Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery – English Discourses

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    • #46929
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Several people have posted English discourses from the Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery in Sri Lanka.

      • I scanned through the website. It is an excellent resource for those who are new to Buddha Dhamma (especially for young people/children who have no background in “Buddhism.”) Of course, it is a good “refresher” for even those who are familiar with Buddhist concepts.

      Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery – English

      • In my spare time, I listen to various discourses on the web. Even though I have not met this Thero, I am familiar with his discourses. He goes into deeper levels in his Sinhala discourses. It seems that the English discourses are designed especially for a younger audience not well-versed in the Sinhala language.
      • Since he has a deeper understanding, the English discourses are suitable even for those who have a fairly good background in Buddha Dhamma. They will help solidify one’s understanding.

      Unless someone wants to highlight a specific topic, it could be a good idea to post specific discourses of general interest in this thread. That way, it will be easier to find them later by searching with “Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery” using the “Search” box.

      • We can also discuss any questions/comments on a given discourse.

       The following could be a good introductory discourse; I listened to it yesterday.

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    • #46940
      Gad
      Participant

      I would like to add that those who want to practice Dana (generosity) paramis can make donations to this monastery.

      Those who like to donate, please send an email to get the necessary information:  [email protected]

       

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    • #46942
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I have edited Gad’s post above to remove account information.

      • Please refrain from asking for donations on this forum.
      • It is a worthy cause to make donations to temples. However, it is not appropriate to make explicit requests providing information with account numbers, etc., on this website. That could lead to unforeseen complications.
      • This website is for “Dhamma dāna,” i.e., we try to provide the correct teachings of the Buddha to the best of our capabilities and point to other resources whenever possible.
      • #46943
        Gad
        Participant

        Alright i understand sir !

    • #46955
      Jorg
      Participant

      Lal posted the first episode in a long series of Dhamma talks. I think this is a good opportunity to share a little bit about these sermons as I’ve been following them for well over a year.

      I introduced this series to my wife this year, and we watch them together. I’m happy to see that she’s slowly picking up on the main Dhamma concepts. Amadassana Swamin Wahansa speaks in plain English and doesn’t use any Pali or Sinhala for the first 38 episodes, I believe. He can explain even the aggregates very well in plain English.

      I have been following the whole series of discourses myself from episode 39 onwards (I’ve seen 80% of the first 38). There are over 100 sermons now (112 at the time of writing) in that particular playlist.

      Perhaps it would be useful to explain how this playlist is organized and what you can expect in order to make the most out if it, whether you’re just getting to explore the Buddha Dhamma or have been into it for a longer time.

      The first 38 sermons are directed straight at the camera, so it’s a different “feel” than sermons held in front of an audience (because there’s no interaction and Swamin Wahansa cannot check one’s understanding). They are aimed at people who are new to the Buddha Dhamma. Swamin Wahansa really takes his time, and he moves perhaps a bit slow for those who are eager to learn. Still, you’re really going to get a solid understanding of the basics, and he expects you to contemplate the topics he discusses.

      Starting episode 39, he preaches in front of a live audience again. (I think this was the end of lockdowns, and everything opened up again). Throughout this series, he systematically dissects anicca, dukkha, and anatta at immensely profound levels as the sermons progress. This may be a bit challenging for beginners, but if you’re already somewhat familiar with the Dhamma, e.g., you’ve been coming to this site for a while now, this is a must-watch/listen. He does make use of the occasional Sinhala and Pali but generally explains everything very well. He’s amazing at explaining deep concepts using very practical examples. 

      Before I continue with my explanation, allow me to make a personal note:

      It was because of these sermons I visited the monastery last month. My time there was immensely fruitful. I’ve had the chance to discuss the Dhamma with various Swamin Wahansas. They’re also learning many languages there to prepare themselves to spread the Dhamma as far and wide as possible. They had learned a bit of Chinese (Mandarin) as well before, but far from enough. At my stay there, we discussed how we could improve their Chinese, and one of the head monks thought I should start teaching them first and solidly their basics (I live in China, and my wife is Chinese). So that is what I’ve been doing twice a week for the last 5/6 weeks. My level is only intermediate, but I have started to study harder to fulfill this duty to the best of my abilities. This is a bit off-topic, but I thought it would be good to share what’s happening. May the merits generated during the entire process be dedicated to all beings and help them attain Nibbana.

      To continue with the sermons:

      A couple of months ago, Amadassana Thero started doing sermons outside of the monastery as well in Columbo. This series of sermons is found in this playlist (Gateway to Nibbana).

