VAJRA BELL Volume 8 Issue I
Perfecting Emotion Exploring the second limb of the Noble Eightfold Path By Surakshita
uddhists are all familiar with, and in most cases intimately familiar with, the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path. When thinking about the Noble Eightfold Path, I invariably remember seven of the angas (anga means member or branch) but always draw a blank on the same anga. Right View, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration come quickly to mind, but Right Thought, Resolve, or Intention gets lost in the energy of the other seven. Maybe it is just me, but on the surface Right Intention seemed obscure even dull or mundane. So in this article I will explore this perception and come to a much better understanding of this anga. Even a read of scripture seems to relegate Right Intention to a supporting role. It is usually listed second, after Right View. There, it gets lost in the light of Right View, which of course at its ultimate is enlightenment itself. For instance, in the Majjhima Nikaya, the Buddha says: “Therein bhikkus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong intention as wrong intention and right intention as right intention. This is one’s right view.” (MN 117.10) Talk about an underwhelming look at Right Intention. The PERFECT EMOTION
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Aryaloka Buddhist Center 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket, NH 03857
From the Editor By Eric Wentworth In the last issue we embarked on an exploration of the Noble Eightfold Path, filtering our lives through the lens of Perfect Vision, and here we arrive on the next stretch of the path, Perfect Emotion. We have seen a glimpse of the world as it really is, and how it can be, and we’re ready to begin transfoming our lives with that vision. Perfect Emotion, known also as Right Resolve or Right Intention, is all about changing how we respond to our experience with our hearts. It is about building emotional intelligence to complement our intellectual understanding of concepts. It’s easy to get bogged down in the vast amounts of information and ideas in the Buddhist canon, trying to wrap our minds around so many different formulations and schools of thought and texual references. However, the idea is not to simply know all of these things, but to truly put them into practice. In order to do that, we have to engage our hearts and emotions positively in the process. Heartknowledge adds a depth and breadth to
our experience of the Dharma that can’t be achieved by mind alone. This installment of the Vajra Bell illustrates some ways that we can engage the heart in our practice. Surakshita and Samayadevi have written wonderful pieces on this limb of the Eightfold Path and how it relates to the Brahma Viharas, or “Divine Abodes” of positive emotion. Appreciation of the arts and creativity are ways to reach our inner depths and strengthen our emotional sensitivity, and we have a wealth of artistic ferment at Aryaloka of late! Kiranada gives a recap of the recent Arts at Aryaloka Evening and an update on upcoming art events. We have selections of beautiful poetry from several sangha members, and great new media picks in the bookstore, online, and at the movies. The cultivation of faith in one’s practice is also very important in developing Perfect Emotion. Faith can be strengthened through the lyrical and devotional puja practice, which Stephen Sloan invites us to participate in on Friday nights near the full moon. We also hear the personal stories of sangha members who are pursuing their faith with vigor. They share their experiences of solitary retreat and the path to becoming ordained. In this new year, may we all find many new paths leading to our own hearts and to the hearts of others.
Musings from the Chair By Dh. Dayalocana Here in Newmarket, NH, we have an interesting year ahead as we come together to celebrate Aryaloka’s 25th anniversary. When I first walked through the door 22 years ago, I had no idea what lay ahead. Now, looking back, I am filled with gratitude for the many opportunities presented to me to learn and respond to the teachings of the Buddha.
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Contact Information Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aryaloka.org
Aryaloka Council Dayalocana email@example.com Saddhamala firstname.lastname@example.org Amala email@example.com Vihanasari firstname.lastname@example.org Candradasa email@example.com Viriyalila firstname.lastname@example.org Tom Gaillard email@example.com
Vajra Bell Kula Eric Wentworth, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Samayadevi email@example.com Vihanasari firstname.lastname@example.org
In this coming year we celebrate the impact the Dharma has had in changing our lives. At Aryaloka we come together to study, practice, and realize the teachings of the Buddha that show us the way through greed, hatred and ignorance. Over the last 25 years so many people have learned the benefits of meditation, reflection, positive mental states, compassion, and wisdom. We celebrate the message of the Buddhist precepts - training principles that guide our words, actions and thoughts. We celebrate the calm, the peace, and the caring that we have FROM THE CHAIR
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Stephen Sloan email@example.com Suzanne Woodland firstname.lastname@example.org Elizabeth Hellard email@example.com Daniel Bush firstname.lastname@example.org Ashley Bush email@example.com
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
The Council By Vihanasari The Council welcomes three new members - Tom Gaillard, Viriyalila, and Candradasa. Council members for the present year include Dayalocana (chair), Tom Gaillard (treasurer), Viriyalila (recording secretary), Amala, Saddhamala, Candradasa, and Vihanasari. Two very generous, anonymous donations were received recently - $10,000 to be used for any purpose as determined by the Council, and $5,000 toward the development of a new center web site. The misunderstanding with the IRS over paperwork to be filed has finally been settled. All money paid by Aryaloka to the IRS has been refunded with interest.
We have switched to straight kerosene for the winter at Akasaloka at the recommendation of our fuel company. This should keep our lines from freezing due to the non-insulated location of the tank in that building. We have locked in prices for our fuel this winter. It was decided to continue to solicit additional designs for a logo for the center. Viriyalila and Saddhamala will liaison with Eric Wentworth about plans for the web site. Steve Cardwell has accepted the position of bookkeeper for the center. He will be responsible for tracking income and expenses and inputting the data into a Quickbooks computer program. Steve will report to the treasurer. The Council met with interested members of the sangha on October 20 to share
information. Feedback from the meeting will be followed up on during the next several months. The Council held a day-long meeting on Oct. 25 to discuss a variety of issues and met with Dhammarati (from the UK) for a potluck and conversation on Nov. 2. Aryaloka has been asked to join other centers in support of the European Chairs Assembly where Dayalocana, Amala, Dharmasuri, Viriyalila, and Candradasa attended a meeting in the UK this past fall. Conflict of interest statements have been signed for the current year. Viriyagita and Surakshita have kindly agreed to co-chair our upcoming 25th anniversary festivities. Lots of great plans in the works - stay tuned for more information!!
How Can You Contribute to the Vajra Bell? As a sangha, one of the most important things we do is to share our individual experiences of the spiritual life. By contributing our own stories to the richly-flavored stew of dharma life that surrounds our center, we create strong connections between each other and strengthen each others’ practices, sometimes without even knowing it. Just by telling another person about something you know or an experience you’ve had, you may provide the missing part to a puzzle that has been unfinished in their mind. You may bring them peace, simply in the knowledge that they are not the only one struggling with an issue. You might say the right word at just the right moment that will alter their lives forever.
With this in mind, if you’ve ever been interested in contributing to the Vajra Bell, this is the time to do it! Have you taken an amazing photo lately? We can use one! Trying your hand at poetry? We’re eager to share one of your poems. If you’ve attended a retreat or event at an FWBO center, we would love to have you write something about it for us. If you have a great website to share, a dharma movie you’re eager to talk about, or a pageturner of a Buddhist book that you have to let everyone know about, let us know! There are so many ways that you can enrich the pages of the Vajra Bell - let your imaginations run wild! So, you say that you’re not a great writer?
Well, now is the chance to challenge that self-view. The Vajra Bell kula has among its volunteers an excellent set of editors to help you on your way. Have an idea, but you’re not sure if it’s prime-time material? Let us know what you’re thinking - it may grow from a seedling thought into a solid story. The important part is to take the leap. You never know what will happen unless you give it a shot, and there may be someone out there just waiting for what you have to say. To contribute, or to suggest an idea for a future issue of the Vajra Bell, you can contact any of the kula volunteers, listed in the contact column on page two of this issue, by email or in person.
FROM THE CHAIR
Together, we will recall and appreciate the accomplishments of the many men and women who have given from their hearts over the past 25 years so that the Dharma could be shared with others. I hope that you will join us in the activities throughout the year that celebrate Aryaloka
Buddhist Center, our spiritual home. And, I hope that in 2010 you will find many reasons to celebrate the importance of the Three Jewels in your life.
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created in our lives and shared with others. Together, we celebrate the impact of spiritual friendship among members of our sangha and our connections with the larger FWBO sangha that circles the planet.
