Catholic vs. Buddhist – 2017-08-21 – SanathaVihari Losangeles


SanathaVihari Losangeles is a Theravada Buddhist monk from Sarathchandra Buddhist Center in Los Angeles California. He stumbled upon my podcast and reached out to put me in touch with some Canadian Buddhists. He’s a bright young man with a sunny disposition.

Transcript

Please excuse any errors as these captions were automatically generated by YouTube.

0:00 hi i’m sonata vhari los angeles and
0:02 you’re listening to Catholic verses
0:04 Buddhist tell the audience a little bit
0:10 about yourself if you would please who
0:12 you are what you believe in why you
0:13 believe it all right sounds good well my
0:16 name is venerable Los Angeles so not
0:18 toughy Hari that is a mouthful so people
0:20 just call me Ponte I’m from Los Angeles
0:22 California and I was in the military in
0:26 the Air Force Reserve for 11 years
0:28 during that time I came across Buddhism
0:31 I was just uh looking for meditation
0:34 then I came across one particular
0:37 teacher venerable dr. Panaji maha terra
0:40 and he had a different perspective on
0:43 the teachings a more modern approach to
0:44 the teachings going back to the original
0:47 teachings pushing aside or suspending
0:50 the tradition for a moment and just
0:52 looking at the original text and that
0:54 really caught my attention so the
0:56 meditation itself through experiential
0:58 knowledge totally changed my life I was
1:00 in the military you know I was just like
1:02 any young guy I like to have fun and do
1:04 all these other things and I lived a
1:05 beautiful life and I don’t regret
1:07 anything but I really had to see how far
1:10 the rabbit-hole went down so uh that’s
1:13 how I became a Buddhist monk can you
1:15 talk just a little bit about your ethnic
1:17 background what your parents believe
1:19 what your grandparents believe what sort
1:20 of religious upbringing you might have
1:22 had if any my mother she was from a
1:24 small town in Zacatecas
1:26 in Mexico and she grew up in a very
1:29 traditional Catholic family and my
1:33 father he grew up in a Catholic setting
1:35 but uh when he was 17 he went off to the
1:38 Marine Corps and then he never went back
1:39 to his hometown really just to visit
1:41 here and then so he lived in big cities
1:44 so he was he was Catholic but he
1:47 followed almost he would go to any kind
1:48 of a Christian Church and he he wouldn’t
1:51 you know really stick to any one kind of
1:53 religion like dogmatically or have it as
1:56 his worldview he kind of let everyone do
1:58 what he want but definitely he had an
2:00 overall Catholic taste to everything and
2:02 uh well I was small my grandma was
2:06 really strict so you know I did
2:09 everything Catholic that I had to do I
2:10 got was baptized I
2:13 my first communion my first communion
2:15 was done by my cousin who was a
2:17 missionary in Africa he’s still there
2:20 actually he’s a very nice guy he’s
2:21 awesome he’s doing great work out there
2:22 and that experience of having my cousin
2:26 do it for me was like the best thing
2:28 like I remember being a child and my
2:30 cousin’s the ones doing it and I don’t
2:32 know I felt great so I was like one of
2:33 my best memories that I have when I was
2:35 a Catholic for the last 20 years he’s
2:38 been in Africa doing work so I feel very
2:41 proud about him do you remember being
2:44 very young and believing in God and
2:46 praying at night in that sort of thing
2:47 at least having a faith even if it was
2:49 naive yeah so to me it was more like I
2:52 couldn’t distinguish between like
2:53 religion and culture and philosophy or
2:56 whatever so this is what we do so that’s
2:59 what we do and I felt like there was
3:02 some sort of connection act I don’t know
3:04 if I could comprehend you know what God
3:06 was but I thought some sort of
3:07 connection with something I felt the
3:09 sanctity of when I went into the church
3:10 I knew it was a holy place
3:12 I knew the priests were spiritual people
3:14 so I didn’t have a clear-cut
3:15 understanding of it but I understood
3:17 that it was something special and
3:19 meaningful was there a time where you
3:21 were anti religious what did you go
3:24 through a dark period like that actually
3:27 I went through a personal dark period
3:29 but I never projected that on religion I
3:32 went through like a getting Gnostic
3:34 period where I I was skeptical about
3:36 everything I had a lot of doubts about
3:38 God but I couldn’t bring myself to deny
3:41 that there was something there so uh
3:43 yeah I think that’s it as far as I got I
3:46 was just like I’m agnostic Buddhism
3:48 doesn’t acknowledge God but it doesn’t
3:49 really deny God either what is your
3:51 understanding of the role of God in
3:54 Buddhism each school of Buddhism
