Silence in the Midst of the Storm – Amoda Maa

Amoda Maa talks about the silence that is available in the midst of everyday life – recorded in San Jose, California (December 2014). More info about Amoda at

1. Is There a Self in Enlightenment? 2. There is a Presence Amidst the Turbulence

There’s a deep and un-examined belief that perpetuates the myth of enlightenment: that the ego dies, and with it all emotion, all personality traits, and all personal history.

An enlightened being supposedly has no sense of self and no story, and therefore never talks about themselves, never uses the word “I” or “me” or “mine”, and never refers to “my life”. An enlightened being supposedly sees that the body and the world are an illusion, and therefore is unconcerned with physical well-being or worldly affairs, preferring to stick to the view that there is “no suffering” and so nothing needs to be done.

This image of enlightenment is a fantasy upheld by millennia of religious and patriarchal spiritual tradition .. and it also taps into our child-like need to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or Nirvana where bad things never happen and we are rewarded with endless peace.

If your allegiance is turned 100% towards the truth of awakeness, you will discover that this picture of enlightenment is indeed just a myth. You will discover that the human being continues to function, the personality continues to exist, the ego as a sense of “I’ that negotiates the 3-dimensional world is still intact .. but what is different now, is that all this bows down in service to awakeness.

So yes, in awakening there is a death .. the death of self-identity that is wrapped around ego. But there is also a birth .. the birth of a whole, integrated human being that includes both the surface sense of self as a separate entity – the self that is born and then dies – and the deeper layer of undifferentiated being-ness – the Self that was never born and can never die.

There is a Presence Amidst the Turbulence

There is a presence that is here amidst all circumstances, amidst the turbulence and the calm, amidst the horror and the pleasure.
There is a presence that is unchanging amidst the turning of the seasons, amidst the passing of the hours, amidst the journey from birth to death.
This presence is your sanctuary, your home, your safe haven amidst the storm. It can never leave you nor harm you and neither does it want anything from you. It is simply here waiting in the eternity of this moment, waiting for you to recognize it as your true self.
Be gentle and be brave, my friend .. turn around, turn within and fall into the depth of being, know yourself as this.

Copyright © 2014, Amoda Maa Jeevan. All rights reserved.

Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth — The Buddha’s Life and Message through Feminine Eyes (Sacred Activism) by Thanissara (Author)

Time to Stand Up retells the story of the historical Buddha, one of the greatest sacred activists of all time, as a practical human being whose teachings of freedom from suffering are more relevant than ever in this time of global peril. Evolving onward from the patriarchal template of spiritual warriors and their quests, former nun Thanissara explores awakening from within a feminine view where the archetypes of lover and nurturer are placed as central and essential for a sustainable world.

Vital is an investigation into the pinnacle of Buddhist practice, the realization of the “liberated heart.” Thanissara questions the narrative of “transcendence” and invites us into the lived reality of our deepest heart as it guides our journey of healing, reclamation, and redemption. As the book unfolds, the author examines traditional Buddhism–often fraught with gender discrimination–and asks the important question, “Can Buddhist schools, overly attached to hierarchal power structures, and often divorced from the radical and free inquiry exemplified by the Buddha, truly offer the ground for maturing awakening without undertaking a fundamental review of their own shadows?”

Chapter by chapter, the book relates Siddhartha Gautama’s awakening to the sea-change occurring on Earth in present time as we as a civilization become aware of the ethical bankruptcy of the nuclear and fossil fuel industry and the psychopathic corporate and military abuse of power currently terrorizing our planet. Thanissara relates the Buddha’s story to real-life individuals who are living through these transitional times, such as Iraq war veterans, First Nation People, and the Dalai Lama. Time to Stand Up gives examples of the Buddha’s activism, such as challenging a racist caste system and violence against animals, stopping war, transforming a serial killer, and laying down a nonhierarchical structure of community governance, actions that would seem radical even today.

Thanissara explores ways forward, deepening our understanding of meditation and mindfulness, probing its use to pacify ourselves as the cogs in the corporate world by helping people be more functional in a dysfunctional systems–and shows how these core Buddhist practices can inspire a wake-up call for action for our sick and suffering planet Earth.

About the Sacred Activism series
When the joy of compassionate service is combined with the pragmatic drive to transform all existing economic, social, and political institutions, a radical divine force is born: Sacred Activism. The Sacred Activism Series, published by North Atlantic Books, presents leading voices that embody the tenets of Sacred Activism–compassion, service, and sacred consciousness–while addressing the crucial issues of our time and inspiring radical action.

THANISSARA and her husband Kittisaro (Harry Randolph Weinberg) are the founders of Dharmagiri Hermitage in South Africa, from where they support several HIV/AIDS Outreach Programs and help guide and fundraise for Kulungile Care Center for orphaned and vulnerable children and teenagers. They have taught meditation internationally in Europe, the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and Israel for over 25 years.

Thanissara grew up in an extended Anglo-Irish family in London, attending Southampton College of Art and traveling extensively in Asia in the 1970s. Also inspired by Ajahn Chah, she spent 12 years as a Buddhist nun in Thailand. She holds an MA in Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy Practice from Middlesex University and the Karuna Institute in the U.K. and co-facilitates the Community Dharma Leader Program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California. Recently Thanissara shared the stage with South African presidential candidate Mamphela Rampele at the “Dreaming a New World into Reality” in Cape Town.


Engaged Dharma in a World on Fire

Published on Mar 26, 2015

Zen master Dogen said “Enlightenment is the intimacy of all things.” Kittisaro and Thanissara, former Buddhist monastics and longtime meditation teachers, reflect on how to live from this reality in a world increasingly divided and threatened by climate change, fundamentalism, and violence.

00:00 Welcome and introductions by Christopher Raiche, MDiv Candidate, Harvard Divinity School

4:40 Remarks by Kittisaro, Co-founder, Dharmagiri Hermitage and Author of Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism

31:56 Remarks by Thanissara, Co-founder, Dharmagiri Hermitage and Author of Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism

1:04:50 Q&A moderated by Christopher Raiche

Learn more about Harvard Divinity School and its mission to illuminate, engage, and serve at

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