Dharmacharini Dayalocana Chair, Aryaloka Buddhist Center
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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Sangha Notes - “What’s Happening?” By Suzanne Woodland During a recent Tuesday evening, I was delighted and inspired by the level of engagement of those who shared their evening with us at the Center. This dynamic process of exchange and exploration as well as the initiation of new friendships and the welcome ease of old, were both in evidence. Such interactions are hallmarks of practice at Aryaloka and there were many opportunities this fall to participate. To begin with, our spiritual community had the opportunity to take advantage of the international richness of the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order, as several Order members from England spent time with us. Dhammarati, who has over 30 years of practice with the Western Buddhist Order and is the Chair of the College of Preceptors, introduced Tuesday evening participants to Anapanasati meditation practices. It was a full evening in the shrine room as Dhammarati’s introduction to the practice was interspersed with opportunities to meditate. The evening was well attended by both our newest visitors as well as some of our senior members of the Aryaloka community. A number in our community had the opportunity to connect with him individually, establishing or deepening friendship during his brief stay. Ashokashri, who has been teaching
Buddhism and meditation for over thirty years, spent three months with the Aryaloka community leading retreats, giving talks and building friendships. She offered two weekend retreats, one aptly titled Making Life Meaningful which centered on the four reminders. A second retreat offered Order Members and mitras an opportunity to explore several of the “songs” of Milarepa - Milarepa being an esteemed early twelfth century yogi of Tibet. Ashokashri also gave two Tuesday evening talks, the first talk focusing on impermanence, insubstantiality and unsatisfactoriness known as the Three Lakshanas. Her second talk invited listeners to explore the realm and role of imagination and myth. In December, Paramashanti, a regular visitor to Aryaloka from the United Kingdom, joined with Narrotoma to offer a practice day dedicated to the Four Noble Truths. Aryaloka friends are encouraged to connect with visiting Order members and mitras. Several of our most-welcomed and wellattended retreat offerings were repeated this fall including the Open Mind Quiet Heart Yoga and Meditation Retreat as well as the Rest and Renewal Retreat, the latter providing a refuge in the form of guided meditations, gentle yoga, excellent food, massage and other personal care. Aryaloka continued to offer, on a regular basis, classes and weekend practice days to introduce the foundational meditation practices that are used by the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. For those more experienced members of the community who have made
mitra declarations, the women’s mitra sangha gathered on Thursday evenings to explore what it is to be a Buddhist. This investigation touched on the topics of faith, the Buddha and the Enlightenment experience, the Dharma both as a Truth as well as path or method, and the Sangha. The mens’mitra sangha continued to gather on Monday evenings, exploring mindfulness and studying Sangharakshita’s Living with Awareness. For men of any level of experience, practice days were held each month. In addition to meditation and the opportunity for building friendships, the Noble Eightfold Path has been the subject of continuing exploration, the most recent practice day focusing on “Right Mindfulness.” Tuesday evening, Sangha night, continues to be well-attended by a mix of experienced practitioners and those newly interested in exploring Buddhism. This mix has added both depth and freshness to the exploration of the Three Jewels - namely the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Complimentary to the study of the teachings has been the celebration of the Buddha through art, most notably with Virigina Peck’s work, “Faces of Buddha,” which adorned Aryaloka’s walls for a number of weeks. To recognize and celebrate that work, members of the community came together on a Friday evening to share an evening of music, poetry and friendship. As a final note, our mitra sangha continues to grow with the addition of Denise Martin, Perry Blass, Shir Haberman, and Richard Thivierge. Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
News from Nagaloka By Gail Yahwak Our Nagaloka Sangha is welcoming the change to some suddenly very cold weather here in Portland, Maine. As things are turning a bit more wintery we are finishing up our seven-week study on Ethics taken from the Dharma Training Course. We have had some very interesting discussions regarding kindness, generosity, contentment, truth and mindfulness. Our discussions have helped
us see more clearly where our intentions and motives lie. We will be starting the New Year off with our next study in the Threefold Path, Meditation. Maitrimani and I will co-lead this course and hopefully help us all to start the New Year with inspiring meditation practice. Also coming up in January will be a series on Becoming a Mitra with Viryagita and Prasannavajri. This will be a four-week course on Fridays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Maitrimani and Viryagita will lead an Intro to Buddhism class on Saturday, January 9th from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and Dharmasuri will begin an Intro series on Tuesday evenings in February. Thank you to all who spend their time and energy making Nagaloka a welcoming and friendly place to share our spiritual practice. Keep an eye on our website for the latest in upcoming events, www. nagalokabuddhistcenter.org.
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News from the Concord Sangha Concord Retreat on Karma Inspires Further Contemplation By Rich Cormier The Concord sangha held its final retreat of 2009 on November 19th and 20th on the topic of karma. In attendance were many friends from Aryaloka, as well as plenty of us from Concord. Once again the retreat was a success, meaning we had lively discussions, a great meal, and quality time spent in developing the bonds of sangha. Thank you Aryaloka for your continuing support. I came away from the event with more questions than answers. Karma is a complex subject that each of us has a personal opinion on. Sharing our thoughts and understanding with other members of the sangha enables us to learn, ponder and grow. In the Tree of Enlightenment, Peter Della Santina expressed the Buddha’s teachings on karma as follows: “How can we know that a wholesome act will produce happiness, and an unwholesome action unhappiness? The short answer is that time will tell. The Buddha himself explained that as long as an unwholesome action does not produce its fruit of suffering, a foolish person will consider that action good; but when it does produce its fruit of suffering, then he will realize that the
act was unwholesome. In the same way, as long as a wholesome action does not produce happiness, a foolish person may think that it was unwholesome only when it does produce happiness, will he realize that the act was good.” “The Buddha said that if we want to understand our past lives, we need only look to our present conditions, for they are the result of the past. If we want to know what our future life will be like, we should examine our present actions, for they are the cause of the future.” (Freemantle, Luminous Emptiness, p. 44.) The following is a passage I copied down; source unknown: “Logic and reason are used in analytical meditation, when we observe how thoughts work and examine the mechanisms of happiness and suffering. In this process we examine how our mind functions, such as the approaches it uses in order to perceive the world and make a mental picture of it. We also try to discover the mental processes that increase our inner peace and make us more open to others, as well as those processes that have a destructive effect. This analysis helps us to see how our thoughts are bound together, and how they find us. “As soon as meditation has been inculcated in us and increased goodness and CONCORD SANGHA
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Significant Events of Deepening Commitment The life of our sangha and FWBO centers involves many significant ceremonies throughout the year. We welcome those who have made a commitment to become a Mitra (friend) through their mitra ceremonies, those who deepen their commitment significantly and request Ordination into the Western Buddhist Order and those in the ordination process who formally acknowledge spiritual friendships through Kalyana Mitra ceremonies. We will try to carry news of these important mileposts regularly in the Vajra Bell. In the past six months, we welcomed:
New Mitras: Joyce Hill, Ashley Davis Bush, Dan Bush (August 25); Perry Blass, Shir Haberman and Richard Thivierge (December 22). Ordination Requests: Gail Yahwak (Nagaloka), Zoltan Molnar (Aryaloka), Denise Martin of Vt. (Aryaloka) Kalyana Mitra Ceremonies: Stephen Sloan with Narottama and Kasunasara (July 5), Jim Mosonyi with Bodhana and Vidhuma (July 5), Sheila Groonell with Karunasara and Amala (August 29) and Kiranada with Dayalocana and Karunasara (September 3) Please let us know if we missed someone.
News from the Boston Sangha By Sunada The fall presented several opportunities for us to deepen our practice together, thanks to a couple of distinguished visitors. In October, Dhammarati visited us and led an inspiring workshop on the Anapanasati practice. In his skilled hands, it seemed as though he was giving us a guided tour through our own meditation experience. Thank you Dhammarati! Then, in November, we were honored with several opportunities to work with Ashokashri. All told, seven members of the Boston Sangha participated in one or the other of the two retreats she led at Aryaloka — one on the Four Mind Turnings, and the other on Milarepa. It was great to practice together as a Sangha in a deeper way than we could on a Wednesday evening. Then in midNovember Ashokashri visited us to run a day workshop especially for us. We had a focused study on the Samgrahavastus — the ways that we might inspire others to work with us for the good of the dharma. Thank you Ashokashri! If you’re interested in joining us on Wednesday nights, please do! The format for our Sangha Night is very similar to what happens at Aryaloka. We begin with a silent meditation followed by a short tea break and then study or a talk. The meetings run from 7-9 p.m. in Davis Square, Somerville right on the Red Line. To learn more about us, visit us on the web at www.bostonfwbo.org or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be sure Aryaloka’s windows stay closed in winter and remember to close them when leaving the center in warmer months. Thank you!
Mid-Year Financial Update on Aryaloka By Tom Gaillard, Treasurer It may sound odd, but as we prepare to welcome a new calendar year, Aryaloka’s fiscal year is more than half-way through! For reasons mysterious, our spiritual home begins its year on June 1, so November 30th marked the midpoint of our fiscal year. And the first six months have been pretty good ones for Aryaloka! We are above breakeven, with income of $86,500 and expenses of $62,400. Our practice revolves around the three pillars of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Our sangha here in Newmarket is in turn supported financially by three pillars: Dana, Retreats and Programs. Retreats generated 42% of income, or $37,000, thanks to a very busy fall. Dana was close behind at $33,000 with pledges from the Mandala of Supporting Friends and generous individual donations. Programs, including Sangha night, Mens’ and Womens’ Days, mitra study and the like, contributed an additional $12,500. For the first half of the year, $28,600 went to those who administer the center and spread the Dharma through Aryaloka’s many teachings, retreats and programs. Facility expenses, including our mortgage, utilities and the like, were $12,000 for the period. Retreat expenses (mostly food and, to an extent, instructors) were $9,600. Finally, Administrative expenses to support our operations were $10,800. What does all this mean? Well, six months into the year we’re a bit ahead of budget and we have adequate cash to meet our needs. Income from retreats has been stronger than expected, which has provided us a bit of a cushion since dana is a bit lower than we’d like. We’re living within our means, which is the prudent thing to do. However…we have a vibrant community and many plans for increased programs if the support is there! So, if you’re able to donate - one time, or over time - please think about increasing your financial support to our wonderful gathering place!
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Aryaloka to Celebrate 25th Anniversary
By Viriyagita Stay tuned for some very exciting events this year in celebration of Aryaloka’s 25th year in existence as a Buddhist retreat center. We have been reflecting on the importance of this precious gift of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha brought to us by all those who generously gave of their time, energy and inspiration. Thus, we would like to express that gratitude and rejoice in those efforts. The fourth of September is the official celebration day, but is that sufficient? Think what Aryaloka means to you. What would it look like if Aryaloka had not continued? We have decided that it will take more than a day to express our gratitude to those who have founded Aryaloka, to those who have helped to build it, keep it going through incredible challenges, to those who are sustaining it now, and to those who will carry it into the future. Therefore, we will carry the theme of rejoicing in the 25th Anniversary throughout this year culminating in the final “fireworks display” from August 28th through September 4th. Planning has just commenced and we will keep you posted as the year progresses. We will be collecting stories, anecdotes, photos of the Aryaloka years and sharing those on
a link to the website, on a special evening the week before the final celebration, and in a booklet. Senior Order members who were pivotal in creating and contributing to Aryaloka have been invited to come and share their experience. Some will give talks on that week between August 28th and September 4th and others will participate in different ways in our mutual appreciation and celebration. We will kick off the main celebration with a dedication activity of sorts: banners which have been created especially by our renowned artist Kiranada and her team of twelve (yet to be revealed) will be planted along the driveway and parking lot. They will be ceremoniously planted in a procession on the morning of the 28th. The day will continue with other events and a picnic for the sangha and friends. On the 29th of August an Open House will be offered to the outlying community. Every evening of that week there will be an activity to continue the celebration and on the fourth of September we will have the formal celebration with special forms of rejoicing and a special puja. Many wonderful ideas are being considered and there may be some very special surprises. Stay tuned!
