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VAJRA BELL Volume 6 Issue II

April 2008

Akshobya the “unshakeable” By Dharmasuri

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ou may have thought there is only one Buddha.  In Tantric Buddhism we enter the world of symbols and myths, a world that includes the five Primordial Buddhas. In Tantric Buddhism spiritual development through the reflection on symbolism and the language of myth are essential for gaining Enlightenment. Hundreds of years after the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni, achieved Parinirvana, five archetypal Buddhas -Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi and Vairochana- emerged to symbolize the embodiment of spiritual awakening.  In this and the next several issues of the Vajra Bell you will learn how the symbols of each of the Five Jinas (conquerors) are depicted to represent important spiritual qualities. As a result of this series, I hope that you will take the time to explore further the mystical realm of symbols and more aspects of the Five Buddhas. Vessantara’s Meeting the Buddhas is a good place to begin. We enter the mandala from the east where Akshobhya resides. One of the best ways to learn aboutAkshobhya is through deep concentration on his visual image. Like meditation, we begin by sitting quietly, letting the mind become calm so that the concerns we are currently dealing with can drop away. We start by visualizing a deep blue, expansive sky all around us. By placing ourselves in the peaceful blue sky, our minds take on the same characteristics of shunyata or “emptiness.”  Imagine Akshobhya appearing before you in the dawn sky. He is dark blue in color, seated on a vast blue lotus throne supported by four massive elephants. Dressed in blue robes, he is seated in the full-lotus posture.  He holds a AKSHOBYA

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Aryaloka Buddhist Center 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket, NH 03857

Illustration courtesy of Chintamani from “A Guide to the Buddhas”


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From the Editor By Samayadevi The next five issues of the Vajra Bell will be dedicated to the five Jinas and their consorts. We have been spending time on the practice of Buddhist Ethics, on the six Paramitas, and how they show up in our lives, how they focus our intentions and purify our motivations. The Jinas might seem like a lurch from the path of practice, but in fact they are not. Each one embodies certain aspects of Enlightenment, each has a female consort. Each is associated with a color, an element, a direction and a time of day. Each one has a representative animal, a specific mudra, and personifies not only a specific wisdom, but also combats a specific poison (ie. hatred, pride, greed, envy and ignorance). So what does this have to do with our practice?

Actually, quite a lot. We are relational beings; we thrive in relationships and are challenged to ‘wake up’ in relationships. Sangha is not an optional extra, but the very pool we swim in. And we need sangha as much as the Buddha and the Dharma. The Jinas are part of our Arya Sangha, those beings whose influence for good is always available to us. When we visualize the Jinas, we are opening our minds and hearts to their beneficent influence, to their specific wisdoms. We can live in relationship with them and allow them to color our world. It is a matter of what influences we choose to open to, what relationships we choose to foster. The choice is always ours. Thank you Dharmasuri and Dayalocana for introducing us to Akshobhya and to Locana.!

Musings from the Chair By Dh. Dayalocana

or internal, Aryaloka sangha members return to practice with friends; to learn, reflect and Although we have had record snowfall and continue spiritual growth. Our commitment difficult driving conditions in NH this winter, and resolve of the winter months will mingle events at Aryaloka have carried on non-stop.  well with the joys and delights of spring.  May The trees decked out in pure white snow wel- your practice flourish and may we choose to comed sangha members to the silent shrine live peacefully with mindfulness and compasroom lit by softly glowing candles. Colorful sion. flowers, a hint of what will come, brightened   rooms as we gathered for meditation, puja and SPRING – WINTER    Dharma study.  The snow could not stop miBy Sangharakshita tras and Order Members from attending a se  ries of teacher training workshops.  There was The hills of the horizon no slow-down in kula activities.  Cleaning, With snow are dappled round. shoveling, publishing Vajra Bell, fund - raising White blooms the sweet plum-blossom and setting up for retreats carried on as usual. Six foot above the ground. There was no let -  up in friends and mitras ap  pearing for meditation and Dharma classes, in As a bird in the blue ether Order Members attending gatherings and in My joy is on the wing friends meeting for conversation over steam‘Twixt the purity of Winter ing cups of tea. And the loveliness of Spring.  There is no stopping our response to the   Dharma once it enters our mind and touches Sangharakshita complete poems our hearts. No matter what obstacles, external 1941/1994

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Contact Information Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 info@aryaloka.org www.aryaloka.org

Aryaloka Council Dayalocana dayalocana@comcast.net Saddhamala saddhamala@verizon.net Amala amala@metrocast.net Kemavassika sueb1011@verizon.net Sandy Bonin sbonin@earthlink.net Samayadevi samayadevi@mac.com

Vajra Bell Kula Samayadevi, Chair samayadevi@mac.com Viriyagita pewedyer@worldpath.net Sandy Bonin sbonin@earthlink.net Stephen Sloan sloan@comcast.net Eric Wentworth thewintercrow@hotmail.com

Please be sure Aryaloka’s windows stay closed in winter and remember to close them when leaving the center in warmer months. Thank you!


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Locana, the wise consort of Akshobhya By Dayalocana Locana, one of Five Female Buddhas, is known also as the consort of the Dhyani Buddha Aksobhya and as a Prajna (wisdom) figure.  She represents mirror -like wisdom – an aspect of enlightened awareness. Sitting calmly, not reacting, still and unwavering, she embodies the wisdom that sees things clearly with a pure, simple, direct awareness. She is not torn or swayed, not overtaken by aversion or cravings. Locana observes impartially, with  endless equanimity. Her element - water forms a mirror that is not changed by the object reflected in it.  Likewise, Locana’s mind reflects clearly things as they really are without subjective distortions.  Thus her name, Locana, is translated as “she who has the Dharma eye”, “seeing with eyes of wisdom”, “clear - visioned one”, “she who is illuminated by the Dharma.”   Locana sits on the eastern side of the Mandala of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.  Depicted as blue in color she is seated on a moon mat that rests upon a pale blue lotus.  She sits cross-legged – solid, stable, imperturbable. She is dressed in beautiful LOCANA

Illustration by Eric Wentworth

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Buddhaworks The Aryaloka Bookstore

* Meditation Candles * DVDs from Pema Chodron and Lama Surya Das * Meditation Journals * CDs from Thich Nhat Hanh

* Singing Bowls * Brass Door Chimes from Nepal and India * Children’s Coloring Books * Lots and Lots of Great Books!

