‘Natthi santi param sukham’ – there is no greater happiness than peace. Following instructions from Ayya Susila, the participants meditated with joyful tranquility in the hall.
Bhāvanā Day, the weekend meditation retreat held at Nalanda Centre in August, afforded 50 participants a break from their hectic routine schedules. Under the skilful guidance of Ayya Susila, the yogis practised Anapanasati (mindfulness on breathing) with diligence.
Ayya Susila reminded everyone to breathe naturally, as excessive effort may create tension and cause restlessness. Given that the breath is the only object in Anapanasati meditation, the yogis were encouraged to free their minds from any expectation, which is a form of ‘greed for the Dhamma’. In fact, our concentration on breathing should be continuous. If any thoughts arise, we may let them go and bring our attention back to the breath.
To remove the tree of defilements, we have to gradually chop at its roots through our daily practice Similarly, to tame the mind, mindfulness should be observed not only in meditation, but also throughout daily mundane actions.
Ayya mentioned that, just like vehicles, our bodies and minds do need maintenance. Practising meditation for two hours daily keeps our minds and bodies in their best condition. Participants also received a meditation guidebook authored by Ayya, simply entitled “Anapanasati”.
A Dhamma talk on “Power of the Mind” was delivered by Ayya on the second day. She urged us to realise the power of a positive and concentrated mind, for not only does it free us from dangers, it is also a wonderful healing tool. She quipped, “The mind has the power to be destructive or constructive. For example, anger and hatred can do much damage. On the other hand, if we choose to radiate wholesome, loving thoughts to ourselves and to others, we can create harmony and well-being for all.”
“Opportune hearing of the Dhamma is the highest blessing.” – Mangala Sutta
Time seemed to hasten its passing during the talk. As we listened and gained much inspiration, many wished that Ayya could speak longer than the allocated time, which also reflected our eagerness to learn! It was a wonderful weekend well-spent, as yogis experienced peace and serenity arising from practice, and joy from learning the beautiful Dhamma.