Saturday, January 30, 2010


Fighting for equanimity. Tststs, that's not the way to get there, phalañani.
1rst step: noting that what i thought to be equanimity earlier is mere indifference produced by pushing away all thoughts through concentration - with more or less effectivity.
Equanimity seems to be real peace of mind as a result of the acceptance of things as they are, a supramundane state of mind. While indifference is worldy, dealing with things as they come up by not letting them take hold in mind. Nice and cool satate of mind, but not truely equanimity.
As i found out earlier the present moment is void of 'l', 'me' and 'mine'. It's just the present moment. Therein is hearing or feeling, thinking bending, walking or wathever but no 'I'. 'I' doesn't like it.
Uaaaah! Fear arises. Mind is still playing tricks to undergo the determination that was made.
Walkingmeditation with 2 pairs of socks on blankets, that takes away the physical part of the pain in feet and knees.
Walking on wood or earth is much nicer, but if i will not become enlightened it's not the fault of the tiles on the floor of the kuti i presently stay in, that's clear.
Hihihi, there's a monk with versace-slippers in my 'front garden' digging soil, putting some flowers.
Whatever may he do as he wants, it's his karma.
Back to topic:
We think we are and try to manifest it. We cling on to this miserable existence in search for happyness, trying to understand whats going on. That makes us running around, chasing after some fun, after plans, after love etc. Until sometimes the question arises: 'and, ... This is It?' then we start to investigate and after lots of time we find out that sweeping can just be sweeping, peaceful, perfect, a step can just be a step. No wanting and no before and no after.
But usually there is this wanting, the desires to be, to become, to have, then we go for it which is eventually a more or less subtle act of aggression and we do so because we do not know better, cause we try to defend this existence. Every ant does so, [i watch them since months, when they are hurt or it's time to die they act just like a human. An actor can give a death scene better than any ant.], all people i know, i do, all dogs and cats i met do. That's probably instinct. Just we humans have other than ants, dogs and cats the option to get over it, we can act without being driven by mere instincts. But men, that's difficult. Because desire, aggression and delusion is so deeply rooted in our, or well at least in my mind. To eliminate the gross forms is quite easy, decision and action. [sais the expert of getting carried away by emotions :o)] Then there are finer forms and even more fine and sooo subtle that one may think there is no more root of desire, anger and delusion within me.
Last night i thought, as long as there is the disposition for desire, anger and delusion, there will be no equanimity, no peace. The mind has to be free from even this disposition, as for example a cows mind is free from the disposition to do tap dance, only then these defilements will not drive us.

Friday, January 29, 2010

some notes

Here some small notes that i made the past weeks since i'm back from the forest and back on retreat.

The wasps in the door, short story: they had two entrances, one into the room one to the outside. I just plastered the whole to the inside with earth. Done.

The monk in versace slippes wants to be a venerable: hehehe. What would you say if a monk wearing versace slippers stands in front of you moving from one foot to the other saying: i'm a venerable too, you know, nobody treats me like venerable, but i'm monk, 15 years experience, i'm a venerable? I omitted the sentence: then behave act and think like a venerable, and released a compassionate soundin: 'oh'.

Kilesas, fears, anger, in this retreat everything comes up up strong. moments of peace only while sweeping.

No more pindabat in the kitchen. I was quite upset when i heard first that ajahn wanted me to go to the diningroom, but then he said, go there with your bowl you can take food and then go to your room to eat.
Well, going with bowl to the diningroom as mae chii is kind of, let say it neutral, something new. The first day people jumped out of my way and waied with palm together when they saw me, some whispered 'bhikkhuni', while the real bhikkhuni was already sitting at the table.
The other mae chiis put food in my bowl, served me and off i went. The second day people brought their camaras and took pictures, from the third day on it became routine. Now i go first to the diningroom for the blessing, then kitchen for food and then eat in my room. Men, the monks were staring at me ... As if i were a calf fromm the moon. Incredible

I mentiond whats gping on in the diningroom during report to ajahn. I said 'for me its no problem when people stare but i don't want the monks or bhikkhuni make feel when i come and am treated like a queen.' 'When it's not a problem for you then there is no problem.' was his short answer.

