This podcast is all about transformation-mindfulness and mental health, community and sharing. Real people, real stories.....and loads of other lovely stuff. Hosted by Danny Hill, the Monk on a Motorbike. Welcome and thanks for listening.
Today my guest is Paul Douglas. Jailed at the age of 16 for his part in a murder Paul spent 12 years in prison where he learned mindfulness. Here he talks openly about the constant violence and the endless fear and depression of life behind bars. and how he eventually discovered meditation which he says transformed his life. Now he has been released he is training to teach mindfulness in the prison system himself
Today I’m talking to Venerable Candavissudhi. Ven Canda is a Buddhist nun in the Theravadan Thai forest tradition.
Born and raised in England Ven Canda went to Asia at the Age of 19 where she discovered Vipassana meditation. She spent the next 10 years practicing mostly with her teacher S N Goenkaji at his centres in India before becoming a nun and moving to Burma to deepen her practice and commitment to the Dhamma
Here she came across the teachings of Ajahn Brahm an English monk, based in Australia and she moved over to study with him in Perth, Western Australia
Under his supervision she received the training and rules to become a Bhikkhuni, or fully ordained Buddhist nun.
Only a few nuns in Asia and the west have been given full ordination, and the practise has been condemned by many especially in Thailand.
On the face of it this may seem quite niche and of interest only to those involved in Buddhism, but actually many see it as a huge victory for gender equality round the globe
Asian Buddhism is traditionally very patriarchal, with monks enjoying a much higher status than nuns, who for centuries have been viewed as secondary to their male counterparts.
Spiritual life is arguably at the core of any culture and is often the driver of positive change. In a world that seems to be out of control restoring the feminine to its rightful place in spirituality is seen as an important move in the efforts to restore balance to the world at a time of crisis
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In this episode I'm talking to mindfulness teacher Sonya Russo. Sonya teaches mindfulness to prisoners in London's overcrowded and often violent jails.
Here she tells the story of turning her back on a successful career in journalism when, after struggling with drug addiction and mental health issues she was introduced to mindfulness in rehab.
Cynical about it at first she credits the practice with changing her life and from there she went on to set up her her award-winning business, Plan B Mindfulness, teaching meditation in jails.
Initially treated with suspicion her courses are now oversubscribed and prisoners are flocking to her classes where they can find a measure of peace in their difficult lives. This has in turn lead to a reduction in levels of violence and depression behind bars.
In this episode hear internationally respected meditation teacher, Yanai Postelnik, talking about Buddhism and breaking the law, his involvement with Extinction Rebellion, getting arrested twice during protests against climate change in London. his spiritual path, living solely on donations from his students, going back to protest whilst on bail, and loads of other interesting stuff,