Remembering Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri on Her 70th Birthday – Story 23 : Bhava


by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni

I loved to go for walks in the bush at the monastery with Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri. It was a great opportunity to learn about the environment that I lived in and be more at ease with the beings I shared the space with. In addition, my teacher occasionally would offer some teaching during the walk.

When we were walking through the bush this time, Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri pointed to a dead tree log on the ground in the bush. She asked me what I could see. I said: “A dead tree log.” She said: “Look carefully again, what else can you see?” This time I noticed a small branch with green leaves was growing out from the dead tree log. It was unusual. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri asked again: “What does the growing branch remind you of?” I said: “I don’t know.” She said: “Bhava.” She continued: “Beings strive to survive and continue ‘life’ in every given circumstances. Even in the dead tree log.”

I could not remember the rest of the teaching from her. But I saw a small branch growing out from a dead tree log during my walk a few days ago in Jhana Grove. I remembered Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni Theri’s teaching to me.

Our desire for life after life is so ingrained in us. The practice of Dhamma is going against the grain, like the poem of Arahat Patacara Bhikkhuni: “Then having taken a needle, I pulled down the wick. The liberation of the mind was like the quenching of the lamp”. Until one day the fire extinguished.

The tree branch in Jhana Grove Meditation Retreat Centre May 2022


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