April 20, 2022

Pioneering a dhamma community in a regional town with Bhikkhu Mudu - Spirit Stories

Pioneering a dhamma community in a regional town with Bhikkhu Mudu - Spirit Stories

In this episode of Spirit Stories our guest is Venerable Mudu who is leading an effort to establish a community of practice in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. Venerable Mudu first became interested in Buddhism when a chance invitation by ...


In this episode of Spirit Stories our guest is Venerable Mudu who is leading an effort to establish a community of practice in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. Venerable Mudu first became interested in Buddhism when a chance invitation by a Thai friend to join her in offering food to the Buddhist monks at Serpentine’s Forest Monastery. He became inspired by the monastic way of life. Several years later after developing an understanding the importance of meditation and renunciation, he decided to take up the training to become a Buddhist monk.

In 2014, after completing the two year trial and preliminary training, Venerable Mudu received the higher ordination as a fully ordained Bhikkhu under his teacher and preceptor, Ajahn Brahm at Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery. In 2018 he went to Albany at the request of community members there, and has since established Bodhinyana Great Southern Hermitage and he teaches regularly in Albany, as well as frequent visit to Denmark, Walpole and Mt Barker, all in the Great Southern region in the far south of Western Australia.

Links mentioned in the show:

To donate to Bodhinyana Great Southern use the link or QR code below:

----more----

 

 

Thank you for listening to the Treasure Mountain Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode please share it with you friends. If you'd like to support me to produce this type of content in future, you can support my work by offering a tip via the Ko-fi payment applet.

 

 

May you be happy!

Sol

Transcript

Auto-generated transcript - expect spelling errors!

00:00.00
sol_hanna
In this inaugural episode of spirit stories. Our guest is venerable mudu his who is leading an effort to establish a community of practice in the great southern region of western australia veneral mudu first became interested in Buddhism. When a chance invitation by a thai friend to join her in offering food to the buddhist monks at serpentine's forest monastery he he became inspired by the monastic way of life several years later after developing and understanding the importance of meditation and renunciation he decided to take up the training to become a buddhist monk. 14 after completing the 2 wo-year trial and preliminary training feal moodhu received the higher ordination as a fully ordained biku under his teacher. The preceptor arjam brahm at bodinanyana buddhist monastery. 18 he went to Albany at the request of community members there and has since established bodiana great southern and he teaches regularly in Albany as well as frequent visits to Denmark Walpole and Mount Barkon all in the great southern region in the far south of western australia welcome to Tricia Manden Bante

01:04.55
Venerable Mudu
Thank you soul. Thank you for that Lovely introduction. No bio I've heard that before and it's it's it's It's pretty accurate there that that bio.

01:16.32
sol_hanna
Okay, and it's very nice to be talking to you as well on this rainy day in the southwest. Um I think could you start us off by telling us a little bit about your life before Moodu What did you get up to before you became a monk.

01:30.34
Venerable Mudu
I think I think I was having a ah reasonably happy happy life I certainly didn't have any extraordinary circumstances of of suffering. No more than what I would imagine most average people might have I yeah I grew up in soento a beachside suburb and growing up at a beachside suburb I remember my mum telling me quite a while. Later that um, that she had asked my dad if us 3 boys could pursue like Sunday school so some sort of spiritual teachings with. Um, the bible I suppose you could call it and I'm not sure what my dad's words were but I imagine they go something like this that my boys won't be going to church. They're going to play footy and do surf club.

02:41.10
sol_hanna
Ah, it's the other Australian religion isn't it. Ah.

02:43.80
Venerable Mudu
Yeah, oh well, the surf life savings say is like an Australian institution that is grounded in service which is a wonderful thing I Never realized that as a young boy doing surf life saving. But as I.

02:52.80
sol_hanna
M.

03:00.73
Venerable Mudu
Grew through the ranks as ah, a nipper and then ah a cadet surf lifesaver and then later on becoming a senior. Um, it really did teach me that this. This institution of surf life saving was revolved around serving the community and a lot of people don't actually kind of see that because it's not maybe not in the foreground. Well it wasn't for me, it was more like going down the beach on on a Sunday and having some fun. And learning how to swim in the surf and eventually learning how to save lives which I did many many times throughout my career and and that that that put some of the foundations in place for me I believe who are becoming. Ah, a monk or becoming a monk that valued service which is something that I do down here so I did actually sorry. So.

04:00.52
sol_hanna
Um, looking back on it though. Did you feel though that there was some sense of happiness which was gained through that through through that service.

