What are the Benefits of Meditation Retreats, How to Become a Buddhist Monk and more… (Q&A Session Feb’18)

Duration 1:29:47

Questions answered during our Q&A session:

1:30 What are the benefits of meditation retreats, how long should they be, what’s involved in one?

17.23 When we are dealing with things that are attachments or urges, is it beneficial to sometimes give into that urge, in a controlled and limited way, and be done with it, as long as that urge is not harmful? For example, a person can think about eating a piece of chocolate for hours on end and have it be such a big deal and encompass all your thoughts or they can eat one piece of chocolate and move on.

28.57 I have a question regarding how to skillfully practice generosity. In most cases, by giving money to others, one only augments their desires. How can one practice generosity without 1) being taken advantage of and 2) augmenting their desires for worldly possessions. Is it acceptable to practice generosity strictly with kindness and compassion?

35:09 With respect to loving kindness meditations, in particular, where thoughts are encouraged to turn to “May I be happy. May I find peace. May I be free from suffering,” and “May you….be happy, find peace, etc.,” how do we reconcile this with wishing, wanting and craving peace and happiness (when craving is said to bring suffering) – and yet we are in fact encouraged to meditate on those wishes/wants in metta meditation.

43:22 I would just like to know how do I become a Buddhist monk and I’d like to know some of the challenges you faced when you became a nun.

51:32 How do you know if you are a ‘stream enterer’? Or someone on a sure path to enlightenment?

57:27 When you’re new to Buddhism, how do you figure out which kind to follow? Is it okay to learn from say, Pema Chödrön and Thich Nhat Hahn?

1:01:45 I know it is important to allow and let the present moment in, with all its emotions, including the negative, and to try to let go of resistance to it. I often have a problem with worries and fears that can immensely shadow the present moment. I would like to know if you have any advice or technique to make the way easier or more accessible?

1:07:53 Should we become engaged in social or political issues when there is evidence of harm being done? In today’s local Sangha discussion, some people felt that a call to action is necessary, and passively observing feelings is the wrong course of action. Ajahn Brahm says, “Disengaging (nibbida) is the right response.” While Thich Nhat Hanh says “Once we see that something needs to be done, we must take action.” So who is correct?

1:23:48 How would zazen meditation fit with the 9 stages of calm abiding mindfulness?