Your support brightens Aryaloka’s future. Buddhaworks is located at the Aryaloka Buddhist Center


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Sangha Notes - “What’s Happening?” By Sandy Bonin Many thanks to the Children’s Kula for arranging a recent overnight for children and parents during school vacation week (see article elsewhere in this issue). The children are eager to return for another event at Aryaloka because, “It’s just really fun to be here!”…Amala, Samayadevi, and Steve Cardwell have hosted four student groups here at Aryaloka during the last couple of months. These included students and teachers from the United Church of Christ in both Exeter and Durham, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Odyssey House. Thanks to all of you for your interest in learning more about Buddhism and meditation…Sandy Bonin recently represented Aryaloka at a “Spiritual Café” for students at the University of New Hampshire sponsored by the campus ministry…

The Family Overnight was a great success! All of the attendees had a wonderful time and were eager to come back. Our big bulletin board at the foot of the stairs now has a designated space for holding announcements of interest to sangha members that come from our wider geographical community. Please check with the office if you would

like to post something there…It’s too late to sign up as a volunteer to attend the upcoming retreat at the Concord State Prison for Men on April 11-12,

was expressed to Khemavassika for the tremendous amount of work that she has Total revenues continue to be at target done over the years to keep Aryaloka filevels for this fiscal year. Some energy nances up-to-date and professionally orcosts are higher than budgeted, howev- ganized. Sadhu!…Samayadevi has sent a er, because of the increase in the cost of thank-you note to the Dana Kula for orfuel… A $3600 contribution was received ganizing the Movie Marathon fundraiser in January from Buddhaworks, our cen- on January 12…Recent dana from an ter’s bookstore. Buddhaworks’s total anonymous donor will be used for major contribution for last year was $7600! building improvements currently in the Many thanks to Saddhamala and Steve planning stages…It was decided to set the and Debby Cardwell, our hardwork- rental rate for individuals at the Akasaing bookstore kula, as well as all of you loka building at $30 per day and $45 for who bought books and other articles to an overnight….A 10% discount will be support your practice!…A plaque is be- offered to people coming on their first ing designed to accompany Bhante Sang- retreat…An energy audit was recently harakshita’s photograph that hangs over conducted on the two larger buildings. the dana bowl…Heartfelt appreciation The Council will follow up on the recom-

mendations. The two water heaters in the domes building have just been replaced. It was decided to delay increasing the vent size on the Aryaloka furnace…Dayalocana will arrange to have our regular water testing done through the state lab…The Council will hold its annual meeting with the sangha at a brunch on Sunday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to noon – all are welcome! Please RSVP the office…The next few meetings of the Council are scheduled for April 13 from 1-3 p.m., May 18 from 10 a.m. - 12 noon, and an overnight from June 14-15. Visitors are always welcome at meetings – please call Dayalocana if you would like to observe a meeting or if you have something that you would like to present to the Council .

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The Council By Sandy Bonin

Who can contribute to the Vajra Bell?

YOU CAN!

Submit an article, poem or 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 the “Contact Information” section on Page 2 of this issue.


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Movie Review By Eric Wentworth “The Fountain” (2006), 96 minutes, PG-13, Available on Netflix All right, I admit it, I am a huge science-fiction movie geek. But this admission comes with one caveat: as cool as the effects may be, it has to have a strong story. Rarely is a sci-fi flick both technically amazing and mentally stimulating, but “The Fountain” is both by leaps and bounds. Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (“Pi,” “Requiem for a Dream”), the film looks at the human pursuit of eternal life, and whether that pursuit is fruitful or foolish. The imagery and symbolism that it incorporates have their roots in a broad cross-section of religions and belief systems, including Mayan spirituality, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism. However, the message of the movie is not particular to one religious system. Rather, it borrows from many different traditions as if to reinforce that the question at hand is common to all of humanity, not limited to one set of beliefs or another. The story is centered around the love between a man and woman in three vastly different times and places - 16th century Guatemala, a modern-day city and a spherical future spaceship approaching a golden nebula. In all three settings, the goal for the male character is the same, to find a way

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to end death. As a Spanish conquistador, he sets out on a quest in the New World to find the Tree of Life for his queen. As a research oncologist in the modern world, he’s searching for a cure for his wife’s cancer. And as a space traveller, it becomes clear that the final destination holds the power to renew life. All of the storylines are intertwined subtly and intricately, and the more times you see “The Fountain,” the more you see. Speaking in purely Buddhist terms, I found that the theme of the film strongly echoed some of the basic teachings of the Buddha. At one point in the movie, the main male character makes a declaration that is strikingly similar in tone to the the Four Noble Truths. He exclaims, “Death is a disease, there’s a cure and I will find it.” The way the storylines are combined, the couple seem to be connected through rebirth or a karmic bond, trapped together in time to learn the lessons of dependent origination. Ultimately, the male character must change his perception of death altogether in order to move forward and break free of what binds him. His realization of impermanence and the necessity of sacrificing “himself” are what lead to his goal. Students of Buddhism will see much more rich Buddhist symbolism than I’ve mentioned here, but the film allows its viewers to draw their own conclusions, regardless of belief. It leaves them with a cosmic sense of what it truly means to be human.

This issue’s featured websites http://www.wildmind.com Wildmind is an excellent website run by our own Bodhipaksa, offering meditation information that caters to every type of learner and lifestyle. The home page has a large section of free information for beginners about meditation. This covers basics such as posture and overcoming obstacles during your sit, types of meditation, application of meditation to everyday life through mindfulness and dealing with specific issues, and some key Buddhist texts. For those who would like to go further, they offer several online courses with experienced teachers to help guide you along and deepen your practice. This is especially helpful for those who have active lifestyles, different learning styles or disabilities and may benefit from going at their own pace online. Wildmind has an extensive online store offering CDs, DVDs, MP3s and audiobooks as well as links to other sites that carry meditation and yoga supplies. ONLINE INSITE

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Preview Screening of “Dalai Lama Renaissance” IOKA show to benefit Tibet organization and support Aryaloka By Anne Rugg “Dalai Lama Renaissance,” a feature documentary film narrated by Harrison Ford, will be screened at the Ioka Theater

in Exeter, NH on Wednesday, May 7th at 7 p.m. “Dalai Lama Renaissance” has screened to enthusiastic, sold-out audiences throughout the U.S. and the world, has won 10 awards, and is the official selection at 35 film festivals around the world. Audiences are saying that “Dalai Lama Renaissance” gives the most intimate and direct experience of the Dalai Lama on film.  “Dalai Lama Renaissance” is an 80

minute documentary about forty of the world’s most innovative thinkers who travel to India in the Himalaya Mountains to meet with the Dalai Lama to solve many of the world’s problems. What happened was surprising and unexpected. Tickets are $12 and $7 for students and can be purchased at the door. Proceeds will support the Aryaloka Buddhist Center and the Tibetan organization chosen by the Dalai Lama.