04:11.44
Venerable Mudu
Yes, yeah, that's interesting. You say that because I quite often tell people here that um and something gajam brahm also says a lot is that that it's important for people to to do service sometimes he has. He has people come to see him after the meal Ajan ah John Brahm does take questions from people that have problems in their life and a lot of people suffer some people suffer from depression. And the first thing he often tells him he says do you do any service. Do you do any volunteer work and that's one of Arjun Brahm's key teachings to people is to get out there and do service because it brings so much joy and I say to my.

04:57.52
sol_hanna
Moon.

05:01.26
Venerable Mudu
Fellow surf lifesavers here in Albany that um that you never see a volunteer with a miserable face. It does like you said it brings up ah a lot of joy and happiness into one's life and I highly encourage it and recommend it I couldn't recommend it enough.

05:10.30
sol_hanna
Moon.

05:21.17
Venerable Mudu
Such a wonderful thing. It brings so much joy and then when you've got all those people in 1 place like saff lifesaving when you've got so many people happy. It's just it's infectious. It's no wonder people when they join these institutions like surf life saving they lead very Happy. Lives and puts in good foundation for service later on in life.

05:43.56
sol_hanna
I think you've just made a very simple but profound point about the nature of happiness. Um, and I think a lot of people. Maybe that's one of the key ingredients that's missing from society today is where there's where there's a lot of issues with mental health is that we perhaps lack.

05:50.42
Venerable Mudu
Now.

06:02.37
sol_hanna
Sense of service or even neighborliness sometimes but you just said earlier on that you felt that you left led a fairly happy life now a lot of people who come get interested in spiritual practice and meditation and so forth often have a lot of suffering. Um, so what was it that got you interested in the Buddha's spiritual path.

06:23.41
Venerable Mudu
You know so I did I did encounter suffering all through my life. But as a child you just cop cop cop a lot of it on the chin because it's not It's not nothing traumatic I would say um, you know you you get born. And once you get born your parents raise you and then when you get old enough you have to go to school and you're left on your own and that can be a frightening experience just much like your first day when you go to work you kind of put in so a situation that you haven't been in before and it's it's uncomfortable. So. Those little sufferings ah and par for the course of being born as a human. But um I guess the the turning point in my life for wanting to pursue something more spiritual was when I yeah i. Went through what a lot of people go through separation I did get married and um and that marriage is a very difficult thing. It's something that 2 people really need to kind of cut each other a lot of slack and maybe that's. You know one of the things that that I was short of I don't know but my marriage didn't last and we ended up separating and and that was very very painful experience because there's so many. Ah, painful experiences that are associated with separating from someone that you love and and all of the the knock-on effects like family law court and looking after care arrangements for the child and. Stuff like this becomes very very painful. So I was at the doc I was at the dentist one day. My local dentist I've been seeing him for many many years and this dentist said to me says you're grinding your teeth you should look at meditation. So that's how I started meditating and that's how I met the lady you mentioned at the start of the the interview when you read the bio. Um my good friend Noy Thai lady our daughters went to the same school so we became friends and so she I went to see her to find out. Ah, how I go about meditating I knew she was thai and and I knew she was a buddhist and I thought she was a good starting point. So she said come with me to the temple and so that's that's where it all started. But.

09:04.76
Venerable Mudu
Did go to the temple and asked about meditation and they said we don't teach meditation here at the temple at serpentine buddhist monastery you will have to go to our city center in um, in noammara which you're well aware of soul because for the listeners who don't know soul has also been. Heavily in service serving role with the buddha society of w a as well and so I went along there and they teach they taught as they still do today a four week session that starts on the first Saturday of every month and is ah is a. A 2 hour session that just teaches you the introduction to meditation and it closely follows the book that ajam brahm published called the basic method of meditation. Very very simple book to read if anyone's out there. That's like me and has difficulty reading then they should read this book because the text is large. It's succinct and it's an easy to read language and that that was a great start for me to learn meditation so that to answer. Question about what got me into the meditation. It was the turning point and was the separating going through the troubles with separation and the difficulties and the pains and the hurts of of that and but.

10:26.86
sol_hanna
And.

10:37.49
Venerable Mudu
Who knows what the real push direction in life took me to become a monk because when we look at Buddhism we always look at past lives and karma so that also plays probably plays a very big part in why I became a monk.

10:55.55
sol_hanna
Thank you Bante and for the benefit of our listeners I'll be putting a link to the basic method of meditation by John Braum in the description below so venerable. You started meditating and how how quickly did you think what what was

10:57.15
Venerable Mudu
And who knows yeah.

11:13.64
sol_hanna
But did that bringing about the changes was that helping with the I guess the sadness and the pain of of the marriage breaking down. Did it help at that time.

