Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond
By Ajahn Brahmavamso. A truly helpful and sophisticated manual of meditation written by a monk with deep and wide-ranging experience. Ajahn Brahm is one of a new generation of Westerners who have studied, practiced and mastered an important range of Buddhist teachings and now offers them to sincere practitioners across the modern world.
In Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond you will find a thorough set of teachings for developing and deepening meditation, aimed particularly at attaining absorption and opening to the insights that can follow from it. Ajahn Brahm offers a careful and subtle understanding of how to transform initial difficulties and how to incline the mind toward rapture, happiness, light and the profound steadiness of Jhana.
So those of you interested in the practice of jhana and the depths of the Buddhist path: read this book carefully. And try its practices. Much will be gained from its rich and wise words and even more from the experiences it points to. And as the Buddha and Ajahn Brahm both advise, test them out, and use them, and learn from them, but do not cling to them. Let them lead you to the liberation beyond all clinging, the sure heart’s release. May these teachings bring understanding, benefit and blessings to all.
The first 5 chapters of Mindfulness, Bliss & Beyond is available as a preview.
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Coming to Australia
The then Venerable Brahm was invited to Perth, Australia by the Buddhist Society of Western Australia to assist Ajahn Jagaro in teaching duties. Initially they both lived in an old house in the suburb of North Perth, but in late 1983 purchased 97 acres (393,000 square metres) of rural and forested land in the hills of Serpentine south of Perth. The land was to become Bodhinyana Monastery (named after their teacher, Ajahn Chah Bodhinyana). Bodhinyana was to become the first dedicated Buddhist monastery in the Southern Hemisphere and is today the largest community of Buddhist monks in Australia.http://www.forestsangha.org/aboutchah.htm
Initially there were no buildings on the land, and as there were only a few Buddhists in Perth at this time, and little funding, the monks themselves began building to save money. So it was that Ajahn Brahm learnt plumbing and brick-laying and built many of the current buildings there himself.
Becoming a Leader
In 1994, Ajahn Jagaro took a sabbatical leave from Western Australia and disrobed a year later, abruptly leaving Ajahn Brahm in charge. Despite initial reservations, Ajahn Brahm took on the role with gusto and was soon being invited to provide his humorous and uplifting teachings in other parts of Australia and South-East Asia. He has been a speaker at the International Buddhist Summit in Phnom Penh in 2002, and at four Global Conferences on Buddhism. He was the convener of the Fourth Global Conference on Buddhism, held in Perth, in June 2006.
But such recognition has not stopped him from dedicating time and attention to the sick and dying, those in prison or ill with cancer, people wanting to learn to meditate, and of course his own Sangha of monks at Bodhinyana.
Ajahn Brahm has also been influential in establishing Dhammasara Nuns’ Monastery at Gidgegannup in the hills north-east of Perth to be a wholly independent monastery for nuns, where the Sri Lankan trained, Australian nun Ajahn Sr. Vayama is currently abbot.
Currently Ajahn Brahm is the Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia, the Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of Victoria, Spiritual Adviser to the Buddhist Society of South Australia, Spiritual Patron of the Buddhist Fellowship in Singapore, and is currently working with monks and nuns of all Buddhist traditions to establish the Australian Sangha Association
In October 2004, Ajahn Brahm was awarded the John Curtin Medal for his vision, leadership and service to the Australian community by Curtin University
Ajahn Brahm has also written two books including Opening the Door of Your Heart (fromerly published as ‘Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung?’) and Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook. Hundreds of Ajahn Brahm’s Dhamma talks are now available for free download in both digital audio and video format. These are downloaded millions of times a year and it’s now true to say that barely a second passes when there isn’t someone, somewhere in the world downloading and listening to a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm.