On the 7th February, 2011 at afternoon, I went to visit Ajhan Brahmavamso (a British born monk presently staying in Australia and serving humanity by his extra-ordinary way of preaching and guidance in meditation) at Wang Fat Ching She, Hong Kong. Ajhan Brahm was invited by the Tung Lin Kok Yuen Organization to Hong Kong on a Dhamma tour – to conduct meditation retreat and to give talks on topics like mindfulness, meditation, etc.
The main purpose was to spread the beautiful message of the Buddha to the masses who being exhausted in their machine like life of Hong Kong want some peace of mind and a stress-free life. Anyhow, I went to meet Ajhan Brahm basically with following two intentions:
1) to take a written permission or message from him about his book (Opening the Door of your Heart) that I am translating and hope to publish this year, and
2) to talk to him, get some blessings and take some photographs with him so that our meeting will be recorded for future recollections.
I reached the place where he was staying after coming to Hong Kong around 3 p.m. I was told that he was already occupied in discussion with somebody. I eagerly waited for nearly 3/4 hours until I met him at 7 p.m. It was just before beginning his public talk on mindfulness and meditation. So I could only talk few words with him. I paid my humble homage to him and expressed my wish of translating his text. I also told him that I would like to have few words from him about the book and my decision to translate it. He was happy to know that. Afterwards, a Bengali family went to worship him. He said to that family “this young monk wants to translate my book into Bengali…which is very good”. The Bengali family having heard the news expressed happiness. Ajhan Brahm said, “the book was translated in many languages, even in Hebrew”. Then we went in line behind him in the Hall and seated in the front row with the gathering facing him to listen to his talk. For one and half an hour he discussed about the importance of mindfulness and meditation. The talk was translated into Cantonese language for a clear understanding of the common folk. The participants were very happy by his talk. Every now and then, as is the case with most of Ajahn Brahm’s talks, the listeners would burst into laughter by his funny and enlightening stories with excellent message. He began by saying that there were many university researchers who wish to do research on the extra-ordinary healing power of meditation, what it is and how it works. One such Swedish scholar visited many meditation teachers around the world and discussed on the subject of the meditation. Finally, he came to Ajhan Cha, the teacher of Ajhan Brahm, and asked the following questions:
1) What is meditation?
2) Why should one meditate?
3) When to meditate? and
4) How long to meditate?
After listening to his questions, Ajhan Cha put some counter questions to him as follows:
1) What is eating?
2) Why should one eat?
3) When to eat? and
4) How long to eat?
The Swedish scholar felt ridiculous by Ajhan Cha’s questions. But what Ajhan Chan said afterwards, as Ajhan Brahm explained, was extremely exciting and interesting. He said, just as we eat naturally, without anybody’s telling, for the nourishment of our body and for the strength to do our work, in the same manner, we should do the mindfulness practice for the nourishment of our mind. And as we eat when we feel hungry or whenever we like to eat, we should also do the same with regard to our mind whenever we feel stress, anxiety, restless etc. And as to how we should do so, he said, ‘spend the same time as you do for eating’ [the hall was filled with laughter…hahaha….] In fact, more time should be devoted for the mindfulness practice as the mind is forerunner of all things (manopubbangama dhamma).
Ajhan Brahm also mentioned some other wonderful stories of people who were affected by the serious disease like cancer got healed by the practice of meditation. He mentioned of an incident as to how a lawyer who was to make decision for the punishment of criminals was extra-ordinarily supported by his practice of meditations not to take a wrong decision and to be free from stress. Further, Ajahn Brahm explained how some children of a mother requested her to attend to the meditation course at Ajhan Brahm’s monastery in Australia because every time she comes back home after the meditation she is a nice mother, who the children want to have. Finally, what he said was that meditation is enjoying the freedom from all our stress, anxiety, and worry. He compared our past and future thinking with two heavy bags which we are carrying all the time and we are really very tired and burdened of the heaviness. He asked everyone to put these burdens down, be light, forget everything for the time being, and just enjoy the present moment without any worry, any anxiety, any stress. What bliss by doing so! You will get more strength to carry on your life more efficiently.
The next day we had breakfast with him in the temple and had lunch in a restaurant. And there I have taken some pictures with Ajhan Brahm. Afterwards in the evening, having paid my sincere respect to him, I came back to my residence.
It was really an enlightening experience for me, which will last in my memory.