Buddha knows - An interview with Abbot Dhammajayo on Buddhism
by Monica Øien
by Monica Øien
“If you could go further beyond the
you can enter into a deeper level.”
Luang Por : Blessings! Beautiful bows from you. Where did you learn this?
Monica : Thank you. A wonderful laywoman here taught me. I have been practicing.
Luang Por : Really? Very nice! Please take your seat. I have seen pictures of beautiful Norway which motivates me to visit, but I am afraid of cold weather.
Monica : It’s really cold, that’s true. But in summer it goes up to 25 degrees.
Luang Por : Which months are in summer?
Monica : May, June, July, and August.
Luang Por : That’s during Buddhist lent. What about Hallgrim? How many times have you been to Thailand?
Hallgrim : Same.
Luang Por : Oh, really? Both of you?
Monica : My friends usually go to Thailand every year, and I have been dreaming of visiting for 36 years. So, now I’m here. Phra Somsak taught me the beginning of meditation yesterday.
Luang Por : Have you ever tried meditation before?
Monica : I have been doing a little bit of yoga. I think meditation is more similar to my praying.
Luang Por : Yes, and there is a more advanced level of meditation as well.
Monica : You know this scares me, the deeper method. But that’s probably why I should pursue it.
Luang Por : Praying develops into ‘meditation’ when our mind enters a deeper level of tranquility.
Monica : Wow!
Luang Por : You already have a good background on regular praying which is a level of meditation. If you could go further beyond the praying, you can enter into a
deeper level. I think it is about time. You have been praying for 36 years. This is the year that you should go further towards deeper meditation.
Monica : I can sense it. I agree with you. I am very optimistic. I have seen here at the temple that it’s possible to do a quick meditation for 5 minutes a day.
So we will start to do meditation in Norway for 5 minutes a day, and
then when we are hooked, we will not stop. Then we will do more.
Luang Por : Certainly, when you get hooked, nobody can stop you. It’s up to you if you want to meditate. Your objective here is not just for an interview,
but meditation as well.
Monica : No, not just for an interview. Next time I promise to have a day off
Luang Por : Don’t be concerned about time. Even a few hours spent in Thailand could
also lead you to that meditation level.
Monica : Well definitely, I can feel that I am really calm now because we came from New Delhi. And, well, we had such a hard trip with the traffic and we didn’t sleep.
So only time we could relax was when we came here to the temple yesterday.
Luang Por : Ah! Where did you learn about the Buddhist culture? How did you know that Buddhists place their hands in the prayer position when conversing with monks?
Monica : Well, they taught me here.
Luang Por : You took to it easily then?
Monica : Once I relaxed it felt normal for me to do it. And I am a naturally curious person, so I always want to find out what people think and do wherever I go.
It’s kind of my hobby as well.
Luang Por : Excellent! How did you come up with these interesting questions?
Monica : I did it together with my researcher and director in Norway.
Luang Por : So, I assume these questions are derived from the issues that Norwegians are interested in, right?
Monica : Well, I am honored to do one of the few religious programs on television in Norway. We are raising these new questions because I think the world in general is missing a lot about life, joy, happiness and love. We have been finding out how to get religion to meet materialism, so that we can be happier people in
Norway. We are suffering a lot from the darkness and the coldness. Those are our questions in life, and especially for me, Monica.
Luang Por : Monica, let’s put it this way. Due to my age I might need some assistants to help answer as my health is not so robust, and I will add other things that others
can also benefit from. Some questions might not be fully elaborated on and I will gradually add to them bit by bit as we proceed. We should enjoy our conversation and share each other’s experience, rather than only do an interview. I wish to make my answers as beneficial as possible.
Monica : That’s great, thank you. Firstly, I would like to ask you if you believe in the economic church, if you believe that all religions are related somehow, and how
they are linked to each other.
Luang Por : Economic Church?
Monica : Yes economic; like they are all logically promoting the same thing.
All the churches, all the religions, the big religions, the main religions,
are connected somehow. They all have the same goal. By using the TV program
we can learn much from the other religions and incorporate the wisdom into our daily lives.
Luang Por : Indeed, all the mainstream religions are derived from the same core of wisdom.To tell you the truth, this is my first time on a Norwegian television program. You are the first Norwegian to interview me.
Monica : I am really honored. Thank you, Tusen Takk.
Luang Por : Your native language sounds beautiful. If I wish to greet you in Norwegian,
what should I say?
Monica : You should say “Hvordan har du det?”. Would you like to try?
Luang Por : Sounds beautiful, but difficult as well… “Hvordan har du det?”
Monica : Oh yes.
Luang Por : This means that I can go to Norway, yes?
Monica : Yes, but you will not understand the answer.
Luang Por : I will just smile then. We won’t ever starve to death if we smile. I enjoy conversing with you, but I’m not sure if the interview part will be entertaining.
Monica : So then we will reciprocate. I learn things from you, and now you learn things from me.
Luang Por : Right, we both meet each other halfway. I think that’s fine.
Monica : This is a very beautiful room. And the temple itself is amazing. I’m very impressed. And the atmosphere you have is so peaceful,
and yes… I could live here.
Luang Por : Really?
Monica : Well, yes. I could live here, but I have a baby… I guess this way of life would
be difficult for me.
Luang Por : Well, simply meditate, even for a short period of time, and you will enjoy the utmost satisfaction.
Monica : Oh, thank you.
Luang Por : OK, please go ahead and ask your questions.