Auction Brings in Fun and Financial Help By Elizabeth Hellard Going Once! Going Twice! Sold to Number 43! Over 40 people attended the Annual Auction at Aryaloka on November 3rd. The gavel came down on 50 items during the live auction and there was enthusiastic bidding on the many items on the silent auction table. There’s always excitement and a flurry of activity at the silent auction table a few minutes before it closes. And there was good reason to be excited. The silent auction table held original paintings, a hand painted child’s jacket, mala beads, gift cards, jewelry and many other items. Dayalocana and Arjava did a superb job as auctioneers. With wide-brimmed hats and French accent they made a dashing appearance.
The lovely Camille (aka Dayalocana) added a European sophistication and plenty of humor to the auctioneers’ job. This dynamic duo encouraged the bidding as they described each item during the live auction and sprinkled the evening with fun and laughter. Several times during the evening one of our auctioneers would put down their gavel, step from behind the podium and take a seat in the audience as an eager bidder. All through the evening everyone enjoyed the Sweets Table which was loaded with homemade pies, cakes and cookies. There was no shortage of laughter as folks enjoyed a cup of coffee or tea while they sampled the treats. Most of the items up for bid during the AUCTION
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VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Kula Corner A Culture of Kindness, A Culture of Gratitude By Sheila Groonell In his book, Eight Steps to Happiness, Kelsang Gyatso, writes that we all exist through the kindness of others, known and unknown. Everything we have, our bodies, our food, our clothing, cars, our homes, our sangha, everything we’ve learned, the Dharma, our language, our ability to read, swim, ski, cook, has come to us through the effort of others, their work, their effort, their kindness, their generosity. Whether they realize how much we benefit from their efforts is irrelevant. We receive generous benefit from the actions of others. If we had to give back everything that others have given us, we would have nothing left at all. And so it is at Aryaloka. Here we are creating a culture of giving, a culture of kindness, a culture of awareness, and as a result, a culture of gratitude. This is the nature and heart of our kula system. It is only through the kindness and generosity of our members who offer their time and effort that we have our spiritual home. Kindness and impermanence, effort and change are our experience. This season in the kula system we have seen many acts of kindess, and much change. Lovely people helped Aryaloka. Lovely kulas have ended their work for the season. New kulas have reconfigured to support our beloved home. I’ll use this column to thank
some of the members of some of our kulas and invite you all to join us in our kula network of giving. The Garden kula, under the direction of master gardener Joan Rochette, with the help of Jean Corson, Shana Clark, Zoltan (there is only ONE Zoltan) and others, has wrapped up a fabulous season, luxurious with blossoms which decorated our shrine from spring through late autumn. Thank you so much for your diligence and love. The Work Days and Building kulas took care of many very large jobs, making the exit steps off both domes, and resupporting the porch off the book store. Thank you Narottama, Brian Jervis, Bodhana, Arjava, and Paul Dupre, our stalwarts of construction and to all those who joined them on these activities! The Cleaning kula, which is always looking for new members, keeps our beautiful home clean, shiny and ready for all the activities that go on here at Aryaloka. Our kitchen has been looking spotless and organized thanks to Candace Copp, who will be taking a break from these tasks at the end of December. Jean Corson will be taking over that responsibility. Thanks to you both, dear hearts. Nina Jordan has been keeping the yoga room and the main room clean for our many activities throughout the spring, summer and fall. She has just left for her winter time in California. We are looking for someone to take over her responsibilities till she returns. Kathy St. Hilaire has been very diligently cleaning the entry way and bathrooms for us. She’s also organized the laundry room for us.
Thank you, Kathy. For many years, Dayalocana cleaned the shrine room, cushions and blankets. As a matter of fact, Dayalocana for many years did EVERYTHING required to keep Aryaloka shiny and clean. Now she is taking a step back from her shrine responsibilities and John Pritchard is taking her place, keeping the shrine room shiny, beautiful, and inspiring. A special thanks to Karunasara, Dayalocana, and Ashokashri who took on the job of cleaning all the bed covers this fall. Gotta keep those beds clean for all the our retreat people, especially in flu season! Before Marianne Hannigan started law school she set up the beds in Aryaloka and Akasaloka with the towels and linen needed for retreat. Next Ashokashri, while she was visiting us, volunteered to do this task. Now that she has left for California, one of our newest mitras, Richard Thiviege, will be taking on that responsibility. Richard volunteered for this even before his mitra ceremony! For a long time, Samayadevi kept Akasaloka tidy and clean, among her other many tasks. Then Ashokashri kept it clean while she stayed there. Now, Zoltan will be doing that job. We are looking for someone to help Zoltan with this task. Akasaloka is much more lightly used than Aryaloka so two people should be fine. Finally, today I want to mention the Snow Shoveling kula. Barry Timmerman has volunteered again this year for shoveling KULA CORNER
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New Policy for Retreat Deposits: Retreats/Classes/Solitaries Those registering for retreats (including solitaries) and classes of any length will be asked to pay a minimum deposit of one-half of the total cost. If a registrant cancels two weeks or more before the event, s/he will receive a refund of the amount paid, minus a $15 processing fee. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant will forfeit the minimum deposit. Forfeited deposits may not be transferred to another event.
Yoga Retreats Those registering for yoga retreats will be asked to pay the full cost in advance in order to finalize the registration. If a registrant cancels two weeks or more before the retreat, s/he will receive a refund of the amount paid minus $35 that may be credited to another event. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant will receive a refund of $100. Thirty-five dollars ($35) of the remainder may be credited to another event, the rest will be forfeited.
* * * * * Note: In both categories above, special circumstances will be taken into consideration. * * * * *
Buddhaworks: From the Bookstore
By Stephen Sloan
By Steve Cardwell
“Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring” (2004), 95 minutes, Rated R, Available on Netflix
Greetings from Buddhaworks and best wishes for a wonderful New Year! We are happy to introduce some great new items in the bookstore. Prints from Virginia Peck’s Faces of Buddha are still available and we have five different images ready for framing at $95 each and signed by Virginia. These prints were very popular during the art show at Aryaloka. Just a few weeks ago we began buying from Tibet Arts, who are members of the Fair Trade Federation. This company is owned by Ngodup Sangpo and offers handcrafted products from India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia and the U.S. Your purchases help Aryaloka and also the refugee artists who fled Tibet. Some of the most beautiful meditation bowls with cushions we have ever seen are now in the bookstore. You will also love the many colored 100% cotton scarves, all priced at only $10 each. Then the Bodhi Leaf, Turquoise Vajra, and Wheel of Good Fortune silver earrings are of exceptional high quality and only $24 each with gift box. As many of you know, we buy handcrafted products made by the men at the Concord prison and offer them in the bookstore. Currently we have a variety of wooden bead and glass bead malas and travel meditation benches. Purchase of these items allows the men to build their savings for their futures. Books are, of course, some of the most important items carried in the bookstore and we are looking all the time for new and interesting books about the Dharma or other valuable topics. Many of our books are written by FWBO Order members from throughout the world, and we especially try to carry all of Sangharakshita’s books. We have a new book by Maitreyabandhu called Life With Full Attention. Each moment
This movie is a visual and sensual feast that touches the viewer on many levels. The film follows the seasons, and through that metaphor, the seasons in a Buddhist monk’s life. The setting is a stunningly beautiful lake nestled in heavily wooded mountains in South Korea. We watch the story unfold on a floating monastery, the symbolism manifesting all around. The dialogue is sparse and not really needed as the story is carried by the action on screen. This movie will keep you thinking and reflecting for days afterward.
A History Treasure By Dh. Kiranada When my TV did not work after returning from Spain last July, I visited the center and came away with a few of the FWBO Newsreels available in the bookstore for borrowing. What a wonderful treasury of WBO history I discovered. I have worked my way back from #25, down to #1, watching with great enthusiasm as center activities in as diverse locations such as Norway, India, Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Spain, France and Germany spilled into my living room. I watched centers opening and relocating around the world; the wonderful work of Clear Vision, bringing Buddhist study materials to school children in England; Karunadevi being ordained by Bhante in our own shrine room during a US visit and then, Viveka becoming a mitra in San Francisco on the same tape. And then there was Bhante on a panel in Germany with Thich Nhat Hahn and Sogyal Rimpoche, the beginnings of Guhyaloka, NEWSREELS
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of mindulness creates the opportunity for greater spaciousness and joy. In Life with Full Attention, readers will learn to really relish pleasures and turn gently inward in difficult times to gain a more profound depth of experience. In this eight-week course in developing mindfulness, Maitreyabandhu gently guides readers, teaching them how to draw closer attention to experience, whether taking a shower or eating a meal, watching the rain or a sunset. With each week, he introduces a different aspect of mindfulness—among them awareness of the body, feelings, thoughts, and the environment—and recommends a number of simple practices, from trying out a simple meditation to reading a poem. Featuring personal stories, examples, and tempting suggestions, this book provides both a starting point and a great reference. Mindfulness is a quality that enhances all experience, whether mundane or extraordinary. By applying this ancient Buddhist wisdom, Maitreyabandhu shows how we can steal back the lost moments of life. You may have noticed that we have the Puja books again in the bookstore. They have been reprinted and now are in the color red, in either hardbound or paperback. These books are an important part of our ritual and devotional practices and many people find them valuable to have at home or when they travel. And finally, we want to send a big ‘Thank You’ to Joan Rochette for the beautiful note cards and magnets that she makes for the bookstore. Joan is an artist with many dimensions that include photography, flower arrangements for the shrine, poetry, and of course the gardens at Aryaloka. Thank you Joan for all you do to make Aryaloka and the bookstore more wonderful.
