Planting Flowers, Pulling Weeds: Ayya Anandabodhi

teacher_379_125_0Length: 26 minutes, 13 seconds.

Memorable Quote:  We should take care to be aware of the hindrances that are NOT present, and appreciate that. It is a lovely feeling.

Synopsis: Ayya Anandabodhi compares the mind to a garden in which we must make efforts to water the flowers and pull up weeds. This is easier in a community, in which we can offer each other reflections on the good, as well as the parts that could benefit from a bit of work. If we only hear about what we’re doing well, the vines of pride and self-deceit may spring up. If we only hear what’s wrong, our garden will be barren. We will have a dry heart, and dry experience. If we start from a place of criticism, we may get to a place where things are the way we think they “should” be, but this will not lead us to freedom, joy and release.

We need to use the tool of compassion to tend our garden. We can acknowledge when unwholesome states are present, and see how they feel. See how your jealousy can hurt yourself and others, and then ask yourself if that is something you want to cultivate. In general, we must shift from a mindset of “lack” to a mindset of abundance. In a state of lack, however much we get, it is never enough. Although Buddhism says life is suffering, it also commands us to enjoy our virtues. We should and must take pleasure in sharing the merits of our lives with others, and we are unable to do this if we don’t recognize them.

I like: I appreciate Ayya Anandabodhi’s idea of appreciating the hindrances that we are not havint, instead of simply focusing on what’s wrong.

I wish: I always want to hear more about the process of “just being” with our hindrances, especially because “pulling out the weeds” sounds like a much more active metaphor.

Link to Full Talk

More about the Speaker: Ayya Anandabodhi is co-founder of Aloka Vihara, a training monastery for women near Placerville, CA, where she currently resides. She has practiced meditation since 1989, and lived as part of the Ajahn Chah lineage at Amaravati and Chithurst monasteries for 18 years. In 2009 she moved to the US and took full bhikkhuni ordination in 2011. Here more of her talks here.

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