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Volume Volume5,5Issue IssueIIIIII

September 2007

By Amala he concentrated mind, fully alert and simultaneously at rest, abides in samadhi. Samadhi is the fifth of the six perfections cultivated on the Bodhisattva path. It is a meditative state that is focused and engaged. Such a state of concentration and oneness is an integration of all our energies and motivations. The mind of samadhi is neither distracted nor confused, not turbulent or disturbed by any unwholesomeness. Samadhi leads to serenity and the arising of wisdom. For all the Perfections and the way of the Bodhisattva, the ultimate context for our practice is the attainment – or non-attainment realization - of Enlightenment. The Perfections are the way to bring about the arising of the Bodhicitta with which the Bodhisattva practices for the benefit of all beings. Meditation generates the kind of vast and unbroken field of awareness within which thoughts for others and for their benefit can arise spontaneously. Further, the purpose of cultivating samadhi is to manifest inner purity, laying the conditions for wisdom to flower. As Geshe Sonam Rinchen writes, “Samadhi acts as a vessel for all higher realizations; it is not an end in itself, rather a means to further understanding of reality (wisdom).” There is a spiraling interrelationship among all the Perfections. They grow sequentially and support one another. Samadhi – meditative concentration – particu-

larly depends on sila and virya, or ethical observance and energy. The discipline of ethical observance clears our speech and actions of negativity and unwholesomeness through the application of mindfulness and understanding of the skillful and unskillful implications of our actions. The effect of strong ethics is an untroubled mind which can then turn without distraction to meditation. Two other conditions that relate to ethics and support depth of meditation have to do with restraint. Many of us have found it illuminating to practice care with our (Continued on page 7)


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By Viriyagita I return to the Vajra Bell much refreshed after a weeklong ordination retreat. A brief description of my experiences is to be found in an article in this issue. The theme of this edition, Samadhi (meditation), feels in tune with my latest reflections. The Dharma came from the

In August the Aryaloka sangha welcomed three new members of the Western Buddhist Order. Dharmachari Narottama and Dharmacharinis Samayadevi and Viriyagita were ordained in June on retreats at Guhyaloka and Akashavana in Spain and at Aryaloka. Sadhu! All three have made a commitment to develop and strengthen their practice for the sake of all beings. As Buddhists we attempt to practice every day to change our attitudes, to eliminate negative, destructive states of mind and to cultivate the positive. We utilize meditation to develop lovingkindness and compassion and to increase

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Buddha’s meditative experience and his insight was based on a strong, deep experience of higher states of consciousness. I believe that our deepening of our understanding and our embodiment of the Dharma will be in most part directly proportional to our practice of meditation. Our receptivity and our grounding in positive emotions are essential to be

able to absorb the intensity of Reality. At this point I would like to extol the benefits of the Friday night opportunity to meditate and participate in puja. The depth of practice is tangible. The deeper we each individually go in our spiritual practice, the more likely the Bodhicitta (will to Enlightenment) will arise within our sangha. Let’s go for it!

concern and care for others. As we learn to sit quietly our restless minds begin to settle and we learn to let go of negative aspects of our inner being. In meditation we experience an expanded self that sees more clearly. As we free ourselves from needless thoughts we find peace and happiness within.

pointed concentration) is what arises naturally when one is perfectly happy, ie. when mental states have been transformed. We are fortunate that our Center provides opportunities to study, practice and realize the teachings of the Dharma in our daily lives. I invite you to participate as fully as possible in classes, retreats, practice opportunities and discussions with friends. May the joy and inspiration of the new Order Members lead us to make our own commitment to practice for the sake of all beings.