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Online In-Site - This Issue’s Featured Websites Buddhism is News Around the World By Dh. Amala http://www.buddhistchannel.tv In little old Newmarket NH, on an oxbow bend of the Piscassic River, Buddhism is alive and well. It is news to many that a Buddhist Center thrives in the woods and rocks of this corner of New England. But in many parts of the world – most of Asia, in fact – Buddhism is an understood and assumed part of cultural, religious, and even political life. To learn more about what goes on in Buddhism around the world, check out the website www. buddhistchannel.tv. Here you will find articles about the preservation of the Tripitika in Korea, about new temples opening in Tennessee, and about the limits on giving dhamma talks in Burma. Today I read these headlines: “Buddhist monks may soon learn science in monasteries” “Public interest litigation for separate Buddhist crematoriums” “Russian president vows to support Russian Buddhists” The range of news available here is
astonishing. There is so much I have simply never imagined that goes on in the Buddhist world. Just think: police horses in Leeds, UK have been blessed in a Buddhist ceremony as part of World Animal Day. The Buddhist Channel, whose tagline is “Bringing Buddha Dharma Home,” covers articles in four regions of the world and has 10 feature areas, such as Archaelology, Arts and Culture, Healing, and Opinion, as well as Reviews and Opinion from a variety of news media. It is also possible to sign up for an RSS News Feed from The Buddhist Channel. One need never feel isolated again as a Buddhist. Our activities in Newmarket are part of the mosaic of ceremonies and gatherings and conversations occurring daily around the world. Reading about the challenges faced in Bangkok, where “The application of the death sentence is at the centre of a fierce debate in Thailand, a nation 95% of Buddhist faith, the teachings of which prevent even the killing of a mosquito” can raise awareness of complexities in our own culture. We may find our practice contextualized as never before.
New Clear Vision Site http://www.clear-vision.org Clear Vision’s new website contains a
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
mass of information, DVD, online video and pictures, for adults and young people. Please give generously to support this work. There are over 500 video clips, mainly of Bhante Sangharakshita, organized into themes such as Sangharakshita’s life, Buddhism in the Modern World, and even The Buddha! There are a lot of teenagers out there surfing the net looking for the Dharma. We’ve always had a section for schools but now we have a new section for young people following up an independent interest in Buddhism. As well as quizzes and information, you’ll find here our recently completed Life of the Buddha interactive materials for 8-14 year-olds, combining video, questions, information and activities, as well as notes for parents/Sunday school leaders. Online interactive Dharma materials are the future - especially featuring Bodhi, the help lion! All this free material, for the FWBO and for young people, costs money. Please consider making a one-off or monthly donation. It’s very easy with Just Giving: www.justgiving.com/clear-vision With many thanks from Aparajita, Munisha and Upekshapriya
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Perfect Vision Through the Brahma Viharas By Samayadevi “Putting it simply, there is really no spiritual life until the heart is also involved.” These are wise words from Sangharakshita (The Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, Windhorse Publications, revised 2007, pg. 23), words we intuitively know to be true. Reason can be a cold companion, although a worthy one. Still, Bhante goes on: “No matter how active the brain is, or how much we have understood intellectually, until the heart is involved and we begin to feel what we have understood – until our emotions are engaged – there is no spiritual life, properly speaking. Once we have even a glimmer of the true nature of conditioned reality our emotions undergo a sort of sea change; we crave things less, our hold on them is loosened. And since most hatred is closely connected with frustrated craving, antagonism is also diminished, weakened. So too any tendency to cruelty, towards ourselves and all other beings. These are the emotional fruits of “Perfect Vision.” But that leaves us with the question of how we can nurture positive emotion, how we can create the conditions for happiness. And here we have a whole tool chest of practices! They are called the Divine Abodes, the Brahma Viharas, because living within them is a description of happiness.: loving kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), rejoicing in the happiness of others (mudita), and wishing well-being for all, without exception - friend, foe and stranger alike (upeksa). These are all familiar to us through the practice of Metta Bhavana, but the challenge is to live them off the cushion and in our every day goings-on. Easy to wish metta from a distance, harder still
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the Men’s Ordination Retreat in Spain; a new center in Seattle opening and … was that our own Anilasri and Nora wandering across the screen?.....Windhorse Publishing expanding from a small Glasgow building to the mammoth warehouse in Cambridge; the first anniversary of Dhardo Rimpoche’s death
when the cause of our consternation is right in front of us. So what might these Brahma Viharas look like on the ground? First of all, we need to be aware of our own mind states - compassionately and nonjudgmentally aware - I cannot change what I do not know exists. This takes courage and a good dose of humility. Someone steals “my” parking spot, I am late for the doctor’s appointment for my daughter: ah-ha, that is really not a positive emotion that is taking over my breathing. Interesting. I wonder what her hurry is? Clearly she is in a hurry, much as I am. Late for a manicure or late for a consult with her oncologist. I have no way of knowing. But I can breathe again, in and out, and wish us both well. May we both be free of the fetter of always feeling the need to rush about.
Recognizing my own emotional turmoil allows me to actually have a bit of an insight into the turmoil in another, and that understanding allows compassion to arise. And that brings about a deep sense of peace, from within. Then there is mudita, personally one of my deepest practices, although it takes many forms. A friend is going to Bodh Gaya to study with His Holiness while I am sitting far away in Amesbury, MA. Mercifully I have a role model in this little tangle. When I was teaching in the prison, one of the inmates (Annie, not her real name) had recently asked for parole and been denied. Her cellmate joined the group and told us that she had just been granted parole. There was not a trace
(1991), engaging stories of our Indian centers and Bhante’s visit there (1993) after 25 years, with 80,000 people attending one of his talks!!! I saw El Convento in Italy and Shrinjana and Sucharita being ordained (2001); Taraloka’s opening and renovations over many years with a blonde Dayanandi cutting a cake, an international tape with our Sunada speaking (2002), and Bhante walked up the inside steps
to Saddhus and flower petals. What a treasure! All of this connects me deeply with the FWBO movement, those I have met in England and Spain and my own dear Aryaloka. Please dip in and be engaged while we still have these tapes (and video players to see them). The series was discontinued and these are a treasured archive of this Western Buddhist Order. I think you will be inspired.
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PERFECT VISION Continued from Page 1
scripture, it seems, has wrapped Right Intention right in with Right View in a seemingly subordinate role, and then moves on to describe Right Speech in a more distinct and separate way. Of course, I understand that angas two through eight are developed in concert to arrive at Right View, but one of them seems to get lost in the action orientation of the others. What has changed my perception is a recent reading of Sangharakshita’s book Vision and Transformation. (The most current reprint is titled The Noble Eight Fold Path.) In the book, Sangharakshita revises the traditional titles for each of the eight angas. Based on his research, the Sanskrit term for “right,” as in Right View or Right Intention, is samyag. The term, he found, meant much more than just “right” as opposed to “wrong.” It meant something “proper, whole, thorough, integral, complete, perfect.” In other words, samyag means much more then the plain old term “right.” Sangharakshita chose the word “perfect” as the most appropriate and powerful form to preface the actions on the path. In the case of Right Intention, he not only changed “right” to “perfect,” he changed “intention” to “emotion.” His research of samkalpa or “intention” found that samkalpa in Sanskrit “represents the harmonization of the whole emotional and volitional side of our being with Perfect Vision, our vision of the true nature of existence.” Wow! We have gone from Right Intention to Perfect Emotion. Sangharakshita points out that there is a vast gap between an intellectual understanding of Perfect Emotion and the actual emotion which can drive us towards Perfect Vision which of course is enlightenment. Hence, Perfect Emotion describes in a much more dramatic and exciting way the depth of feeling and energy required in realizing the ultimate goal. I now like to think of Perfect Emotion as my driving spiritual inspiration. This inspiration
arises from the depth of my experience, understanding, and aspiration. It comes from the very center of my consciousness. It is based on my desire to be a spiritual being, not just a human being. How does it arise? In my case, inspiration started to arise many years ago when I realized that I needed a spiritual path to fulfill my existence. Like many people, I had drifted away from my cultural tradition to a point of no spiritual belief. Realizing that I was missing a whole dimension of my being, I felt that I had the intelligence and education to pursue it. I started my search for a path to understanding the existential question – why am I here and how do I become a spiritual being? Resolving to solve the question, I found myself excited and energized. I started reading in the usual areas of Western philosophy. Although the readings were interesting, there was no discernable path to follow. Then, I became aware of the modern Christian mystic, Thomas Merton, and the British Buddhist economist E.F Schumacher. Between Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful and Merton’s Asian Journal, I had stumbled onto the path of Buddhism. I was energized and ecstatic, like Ebenezer Scrooge waking on Christmas Day a changed and new man. I just knew that I was headed in the right direction. It just made sense to me and it engaged all my energy, both physical and mental. The study of Buddhism became my inspiration. The story of the Buddha’s life became one part of that inspiration. Who would not thrill to his six-year journey as an ascetic searching for the truth? This was my journey! His struggles, sacrifices, and eventual enlightenment became for me the greatest story ever lived. I could not get enough about the Buddha and his teachings. I had found the diamond in the sand pile. Reading the Dharma became my passion and still is today. This is the second part of my inspiration. The Four Noble Truths, Eight fold Path, Conditioned Co-production, Mindfulness and Mindfulness of Breathing, Metta Bhavana, and much more occupied my
For Your Information...
mind. The logic of the Buddha was masterful. It all made sense. Now it was up to me to realize truth by following in the footsteps of the Buddha. I liked the aspect that it was up to me. But how should I practice on this spiritual path and, more importantly, how could I sustain the practice over the long haul? I found the secret in the Sangha. This was the final piece of the puzzle. Finding Aryaloka Buddhist Center provided me with a venue where I could learn, study, and practice in the context of a warm and embracing community. I learned how to meditate, how to access Buddhism’s mythic context, and how to study and interact with other Buddhists. I had all the tools necessary to strive for Perfect Vision. My first experience of Perfect Vision came, appropriately, on my first meditation retreat at Aryaloka. In the fourth phase of mindfulness of breathing, I became totally calm and focused on my mind. This was followed by experiencing a very clear light accompanied by a sense of wonder, energy, and contentment. I do not know how long I rested in this state but I do know that I finally became frightened with the unfamiliar nature of truth and I broke out of that perfect moment. I think I had experienced that moment of beginners mind. I believe that my burning faith and devotion to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha had created Perfect Inspiration or Emotion in my whole being, which allowed a brief peek at the enlightened state. In the scope of my life it was a brief moment(s) in time, but it has made all the difference in my life. It is my rallying point for staying engaged and on the path of practice. So now, reflecting on Sangharakshita’s teaching on Perfect Emotion and remembering my experience of Perfect Vision, Right Intention explodes into view. My Perfect Emotion started to grow many years ago with finding the Three Jewels. That inspiration has guided me on the path to this day. How could I ever forget this anga?