      In these sermons, he started preaching to a new audience, and his approach is a bit different. In various sermons, he also explains various deeper meanings of common Pali words, including. “Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa,” “Sadhu,” and such. He also explains the actual meanings of what sometimes appears to be mere “rituals.” Everything has a deep meaning.

      His pace is much faster than the first 38 episodes of the previous playlist, but then again, he’s preaching to a mostly Sinhalese audience (In English, though). I also follow this series, and it’s well worth it. He has recently started to touch upon the deeper meanings of anicca as cause and effect.

      There are some older playlists as well, which are pretty good, but my suggestion is to focus on (one of) these two playlists. 

      On a second personal note:

      When I came across the Pure Dhamma on this site, I felt like sharing some concepts mainly through writing. I’ve shared some of it here as well. However, as my understanding grew, I realized that many concepts could be explained without the use of Pali. Sure, it is more efficient to use Pali terms if you know what they mean, but even then, many words have such deep meanings you need to explain them anyway.

      It was through these sermons that I got inspired to start a website that only focuses on sharing Dhamma in plain English. I actually don’t even call it Dhamma directly. I have good reasons for that, but I will share and explain in detail only after I have finished the current section I’m working on. 

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    • #46957
      Gad
      Participant

      Helping to transmit the Pure Dhamma in Chinese is a noble task. In their aim to teach the Dhamma as far as possible, it would be wonderful if one day these noble Bhikkhus could teach it in french aswell. Thank you very much for the informations and the playlist Mr Jorg. May the merits of your work and efforts bring you to Nibbāna 🙏🏿🙏🏿🙏🏿

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    • #46959
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Jorg wrote: “It was through these sermons that I got inspired to start a website that only focuses on sharing Dhamma in plain English. I actually don’t even call it Dhamma directly. I have good reasons for that, but I will share and explain in detail only after I have finished the current section I’m working on.”

      • That is an interesting project. Please feel free to post that section (preferably in a new thread) once it is finalized.
    • #46961
      Jorg
      Participant

      @Gad, I’m almost certain that some of the Swamin Wahansas and Anagarikas are learning French as well. I’m not sure about their progress, but I imagine it’s ahead of Chinese. It’s easier to learn with some knowledge of English as well.

      @Lal, Yes I will post it in a new thread!

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      Gad
    • #47101
      Jaro
      Participant

      Hello everyone,

      I would also like to add something to this discussion. First of all, I would like to thank you, Lal, for bringing this Dhamma Talks by Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery to our attention. I have watched the first 6 talks of the playlist “Buddha’s Guide to Happiness” on YouTube.

      This monk speaks excellent English and has an interesting style of lecturing. He encourages the audience not to follow the Dhamma blindly but to put it to the test based on their own experience. He is undoubtedly very intelligent and I am sure he has gained deeper insights.

      Anyway, his Dhamma Talks made me curious, so I visited their website. Among the many Dhamma Sermons there, one in particular caught my attention, it is entitled: “Is anicca impermanence?”.

      As you might have guessed from the title, they question the conventional translation of anicca as impermanence or transience. Instead, in this lecture he interprets anicca as “manifestations”. This means that absolute truths come together to form a conventional truth. He gives the example of the word “On”, which is made up of the letters O and N. The word “On” has a conventional meaning, but consists of the letters O and N, which are, so to speak, absolute truths and know nothing of each other.

      I’m really unsure what to make of it. He clearly states that he rejects the conventional interpretation of anicca as transience, but he doesn’t interpret it as the inability to keep what you like. Here is the link to this lecture, he explains the concept of anicca at 1:05:24

      I would be very interested in your assessment of this. Anicca is such a fundamental and important concept, there should be no ambiguity about it.

      Thank you all!

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    • #47104
      Lal
      Keymaster

      OK. I will take a look.

      • In the meantime, I hope others will give their opinion. Does the discourse explain what “anicca” is?
    • #47105
      Gad
      Participant

      In this speech, the Venerable clarified that there are several ways of explaining the anicca nature. He preferred to use the one that suited the audience he was addressing. This audience appears to have been exposed to misinterpretation. This is why he repeated several times to put his preconceived ideas aside for the sermon.

      Everyone can have a different way of approaching Annica as long as it doesn’t lead to misinterpretations. The same goes for other aspects of tilakkhana.

      I understood that anatta did not mean the absence of self, thanks to a French bhikkhu who approached it a little differently from Mr.Lal. Of course, he explains that anatta means the absence of control, just like Mr.Lal. The bhikkhu said that one can see anatta just by sitting. What happens if we just sit for a long time? Horrible discomfort will come sooner or later, and it is uncontrollable.