In his book, Living with Awareness, Sangharakshita writes that “Buddhist meditation is a clearing of the decks for action, a transforming of unskilful and unexamined mental states into integrated and refined energy, for a purpose beyond self-absorption” (page 144). He points Dharmacharini Dayalocana out that samadhi (in the sense of one- Chair, Aryaloka Buddhist Center

Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456

Dayalocana Saddhamala Amala Viriyalila Khemavassika Buddy Vaughan Sandy Bonin Leonie Luterman

dayalocana@comcast.net saddhamala@verizon.net amala@metrocast.net raintomars@msn.com sueb1011@verizon.net havaughan@comcast.net sbonin@earthlink.net leonieluterman1@mac.com

Leonie Luterman, Chair Marilyn Dyer Candace Copp Karunasara Sandy Bonin Stephen Sloan

leonieluterman1@mac.com pewedyer@worldpath.net hullcopp@verizon.net karunasara6@verizon.net sbonin@earthlink.net sloan@comcast.net


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By Vidhuma I am repeatedly at a loss to “explain” terms, or even to give meaningful personal definitions to words. I believe it is because I cannot forget that the word is not the experience. The gap between two, the word and the experience the word represents, has a kind of haunting effect on me, haunted I suppose by the sensation that one person’s experience cannot truly or completely be understood by another, in spite of our beautiful and intoxicating gift of language. At the same time that I am haunted I am also pleased to have my say, to try to put into a form that goes from my mind to yours those loose drifting thoughtflashes that are continually fluttering

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through my mind. When I reflect on Samatha, I imagine quiet-mindedness. A mind at work and at rest at the same time. At work because it is sharp energetic and concentrated; at rest because it is without turmoil; it is a clear and peaceful mind. Thurman, in one of his definitions of samatha, describes it as “freedom from concern with any sort of object”. Certainly that freedom is characterized by peace. A profound peace that freedom from concern. Think how busy our mind continually is with uncountable objects – objects being most often people. I would go further to say that most often our mind’s concern resolves itself back, if you trace its track, to one particular person/object – Ourselves. Think, if you can, of being free

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from concern about yourself. To think like that is both a result and a method; simultaneously a state of peace and a way of getting to it. So this brings me to my second, and, by the way, my last point. Samatha is often thought of in the context of meditation, a state of mind and a meditation practice to cultivate that state of mind. But it is not only meditation practices, it is any practice that is conducive to that state of utter clarity and tranquility. So conscious ethical practice can be an aspect of samatha. So can be reflecting, so can be pure observing, or all those actions that are pure, undivided in any way and without concern for our self. No concern for self or absence of self. Think on that.

Here is a picture of Gail Yahwak making her mitra declaration at Nagaloka on July 8th during our Dharma Day Celebration. Gail’s daughter Anna is in the background. Gail is a true delight and I hope that if you have not met her, you make a point to do so. You will be glad you did. Nagaloka was honored to have Viriyagita give an inspiring talk during our Dharma Day festivities. She was still glowing from her ordination just two weeks before. Viriyagita and Viriyalila recently started an advanced/mitra study class on Sangharakshita’s The Bodhisattva Ideal. We can’t thank them enough for their time and energy in providing Nagaloka with more opportunity for its members to study the Dharma on a deeper level. They are very inspiring teachers. Thank you, Viriyagita and Viriyalila! (Continued on page 7)


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office these last couple of months, it’s Steve Cardwell, our new office manager. Our June work days brought out Steve has slipped easily into the office many folks who painted, installed new routine and we are so happy to have windows, cleaned fans, tidied up, gar- him… dened, built and landscaped a new walkway out to Akasaloka, and otherwise Thank you, thank you, thank you to practiced generosity through the gener- our intrepid lawn-mowing beings! This ous giving of their time and effort to summer’s crew has really kept up with maintain and renovate our beautiful Cen- the green stuff out there – NOT and easy ter. Many, many thanks to all… job considering the size of the areas to be mower! Let the office know if you’d like Psst: if you couldn’t make it in June, to join this dedicated group – it’s a great there will be two more Generosity Prac- way to build muscles!... tice/Work Days on Oct. 20-21 – come join the fun. Free lunch and snacks!... Thanks for funds put into the budget by the Council (and to a recent field trip Surakshita has graciously agreed to taken by Khemavassika and Sandy), we be the new men’s mitra convener. Thank now have ten almost-new matching (!) chairs for the shrine room, and two you, Surakshita!... much-needed desks and a chair for the If you don’t recognize the friendly office staff. Also, thanks to a number of donations new voice answering the phone in the By Sandy Bonin

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from generous sangha members, we also have collected enough funds to buy at least 30 folding chairs for the yoga room and the lounge at Akasaloka. They should be arriving soon, so – thank you, thank you!!... Don’t forget the annual Aryaloka auction on October 9 with our president, Nagabodhi, as auctioneer extraordinaire. Watch for more details… Many thanks to Rick Lee for smoothing out our driveway and moving some stone around with his equipment not too long ago!... Finally we are looking for an archivist to save and record what happens here at Aryaloka. Please call the office if you are interested and we can explain what’s involved – a little time and lots of fun!

