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fieldstone stupa at BCBS Upcoming Courses

November 6, 2014 full moon

Wise Attention

A conversation with Sayadaw U Jagara

orange-yellow maple tree, lit by sun

Sayadaw U Jagara will teach February 6-8, 2015 at BCBS on Wise Attention (yoniso-manasikāra). He is Canadian-born and has been a Theravadin monk for 35 years, primarily in Sri Lanka and Myanmar (Burma). He has trained and taught in the U Ba Khin as well as the Pa-Auk traditions of Myanmar (Burma), where he presently lives.

Insight Journal: How did you come to the Dhamma?

Sayadaw U Jagara: I came to the Dhamma when my brother returned to Canada from a trip to India. He showed me how to meditate and it changed my whole life. He was 18 and I was one year younger. I then became very interested in the whole field of spirituality and especially Buddhism, since the practice was coming from there.

IJ: What do you think the monastic community has to offer the broader Western sangha, that perhaps is a unique supplement to what lay teachers offer?

SUJ: A depth of commitment seen in the dedication of their whole life to Dhamma, not that lay teachers don’t have it, but that monastics can have it without any compromises. We can see examples in the works of eminent scholar monks and how they translated a proper understanding of the Buddhist inheritance. In Asia, we can see also that lineage of ancient teachers that survived till now, (since more than two millennia ago!), were mostly monastics. They were able to give time for combining deep knowledge of the texts with seclusion. Even the example of a simple, contented way of living, seen in some monastics, can be very inspiring for a lay person.

We should not forget that the Buddha himself, together with his assistants, were monks and nuns. Some say that the essence of the Dhamma only should be kept alive; however, comparing with nature, we cannot keep the essence or the sap of a tree for long if the tree and the bark are not there anymore. It’s the same with tradition; it carries the essence without being it. In order to last long, it needs the four assemblies, monastic, and laity, to maintain its vitality. We see their interaction as a healthy complement. If you live in an Asian Buddhist country, that question would not arise, since that dynamic is so obvious. I think that the role played by monastics in ancient India would still be as relevant in a Western modern context.

Click here to read more…

fall foliage seen through screen of branches

October 8, 2014
Secular mindfulness: potential & pitfalls
By Jenny Wilks

September 8, 2014
Some (mostly secular) thoughts on Emptiness
By Gay Watson

August 10, 2014
Neuro-Bhavana: The Mindful Cultivation of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
A video series with Rick Hanson

July 12, 2014
The Evolving Sangha
Talking with Jay Michaelson

June 13, 2014
Awareness of Thinking: Recollective Awareness Practice
Talking with Jason Siff

May 14, 2014
Jhāna Practice and True Happiness
Talking with Shaila Catherine

April 15, 2014
Natural Buddhism
By Gil Fronsdal

March 16, 2014
How is the Medium Changing the Message?
By Ken McLeod

February 14, 2014
Buddhist Roots & Ethics
Talking with Lynn Monteiro & Frank Musten

January 15, 2014
Silent Illumination
By Guo Gu

December 17, 2013
New Horizons: Talking with Andrew Olendzki

November 17, 2013
Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, & Compassionate Action
Robert Chodo Campbell and Koshin Paley Ellison

October 18, 2013
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening
a conversation with Joseph Goldstein

September 19, 2013
MIT Meets the Monastery
a conversation with Rajesh Kashturirangan

August 20, 2013
Secular Buddhism: New vision or yet another of the myths it claims to cure?
By Akincano Weber

July 22, 2013
The Essence of Dhamma
By Ajaan Thanissaro

June 23, 2013
Seeing the Āsavas
By Gloria Taraniya Ambrosia

May 25, 2013
Meeting your thoughts at a resting place
By Jason Siff

April 25, 2013
New rivers, new rafts
By Chris Talbott

March 27, 2013
Wheels of Fire: The Buddha’s Radical Teaching on Process
By Kate Lila Wheeler

February 25, 2013
True & False: Dharma After the Western Enlightenment
Talking with Rita Gross

January 26, 2013
Honoring a Life & Legacy in the Dhamma
Talking with Mirka Knaster about Munindra

See Archive page for some older editions.