Ajahn Achalo was born in Brisbane Australia in 1972. He developed a keen interest in meditation at the age of twenty and a year later left for Thailand to study Buddhism more intently. After a two year period practising in various centres and monasteries, in 1996 Ajahn Achalo ordained as a Theravada Bhikkhu (monk) under Ajahn Liem at Wat Nong Pah Pong, the monastery founded by venerable Ajahn Chah. Although most of his training has taken place in Thailand, Ajahn Achalo has also lived in several international Forest Monasteries in the Ajahn Chah lineage. Ajahn Achalo is deeply grateful for his many opportunities to study with well-practiced monks as well as for having been able to train in several traditional contexts, including meditation monasteries, remote forests, and periods on pilgrimage. During his years of training, he has received personal guidance from many remarkable teachers, among them, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Pasanno, Ajahn Jayasaro and Ajahn Kalyano. For most of his Bhikkhu life, he has considered Tan Ajahn Anan, abbot of Wat Marp Jan, to be his principal mentor. In addition, he has found the Dalai Lama's instructions and example to be of tremendous value.
A talk spurred by two questions: 00:49 Q1: How can we find meaning and purpose in the worldly life if we have aspirations to live a monastic life but have to be in the worldly life for family? 22:23 Q2: Since I began meditating, I have become very emotional. I am very quickly moved to tears and I start crying, either when seeing something ordinary and negative, like people arguing in the street or something painful, when I witness the suffering of people, children or animals. I sometimes start crying when reading or hearing a dhamma talk. In my chest, negative emotions like anger and frustration feel even heavier and more dense than before. Is this normal? What can I do to deal skillfully with these emotional states? I am deeply grateful!
00:05 Q1 If one does not believe in kamma and rebirth, does it affect one's dhamma journey? 01:07 Q2 What kind of actions give rise to neither dark or bright kamma and how do they lead to the end of kamma and rebirth? 08:42 Q3 How do relics come about? How and why do they grow and multiply? 24:47 Q4 How difficult is it to get another human rebirth? 29:37 Q5 If we have broken a precept, how can we remedy it so we will not fall into a lower rebirth?
00:54 Q1: Thank you for guiding me and introducing me to chanting for my father every morning. I've been doing it every day and Dad has been happy to hear my chant. My problem is now I remember many chants by heart and I seem to do it quite automatically. Sometimes when I was chanting I caught my mind running through my schedule of the day, what I have to do or where I have to go and what I have to prepare for my online meeting etc. I am trying to pull my mind back but when I was in trance stage of chanting it happened again! Please advise, thank you. 07:01 Q2: In the Cūḷasuññatasutta, the Buddha goes into details about his meditation on emptiness. He says that he practices it himself. Indeed it's one of the few meditations he really goes into such instructional description. Can Ajahn tell us more about it and tell us how we can use this meditation ourselves? In particular is this a meditation or contemplation? And if so, is it conducted in one section or are the different parts different stages of achievement? Thanks. See also Part 2 - Sutta upon Emptiness - 29 Sept 2021 as follow-on from Q2 41:38 Q2: I wonder why all Buddha images have "hair" or some sort of covering on them (Mahayana, Theravada and Tibetan alike). Monks in general all have clean shaven heads and it's also a requirement for a "left-home" person. 44:06 Q4: I would like to know if we should always dedicate merits after daily chanting/ meditation? Should we always include all deceased parents/ relatives & those living who are close to us? What happen if the list is long? What is the best way to make dedication? 46:20 Q5: Must one develop right concentration through meditation or can one also attain to jhana stage in daily activities? In fact, I am curious, how will one know if he/she has reached jhana stage? Thank you.'