FWBO Centers/Groups in the United States:
Newmarket, NH; Portland, ME; Lubec, ME; Somerville, MA; New York City, NY; Missoula, MT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Richland, WA.
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
The Arts Evening on November 20 was marked by some fantastic artistic presentations. Above, Cynthia Chatis and Jon Prichard on flutes. At right, Candradasa prepares to read his poetry. Far right, Virginia Peck speaks about her art work. Photos by Sheila Groonell
“Faces of Buddha,” Arts Evening, Showcase Creativity By Dh. Kiranada Over forty friends joined us at Aryaloka on Friday, November 20 for a special evening of Contemplative Arts. A beautiful reception welcomed the artist, Virginia Peck, as well as our invited poets and musicians. After enjoying the Faces of Buddha Exhibition that graced our walls through October and November, it was illuminating to hear Virginia explain the process and inspiration that produced this magnificent exhibition. Next, Candradasa, Suddhayu, and Joan Rochette, all from our sangha, shared their remarkable poetry, bringing comments on the very fine quality and powerful images that welled up. Interwoven between the poets was resonating music by Jon Prichard and Cynthia Chatis, on Native American flute, shuti box and concert flute and vocals. The result was
a magical weaving of one piece, a night of sweet contemplation touching the edges. For Eric Wentworth’s stunning poster of Buddha faces, to Virginia’s great artwork to Suddhayu, Joan, Candradasa, Cynthia and Jon’s creative work, we send deep thanks … and thank you also, to all those who worked behind the scenes to create this very special evening. (Note: Joan Rochette’s new book of poems, Acorns, and Cynthia Chatis’ music CD are both found in our Aryaloka Bookshop.) Our Arts Evening ended with cheers of “more, more” and, with your support, we are following through with plans for Arts at Aryaloka events every two months in 2010. In February the focus will be on music as we welcome the new Aryaloka String Quartet led by Sravaniya (Sunday, February 28). In April there will be a day of Mindfulness of Poem-making (Saturday April 3rd) with our own Saddhamala and Seacoast writer Lin
Illingworth looking at writing exercises and guided meditation. By deep summer we will move into hands-on art activities with two Dharma Dyeing Days, (Saturday, July 31 and August 7), with fiber artist Kiranada. Twelve-foot celebration banners and some joyous personal scarves will result from these two days of contemplative dye work. The big banners will be part of the welcome for our 25th Aryaloka Anniversary events. Aryaloka is moving to a deep commitment to the contemplative arts, looking at art process, creativity, calligraphy, music and poetry as tools for “communicating spiritual insights” and the dropping of ‘self’. We welcome your support and participation in the varied exciting events. Call the office and add your name to the list so that we know you are interested in this kind of programming.
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Buddhist Articles of Interest By Dh. Kiranada Those of you interested in Buddhist Arts were treated to some wonderful articles recently in both our own FWBO Urthona: A Journal of Buddhism and the Arts (issue 26, Summer 2009), as well as Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly (winter 2009 issue). In Urthona, Dh.Vishvapani writes of how Buddhist literature and thought strongly influenced western musicians and poets of the 20th century (from Wagner to Cage to Ginsberg). This article echoes a similar exploration of Asian influences on American Art seen in the Guggenheim Museum’s Third Mind Exhibition, also reviewed. And this same Urthona issue sent me looking for two Mandala exhibitions on a recent trip to NYC. Both the Rubin Museum and the Metropolitan Museum were
showing Tibetan and Japanese mandalas. The wonderful interactive mandala teaching stations at the Rubin (through January 10th) would help anyone with visualization practices: www.rmanyc.org Finally, Dzigar Kongtrul Rimpoche writes in Buddhadharma about his own painting as a form of contemplative meditation. His article, The Art of Awareness speaks of how the discipline of meditation carries through to the discipline of art, allowing him to remove himself from the (art) work, letting it have its own life, and thus relinquishing all attachment. “The universe is being created moment to moment out of the true nature of mind. Creating art is part of that same process that takes place all the time on a larger scale.” www.kongtrujigme. com Urthona is available in our bookstore and both magazines are regularly carried in our library, where back issues are available to borrow.
Upcoming Arts Events February 28 - Aryaloka String Quartet Concert (6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.) April 3 -
April 16 -
Mindfulness of Poem-Making Day with Saddhamala & Lin Illingworth (10 a.m. - 3 p.m.) Heather Maloney Concert (7 p.m.)
July 31 and August 7 -- Dharma Dyeing Days with Kiranada (6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.)
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duty. Narottama will help as long as he is here (unfortunately not so much longer). Marianne Hannigan has volunteered again to do this in between her full time job and full time student load at Law School! So the Snow Shovelling kula really needs some helpers. Just a half hour or an hour after a storm can be helpful. So many other kulas, so many other volunteers, I have not time today to note them all. Thank you all for your kindness and generosity. As you can see, there is an infinite number of tasks that need to be done, so we all can meet, study, meditate, attend workshops and learn and practice the Dharma with our
friends in beautiful Aryaloka. So many of our members provide their service to fulfill these jobs. I am filled with gratitude every time I think of you. I have mentioned only a few of the kulas and their members in this issue. I plan to highlight others in future issues of the Vajra Bell. Will you please consider offering your kindness, volunteering some time and effort? We always need more help. No special skills are required, just a generous heart. Even an hour a week can be helpful . Please join our web of generosity. Call me, Sheila Groonell, at 778-7522 or email me at email@example.com. We’ll find you a job you’ll enjoy, some friends to connect with, all to the benefit of Aryaloka, the Dharma, and all beings.
Classical Masterpieces at Aryaloka Concert on February 28th By Dh. Kiranada In the quiet white of late February Aryaloka is pleased to welcome the Aryaloka String Quartet for an evening of classical music. Those of you who heard these musicians perform a few years back will be delighted to know that our grand acoustics and enthusiastic audience have brought this quartet up from Boston for a return performance. Sravaniya of the Boston sangha will be joined by Beth Welty, violin, Noralee Walker, viola, and Sandi-Jo Malmon, cello. Sravaniya tells us that, although the program is not yet set, “we expect to play works by Haydn, Shostakovich and Beethoven.” “It is likely that we will play the amazing 8th quartet of Dimitri Shostakovich - an autobiographical work dedicated to ‘the victims of fascism and war’, and written by the composer in 3 days during a visit to Dresden in 1960, a city still destroyed by the firebombing 15 years earlier.” Called a “profoundly moving work,” we look forward to this with much anticipation. Join us Sunday evening, February 28, from 6:30 – 8:30pm.
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compassion, these enhance our reasoning abilities about life experiences and help us to appreciate, for instance, the harmful consequences of hatred and the great advantages of being patient in our everyday lives. The training to cultivate emotions and ways of thought that are conducive to the pursuit of genuine happiness, and to free oneself from those that are detrimental to this pursuit, gradually transforms the stream of our thoughts, and eventually one’s temperament. Love and patience aren’t positive just by a priori definition, or because of some divine decree, but because they are the real causes of happiness.” “One word frees us from all the weight and pain of life; that word is LOVE.” — Sophocles
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Poetry Corner Joan Rochette Poetry article By Joan Rochette When I was asked to read a few poems for the arts evening at Aryaloka in November, something related to Buddhism, I looked through some poems to find something to choose and found that they related to my practice in different ways. I thought I’d get them together for myself, then decided I’d like to share them. What resulted was a little booklet that I broke down into what I saw as different aspects of my practice, over time - some inspired by retreat subjects, all of them what I now see as a process over the years. They involved study, ethics, friendship, meditation and reflection, and ritual and devotion, and what each of those practices aspires to. I appreciate so much that others have found some meaning in them too, and hope that many in the sangha will find ways of expressing their individual practice and insights that may be shared by all of us, as did the others that night who offered samples through music, painting, and poetry. There are so many other ways people have expressed those aspects of practice. Editor’s Note: If you’d like a copy of the poetry booklet, please contact Joan directly by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bog By Sita Mani
Inspired by discussions on the Milarepa Retreat with Ashokasri What is the “bog” in your life? The bog, the mire that pulls you in as you watch – Faster, deeper than all the powers Your practice has afforded you? Mine makes me say “yes” When every part of my being (But my mouth) Knows it means “No.” Mine holds me still When every inch of my body Yearns for me to act.
While the Music Lasts
By Jon Prichard At that moment that the instrument starts to sing when I breathe into a wooden flute pluck a string on a mandolin arc the bow over a cello’s body the massive dark stone armored around me crumbles freeing flowers and light and the eager child-that-is-not-me. My notes guide him off to the fields to play and I stay behind in the brief fragrant silence.
By Richard Cormier The Spectrum of Ego beckons to all; Weaving its spell, a siren’s call. Sailors beware, gain wisdom in youth; The Eight Worldly Dharmas, contain the truth. There once was a man, a sinking ship, Sailing through life at quite a clip.
What is the hook that has my heart So perfectly grasped That it can keep its’ pleas and weeping silenced As un-truths pour out of my mouth and body And betray me? These demons, whose very appearance render me impotent, Whose names are the thousand faces of fear? I wonder, if I gaze upon them with unflinching kindness (As The Noble Ones would have me do) Would they not melt away, Like the sunlight melts The hailstones pelting down, Changing them into life-giving droplets Of pure shimmering water?
