Listening to the Venerable Ajahn Brahmavanso was a memorable experience. It is not only that he knows what he is talking about; it is also because he knows how to put it across; the deepest principles of Dhamma in the most simple language.
The story of the Sri Lankan lady looking for Ven. Ajahn Brahmawanso at his ashram in Australia is a case in point. It started with a question on 'conceit' where the Ven. Ajahn Brahm said a bhikkhu has to go to Australia to get rid of conceit. "In Sri Lanka, others open doors for them; have you ever seen a bhikku pushing a car in Sri Lanka or mixing cement? We do all these things in Australia.
In fact I am the helper to masons building our ashram in Australia. One day after a hard session of mixing concrete with patches of mortar all over my body and the robe, I was walking to my room to take a shower and clean up. Then suddenly this Sri Lankan lady bumped into me looking for Ven. Ajahn Brahmavanso and thinking quickly I said, 'I am sure you can meet him in 10 minutes at the visitors waiting hall'.
It was the description of the lady that had peals of laughter off the crowd. The lady was draped in the most expensive clothes but the icing of the cake was the 'gold bangles on the arms making a noise louder than the ice cream van!'
The lady met Ven. Ajahn Brahm ten minutes later at the waiting hall, had a deep discussion on Dhamma and as one last request, craved the indulgence of the priest to point out a shortcoming -if she may say so. "Please advise the other bhikkhus in your ashram to be clean and neatly dressed as the head priest", again evoking uncontrollable laughter. The story does not end there and in a very serious tone he suddenly asked the crowd " Which Brahmavanso? The one soaked in cement mortar or the one serene looking and nice and clean?" explaining a deep principle in Buddhism in the most simple manner.
"What is the relevance of Rebirth in Buddhism; the correlation of that to Meditation?" was the question I passed on to him at question time. It was really for the benefit of my professor friend. I expected Ven. Ajahn Brahm to be circumspect as in 'Here and Now' by Ven. Aiyya Khema. But he boldly went on to relate the story of the Thai girl who was the mother of the present headmaster of that school. He said when meditation settles in you properly, you will yourself see your past births.
To say that the Colombo audience was eating out of his hand was not inaccurate. When Ven. Ajahn Brahm apologized for the deeds of his ancestors in Sri Lanka, the crowds would have been wondering why, for nobody there in their wildest dreams would be correlating the actions of Britishers with a Buddhist monk.
But this article would not be complete without quoting how the waves cease from the previous article 'Suduhaamuduruwoo'.
" …the waves cease, water cease, the sand trees and the landmarks cease and in fact everything ceases including you…"