The rich devotional practice of meditation and puja is shared most Friday nights by those who find devotion an important part of their practice. Schedule: 7:00 p.m. meditation, followed by puja. Dates: Friday evenings as scheduled. See the Aryaloka web site for specific dates and locations. “When we celebrate the Sevenfold Puja, which combines faith and devotion with poetry and sometimes an element of visual beauty, we find that our emotional energies are to some extent refined. When this happens, it becomes possible for the vision and insight of the higher thinking center to act through these refined, sublimated emotional centers directly on the moving center. In this way, the whole of life is completely transformed.” Sangharakshita — Ritual and Devotion

Submit an article or a poem or a picture for consideration, or simply share some information and we’ll do the writing for you. Just contact any of the Vajra Bell staff – see “Contact Us” section in this issue.


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By Narottama The Dammapada opens with a simple yet profound statement; “Mind precedes all things”, and my decision to attend the ordination course at Guhyaloka is a good example. The decision was vitally imbued with sraddha. Sraddha is my personal experience in practicing Going for Refuge to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha coupled with a deep sense of confidence in those who have gone before, those on the path now and those that will come along. This positive mental event, available to all, helped to dissolve the excuses and resistance that arose in going. And so this day, with much appreciation and gratitude for the Sangha’s help, I left my world behind. Mind does precede all things. Driving up into the valley for the first time, swallowed by the ancient gray mountains and seemingly random stone terraces built many centuries ago, wild lavender, thyme and rosemary lined the dirt track and thousands of butterflies danced in many colors through the scented valley. Lizards, yellow flowered thorny gorse, snakes, scorpions and wild pigs would share this secret valley with eighteen excellent men and a dedicated support team. Manjuvajra, my private preceptor, would lead the course with deep experience in the wisdom of both collective and individual practice and his ”blue sky” connection with the Three Jewels. Dhammarati, my public preceptor, was also on the course and his clarity and positive energy contributed greatly to its success. I can never repay them for their help and support. I can only perhaps, pass along some of their gifts. Projections both on and from the only American were quietly rampant upon arrival and then quickly disappeared when my brothers and I shared ourselves authentically and openly with each other. At Guhyaloka, with three meals a day and perhaps over six hundred hours in the shrine room, including ceremony and ritual, there was little space for the games people play in the outer world. Leaving my world behind for 17

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weeks does not mean that the basic framework of that world has altered drastically. On the contrary, I ee that my realm in New England remained much the same with or without me. Yet stepping away can give rise to a deeper understanding of myself and consequently everything that I perceive. I am seeing the momentum of grasping that I learned and use to create the world I function in. How will I, Narottama, work to align new insights with the old karmic momentum of ex Bill? All relationships, (personal, work, financial etc.) have a different emphasis and meaning now. After returning from a Spanish valley surrounded by men calling me Narottama, to hearing Dad and Bill is eye opening. Like an adult bird returning to chirping fledglings, I alight on the edge of a fragile nest swaying in a brisk mundane breeze. Possibilities are endless and only I set limitations on seeing things as they are. What holds me back? How best to engage with the world? Ordination is a concept. What does it mean? (Continued on page 6)

Date: Every Tuesday evening, 7:00-9:15 pm Led by: Amala and Saddhamala Level: Open to all who have attended an introductory class at Aryaloka Fee: Suggested donation $10 per class No registration necessary Typically, our Tuesday night activities are: 7:00 - Gathering, tea, and announcements 7:15 - Meditation and shrine room activity 8:00 - Study, discussion, or a talk on the evening's topic 9:15 - End With all of the activities, you are free to participate or to just sit and listen. Nothing is compulsory. If you have any questions, please ask!

