Falling Is Flying: the dharma of facing adversity
What do you do when everything falls apart?
“Instead of trying to discipline your mind with ill will, fault-finding, guilt, punishment, and fear, use something far more powerful: the beautiful kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness of making peace with life.”—Ajahn Brahm
“In free fall, nothing is solid and there is nothing to hold on to. There is no way to control the experience. You have to surrender, and with that surrender comes the taste of liberation.”
Ajahn Brahm and Chan Master Guojun—one a teacher in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, the other in the Chinese Zen tradition—share personal stories and anecdotes from their own experiences of dealing with life’s pitfalls. Personal, poetic, instructive, and often laugh-out-loud funny, this is inspiring advice for people from all walks of life.
Ajahn Brahm (Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera), born Peter Betts in London in 1951, is a Theravada Buddhist monk. Ajahn Brahm grew up in London and earned a degree in theoretical physics from Cambridge University. Disillusioned with the world of academe, he trained as a monk in the jungles of Thailand under Ajahn Chah. A monk for over thirty years, Ajahn Brahm is a revered spiritual guide and the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia—one of the largest monasteries in the southern hemisphere. He is also the spiritual director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia, and spiritual adviser and inspiration for Buddhist centers throughout Asia and Australia. His winning combination of wit and wisdom makes his books bestsellers in many languages, and on his teaching tours Brahm regularly draws multinational audiences of thousands. He’s the author of The Art of Disappearing: The Buddha’s Path to Lasting Joy, Mindfulnes, Bliss, and Beyond: A Meditator’s Handbook, Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung: Inspiring Stories for Welcoming Life’s Difficulties, Don’t Worry, Be Grumpy: Inspiring Stories for Making the Most of Each Moment, Kindfulness, and Bear Awareness: Questions and Answers on Taming Your Wild Mind.
Master Guojun was born in Singapore in 1974 and ordained as a monk under Ven. Songnian of Mahabodhi Temple, Singapore. He is one of the youngest Dharma heirs of the renowned Chan master Sheng Yen. He has practiced meditation intensively since 1997. He has studied Tibetan Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism, as well as various aspects of the Mahayana tradition. Master Guojun is also a spiritual and guiding teacher of Chan Community Canada and Chan Indonesia. He was the abbot of Dharma Drum Retreat Center in Pine Bush, New York, from 2005 to 2008. He is the author of Essential Chan Buddhism, which has been published in several languages, and Chan Heart, Chan Mind. He is currently the president of Mahabodhi Monastery in Singapore.