Greetings fellow practitioners,
While teaching intensive meditation retreats I will usually go through several of the most central suttas covering subjects such as the contemplation of Not-Self. I will often read from the experience of contemporary masters who had great insights while contemplating/meditating along these themes. I may lead guided meditations where we look at the body as made up of parts, and meditate upon these parts as being composed of the four elements. There will also be fairly consistent encouragement to 'drop the story'… and just see a thought as a thought… the past as already gone… the future as not certain – etc.
For people often coming from busy city lives, these retreats can be quite hard core and hard work! So if the yogis have been practicing very hard, and I have a sense that they may need a little wholesome distraction or light entertainment, I may tell a few 'interesting' personal stories. It can be a nice way of communicating the fact that the Ajahn is still developing along this 'way' engaging these practices as a 'conventional being' on the way to realising 'not-self.' Just like my students.
So these stories were offered later in a retreat taught near Melbourne, after people had practiced hard and well. They start as mildly interesting… but soon become 'quite interesting!' I like to tell stories that allude to what I consider to be a fact… that benevolent beings in parallel realms like to encourage people who are growing in virtue and wisdom. And that these practices that we are all doing - lead to having quite remarkable abilities eventually, as illustrated by stories about my teachers.
I chose the picture above, of Ajahn Achalo on top of the Maha Bodhi Temple with his prayer beads draped over the gold plated spire (absorbing blessings!) Because I am sharing a stash of special little jewels with you all here. I hope that they contain some special Blessings too!
May these stories inspire interest and energy in your mind for further cultivation.
If not – then never mind.
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The official ‘Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu’ YouTube channel to share links with Dhamma friends
There is also another YouTube channel 'Peace Beyond Suffering'