Saranee left, she said, 'i should not give you samaneriordination, it's not good for you, i have a bad reputation and you are a better monk then i am.'

Statements: a day before ajahns birthday, the room was full of monks, a layman who works in the kitchen came, went down to the knees and offerd me food in the middle of the diningroom then a young girl came running followed by an elder woman.

There is nothing worth clinging on to it. Not even dogs. Which doesn't mean i can't feel love for it.

Birthday, ajahn tong was here. I did chanting for a.s. Wrong in the first verse, wanted to give up but catched myself and continued chanting. Instead of 'Buddha' i realesed something that sounded like 'dubba'. Shock. For a break of a second i felt so much pressure that i wanted to stop and run away. My mind run wild, i know the chant sleeping, so relax and just do. My voice sounded more firm from than on.

A day later a man came and said my chant was so beautiful and moving, he had tears in his eyes.

Meanwhile everybody got used to the nun with the bowl. There was no uproar but there must have been discussions. Usually ajahn comes very late to the meals if he comes, twice he came so early that he could observe the offering chantings and blessings. I sat in meditation while the mae chiis and yogies chanted the taking 5 precepts for the donators and the offering chant and then chanted the blessing first silent with the monks and then with voice the nuns and yogies. I thought if i go with my bowl i cant chant the offering chant for myself ...
I was not rebuked and keep doing as i did. Slowly the tension is getting out.
I had the question in mind for those who thought what i do is not proper: 'where does it hurt?' but i didn't say anything.

Was told to have some metta for myself.

Am very, very tired. Don't want to meditate at all. More effort, ajahn sais, i don't have more. It's already expired at 2 in the morning when my first alarm rings. Sometimes i get up sometimes i hear '5 minutes' later the 3 a'clock alarm. When i get up then, i don't have metta for anybody.

Crisis: woke up thinking 'i will never become an arahant' and wanted to stay in bed all day long. Told it ajahn, he laughted 'so you know that you're not an arahant'? Funny bone, this ajahn.

Report with bhikkhuni, reflect on the 32 perfections of the buddha or concentrate on a point in my body, she recommends. Thats like a holiday after 2 years and 4 months observing the rising and falling of the abdomen for several hours per day.

Boooooring, since 2 years and four months noticing rising and falling of the abdomen, lifting and putting of the foot. Boooring, boring.

Fears, pains, anger, it comes in waves. When i'm short before finding some peace in my mind, i find an excuse to escape mentally.
I'm sleeping 5 or 6 hours and am extremely tired. Willpower is not strong.

Some moments of clearness but most times i have a numb mind, can't note well.

Pain, feet and legs are hurting so much that i wanted to give up. I told ajahn, i skipped some walking sessions cause of the pain, i wanted to move to a kuti with a wooden floor, wanted to run away, made constructionplans, travelplans etc. Later i knew that i'm just trying to escape from the present moment that sacres me so because there is no room for 'i' and 'mine'.
Ajahn just said: 'it's mental pain, not physical, get over it. Work more. More efford'. He's a real funny bone, did i mention that?

Trying to find equanimity, i found out that only indifference comes up, no real peace and letting go. There is this inner discussion about going to america or sri lanka. 2010 shall be the year of my bhikkhuni ordination, will this happen when i go to america? I have no more patience to sit here on the cushion and lose time. Then later anger about all this thoughts and hussle and knowing that ordination comes when time is ripe, no need to force things. When i'm about to calm down, pamm! Thoughts: yes but i want ... I need, i must ...
Silly nun.
Next round walking - walk it through.