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Aryaloka’s library

Kula Korner By Sheila Groonell, Kula Coordinator First I would like to thank those of you who recently have volunteered to help Aryaloka in many different ways. Jahnay Pickett and Heather Murphy, a brand new member of the Aryaloka Sangha, have volunteered for the Library Kula. Nina Jordan, recently returned from wintering in California, has resumed her oh-so-reliable responsibilities on the Cleaning Kula. Steve Pittman and Barry Timmerman, in addition to their spring, summer, and fall work on the Grounds Kula, have volunteered to help with recycling. Steve has also volunteered to help with the Shrine Kula, and loves the time spent with Amala in this transcendent zone. Joe O’Sullivan volunteered for the Tech Committee. I am so touched by and grateful for your generosity. We all live dependent on the kindness of others, known and unknown. Re-shelving books, you make the dharma available for the inspiration of all sangha members. Recycling trash, you make the environment healthier for all within Aryaloka and beyond. Doing laundry, you create a clean and welcoming environment for all visitors, fostering peace and contemplation. And so it is with all kula activities. In

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the shrine room, at the computer - wherever we volunteer - we offer ourselves and our work for the good of all. Such generosity has no bounds. Its benefits spread in all directions. Aryaloka exists because of your efforts, and the efforts of all Kula volunteers. I hope you volunteers are coming to know the satisfaction of your generosity: deepening friendships born in shared work, and an ever-growing sense of Aryaloka as your spiritual home. We are all infinitely grateful to you. For those of you who have not yet volunteered yourselves, the time commitment can be very small - one or two hours a week, a month, or a season - but the rewards are enormous: personal satisfaction, new friendships and shared fun, and a deepening sense of Aryaloka as your spiritual home. Aryaloka welcomes you all. Currently the following kulas are actively looking for additional help: the Cleaning Kula, the Fundraising or Dana Kula, the Technology Kula, the Children’s Kula, and the Library Kula. If you would like to investigate these or other volunteering possibilities, please call me at 778-7522 or email me at sgroonell@ comcast.net. I’ll be really happy to discuss the possibilities with you. Sincere thanks!

Did you know, we have an extensive Buddhist library here at Aryaloka? It is situated on the mezzanine just above our main sitting room. You will see the stairs near the kitchen at the end of the room. Here you will find books arranged in sections according to their main category. These categories include: a full set of the Jataka Tales (stories of the Buddha before he became the Buddha), children & family, contemporary authors, meditation, topics in Buddhism, women in Buddhism, general Buddhist information, inspirational topics, and Zen. There is also an excellent collection of sutras and commentaries from Theravadan,Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit and Indian sources. We have an almost complete collection of FWBO books and books written by Sangharakshita. Three magazines we subscribe to are Buddhadharma, Shambala Sun, and Tricycle. They are to be read in the center. All the books may be checked out. You will find a notebook and instructions for checking out and returning books. To top all this off, there is a lovely shrine in our library and comfortable places to sit and read. COME BROWSE As we read and reflect, we understand the Dharma more fully and can practice more effectively.

Keep our center vibrant with open-handed generosity By Ann Rugg Dana Committee Chair The Treasure of Generosity “And what is the treasure of generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of stinginess living at home, freely generous, open handed, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to request,

delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called the treasure of generosity.”                         The Dana Sutra (translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu)   -------------------------------------------------Practicing generosity (dana) is the first of the six perfections (paramitas) describing how an enlightened being behaves.  It feels good to be generous. Whether you’re sharing your income, time, attention or your heart - it all creates joy.   A stingy heart is hard, constricted, and

tight with hoarding thoughts of ‘me and mine’. A generous heart is light, happy, and deeply satisfied by helping others. This transformative practice of dana is an excellent way to free ourselves from the pain of clinging and attachment.  Aryaloka is fueled by dana – by people volunteering their time and supporting it financially. No one else funds our daily operations and life-transforming programs. “Let Mikey do it,” does not apply here. It is our responsibility-- as friends, mitras, and Order Members — to support our Center to DANA

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What’s the meaning behind the vajra and bell? By Stephen Sloan The vajra and the bell are symbols from Tantric Buddhism. “Vajra means both ‘diamond’ and ‘thunderbolt’: something of impervious strength and irresistible potency, which is capable of smashing, shattering, pulverizing everything that stands in its way. The Vajra occupies an important place in Buddhist symbolism, even giving its name to a whole phase in the development of Buddhism: the Vajrayana - the Diamond Path, or the Way of the Thunderbolt.”

(Wisdom Without Words, Sangharakshita, 1993) When the bell is used together with the vajra, the vajra is thought to represent the compassion of the Buddha, in this case the masculine principle; and the bell represents wisdom, or the female principle. To achieve enlightenment, these two principles must be combined. The bell may be visualized as the Buddha’s body, the vajra visualized as his mind, and the sound of the bell as Buddha’s speech in teaching of the dharma. “The Tantric path to Enlightenment

itself [has come] to be spoken of as ‘the Vajrayana’, in other words the path or the way or the vehicle of the vajra. So what does this mean? It means the path of Reality. And similarly with the vajra bell... It means that in the Tantric ritual everything that you touch, everything that you handle, everything that you offer, everything that you do, is imbued with this sense of Ultimate Reality. You experience Ultimate Reality as existing in its very depth. You don’t just touch a bell, you touch the vajrabell.” (The Symbolism of the Sacred Thunderbolt, Sangharakshita)

Mark Haddon captures the voice, insights, terrors and struggles of an autistic boy so convincingly, we are left wondering if perhaps he himself suffers from autism. He does not. Yet he introduces us to Christopher John Francis Boone, who knows all the countries of the world, all their capitals, and every prime number up to 7,057. Without a computer. At times, it is a difficult book to read as it requires us to relax our  grip on the world as we know it, and open our minds and hearts to the very different reality experienced by Christopher. Yet it is a rare privilege to enter into the

mind of another, and living through the mind of this boy is especially rewarding. It inspires compassion and understanding; it awakens kindness; it allows us to marvel at a raw courage against almost inconceivable odds. Perhaps the Daily Telegraph says it best: “Beautifully written … Heart-in-mouthstuff, terrifying and moving. Haddon is to be congratulated for imagining a new kind of hero, for the humbling instruction this warm and often funny novel offers, and for showing that the best lives are lived where difference is cherished.”