11:21.91
Venerable Mudu
Great question. So that's a good question I I yeah I was truly expecting as if you ever listen to our John brams talks. You'll hear very similar story. Hes he will talk about. Finishing his degree at university and then following Buddhism he he decided he would go and become a monk for one or two years it shouldn't take he was a very smart monk so he understood that because he was so smart as ah, a Cambridge scholar that it would only take him 1 or 2 years to get enlightened after he was enlightened. He would come back to England and get married and and enjoy his enlightenment I kind of had a similar idea I thought I thought after reading the basic basic method of meditation. It looked quite simple. The instructions that I could do the same thing. And as I found out it. It wasn't it wasn't that easy. Although meditation is easy if you do do the right things but I didn't I guess I didn't know all the right things and there was a lot more to tease out of that book than just sitting on a cushion. Um, so. The more I understood what was involved because I did do a lot of Ajam Brahm retreats at that time as well. I found out that sitting on the cushion alone didn't make problems disappear it helped because it is one of the steps of. Of Buddhist practice and and for those people that know eightfold path. It's one of the steps on that that path but a lot of other things are important too like um, being a kind person doing service um having a mind that's kind of clean. I guess my mind came from ah a place that was quite angry being through family law courts. So I had anger in my anger in my mind. It may not have come out in my character and my behavior but it was certainly inside my inside my head so it took a long time to actually. Practice those those other things and get some of those other important components of living a good wholesome life to assist the meditation because living a good wholesome clean life where you don't harm others and. You don't harm yourself then that leads to this beautiful, clean pure mind so that when you sit down to meditate then it does it does become easy and also the um the hurts that are in your mind the hurts the the pains they have time to heal because.

14:11.44
Venerable Mudu
Having a still mind does allow any kind of damages and pains that you carry emotionally allows them to heal. So no I didn't get relief from my suffering straight away just from sitting on the cushion. That's the main reason I became a monk because I realized the more I committed to letting go which is Aja Brahm catch phrase word letting go the more I let go of things in my life then. I was able to get a deeper practice and from a deeper practice than yes, the pains of those troubles I had in my life have alleviated and to a point now where it's almost like you do have some control over this. Kind of volume knob you can turn the knob up and down when the pain comes up. You don't have to so really feel that that pain so much you can you can see it for what it is in it. It is pain but it doesn't. Doesn't have that effect and hurt you so much.

15:26.91
sol_hanna
Thank you about dad you know that's a really good point that you make in this age where mindfulness and learning meditation is really popular often. It's forgotten that there are these other really vital supporting factors like you say like kindness service like like living a. Good life and keeping the mind you know a degree of purity which really supports the meditation. Um, but I'm curious I think you've taken us up now to the point of where you're Dane what gave you what made have up motivated you to take that leap of faith and become a monk and you know it's a big step giving up all of your. Property your job all of your external connections. It's a big step. What? what? What motivated you to take that step.

16:07.39
Venerable Mudu
Um, yeah, Well, that's just a continuation on from the previous question which is that that I did want to um I. I Realized that I did not want to have that that sort of suffering and pain that I experienced through the separation and all the things like family law court I never wanted to experience that Again. I can tell you as most other people would. Vouch for me is that going to the family law court is akin to going to a hell Realm I'm glad we can have a bit of a giggle about it. But at that time it is just like is hell it really is a hell Realm and and I I just said I never ever ever Want to go back to that.

16:50.24
sol_hanna
Yes.

17:03.33
Venerable Mudu
Nice again and um, there came a point where my daughter went to live with her mother and when that happened it was quite a long way away because the mother was teaching doing school teaching in country which was like a couple of days drive from Perth and up north and so that made it very difficult to be an active father anymore. So that gave me the opportunity to to ordain and because my daughter had moved away. I had this this space in my life that there was a void there so I had this opportunity to go and ordain I did ask ah John Brahm if I could ordain and he normally wouldn't let anyone ordain. If they had commitments to their child and he could clearly see that that I had a child but that child was living so far away. It was very difficult to see that child. Also I guess through. Some of the hurt maybe from my wife. She may not wanted me to actually have much of a connection also with that child and I can understand that that sometimes happens and because of that. Ah John Brahm gave me their permission to ordain I made sure that I had the. The legal framework in place. So someone who has a dependent child must have commitment to continuation with family support or child support. They call it so I made sure I had um. Money put in reserve to keep that commitment and that basically ticked all the boxes with Aja Brahm and he gave me the permission to ordain.

