Vinyana Meditation Group

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Vinyana Meditation Group

Vinyana Meditation Group

Information
Tradition/Linage Ahjahn Chah
Main School Theravada
Contact Infotmation
Address 1076 Bramston Beach Road
Bramston Beach
Queensland 4871
Australia
Country Australia
Coordinates
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Map
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Phone 07 40674184
Website http://www.fourwindslao.com/
Email cde.fourwinds@gmail.com



Vinyana Meditation Group

THE VINYANA GROUP proposes a contemporary interpretation of Dhamma and approach to practice whilst maintaining relevance to the Theravada tradition.

Buddhism has a long and vibrant history of varied thought yet it remains consistent to the teachings of Siddhartha Gotama. Over the centuries many schools with differing approaches to Buddhist practice have developed and unfortunately many have also disappeared from history. The recent transfer of Buddhism to the West will inevitably result in new ways of interpreting and practising Dhamma. The Vinyana Group supports and advocates this as a regenerative force in contemporary Buddhism.

About Us

The Directors:

Peter and Semone have a long association with Buddhist practice and philosophy in Australia. Semone was a founding resident at Wat Buddha Dhamma near Wiseman's Ferry. This was the first Theravada Buddhist Forest Monastery in Australia. Originally set up by Pra Khantipalo and Aya Khema in 1978 the Wat had resident monks and lay community living and practising the Dhamma on a pristine property in the Dharug National Park. Semone lived there for four years practising and providing lay support to the Sangha.

Peter spent more than five years practising and training as a bhikkhu in the forest tradition of North East Thailand under the guidance of Luang Por Chah, between 1977 and 1983. Peter learnt to speak Thai and Lao and was able to translate original talks given by Ajahn Chah into English, particularly during the 1980 rains retreat. That year Ajahn Chah resided for the Vassa at Wat Pah Pong. During that retreat Loom Por was at the peak of his teaching prowess and gave several inspirational and spontaneous desanas.

In the day time he would sit under his Kuti and receive guests from all over Thailand and the world. Peter took the opportunity and spent many hours during the retreat under the kuti chatting with Loom Por, listening to him talk to guests and generally indulging in the aura of this great teacher. It was to be Loom Por's last effective Pansah before a creeping illness gradually took control of his body and debilitated him. By 1981 Loom Por's effective teaching years were over though he lived on until 1992 when over a million people attended his funeral celebrations, such was the reverence he had achieved.

In recent years Peter and Semone have had a successful career in Community Development and Vocational Training working with Aboriginal communities in Central Australia. In 2010 they decided to take a new direction in life and began to travel again in South East Asia. Gradually they have returned to the practice of Dhamma and are developing two properties as meditation retreat facilities.

Four Winds is located 80 kilometres South of Cairns in North Queensland. It is a 26 hectare property, one third of which is World Heritage Rainforest. It is situated in an ideal location for a retreat, close to the beach, mountains and waterfalls. The block in Lao PDR is at Paksi on the banks of the Mekong River just 20 kilometres South West of Luang Prabang in Northern Laos. It is just five kilometres from the beautiful Kuang Si waterfall.

PRINCIPLE TENETS OF THE VINYANA GROUP

The Dhamma

Dhamma refers to the omnipotent Truth that Siddhartha Gotama realized. It also refers to the collection of teachings that he delivered. The Buddha differentiated between intuitive Dhamma which he called "paramattha Dhamma" (sacca) and conventional Dhamma which he referred to as "vohara dhamma". Conventional Dhamma is to be used an aid for intuitive realization. Much of what he said was recorded orally for four centuries after his death until it was finally written down in the first century BC. There are three extant versions of the Buddhist Canon in Pali, Sanskrit and Chinese. Theravada, the Southern school of Buddhism, follows the Pali Canon as transliterated in Sri Lanka. The various renditions of the Canon differ from school to school but the core discourses are present in all of them. The Buddha often said that his teaching was but a vehicle by which to undertake a journey and must not be clung to. It is not to become a burden and must eventually be let go of, just like all other mind phenomena.

The Sangha

A life in the Sangha offers to those who are inclined towards it, a unique opportunity to wipe the dust from their eyes. The Pali word Sangha means “community”. It most often is used to refer to the Bhikkhu and Bhikkhuni Sangha. This is the monastic order of monks and nuns that practice under the training rules laid down by the Buddha himself. There is also another application of Sangha taken to mean the greater community of all Buddhists (Mahasangha) practising and living under the guidance of the training outlined in the fourth of the Salient Truths.

WHAT IS OUR “PRACTICE”?

