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Misadventures of a Monk

Childhood Traumas and Growing Up

Misadventures of a Monk

The Beginning

It has taken some carful consideration to finally write this small glimpse into my life growing up in the 70’s and 80’s of rural England. I suffered terribly as a child, and carried childhood issues with me for a long time. The consideration taken has been for my parents, I don’t want to paint them in a bad light, they were also growing up themselves when they had me, and made mistakes like we all do. It took many years for myself to finally deal with my childhood issues and put them truly to bed. I love my parents dearly, but it took a long journey of discovery to get there, let me share it with you.

Childhood Pranks

As a child I was, how shall I say, a little mischievous, I would be getting into trouble at school and home on a pretty regular basis, I was a energetic lad, the eldest of two younger brothers, and together we used to go exploring and adventuring around our little village in the English countryside. The games and fun, being able to run free across fields, through streams and woodlands, I feel privileged and very lucky to of grown up in the time and era I did.

My mischievous or cheeky nature would inevitably get me into trouble, I was once dared to climb a bookcase in the library, during a story time lesson, of course I got caught. My brothers and I used to love sticking rotten apples onto the ends of bamboo canes and throwing them at each other, braking greenhouse windows in the process, I would continuously climb out of my bedroom window 2 stories high, to escape being locked in, even when I was a baby and in a cot, apparently, I tried to escape so many times my mother and father decided, after I got my head trapped in the bars, to strap me down into the cot to sleep.

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At seven years old I tripped up on a small front step of a shop and crashed head first through the glass window, skidding to a stop inside the shop to the shock and horror of customers, it caused a great split through the left side of my mouth. It took 16 stitches to fix, 8 on the inside of my mouth and 8 on the outside. I can still remember the incident so clearly. If that wasn’t bad enough, the very next weekend I knocked out the stitches by banging my face on the stair railings, playing tag against my brothers. Another trip to hospital and a further 8 stitches inside and 8 outside.

Myself and a friend got ourselves badly drunk on Martini and lemonade before we were 12, it started so innocently, then quickly turned into a living nightmare, my friend cracked his jaw when he fell, blood everywhere. Being so young we didn’t know what to do, so we had no choice but to go back to parents. I also had a go at smoking before I turned 12, and all because I thought my illusive dad looked cool, soon got found out by mum doing the laundry.

Amongst some other worldly occupations, I wanted to be a stuntman when I grew up and would be flinging myself out of trees tops, or jumping off garage roofs on a pretty regular basis. A dangerous hobby indeed, and amazingly I never broke a bone in my body.

Upbringing

I had a conventional upbringing with both my parents being there, although I would still grow up with parental resentment issues, like I think all of us so to some extent. I tried running away from home at least 10 times before I reached 13. Parents were different back then and their solution seemed to be that I would return when I got hungry. My father has worked hard all his life, especially when we were small, he was usually out to work before us and return late after us. At weekends he used to enjoy playing sport, and there were many occasions when me and my two brothers would spend hours in the back of a car in a pub car park, just killing time. Kids were not allowed in bars in those days so amazingly a lot of kids would spend there weekend evenings like this. I know, right.

Punishment

We also had corporal punishment at school, it was fazed out as I progressed towards senior school, but as a result of being mischievous I had the cane or wooden spoon across my hand on numerous occasions from both headmaster and parents. I almost had my mouth washed out with soap and so glad it didn’t happen to me, I did witness it happen to a friend by a Mrs McGregor at our infants school, the one where your aged 5-8. A horrific ordeal, my friend also told me he tasted soap for days. The canning’s we soar and would leave a mark, the worst of it was trying to hide the marks from your parents or you’d get another thrashing.

From my mischievous behaviour and general cheekiness, I was or seemed to be in and out of trouble a lot at school and with my folks, my apparent role from young was to make sure my brothers didn’t get into any trouble. If they did it seemed to be my fault. I found childhood a little unfair, hard, mean and hypocritical, I felt slightly unloved and unloveable, leaving me with very little direction, ambition and confusion about life. These childhood traumas would follow and haunt me for the next 25 years, no matter how far I traveled.

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Growing up

After leaving school I was told quite frankly “right son now you earn a living to stay under this roof” so I did what I had to do and got a job. An office job of shear boredom, met a girl and then was two timed behind my back with the guy I shared a desk with. I didn’t hang around and instead decided travelling was for me, I packed a small bag and headed off on my motorcycle. Didn’t get far, managed to get to my grandma’s about 100 miles away. She calmed and soothed my broken heart and sent me home. I returned home determined to travel the world.