19:06.30
sol_hanna
Okay, now a lot of people often Wonder what? it's like to ordain the challenges, the Joys etc. Ah I'm curious. What have you found so far in your life as a monk. What have been? What are some of the greatest challenges that you've had to.

19:25.37
Venerable Mudu
I Think the biggest challenge is is actually ah, having having to yeah the and um, it's different for every monk but I guess for me, it was um, my ah.

19:25.51
sol_hanna
Had to deal with.

19:45.22
Venerable Mudu
The emotional attachment that I did have with my daughter so having that kind of severed and not just the way that it happened like I just explained before a daughter moving up so far away that was impossible to actually kind of. See her and um so dealing with with that was because this is something had spoken about in the in the scriptures as well. This kind of emotional attachment you have with loved ones can bring apart to can bring about a lot of. A lot of suffering. So for me, that's that that didn't go away as soon as I put the brown robes on I had to work with with the teachings of the buddha non-self and just seeing exactly where this pain was coming from and it was the. Investment of time one puts into being a parent the investment of time and an effort that you put. Yeah I mean as a parent that yourself knows and their listeners know that you you put everything in you put 110 percent in and when that when that is severed whether it's a child or a wife or a husband or a sister or just anyone who's a loved one when that is severed. It's it's a very emotionally painful so until you can see where. That pain is coming from and how you spent and a lifetime constructing that relationship and investing so much time into it I'm not saying that having ah what? Ah I'm not saying that the. Investment of time is pointless or it is um ah it's just all pretend or that it's just social or just ah, just a something you've constructed in your own mind it it more than that. It's because it. This emotional investment you you can't detach yourself from it so easy. So when you sit when it's severed it. It. It does hurt. But when you can see the mechanisms of where it's come from this I'm trying to say it's it's not easy to just to explain this. But when you can see where.

22:05.29
sol_hanna
Um.

22:12.15
Venerable Mudu
This um, where the investment of emotion comes from then you can start to understand where the her is coming from and then it doesn't the pain isn't so great. So ah, can't Trump. Yeah yeah, you've asked me what's the hardest.

22:24.71
sol_hanna
Would you would would you say Also though that um I guess you like you talked about that emotional investment as a parent which is huge um, but is it. Do you think.

22:31.25
Venerable Mudu
Think.

22:40.24
Venerable Mudu
That pain.

22:44.13
sol_hanna
Is it the case that we can be emotionally invested and to give and to love and to care but without expectation without that sense of attachment I mean is that possible or ah and and.

22:53.59
Venerable Mudu
And.

23:03.37
sol_hanna
You know I think probably that's where a lot of the pain comes from is that we love and we give and we so we you know, but at the same time we've got so much expectation and so much attachment it's it's tricky isn't it.

23:13.45
Venerable Mudu
Ah, you, you're exactly right? Yeah, exactly right? So that's I think that's that's there that expectation that we have is that is what? um, that is what really amplifies the the suffering.

23:27.59
sol_hanna
M.

23:30.32
Venerable Mudu
Because if we go in investing into a relationship and expecting something in return and we don't get that in return so say for instance, yeah, the relationship is severed and we expected so much more from it then it really does cause a lot of pain. Those expectations are John Brahm's favorite. Um, one of his most favorite sayings of mine is that he says he says I don't get any suffering from my monks There's whether they muck up or they destroy the they smash the. Monastery of vehicles by accident or whatever he says it doesn't faze me. It doesn't it doesn't hurt me. It doesn't um I don't get upset he says because my expectations of my monks he says I lower my expectations so much that I'll lower it down to 0 very wise and he laughs when he says that and you think it's a joke but it's actually it's true. It's actually true when you lower your expectations of someone then you're never going to get disappointed so you can always love them unconditionally like you just mentioned before.

24:43.31
sol_hanna
So it can be done but it's tricky. Yeah yeah.

24:46.70
Venerable Mudu
Yeah, takes a bit of practice and yeah you you see people they they say they love their child unconditionally but it's ah I think that's a bit of a cliche people got to be careful what they say when they when they're saying that.

25:00.88
sol_hanna
Okay, um, switching tack a little bit as a monk so far. What what do you feel has been your one of your greatest joys.