      You could say I love chocolate. Even if we are a fan of chocolate, there is a limit we eat, it’s anatta (uncontrollable). Sooner or later the body will get tired, and we will suffer horrible problems. A car can only drive, it cannot fly like a plane it is anatta (uncontrollable). As long as we remain in the cycle of rebirths (If we are still puthujjanas) apayas are inevitable (Anatta)

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    • #47106
      Lal
      Keymaster

      I agree with Jaro that the discourse does not describe what “anicca” is.

      • However, it does  clarify that “anicca” means much more than “impermanence.”

      Gad (or anyone else who saw the correct interpretation from that discourse): please let us know precisely at what time interval the correct interpretation of “anicca” is explained.  

      • I listened from around the 1-hour mark, as Jaro suggested.
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    • #47111
      Jorg
      Participant

      I’m not sure about the time stamps in that sermon, but he discussed similar things in many others. At the bottom I listed a few of them.

      Before I do, I have some slight reservations about posting these segments here in this thread, but if you take the following into account I think it’s okay:

      1. These are quite advanced sermons and the viewer by now has already become accustomed to a whole series of sermons that lead up to it, thus they have a solid understanding.
      2. Bhante has said on several occasions that viewing anicca as “not to your liking” is the foundation, but we should try and develop a deeper understanding (these are my words only unfortunately, I’m not sure in what sermons he said that anymore. I prefer to use his own words, so I’ll come back if I find anything).
      3. The segments I provided are just some segments where he offers a deeper way of looking at it. It’s best to look at all segments to get a more complete image of what he means (in particular the last one where he talks also why we perceive “things” to break/die and therefore cannot remain to our liking). Still, it’s better to watch sermons in their entirety for the best possible context. He takes his time with the sermons, and so should the viewer.
      4. If you have just started watching, and this makes no sense, start from the earlier sermons. Unfortunately, I see that the information I posted earlier in this thread about what sermons to watch is not accurate at the moment of writing, because there seems to be an issue with the playlists; the sermons got mixed up. I’ll notify them in regards to this. I’ll update when I see it has been resolved.

       

      31:27 – 42:40

      51:06 – 55:56  (note: drushti = ditthi)

      1:05:02 – 1:24:28 

      1:45:15 – 2:02:47 

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    • #47125
      Jaro
      Participant

      Thank you all for your quick responses, I really appreciate it! I just found his explanation of Anicca a bit odd, but otherwise think the discourses are very insightful. Perhaps his approach in this case is simply too advanced for me or I have misunderstood something. In any case, I will continue to listen to his discourses in order to get a better overall impression.

      @Jorg, I am looking forward to the sermons and will listen to them in full when I get the chance.

    • #47126
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Thank you for taking the time to point out the sections to watch in those videos, Jorg.

      • I watched the first three and took a quick look at the fourth.
      • I still don’t see an explanation of the “anicca nature.”

      1. I think what is described here is a different concept. It is about the concept of a “self.” 

      • The Buddha explained that a “self” exists as long as the necessary causes and conditions exist. If those causes and conditions do not exist, then a “self” does not manifest. 
      • In the example of a “circle made with children holding hands,” a circle exists as long as the children are there holding hands. If they are not there or are not holding hands, there is no manifestation of a circle.

      2. Anicca nature is a different concept. It leads to suffering!

      • Does the above concept of the “manifestation of something” explain how suffering arises?
      • That is only the starting point for explaining the “anicca nature.” For example, “suffering exists” if the root causes and conditions exist. 

      3. The  “Ajjhattanicca Sutta (SN 35.1), “Bahiranicca Sutta (SN 35.4)“, and “Yadanicca sutta (SN 22.15)” have the above verse:

      “yadaniccam tam dukkham, yam dukkham tadanattā” (“yad aniccam taṃ dukkham, yaṃ dukkham tad anattā)i.e.,

      “if something is aniccadukkha arises, and one becomes helpless (anatta).” Note that “yaṃ” and “yad” have the same meaning and are used interchangeably. In the same way, “yadidaṃ” comes from “yad idaṃ.”

      • We attach to sensory inputs, and we expect our actions (based on sankhara) to bring us happiness and keep us away from suffering. If that does happen, that would be of “nicca nature.” However, nature in reality is the opposite, anicca.
      • The Buddha clarified (with Paticca Samuppada) that the world has an “anicca nature,” i.e., such actions are based on ignorance: “avijjā paccayā saṅkhāra.” That is why “sabbe saṅkhārā aniccā” AND “sabbe saṅkhārā dukkhā.”

      4. May be I missed something. Can anyone explain how those four segments explain the connection between anicca and dukkha?

