, rather than physical things, which is yet another wonderful angle to reflect upon in our current materialistic age.
I hope that some of the inspiration, faith and love that the king felt then, and that myself and my fellow pilgrims felt in Savathi while considering these things, may be a source of inspiration to you too, wherever you find yourself now.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
A filmed Interview with Ajahn Pavaro
Greetings fellow practitioners,
With the Chedi building project slowing down to a more sensible pace and with the community already one month into our three month 'rainy season retreat', I find that I now have more time available. So once again I am back in the editing saddle, searching through audio files and looking for treasure. There will soon be several new talks to share with you all, but before those, today I have a special treat for you! – Treasure with a different flavour.
Ajahn Pavaro, a Canadian born monk who used to be a University lecturer teaching comparative religion, has been living with me here at Anandagiri for the past five and a half years. As my 'second monk', Ajahn Pavaro often joins me when I teach retreats and offers some teachings himself, so a number of you will have already met him. On a recent trip back to Canada, Ajahn Pavaro was interviewed by the senior monk who used to be his mentor during the first seven or so years of his training, Ajahn Sona, of Birken Forest Monastery in Cananda.
In this interview which was also filmed, Ajahn talks of how his practice of Dhamma as a layperson in a western country steadily deepened until it became the one thing which he truly wished to commit his life to. You will see by viewing and listening to Ajahn's responses in this interview, what a quiet, methodical and articulate man he is. When I first listened to the interview I thought that it sounded as if it had been scripted and rehearsed – but it wasn't! That's how clearly our dear Ajahn Pavaro thinks and presents himself.
I have known for a long time that Ajahn Pavaro is a very lovely monk, a truly decent, modest and intelligent person, who is deeply committed to this path to Liberation. As such he has become a good and trusted friend of mine. And now you too have a chance to get to know him a little better.
I hope you enjoy this interview and find something useful therein.
With Loving Kindness from Ajahn Achalo and Ajahn Pavaro
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