Book Review By Samayadevi “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” Mark Haddon Vintage Publications, 2003 It is often a challenge to find a novel that inspires and challenges, a ‘secular’ book full of dharmic wisdom and compassion. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is such a book. Although it could  be labeled a ‘detective’novel, that hardly covers its genre.

News from Nagaloka By Gail Yahwek

color and the animal associated with each Buddha. On the wall hung the sewing art Greetings to all from Portland, Maine. work of our very creative Dharmasuri.  There has been a lot happening here at We were able to experience each Buddha Nagaloka.  We have just finished up our study through a meditation led by Dharmasure and of the four Brahma Viharas.  We spent two followed by a discussion of their aspects of weeks each on mudita (sympathetic joy), enlightenment.  Thank you, Dharmasuri. karuna (compassion), metta (loving kindness), Our Wednesday night sangha is just and upeksha (equanimity).  We practiced beginning the study of Vajragupta’s each meditation together, and then spent “Buddhism, Tools for Living Your Life”.  time sharing our experiences and discussing Linda started us off with a wonderful story of how we could go deeper into each.  Then we a tool box from her Dad which led us into a talked about why this may be helpful in living heartfelt discussion of the tools we do need to our lives and in our relationships with others.  live the dharma.  We are looking forward to Dharmasuri led us in an advanced/mitra the self-reflection this book offers through its study of the five Jinas.  The shrine was many suggested exercises.  Taking the time to beautifully decorated in the representative look at our lives and how we really live them

can be a very revealing and intense learning experience for all of us. Anne Rugg has just begun leading us in a 13-week advanced/mitra study of Sangharakshita’s “What is the Dharma?”.  In discussing the first chapter we really were able to take a good look at “causes and conditions” and how they affect our lives and if we really use this concept in making our daily decisions.  Thank you so much to Anne for coming up to us and sharing her time and experience! Special thanks to Nancy for leading a Parinirvana celebration in February, and to Karunasara for leading a day retreat on living and dying at the beginning of March.  Thanks also to Ross and John K. for beautifully finishing our new library bookcase.


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Poetry Pages Imagining the Shadow by Laura Davies Foley

On the night of the eclipse I burn my arm, second degree loss of skin from boiling hot soup and a blender over-filled. Earlier in the grocery store a jar of Pad Thai sauce drops onto the concrete floor and smashes as I am reaching for another. The next day, in prison, B. comes stumbling in for meditation. Usually bright and alert, he says he feels limp, as mellow as jello. His eyes look glazed and soft. “It must be the eclipse,� I opine, showing him my red and bandaged arm. He tells me he saw it. The guards let the men out into the yard, so they could stare at the moon, men and guards together in the frigid night air. Imagine them there.

Love in the Grocery Store by Narottama

Behind a slow moving elderly pair gray and bent in the bright flourescent aisle, slowly shuffle the steps of age approaching. My impatience irrupts, then checked with knowledge that I am but few steps behind. Softly speaking, silver cart used as a cane, one leaning gently on the other then back again they near the beeps of the voracious checkout and gaudy bosoms and bare shoulders of magazines. And though their faces are creased and lined the earth drawing our bodies back to the beginning I see that the woman holds that vital fount of life, and his eyes this day still love.

Spring

by Sangharakshita The quick sap rises in the dry stalk: On naked boughs the furled green buds appear; Returning swallows beat about The clay-built house they left last year. Earth smiles, and like an almond tree The Bodhicitta flowers in me. (Complete Poems 1941-1994, Windhorse Publications)


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Prison Chaplaincy

by Laura Davies Foley (Concord Sangha) Walking into the prison I carry an armload of books. But I know it’s not about the books. It’s about the doors clanging open, and how they let us in. from Laura Davis Foley (Concord sangha)

A Witness

by Laura Davies Foley (Concord Sangha) Although it is cold and only three o’clock he rises from his cell. The full moon shines on the razor wire, the watch towers, the concrete yard. He steps across the crusted snow over ice fossilized into symmetrical lines of shape. Remembers yesterday’s contention between legless inmate, wheels and slush, a mosaic of struggle now hushed. And he, a witness to icy elegance

India

India

Oh India, womb of my spirit, the very dust of your pathways sparkles with the dharma.

The birds sing dharma. Many cultures, many expressions One heart of love, one dharma

by Samayadevi

formed from broken earth--like him in the frigid morning, luminous air.

DANA

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the best of our individual circumstances. Some people think, “I volunteer my time, so I don’t need to give money” or “I give money, so I don’t have to volunteer.” The truth is we need both. Your monetary support and volunteer help is greatly appreciated and needed, regardless of size or frequency. To all of you who make monthly dana contributions in the Mandala of Supporting Friends or a one-time donation, thank you! If you haven’t yet felt the joy of sharing your time and finances in supporting the Center, please consider this opportunity to

by Sheila Groonell

Each day, each recommitment, may I know and live this more.

deepen your practice of dana right here, right now. Much thanks.   Aryaloka Mandala of Supporting Friends   This giving program is made up of donors who make an annual pledge and contribute donations monthly or otherwise to Aryaloka. It is an increasingly popular way to give, since most Mandala members opt to automatically deduct funds from their credit card or checking account. So easy and painless! It’s a win-win situation for everyone because a steady stream of income helps the Center pay for increasing operating, building

maintenance and infrastructure expenses. It also allows us to offer a sliding scale for class and retreat fees to those in financial need. We currently have over 35 individuals participating in the Mandala of Supporting Friends! Last year, these generous donors contributed over $19,000 to the Center. Their dana helped make sure our programs continue and grow, our buildings are maintained and improved, and no one is turned away because of an inability to pay. If you would like more information on how to join the Mandala of Supporting Friends, please call the office. Please consider making Aryaloka part of your estate planning. Thank you.