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and go-- others who need to get into a might be interested, copies can be acbuilding when no one is on the premises cessed in the office… The Council has been as busy as ever can call the office and we will let you The Mandala of Supporting Friends during these beautiful summer months! It know where extra keys are hidden… appeal has had a slow start this yearwas decided to hold a puja (devotional The council is currently reviewing MANY thanks to those who extended or practice) rather than just our usual meditation on the Tuesdays closest to the full compensation (money and in-kind) for increased their pledges and to those who moon each month. Taking part in a puja employees and supported leaders, and are pledging for the first time! It’s not too late to add your pledge to ceremony brings additional merit to the looking into getting some kind of phone the list! Having a regular source of inparticipants which can then be given service for Akasaloka… come to rely on each month helps treaway for the benefit of all beings... The Premises Rental Agreement has mendously to support our operating The Council has been reviewing fees been updated to include language about budget!... for rentals, retreats, workshops, and the use of all three buildings as well as a The new program brochure for the meetings, and revising them where prohibition on the cooking and consuming of meat on the premises unless for a coming months has been mailed out and needed… medical necessity. The policy passed as is also available at the Center in the lobby and at the top of the stairs. It was also decided t lock the doors to amended… The information in the program is also all three buildings when they are not in A number of other old policies were available on our web site at use. Keys have been given to those Order members and mitras who regularly come reviewed and amended. For those who www.aryaloka.org. By Sandy Bonin

By Viriyagita My preparation for ordination essentially started in the months preceding June 24th (although I could say that all my life has been a preparation for making this most important step in my life). Viriyalila initially approached me with the suggestion that we meet up to meditate and participate in puja together. What resulted was a powerful connection to a depth of practice. The pujas became creative, containing strong confessional ritual and spontaneous readings.

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No separation between practice and one’s life. What IS, on the cushion, IS, off the cushion. Self and other. Practice mindfulness and be spontaneous. “Sit like a mountain, ready to spring like a tiger.” At 55 years old? How to bring the enchantments of the everyday world

Preceding the Private and Public Ordination, I entered into the solitary hut for a short stay of seven days. Monday evening, the 18th of June, I was sent off with a rejoicing in my merits by the sangha. It was so beautiful that I felt I had entered into a heavenly realm. Stepping on down to the solitary cabin that evening, I embarked on a mythical journey, short but incredibly rich and full. Each day I met up with Sanghadevi, my Private Preceptor. As the next few days unfolded and we meditated together, I felt my connection with her significantly deepen. I can’t

even begin to describe how moved I have been by her fidelity to the bond between us, by her depth, and her compassion. My self-view, especially around meditation, broke into pieces while a waterfall of golden light cascading from Ksitigarbha lifted me up and out. I held my yidam in my heart and can still feel the beat of my heart in tune to his mantra. As the time for my Private Ordination drew nigh, I joined the other Dharmacharinis on retreat in meditation and prostrations. That Friday night I experi-

alive for others to see so that we can be nourished from the fountain of the Dharma? New meditations, new chants! Yet less is more in the spiritual life. I have 100 times what I need to become enlightened. Addition is subtraction when you deal with distraction. And what about work and where? One commitment for now. I will increase my support of the sangha. This includes bringing to mind the lovely

brothers and sisters in and around Aryaloka. Perhaps a Tuesday night at Aryaloka and then Wednesday evening in Portland. Helping out with general maintenance and ground keeping at Aryaloka. Chapter meetings. All options open yet,

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“Mind precedes all things.” Love to All, Narottama


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speech: to say less and listen more, to speak only what is true and avoid speculation. This kind of restraint is a natural part of practicing the speech precepts. Care in our speech preserves energy and keeps our relationships healthy. Having no worries in our interactions is a helpful condition for meditation practice. Another form of restraint relates to the fifth precept: we avoid intoxication and cultivate mindful clarity. It is important to guard what comes into our consciousness through all our senses since our mind registers every contact. Every experience leaves an imprint on our consciousness. If we have constant and indiscriminate sensory stimulation coming into our consciousness when it comes time to sit down for meditation there will be a residual ‘buzz’ of all that sense activity, making it difficult to settle into quietude and focus. Meditation is served by moderation of the senses. Meditation is also supported by healthy care of our physical energy and clear access to our emotional energy. Energy supports us in every moment we are in meditation. Even on a gross level it takes energy to meditate. On a meditation day or retreat how often do people remark

