Gil Fronsdal – BHNN Guest Podcast – Ep. 116 – Buddhism & The Simplicity of Liberation

Gil Fronsdal returns to relay the story of the sudden awakening of Bahiya, as well as the liberating poem from the Buddha which it inspired. 

In this Dharma Talk, Gil Fronsdal relays Buddhist wisdom in the form of poems and stories which point at the simplicity of liberation. Exploring true freedom as release rather than relief, he offers insight into how we can peel back our mental overlays and judgements so we can be with the sweet suchness of experience.

“Who are you when you’re not telling yourself who you are?” – Gil Fronsdal

This Dharma Talk by Gil Fronsdal was originally published on
Buddha & Freedom: Liberation as Release 

Exploring mindfulness through the lens of the Buddhist teachings on freedom—noting liberation as coming through release, rather than relief—Gil Fronsdal opens the talk by relaying one of the Buddha’s Udānas (inspired utterances/poems), setting the groundwork for the later telling the story of the sudden awakening of Bahiya. From this vantage, he stretches our perspective by sharing how true freedom is freedom from both pain and bliss.

“Where water, earth, fire, and wind have no footing; there, the stars do not shine, the sun is not visible, the moon does not appear, darkness is not found. And when a Sage, through wisdom, has known this for him or her-self, then from form and formless, from bliss and pain, he or she is freed.” – The Buddha

Spring Washam outlines the Buddha’s way to freedom, on Ep. 92 of Guest Podcast
The Sudden Awakening of Bahiya (13:33)

Gil tells the classic Buddhist tale of the sudden awakening of the renunciate and disciple of the Buddha, Bahiya. Through this story, Gil illuminates the topics of spiritual maturity, honesty, aging, death, perspective, simplicity, looking for a teacher, enlightenment, timing, mental overlays, our present moment experience, Dharma, and letting go.

“I propose there are a lot of things people in this world hold onto that are not really worth it. If you did the cost-benefit analysis, it doesn’t come out in the favor of holding on.” – Gil Fronsdal

Gil explores mindfulness, wellbeing, & the three-breath journey, on Ep. 103 of Guest Podcast
Liberation in a Nutshell // Simplicity & Suchness (30:03)

Continuing on with the classic Buddhist story, Gil relays the simple enlightening advice Buddha shared with Bahiya, highlighting how instead of experience reality for the simplicity of what it is, we often complicate it with self-preoccupation and judgements. From here, he describes how when we nestle into the sweetness and simplicity of experience without adding mental overlays to it, we realize there is no “me/you” in connection with it – there is simply the suchness of experience.

“The direction mindfulness practice is going is becoming simple. It’s an act of generosity to grant each experience we have its pristine simplicity of what it is in and of itself.” – Gil Fronsdal

Joseph Goldstein reveals the way of simplicity, on Ep. 118 of the Insight Hour