Dhamma Video Conference Talk and Q & A with Ajahn Anan – July 28th, 2017
L uang Por Anan: Last week we talked about Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler, and how Mr. Walker had a good attitude. However, when he got behind the wheel of a car, he was filled with the monsters of greed, anger, and delusion.
This week we will talk on another theme—let us look at the example of the wolf. It looks scary and has a reputation of being ferocious. Let us stop and ask each center, what would you do if you met this ferocious looking wolf?
Q—“Would spread metta, try being peaceful, remember refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, try to be calm.”
Q–I would try to teach the wolf to say “Buddho” with the in breath and out breath to help it be calm.
Luang Por Anan—Yes, a western monk here tried to teach a dog, Singto, to be peaceful by repeating “Buddho” with the in and out breath.
In Juneau, Alaska, there lived a hunter named Nick. One day he saw a big black wolf out behind his house, with his pet dog nearby. To his surprise the wolf and his pet dog started playing—the wolf just wanted to play! It came alone and walked out through the open to approach the house, which is unusual due to the pack hunting nature of wolves.
He named the wolf Romeo. Romeo came to play and spend time with the humans and their pet dogs more and more, becoming a much loved part of the community. At first some people and dogs were apprehensive, but then they grew to love and enjoy Romeo’s company. For 6 years this friendship grew, until outside poachers killed Romeo. A commemorative plaque was made in Romeo’s honor, a testament to how much the people of that community loved him. Nick also wrote and book about Romeo and spread the story of this kind hearted wolf.
We can learn from the example of Romeo and this community in Juneau, Alaska.
Outer appearances can be deceiving. Romeo may have looked fierce and like a deadly predator on the outside, but on the inside, he just wanted to be loved and have fun—to play. He would play with others dogs in the dog park and even lay in the sun with humans. He just wanted love and affection. Perhaps he didn’t get that love and affection from his wolf pack, or was kicked out of his pack due to his gentle and kind-hearted nature. Either way we can know that he came to people and their dogs to love and be loved, and to play.
Sometimes the outer appearance of humans can be deceiving, as well. Sometimes people look kind and respectable, but on the inside their hearts are like wild animals: ferocious, cunning, and willing to take advantage of others and harm others at the slightest opportunity. This is a person with a heart like a wolf but the outside of a human.
Other people can look scary and mean but have kind and gentle hearts, with good morality. I have a disciple like this. People think he is a dangerous gangster due to his outer appearance, but really, he is kind and generous and has sila in his heart.
Let us learn from Romeo to not always trust the outer appearance of things, to look deeper.
Questions and Answers (abridged):
Q: I heard of an elephant that killed others when it did not get fed.
Luang Por Anan: We must be careful and discerning, again not to trust the outer appearance of things.
Q: Do we need a direction in life or is it better to just go with the flow?
Luang Por Anan: We do need a direction in life; this is better.
Q: Can we do anything to limit the ripening and fruition of past bad kamma?
Luang Por Anan: Be firm in setting wholesome intentions in the present.
Q: Will sati and panya (mindfulness and wisdom) ever be quick enough to catch the kilesas (defilements) before they arise?
Luang Por Anan: Yes, this is possible, keep practicing.
Q: Is bringing the mind back to mindfulness training in letting go, or not?
Luang Por Anan: It is not the same as training in letting go. It is training the mind to be still and firm first, then the still mind can more easily develop the wisdom to let go.
Q: Do people with schizophrenia/multiple personalities experience the kamma from both personalities or is it two minds in one body?
Luang Por Anan: It is one mind, so all the kamma is experienced, good and bad.
Luang Por Anan: Finally, I will share a story of a monk in Canada. A grizzly bear broke into the house he was in, and he went to hide in the kitchen. He was holding the door to the kitchen shut, but the bear was breaking through the door. There were some kitchen knives available for defense. What would you do? Try to teach the bear “Buddho” with the in and out breathing? Ajahn?
Ajahn: I would pray to the Bodhisattvas, maybe try to talk to the bear to calm myself down.
Luang Por Anan: In the end, the door lock broke and the monk stabbed the bear with a knife, and the bear fled the house. A fellow monk asked him later, what about metta for the bear? The monk replied that he had a hard time feeling metta when thinking that his death was so close.