3:55 probably has a different view I really
3:58 guide myself by the early texts of the
4:01 Buddha just like the monk who inspired
4:03 me what I understand from those
4:06 teachings it’s just like what you said
4:09 so it doesn’t really acknowledge a
4:12 creator god it doesn’t deny one it’s not
4:14 really focused on that there’s talks
4:17 about God so they talked about like the
4:19 Indian God who is supposed to be the
4:21 Creator God Maha Brahma the great pragma
4:24 and the
4:27 has interactions with him the Buddha is
4:29 like teaching
4:30 brockmore what he doesn’t know that’s
4:32 actually one discourse what Brockman
4:33 didn’t know what God didn’t know and
4:35 then actually in one discourse God kind
4:39 of tells the Buddha or one of his
4:41 disciples that people on earth shouldn’t
4:43 be upset with him because he’s trying
4:45 his best to keep everyone happy but he
4:47 can’t do everything so then Widow comes
4:51 and tells people that and you know
4:53 Buddha kind of takes a soft approach on
4:55 God he’s not critical of God he’s kind
4:58 of like his mentor and teacher but it
4:59 just you know you really have to look to
5:01 see where God’s at in there and that’s
5:03 the Indian God it’s not the Abrahamic
5:04 God so yeah just to be clear so the
5:07 audience knows the Abrahamic God is
5:09 perfect and there’s no lack of knowledge
5:12 or a lack of perfection in in our God
5:14 just to make sure that’s understood but
5:17 what does your name mean that that
5:19 Buddhist name that you took on did you
5:21 choose it or was it given to you and
5:23 what did the different parts of it mean
5:24 the name was given to me by the chief
5:28 Abbot who was my preceptor who is my
5:30 teacher
5:30 so everything in Buddhism within the
5:33 monks community has to be brought to a
5:35 vote so nothing’s done without a vote so
5:37 the monks in the temple got together
5:38 they thought about names they voted on
5:40 one and then my teacher gave it to me in
5:42 Sri Lanka at least they have the
5:44 tradition that one part of your name has
5:46 to be where you’re from so they can
5:48 identify you because there’s so many
5:49 monks by the same so it’s like they have
5:51 the same name there’s only so many names
5:52 you can choose so they pick where you’re
5:55 from so they called me Los Angeles
5:57 because I’m from LA and then so not
6:01 tucky Hari
6:02 so vhari is like the same word that they
6:05 use for dwelling vihara so dwelling
6:09 sonata’ like Atta means like self a
6:12 person so saw as two kind of like the
6:15 person who dwells who dwells in this
6:18 dwelling and usually when they talk
6:19 about be Hara or Vita vhari they’re
6:22 talking about some sort of divine
6:24 dwelling originally like an original
6:26 Pali and Sanskrit that’s not what I
6:27 meant but throughout the times it’s been
6:29 synonymous with divine dwelling so the
6:31 one who is protected by the divine
6:33 dwelling or the one who dwells in divine
6:35 dwelling something like that I’d like to
6:38 change gears a little bit and sort of
6:39 talk about
6:40 morality because it’s something that’s
6:42 always on my mind with everyone that I
6:43 talk with I’m deeply troubled and
6:47 disturbed by any religion that says that
6:50 everyone ends up in heaven and Buddhism
6:54 it seems to me says that everyone is one
6:56 person there’s only the one mind of
6:58 Buddhism and that everything is illusion
7:00 you and I are not two separate beings
7:02 that’s illusion that’s Maya and the
7:04 ultimate reality is only the one mind of
7:06 Buddha it correct me if I’m wrong but I
7:08 think the ultimate happy ending is being
7:12 reunited in Nirvana or in Buddha or
7:15 something to that effect which I would
7:17 equate with perfect bliss and eternal
7:20 happiness so in in MOT from my
7:22 perspective that seems to say that
7:25 there’s only God there’s only heaven and
7:27 suffering is illusion
7:29 and therefore it doesn’t really matter
7:31 what we do eventually the illusion will
7:35 dissolve and will go back to being that
7:37 one mind of Buddha can you please
7:38 correct me where I’m wrong in my
7:40 interpretation so you’re correct that
7:42 idea was picked up by particular schools
7:45 but when we look at the early Buddhist
7:47 literature you don’t see that kind of a
7:49 view there so there isn’t like this one
7:52 mind that connects everything everyone
7:54 doesn’t end up going to heaven you know
7:57 that stuff’s not there in the early
7:59 literature basically what I want to know
8:01 is is there a difference between the
8:03 best-case scenario of what’s possible
8:05 and the worst-case scenario of what’s
8:07 possible and I ask all of my guests this
8:09 sort of question and I’d like I’d like
8:11 to have your perspective from your