He searched for FAME, found it in haste, Then landed only upon DISGRACE. Steering towards PRAISE, a treasure to claim, An empty chest, his “Self” to BLAME. Dreams of PLEASURE became so vain They flooded his heart with nothing but PAIN. Even with GAIN there came a cost, Always its end was found in LOSS. In time he alit upon a new thought, “Simply be happy with what you’ve got.”
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Poetry Corner Diana
By Candradasa 1 I saw him bathing in the river by my wood, and loved him then. Watched, heart in flood as he struggled out, a man grown weak before his time. Not his skin, not his bone I loved – I thought I recognised another god. So long since any came to my world I was confirmed in being alone, chaste, silent. Hunted down wherever they turned, my sisters, brothers, were severed from themselves – I remained, inviolable, immaculate.
By Candradasa 3 When he left, it seemed as if his whole heart-structure changed, becoming, for a time, unstable; then fractured like a resin so fine whole worlds of demons in the veins were suddenly freed to tempt him. And if one asked him of it later, before or after his change, there was no bravado or putting on airs – his intention had been clear: he had loved unwisely, gotten so near it shadowed his life like layers of heavy cloud sticking to, taking on, following down the shape of a mountain; they were the first and last of his distraction, first and last to be let go. He had not allowed himself to dream of returning. But when it happened – and he saw his boy, and his wife
and his father (finally) knew him so all were re-united as in a dream – did he not then remember the old kingly ideal he had abandoned, see it as fulfilled? The terms were changed, of course, but was it not the same story in the end? And he would smile and say nothing. But did you not turn – once – turn on the road out, look – once, twice – again? And didn’t you long to wake her, to lie at her breasts once more and feel her skin under your skin, her breathing coming as familiar as your own? Then some, listening in the almond grove, sat till they too remembered or dreamed it: into the strong wind, into the whisper – the unknown at night with all the lamps behind you, standing on the darkest path to the wood that begins and ends in love. And they too would smile and say nothing. To try and tell it is one hand opening, the other hand closed – it is a sacred pain: some joys, some sadnesses, won’t be written down.
But now I saw him I felt the rousing blood of a once divisible sisterhood; when all the gods have been reduced to one the world has been diminished – so Heaven stirs the mix: he brought all out in me instantly; but also made a strange apprentice to Love who blushed shy in her own groves – picked her violets, ran to fetch a bowl, and gave her milk to save him. His hands were not the hands of a god – they were barely the hands of a man – but his eyes could heal a stag’s wounds just by looking at it. He took the bowl like old reverence, bowed, and passed on; changed, he knew the change in me that brought my life running after him, tracking, marking footsteps through the wood. Where he settled by the tree, I was watching: and he knew I hadn’t stopped smiling.
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Reflections on the Women’s GFR Retreat Living Ethically - the Ten Pillars of Buddhism By Jean Corson Stated in a positive, condensed version the Ten Pillars propose a life based on practicing Love, Generosity, Contentment, Truthfulness, Kindly Speech, Meaningful Speech, Harmonious Speech, Tranquillity, Compassion and Wisdom. Collectively, these are the fundamental principles that guide a Buddhist life, and were the focus of the women’s retreat this year. The Women’s annual GFR (Going For Refuge) retreat offered the time, space and support to explore the subject of ethics and how it manifests in our lives. Study was based on The Ten Pillars of Buddhism and Living Ethically by Sangharashita. Through meditation, individual study and reflection, group discussion and, of course, good table conversation, this subject was explored for nearly two weeks at Aryaloka this fall. With these Precepts at the center of our practice, the retreat offered the gift of deep
exploration, learning and recommitting to our practice, identifying specific ways we want to improve our ethical role in the world. The Order members who guided FWBO mitras from all across North America included Karunadevi, and Viveka (visiting from CA), Dyanandi and Ashokashri (visiting from the UK), and the Aryaloka team of Saddhamala, Amala, Anilasri, Dayalocana, and Viriyalila. Nearly twenty mitras from around the country received the blessing of this wonderful support, guidance and love. “Everyone there made it easy to be present and feel enveloped in love. I feel closer to my Sangha sisters and that my practice has been strengthened significantly by this amazing experience,” said Linda Umbel, experiencing her first GFR retreat. Saddhamala said, “It was a privilege to work with the Ordination Team and teach at the GFR Retreat held at Aryaloka. And it was wonderful to practice among friends and to witness the depth of practice and love when sharing ethical biographies and just spending time together.” A significant amount of time was dedicated to study of the mind and its
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of anything but happiness on Annie’s face. Not a trace. She reveled in her friend’s good fortune. She became my teacher and I think of her often when that feeling of envy raises its nasty little head. I smile at envy, and it seems to smile back and then dissolve. Not always so easy, but an ongoing practice. True freedom, and true happiness seems to lie in the practice of not having preferences or aversions in any realm. I have noticed there are emails I like to open and those I don’t. It takes a lot of energy to play that game, and frankly, it doesn’t leave much room for peace. So the practice here is to notice what is going on, and not let it pull me off center. It is a discipline to read each email as it comes in, and give each one a kindly regard, but the freedom of not having to decide which is in favor and which is out of favor, is tremendous.
The gift of the practice is to notice whatever is going on with kindly eyes, to accept and embrace it, and let selfcompassion and not judgment rule the day Dealing with emails is a bit like playing in the sandbox though. The real rub is when I pick and choose who deserves compassion and understanding, and who doesn’t. The one who hurt my children, or the doctor who stitched up my
impact on how we see the world and how it can support or distract us from our living an ethical life. “Reality is not a comfortable experience for the ego,” according to Sangharakshita. During the retreat each mitra created an “autobiography” which she shared with her study group. The intent was to explore specific moments that reflected our ethical practice throughout our lives. In addition, discussion around the value of confession helped to clarify how we are progressing along the ethical path. Many of us had the opportunity to “fess up” about unresolved ethical incidents that may have stayed with us a long time, Generally, the Ten Precepts are “taken” upon ordination and given that all the mitras in attendance are hoping to be headed in that direction, the retreat was a great opportunity to gain a more significant understanding of the Ten Pillars and their place in our lives. Most left with the joy of having shared this experience with other like-minded FWBO Buddhist women leaving with renewed dedication to face head on, the challenges of ethical living. Sadhu! son’s foot; the one who testified against me in a custody hearing, or the one who comforted me after the hearing? All these choices are time-consuming and exhausting. There is a profound freedom in the practice of being indiscriminate about loving-kindness. One size really does fit all. These practices are fueled by the glimpse of things as they really are. Reason is involved, but it is the heart that is touched and the heart that responds. Once we can see, even for a moment, the illusory worlds our minds create, freedom blossoms, and our hearts are free to open and embrace all that is. One last caveat: envy and craving will not always dissolve easily, nor will impatience or intolerance. The gift of the practice is to notice whatever is going on with kindly eyes, to accept and embrace it, and let self-compassion and not judgment rule the day. That is the ground work for allowing compassion to arise for all beings.
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Becoming Ordained - One Year Later Ordination Partin II ~the One Year Later of Part Two Story Prasannavajri’s Ordination By Prasannavajri By Prasannavajri October 28, 2008, a day when high in the Spanish hills, I felt the tug of the kesa being placed around my neck, and a form of liquid spiritual energy trickled right down into my bones. I could hear the echo of Sangharakshita’s words: “The kesa is the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. It’s a form of communication. It’s not a badge of group membership.” One year later, the experience is stronger than ever. I love the Order. I love being in the Order. I profoundly reverence and cherish Sangharakshita and the depth of his teachings. In the final analysis, the Western Buddhist Order is experienced in my consciousness as incredibly secure and solid. This certainly helped to explain how my first year as a Dharmacharini has unfolded. Studying principles of clinical work in graduate school, we were reminded that when the client develops a certain measure of emotional health they are often able to deal with more challenging and deeply rooted issues. Interestingly, the same principle applies to the spiritual life - in particular, year one of one’s ordination. A different quality of confidence began to germinate in my psyche, an assuredness rooted in the Three Jewels and in the manner they percolate in my life’s expression. However, there is an interesting twist that follows. As fragrance of the Three Jewels rises into one’s consciousness, subtleties of one’s cherished faults and unskillfulness knock on one’s door and ask to be invited for dinner. So, you set another plate at the table, sit down, and begin a conversation that rather quickly makes you lose your appetite. At the same time you deepen and gain confidence in
your practice, you also begin to feel and see the underlying “snafu” of your unknowing. Such a great word, snafu means, “...snarled or stalled in confusion.” I learned that the best of intentions to help sentient beings do not actually have the energetic capacity to override “snarled confusion” having a heyday in the corners of one’s mind. Again from Sangharakshita: “In a certain sense you have to work on yourself quite a bit before you can genuinely and usefully help others.” So, in a way, the subsequent months and years beyond the actual ordination experience are a vital unfolding and expanding of moving closer and deeper into the Three Jewels. This, as Bhante says, “is the fundamental act of the Buddhist spiritual life.” I found the act of being ordained - not a graduation, not a promotion - but a significant marker or sign post, was a marker that increased my responsibility, and, also my joy. There is a heightened awareness and sensitivity to be ethically self-responsible on all levels to whatever capacity one has, and then some. Simultaneously, I can “feel” the consequences of subtle ego choices that backfire when confronted by the Precepts. The feeling may be likened to a really bad mood or outright painful grumpiness for being other than who we thought we were. Nevertheless, the pain of our unknowing is far greater and far more damaging than to experience a rude awakening to our delusions. Truth is, we don’t really know who we are until, yes until, we begin to let go of all the well cultivated snafus we’ve been carrying around for ages. Conversely, the more one allows the Dharma to trace its roots into one’s thought, speech, and behavior, the deeper joy becomes suffused in one’s experience. Before I was ordained, I often asked myself, “Why do I want to be ordained?” The question carried no element of doubt - only a strong desire to go deeper into my motivation, and, understanding of that motivation. Each time the answer would be a little different, sometimes draw to itself a whole new way of seeing the underside of my intention for joining the Order. Other times, there were no words, only a growing internal momentum
of moving into a greater joyful spaciousness with the Three Jewels. It brings to mind Rilke’s timeless quote: Be patient with all that is unsolved in your heart And try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek for the answers that cannot be given For you would not be able to live them. The point is to live everything, Live the questions now. And perhaps without knowing it, You will live along someday into the answers. So presently, I have come to live along into the Order, into a new and ever transforming relationship with the Order and its members. I have come to understand the unity of the Order through energetic spiritual communication inherent in our weekly Chapter meetings, monthly Order days, and retreats. I have come to experience the coherent intimacy of how the “student” in me powerfully connects with the “Teacher” in Sangharakshita. It is a relationship that far transcends the ego self-view and raises one into a rarefied realm of secure confidence and trust at the highest, sacred level. It is above all a holy place where that which is deepest in my nature to respond to the Dharma is openly and intentionally linked to Bhante’s deepest nature and genius capacity for teaching and expressing the Dharma. Whenever I read Sangharakshita’s Dharmic writings, I feel happy, joyful. Threaded into this joy is the felt emanation of sacred lineage going all the way back to the Buddha - and - the clarity and purity of Sakyamuni’s Teachings translated 2,500 years later by Bhante. This level of happiness resonates with the beauty of the spiritual community of the Western Buddhist Order. Words from the Dhammapada, translated by Sangharakshita, bring it all home.... Happy is the appearance of the enlightened ones, Happy is the teaching of the real truth, Happy is the unity of the spiritual community, Happy is the spiritual effort of the united.