Again my dad put me straight “you need money to do that son, get a job” he’s right!

So I did, this time working mowing a golf course not yet opened to the public. It was a YMCA association and a place called Fairthorne Manor. It’s main purpose was to look after city kids on holidays from London or Manchester who in there normal lives we unable to see or experience nature and the countryside. The golf course was there to make money for the project.

It was hear, at Fairthorne Manor, that my life changed forever and my life adventure begins. It was here at Fairthorne Manor that I would get to meet Princess Anne of the British Royal Family, being the Patreon saint and figure head of the YMCA. This cemented my career so to speak working outdoors in the countryside. Well with Princess Anne on your CV it sort of opens up doors. I’ve since worked for the Barings family, Cavendish family, Sainsbury family, Heineken family and a couple of other great historical family names I’ve had to sign confidentiality agreements with. And getting to work on some of the most beautiful English country estates that you only get to see in period dramas or the movies.

But it was also at Fairthorne Manor that I really got that itch to go travel, I had discovered weed and other recreational drugs while working alongside Australian’s and Kiwi’s, they not only got me stoned, they also gave me a new emphasis and determination to see the world.

I remember someone had a book of jobs from around the world, in it I found and applied for two, one in Nigeria building a school and one in Costa Rica looking after a cloud forest. I got the cloud forest gig, I just needed to get there……….

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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Motivational Mini Stories

Inspirational Short Stories and The Story Of Sonā Theri

This weeks inspirational Short story

The Story Of Sonā Theri

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Inspirational Short Story

During the time of the Buddha there lived a very rich lady who owned a large estate. When she became old she decided to split and distribute the estate and wealth amongst her children, giving them a chance to benefit from the money while still having the energy of youth.

After receiving the money the children didn’t care much about their mother anymore, they had what they wanted. And as so poor Sonā Theri was not treated well in the houses of her sons and daughters, and became somewhat distressed.

When Sonā Theri was around 90 years old her poverty and suffering had become so great that some kindly neighbours had her ordained as a nun at the local Buddhist monastery. At least this way she would be looked after.

It was customary for the nuns in this monastery to go out early every morning on their alms round collecting food from the local villagers. Every nun went, all except for poor Sonā Theri, she was considered to old and weak to accompany the others nuns, instead she was tasked with filling all the water pots with drinking water and hot water for washing hands and feet, ready for the nuns return.

But Sonā Theri was so old and weak, too carry the water she had to use a small pot and walk from the water well, collect the water, then walk back to the kitchen, pour the water into a pot and repeat. As she worked she got very tired, but she didn’t rest. She forced herself to do as was asked of her and kept going, until finally her body collapsed with complete exhaustion.

She wasn’t pretending she really was finished and unable to get up. Sonā Theri lay thinking to herself, there is more water to be carried and I haven’t prepared the hot water yet, but I can’t get up, what to do. She had been given the teachings of the Buddha and decided that she would take up an object of meditation and began following her breath. She fixed her attention firmly and unshakable on her breath, as she lay there with great concentration she penetrated the illusions of mind and made an end to her suffering.

As she lay there full of peace, bliss and equanimity, the other nuns returned from their alms round but couldn’t find Sonā Theri anywhere. Eventually she was found lying between the water pots, the other nuns gathered to scold her.

“she’s not filled the water or hot water yet, she is so lazy she just lays down to sleep”

Sonā Theri just lay there in complete bliss, the nuns who were scolding were of course still unenlightened with there blaming minds. For Sonā Theri she had attained to Arahantship, right there while she was unable to get up, due to her one pointed concentration, she attained the path to liberation.

With one last immense surge energy and concentration Sonā Theri rose and finished her task, in complete bliss and harmony, she bowed to the nuns and went and sat under the Bodhi tree in meditation and prepared to pass away.

she was found dead the next morning, still in her meditation position, it was only then did the other nuns realised there mistake, a stupa was built to house her remains, an honour only bestowed on enlightened masters.

Moral:

It was Sonā Theri’s attitude and determination to stay with her chosen meditative object, her breath, never wavering and never faulting, she knew her body was finished and so she gave everything she had of her mind.

We have all learnt meditation and some of us practiced very hard, but I ask you to tell me truthfully have you practiced with such determination as Sonā Theri, have you put into practice what you have learnt with such gusto and steadfast determination that you have managed a whole 24hrs of mindful awareness?