8:12 particular brand of Buddhism what does
8:14 it say about the best case scenario or
8:16 the worst case scenario for someone like
8:18 me or someone like you are we one or are
8:20 we two and what what’s the best and
8:22 what’s the worst so the traditional view
8:24 as I understand it is that there are
8:28 several different planes of existence
8:30 there’s three main divisions there’s
8:32 like the material world with which you
8:35 live in there’s like the non form world
8:37 or imageless world and then there’s the
8:39 hells and within those there’s different
8:41 varieties and categories of hells if you
8:44 do really really really good actions
8:46 then you will go to these heavenly
8:47 material realms so within the material
8:49 realm there’s heavenly realms and then
8:51 the highest heavenly realms are the
8:53 immaterial
8:54 but if you do bad actions you might be
8:56 born in the material world with bad
8:58 consequences or you might be born as
9:01 another being in the material world that
9:03 doesn’t have you know the intellectual
9:05 capacity that we do to solve problems
9:07 and fix ourselves or if you do really
9:10 bad things you can end up in as a Hungry
9:13 Ghost or different forms of like bad
9:15 states of being or you can end up in
9:17 hell or if you kill a Buddha an
9:20 enlightened being your mother or your
9:22 father you go to the deepest hell which
9:24 is called the avicii hell and you stay
9:26 there for many universal cycles so you
9:28 stay there for not only this universe
9:30 but many more once your bad karma runs
9:34 out then you go out but it doesn’t
9:37 necessarily mean you’re going to come
9:38 back to the human world so that person
9:40 once their Karma’s done
9:41 they might even just go to like a lesser
9:43 Hell and stay in that lesser hell and go
9:45 through all the hills until they come
9:46 back to a human form or they might go
9:48 from that hill to a human form or from
9:50 that hell to an animal form it’s very
9:52 difficult to tell because there’s so
9:54 many variables we really can’t tell it’s
9:56 very individually based on each person’s
9:58 Karma does this process end no unless
10:05 you become awakened to the dream of
10:07 existence that means you become a Buddha
10:09 and enlightening being an awakened being
10:10 then it ends but if you do good things
10:13 if you’re the best person best possible
10:15 person you can ever be in existence then
10:18 you will become the greatest God in the
10:20 highest heaven and you’ll stay there for
10:22 many universes countless eons you we
10:25 can’t even imagine it but eventually
10:26 your karma will run out I don’t really
10:28 see any motivation to not explore every
10:34 nook and cranny of this complex karmic
10:37 system I want to lift every rock I want
10:40 to look behind every tree
10:41 I want to indulge in every good in every
10:43 evil and just not though the whole
10:45 complex system and I have all of
10:48 eternity apparently to do it if that’s
10:49 the case I see morality as hinging and
10:52 depending on a fixed eternal outcome
10:57 such as I have in Catholicism I have
10:59 heaven or hell and you can’t get out the
11:02 Buddha said that all beings are seeking
11:05 happiness and pleasure and all beings
11:07 aversion towards pain and suffering so
11:10 that alone would deter them from even
11:12 going to hell even if it’s only for like
11:14 one universe cycle which who knows how
11:16 many billions of years that would be or
11:18 trillions of years no one wants that
11:20 kind of stuff so that is the deterrent
11:22 it sounds like what you’re saying is
11:23 that we have a human nature and that we
11:26 are built to work with goodness and to
11:31 be good for goodness sake and this would
11:32 explain the conscience that we have is
11:34 there a Buddhist explanation for the
11:36 conscience that little voice in our head
11:38 that says no don’t do that
11:39 well the Buddhist says something like
11:41 the mind in his natural state is
11:44 luminous and clear so he doesn’t say
11:47 like good or bad but he says that it’s
11:50 luminous and clear when we get into like
11:53 the deeper teachings it kind of goes
11:54 into like non-dual kind of concepts what
11:58 is the goal of Buddhism and is Buddhism
12:00 better at arriving at that goal than any
12:03 other Eastern religion and why most
12:05 religions everyone wants to go to heaven
12:08 and they want to be with God that’s the
12:10 outcome right that’s not the Buddhist
12:13 idea the Buddhist idea is to get out of
12:18 samsara to get out of cyclical rebirth
12:21 and dying rebirth and dying to escape it
12:23 so actually to step out of the system so
12:25 heaven and hell and all of them are
12:26 within the system and you step out of
12:29 the system kind of like your neo and the