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Discovering the Ritual in Spiritual By Viriyalila Have you ever noticed that the word “spiritual” contains the word “ritual?” In The Essential Sangharakshita, Bhante turns to Erich Fromm to explore the meaning of ritual, who defines it as “shared action, expressive of common strivings, rooted in common values.” The Buddhist word for ritual, kriya, is etymologically connected to the word karma, which means “action” but in a more ethical and psychological sense. Ritual is shared, is done together with other people. It is a celebration of common spiritual aspirations. Ritual implies a spirit of metta and solidarity. If this is present, a very powerful spiritual atmosphere can be created. Ritual is “expressive of common strivings.” It is something we make the effort to do - it is not something that is done for us. Ritual gives us the opportunity to express our common values towards the ideal of Enlightenment. We all want to follow the path of the Dharma while offering to help and receiving help from other members of the sangha, as well as in devotion to the AryaSangha. Working together with others to create a shrine or design a ritual is an amazing experience that I highly value in my Buddhist practice. Back in November those who attended the Milarepa Retreat led by Ashokashri had the opportunity to bring into being a lovely puja dedicated to Milarepa, the Tibetan Yogi known for singing his praises of and teachings the Dharma. Ashokashri exemplified a leadership style that was marked by a participatory process as about ten of us altogether created the puja, which included building a devotional shrine for the occasion. Even though a few of us had been asked in advance to consider ideas for both musical offerings and the shrine, we came together on the basis of our desire to create something greater than the sum of the individual parts. Sravaniya and Sunada prepared in advance to make musical offerings. Sravaniya being a Milarepa practitioner, composed two songs on the violin, which
Working together with others to create a shrine or design a ritual is an amazing experience that I highly value in my Buddhist practice. he sang with such haunting beauty we all were transported. Sunada, she whose name means ‘pleasing sounds or voice’, shared an inspiring and uplifting Song of Meeting and Parting, which is traditionally song within our movement. Viriyalila recalled her first retreat back in 1995 at Taraloka where we built a huge shrine-cave to Milarepa over the course of a week-long arts retreat, and thought with a group of people we could bring something similar into being using the natural resources on the land at Aryaloka. So we had these initial preparations and visions, but in my experience what really brings a good ritual into being is the opportunity to collectively bring together the emotional forces, what’s present for people in the room, and to incorporate that into the puja as much as possible. So there was plenty of room for spontaneous creativity in this ritual planning kula, which was important after several sessions of making our way through the song: The Shepherd’s Search for Mind, that was highlighted by Amala’s improvisational chanting of the song of Milarepa. Inspiration was abundant! Over lunch on Saturday, just before our ritual planning meeting, Viriyagita had an image arise in her mind of tigers in the shrine room representing our fears, obstacles that stand between our current states and our ideal state that we aspire to bring into being. Sitting across from her, I recognized that inspiration as something to pursue. She and I brought this idea, along with a desire for some drumming,
to the afternoon session whence the ritual puja and accompanying shrine would be envisioned, planned and prepared. As we sat around in the circle in the yoga room, we talked with each other about how we would like to see the ritual puja take form. There was a sharing of ideas and a willingness to experiment and work with others. We explored the vision that Viriyagita had of the tigers, and decided to work it into the puja with an opportunity to offer our aspirations in the context of the ritual. Ashokashri set it up really well in describing that after we make our spiritual aspirations known, then our energies of fear, apprehension and doubt tend to arise, which would be symbolically represented by the tigers. Sunada and Sheila volunteered (with a little encouragement from friends!) to act as these wild tiger-beings and embodied such energy, working with Sita to bring in the element of tiger-like movements. And with Viriyalila’s face painting efforts ~ two tigers, or rather tigresses were manifested. Fromm further describes ritual as “a symbolic expression of thoughts and feelings by action.” He goes on to describe that essentially expression means bringing something out from within, even from the depths within. Ritual is like an acting out of symbol or myth, on the deepest levels of our being. It was interesting what arose for me when I went up to make my offering of aspiration in the presence of these two tigers, who wonderfully captured a strong sense of coming up against one’s fears and doubts. I put on a one-pointed stance, or more accurately acted like a horse with blinders, I refused to look the tigers (my fears) in the eye. I walked quickly to the shrine with a sense of purpose, but really I had contacted a deep sense of fear about whether the doubts I hold about myself would be able to totally transform. My tendency is to turn a blind eye and look away when obstacles arise for me. When I make considerable strivings towards actualizing my potential as a spiritual being, I am often RITUAL
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VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Two Stories of Solitary Retreat Looking Forward to Day Three By Dh. Amala Over the years of my Buddhist practice I have been on a number of solitary retreats. My first was at age 18 – a kind of ‘collective’ solitary with others at a convent facility in Arizona. We each had a room and some instructions for practice, but we did not see each other or engage in any collective activity. I loved it. I did not think of the other people quietly going about their business around the property. I drank in the silence like water. I do not recall any particular struggles with the meditation and yoga activities I was doing. It must have been smooth sailing! I do not recall if the retreat was for five days or longer, only that I felt at ease, and that at
Solitary Living By Narottama There is much to experience living in the solitary hut on the grounds of Aryaloka. Watching “myself” develop a sense of place is one experience. A sense of place can be as simple as a soulful distant train whistle, an owl questioning my presence at dusk, mixed with the chatter and gargle of the dark Piscassic River flowing through branch and mud bank beside the hut. The rising sun mingling with leaves of oak and beech offers a warm golden radiance to the image of place. Pineperfumed air, a short commute to Portsmouth for part-time work, and enough resources to have my basic needs met might equate with the god realm of the Wheel of Life, a perceived paradise. And yet, lurking just out of sight in the shadows, a restlessness can be seen unannounced in a sense of place. A ghost that presents itself as sense desire, ill will SOLITARY LIVING
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around day three I hoped it would go on for a long, long time. I recall another solitary retreat I took ‘at home’. The family must have been away somewhere for a weekend and I managed to secure some time by myself. I can remember wandering aimlessly around the house at first, and then settling in to my little shrine area for a luxurious time of reading the Dharma and meditating, allowing myself to fall asleep, and then dipping into practice again, not minding what time of day or night it was. It is common to need some time to unwind, to collapse even, at the beginning of a solitary, if one ordinarily is quite busy and in high demand by others. Of the several times I have secured a bit of time on my own at home I have enjoyed relaxation, seclusion and quiet. However for some reason it has been difficult to get to that magic ‘day three’ feeling of really settling in to some depth of
practice. Perhaps the stimulating and familiar surroundings are not conducive for me to go fully into my inner world. The best solitary retreats I’ve experienced have all been ‘away’somewhere, and a week’s duration. I usually arrive tired and in some state of world-weary monkey-mind. More than once I’ve given myself permission to rest and sleep, to take walks and to daydream, relaxed about any ‘dharmic’ agenda I might be tempted to set for myself. And more than once I have found myself on day three sitting on the cushion in a deep stillness, happy to be meditating, only to open my eyes and find that some hours have passed by. Something about that day three…. If you are considering a solitary retreat, try going away somewhere, pack light, don’t over-plan or expect enlightenment on the spot, and make sure you stay well past day three! Enjoy.
