April 18, 2022

Introduction to Treasure Mountain

Introduction to Treasure Mountain

Hello and welcome to the Treasure Mountain Podcast. I'm your host Sol Hanna, broadcasting from the South-West of Western Australia, with the hope of reaching out across the world to explore the many individual paths of spiritual development, and to celeb...


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May you be happy!

Sol

Transcript

Hello and welcome to the Treasure Mountain Podcast. I'm your host Sol Hanna, broadcasting from the South-West of Western Australia, with the hope of reaching out across the world to explore the many individual paths of spiritual development, and to celebrate those leading Buddhist communities at a time of great change in the 21st century. This inaugural episode will be a brief introduction to what the Treasure Mountain podcast will be exploring in the coming weeks and months. I'm so glad you've chosen to join us, as we seek for the treasure within.

A great place to start is: why the title "Treasure Mountain"?

Many years ago I heard a Mahayana Buddhist nun talk about all of us who are practicing the dharma as living on a mountain of treasure, and how it is just up to us to dig into the mountain to find the treasure. This teaching was a metaphor, in which the real wealth of the human experience comes from understanding and developing the human mind. This teaching always stuck in my mind. It seemed to point to what was really important in life. And I hope that this podcast points listeners towards finding the spiritual treasure within.

Today we live in the richest society in the history of the world. Let me rephrase that: not only are we citizens of economically developed countries living in the richest societies in the world, we are living in the richest societies in the history of the world. There’s never been a society like the one we live in now. For instance, we can now hold in the palm of our hands a device that gives us access to more information in a day that an ancient king could access in a lifetime. We have air conditioned homes with fridges and pantries stocked with food from around the world. We travel at high speed in cars, and even ascend into the sky to travel to far away places in just hours, that would have once entailed a dangerous journey over months just three centuries ago. Yet we are still not happy...

I live in Western Australia, one of the richest provinces in the world. Yet in a place of abundance, many still go without. And there is a slow-moving mental health crisis that even experts aren't sure how to react to.

As someone who has battled with depression in the past and found a way to having a strong sense of direction and finding ever greater happiness in life, I know that the teachings laid out by the Buddha twenty-six centuries ago have value beyond any price tag. I wish that people understood the fundamental truth that ultimately, it's what we do with out minds that orients us towards suffering or to overcoming suffering. That ultimately, real wealth is within our own minds, if only we care to look, and to dig into the mountain to find the treasure within.

That's why this podcast is called Treasure Mountain: because it's about finding the treasure within the mind, and within human experience, brought to the surface with mindfulness and wisdom.

What is the Treasure Mountain podcast about?

Treasure Mountain is a podcast which is about our inner world, finding the treasure of wisdom and peace within ourselves. It is about everything to do with spiritual development from a Buddhist perspective.

Most Buddhist podcasts at present are monologues of teachers giving a talk to students. I've always taken this for granted, but recently started to question it, especially considering that most of the teachings in the Sutta Pitaka (the collection of teachings of the Buddha) are actually dialogues between two or more people. So this podcast uses an interview format, having conversations with people that can inspire others to learn and to care, and to develop a path of inquiry and mindfulness.

I'll be starting out with two types of podcast format:

  • Firstly, there are Spirit Stories episodes which explores the journeys that experienced spiritual seekers have been on. These Spirit Stories will be with teachers and community leaders at the forefront of sharing the dhamma in new places and in new ways. They are leaders of the Buddhist renaissance. We'll find out about what has brought them to the position they are in today, and about some of the inspiring projects they are working on.
  • Secondly, there are Sage Advice episodes which respond to listener questions and topic requests. If you'd like to contribute questions for future episodes of Sage Advice, I'll be telling you more about how you can do this in future. For now, if you'd like to reach out to me, you can email me at treasuremountain@fastmail.com.

Please note that in the early episodes of Treasure Mountain, I'll be reaching out to people who inspire me in various ways. In other words, I'll be reaching out to people I know. But down the track I'll be seeking your suggestions and support in recruiting inspiring guests to the podcast. Also there will be other ways in which listeners of the podcast can get involved. So stay tuned for much change and evolution in terms of what this podcast has to offer the community.

Who is this podcast for? Who might is appeal to?

The target audience for Treasure Mountain is necessarily broad as part of what I am trying to achieve is to bridge East and West, and to bring about an awareness of Buddhist renaissance in the age of globalisation and the Long Emergency as converging crises shake the basis of our beliefs.

To the extent I have a target audience, these are the following attributes of listeners that I am aiming for:

  • it's either for a practicing Buddhist or someone who is interested in Buddhism and the practice of generosity, virtue, meditation and wisdom.
  • It's for people who want to practice and learn about Buddhist teachings, but are busy and don’t have time. Podcasting will suit them.
  • They are perhaps a bit sceptical about the role of the Buddhist schools, and just want to get to the heart of what Buddhism is supposed to be about.

Buddhism in its organisational form is radically different from other religions, to the point that many question whether it is a religion at all. For most people, in the East and the West, Buddhism is often seen as a form of do-it-yourself therapy, and for others an inspiring and uplifting way of life. But everywhere you go, Buddhism is small. It is oriented around local groups, communities, monasteries and temples. It is a very introspective, and I would say an introverted social movement. In my opinion, this is not just the way it is, but it’s a good way to be. It is not the role of Buddhism to be loud and to go around trying to sell its wares, or trying to force people to agree with us. It is our role to cultivate the inner path, and with a heart of kindness and compassion to share the wealth of inner peace and wisdom with those who are seeking it.

I don't want to change how Buddhists orient themselves. However, I do think there is merit in learning from others, and from a range of people from different traditions and different cultures, and different life circumstances. That's where the Treasure Mountain podcast fits in. I aim to cut across traditions, countries, cultures - as best as I can within my limitations - to find inspiring stories and wisdom to benefit others. I hope you can help me find these precious gems of the Buddhist community for others to learn from.

Who am I to be producing and hosting the Treasure Mountain Podcast?

My name is Sol Hanna, and I am a 46 year old West Australian who has been a practising Buddhist since 1993.

In my time I’ve done a number of retreats and spent two years training with Ajahn Brahm at Bodhinyana Monastery. I’ve spent much of the past twenty years working to make the teachings available to a wider audience, setting up one of the first Buddhist podcasts in the world back in 2004, as well as establishing websites and youtube channels to make teachings available to millions of people around the world.

These days I’m working to establish a Buddhist community in South-West Western Australia as well as a tudong trail in which monks and nuns can travel around and practice in the forests of the South-West. I’m also working to help people learn about Buddhist teachers and leaders through this Treasure Mountain podcast.

These days I live in a small town called Witchcliffe with my wife Jenni, and son Arturo. And when I’m not working as a teacher or seeking to share the Dhamma, I’m spending time in my big permaculture garden with hundreds of fruit trees, a vege patch, and lots of ducks and chickens. And a Silky Terrier called Haku.

Closing

The main website for this podcast is: treasuremountain.info On this website you can find out more about the podcast, as well as transcriptions of all the shows, and links to the guests and projects that they are working on.

You can contact me via the treasuremountain.info website by clicking on the 'Contact' tab. You can also find out more about the show via the Treasure Mountain Podcast page on Facebook.

I really hope you enjoy the coming episodes of Treasure Mountain. Thanks for listening and I hope to hear from you.

May you all find the treasure within.