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India: Nirvana in samsara, samsara in nirvana By Sheila Groonell Since returning home from India and Dharamsala, this mantra has been running through my mind, and for good reason.  India is a mystic stew: Sikhs, Jains, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sufis, Hindus. Everything, they say, is Divinity to be worshipped: the rats and the monkeys, the stones and the trees. There is unending poverty and unimagined beauty. Traffic - of people, cars, motor taxis, pedal taxis, tuktuks, camels, donkeys, horses, elephants. It never stops. Rather it moves in collection, in swirls, amoeba-like. Change of traffic direction is made not by lights - these are mostly ignored. Rather, change of direction happens when one being takes a step forward, into the mass of oncoming traffic, providing coverage and confidence for the person, being, or vehicle beside them, who does the same, until, stream-like, the direction of movement is changed completely. For me, India remains a swirl of impressions: the sweep and color of saris, the snarl and chaotic coil of electric lines in Old Delhi bringing both power and death irregularly. The riot of animal forms: brown monkeys climbing all structures, roads and trees; the black-faced monkeys outside our Dharamsala home; steppe eagles flying overhead as the Dalai Lama speaks; dogs in the street - skinny in India, fatter in Dharamsala. Cobras in baskets, peaceful cows everywhere. Two-way streets - one car wide - speed limit non-existent. The constant blare of honking horns to announce the driver’s determination to persist in his given direction despite the other driver’s intention to do the same. Just don’t look! And yet we are safe. Safe on the roads. Safe in the tender care of Jasvir, our Delhi guide. He, however, is not safe. Jasvir, beautiful and young, BA in French lit., MA in English lit., with a law degree, is from the lowest caste. Jasvir married a kshatriya woman whom he met in law school. Together they fled their families to avoid their being killed, he says, for the transgression of caste rules. Could this be true? This is true, says Shantum, our guide, teacher, and friend in Dharamsala. They are

in mortal danger. How can this be? When Samayadevi attends a wedding officiated by the monk who made the movie The Cup, the women guests introduce themselves as Brahmins. Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj seems much more orderly, calm, peaceful. A little like Berkeley, Amala had said. And so it is.  Travelers, drifters, from all over the world, the young, the raggedy, the

vagabonds, the monks, the beggars, the seekers, the well-heeled Buddhist tourists like ourselves. The Buddhist community in exile seems eminently competent in almost all matters. They have established a government in exile, with Ministries of Finance, Health,  Education, and Culture. We meet with the Prime Minister of Tibet, INDIA

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INDIA

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urbane, intelligent, witty, frank. He was elected to his position by the Tibetans in India. “ The Dalai Lama had been hoping for a young woman,” the PM said, “but all he got was this old monk.” Easy, selfdeprecating humor seems a hallmark of the exiled Tibetans in high position. He tells us not to avoid Tibet, but to go to Tibet, to bring publicity and awareness to what is happening there. We tourists, he says, can help protect Tibet with our presence. He tells us that the Jews are their “idols” for having survived in exile and to have thrived as a culture. He tells us that China gaining “most-favored nation status” is the triumph of economic interests over human rights. How did I earn the opportunity to be in the presence of such a person as this, I wonder? We meet with the Dalai Lama’s brother, Tenzin Choegyal, TC, Top Cat. TC had been identified as a very high-up, reincarnated tulku when he was two, maybe, but he resigned at 8 or 10 because, he said, “I felt like a donkey in a tiger’s skin.” There’s that grace and humor again. He charms us all utterly with his intelligence, insight, humor, humility, vulnerability, pain and compassion.  He’s banged around the world - hard it seems - in the US, in the army, in service jobs. He’s not a fan of ritual or formality, but weaves dharma into every sentence. “I think it’s all about being kind, don’t you???” he asks. He thinks there should be a universal AA for Afflictive Emotions. We swoon in agreement. Then we meet his wife, Rinchen Khando Choegyal. Gorgeous, regal, warm, intelligent, hard-working, financially competent, she runs the guest home where we stay. She has also been a teacher, a health worker, a government minister for two terms, and a Dharamsala representative. She has a portrait of the Dalai Lama’s mother hanging in her office at Dolma Ling. We meet with her there. Recognizing the need to educate the largely illiterate female Tibetan population, she dreamed of, initiated, arranged financing

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for, built, and now runs the Tibetan Nun’s Project and its expansive, gorgeous temple, monastery, and school campus at Sidhpur (www.tnp.org). She recognized the desire of nuns for full ordination and is working to that end. She recognized their desire for PhD level education and is expanding the nuns’ program to that end. She believes that ordination should allow nuns to switch from the robed life to the worldly life, to expand their fields of service, to be teachers and health providers. She is working to provide them with the required training. She is clearly a force of nature. (P.S. - Women can go on independent retreat at Dolma Ling.) For twelve days the Dalai Lama holds teachings at the Tsulakhang, the compound around his monastery. The compound itself is a complex of temples, bookstores, residences, dormitories, libraries, bathrooms, knick-knack and souvenir shops, food carts and charity hawkers. Before entering the Temple Courtyard where the teachings are held, we are scanned and frisked. Bags are checked. Cell phones, cameras, explosives, guns, and knives are banned because of an “incident” a few years back. Finally we are in the teaching courtyard. Here is the Dalai Lama. Each day of teaching he crosses the 100-yard courtyard from his residence to the seat in the temple from which he addresses us. He is escorted by robed monks, young and old; one woman; and sharp-eyed Indian soldiers with AK-47s. The first day, he, laughing uproariously, passes about 10 feet from us. He is pounding the back of the old monk in front of him who is also doubled over with laughter. The crowd is distributed about the courtyard, on side porches, on balconies, in various floors of the open – sided temples which surround  the courtyard. We have been told to bring FM receivers. Each language group receives its simultaneous translation on different FM stations. The image of the Dalai Lama appears on wide-screen HD TV for those who can’t see him directly. This is a techsavvy lot. We have received copies of the Tibetan

