Reflections on our own practice with Ven. Pemaratana

Reflections on our own practice with Ven. Pemaratana

A joyful group photo with Ven. Pemaratana.

On Wednesday 17 January, we  warmly welcomed Ven. Dr. S. Pemaratana, Abbot of Pittsburgh Buddhist Centre to Nalanda Centre for an evening Dhamma talk about how we can reflect on our own spiritual practice.   Starting with the simile of a carpenter’s well-worn tool used by the Buddha in Bhāvanāsutta (“Committed to Development”) Anggutara Nikaya 7.71, Ven. Pemaratana shared that our spiritual practice yields results not at any one point in time, but over a period of time when one is persistent in our practice.

We start by reflecting on the changes in our behaviours, noting where we have improved, stayed stagnant or regressed.  Particularly, Ven. Pemaratana advised us to focus on these three areas – changes in our understanding, changes in our emotions and changes in our behaviour.  It is vital for us to establish ourselves in Right View because this will drive how we manage our emotions, behaviour and also create an urgency to progress spiritually.

Devotees listen carefully to Ven. Pemaratana as he answers the common question of how to discern our spiritual progress.

“Just like the handle of a carpenter’s well-worn tool which has indents of his fingers, we will experience changes over time when we learn and apply Dhamma in our lives.”

Seeking clarifications on one’s own practice and challenges.

“Reflect on our progress in cultivating Right View because this will determine our efforts to walk the spiritual path.”

Ven. Pemaratana explained that we easily form wrong views because we do not see what is within, and are easily distracted by external factors.  To gradually overcome this, we need to have the commitment to train ourselves through Right Effort and Right Mindfulness.  For the complete Dhamma talk, we share with you the recording at

Sis. Nandini Tan and fellow Nalandians briefed Ven. Pemaratana on the evening programme upon his arrival at Nalanda Centre.

Ven. Pemaratana in a discussion with Bro. Ananda Fong, Chairman and Dhamma speaker of Nalanda Dhammaduta College.

The evening service commenced with Respecting and Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels, and undertaking the Five Precepts.

Sis. Nandini offered the collective navakama (requisites) to Ven. Pemaratana, on behalf of the Society and devotees.