Life In Brighton – A Short Dharma Teaching by My British Monk Friend Pawo

After I met my French friend Agnes last summer, she introduced me to a British monk, who is one of her best friends, Pawo.

Pawo does the Dharma teaching every week, but I didn’t have chance to listen to his teaching until this evening, and I was really looking forward to it. I had never really listened to the talk by a monk, let alone an English one; so it was going to be a new experience to me.

The talk this evening was simple but practical. Firstly, Pawo talked about how boundless human minds are. Just like there’s no boundaries in the sky, our minds are full of potential as well, of both positiveness and negativity. We can shine as a sun and bring the light to all human beings, but we can also become so negative that making ourselves and others suffering.

Then this concept led to the talk of purification of speech. We all know that words can hurt people badly more than weapons do sometimes; so we should say nothing but encouraging words when expressing ourselves. By doing so, our minds reacts in a more positive way as well since we could only speak what’s on our minds but nothing else. And then we know when your mind changes, your behavior changes, then your world changes, and eventually your life changes; less suffering and more happiness.

And then, what cannot be missed in a Buddhist talk was ego and selflessness. It’s difficult to remove our ego, but if we focus on reaching the happiness, there’ll be no room for negativity, and if we focus on giving and dedication, there’ll be no place for ego and selfishness.

However, even if we always have good intentions, what we did still cause certain effect, which is the so-called karma. We can’t change what has been done, but we can become aware of it, apologize to all living creatures for what we had done since all our behaviors had impact on everything/everyone to some degree, and promise that we won’t hurt any creature intentionally anymore to minimize the karma we create.

Although I don’t quite like the word, regret, Pawo adopted, as “regret" itself is a negative emotion, I do approve this process of recognition. Just like the Ho’oponopono therapy described in Zero Limits, we should take responsible for everyone/everything in the world, as our mind create our own reality, and everyone/everything known to us, good or bad, is part of our life.

The statement of the four sentences “I’m Sorry" “I Thank You" “Please Forgive Me" “I Love You" used in Zero Limits is an alternative practice of what Pawo had said above.

In general, it was a nice Dharma teaching; simple but true. The only difficulty is how we practice it and how long we continue to practice it. As a Chinese saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." However, the journey won’t become shorter if we don’t take the second, third, and fourth steps.

Pawo mentioned that there are many gates to the Dharma or one’s inner self, and we can focus on one practice which we think can deal with the source of all our problems. Karma, impatience… “the source of all issues" varies to each person, and what we can do is to choose one practice that suits us and continue practicing it. Though subtle progress it might seem to be now, relentless practice will lead to one’s enlightenment eventually.

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