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Nagaloka is growing in leaps and bounds. There were 17 individuals on Wednesday (Aug 8) at Friends’ night studying What Makes You Not a Buddhist. It was a full house, considering our little Center is a single room approximately 14X14, and it is summer in Maine. The decision has been made to look for a larger space. Having a crowded space is a very nice problem to have as our sangha grows. Thank you, Gail, for setting up and organizing our library at Nagaloka. You did an awesome job. Also thanks to Lori

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how tired they become, or how hungry, even while only sitting? Without access to streams of unified inner energy our meditation will be flat and sluggish or excitable, either sliding off or jumping off the focal point of our practice. It is knowing how to apply our own energy that enables us to focus with stability and steadiness. Freely flowing energy comes from integration, which is in itself a positive fruit of meditation practice. Clearing our emotional energy comes from knowing ourselves quite deeply. Accordingly, in the course of our practice we need to get to know our hindrances. We need to apply antidotes to the five hindrances of sense desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, excitedness and sense of anxiety or guilt, and doubt. We need to address our patterns and core obstacles until they no longer influence us (as they often do, in spite of our good ‘spiritual’ intentions!). Until we have done so any concentration we have will not have the rarefied spiritual quality of samadhi, but only the ordinary mental concentration of the kind we exercise every day in our work and studies. Edward Conze writes in his ‘Way to Wisdom’ that concentration as a spiritual virtue differs from concen-

tration ‘as a condition of the intellect’. Spiritual or meditative (samadhi) concentration results ‘less from intellectual effort than from a rebirth of the whole personality, including the body, the emotions, and the will.’ As our body and mind, energy and emotions are purified and unified, and as we meditate with steady focus we begin to experience a shift in attention from the sensory world to another subtler realm, sometimes referred to as renunciation or withdrawal. We may have sufficient stability and stillness for the dhyanas (jhana) to arise. These concentrated states are ‘essentially a training in increasing introversion, achieved by progressively diminishing the impact of the outer stimuli.’ (Conze) We get to know an inner calm and relaxation of our ego-self that gives confidence and leads us beyond limiting views. Our fixation on the things of samsara is loosened as we experience ourselves differently and the perceived world around us differently – without attachment or desire for gain. We develop strength and openness, ‘a certainty greater than anything the senses may teach’, that opens to prajna wisdom, the faculty of mind that knows directly how things truly are.

Siebert and Karunasara for sorting through the books in the Aryaloka library and donating the double copies to Nagaloka. A huge thank you goes out to Karunasara for her kind support of Nagaloka and its members. She drives up to Portland from Newmarket very often on Wednesday evening to be part of our regular weekly sessions. What a delight it is to have her grounding presence. Karunasara offers wisdom and insight to our study sessions. We have Nancy Lorraine and Linda Umbel from our sangha regularly offering their guidance and helpfulness.

Thank you, you two for being a BIG PART of Nagaloka’s success. And thank you, David Johnson for being the backbone of Nagaloka. It is a pleasure to be part of the Nagaloka sangha, such a wonderful group of delightful individuals who are truly Nagas ~ practicing from the depths of their beings. With much metta from Dharmasuri, The Chairperson of Nagaloka Buddhist Center www.nagalokabuddhistcenter.org kwinterkws@verizon.net


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Recently the Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center hosted a ten-day teachers’ training workshop in Permaculture and sustainable living. As you will see, this was indeed an ideal melding of two world perspectives—Buddhism and Permaculture. So, knowing what Buddhism is, what is Permaculture? “Permaculture is essentially a system of principles and ethics used to design human ecologies with the diversity, stability, and resiliency found in natural systems. It is a vision and the implementation of a culture where communities, food systems, and living systems are integrated and mutually supporting as opposed to separated, exploitative and destructive. ‘Permaculture yields consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fiber and energy for provision of local needs. People, their buildings and the ways in which they organize themselves are central to Permaculture. Thus the Permaculture vision of permanent or sustainable agriculture has