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Dhammapada and the Jataka Tales in preparation and the Dalai Lama reads fast from these tests. Very fast. So fast that I can hear, but not  process, the translator’s words. Each day is similar. Once in a while, the Dalai Lama stops to give a short talk. Invariably he speaks lovingly and urgently of basics: the need for kindness, love, compassion, generosity. His readings from the Jataka Tales are startling descriptions of the Buddha’s complete self-sacrifice in previous lives. For sure, the Dalai Lama is not talking about Kindness Lite! I try very hard to follow the readings but comprehension is swept aside by the speed. My mind is cut loose. I am saved, though, by the transcendent sight of the steppe eagles, wheeling and soaring above the courtyard. I soar with them and am reassured of living the Buddha’s message of interbeing for glorious moments. Outside the courtyard, there are monks, tourists, beggars, and hawkers everywhere. Open wounds on twisted limbs. Each day a cobbler rolls out his blanket of tools in the same spot. Each day he  works hard. Mothers and barely clothed babies beg on sidewalks. Then I notice many of these people do not seem Tibetan, but Indian, in saris, in rags with nose rings. Days later I notice the workers, providing stoop labor, picking and shoveling out the foundation of a new building outside the Tibetan Government Archives and Library. They seem to be all Indians. Could it be? Despite all the pain and poverty, I sense no aggression. No blame. I am amazed and then remember the paroxysms of violence that erupt between Hindu and Muslim, and Hindu and Sikh. How can it be, I wonder?    Nirvana in Samsara. Samsara in Nirvana. The impressions float freely. They swirl with no fixed form. I know that the importance of kindness, compassion, patience, gratitude, forgiveness and generosity are stronger in me now. I know I love India, for what it is, and for what it has offered the Tibetans… and me. 

For Your Information ... • FWBO Centers in the U.S. - Newmarket, NH; Portland, ME; Belfast, ME; Lubec, ME; Somerville, MA; New York City, NY; Missoula, MT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Richland, WA.


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golden vajra upright in his left palm while the right reaches down, palm facing inward in the “earth touching” mudra.  Akshobhya’s smile radiates an all-knowing wisdom that can transform ignorance into  complete understanding.  His blue-black hair is tied with a topknot, while his head is surrounded by a splendid green halo.  There is also a silver-red halo around his body.  The soft blue light that emanates from his heart is the seed symbol “HUM,” the symbol of the integration of the individual with the universe.  Chanting his mantra “OM VAJRA AKSHOBHYA HUM” is like an elephant’s step; it is really there, slow and steady like the beat of a drum. Akshobhya means “unshakeable” or “imperturbable”.  He appears confident and composed.  Touching the earth symbolizes his call to the “Earth Goddess” to be his witness at the time the Buddha gained Enlightenment under the bodhi tree.  That was when Mara or death came to distract the Buddha in order to keep him bound to his earthly existence.  Mara represents the evil that challenges us.  The Buddha turned the arrows thrown at him into flower petals.  He was not seduced by Mara’s beautiful daughters.  Finally Mara asked the Buddha, “What gives you the right to sit upon the very same spot where other Buddhas have gained Enlightenment?”  The Buddha replied that it was because of his practice of generosity, ethical discipline and many other spiritual practices over aeons.  When Mara asked for proof, the Buddha gently and confidently touched the earth to call on Mother Goddess, Vasudhara.  She appeared and claimed to be the witness of the Buddha’s perfections. The Buddha gained Enlightenment and Mara disappeared.  It was through meditative concentration that the Buddha was able to move beyond Mara’s evil forces.  The Buddha-to-be showed us a great amount of determination. We can compare Mara’s negative actions to our own destructive thoughts and actions, and the Earth Goddess as the positive force to overcome them. Meeting this image of Akshobhya in a reflective meditation can compare to meeting someone new.  By being open

There is the Mirror-like Wisdom, or, we may say, objective Wisdom, which is associated with Aksobhya, the dark blue Buddha, the Buddha of the east. It is the Wisdom that merely, that simply, reflects. It sees everything, just like a mirror reflecting all forms, but it sees, just as the mirror reflects, things as they are - there is no distortion. The surface of the mirror is perfectly flat, perfectly smooth, flawless, there’s no distortion in the reflection, and the reflections come and go - the mirror doesn’t hang onto the reflections, they don’t stick - so the Mirror-like Wisdom is like that, it sees everything perfectly, clearly, objectively, and is attached to nothing. - The Symbolism of the Sacred Thunderbolt, Sangharakshita we take an interest in getting to know this new individual with curiosity and with full attentiveness.  With mindfulness to the present moment we can experience the likeness of character we may share, and we may aspire to gain the qualities this individual represents.  We may also be aware of the arising of an emotional response in the presence of our new friend.  Akshobhya’s animal is the remarkable elephant.  The elephant is the biggest and strongest land animal.  They are wise and you can’t push them around!  They place one foot after another upon the earth with unshakeable certainty. Akshobhya is the head of a spiritual family which is called the Vajra family.  This

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family includes Kshitigarbha, Maitreya, and Vajrasatva.  Akshobhya holds a diamond vajra standing upright in his left palm.  The vajra, the sacred thunderbolt, symbolizes sovereignty.  It is as strong as a diamond and is an irresistible force.  It is a symbol of Reality because it is able to cut through everything mundane and transform it.  Akshobhya is associated with the element water.  Blue is the color of water. The calm, still water reflects images that surround it like a mirror.  This highly developed wisdom is known as “mirrorlike wisdom.”  Like a mirror we see things as they actually are without adding into the mix our own perceptions or judgments.  The mirror stands imperturbable whether the circumstances are favorable or unfavorable to us.  We can stand, too, with confidence and a clear mind.  In the same way, our minds are able to reflect on our true experience like a mirror reflecting on an image.  This represents clarity in thinking as we gain freedom from wrong views.  From this, faith and confidence arise.  In the six realms from the Tibetan wheel of life, Akshobhya is in the hell realm helping those beings that create their experience through hatred and anger.  By focusing on Akshobhya we can transform the poisons of hatred and aggression into clear mirror-like wisdom.  The poisons can be dissolved by transforming them into energy that is used to destroy obstacles that get in our way along the path to Enlightenment. Another way to encounter Akshobhya is by meditating on shunyata or “emptiness.”  Buddhism denies the solid, fixed existence or nature that we perceive as real.  As we are able to see that everything is fleeting and changing, we lessen our hold on our concepts.  We begin to believe more in our experiences and less in concepts, like the reflections in a mirror.   I will finish with a brief look at the some of remaining aspects of Akshobhya. He is associated with rupa {form), one of the five skandhas {aggregates) as depicted in the Heart Sutra.  Akshobhya is associated with the heart chakra, from which feelings of love and compassion emanate.  The heart chakra is where we connect with others with positive energy. Locana “The Clear-Visioned One” is AKSHOBHYA

