Tuesday 21st December 2010 we hosted Ajahn Pasanno for the second time. On this occasion we were at Baan Aree.
click image above for photos
Ajahn Pasanno is the Abbot of Wat Abhayagiri in California. Previously he was the abbot of the International temple in the NE of Thailand. He is fluent in Thai, and every visit to Bangkok involves a hectic series of engagements – all in Thai.
Formerly living in Bangkok himself, first as a layman and then as a monk in a Thonburi temple Wat Pleon Vipassana, he knows that the English language Dhamma scene needs support. So he has been very keen to help us in any way. He has always been a ‘monk’s monk’ – that is he is a figure that other monks really appreciate and value. Other Bhikkhus are big public speakers, temple builders, renunciates etc.. This is why there was a very impressive turn out of Foreign monks, more than you find in the Western temples.
click image above for photos
Ajahn Pasanno said earlier – “I’m not so good on particular topics – if someone asks me something I will talk about that”. The only suggestion had been a talk on Paticca Samupada – Dependent Origination. This is a tricky topic. There are twelve elements to this teaching so cover it all in 40 minutes would be pretty difficult. In the absence of other suggestions, AjahnPasanno said he would have a stab at it.
While it is an involved teaching, and there are several widely varying interpretations of it, in principle it means that results flow from a cause. It is often summarized as ‘interconnectivity’. If you want a particular result, you have to lay the foundations, the right kammic seeds.
The talk revolved around this theme.
The Q&A was interesting. One question from a writer – ‘we must use passion in our work to be creative, so how can we stop passionating’. A great question, if only for the excellent invention of the word ‘passionating’.
Another question – Buddhism holds the precept to not kill. Happiness comes from right endeavour, peace, meditation etc.. So how come Hindus join an animal sacrifice and seem all happy and joyful in their community that comes together for these rites.
“how can you prevent yourself becoming attached to non-attachment?” was another question.
The last question of the night was some women feel that Buddhism is sexist … with all the emphasis going on to monks – how come women are excluded?
On this last question it should be pointed out that there are no aspects of Buddhism which are exclusive to monks. Only the ordination of another monk is a service reserved for monks only. Practise, Englightenment, and recently even ordination are all available to male, female, young old etc..
It will be December next year before we can host Ajahn Pasanno again.
Coming up in January, His Holiness Phakchok Rinpoche will be in Bangkok on a hectic 10 day tour. Don’t miss.