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evolved to one of permanent or sustainable culture’.” David Holmgren, cofounder of Permaculture, ‘Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability’ Permaculture is a design system for sustainability created 30 years ago by Bill Mollison, Professor of Plant Biology, and Holmgren, his graduate assistant, at the University of Tasmania. After decades of study of Australian rainforest and desert ecosystems, they developed a system of agriculture based upon observing the mutually beneficial, selfgrouping communities created by plants within these systems. They named their design system Permaculture combining the terms permanent agriculture and permanent culture. It is, in essence, a consciously designed, holistic, sustainable system of living. What does this mean to us as individuals? Ultimately Permaculture is about mindful living and residing in co-creative community (sangha) with one another and the natural world of which we are a part. At the heart of Permaculture design

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and practice are three core values which remain constant regardless of geographic location or circumstances: Earthcare: Recognizing and respecting that the Earth is the source of all life. The Earth is our valuable home and we are a part of the Earth, not apart from it. (We humans are nature expressing itself, too.) Peoplecare: Supporting and helping each other to change to ways of living that are not harming ourselves or the planet, and to develop healthy societies. Fairshare: Ensuring that the Earth’s resources are utilized in ways that are equitable and wise. Where do we start to redesign our lives for sustainability? Once again, not unlike Buddhism, we start from wherever we are. We begin the process by conducting a Permaculture design site evaluation which includes natural and human history and an in-depth--literally exhaustive--site resource analysis, including sun, water, drainage, soil analysis (Continued on page 10)


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by Robert Jerome

By Lin Illingworth

I would like to be that big oak tree, That people can come to for a place to sit, shade or even shelter.

Gratitude for eagle and crane, for this apprenticeship to the laws of balance, to corpse pose and what it is to be reborn with each breath

I would like to be that big oak tree deep and strong within the earth and nourished by water and stretches high in the air to the sun.

Gratitude to this yellow dog’s tail and its constant arc of joy, to this short-haired bodhisattva who wags into being what we have no words for

I would like to be that big oak tree That is deep and strong within the Dharma and in my practice.

Gratitude for our hands which cut the white and yellow rows from round cobs, for black rice harvested by hands that also know the press of prayer, the ache of letting go

I would like to be that big oak tree That stretches high in the air, so when I open my arms and mouth, I can help people to learn about the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

Gratitude to the ancestors and the gifts of their failures that we may have compassion for our own

I would like to be that big oak tree, so I can stretch up to the sun and radiate and help others to know the truth and find enlightenment. I would like to be that big oak tree That is peaceful, loving, compassionate and Joyful even when the weather isn’t at its best. I would like to be that big strong and radiant oak tree And know that I am just as small as the other big strong oak trees around me trying to do the same thing as me. I am the oak tree.

Gratitude for these canyons now lit by bodichitta, the softened heart of mind and the muscle finally allowing the soft patter of what is what is what is Gratitude for this moment passing and for the compass of silence that calls each of us home. August 2007

Attendance was good at this year’s men’s GFR retreat held at Aryaloka from Sept. 21st to Sept. 29th. Pictured at left are the participants.


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and content, existing or potential housing sites, existing and historic flora and fauna by species, and much more. Ultimately, when conducting a thorough site analysis it becomes obvious that “Permaculture is not the landscape, or even the skills of organic gardening, sustainable farming, energy efficient building or eco-village development as such, but…systems thinking and design principles that provide the organizing framework for implementing the above vision…to design, establish, manage and improve these and all other efforts made by individuals, households and communities towards a sustainable future.” Holmgren has created what he calls the Permaculture Design System Flower in an attempt to depict visually the intricate, interrelatedness of all the parts to the whole. He says, “The Permaculture Design System Flower shows the key domains that require transformation to create a sustainable culture. Historically, Permaculture has focused on Land and Nature Stewardship as both a source for, and an application of, ethical design principles. Those principles are now being applied to other domains dealing with physical and energetic resources, as well as human organization (often called invisible structures in Permaculture teaching). Some of the specific fields, design systems and solutions that have been associated with this wider view of Per-

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enced the metta building in the shrine room and I felt that my heart would burst. When the time came, I arose from meditation and followed the trail to the kuti where Sanghadevi awaited me. I was going forth to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha even if no one else in the whole world would ever join me. It was with sure and joyful steps that I proceeded along the brightly lit path. After the Private Ordination Ceremony I headed down to the solitary and sat with my experience and my new (felt new) name. On Sunday was the Public Ordination