12:30 matrix or something another way to
12:33 understand it is that you realize that
12:35 existence itself was a self-imposed
12:38 prison or house that you put yourself in
12:40 and you realize that you never existed
12:44 in the way you think you existed so
12:47 there’s no one to die and there was no
12:49 one to be born everything’s kind of like
12:51 ephemeral it’s kind of like where you
12:53 get into this whole thing we talk about
12:54 illusion but these kind of words like
12:56 illusion and delusion are like there’s
12:58 not exact parallels to them in Buddhism
13:00 but it’s something like that so we’re
13:02 actually trying to step out of this
13:03 whole system of heaven and hell and
13:04 earth and all these things eventually in
13:07 Buddhism they talk about ultimate
13:08 reality and conventional reality but in
13:11 the original Buddhist teachings I have
13:12 never found the word the Buddha used
13:14 words like ultimate and conventional
13:16 realities or different realities he says
13:17 there is only one reality so this kind
13:20 of like
13:21 transcendent aspect is within this
13:23 reality people just have to be able to
13:25 see it and they’ll realize like oh this
13:28 was just the simulation and I was just a
13:30 simulation I’m just a component of
13:32 different functions of the mind and the
13:34 body working together and it gives off
13:37 this like holographic experience where I
13:39 think that I’m here doing these things
13:40 his Buddhism and is your particular form
13:43 of Buddhism better than the other
13:45 Eastern religions and if so why if your
13:48 goal is to step out of the universe
13:52 step out of yourself then what the
13:56 Buddha taught would be the most
13:57 efficient way but for those people who
14:00 want to be with God I mean Buddhism has
14:03 no problem with that I mean who are we
14:05 to tell you what’s the best way to get
14:07 there are you saying that the goal of
14:09 Hinduism and Sikhism is to be with the
14:13 one God as far as I understand it yes
14:16 okay and that God is different from the
14:19 one mind of Buddha that was adopted and
14:21 adopted by Buddhism later so what
14:23 happened is over hundreds of years
14:25 Buddhist religion started incorporating
14:27 the local aspects of Indian religion and
14:30 that’s how you get these whole ideas
14:33 about the one Buddha mind and all of
14:35 these these are really just imports for
14:37 convenience for whatever time that
14:40 Buddhism found itself in so it
14:41 incorporated all these things from
14:43 whatever was around at that time can you
14:46 think of an example of an organised
14:48 religion that is pointing people in the
14:52 wrong direction
14:53 is there a lateral movement that could
14:55 be brought to people by a philosophy or
14:56 religion and is there a religion that
14:58 could possibly bring people down you
15:01 know I think there is the possibility or
15:03 there might be religions out there that
15:05 could bring people towards unwholesome
15:08 states of being to hell to destructive
15:10 States painful states so anyone who’s
15:14 doing good who’s doing good things is
15:16 progressing regardless of whatever
15:18 religion they are so on that level we
15:22 would say that all religions that are
15:23 promoting charity and morals and
15:26 Brotherhood fraternity and all these
15:29 kind of good things they’re progressing
15:32 but if we take
15:35 what the Buddhists telling us to be true
15:37 that this goes on forever
15:38 then according to to the Buddhists early
15:40 teachings you would want to step out of
15:42 it so if we take that kind of worldview
15:44 from the Buddhist that you want to step
15:45 out of it then I think we would kind of
15:47 sort of get kind of this like horizontal
15:51 kind of thing you were talking about
15:52 with all the other religions that are
15:54 doing good but they’re kind of like you
15:55 know that is going on forever so it kind
15:57 of goes sideways they’re not going up or
15:58 down on that level but on the level like
16:01 here on like in the in samsara itself
16:04 they are going up within these levels
16:06 but they’re not stepping out so it would
16:08 kind of be like a lateral okay I see now
16:11 I want to talk about something
16:12 controversial especially within the
16:13 Catholic Church and that’s sexual
16:15 morality what is the Buddhist
16:17 perspective generally and in particular
16:20 in your school of Buddhism what is the
16:22 what is the teaching about sexuality and
16:24 morality well you know the Buddha was
16:27 actually very strict on this matter
16:29 especially with monks and nuns there is
16:31 no funny business you can’t even be
16:33 along with a member of the opposite sex
16:35 or that you can’t receive things from
