This talk is republished with permission by Metta Centre, teaching retrieved from http://Dhamma Talks – Metta Centre.

In this panel, three respected monastics will discuss the question of responsibility for our own happiness and suffering to shed light on the causes of misery. The panelists will examine how our own thoughts, speech and actions can shape our experience of the world and influence our well-being.

One encompassing method of purifying the mind to overcome the causes of misery is through the cultivation of the Brahma Viharas, namely loving kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), joyful appreciation (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha), known as the Four Sublime Abodes. However, these wholesome mental states are widely misinterpreted and misused to justify unwholesome actions and thoughts, often under the disguise of spirituality by way of spiritual bypassing. Such misunderstandings may potentially lead to harmful consequences. This panel will discuss how to identify the causes of these misconceptions and explore ways to truly nurture and grow the pure four immeasurable qualities of the mind for the benefit of oneself and others.

Ajahn Nissarano was born in 1952 in Perth, Western Australia. In 1997, he was ordained by Ajahn Brahm as a novice monk and a year later took full ordination. This year was his 26th Rain’s Retreat, Vassa. He lived in Sri Lanka from 2006 to 2019, for a total of 13 and half years. During that time, he lived for 8 years in a cave on the side of a mountain, surrounded by forest and going for alms round to the village below. He returned to Australia regularly to teach, primarily at the Buddhist Society of Victoria. In January 2021 he became the Senior Monk at Newbury Buddhist Monastery, outside Melbourne, which is run by the Buddhist Society of Victoria.

Bhikkhuni Ayya Kārunikā is currently the senior resident monastic at Santi Forest Monastery and has been in monastic life for over 12 years. She received her full ordination as a bhikkhunī in 2014 at Dhammasara Nuns monastery in Western Australia where she lived and trained for over a decade with Ajahn Hāsapaññā. She is also a student of Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Brahmali. Ayya Kārunikā is able to articulate the Buddhist teachings in a way that is practical and comprehensible to people of all ages and has experience in conducting day retreats for both adults and youth. While she has a PhD in Microbiology and worked as a scientist, she has also been the building project manager for the construction of Dhammasara main monastery complex and has worked with many volunteers over the years. Ayya Kārunikā was born in Sri Lanka but has been living and working in Australia for over 2 decades. She has a passion to share her experience and knowledge and loves working with people and also doing creative projects.

Venerable Bhante Sanathavihari Bhikkhu is a Mexican-American Theravāda monk at the Sarathchandra Buddhist Center in North Hollywood, a Sri Lankan center. He is a student of the late Dr. Bhante Punnaji, and the director of Casa De Bhavana – an outreach project to bring the Dhamma to the Spanish-speaking world. He is also the co-author of Buddhism in 10 Steps. He represents a new generation of Spanish-speaking monastics who are extensively employing digital communication methods and social media, which is turning out to be extremely effective for spreading the Dharma in Spanish. Bhante is a U.S. Air Force veteran and served in the army for 9 years. After three deployments to Afghanistan, he was ordained as a novice in the Theravada tradition, at the age of 30, in the lineage of the Amarapura Nikaya monastic fraternity. In 2015, he received higher ordination at the Sarathchandra Buddhist Center of the Maharagama Bhikkhu Training Center (Maharagama Dharmayathanaya) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Today, Bhante Sanathavihari is the leader of Casa de Bhavana, a Theravada organization devoted to spreading the Dharma and promoting the practice of meditation. Bhante Sanathavihari has a B.A. in Religion, and is a Mindfulness researcher at Mount St. Mary University, Los Angeles, and a Graduate Student in Counseling Psychology at Mount St. Mary University. More info can be found at…

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