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maculture are shown around the periphery of the flower. The spiral evolutionary path beginning with ethics and principles suggests knitting together of these domains, initially at the personal and the local level, and then proceeding to the collective and global level. The spidery nature of that spiral suggests the uncertain and variable nature of that process of integration. “ The design process moves forward once the site analysis is complete by utilizing a design process system consisting of five concentric zones, starting with and designing outwardly and concurrently from Zone Zero, your home. We will look in greater depth at this design system and an important top soil building process called no-till sheet mulching for creating gardens in Part Two of this article in the Vajra Bell Fall Edition. So by now you get the picture! What can we do? Start with where you/we are. It’s summer. Google! Read some simple easy books. Attend some workshops. Become informed. Locate the nearest CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and join one; it’s the easiest way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and receive a weekly basket of produce, too. For now, an insert has been placed in this edition of the Vajra Bell which might be useful, entitled, “Permaculture: What You Can Do Now!” and “Permaculture: Resources.” In addition, if the Aryaloka sangha would be interested in learning more about Permaculture techniques,

particularly composting and sheet mulching, the UNH Permaculturists could conduct a half-day workshop at the Center and in the fall on harvesting, hoop houses for winter greens, and mulching to create ready-to-plant land for spring would be addressed. Please keep an eye on the Aryaloka calendar for future workshops.

performed by my Public Preceptor, Parami. I was incredibly grateful that she was able to travel all this way to perform the ceremony at Aryaloka. A number of people from my work attended the Public Ordination and were quite taken with Parami and Sanghadevi. I never could have imagined the ramifications of having the ordination at Aryaloka. I certainly didn’t anticipate the strong response that my colleagues at work have exhibited and am very grateful at how that has made the transition back into the everyday working world so much easier and more pleasant. Several of us at work are now meditating together after work on a weekly basis.

Thank you to all of you for your gifts! I must ask to be forgiven if I have not acknowledged you. Much to my dismay I have discovered that I have been thanking people for the wrong gifts and I am sure that I have left some people out. Just a few words about my name! I will quote a part (a small part) of what Sanghadevi wrote: “Gita (with a long i and a) means sacred song or poem, sometimes personified as a goddess holding a musical instrument. Viriya means energy in pursuit of the Good or courage and tenacity in cultivation of the Good. Viriyagita – Song of energy in pursuit of the Good or She whose song is energy in pursuit of the Good”.

For more information or questions, please feel free to contact me at designingdevas@comcast.net. With gratitude and affection, Jahnay (Pickett) Director, UNH Permaculture Design Certification, and Principal, Designing Devas David Holmgren website: http://www.holmgren.com.au David Holmgren, Essence of Permaculture, (also available at: http://www.holmgren.com.au/html/ Writings/essence.html#Design ) Great general article from San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/ article.cgi?file=/gate/archive/2003/10/09/ greeng.DTL Provided by Amy Antonucci, Permaculture Designer, Peace Activist, and Host of “Making Waves,” Portsmouth Community Radio.


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Dear Friends, First and foremost thank you for all of your support and allowing all of us here a wonderful forum such as the Vajra Bell to express our thoughts and feelings about the Dharma and personal experiences. Enclosed is something that I have written about the retreat this past weekend. How about that lasagna? WOW what a retreat! First and foremost a heartfelt thank you goes out to all from Aryaloka who were in attendance, and to all of those who could not make it know that you were in our thoughts and hearts, “much metta to all.” It was also a great honor to welcome to our sangha for the first time Khemavassika, and to have Lori with us on her first retreat with the men, her amazing humor was very uplifting and her knowledge on the various forms of the Buddha was very captivating “maybe in the future she would be so kind to give a more detailed talk on this.” Hint, Hint. The retreat itself was absolutely great. The sangha really pulled together and made this happen. As you all know Dave is our fearless leader in a manner of speaking, and Dave for the first time was not with us on retreat, and neither was Bodhipaksa. Despite this tremendous loss Tom Stoddard and Steve Cardwell stepped up and put together one of the nicest retreats to date here at the prison. Meditation was great, time management was right-on, and the discussion were absolutely awesome. Steve and Tom both gave wonderful brief talks on mindfulness and as usual all the men were open and honest with all of their thoughts on mindfulness and the way it plays into their every day life here at the prison. Tom asked me if I would draw some form of picture for the Vajra Bell. I am not the world’s greatest artist, but the picture I have chosen reminds me of that day. The image of Hota, Buddha with his outstretched arms and smiling face reminds me of all the joy, joy experienced by all on that day. The warm rays of the sun in the background is fitting to