16:37 them hand to hand and with the monks and
16:40 nuns very strict but with the laypeople
16:43 it says comment sue me cha cha Tibetan
16:46 monastic oppidum Samadhi ami I will not
16:49 abuse sensuality the Buddha says you
16:52 cannot have a relationship with someone
16:54 who is under guardianship of their mom
16:56 of their dad of their brother of their
16:57 sister of the government unless you get
16:59 permission from who who’s ever in charge
17:01 of them in inch in India that would
17:03 require for you to get married with them
17:04 so they shouldn’t be any relationships
17:07 outside of marriage as I understand it
17:09 in the traditional teachings is it
17:11 frowned upon to create more people
17:14 because these people then are trapped in
17:16 this material world
17:16 no because regardless if you have people
17:18 or not they would just find some sort of
17:20 other vehicle to get into but being in
17:23 the human form itself is what the Buddha
17:24 says is like the middle place so even
17:26 though like there’s other beings in this
17:28 material playing like animals insects
17:30 bacteria but the human condition with
17:33 the possibility to you know go up and go
17:35 down other beings that are beneath us
17:37 it’s very difficult for them to progress
17:38 because they’ll act like the intellect
17:41 or cognitive abilities to make judgments
17:43 on moral judgments so they get stuck
17:45 where they’re at and the ones who are
17:46 above in heaven well there
17:49 they’re having a party so they’re not
17:51 really concerned about trying to make
17:52 new good carbon and stuff like that we
17:55 pray to the Saints because they can help
17:57 us do you have a similar mechanism there
18:01 isn’t a praying per se where we ask
18:03 anything because the Buddha is gone and
18:06 all the Buddhist Saints the are hunts
18:08 that’s what they’re called the awakened
18:10 beings they’re all gone too so there’s
18:12 no one to pray to to begin with but as
18:16 we all know people left to their own
18:17 devices will do anything so people do
18:19 pray to the Buddha and eventually in
18:20 other Buddhist schools Buddha is still
18:22 around oh there’s other Buddha’s that
18:24 are around and people pray to them now
18:27 Buddha has enough karma to be up in
18:28 heaven one of the highest heavens
18:30 probably you would say for quite a long
18:32 time probably for many iterations of the
18:35 universe right
18:36 he had that potential and he was in a
18:39 very high heaven I think it’s called the
18:41 Taba team saw or the two-seat to heaven
18:42 one of those two heavens he was in one
18:44 of those heavens before he came here to
18:46 earth to become awakened because this is
18:49 the ideal state for awakening but after
18:51 he became the Buddha before that he was
18:52 Prince Siddhartha he wasn’t the Buddha
18:54 he was just a regular person like
18:55 everyone else when he became the Buddha
18:57 then he stepped out of existence itself
19:00 so heaven hail all these things do not
19:02 apply to him because he realized that
19:04 there is no him there he went away he’s
19:06 not subject to the kind of understanding
19:08 that we have of the world heaven in hell
19:10 oh and that’s a permanent condition I
19:12 can’t remember if you’re talking it was
19:13 permanent or not I can’t say it’s
19:15 permanent or impermanent but the Buddha
19:17 does say that it’s unconditioned it’s an
19:20 unconditional state okay so if it’s
19:22 permanent then he will always be out of
19:25 the experience out of this something you
19:29 call it samsara
19:29 so I’m sorry a cyclical birth he’s at
19:32 the umbrella of samsara does that cover
19:35 every heaven and every hell and
19:37 everything between yes everything in
19:39 existence okay and you can step outside
19:42 of that and that’s what Buddha did
19:43 allegedly yes
19:45 how much certainty do we have that he
19:47 did that well
19:49 the Buddha always told us this find out
19:52 for yourselves there’s a very famous
19:54 Sutra it’s like probably the most
19:56 butchered sayings of the Buddha the
19:58 Buddha says you know don’t take
20:00 something on tradition don’t take it
20:02 because it’s your teacher
20:03 take it because it’s like passed down
20:04 through culture all these things but
20:06 only after you’ve thoroughly analyzed it
20:09 and practiced it and seeing that it’s
20:11 good for you then take it as you’re
20:12 teaching so the Buddha is really telling
20:14 you like come and try it and tell me
20:16 what you get and if you think it’s good
20:17 then take that as truth because it works
20:20 so the way it would work like this how
20:23 we know if the Buddha really achieved
20:25 that is by practicing ourselves and if
20:27 we if we progress on the path and we get
20:30 stages that kind of mirror what the