Friday, January 8, 2010

wat tam dog tam

Before we went i was told that i will have to stay like the monks in a hut of wood and leaves, no electricity, no phone. the drive was only a few kilometers from where we were, the car, a jeep, was stiffed with driver, 5 monks, 1 mae chii, a laywoman, bowls and luggage. Femals and luggage on the extra back seats, 4 monks on the back row, the boss next to the driver. Some of the monks knew me from last year or got used to me in the past days, they treated me like one of them, just another monk. Good!
When we arrived i was given a nice kuti, with bathroom inside and electricity. The mae chii who lived there left a while ago, she was too old and went back to her family.
The laywomen who came with us likes me. They say she can tell the future. For some reason she sees something great in me and wanted to see the kuti i stay in. Inside she told me she wants to build a kuti for me in the other forest monastery. I know meanwhile the relation of Thai’s to promises so i didn’t even react on this and just smiled friendly. Then she started to say prayers and explained that she is talking to the devatas, asking to protect me. She took me outside and started to talk with the trees and explained: when the leaves are shaking and trembeling the devas are coming to listen. The day was sunny and there was no wind. No moving leaves at all, she told me to put the hands together and look around in the trees. Then it was really strange, some leaves on some branches moved, they trembled while all others around remained still. Then we went to another tree and the same happened, it was a bit spooky, she asked the devas to protect me from all evil and men coming into my kuti. Then she went back home with the driver.
I’m not sure if anything would have been different without her asking the devas to protect me but I had a great time.
On the first day the villagers who came to the first Dhammatalk of this pariwara stared at me as if I were a calf from the moon. Probably I was the first mae chii farang the first wearing brown, the first who acted like a monk and not like a mae chii.
There was another mae chii with a young laywoman taking part. She wanted me to sneak out with them after the talk to go to the kitchen and chat, but I refused to go, sat there in meditation. Than tea for the monks was brought, and one of the monks who knew me told the novices who brought it to give to me, too and offer it properly as well. Some of the 19 monks looked a bit irritated, but those who knew me and the one who invited me gave the impression that it’s the most normal thing, that a mae chii gets tea with the monks - which is, according to my former experiences, absolutely not the case.
Next morning 4:30 h, the mae chii and the girl didn’t come to the chanting. After chanting some villagers brought some hot soup and the monks told them to give to me, too. I felt that some of the monks and some of the laypeople thought that this is not proper and I knew that they must have discussed the case, everybody was informed that I’m mae chii, not Bhikkhuni.
A laywomen asked if I went for chanting and where I am going to eat. I told that I will go on pindabat with the monks and went sweeping some leaves.
Short before it was time to go to almsgiving which was organized at the temple, the girl was sent to get me, the mae chii invited me to offer alms food to the monks with them. “No”, said I, “I go for alms as well”, “no” said the girl, and said thai-words I didn’t understand but I did understand the meaning, “ Oh, I don’t understand, but doesn’t matter, I go for alms”, once more she said something that must have meant something like: “don’t go on pindabat, come and offer food with us as it fits for a mae chii”, but I really didn’t understand and the bell was rung so I excused myself and got my bowl.
Only three of the villagers put some rice in my bowl, at least no uproar, I thought. But lots of food was prepared on a table and all monks and a nun were invited to take and the abbot himself observed that I took enough. I was the last in the row, First the monks in order of seniority, then novices, then I and after me the villagers. A following woman was wandering why I skipped most food, before I could answer the novice before me who knew me from the last pariwara said: “She eats vegetarian”. For some thais this is pure asceticism, a horror vision.
I went to my room, mixed everything and started eating when a novice passed and saw me eating out of my bowl, surrounded by a swarm of wasps which lived in the door that I had left open to let them fly out of the room where we had spend our first night together.
After washing my bowl I went to a platform with a Buddha statue on a hilltop to meditate. A group of visitors came, I heard voices of children, women and men so I didn’t feel any danger and kept sitting in meditation when they walked around rang the gong, talked about mae chee farang and left, than a group of samanens came saw me and left silent.
When I came to the evening chanting, the monks and lays had made up their mind: I am a Dhammayud monk. Some talked about me when I passed said: “skilled”. The abbot gave me a woolen hat in Dhammayud monks color and said “you can wear it”.
The Northern thaistyle chanting of paritas or the Dhamma is very fast. I know some of them or can at least follow, when chanted slowly, when it’s so fast as they do it here, I end up hyperventilating and with a knot in the toungh. But they saw me trying to follow and asked if I know the chants, “when done slowly, I can, some.” Next morning the chanting was done slowly and the leader with the mic stopped often, to hear if I’m chanting. The Abhidhamma was chanted, which I can follow quite good, hehe, and then the mangala- and the karania metta sutta, which I can follow as well. Now the last barriers were broken. And one monk took the microphone and said something like: “now we know mae chee farang really can do the chants”. (I have to admit that I only can follow, I couldn’t lead them.) He was so happy and kind of proud of me.
This morning and the following days my bowl was full of rice, everybody gave.
The next days passed quickly, I was one of the monks, the mae chee gave up to get me to the layfolks, I meditated on a wooden meditation platform which was located on a hill side a little hidden in front of a cave, it was wonderful. My barefoot walking influenced another monk and he started walking barefoot, too.
The last evening the girl came to ask my phone number. She wants to ordain somewhere and was, until then, student of the other present mae chee. The abbot had send the girl to ask me to teach her. I said she can come to the monastery where I stay and ordain there. See if she calls and comes. She will be a good nun, I guess, she is a shy Thai girl from the village, but has a devoted and courageous, good heart.
After that she followed me everywhere except to bed. We were sitting and talking with one of the monks, a Dr. PhD whom I met before but never spoke with. He said he is building a temple and meditation center and he wants me to be the teacher there in future. “The people will fever for you”, he prophesized. As I said, I learned not to pay any attention on such promises cause they will be broken. And, on top, it is absolutely exaggerated, but it was nice to hear, though.
In the end every monk had to say a few words, a local radio moderator gave the microphone to everyone. He passed me and I relaxed, but he came back and there was no escape, the mic was underneath my nose. With my three words Thai that I speak I tried to show my gratitude for the good treatment and chanted a blessing. Then they asked me to talk more in English, it was translated into Thai and finally the mic disappeared, pooooh!
Next morning, after breakfast, I went to say goodbye to some of the monks. Lompu Wen gave a little talk for me (in Thai) at one point I said “I don’t understand”, “doesn’t matter if you don’t understand, words are not important, you have a lot of metta and you understand with your heart”.