25:12.20
Venerable Mudu
The greatest joy about being a monkey is actually being able to teach people how to meditate and how how that they can also see the suffering in their life and and manage it. By seeing seeing it for what it is basically like what we've just talked about with seeing suffering for what it is and being able to and get a handle on it. So that people can live happier lives when I can teach that on a Friday night and on here in Albany on a Sunday afternoon in Denmark and it gets and people understand it and it gets through to them that brings me the most joy. The second biggest joy I get is going doing the two Thousand 600 year old buddhist tradition. Of binderbart it's ah arms round and this is something that they do at the monastery and serpentine every day they walk from the where they have their meal out. They receive all of the guests that come to the monastery and. Guests have the opportunity of putting rice into the monk's bowl and that gets done every day but what we do here in Albany once a week on Saturday we actually go into town just like the Buddha would have done. And we actually walk down the main street. The 2 main streets of Albany that's equivalent in Perth to walking down the hay street mall and we see so many people in Albany always greeted by people with happy smiles and. The number of businesses and the number of people that actually open their doors to us to offer us arms is just growing. It's always growing. It started off with our main supporter group down here that were um that invited army down here in the first place and that we. Stop at their their business and then other businesses called on and so we go to many many businesses on the main streets in Albany and that brings me so much joy and you see these people they're waiting to see the monks come down and there's 2 monks here at the moment in Albany, we're privileged to have a second monk. And that bin debart whether it was at serpentine just doing it at the monastery or here in Albany doing it actually on the streets seeing real people who aren't even buddhist to give them the opportunity to see that they actually have their very own monks here in the great southern in Albany that just brings me.

28:01.52
Venerable Mudu
Ah, huge amount of joy. So they're my 2 favorite things is teaching people how to meditate and find a happiness in their life and the second thing is going through through town and just seeing all the people when I do my weekly arms round on a Saturday morning.

28:14.59
sol_hanna
Very interesting. Well that brings us to our next question which is that a few years ago, you decided to trade the peaceful and stable surrounds of life in Bodana Monastery for a task that very few Australian monks choose to take on establishing a community. And doing so far away from the city and far away from your the monastery where you ordained you're in the far South of Western Australia Now in this decision. You chose the role of pioneering the establishment of a buddhist community. How has this role. Of Lone teacher and pioneer of Buddhism in a rural and regional community. How has that been for you.

28:56.30
Venerable Mudu
Oh that's ah, it's ah it's been a rollercoaster it I was I must I must confess I was completely disillusioned when I first came down here because I'd been protected and sheltered by. By Arjan Brahm at serpentine monastery I had no idea what I was in store for I just thought I just thought everybody loves buddhism because. That's all you see at serpentine. You just ajam Brahm he calls himself the windshield because he catches all of the bugs and all of the muck that the other monks don't have to have because they sit behind the windshield and ajam brahm is the windshield so you don't see. All of the hard times the difficulties that he had to go through in building serpentine buddhist monastery bodanaana monastery I had didn't really expect. Kind of some of the hardships that I had when I first came here, there wasn't many. It was just initially when I first came here I came to a town Albany which doesn't has hasn't had buddhist monks here before there is no buddhist temples here. It's. For those of your listeners who don't know what Albany is Albany Albany was the first place to be settled in w a and it was going to become the capital city of western Australia but a couple of years later perth was chosen. So. Albany has been kind of left to develop as a rural center of sorts. It's a combination of city suburban life now. But there's still a lot of rural space here which is one of the reasons we did choose it. A nice forest monastery which we've got here but coming down you know some of the locals were a little bit um a little bit unsure of what was coming to town because I had spent 2 years visiting Albany before I came here to teach meditation. My brother lived here and I did want to come and visit him and Ajan Brahma originally allowed me to come and visit my brother before I'd finished my 5 years of training

31:28.29
Venerable Mudu
Normally the monks kind of stay for that first five years but he did allow me to come down here to visit my brother and he he said if you go to visit your brother. You will need I'm asking you to do a public talk and do a and teach at 1 of the prisons which I did. And that's how that's how we got the ball rolling here to to do the teachings and then I continued for 2 years doing their teachings um on a regular basis and I was getting a lot of support from the local newspaper. They were quite interested in both of the newspapers actually. And they were publishing articles and the most recent one they published before I came down here. They gave a full page spread with my mug shot right on the front and this this kind of reached all of the. Residents here in elka where we are and they were very kind of worried about this cult coming. They didn't know what buddhism was there's just these weird guys wearing brown bedsheets. They had no idea what buddhism was they probably had. More of a understanding of christianity which there is many churches down here. So it might be fair to say that it's a mainly christian community here. But um, when I arrived. We actually had a lot of. People just snooping around the perimeter of our tracks because we've actually got this lovely one hundred and sixty acre property which is bounded or a joins state forest and some neighbors and we're five hundred metres from the ocean. Ah, so real. Yeah oceanside monastery or hermitage is the correct term one day. It may be a monastery so when I first arrived kind of people were snooping around looking. Looking around the tracks and I did actually bump into some people and asked them what they were doing here and they were a bit they were a bit taken back to be spotted and kind of as they were snooping around because the tracks here. The previous owner didn't spend a lot of time here and I guess the locals did use the grounds or at least the perimeter for walking their horses and walking their dogs and stuff like that because it had a connection to the to the beach and so I saw some of these people.

