Ajahn Sona Q&A - Did Socrates Have Jhāna?: Dhammic Influence & Resonance Through History
Chapters0:00 - Introduction1:33 - Ajahn Sona reflects on transporting Dharma to North America3:45 - Transporting Dharma to a different cultures needs adjustments. What are the most significant adjustments we need to make in term of coming into the culture?14:13 - In some tradition such as Burmese, there’s a strong emphasis that monks shouldn’t smile in public. But you have spoken about the importance of being jolly. How should we balance these two different views?18:05 - When we learn or study doctrines or teachings that might be contradict to those of Theravada, how should we handle them?24:14 - Max Müller once said “he who knows one, knows none.” In our case, we can infer that if we only study Theravada, then we don’t even know Theravada. What are your thoughts on the quote?28:30 - Some teachers advice junior monastics and new practitioners to only limit their study to just Pāli Canon for a certain amount of time then open up later. Should we advice new practitioners to limit to Pāli Canon at first then open up? Or should what-to-study approach be decided on a case-by-case basis?32:02 - You have given talks about the influence of Buddhist thought on discipline of modern psychology or even impressionists. Where else in history and our modern landscape do you see the hidden hand of Buddhism at work?43:05 - We think that Western Culture and culture in general rests on in terms of pure rationalism. But Thomas McEvilley’s The Shape of Ancient Thought might offer a different point of view. What are your thoughts?52:40 - Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are geniuses. Do you think if they had learned a method of actual Samadhi, do you think they could have been even better? In addition, is the Samadhi of ideas categorically different from the Samadhi of tranquility?57:05 - What is the most salient ripple that you see from Buddha’s teachings that are present in the West? What is the most important one that you would hope for monastics coming to the West? What do you hope for to see in terms of that thread moving forward?1:07:07 - People can be hard on themselves and have the propensity to just really tie themselves into knots and things can go pear-shaped very quickly. How do you advise new practitioners and even old ones in terms of helping them hold it correctly and not grabbing the snake in a way that it'll bite them?In this interview, Ajahn Sona speaks about the threads of the Buddha's teaching one finds throughout history and into the modern era, and the meaning of such revelations for those of us practicing now.Ajahn Soṇa is the founder and abbot of Birken Monastery. Born in Canada in 1954, Ajahn Soṇa's background was as a classical guitarist. His encounter with Buddhist wisdom as a young man initiated a spiritual journey that led him to become a lay hermit in the Coast Mountain region of British Columbia for several years. He subsequently ordained as a Theravada monk in 1989 under Bhante Gunaratana, at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia, where his first years of training took place. Ajahn. Soṇa further trained for another three plus years at monasteries in the Ajahn Chah tradition in northeast Thailand, especially Wat Pah Nanachat. Upon his return to Canada in 1994 he helped found the original Birken Forest Monastery near Pemberton, BC and, as its spiritual guide. Through several incarnations, he has since led Birken monastery, also known by its Pali name ‘Sītavana’, translated as ‘cool forest grove’, through to its current and final resting place in a secluded, fully off-grid forest location just south of Kamloops, B.C.To learn more, visit https://linktr.ee/clear_mountain_monasteryTune in with fellow practitioners every Wednesday evening at 6 pm for a Dhamma Talk or Q&A with Ajahn Kovilo or Tan Nisabho. Wednesday evening Q&A's are followed by a discussion on Zoom from 6:45 - 7:30 pm. Additionally, look for the video of Saturday's in-person Seattle talk uploaded each weekend. See https://www.clearmountainmonastery.org/ for details. Welcome!