I shared the guest room with Klaus and Kurt. Interestingly most other participants were females. Could meditation possibly be considered “unmanly” in our western society? Or do males find it more difficult to take a few days off?
Hannes. During Summer I had grown quite fond of the gentle voices of some sutta readings. Thus I delighted even more in Hannes’ way of speaking: calm, gentle, compassionate, understanding, and humorous. His inspiring and very practical speech gives me the impression that he possesses a deep understanding of Vipassana and Theravada. It is interesting that his main teachers were of a quite complementary nature: Sayadaw U Pandita from Burma is what he calls a “warrior monk”, whereas Godwin Samararatne from Sri Lanka taught with a strong emphasis on compassion.
Pieces of Mind. The meditation practice led me deeper and deeper into the labyrinths of my mind. As some of the “common” thought processes were stilled, others surfaced. The pain in my back and neck was growing stronger, and whenever I felt tired I heard voices chattering incoherently. We spent the daytime phases of walking meditation outside (beautiful weather!), and in the afternoon I sat down under a tree, leaning my back against the trunk.
You shouldn’t chase after the past
or place expectations on the future.
What is past is left behind.
The future is as yet unreached.
Whatever quality is present
you clearly see right there, right there.
Not taken in, unshaken,
that’s how you develop the heart.
Ardently doing what should be done today,
for â€” who knows? â€” tomorrow: death.
There is no bargaining with Mortality & his mighty horde.
As far as I understand it, the Buddha does not intend to say that past and future are completely insignificant. We can learn from past experience, shape the future, and not be heedless. However, the way in which we usually deal with past and future is rather unskillful: lost in reverie about likes and dislikes, or entangled in a “thicket of views” about our self, we grow heedless about the present – the only time in which any action, any change, any decision can actually take place! The good news: we can learn more appropriate ways. :-)