Sonā Theri was an old lady on her last legs, how long do you think it would take you, half her age and being fit and healthy to fulfil spiritual awakening? I know if you gave it your all you too could also find your way out of suffering.

Kind Regards

Dhamma Tapasa

Categories
Motivational Mini Stories

Inspirational Short Stories, The Wind and The Moon

Weekly Inspirational Short Stories

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Inspirational Short Stories

The Wind And The Moon

Once upon a time, there were two very good friends who lived together in the shade of a rock. Strange as it may seem, one was a lion and one was a tiger. They had met when they were too young to know the difference between lions and tigers. So they did not think their friendship was at all unusual. Besides, it was a peaceful part of the mountains, possibly due to the influence of a gentle forest monk who lived nearby. He was a hermit, one who lives far away from other people.

For some unknown reason, one day the two friends got into a silly argument. The tiger said, “Everyone knows the cold comes when the moon wanes from full to new!” The lion said, “Where did you hear such nonsense? Everyone knows the cold comes when the moon waxes from new to full!”

The argument got stronger and stronger. Neither could convince the other. They could not reach any conclusion to resolve the growing dispute. They even started calling each other names! Fearing for their friendship, they decided to go ask the learned forest monk, who would surely know about such things.

Visiting the peaceful hermit, the lion and tiger bowed respectfully and put their question to him. The friendly monk thought for a while and then gave his answer. “It can be cold in any phase of the moon, from new to full and back to new again. It is the wind that brings the cold, whether from west or north or east. Therefore, in a way, you are both right! And neither of you is defeated by the other. The most important thing is to live without conflict, to remain united. Unity is best by all means.”

The lion and tiger thanked the wise hermit. They were happy to still be friends

Author: Unknown

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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meditation

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meditation

What was your first meditation experience like?

How did your first Meditation go?

I thought it would be interesting to know everyone’s first meditation experience, where did you find out about meditation? where did you first meditate? And what was it like?

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Personal Meditation Experience

My first personal experience with meditation took place at Thích Nhat Hanh’s Monastery called Plum Village in France. It was during a winter retreat where I would spend 3 months learning for the first time this ancient art form we call mindfulness.

How I found my way to spending 3 months with Thich Nhat Hanh was by pure chance. I had met very briefly while walking the Camino Do Santiago a guy who had told me of a special enlightened master living in France.

On returning from the Camino I began a little research and found Thay, as he’s affectionately known, to be inspirational and enlightening with everything he was saying, and relating so much to what I had just personally experienced while walking the Camino. I immediately booked a 3 month stay, having no real idea what to expect. Call it impulsive or a little hasty but sometimes that’s me, I leap before I look.

On arriving my first impressions were of amazement, a Zen Buddhist nun was waiting at the train station for me and a couple of others who had also come to stay, her presence and calmness were awe inspiring. The monastery was clean, calm and nature seemed to thrive everywhere, a few monks we in the gardens dressed in robes and everything seemed just so magical.

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After resting from the journey our first instructions began. Brother Pap gently explaining how we were to watch or follow our breathing, breathing in we are truly aware we are Breathing in. Breathing out we are truly present in breathing out. A small explanation on our posture of sitting crossed legged with a straight spine. It all seemed to sound easy enough. Questions and answers were followed, before the main bell sounded for Meditation in the big hall.

We all flowed into the main hall and started to take our cushions, Monks and Nuns had the first two or three rows with a few cushions set in front of them. We as lay meditators we allocated all the other cushions. I remember thinking, as I took my seat, there were a lot of places maybe 200-250. Slowly almost all the cushions filled up, there were so many monks and nuns it was so impressive, then Thich Nhat Hanh entered with a few attendant monks following. He gracefully entered as if floating or gliding across the floor, perfectly aware of each and ever moment, he paused and looked my direction, like a lions roar, gentle but with such power behind the words, he simple said “Smile” there were at least 20 people sitting around me that really believed he looked directly at them, a personal message from the great man himself. Myself included. It was amazing to feel, but more amazing that so many around me had that exact same experience.

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Everyone had now taken there cushions and were facing the same direction, so all you could look at was the back of someone’s head. A deep gong sounded and reverberated the most awesome sound throughout the meditation hall. Three times the gong sounded, initiating the start of meditation.

I slowly closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths, focusing on breathing in I counted one, that’s right isn’t it, I’m thinking, I’m following the instructions, wow this meditation lark is well easy, follow the breath breathing in, I’ve got it already! Oh Hang on a second…….