20:32 Buddha was saying then we can take that
20:33 as pragmatic truth that that Buddha was
20:36 right upon his ultimate final conclusion
20:38 because the first steps are correct also
20:40 now I want to change gears a little bit
20:42 and talk about love in my religion God
20:45 is love and love is the central teaching
20:47 of the church we need to love God for
20:51 his own sake and we need to love
20:53 neighbor and ourselves for God’s sake so
20:56 how does that view compare and contrast
20:59 with the Buddhist view where we’re not
21:01 supposed to desire we’re not supposed to
21:03 desire anything can you talk a little
21:05 bit about love from your Buddhist
21:07 perspective yeah so what you say we’re
21:09 not supposed to desire anything that’s
21:11 like another Buddhist meme that’s been
21:13 butchered okay so when the Buddha talks
21:16 about desire he talked about three
21:18 particular kinds of desires that were
21:19 not supposed to have he gives that in
21:21 his first sermon called the
21:22 dhammacakkappavattana sutta the turning
21:25 of the wheel of Dharma setting in motion
21:26 the wheel of Dharma he says there’s
21:27 three kinds of desires that we shouldn’t
21:29 have the word desire is Tonka which
21:31 really comes from thirst so it’s not
21:33 like the kind of desire that we have
21:35 that we think about in the West or
21:36 craving it kind of means something like
21:38 an urge so we have the urge for kama
21:42 Tonga which sensual experiences we want
21:44 to see things we want to hear things we
21:46 want to taste things that’s one desire
21:47 that we have the other one is bhava
21:49 Tonga the urge to exist to become that’s
21:53 what keeps us going through existence
21:55 one of the forces that keeps us going
21:56 through some sorrow because we never
21:57 want to die we want to keep living even
21:59 if it’s in heaven after we died we want
22:00 to go somewhere else and the last one is
22:03 be bhava Tonka be bhava talk that means
22:05 annihilation that you want to commit
22:08 suicide that you don’t want to exist at
22:09 all you have an aversion towards
22:10 existence so the Buddha said strain away
22:13 from sensuality strain away from wanting
22:15 to exist in strain
22:16 being away from not wanting to exist I
22:18 have found the middle path so now I’ll
22:21 go back to your question about love can
22:23 I get some clarification about love
22:25 because you know how we use it in the
22:26 West it’s like whatever yeah
22:28 the Catholic definition is to will the
22:31 good of the other it’s an act of the
22:32 will it’s not a sentiment it’s not an
22:35 emotion it’s not a feeling although
22:37 those physical aspects they accompany
22:40 love but they’re not what love is
22:41 otherwise it would make no sense for
22:43 Christ to have commanded us to a love
22:44 our neighbor we can’t be commanded to
22:46 feel a certain way or to like someone or
22:48 to have good chemistry with someone
22:49 right yeah so on that level the Buddha
22:52 talked about four different factors or
22:54 aspects the Buddha talks about meta or
22:57 my tree commonly translated as
22:59 loving-kindness and there’s like a
23:00 loving-kindness meditation it’s really
23:02 popular this loving-kindness meditation
23:04 so when he talks about meta or my tree
23:07 he talks about Universal friendship
23:09 because meta or my tree comes from the
23:11 word friendship so it’s kind of like a
23:13 fraternal love that you have for all
23:15 beings you kind of have to recognize
23:17 that in the same way that I like to be
23:19 well happy comfortable and peaceful and
23:21 other beings don’t like to be sick don’t
23:23 like to suffer they like to feel pain
23:25 you know they’re just like me they have
23:27 these tendencies so I have to cut it try
23:29 to protect them the Buddha gives an
23:31 example like a mother wants to protect
23:33 her only her only child in the similar
23:36 way we have to have this kind of meta
23:37 for all beings in the universe from you
23:40 know the smallest roach an ant to like
23:42 the biggest elephant or whale or to even
23:44 beings that we’re not aware of that
23:46 might exist in other places in other
23:48 realms even the beings in hell we should
23:50 care about them the next step is called
23:52 Karuna
23:53 Karuna I guess the best word we can use
23:56 is like compassion so you see other
23:58 beings suffering and you want to do
24:00 something about it and you do something
24:01 about it you help them you try to help
24:04 them that’s the next step the third step
24:06 is mudita mudita means being happy for
24:09 others when goodness comes their way so
24:11 a lot of people in the West are like
24:12 jealous of their neighbors they’re
24:13 always trying to keep up with the Jones