      • P.S. It is possible that the anicca nature (connection to dukkha) was explained at a later segment in those discourses. If so, please let me know, and I can listen to those segments or the complete discourse.

       

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    • #47135
      Jorg
      Participant

      Theruwan Saranayi,

      I think some segment (perhaps the 4th then) also include the connection to dukkha, but I’m not in the position to refer to specific timestamps unfortunately. Our compound was subjected to a power cut and I’m outside without earphones.

      I know of some other sermons where dukkha and anatta are most certainly discussed in line with this explanation of anicca. Please allow me some time to sort and segment. (The day after) tomorrow I have some more time (in case they don’t fix the power anytime soon)🙏 .

      @Jaro, I messaged them and they seemed to have fixed their playlist. Perhaps you could start at sermon #40. That’s the first sermon in this current series of sermons that aims to build an understanding of tilakkhana more deeply. In this series, he uses Pali and Sinhala whereas in the sermons prior, he doesn’t. Those earlier sermons are more suitable for those new to everything (that does not mean that they can’t be useful for others, cause I still occasionally come across some gems of wisdom when I watch these with my wife). 

       

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      Gad
    • #47177
      Jorg
      Participant

       

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      Gad
    • #47222
      TripleGemStudent
      Participant
      Theruwan Saranai everyone, 
       
      Initially this post was meant to post segments from Jethavanarama sermons in addition to what Jorg has already shared here, but I agree with what Jorg said “it’s better to watch sermons in their entirety for the best possible context.” Even though I already have some sermons segmented, I decided to drop the idea. 
       
      – “I just found his explanation of Anicca a bit odd”
       
      Initially I felt the same way too. Currently I don’t believe to have understood / comprehended everything about the teachings / explanations or have watched all the sermons, but will continue to learn and put into practice the teachings / explanations. Doing my best to keep an open mind about the teaching of anicca and other teachings from Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery has benefitted me. Broadened my knowledge of the Tilakkhana and given me some things for consideration, contemplation and to put into practice. So far overall from what I have discerned for myself is that I can’t see why the teachings couldn’t be the Buddha dhamma or how it wouldn’t benefit others.   
       
      For myself, I find the timing to be more than coincidental with Venerable Lal recent writings on distorted sanna and from what I believe to have understood / comprehended from Jethavanarama recent teachings is also related to distorted sanna. I look forward to continue with the learning and putting into practice the teachings disseminated by the two Venerable Sirs and others.
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    • #47272
      Jorg
      Participant

      For those who are interested and have taken the time to watch any of the previously posted sermons and segments, it may be beneficial to also view the material provided in this post. I don’t think it will be the best of ideas to watch the below without having watched any the previous ones.

      Sermon: Manifestations

      Starting 1:47:54, watch for at least 3 minutes, cause that’s where he makes a clear connection with dukkha (Yadaniccaṃ tan dukkhāṃ)

      Sermon: The Practical Application of Karmasthana

      In the most recent sermon, Bhante explains anicca, dukkha, and anatta in relation to one another. He words it differently here, so this segment is a good addition to the previous sermons.

      I suggest to watch the short segment related to anicca above first before starting this one. Starts at about 1:11:55, watch for at least 15 minutes.

      P.S: In this sermon he dissects “etam santam etam panitam, yadidam sabbe saṅkhāra samatho, sabbupadhi patinisaggo” and how to practically apply it to life.

      Theruwan Saranayi.

    • #47276
      Dawson
      Participant

      I watched the portions of the videos that you provided. To preface my response, I’ve learned a lot from Jethavanarama’s videos over the years. In fact, they were instrumental in getting things to click into place for me. Having said that, these definitions that Amadassana Thero provides for the three characteristics of nature don’t grok for me.

      One issue (among others) with translating anicca as impermanence is that it becomes necessary to ask a follow-up question; “What is the significance of things being impermanent?” or put more bluntly, “Okay, so what?”. 

      In a similar way, I can’t help but feel that the significance of the proposed definitions is buried. 

      To illustrate my point, suppose that you are drinking a liquid due to being thirsty. I then inform you that there is an issue with the liquid – it doesn’t have the capacity to quench your thirst. You would then think to yourself, “Huh. Well if that’s true, drinking this liquid is a complete waste of time”. This is to say that the relevance of that statement would be self-explanatory. Now, you might not believe my claim, but that would be a separate issue.

      I’m willing to concede that I’m missing something and that I simply need to ruminate on it more. But this is how I see the matter currently.

    • #47400
      Lal
      Keymaster

      The following post is by Saket: 

      Dakkineyyo – Jethavanaramaya Buddhist Monastery

      Sadu Sadu Sadu !!!

