Thera Stories, Spiritual Journeys of Monks

Spiritual Journeys of Monks

This is a companion piece to Theri Stories, Spiritual Journeys of Nuns which I showed here a few weeks ago, and is the same sort of format: western monastics, centered around the Ajahn Brahm’s Perth monastery, speaking to camera about what brought them to Buddhism and the monastic life.

As with the other film, all the participants are remarkably articulate about their paths, and very open and forthright about their own lives and why they decided on higher ordination. Those interviewed include Bhante Sujāto, Ajahn Brahmāli, Ven Nissarano, Ven Upasamo, Ven Jaganatha and others.

Most of the participants simply talk about their own journeys, but Ven Nissarano is also asked about Ven Ñāṇadīpa, an iconic western forest monk in Sri Lanka (pictured here), who has been living in solitude for 40+ years.

As with the earlier film the production values leave a lot to be desired with poor recording and editing marring the film but the stories themselves are inspirational and well worth the time.


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2 comments to Thera Stories, Spiritual Journeys of Monks

  • Dearest Bhante,

    It is my sincerest hope that this correspondence finds you well.

    While I’ve for a few years now enjoyed your cite and many of your fine film selections in private, I feel now that I must make my appreciation known. In truth I generally look forward to seeing what you’ve chosen each Friday. For the last 2 weeks; however, there have been none.

    That being said I most certainly have noticed. Last week I’d felt something akin to the sense one gets when missing a metro or some other minor necessary appointment – slight inconvenience. Purely on a selfish level I believed that I’d missed out personally thinking nothing of the work that goes into the cite itself nor the person who has so dutifully and thanklessly undertaken that work.

    This week was a different story. Before checking the cite I was hopeful that you’d not only posted for this week but somehow posted a second film to catch up for last week. I rationalized that you were committed elsewhere the week prior, perhaps a rains retreat, conference or the like and therefore must be well.

    Upon checking and then realizing that you’d missed 2 weeks running after quite a long span of posting one if not more films a week I became concerned. Not for the missed film but for you personally, a man I don’t know and have never before seen – I was concerned for your well being.

    A part of me can still quite easily rationalize that you’re alright just somehow otherwise consumed. Truly I’ve no way of knowing for certain and haven’t the proper instinct or faculty even to guess No matter, the point being that I do care. And why do I care?

    For certain as a Bhikkhu and by default a member of the Sangha which is one of the three jewels of which I’ve taken refuge one can argue that I’m obligated to care. In my case though such obligation seems false in as much as it fails to answer the question “why do I care?”

    You do not know me and I do not know you personally nor would anyone in your immediate Sangha. That being said I’ve been touched by the Dharma, not your Dharma or my Dharma but the Buddha Dharma.

    Many years ago the Four Noble Truths dawned on me not as fact nor history but my personal truth. I felt, really felt the personal visceral pains of suffering and was absolutely tickled that there was a path to end that suffering for me. I believed it might offer an end to suffering, tried it and then knew in my heart of hearts there was something real to the Dharma.

    By now it must dawn on you that I’ve a knack for intellectualizing, personalizing and just plain over-thinking. In general I strive to overcome these tendencies and choose brevity over the tendency to expound. But in this context I figured it important to express myself to the fullest.

    The point being, self obsession doesn’t merely extinguish itself because self desires it so. And while I’d never be so bold as to claim full liberation from such normal unconscious, ignorant human bondage I’ve made some real progress in this regard.

    I’m nothing short of amazed that after many years of active meditative practice I care about your well being. In general, I’m referring to a contemplative practice centered around the Brahmaviharas and specifically Metta.

    All at once I know you don’t know me, I know you may not be well, your current life might have ended already (in which case of course this will go unread) and if not in time your life most assuredly will end. This being the case, I also know that sense of caring, that prompt to serve all beings; right here, right now I must share it with you.

    Trusting that these words were all true when they were written I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for your efforts on this cite, thank you for all you must do for yourself and for those you come in contact with and thank you for partaking in your share of the communal heartache and pain which is your birthright as a living being and in so doing for touching my life if only in the slightest. 🙏

    Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu!

    May you be free from danger, may you be free from mental turmoil, may you be healthy, may you be happy!

    Much Love and Warmest Regards,

    Josh Gillis

    • Anandajoti

      Dear Josh, thank you so much for your kind comments and encouragement. I am OK and as healthy as can be expected. I haven’t updated for a few weeks owing to lack of suitable material. There is a lot of time and work involved in this site, as I not only have to find videos, but then watch and review them before publishing; and many I watch never make it to the site for one reason or another. Also most blogs, once posted, are finished with, but not a video blog like this, as youtube keeps taking down videos and channels, etc. so there is a lot of maintenance work involved in the site. For the moment I will concentrate on keeping the pages updated so people do not come to a page to find a broken link or embed. When I find more material to publish I will do so. Meanwhile I very much appreciate you writing like this.

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