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Living the Dharma How one Buddhist’s career and practice intertwine By Dr. David Johnson My medical and Buddhist practices are interconnected.  The iissues of compassion, suffering and change are important aspects of medicine.  As with the rest of life, we each experience them in our own way.  For me, it is simple to have compassion for the seriously injured or ill person who is suffering physically and who gratefully accepts my efforts.  People who are often labelled as habitual abusers of the system, who are surly, demanding and unappreciative offer me a more daunting challenge.  But do they deserve any less of my time and compassion?  Why should it make a difference?  I can get a heady, ego-boosting sense of accomplishment when I make a difficult diagnosis or satisfactorily relieve someone’s physical pain.  But frustration, self-recrimination and even despair follow me when I

err, and sometimes more so if someone else solves the problem that I could not.  Is my joy more focused on my success and not on the relief on another’s suffering?  How unskillful it is to be so self-absorbed with my failure while my patient continues to suffer from pain or improves because of someone else’s expertise.  I crave, I suffer.  What I do is who I become.  As a healer I suffer when I am unkind, distant, impatient or otherwise unskillful.  For the rest of the day (or longer), I am either distracted with regret for my behaviour or, if unaware, my behaviour continues.  But then a patient will see my struggles and efforts and buoy me with her kindness even as she endures her own suffering.  The healer becomes the patient; the full cycle. In the end, doctor and patient are interconnected.

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his consort. Aksobhya’s paradise, or Pureland, is Abhirati, the land of great delight.  Abhirati is a very beautiful and rich land.  We can enter his Pureland  by following the bodhisattva ideal and engaging in the transference of merit.  Perhaps you have encountered a little stirring up of your emotions as you have read this description of Aksobhya’s appearance and qualities.  Remember that Akshobhya is Enlightened, so he inspires us to grow and develop in our practice towards Enlightenment.  His work is to engage us with his positive qualities and his wisdom as he teaches us the Dharma.  We may connect to certain aspects but not to others.  That is okay.  Be open to the symbols and colors. Aksobhya helps us to connect to the beauty of nature. As you look at the trees, flowers, lakes and everything else in nature there is an impression left on us of beauty.  A beauty that is beyond words.              

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Don’t miss it! June 14: Dhardo Rinpoche Celebration Dhardo Rinpoche holds a special place in the FWBO.AGelugpa lama, Dhardo Rinpoche and Sangharakshita travelled together on a pilgrimage in India and became close friends. Bhante was given the Bodhisattva ordination from him, as well as the White Tara ‘longlife’ initiation. They went on to work together on a variety of different Buddhist projects in Kalimpong. In Precious Teachers, Bhante writes: “Above all, I saw how uniformly kind he was, how unfailingly mindful.” (pg 32 and 35). Dhardo Rinpoche has said of Bhante that he learned from him that one could teach the Dharma in the context of friendship. Watch the Aryaloka website (www.aryaloka.org) for more details on the celebration!

Locana’s mantra is om va jra lo ca ne lom svã hã.   Chanting the mantra clothing and jewels. Her right hand, in evokes the qualities of her enlightened the earth-touching mudra (a gesture of awareness.  By chanting Locana’s mantra, resolve, a vow to be steadfast), holds a visualizing her form and recalling her golden vajra.  The vajra represents the qualities you may find inspiration and a indestructible diamond thunderbolt, a desire to move toward greater wisdom symbol of reality and compassionate, and compassion, toward the mirror-like skillful action. Her left hand, palm open at wisdom she embodies. her heart, holds a Vajra Bell that contains  You can learn more about Locana the face of Prajnaparamita, the Perfection and the other female prajna Buddhas of Wisdom Goddess. in Dharmachari Vessantara’s books  Locana’s beautiful eyes see things Female Deities in Buddhism and The as they really are.  Her long black hair is Five Female Buddhas, a commentary partially drawn up into a topknot that holds on their sadhanas and pujas. Listen to a small dark blue figure of Akshobya.   She Vessantara chant Locana’s mantra on wears a crown of five jewels representing www.freebuddhistaudio.com/talks/ the five female Buddhas, the five Prajnas (Locana, Mamaki, Pandaravasini, Green details?num=OM678. Take a look at his website: vessantara.net/home/ Tara and Akashadhatvishvari). projects/female-buddhas. In addition,  Her seed syllable LOM is at her heart.  Dharmachari Jayarava’s website contains Auras of light that surround her body his calligraphy of seed syllables and represent the merits attained by practicing mantras at: visiblemantra.org/locana/ the perfections of giving, ethics, patience, html. energy, meditation and wisdom. 

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Puja nights are a chance to connect By Stephen Sloan “Buddhist devotional ritual, or puja, is only one of many methods of spiritual practice which address the problem of how to engage our emotions with the spiritual life... Through ritual expression, not only do we externalize and make conscious our deep spiritual feelings; we also strengthen and intensify them. This touches on another reason why quite a lot of people feel hesitant about expressing themselves through ritual speech and action. They are simply not sure about the feelings themselves. Perhaps in the case of many of us, our devotional feelings are still quite underdeveloped. It is a big step to put our trust in these feelings, to give them space to grow and to exert their influence on

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Their wonderful blog is filled with articles, book reviews, news on the latest Buddhism-related stories from around the world and anything else that “doesn’t fit neatly” into the main site’s information. They provide a free newsletter that sends updates on this material to your e-mail address. Donations to Wildmind keep it all up and running, but also go towards valuable prison outreach programs and translation of the materials into many languages. Your dana will be much appreciated. Enjoy! http://www.savetibet.org The Campaign for Tibet is a site approved by the Dalai Lama .... their letters come with a note from him encouraging up to be aware of the site and perhaps to consider supporting it.

