What I enjoyed most about recording this show was spending time with Amma Ayya. Because she is a contemporary I could feel connected to her and really could sense her mothering spirit. She always seemed like one of those mothers that when life got too hard or overwhelming you could turn to her and she would look at you with those big loving eyes and say, ‘It will be ok. This shall pass and just know that you are loved.’ And you would feel that sense of calm from her. Maybe that is why after all these years, I still remember her book and the lessons I learned from it. Going back to her teachings was a joy to remember this wonderful woman and her ability to continue to teach us long after her death.
The books we referenced in this episode were:
Khema, Ayya. Being Nobody, going Nowhere: Meditations on the Buddhist Path. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1987.
Khema, Ayya. I Give You My Life: The Autobiography of a Western Buddhist Nun. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 1997.
My hope for you all after listening to the episode is to sit with the three concepts we spoke about: being present, learning freedom, and letting go. They are concepts that in my life have been so important to incorporate. Everything I read about when it comes to the contemplative life holds those 3 concepts as vital so I know they are important!
I leave you with the Discourse on Loving-Kindness that we offered as a challenge on the episode:
What should be done by one who’s skilled in wholesomeness
To gain the state of peacefulness is this:
One must be able, upright, straight and not proud,
Easy to speak to, mild and well content,
Easily satisfied and not caught up
In too much bustle, and frugal in one’s ways,
With sense calmed, intelligent, not bold,
Not being coverous when with other folk,
Abstaining from the ways that wise ones blame,
And this the thought that one should always hold:
‘May beings all live happily and safely
And may their hearts rejoice within themselves.
Whatever there may be with breath of life,
Whether they be frail or very strong,
Without exception, be they long or short
Or middle-sized, or be they big or small,
Or thick, or visible, or invisible,
Or whether they dwell far or they dwell near,
Those that are here, those seeking to exist-
May beings all rejoice within themselves.
Let no one bring about another’s ruin
And not despise in any way or place,
Let them not wish each other any ill
From provocation or from enmity.’
Just as a mother at the risk of life
Loves and protects her child, her only child,
So one should cultivate this boundless love
To all that live in the whole universe
Extending from a consciousness sublime
Upward and downward and across the world
Untroubled, free from hate and enmity,
And while one stands and while one walks and sits
Or one lies down still free from drowsiness
One should be intent on this mindfulness –
This is divine abiding here they say.
But when one lives quite free from any view,
Is virtuous, with perfect insight won,
And greed for sensual desires expelled,
One surely comes no more to any womb.