the same feeling of the warm embrace that we all experience with the sangha as we share our metta with one another. And, as for mindfulness, as a sangha we should all be mindful of the joy we experience while in the company of our brothers’ and sisters’ smiling faces, and mindful of the warm embrace of the sangha, and how truly lucky we are to have such metta in our lives. Once again, thank you to all who were here and to all of those who could not make it. Thank you to Tom and Steve for doing an outstanding job. Until the next retreat in July, stay mindful of one another’s joy, and metta... MUCH METTA, BOBBY Editor’s Note: This was submitted for our spring issue but was received too late for inclusion.

Budai is also known as the Laughing Buddha. He is an interpretation of the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the predicted Buddha to succeed Gautama Buddha in the future. He has become incorporated into Buddhist, Taoist and Shinto culture and is based on an eccentric Chinese Chán monk who lived in the time of the Liang Dynasty. He was considered a man of good and loving character. Apart from his character, his identification with the Maitreya Bodhisattva (the future Buddha) is attributed to a Buddhist hymn he uttered before his death: Maitreya, the true Maitreya has billions of incarnations. Often he is shown to people at the time; other times they do not recognize him.


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(Akasaloka events are in italics) OCTOBER 9 10 12 12-14 14 17 20-21 24 25-28 26-28 31

Aryaloka Auction. Dinner at 5:30, Silent Auction begins at 5:00 Intro Evening Class, 7-9 Council Meets With Nagabodhi, 4-6:30 Karunadevi’s retreat for Women Mitras and OMs Aryaloka Council Meeting, 12:30-3:30 Intro Evening Class, 7-9 Generosity Practice/Work Days, 9-5 Intro Evening Class, 7-9 Yoga and Meditation NVC, Deepening + Anger Intro Evening Class, 7-9

VOLUM E 4, I S S UE I I I

NOVEMBER 2-4 4 7 11 17 22 30

NVC for Mitras and OMs Aryaloka Council Meeting, 12:30-3:30 Intro to NVC, 7 p.m. Open to all Sangha Day, 1-4 Intro Day, 10-4, Metta Bhavana Thanksgiving Dinner – potluck, 1 p.m. Caregivers’ Retreat begins

DECEMBER 1-2 Caregivers’ Retreat continues 8 Intro Day, 10-4, Mindfulness of Breathing 8 Study Day – Leaving the Comfort Zone, 10-4 15 Men’s Mitra overnight 16 Aryaloka Council Meeting, 12:30-3:30 21-23/31 Winter Meditation Retreat, weekend or 10-day

...

Newmarket, NH; Portland, ME; Belfast, ME; Lubec, ME; Somerville, MA; New York City, NY; Missoula, MT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Richland, WA. FWBO women now have two private preceptors (for women who have asked for ordination) in North America: Karunadevi on the west coast, and our own Dayalocana on the east coast.

Aryaloka = Noble Realm Akasaloka (the annex) = A place for finding the feeling of spaciousness in your life Shantiloka (the solitary cabin) = A place of peace Nagaloka (Portland) = A place of deep wisdom which resonates with the ocean of the Dharma

www.aryaloka.org www.nagaloka.org www.wildmind.org www.sfbuddhistcenter.org www.fwbomissoula.org

www.taraloka.org www.buddhafield.com www.dhanakosa.com www.accesstoinsight.org www.urbandharma.org

www.beliefnet.org www.fwbo-news.com www.freebuddhistaudio.com www.flickr.com/photos/fwbo/sets

Vajra Bell newsletter - September 2007  

* "Samadhi, the Fifth Precept" by Amala * "Reflections on the Meaning of Samatha" by Vidhuma * "A Taste of Guhyaloka" by Narottama * Ordinat...