Phalañanī has to breath in and out mindfully, to acknowledge feelings like pride and excitement arise and disappear. Yes, they disappear. May I not be conceited, neither by thinking I’m great nor by thinking I’m low. May I grow into that what the monks saw in me there. May I grow in the Dhamma.

Friday, January 1, 2010

just another day

Since some days i'm in phrao in the same monastery where i was last year taking part at the parivara. This time i came very late and only joined the last 2 days of this years parivara. But i stay for some more days enjoying the silence. [which was interrupted by 3 different karaoke-parties somewhere around in the area last night. :o)]
Here i have some luxury: washingmashine, warm shower, a house for me alone and as phra robert mentioned today, everybody seem to like me.
On the 3rd i will go with ajaan kasem to another, short parivara in a forest monastery where he stayed as a novice. We visited that temple twice, it's beautiful, with cave, a big buddhastatue, forest and view from the hill. It will be cold. Well, that's relative. Cold means 10 - 13 degrees in the morning, during the day it climbs up to 30. The wind then is experienced as a nice cool breeze and in the morning we are wearing woolen hats and vests and minimum worm blanket around the shoulders above the robes. Some monks are looking just like a pile of cloth and blankets when they sit for morning chanting. The brave ones take off the blanket from one shoulder and the hat for the beginning of chanting. The weaklings do not even move a toe out of the clothpile. I'm half-weakling, i take blanket and hat off, but wear a sweater and the nuns-blouse.
I'm practicing moderate and try to get some quality in meditation which i hadn't always had in all rounds in my meditation-determination-marathon the last months.
The body is changing. The more i lose wanting the more the neck is not pulling to the front. The tendency leaning to the left and the tention in the left shoulder comes from crumping the heart. I try to open it physically and mentally whith the result that all sorts of fears come up. Big and small, at daytime and in dreams. Was dreaming of losing my teeth, of waking up and be blind, of the earth losing it's solidity and dissolving underneath my feet etc.. Some month ago i didn't notice that my heart is crumping, then i noticed that i'm crumping it a few times per day. Lately i notice it every couple of minutes but once i turn away the attention from the heart, paff - tensed again.
In 'open' moments the world as it is is hard to bear. Everything, insects, people, animals, even the beauty of flowers and moments of happyness fill me with pity - a mixture of pity and love and knowing i can't help.