The Noble Eightfold Way is the multi-facetted, personalized training pathway that the Buddha, as coach and mentor, designed for us. The adage, ‘practice makes perfect’, aptly describes what we must do. The Buddha’s pathway to liberation from dukkha is not about worship or blind belief. It is not about miraculous transformations of character through prayer to an external power. It is simply about doing something meaningful with the life we have. It is about us taking responsibility for what we are and who we can become. We can’t change the past but we can affect the future. When first we start to practice it is like beginning to swim against the stream and doing what is difficult. It means setting standards for ourselves that often don’t come naturally. Buddhist practice is about becoming a better person through our own endeavour. We strive to see and understand the world differently and think differently. We practice developing better speech and actions. We should adopt a lifestyle and livelihood that is conducive to practice. We need to put energy, effort, diligence and consistency into our practice and be serious about it. We strive to develop mindfulness and firm concentration through the regular practice of meditation and awareness of mind. Out of perfect practice, perfect wisdom will arise. Wisdom will replace the ignorance that chains us to the wheel and conditions our primal craving for existence. The cycle of conditionality will be broken and there will be no more re-birth.

WHAT IS SAMADHI AND HOW CAN WE PRACTICE IT?

Samadhi is the eighth component of the Noble Way. It refers to the practice of reaching single focussed concentration. It is meditation that develops into perfect concentration. Here we practice meditation to develop a mind which is focussed and one-pointed. We seek a deeply concentrated state of mind in order to facilitate the arising of wisdom and insight (vipassana) into the Dhamma.

It is possible, in one sitting, to progress through several deep stages of mental absorption which are called jhana. However, all the foundations, the eight facets of practice, must be developed before we can hope to build such a home for ourselves. The Tathagata taught that there are five levels of jhana which can be attained. Each is a different experience to the other with variant characteristics.

The first jhana has five characteristics. As we move from the calming samatha (peaceful) meditative state induced by practising mindfulness of the breath we are able to take up an object of mind (vitaka) and contemplate it through the application of discursive thought (vicara).

As we contemplate an aspect of dhamma and begin to truly understand then a state of exhilaration (piti) comes about which is replaced by a feeling of overall happiness and wellbeing (sukha). It is the joy associated with a personal discovery of truth. As we move past this phase the mind is able to gain single focus or one- mindedness (ekagata). The mind becomes fixed at one point or object and we may advance to a second stage.

The second jhana or absorption is said to have four characteristics, piti, sukha, ekagata and vicara. We no longer need to deliberately take up a mind object or dhamma to contemplate as it now arises intuitively. The third jhana has three characteristics. Discursive thought is gone and we experience piti, sukha and ekagata. The fourth jhana or absorption has two characteristics, sukha and ekagata. The fifth and final jhana also has two characteristics. Ekagata is still there but sukha is now replaced by equanimity (upekkha).

Equanimity is one of the four so called divine states of mind. The others are friendliness (metta), compassion (karuna) and mutual joy (mudita). So the power of Samadhi is great indeed.

This is all just an academic description of Samadhi and in no way intended to be a presumption of what it is like to experience such levels of concentration. There is no substitute for personal experience. To develop Samadhi alone is not the way. To desire deep states of concentration for reasons of pride means we have missed the point. We must train ourselves in all facets of the Eightfold Way to create the conditions for wisdom to arise. Perfect balance in our practice is what we seek. Perfect balance is the condition for perfect practice to come about.

When the mind is in a peaceful, concentrated state contemplation comes about of its own accord. Many themes may arise one after another passing through the mind but they don’t disrupt the calm condition that pervades the mind. There is no need to select a topic for they will arise by themselves. The peace that I speak of is real peace, total tranquillity which can endure for an hour, two hours or more. When this state is reached we have no desire to deliberately think about anything for at this stage all mind objects just pass on through. There is however one type of object that arises as a type of knowing from out of this concentrated mind. There is comprehension without the serenity being disturbed. This cognition enhances the calmness which in turn is conducive to further comprehension. In this way contemplation is automatic; for example, the thought of death may enter the mind but it is more than a thought. It is a complete awareness of its presence. Death becomes truly known to us.

However, if we decide to take it from there and start pondering it, then this is just a lot of sanna. But that also has its usefulness when deep concentration is unattainable. We deliberately pick up topics and contemplate them, like picking up this spittoon for example and considering it. It is full of rubbish just like me. It is of the same nature as me and Pamutto over there, everyone in fact is the same as this spittoon, all just passing entities full of rubbish.

But don’t forget that this form of contemplation is just sanna. This is not to be mistaken for what arises in the perfectly calm mind, , things which can only arise in the tranquil state. Subjects arise of their own accord. When they arrive there is no room for reasoning, no space for doubt for it is simply, knowing. No need to reason it, you feel it. We could be lying down meditating, relaxed completely calm and then suddenly the realization of death is there. We have not chosen the topic but there it is and for the rest of the day we can’t sleep for thinking about it. Such things only arise when the mind is totally still. Then we call it contemplation in a calmed mind. Anything else is just sanna.

Source

Vinyana Meditation Group