34:11.90
Venerable Mudu
And and so I said yeah, you can continue walking you know your horses here and riding your horses here, but it would have been nice if you asked so from those early meetings with some of those people the 2 2 in particular.

34:21.15
sol_hanna
Um.

34:29.44
Venerable Mudu
Neighbors that were actually riding their horses here because it is a rural area and from that kindness in return they started bringing Dana here and after Dana for those who don't know is that they brought meal offerings and and ah just. Quickly add on 1 of those occasions this lovely neighbor of ourws and she used to own a writing school I believe for the disabled so she is ah a serving member of our community as well. She um, she baked a cake for me. She brought it up here one day. And she cut a slice from me in front of me and I said I think I can smell alcohol in this cake and being being buddhist monks were not supposed to have alcohol so she she assured me no no no I made 2 cakes. And the one that I have back at home that one's the one has the alcohol icing on your one doesn't have any on so and oh okay, okay, but I think I think maybe she might have got mixed up there but it's a bit of funny things sometimes her monks get offered offered these things.

35:39.99
sol_hanna
But you would but I get the impression that the relationship has changed especially with your neighbors because I got the impression that in the beginning there was ah opposition to starting.

35:42.17
Venerable Mudu
But.

35:57.90
sol_hanna
Any kind of buddhist monastery or hermitage. But do you think that that's changed I mean one of the things you said prior to the interviews you said actually this is a fairly conservative community. It's a rural community. Um, do you feel like that people's attitudes have been changing over. The last few years since you've arrived there.

36:18.23
Venerable Mudu
Oh for sure. So yeah, just like I mentioned these neighbors that ride their horses they they brought me Dana and they even invited me to a Christmas party and amongst don't go to parties so I I called up ajam brahm and I said.

36:32.20
sol_hanna
Citizen perfect.

36:37.87
Venerable Mudu
Should I go to this Christmas party. You know this is this is at you know, not normally monks go to these things and he said yes you should go to this party. This is an opportunity to meet some of the neighbors. So I went to the Christmas party and I think it's the first christmas party they ever had a buddhist monk come to. But when I got there I met every single neighbor and I found out all the gossip stories that we had about us coming in here and I blew all the stereotypes and all the gossiping. Blew it all clean out of the water they met this guy who although he wears a brown bed sheet. He was actually a real human being and they they recognized that and they lowered their guard and they told me yeah we did actually. Were worried. We didn't know what was coming into our suburb and now that we've met you. We're very happy to have you here and I kind of added this story to them because I um I added this one story about um that um you know I haven't always been. You know a buddhist monk in the past life I was I was what they would call in Australia a petrol head someone who likes cars and motorcycles and I told them that I was even once upon a time I was the. Burnout champion at Bindoon Rock festival so anyone here who's my age or a little bit older will know Bindoon Rock festival was a famous rock festival akin to like Woodstock but on a smaller scale and run by. The outlaw motorcycl gang called the coffin cheaters and they would open that up to the public and so so I went there and is to kind of just do that stuff and when you tell stories like that to these people they realize that yes you are a human being. And it brings you to their level when they can so they're actually quite proud that I think they know that they have their own monks in in Albany that don't cause any harm. They're quiet. They just sitting on top of the hill they do their practice. And they serve the community. So I think they're they're more than happy and proud to actually have us as part of their community now which is wonderful.

39:05.41
sol_hanna
Well, that's a big transformation from petrol head of Bindoon Rock to pioneering monk down an Albany as it's quite a story too. So um, anyway, perhaps just for the base for the listeners. Maybe you could just.

39:14.13
Venerable Mudu
Yeah.

39:23.53
sol_hanna
Describe and create Southern a little bit. What's what's it like where you are right now.

39:30.55
Venerable Mudu
Bodyana a great southern is situated 4 hours from the serpentine buddhist monastery 4 hours south or 5 hours south of Perth and it is a little bit cooler climate than Perth. Um. It. It never gets very hottier. So when it's ° in Perth and unbearable here. It might it is unlikely to get over ° and the actual factors very rarely goes over ° and so that makes for very comfortable living. Um, the monastery grounds is situated as I said before five hundred meters from the Southern Ocean and the bush here is it's ah like ah a low-lying scrub or on top of a hill and the scrub is. Dominated by peppermint trees which you do find a lot of in the southwest of western australia there's some Carrie and some Jarrah and some Mari trees here as well. But they're more down on the lower part of our property because on the hill it's very windy where. It's so windy that Albany have set up this 18 turbine wind farm so it gets very windy here particularly in the summer we're coming up to easter now which is the the calmest time of the year and the winter is also very calm. It's not so Windy. So.

