The monks from Clear Mountain Monastery – near Seattle, Washington – Venerables Kovilo and Nisabho, invited Ayya Jitindriyā and Samaneri Jayasāra to do an interview with them on their YouTube channel… So we thought to share them with you here. Enjoy!
We’re introducing a new six-part series live on YouTube, beginning in May, in which Ayya Jitindriyā will discuss some of the key contemplative paradigms and practices in Early Buddhism. These sessions will take place every six weeks and replace one of the usual fortnightly guided meditations we offer — so that means every third session will be a Buddha-Dhamma session (streaming on the same ‘Wisdom of the Masters’ channel as our regular guided meditations). A link to the playlist is provided below.
Each session will include a short guided meditation, a talk from Jitindriyā, and an opportunity for Q&A, and will go for approx. 2hrs. The series is not intended to be an exhaustive academic education on the subject of early Buddhism, but rather a lively extemporaneous reflection on some of the key contemplative paradigms as taught by the Buddha, how we can apply them in practice, and what purpose they serve with regard to eliciting insight and freeing the mind from unnecessary cycles of suffering.
In each session Jitindriyā will address a different aspect of practice, including but not limited to:
– The liberating insights of the Four Ariya Sacca (Noble Truths)
– The Eight-fold Path, the Way of non-suffering (or, view, conduct & meditation)
– Samsara (cyclic suffering), karma (kamma) and the end of karma
– The five aggregates affected by clinging, or ‘personality factors’
– The three characteristics of all conditioned existence
– The five hindrances to meditation, samadhi, and the enlightenment factors
– The four foundations, or placements of mindfulness
– Nibbāna (skt: Nirvana), ’emptiness’ and liberation…
All are welcome to attend, whether new or experienced in practice; if you can’t come along to the live sessions, they’ll be recorded and archived for later viewing on the same YouTube channel, and linked to on this website as well.
Here’s a link to the playlist: Buddha-Dhamma Series
See you there!
Credit: the image used above is from an original artwork entitled ‘Buddha Hand’ by Arundhati Warrier
Here is a new set of Q & A’s which you might find helpful.
These questions from listeners and friends of Viveka Hermitage have been selected to share here as their topics would be of general interest to our audience, and some go very deep. They have arisen either in response to teachings uploaded on the ‘Wisdom of the Masters’ YouTube channel or from our live meditation sessions.
Just click on the question-links below to find the full questions and our responses… In some cases they are quite long, more like a back-and-forth conversation.
They have also been added to our Q & A page, found here.
Q: Why is it that some people are so certain that our consciousness is single, shared between us all? I can see how logically our physical forms and our minds must all be connected together as one, but how do we know that we don’t each have our own unique awareness?…
On Death, Fear and Practice…
Q: It recently came to me that I may die soon. And I am terrified… I am terrified that I will lose everything, memory, vision, and people who I love.. I’m terrified of dying because I will stop existing… How to deal with it?…
Q: Is there such a thing as a “basic space of awareness” consisting of a permanent consciousness outside the five khandas… or is awareness itself a momentary occurrence, a perfected aspect of Mano vinyana?…
On Emptiness and Not-self…
On Abstaining from Intoxicants…
Coleman Hughes invited Jayasara for a conversation about meditation and Dhamma, on his podcast ‘Conversations with Coleman’ – it’s just been released and can be viewed on YouTube below.
NB: Advertisement Warning!!! There are three ‘in-programme’ advertisements (not something we were aware would be part of it! But you can always mute those sections to enjoy some silence mid-stream!)
Also available on the platforms linked to below:
We’ve just uploaded a series of seven guided meditations from Ayya Jitindriyā, which focus on establishing embodied awareness and cultivating mettā (loving-kindness).
They also help guide the listener to an acceptance of difficult emotional and mental states, to reveal an innate capacity of kindness and compassion, and to discover the natural wisdom and peace of mind that emerges from ‘being with’ things as they are.
If you’ve ever had any difficulty with being kind to yourself, or accepting the way things are, or forgiving yourself or others (who hasn’t!), then maybe you’ll find these guided meditations helpful.
You’ll find them here: Embodying Awareness & Metta
With much metta!