If we can’t connect to our practice with our heart, we will gain little benefit.

our conscious lives.” Ritual and Devotion Sangharakshita 1995 In the quote above, Bhante addresses not only one of the many reasons to engage in puja but also one of the reservations that keep many of us from connecting with the practice of puja. Ultimately, no matter how well we may know Buddhist scripture and understand the way laid out in the Dharma, if we can’t connect to our practice with our heart, we will gain little benefit. On the

Nova program, the Lost Treasures of Tibet (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tibet/ ), can help us to keep in touch with that ancient heritage. The program is centered around an effort to restore nine paintings in the Thubchen monastery in the kingdom of Mustang, which is part of modern Nepal, but has a long connection with Tibetan culture. When the restorers arrived to look at the paintings, they found a single woman dressed in black who each day braved the deteriorating conditions to light a single butter lamp in honor of the images of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas in the temple. At the end of the restoration process, the cameras capture a ceremony where 10,000 butter lamps were lighted. This show (which can be watched online) is inspirational on many levels. And the rest of the web site can give one an idea of what life had been like for the Tibetan people for hundreds of years before the takeover by the Chinese in 1950.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tibet The recent events in Tibet have highlighted the loss of centuries of Buddhist traditions within their Tibetan context. The web site built around PBS’s

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/229   TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an annual conference highlighting some of the greatest ideas

other hand, when we allow our devotional feelings to fuel our practice, the benefits can be striking. Here at Aryaloka there is the opportunity to engage in puja on a regular basis. On the Tuesday nearest to the full moon, puja is offered during our regular sangha night activities in place of meditation. On most Friday evenings, meditation and puja is offered to anyone wishing to attend, either in the main shrine room in Aryaloka, or in Akashaloka in a smaller but intimate shrine room on the top floor. Please join us. For those new to puja it is a chance to deepen your practice. For those who may be familiar with puja but aren’t regular practitioners, it’s a way to learn to let devotional feelings “exert their influence on our conscious lives.”

and minds of our time. The conference has a mirror website that is in itself amazing (www.ted.com), with over 200 of its best speeches available for free online as video downloads. One speech in particular has been making its way around the Aryaloka circuit, and if you haven’t seen it, take some time to watch. The site summarizes it like this: “Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened -- as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding -- she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.” The speech is about much more than the nuts and bolts of the mind, it is about the researcher’s experience of what she could only label as ‘nirvana’ as her perception lost all sense of separation between self and other. From the Buddhist’s perspective, her description of the mind’s involvement in constructing our feelings of separateness is fascinating and informative.


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Family overnight a hit at Aryaloka By Megrette Fletcher (Hammond) From Saturday evening to Sunday noontime during the February school vacation, a small group of children aged 5-11 were formally introduced to the Dharma at the Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center.  Entering the shrine room, these curious youngsters started to explore the purpose of meditation, different sitting positions, making offerings, and sharing Buddhist stories.  Each parent had a chance to connect with all of the children, sharing with them how the Dharma has opened the parents’ thoughts and hearts.  Other activities included visiting outside shrines, yoga, coloring Buddhist images, and reading stories.  These were woven into more traditional kid play like coloring, sledding, and sharing a snack.  The parents also had a chance to talk with each other about how they would like to share the Buddha’s teachings with their children.   Parents acknowledge that there isn’t any one way to introduce the Dharma to youngsters, but whatever way is used - including incorporating curiosity - creativity and fun are important strategies to include.    The emphasis on spiritual friendship that is central to the FWBO was also considered when planning this mini-retreat. The overall structure was purposely left flexible in order to encourage the growth and development of free play and connections among the children.   After the event, each youngster was given an opportunity to offer feedback.  The older children were interested in more formal instruction in meditation and more chances to work together. Parents thought a walking meditation with chanting might be good for the younger kids.  All the children wanted to return to Aryaloka.  When asked why, the answer was an enthusiastic: “It is just really fun to be here!”   

SANGHA NOTES

New treads have recently been installed on many of our staircases – thank you to but we hope you’ll consider attending Brian Sullivan and Steve Cardwell… the one on July 18-19. The sangha at The annual meeting of the sangha with the prison is a dedicated one and very the Aryaloka Council will be a brunch appreciative of visitors from Aryaloka. this year. Join us on Sunday, April 13 Contact Bodhana and see the bulletin from 10 a.m. to 12 noon to learn more board at the bottom of the stairs for about what has happened here at the more details and an application.… A Center over the past year and what plans four-part seminar for those interested are for the future. Bring questions!… in learning more about how to teach Our Friday evening meditation and the Dharma has just concluded. The puja sessions have resumed. Join us enthusiastic participants plan to have from 7-9 p.m. on April 4, 11, 18, and one or more follow-up meetings, and 25; May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; June 6, 13, 20, some hope to begin/continue supporting 27. Other dates will be scheduled from such Aryaloka offerings as Intro Days/ July on. Please check the poster in the Evenings, Tuesday night classes, mitra lobby for locations… Many thanks to classes, and long and short retreats… the sangha members who participated on Continued from Page 

the social action panel on the evening of March 4. The following people each talked a bit about their specific area of interest and how it relates to their practice – i.e., putting the Dharma into action: Marianne Hannagan – child advocacy, Lori Siebert – African aid, Bodhipaksa – adoption, Nina Jordan – civil rights and the NAACP, Dino Papvasiliou – media, and Bodhana – volunteering in prisons. Sadhu, everyone!… Don’t forget our annual WESAK festival on the afternoon of May 18. More details coming…Finally, our Women’s Holistic Health Day will be held on May 10 this year. Think about coming for this day of relaxation and rejuvenation!


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Upcoming Events (Akasaloka events are listed in italics) APRIL 16 18 18-20 23 25 30

Intro evening Meditation and Puja Retreat on Engaged Buddhism Intro evening Meditation and Puja Intro evening

MAY 1-4 2 3 7 9 10 14 16 17

Yoga and meditation retreat Meditation and Puja Intermediate Workshop on Metta Bhavana - Sunada Intro evening Meditation and Puja Women’s Holistic Health Day Intro evening Meditation and Puja WORK DAY

17 18 18 23 30 30-31

Intro Day, 10-4 Council 10-12 Wesak p.m. Meditation and Puja Meditation and Puja Avalokitesvara retreat - Surakshita

JUNE 1 6 7 8 13 14 14 14-15 19 22 27 29

Avalokitesvara retreat continues Meditation and Puja Devotion Day Order Day Meditation and Puja Intro Day (building TBA) Dhardo Rinpoche celebration (building TBA) Council overnight, begins at 6 p.m. Meditation and Puja Meditation retreat Meditation and Puja Women’s GFR overnight

Ongoing Sangha Night at Aryaloka

Friday Night Puja

• • • •

The rich devotional practice of meditation and puja is shared most Friday nights by those who find devotion an important part of their practice.

Every Tuesday evening, 7:00-9:15 p.m. Led by Amala and Khemavassika 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 include: • • • •

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!

Friday evenings as scheduled. See the Aryaloka web site for dates and locations. 7:00 p.m. meditation, followed by puja.

“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

Vajra Bell newsletter - April 2008  

* "Akshobya the 'Unshakeable'" by Dharmasuri * "Locana, the wise consort of Akshobya" by Dayalocana * "India: Nirvana in Samsara, Samsara in...