We asked our teachers five questions about them and their lives. Here is what Bernat responded:

1) What brings you joy? What makes you unhappy?

The greatest source of suffering for me are thought patterns based on fear. Tranquillity, human connection and music are things that bring me joy.

2) If you weren’t teaching, what career would you have liked to have?

I already had another career: I was a jazz pianist. But besides dharma teaching, I want to maintain some connection to academia, so that I keep learning from ancient texts and lived traditions, and I’ll probably engage in some Pali translation work.

3) What one phrase or teaching do you come back to the most / have you found most useful? (Buddhist or not)

Hard to pick, but this is a stock passage that appears again and again in the early texts in different contexts: “When the mind is joyful, the body calms down. When the body is calm, one feels comfort. And when one is comfortable, the mind becomes collected.”

4) What’s the most unusual place you’ve meditated or taught?

I can’t think of any interesting answer!

5) Is there a retreat, course or class in your life that is really memorable for you?

I will never forget my first retreats with those who’ve influenced me the most: the Batchelors, and Sayadaw U Tejaniya.