Ajahn Brahm responds to a question about whether human nature is closer to the Mahayana Buddhist idea of “buddha nature” or the Christian idea of “original sin”.
Ajahn Vayama uses the Buddhist teaching of the Iddhipadas (Roads to Success), especially the quality of aditthana (determination) which is a wholesome desire to overcome the unwholesome desires of sensual craving which lead to suffering. In this way Ajahn Vayama outlines what type of desire is useful in Buddhist practice, and what desire is an obstacle and burden.
We’ve all had problems with the boss from hell, the partner from hell, etceteras. Ajahn Brahm points out how all these difficult people have something to teach us, and a skillful way to go about dealing with these people is to calm the whole situation down using the same attitude that helps us calm our own mind.
Responding to the charge that Buddhism is “passive”, Ajahn Vayama contends that the practice is very active, and very active at the point where we are not used to thinking of being active: namely, the mind. Through actively developing the mind, our speech and actions begin to change in accordance with the changes occurring within.
Ajahn Brahm focuses on how to develop the quality of mindfulness – a practice that has been central (e.g. it’s a factor of Eightfold Path and Seven Factors of Enlightenment) to the teaching of Buddhism from the start. He goes on to talk about the varying degrees of attention and the ability to know what’s going on in the mind and body.
Why does the universe come from? Why do we exist at all? Ajahn Brahm answers these questions from a Buddhist perspective.
With people coming to him expressing their concerns about disasters and tragedies in the world, Ajahn Brahm talks about how to deal effectively with tragedy and loss in life.
Ajahn Vayama reflects upon the occasion upon which the Buddha gave his first teaching – the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta – The Discourse on Setting In Motion The Wheel Of Dhamma. Ajahn Vayama discusses the circumstances around this first teaching of the Buddha and the meaning of that teaching.
Ajahn Brahm explains the Buddhist path as developing deeper levels of happiness until the highest happiness is attained: Enlightenment.
Ajahn Vayama exhorts us to practice in a way to see things as they really are, by connecting with the experience of the five external senses (the body) and the Three Characteristics of existence (impermanence, suffering, non-self).