I open my eyes and glance at the clock, less than ten seconds had passed…ok, ok, calm now come on refocus.

I close my eyes and breathing in I count one, breathing out I loose my thoughts and start thinking of how many people are here, or some other nonsense. I suddenly realise I’ve lost concentration and open my eyes, not even a minute had gone by.

Ahhhhh I’ve got to do 30 minutes. Ok, ok, calm breathing in count one breathing out mind gone….

And this was the same for the next 30 minutes.

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This was my first first experience, and can still remember it vividly to this day. If it wasn’t for being sat with about 100 monks and nuns and a further 100 or so lay people like you and me. I would have given up before the first minute had passed.

I had just signed up for 3 months of this as well!

My meditation over those 3 months slowly got better and better, my mind of course would still wander, but the monks and nuns had explained I should always be kind with my inner dialogue and bring the attention back to breathing.

I was also introduced to walking meditation which seemed to suit me and I loved to wander the monastery grounds practicing just that. It was while doing exactly this, walking Meditation barefoot in the snow, that I quite literally bumped into Thich Nhat Hanh doing exactly the same thing, He motioned me to sit next to him on a log. I didn’t feel nervous or apprehensive in any way, it just felt like I was returning to my mothers arms, honestly it was just so comfortable and secure to be in his presence. He told me three things that day, that would ultimately changed my entire life, and led to my own ordination as a Buddhist monk. I shall tell you just one of those 3 things he said to me, and that was to “smile more” maybe, just maybe he really did pick me out of a crowd, on that very first day. But now that’s just my ego talking.

I really hope you feel compelled to tell me you first experience of meditation and how it went for you. It really can’t be as bad as mind, can it? Although I do think I was incredibly lucky to of spent so long in the company of one of life’s true enlightened masters, I know it’s the reason I strive so hard today. Because I know it’s possible.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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Dhamma Tapasa
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Everyone’s Mind Matters meditation

Currently Looking For Writers

Writers wanted

Are you looking for somewhere to guest write, want to see your name in lights and online, want to promote your website then we have writing opportunities just waiting for you.

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Writers needed

We have positions for writers submitting articles on anything to do with Spiritual well-being, Yoga, Meditation & Mindfulness, and Mind Matters.

Come and join a super friendly family team and start writing for us and get your name and website published and credited on our site!

How it works

We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who have a creative flare and are wanting to share their personal voice and talent. We require No previous experience or Qualifications but you must have excellent writing skills, a firm grasp of the English language, you want to express yourself and reach a large world wide audience, but above all else you love to write.

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Creative Columnist

We are looking for:

• Enthusiastic creative individuals

• No experience or qualifications necessary

• Must have excellent writing skills

• Firm grasp of the English language

• Have a voice and want to express yourself to a large world wide audience

• Write about Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga or spiritual well-being.

• Can write about positivity, depression, anger, stress or other Mind Matters Articles

Does this sound like you?

Do you fit the bill? Then simply send us your idea, or a completed article using the contact Form at the bottom of the page.

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Budding Novelist
There are Just 3 Rules

1 Do not write a full blown sales pitch or a straight forward promotion for your product, website or Facebook page. These will be ignored. A decent story involving your product or website works better, engage your audience with your expertise.

2 Your Article must be written by you and never before been published on another website.

3 It must have a minimum of 1,000 words and be unique and engaging

If you have followed all the above guidelines then simply send us your idea, or completed article using the contact Form at the bottom of the page.

Tips On Writing Guest Posts

Write a guest post that is personal, and fill your words with energy, pizzazz, and spark. Then we’ll be sure to accept submissions for your articles.

When it comes to submitting stories about mindfulness or meditation, write for us an article that is full of positive energy, fun and enjoyable to read. If you have an educational aspect or personal experience, this will also help get submitted.

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Blog contributors

We are currently expanding all our page chapters especially yoga, write for us today and your submission is very well likely to be published.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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Everyone’s Mind Matters meditation

About 4enlightenment

What is 4enlightenment

4enlightenment.com is a website set up for everyone interested in spiritual awakening, mindfulness, meditation, compassion, loving kindness and the development and understanding of our human consciousness.

We really hope that we inspire and motivate you to contribute with your own personal words of wisdom, maybe lessons learnt, mishaps that may of happened or just a simple hello. Our aim is that each of us may learn together, encouraging us all to succeed on our own personal journeys into spiritual enlightenment, wether that’s inner contentment or simple to feel happier about life.