      My note: In the future, please post discourses from the Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery in this thread. 

      • I made this thread specifically for that. It will be easier to locate those discourses here.

       

    • #47893
      Gad
      Participant

      Sammasambodhi Gami (friend Saketa) had already shared this channel. She has many recorded and translated speeches of Venerable Waharaka Thero.

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    • #47894
      Gad
      Participant

      Derived interpretations of the terms Lōbha Dvēśa Mōha

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    • #47902
      Sammasambodhi Gami
      Participant

      Thanks a lot dear Dhamma friend (Gad) for sharing these precious sermons. 

      In your comment # 47893 you said: 

      Sammasambodhi Gami (friend Saketa) had already shared this channel. She has many recorded and translated speeches of Venerable Waharaka Thero.”

      My comment:  Well… its not “She” but its “He” (anyways its not relevant).

      I have not translated these sermons. The credit goes to the owner of the YouTube channel, Mr. Janith Fernando Sir. Huge merits for his Noble efforts in translating these precious sermons of most Ven. Waharaka Thero!   

      Sadu! Sadu! Sadu!

      “Gāmi” means “going towards/heading towards”. 

      “Samma Sambodhi Gami” means “one who is going towards Samma Sambodhi.”

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      Gad
    • #47905
      Sammasambodhi Gami
      Participant

      I would like to share this video of Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery (Sri Lanka). 

      I hope everyone watching this video will rejoice and get “citta pasada” (joy/happiness) which will act as a catalyst in their path to Nibbana!

      My point of this post is:  Come out of your room, leave your laptop screen, and be among the Bhikkhus/Bhikkhunis, Anagariks/Anagarikas, Upasaks/Upasikas… join the company of Noble friends… be in the presence of the Maha Sangha… experience the environment of the Buddhist Monastery… live your life around those people who have dedicated their entire lives for Nibbana.

      You will experience the difference yourself!  It’s all about causes and conditions.

      Here is the video clip: Welcome to Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery, Sri Lanka!

      Credit goes to  http://www.jethavanarama.org

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      • #47909
        Gad
        Participant

        Sammasambodhi Gami(friend Saketa): My point of this post is: Come out of your room, leave your laptop screen, and be among the Bhikkhus/Bhikkhunis, Anagariks/Anagarikas, Upasaks/Upasikas… join the company of Noble friends… be in the presence of the Maha Sangha… experience the environment of the Buddhist Monastery… live your life around those people who have dedicated their entire lives for Nibbana.

        My friend, you said the right thing. I have experienced rare moments of tranquility and happiness with the Sangha. Even though these moments were brief, they far outweigh any pleasure I have received from worldly people. I believe that we can even get closer to the Niramisa Sukkha. Of course, the happiness of being an ariya surpasses any experience. I am convinced that the merit of this experience brought me to this site, which led me to the correct interpretations. A few days after this experience, I came across Puredhamma in 2022. However, I can’t imagine what the experience would be like with Bhikkhus and Bhikkunis who respect the Vinaya and follow the correct interpretations of the suttas! The incredible merit that will be developed by a person who gives them alms, the four necessities, and listens to their sermons is unparalleled. I wish everyone on this site had the chance to serve the Sangha in person.The Sangha is the supreme and perfect field of merit.

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        • #47918
          Sammasambodhi Gami
          Participant

          Sadu Sadu Sadu 🙏🙏🙏

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          Gad
    • #47913
      Gad
      Participant

      My comment: Well… its not “She” but its “He” (anyways its not relevant). Sorry friend I was talking about the channel.

    • #48038
      Gad
      Participant

       

      An excellent sermon that lasts only 5 min. Venerable Waharaka Thero spoke about how we are fooled by the impurity of the 32 parts of the body because of our twisted consciousness. I remember during the monastic ordination ceremony I was made to recite the 32 characteristics of the body. At first glance, it seemed a simple ritual but I now understand that it was a teaching.

      It’s not surprising to find stories in the Suttas of people who became arahants before the end of their ordination.

    • #48187
      Sammasambodhi Gami
      Participant

      I have compiled some videos of Jethavanarama Buddhist Monastery, Sri Lanka. 

      You can share this link with all your Dhamma friends. 

      Here is the google drive folder link:

      Jethavanarama Viharaya, Sri Lanka

      May all sentient beings attain the Supreme bliss of Nibbana!!!

      Sadu Sadu Sadu 🙏🙏🙏

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    • #48190
      Gad
      Participant

      Thank you very much Friend Sammasambodhi 🙏🏿

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