24:14 and stuff like that
24:15 so the Buddha says that’s not good
24:17 anytime someone you know does something
24:19 good and they get rewarded for it we
24:21 should be happy for them that’s the
24:23 third one and the last one is OPEC OPEC
24:26 Shah and that’s equanimity
24:28 so equanimity doesn’t mean like your toe
24:30 detached from the situation that’s not
24:32 the kind of equanimity the Buddha’s
24:34 talking about but he’s talking about
24:36 having a tranquil calm harmonious
24:38 perspective on how things really are
24:41 and when you have that clear mind you
24:43 won’t be judgmental you won’t have all
24:44 these other things because you’re in a
24:46 tranquil wholesome state of mine a
24:48 complete state of mind
24:50 very good it all sounds good and it all
24:52 sounds very very Catholic I want to talk
24:55 a little bit about origins does Buddhism
24:58 talk about origins of where do you come
25:00 from and where did you know this whole
25:03 cause and effect chain is this one of
25:05 the questions that was ignored by Buddha
25:07 yeah he ignored that question because it
25:10 said it doesn’t lead to the end of
25:11 suffering
25:11 but later there’s kind of like little
25:15 things that are left behind that people
25:17 use to say oh the Buddha did talk about
25:19 creation because you know back in the
25:21 colonial times
25:23 Buddhists wanted to justify themselves
25:24 to Christians so they looked at
25:26 particular sutras and interpreted them a
25:27 certain way so there is a there is one
25:29 suta in the long discourses where it
25:32 talks about how one universe was created
25:35 and how beings arose in that one
25:38 universe but that’s just the context to
25:41 the story it’s not what the story is
25:42 about
25:42 but people have used that particular
25:44 Sutra that discourse to say oh Buddha
25:46 does talk about the origin of the
25:47 physical world but the Buddha was you
25:49 know from what I understand he was not
25:51 at all concerned about where this
25:53 physical world came from he’s more
25:55 concerned about how this belief that we
25:58 are here how that arose so there’s one
26:00 particular sutra when discourse were an
26:03 angel comes to like question the Buddha
26:05 to see if he’s like really the Buddha
26:06 and he tells them you know is there an
26:09 end to the world and then the Buddha
26:12 says no there’s like no into the world
26:15 the angel goes that’s true because in my
26:17 previous life I was a yogi I had psychic
26:19 powers I traveled through space very
26:22 fast and I went as far as I could in a
26:24 hundred years I didn’t see an end so
26:27 then the Buddha said although I said
26:29 there’s no into the world you can’t
26:30 conquer suffering until you find the end
26:32 of the world so at first that sounds
26:34 like paradox and sometimes people think
26:36 all Buddhists are happy with paradox but
26:38 that’s not true Buddhists are not
26:39 satisfied with paradox we just have to
26:41 switch levels now so we switch levels in
26:43 the Buddhist
26:44 as it is here in this fathom long body
26:46 with its perceptions and conceptions
26:49 that I declare the beginning of the
26:51 world the world and the end of the world
26:53 so what this angel was trying to do was
26:55 trying to find out if there was an end
26:57 to this physical universe if there
26:58 somewhere you know we can travel in
26:59 space far enough and get out
27:01 try to escape it materially but the
27:03 Buddha says no there’s no way you can
27:04 get out of it that way you have to look
27:06 inside and realize that you yourself
27:08 have created the world that you’ve
27:09 existed in and that’s the only way to be
27:12 free I still have not understood how
27:14 many beings they’re really and truly and
27:16 actually are if you and I are two or a41
27:20 can you just briefly really briefly tell
27:22 me what the case is in your
27:23 understanding on this level
27:25 everyone’s an individual there’s several
27:27 different beings on this level but on
27:29 other levels well if you realize what
27:34 the Buddhists been telling us that we
27:36 through personalizing these experiences
27:40 of sensations and emotions and
27:42 conceptions and all these other things
27:44 that we do that we fabricate if you
27:46 break it down you’ll see that there’s no
27:48 that was there was no one there in the
27:49 beginning to exist that you created
27:53 yourself basically it’s like a delusion
27:55 if you achieve your goal and you escape
27:58 some Sara will you and if Buddha is has
28:01 escaped some Sara will there then be two
28:05 of you will you be will you meet each
28:06 other outside of samsara or does that
28:09 question not make any sense at all yeah
28:11 it doesn’t make any sense because it