We aim to create a safe place where we become a family to share our wisdom helping one another along the way. We really want compassionate, caring, like minded people, just like yourself, to join our family.

So come and join a like minded family of friends

Our website:

Motivational and Inspirational Short Stories

Every week we bring to you an inspirational Short story that has motivated or inspired us in some way during our week. Most of our stories are original but some are famous fables or old classics and where the author is known a credit is always given.

We are always searching for more stories and we welcome anything you have written, we will always give credit where credit is due. Please see our writers submissions page.

Meditation

Our Meditation Pages are filled with inspirational advice, tips and tricks and words of wisdom on all matters to do with mindfulness and meditation. If your a complete beginner then everything is covered from correct posture and techniques to more advanced vipassana meditation.

Meditation is very simple to explain but it seems that this simplicity can cause a lot of confusion. Our meditation guides are the 100 percent guaranteed correct way to meditate, each meditation has been passed to me from a linage that spans 2,500 years. I was taught, as a Buddhist monk, for years the correct posture and breathing techniques to succeed and finally after many many years and thousands of hours meditating I finally and deeply understand our human consciousness. Please don’t get me wrong I am not claiming enlightenment or sainthood, far from it, yet from meditation I have gained an incredible lasting peace and tranquility within my own mind, worries now don’t drain my energy anymore, I feel happier and more alive than ever before and I understand our human experience.

All I now want to do is freely pass this knowledge through experience onto others and would be thrilled if you joined me.

Mind Matters

Everyone’s Mind Matters and hear you will find everything to do with all our overwhelming number of emotions such as Anger, Stress, Anxiety, Optimistic vs Pessimistic, positivity and depression. These Personal stories from individuals just like yourselves who have suffered and then overcome emotional turmoil. We also include the fundamental coping mechanisms and proven techniques to help elevate anger, stress anxiety and depressions.

Inspirational quotes

Every week we lovingly create original inspirational picture quotes and include a small biography of the author. Previous weeks have included such wonderful people as Thich Nhat Hanh, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Ajahn Brahm and the Dalai Lama as examples.

Dhamma Tapasa

Dhamma Tapasa is the spiritual name given to the author of 4enlightenment while ordained as a Buddhist monk in North Thailand. This section is a little introduction into my personal journey towards spiritual awakening

Misadventures of a Monk

Dhamma Tapasa hasn’t always been a monk and even still as a monk he finds himself getting into mischief and mishaps. Hear will slowly fill these pages with stories that definitely contain mishaps & mayhem, disaster & triumph from past adventures travelling around the world, as the search for enlightenment continues.

This section also includes regular updates on Dhamma Tapasa’s whereabout and where his latest wanderings have taken him. And of course updates on Marley Moo, Dhamma Tapasa’s faithful rescued stray dog, always by his side.

Free Gift

We would like to offer you a free gift “Meditate With A Monk” there is no strings attached we just require an email address so we can send you a link. We don’t have email responders which means each email we send is a personally written message to you, not a robot.

Gift Shop

Our Gift Shop is filled with delightfully handcrafted meditation & mindfulness gifts by Monk Dhamma Tapasa. Each gift is uniquely and individually handmade and then showcased in their very own presentation or gift box. Each One-of-a-kind items are made as a limited number, making these quality products truly exclusive Gifts.

Writers Submissions

If you feel you have a inspirational story you would like to share, or your a budding journalist wanting find an avenue for your creativity, or even a website looking for extra visitors, then this section will explain our guidelines for your submissions, all very simple and straight forward and easy to apply. We really want you to join our family and eagerly look forward to discovering what you have on you mind.

Contact Us

If there is anything you feel we need to include, have an idea you want to share, or simply want to say hello then this is the place to come and send us as message. We really do want you to feel part of a family and really look forward to hearing from you. We respond to each email personal, not a robot.

We hope you can join us on social media

We have a YouTube channel where videos are produced of inspirational quotes as well as spirituality, love, compassion and life.

Our Instagram account is filled with inspirational quotes with original photos added. Each photo is a sneak peak into the places sought out for meditation.

We also have a Facebook page that I try to fill with inspirational advice, meditation techniques, words of wisdom from meditation masters and inspirational stories.

I personal hope you can join our small but growing family, all striving for more compassion, mindfulness and loving kindness in our daily lives.

Kind regards

Dhamma Tapasa

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Dhamma Tapasa & Marley Moo