41:02.92
sol_hanna
I have to ah have to ask you about the turbines because in certain parts of Australia wind turbines have been accused of being very noisy and disruptive and there's even being court cases.

41:04.64
Venerable Mudu
Looking forward to that.

41:17.84
sol_hanna
How have you found them have those wind turbines disrupted your meditation at all.

41:20.62
Venerable Mudu
The wind turbines are ah quite a way away from us even in our monastery 4 our-whe drive there's a track that borders out our boundary and it goes to the turbines and it takes it takes a good.

41:39.94
sol_hanna
Okay, don't hear them at all.

41:40.29
Venerable Mudu
20 minutes to get there by full drive. So we really don't hear them. We can see them but I have been underneath them if you're standing right? underneath it. You can hear the whooshing of the the blades as they spin around but you have to be very close. You have to be within a few hundred metres I think.

41:48.30
sol_hanna
The okay yeah to be pretty close. Okay.

41:57.70
Venerable Mudu
That's about it. Yeah.

41:59.76
sol_hanna
Um, there may be some other monks nuns or lay people who are listening to this podcast that have aspirations to establish a buddhist community in the place that they live that is far from other more established buddhist communities and I know in my work publishing. Buddhist talks over many many years you ah hear stories from people who are a long way away from their nearest buddhist community and they you know have aspirations to one day have a buddhist community even if it's very small. So. You're in that situation. So what advice would you have for these people who would like to establish their own buddhist community in a place that's maybe ah but quite isolated or quite a long way from other um buddhist institutions. What advice would you have.

42:51.58
Venerable Mudu
Yeah, well I I'll just I remember um hearing advice that Ajan Char gave to ajanamado when he he's by many considered. The the most senior monk in in this thai forest tradition established by westerners and Ajan Somado um is quite elderly now but he. He was quite apprehensive from what I understand about starting a monastery in England where he was going to be sent and you've probably heard this as well. But he voiced his concerns to a John share and he says well what happens if people don't feed us what happens if we starve. What happens if this what happens if that and he had all these anxieties about um, moving away from the comfort of what par nana chat which is the arjancar lineage kind of monastery which is very well supported very comfortable and. Um, he was quite anxious and arjanar's response to him was gold and and this is all I needed for my to get me down here hearing what ajan cha said and what he said was he said to ajan somato. Are there kind people in England and our johncimato answered yes, there are and he says you'll be fine then wherever there are kind people. You'll be looked after and he was exactly right because all of those I think 3 monasteries or more. That are in England are all very very very well supported and I think wherever there are kind people. You'll always be looked after um if you wanted to establish a monastery somewhere that is remote and the the benefit of ah establishing a remote monastery is that. You will have um, quite a lot of peace a monastery like serpentine is a very busy monastery and um has this sense of busyness with it and although there's nothing wrong with that. Some people may prefer something a little quieter. Um, so as long as there's kind people there. Then then you'll get supported. Um, that's what we have found here in Albany. It's um, it's not a hugely remote town if you look at the size of towns in w a I think albanies the fourth.

45:38.87
Venerable Mudu
Third or fourth biggest. So there's a population of 40000 people here. So yeah, there's this people and support not only these days comes from the local community where you are but we have this online community as well. So just like um. Here in Albany a lot of our supporters are international supporters and they can't come and offer dana every day but they sometimes help out with donations to go towards building the buildings and roads and stuff to get into the monastery. So. With online now we do have supporters that are all over the world.

46:24.00
sol_hanna
Ah, that's pretty amazing and then that's perhaps one of the opportunities of twenty first century is that you can be perhaps a bit isolated geographically but there's always some support. You can seek out online which I think is a real positive. Um you. Think that what you've said about what arjaars quote I think has proven to be true in in your experience. There has been kind people and you've been well supported. Um, but just imagine if there's ah, a group. Perhaps maybe it's to a lay group or maybe they are you just a small number of people. What encouragement would you give them or what advice would you give them in terms of well how could we practice together. How could we? um, connect with teachings anything like that. Do you have any thoughts along on that topic.

