Buddhism in the west

On Tuesday 20 March , Ajahn Satit went to Melbourne specifically to attent the Dhamma talk by Lama Ole Nydahl, one of the westerner Dhamma teachers of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu Buddhist tradition or  Diamond Way Buddhism as it is well known among westerners.

On Sunday 25th, Ajahn Satit shared with the participants at Wat Albury, what the talk was all about and how the talk impressed him. For anyone that did not come on Sunday here is the highlight of the talk as food for thought for you.

The topic of the talk was “Buddhism in the west”. Ajahn Satit said that this was what he still needed to explore how other Buddhist traditions shared Buddhist knowledge or wisdom to the west.

Lama Ole Nydahl at BMW Edge Federation Square 20 March 2012

Lama Ole Nydahl at BMW Edge Federation Square Mebourne 20 March 2012

The whole event was plain and simple. There was no special opening ceremony or any other public speaking technique to hype up the audiences. They only emphasised on the speaker and his topic. He was sitting on a chair on the stage and talked to the audiences like he was talking to a friend.

He started the topic with the kinds of religious of which he divided into two categories. One was the faith religious, the religious that united people by supernatural phenomena and commonly related to the politic. The second category was the religious of experience.

He said the Buddha is like the mirror that reflects who you really are, if you reach the Buddha inside you, you will also be the same as the Buddha. Everyone has a potential to be a Buddha. Therefore you should take your time to develop yourselves.  That is what Buddhism is all about, self development.

He also mentioned the 84,000 items of Dhamma that all the Buddhas teach. He pointed out that ones should not just learn and understand the Dhamma but they should use that Dhamma to develop their mind as well.

During the talk, the Lama has acknowledged the presence of Ajahn Satit that he was the only Theravada monk who joined his audience that day.

The Lama also pointed out the link between science and Buddhism in the explanation of the formation and destruction of the world that they are not much different. Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.

He explained about the Diamond Way that it is the way to be awaken, when you are awaken you will see a bright light that is like a diamond, it is the light of wisdom.

He also talked about the general Buddhist practices, 5 precepts, good and bad kamma by thought, speech and action in the way that seemed to make sense to all westerners.

Ajahn Satit observed that perhaps what has been omitted from the teaching of Buddhism in the west is the Buddhist cosmology about haven and hell. Reincarnation or rebirth seem to be acceptable as the path on the middle way may not be achievable in only one life time and one has to be reborn in the process of self development.

After the talk it was question time which ran for about an hour.

Then he led the audiences to take refuge in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha in English and practiced meditation.

Ajahn Satit was surprised that many of the audiences could do the chanting in Tibatian which mean that the chanting is something the westerners can accept.

At the end, the Lama gave the audiences the chance to touch the sacred item that his teacher gave him which he hung it around his neck. He also gave out sacred items to the new comers in the audience. This is, as Ajahn Satit observed, similar to what is done in the Thai temple.

Ajahn Satit was very impressed to see many westerners in the room that have the ability to take on the middle path, the path that the Buddha showed us 2600 years ago. He was also impressed with the talk of the Lama Ole Nydahl of how he explained the Dhamma to the westerners in their way of thinking. He also appreciated the opportunity to be in the audience of the Lama Ole Nydahl talk this time.

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