28:12 supposes that there’s a me and then
28:14 there was a Buddha when the Buddha said
28:15 there is like no true essential person
28:18 here to begin with so we can’t talk
28:20 about entities in that kind of level we
28:22 can only talk about activities and all
28:24 activities cease to be personalised on
28:26 that level so there’s just components
28:28 left over within samsara but no one to
28:30 own them but the material world and all
28:32 that stuff might still be there he
28:34 doesn’t say yes or no it might be there
28:36 but that’s not his concern he wants to
28:37 break down this illusion that we’re in
28:40 that’s his main concern would it be a
28:42 good thing or a bad thing if every being
28:44 that can escape samsara did escape some
28:49 Sara what is that a good thing or bad
28:51 thing and can you describe what that
28:52 might mean I can’t understand how that
28:55 would happen but it would be good
28:58 so you are you are a monk is that
29:00 correct yes I’m a monk and how many
29:03 years or months have you been a monk
29:04 so there’s two different levels there’s
29:06 some in there a monk which is a monk in
29:08 training and then there’s full monk
29:10 bhiku so there’s two levels I’ve been a
29:12 sama near a monk for a little over two
29:14 years and I’m waiting to go to Sri Lanka
29:17 to get my higher ordination the reason I
29:19 haven’t done that is because I was
29:20 finishing up my religious degree so my
29:23 teacher said get your school done and
29:24 then we’ll send you over there the
29:26 foreign words that you’ve used in this
29:28 interview are they all Sri Lankan
29:30 they’re all Pali Pali the word itself
29:33 literally means text so that system of
29:36 language is what we would scholars call
29:38 now ma Gaddy Marga da was a kingdom the
29:41 most powerful kingdom in the time of the
29:42 Buddha and since the Buddhist kingdom of
29:45 the sake ins was very close to market on
29:47 next door they most likely scholars
29:49 think that they spoke a form of maha
29:51 Dhamma daddy so we say Polly
29:53 everywhere you look I’ll say the Buddha
29:54 spoke Kali you know everything about
29:56 Polly but Polly is just what we call it
29:58 now but back then it was it could have
30:00 been known something like maggoty the
30:02 language of you know the the language of
30:05 those people at that time in that
30:06 country in today’s geography we’re on
30:08 the map is that it would be on the
30:11 eastern part of India near the Ganges
30:13 River and can you tell the listeners
30:16 what the name of your brand of Buddhism
30:18 is I was ordained as a terawatt a
30:22 Buddhist monk
30:23 tarah meaning elder vada meaning way
30:25 this school holds to what we know as the
30:29 most conservative or original teachings
30:31 of the Buddha within that particularly
30:33 this school comes from Sri Lanka
30:36 so there’s tera vaada monks in Thailand
30:37 Myanmar Cambodia different parts but
30:39 this particular group that I’m here with
30:41 these monks are from Sri Lanka did you
30:43 handpick that because you were drawn to
30:45 its teachings you know I tried other
30:47 kinds of Buddhism but that one
30:49 particular monk that I told you about
30:51 venerable dr. who nojima ho Tara the way
30:54 he presented it to me
30:55 it resonated with me so this is the
30:58 school that I followed because I just
31:00 felt experientially that it was what
31:02 connected with me the most and how far
31:04 could you bend your beliefs until
31:06 someone tapped you on the shoulder and
31:08 said you’re getting out of line with
31:09 your Buddhism
31:10 if you said well I believe that there’s
31:14 only one lifetime and then there’s
31:16 either eternal hell or eternal heaven
31:17 would you raise some eyebrows in your
31:19 community
31:19 yeah I’d raise some eyebrows but it
31:22 wouldn’t get me kicked out from being a
31:23 monk because there really is no like
31:26 things you’re forced to believe there’s
31:28 things that you should practice for
31:30 especially for monks there’s a
31:31 disciplinary rules that you have to do
31:33 it if you don’t do them you’re not a
31:34 monk but as far as believing goes the
31:36 ideas in your head there’s no like thing
31:38 about ideas right so just to wrap up the
31:42 show what would you say to anyone out
31:44 there that’s listening now if you know
31:46 anything from your experience in this
31:48 world is that nothing lasts forever
31:51 nothing lasts forever not even the worst
31:54 time so you can take refuge in this kind
31:58 of flux and impermanent state of the
32:01 world good times are coming
32:02 you just have to endure you have to be
32:05 diligent and you will make it you have
32:06 the strength and this too will pass
32:10 [Music]

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