47:16.73
Venerable Mudu
Yeah I do actually um this um ah one of the one of the things that I learned about buddhism when I became a monk was there was there's this term. That is called the fourfold sangha and this fourfold sangha is very very important and my understanding of the fourfold sangha is that without having this fourfoldangha their buddhism will eventually decline and collapse. So what is the fourfold sangga the fourfoldangha in its various definitions um can be understood as the fourfoldangha is comprised of 4 groups that constitutes. Buddhism. And and how it survives so the the 4 parts of that sangha are asangha is like um, a kind of like a group of things and those 4 different groups are the group of the the group of monks. So male monastics. The second group is the group of nuns the female monastics. The third group is the and not in any particular order by the way. The third group is the group of male lay supporters. And the fourth group is the group of female lay supporters and you need all 4 of those groups for buddhism to survive the monks and the nuns can't survive. This is the traditional monks that we're talking about fully ordained monks. That don't handle money. They're celibate and their food must be received through the generosity of others not and in any other way. The food has to be offered to them without laypeople that. Receiving food is is impossible so you do need all of those four groups. So my point here is that if a lay group wanted to get um a group going dharma group a meditation group then um, they would be in their best interests. To actually invite and support monastic communities. So that that you can together as a complete sanha receive the full benefits of the buddhist teachings and.

50:05.20
Venerable Mudu
Um, and I believe that there are groups like this even the buddhist society of w a um does this. They have the male and female supporters and they have the the male monastic community the monks in Serpentine Klm scott um, great southern and other various places over east ah newbury buddhist monastery they have the nuns here in gijiganna the nuns over east at sani and and in other various places around the world and they work together and the latest group that has come up. That are doing just this. It's ah it's a yeah group that is male and female laypeople and it's it's a group in based in um, in margaret river but it's got a collection group. It's called bambi. And that group is doing just that they they it. It's an acronym bambi stands for bustleton augusta m margaret river bam b b bunbury I'm getting this up I something and. All these places and and they're inviting monks and nuns to come and give teachings and they hold their own meditation groups when monks and nuns can't be there and and that is a group that is really gathering momentum. And through the hard work of a few various people and and that is a good example. So if anyone wanted to see a great example of that sort of lay group happening. Please kind of have a look into the bambi group b a m b I and ah. Seoul might be able to actually put a link to to that group. Um and those sort of groups. That's that's a great way for laypeople to to to work is to actually work with as sangha so that they can guide you with some of the. Some of the the finer points of dharma and meditation because after all the the monks and the nuns that that's their occupation is this the meditation and buddhism and that's what they do so they're the they're the kind of like the experts so to speak.

52:27.81
sol_hanna
Okay, thank you very much. Well let's getting close now to the end. Um with the um if any of the listeners would like to support your work and Bodana Great Southern where can they go to find out more information or to make a donation.

52:43.22
Venerable Mudu
Yeah that's great. Thank you for offering that soul the bodtanyanna great southern comes under the management of the buddhist society of western australia and they have a website with links on that. Web page to the Albany hermitage here bodignyanaana great southern where you can make donations. So the website for the buddhist society of w a which um maybe sol can put on as a link is wwwdotb s wadotor g.

53:24.91
sol_hanna
Yes, and I'll make sure that there's a link in the description below Anyway, Thank you very much venerable moodu for sharing your story on this episode of Treasure Mountain Spirit stories. We wish you and the great Southern Community The very best in the work you're doing out there.

53:40.92
Venerable Mudu
Thank you very much for having me on the show soul. It's been a pleasure Bye bye.

53:47.18
sol_hanna
It's been a pleasure too. Thank you very much Bhante in this episode of sage advice. We have veneral mudu from bodinana a great southern calling from the deep south of western australia here to share his advice on finding a way back to peace when everything falls apart. Welcome Bhante how are you doing this day.

54:05.80
Venerable Mudu
Very good. Thanks Soul Thanks for having me on your show this morning.

Bhikkhu Mudu Profile Photo

Bhikkhu Mudu

After a chance invitation by a Thai friend to join her in offering food to the Buddhist monks at Serpentine’s Forest Monastery, Venerable Mudu became inspired by the monastic way of life. Several years later after developing and understanding the importance of meditation and renunciation, he decided to take up the training to become a Buddhist monk.

On 6th January 2014, after completing the two year trial and preliminary training, Venerable Mudu received the higher ordination as a fully ordained Bhikkhu under his teacher and preceptor, Ajahn Brahm at Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery.

Before coming to Albany, Venerable Mudu was residing at Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery along with his fellow monastic community of approximately 25 monks. The monks at Bodhinyana enjoy a simple peaceful life of solitude with few possessions; a self-paced meditation practice; share one main meal a day and live in harmony with each other and nature.