Below is the full video interview just released from the makers of the Deep Transformation Podcast, a discussion with Samaneri Jayasara about her ‘Wisdom Of the Master’s’ YouTube channel — how it began, her inspirations, what drew her to Buddhism, and more…
(NB: We previously posted a link to the edited podcast version a few months ago, which you can find here…)
Greetings dear Dhamma friends.
Today we are entering the traditional vassa period (rains-retreat season). This is an ancient tradition observed by Buddhist monastic communities everywhere (originating in Asia, during the three-month monsoon period each year). The vassa season commences on the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month – this year being the 14th July.
This tradition predates the time of Gautama Buddha. It was a long-standing custom for mendicant ascetics in India not to travel during the rainy season as they may unintentionally harm crops, insects or even themselves during their travels. Although many Buddhist ascetics and monastics (like us) now live in regions that don’t have a monsoon season, it is still a tradition that is observed by the larger Buddhist community as it provides a structured opportunity to focus more on intensive meditation practice and to spend more time in solitude. The Buddha encouraged his disciples to continue to observe this period of practice and to limit travel outside of the monastery or hermitage where one was residing.
Although we live a fairly simple life at Viveka Hermitage, just maintaining a hermitage and our various web resources entails ongoing responsibilities. We also established Viveka Hermitage only one year ago and the property needed some work and TLC, so there have been quite a few things to do which has kept us relatively busy. But now we have this wonderful opportunity of the vassa retreat for more solitude and focus on formal meditation practice.
For many people, being alone for long periods of time and observing noble silence for much of the day would be a torture. But for some, like us, who are more hermitic types, we look forward to the vassa retreat each year. Solitude and quietude provide such potent conditions for settling the mind and for allowing insight into Dhamma to arise. After an initial settling-in period and an adjustment to less sensory input, I always find that many ‘knots’ naturally unravel and everything loosens and softens. The body likes it, the mind appreciates it, and the heart begins to open more and more.
What more can be said about the benefits of solitude that hasn’t already been eloquently expressed by the Masters? All the great spiritual Masters spent long periods in solitude because the benefits for deep meditation are recognized and valued. Without periods of solitude, I doubt many of them would have developed and accessed the profound wisdom and compassion they displayed and shared. The Pali word ‘Viveka’ actually has the meaning of solitude/seclusion, so the name of our Hermitage reflects the inspiration and motivation for setting up this place.
Viveka is not just about physical solitude though, it also means solitude of the mind/heart from the habitual and ongoing proliferations, imaginations, desires, and aversions. It is about finding that place within that remains equanimous and unmoved by all the sensory input – sights, sounds, smells, thought impressions, emotional reactions, and so on. Ultimately, this kind of solitude is something that can be cultivated by everyone, even within a busy daily life. It’s something that can develop as one becomes more stable in the practice of Dhamma. Therefore, periods of alone time each day can be a wonderful support for our practice and give us the boost we need to meet the various demands that come our way.
So, for this next period of time (until mid-October), you may hear a little less from us; however, we will be with you at the deepest level of Dhamma connection and will share some reflections along the way with you too.
Wishing you all wellness of body, mind and heart; and may you find, or build-in, some periods of quiet and solitude in your life (even just five minutes here and there if that’s all you can find for now), to recharge your energy, renew your commitment and motivation to realizing the Dhamma, and to heal and nourish your hearts.
With much mettā,
Jayasāra, Jitindriyā, and ‘Cat’
BTW, you might find the latest guided meditation we’ve uploaded called ‘Silence and Stillness’ supportive for practice. May it help you discover the silence within.
Click on the title in the box or the url below to link to the podcast
This beautiful meditation on “Infinity” (below) is an audiovisual art piece created by Milan Zulic – an award winning, multi-disciplinary artist based in Switzerland. This creative spiritual piece lovingly captures and encapsulates the intersection between form and formlessness, time and timelessness, the finite and the infinite. He incorporates a verse Jayasāra read from St. Tukaram, giving voice to the deep spiritual sentiments within.
As Milan says: “I hope that ‘Infinity’ will find its way to many other festivals and hearts. I believe that now more than ever the whole world needs to remember its divine nature and return to the path of light.”
Congratulations to Milan for winning the Jury Award at the 2022 short film festival in Turkey for this piece, ‘Infinity’.