Monday, March 28, 2011

Ajahn Brahm

Back in December, my friends were planning on going to Ajahn Brahm's micro retreat & lecture together. I didnt even know who he was. As it turns out he's a Cambridge educated Englishman who became a forest monk in Thailand and later on settle in Australia. He wrote bestseller books. Apparently his "Cacing" (the worm & his lovely pile of dung) book out sold Harry Potter in Indonesia. Impressive. This is not a country with a reading culture. A book heavy on Buddhism sold more than 100.000 exemplars in a Moslem majority country where getting 10.000 exemplars sold is already difficult.

So I bought his book in Bali, and started reading it in the plane.

It's an easy read, full of every day lesson. And funny. In fact some story are really funny. As always there's a message, about letting go, about enjoying the moment, about not having fear, about forgiving oneself. You get the point.

I didnt feel like looking for another way of meditating, so I only went to his lecture. The man is funny and surprisingly very open. So open that he said meditating is better than sex. Or at least his experience of sex before becoming a monk. Of course it could means he was crappy in sex, or meditating was really that good. Either way in my experience no other monk/ustad/priest ever said something like that in public before.

Anyway, in his lecture Ajahn Brahm taught us to keep only happy memories and let go of the pain in the past, because otherwise you will be a prisoner of the past. Let go the small stuffs and keep the big stuff. Let go having to be right which also means letting go ego. What matter is not me, or you, but us.

I also like when he talked about being vegan. I know there are plenty of hardcore vegan out there. Preaching how good it is being vegan. However, I once read about karma & being vegan which raise an interesting point, which is if you are a vegan and you make others difficult by you being a vegan, you create bad karma for yourself. Ajahn Brahm put it slightly different. He said be compassionate to animal, but also be compassionate to fellow human being. Because what is more important is what comes out from your mouth, than what enters into your mouth. This last part I think is his judeo-christian background speaking.

It was an interesting evening. Fun and full of reminders on how to be happy and to be in the moment. If only the interpreters were much better. At one point I saw a girl with hijab giving her donation for Ajahn Brahm. Cool.

May all being be happy


colson said...

Buddhism may well be occupying a well deserved large space in the spiritual universe. It looks like you are on an exploration-mission there.

Together with the fact you mentioned about 100000 sold copies of the book, I wonder is this amazing interest related to a counter current to the advance of orthodox Islam in Indonesia?

triesti said...

I went there because every Buddhist incline persons I know talk about how good he is. I figure I might as well see the guy. Plus I've never met any forest monk before.. he's the kind of meditating not in a monastery but in cave etc.

Perhaps the easy read and close to everyday life content of the book that did it. I'd rather read his book that the "chicken soup" books.