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Aryaloka in Winter
SOLITARY LIVING Continued from Page 20
and doubt riding a mule train comet trail of karma vipaka that has developed with 57 years of my conditioning. Should I call home, and what about some tea? Who is it that makes my schedule that bothers me. The mound of books I brought all but one are jealous from inattention - and my sneakers are still wet from yesterday’s walk in the rain. Out of honey. I want. I don’t want. Just dukkha. It is 4 a.m., and sitting stiffly in the white wicker chair waking from a deep sleep, hot coffee comforts against the gnawing of “my self” unsatisfied. Do not turn away to plan the day, do not ignore the gnawing. No phone or computer or tele to be found, let alone used, to distract from the low-grade discomfort. Look at that unsatisfactoriness. Not turning left or right. Face it straight on. A distant calling for a happy existence, a shout of sense desire, or perhaps a need to go back to the loft and pillows and let the rhythmic metallic ticking of the electric heat lull me back to oblivion. On the cushion, apply a warm mindfulness to rupa, vedana and breath. Observe, experience without judgment what is inside thrashing about. As the body relaxes
and settles, attend the breath to deeper levels of release and inquiry while looking for the seeds of joy in the roots of appreciation. Thank you, Bhante and all. Disentangle the six elements and let all things be, warmly held with deep gratitude, awe, and wonder. Especially the lurking, the faulted and cracked sense of incompleteness and insecurities of my humanity. This dukkha is mine, shared with all, and can lead me through to the Unbiased. Allow myself to rise to the surface, without resistance or arrogance, as a goldfish rises slowly and caresses the underbelly of a still pond, sending raptured ripples to all shores. My job is to watch and love all things mind-created to become again in the rays of the Dharma. And yet, only an experiment in actively changing my conditions while bringing mindful enthusiasm to discovery. Add practice of brahmacarya, coupled with a more rigorous disciplined study, many more formal meditation sits, all joined in the blender of ‘I don’t know” mind. This, and meaningful contact with the Friends as I attempt to view apparent obstacles as teachings. A solitary experience, even a few hours set aside with a sense of experimentation
“Emotions and Reactions” Retreat in February By Vidhuma I would like to announce a retreat that will be led by Arjava, Bodhana, Karunasara, Vihanasari and myself that will occur on the first weekend in February. The theme (and title) of the retreat is “Emotions and Reactions from a Buddhist Perspective,” and it will be running from Friday, February 5th to Sunday, February 7th. We are arranging it to be more of an experiential format than a didactic one, and are planning for it to be fun as well as a wonderful learning experience. Please join us for this weekend retreat and explore your own emotions and reactions, and how they work within Buddhist practice. and discovery, is fundamental to deepening knowledge of what makes us tick. Leaving many of our distractions can allow the touching of the deep hollow of loneliness or a perception of “a faulted self” that is only confronting the first of the Four Noble Truths. Yes. There is suffering, but that is not all that is. As the mid-18th century Zen practitioner and poet Ryokan wrote; “My hut lies in the middle of a dense forest Each year the green ivy grows longer No news of the affairs of men, Only the occasional song of the woodcutter. The sun shines I mend my robe; When the moon comes out I read Buddhist poems. I have nothing to report my friends. If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after so many things.” What is that sense of place and who is it that observes it? Many thanks to those responsible for my stay here. Much Love, Narottama
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Puja Evenings One Way to Connect to Buddha and Dharma By Stephen Sloan In the Sutta Nikaya the following lines suggest an approach to reverence for the Buddha and the Dharma. Past Buddhas, future Buddhas, & he who is the Buddha now, removing the sorrow of many —
all have dwelt, will dwell, he dwells, revering the true Dhamma. This, for Buddhas, is a natural law. Therefore one who desires his own good, aspiring for greatness, should respect the true Dhamma, recollecting the Buddhas’ Teaching.
Each month on the Friday nearest the full moon there’s an opportunity to join together for a collective experience of reverence. This practice of puja during the full moon goes back to the days of the Buddha. Performing the puja together gives us a strong connection to the Buddha and all of the followers of the Way over the centuries. Please join us.
collective ritual practice that I resonated with quite deeply. Many of us hesitate to give ourselves over to the experience of participating fully in rituals and devotion. Strong feelings can arise in the context of a ritual and it is a big undertaking to put our trust in these feelings and to give them space to grow, as they will inevitably influence our conscious attitudes. “By expressing what is deep within our being, we externalize it, see it, and make it something we can know. We can then begin to understand it and incorporate it into our conscious attitude. In this way our whole being will be enriched and integrated. Tension between the conscious and the unconscious will be reduced. We will become more whole.” (Sangharakshita) Through the practice of ritual, not only do we hold up a mirror to our unconscious attitudes and tendencies, we also externalize and make conscious our deep spiritual feelings, which strengthens and intensifies them. When a ritual goes really well, something special is manifested. We may not know how, we may not know why – but it comes from the depths, and creates an altogether more meaningful and harmonious atmosphere. We begin to speak the language of myth,
symbol and image and in this way integrate the unconscious with the conscious.
army; a monthly basket of cookies; massage and reiki treatments; two-days of carpentry; live auction were lovingly donated by our computer consultation; a beautiful Virginia friends and Order members at Aryaloka. Peck print; racing bikes; glass etching; and Here’s a sampling of some items, services or many more. The offerings were diverse and highlighted events that were up for bid: a hand-quilted table runner and napkins; a guided tour at the the talents of all who donated their gifts. It MFA with one of our premier resident artists; was a wonderful way to share the interests food and goodies such as a vegetarian meal; and passion of those who donated their homemade bread; a pot of soup to feed a small services while at the same time raising funds
for Aryaloka. The final total raised during the auction was a little less than $3,400. Thank you to everyone who played any part in making this auction such an enjoyable evening. Special thanks to those who donated items or services and thanks to everyone who contributed to the Sweets Table. It was truly a wonderful evening.
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knocked for a loop by the views I hold that I cannot actually attain Enlightenment, and I don’t look at those obstacles closely enough, I am afraid of them. I then watched, and learned, as others on the retreat went up and hugged their fears, or laughed in their faces, or made a friendly gesture and carried on to the shrine. There were various responses expressed in this part of the ritual as each of us went up to give expression to our personal aspirations. It was a fascinating play of energies that we manifested in our collective practice. Viriyagita, whose trancelike presence made the whole thing dreamlike and inviting, grounded the entire scene in the constant thumping of the drum. And at the end of this section, the tigers were then corralled in to bring their energies in alignment with the spiritual forces in the room, and they too, offered their aspirations. At this point, I felt a coming together of my energies as I wholeheartedly deepened my going for refuge, right there and then, as the tigers too, the embodiment of all our fears and doubts and apprehensions, also came to go for refuge. There was a symbolic integration of energies that occurred in our
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From The Shepherd’s Search for Mind, “Listen to me young shepherd. The body is between the conscious and unconscious state, While the mind is the crucial and decisive factor! He who feels sufferings in the lower Realms, Is the prisoner of Samsara, Yet it is the mind that can free you from Samsara. Surely you want to reach the other shore? Surely you long for the City of WellBeing and Liberation? If you desire to go, dear child, I can show The way to you and give you the instructions.” And the Jetsun Milarepa gave the shepherd boy the teaching of “Taking Refuge” explaining briefly its benefits and significance. He then said, “When you get home this evening, do not stop reciting the Prayer…”
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
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Intro to Meditation – Mindfulness 10-4 Men’s Day Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Meditation and Puja – 7-9 Rental
MARCH 1 2 2-7 8 9 11-14 15 16 20 21 22 23 26 29 30
Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Stillness Meditation Order Retreat – Bodhana and Narottama Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Open Heart, Quiet Mind Yoga and Meditation Retreat Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Intro to Meditation – Metta Bhavana 10-4 Men’s Day Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Meditation and Puja – 7-9 Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9
APRIL 1-3 3-5 3 5 6 7 11 12 13 14 16 17
NVC Basics – begs. 4/1 at 7 p.m., ends 4/3 at 3:30 p.m. – Shantigarbha NVC Deepening + Conflict (intermediate level) begs. 4/3 at 7 p.m., ends 4/5 in p.m. - Shantigarbha The Mindfulness of Poem-Making – 10-3, Saddhamala & Lin Illingworth Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night - 6:45-9 Insight Meditation Class (4 wks., experienced meditators) – 7-9, Bodhipaksa Pancake Breakfast to support women’s ordination process Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night - 6:45-9 Insight Meditation Class (4 wks., experienced meditators) – 7-9, Bodhipaksa Heather Maloney Concert – 7 p.m. Introduction to Meditation –
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Mindfulness – 10-4 Men’s Day Men’s Mitra Class Concord Prison Retreat Sangha Night - 6:45-9 Insight Meditation Class (4 wks., experienced meditators) – 7-9, Bodhipaksa Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night - 6:45-9 Insight Meditation Class (4 wks., experienced meditators) – 7-9, Bodhipaksa Meditation and Puja – 7-9
MAY 1 3 4 6-9 10 11 17 18 24 25 28 31
Introduction to Meditation – Metta Bhavana – 10-4 Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Open Heart, Quiet Mind Yoga and Meditation Retreat Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Meditation and Puja – 7-9 Men’s Mitra Class
JUNE 1 6 7 8 14 15 19 20 21 22 25 28 29
Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Pancake Breakfast to support women’s ordination process Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Introduction to Meditation – Mindfulness – 10-4 Men’s Day Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Meditation and Puja – 7-9 Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9
VOLUME 8, ISSUE I
Upcoming Events (All events are subject to change. For the latest, upto-date information, please call the office or check our web site at http://www.aryaloka.org)
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(Akasaloka events are in italics.)
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Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Open Heart, Quiet Mind Yoga and Meditation Retreat Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Women’s Mitra Class INDIA! Buddhism in India Today Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45 Samatha Bhavana Classes (6-wks., experienced meditation) – 7-9, Bodhipaksa Women’s Mitra Class Intro to Meditation – Metta Bhavana 10-4 Men’s Day Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9
Samatha Bhavana – 7-9 Women’s Mitra Class Meditation and Puja – 7-9
Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Samatha Bhavana – 7-9 Women’s Mitra Class “Emotions, Intuition and Actions” Retreat– Arjava, Bodhana, Vihanasari, Karunasara, Vidhuma – open to everyone Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Samatha Bhavana – 7-9 Women’s Mitra Class Men’s Mitra Class Sangha Night – 6:45-9 Samatha Bhavana – 7-9 Women’s Mitra Class Closed retreat for Boston, Portland (NYC?) sanghas UPCOMING
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Ongoing Sangha Night at Aryaloka
Full Moon Puja
• • • •
The rich devotional practice of meditation and puja is shared on these special Friday nights by those who find devotion an important part of their practice.
Every Tuesday evening, 6:45-9:00 p.m. Led by Amala, Arjava, and Suzanne 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: • • • •
6:45 - Gathering, tea and announcements 7:00 - Meditation and shrine room activity 7:45 - Study, discussion or a talk on the evening’s topic 9:00 - 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 website or Vajra Bell events schedule 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
Published on Jan 1, 2010
* "Perfecting Emotion" by Surakshita * "Perfect Vision Through the Brahma Viharas" by Samayadevi * "Faces of Buddha," Arts Evening, Showcase...