VAJRA BELL Volume 8 Issue IV
The Working Ground Four Personal Tales of Living Right Livelihood
hile the lead article for this issue of the Vajra Bell on Right Livelihood could have been written in a more explanatory way laying out the principles of this part of the Eightfold Path - often the best method of illuminating something is to see or hear about it in action. For that reason, we’ve invited four members of our sangha to say a little bit about what Right Livelihood
means to them and how they make it a part of their everyday practice.
Right Livelihood for the Global Age By Dh. Candradasa
Many people in the Aryaloka sangha don’t know it, but there is actually a local Right Livelihood team apart from the ex-
cellent Aryaloka Management Team. Well, I say local, but that’s not the whole story as you’ll see! Still, it’s worth knowing. Dharmachakra Archives – which produces both Free Buddhist Audio and thebuddhistcentre.com (the new web presence for the Triratna Buddhist Community worldwide, due to launch in spring 2011) – is based in Portsmouth! The New Hampshire team
Aryaloka Buddhist Center 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket, NH 03857
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From the Editor By Eric Wentworth In our multi-issue exploration of the Eightfold Path, we move from Right Action into this issue’s focus, Right Livelihood. The stage of Right Action was all about making ethical decisions, and as ethics becomes a primary focus of one’s life it organically extends to the place where many of us spend the majority of our waking hours - our livelihood. In the sutras, the Buddha usually explained Right Livelihood in simple terms. Ethically, one must avoid professions that break one or more of the Precepts, which would explicitly include things like butchery, trading in arms, purveying poisons or intoxicants, trafficking in the sale of living beings, and so on. However, real attention to this stage of the path requires one to go much deeper, and ultimately alters one’s whole approach to making a living. When we go beyond the obvious, we find that there are many ways in which we unintentionally may do harm through our profession - by increasing greed, by indirectly supporting other businesses that do harm, by engaging in untruthful speech, and so on. In my own experience as a designer I’ve given a lot of thought to how my work can be done without creating harmful desires, in as truthful a way as possible, in support of companies and organizations that are doing good in the world and aren’t just out for a quick buck. Through contemplation of Right Livelihood, my personal ap-
proach to work has changed dramatically. I know some people who have given up their professions entirely because of the sudden realization that, in their assessment, it couldn’t be done ethically. Others have tried to find ways to deal more ethically with their co-workers, and find that a rich source of practice. One thing is for certain: our choice of career strongly affects our well-being. When we expend so much time and effort towards something, day in and day out, if it’s not a source of inspiration, reflection and meaning we will inevitably find something lacking in our lives. Ultimately, though, Right Livelihood goes deeper still than this. It gets right down to questioning how we will spend our time here in this life. What will we give our life energy to create? How will we change a tedious “nine-to-five” into something meaningful, where the work not the paycheck - is the joy? How can our livelihood go beyond petty egocentric concerns and focus on the larger landscape of universal suffering and the pursuit of true contentment? If we find ourselves needing to make a career change, or simply make a change in how we see our career, the livelihood we aim for should be imbued with an underlying, if not overt, spiritual purpose and broad vision. Our livelihood is not just a benefit to ourselves, our own self-satisfaction and our retirement funds. It’s part of a chain that links us to our communities, our world and all sentient beings. Through our own efforts to create Right Livelihood and our support of the Right Livelihood of others we ensure the wellbeing of all.
Please be sure Aryaloka’s windows stay closed in winter and remember to close them when leaving the center in warmer months. Thank you very much!
The Aryaloka Council minutes are now posted on the bulletin board at the foot of the stairs.
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Contact Information Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 email@example.com www.aryaloka.org
Aryaloka Council Dayalocana firstname.lastname@example.org Saddhamala email@example.com Amala firstname.lastname@example.org Vihanasari email@example.com Candradasa firstname.lastname@example.org Viriyalila email@example.com Tom Gaillard firstname.lastname@example.org Arjava email@example.com
Vajra Bell Kula Eric Wentworth, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org Vihanasari email@example.com Stephen Sloan firstname.lastname@example.org Suzanne Woodland email@example.com Elizabeth Hellard firstname.lastname@example.org Daniel Bush email@example.com Ashley Bush firstname.lastname@example.org Jen Bouchard email@example.com
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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 Triratna 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 page-turner 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 chal-
lenge 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 thing 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.
Musings from the Chair By Dh. Dayalocana At the end of August, after months of joyful preparation, friends, mitras and Order members gathered at Aryaloka to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. The eight-day celebration began with a parade of banners followed by a picnic alongside the flower gardens. During the week, we opened our Center to the commu-
nity, listened to talks, recalled our history and the challenges of the past, held early morning meditations, and evening ritual. On the final morning we came together to rededicate our effort and renew our determination to practice with intention and kindness. We then witnessed the beautiful ordination ceremony of Bodhilocana, complete with music of violin and piano. Her ordination reminded us of the importance of sustaining an effective practice. And that is why we celebrate Aryaloka, our noble realm, the center that has supported our efforts for twenty-five years and beyond.
The Council By Dh. Vihanasari The Council has been meeting with Jean Corson on an ongoing basis to work on reviewing our mission and goals and on restructuring how we carry out our various responsibilities. Work on these areas will continue for the next several months. After being incorporated in Massachusetts ever since its inception, Aryaloka is now incorporated in the state of New
Hampshire. We are also in the midst of applying for official federal church status. A warm welcome to Shrijnana who has graciously agreed to be our new Program Director following Amala’s stepping down from that position. Thanks again to Amala for all her hard work in that position over the course of many, many years. Aryaloka would not be all that it is today without her COUNCIL
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What a joyful week! Throughout the months of planning and preparation we experienced our energetic, kind and dedicated sangha working together in harmony. The members of our community have inspired us by showing what is possible when we share our dreams, work in teams, and offer friendship and support to one another. I hope you will join us in the months and years ahead for meditation, study, and devotion. And I hope that you will find friendship and inspiration along the way as we celebrate together the Three Jewels and the Triratna Buddhist Community.
For Your Information... Triratna Centers in the U.S.: Newmarket, NH Portland, ME Lubec, ME Somerville, MA New York City, NY Missoula, MT San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA -- Richland, WA.
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Sangha Notes - “What’s Happening?” By Suzanne Woodland Transitions. Jen Bouchard has graciously agreed to assume responsibility for preparing these Sangha Notes for the Vajra Bell. I am grateful and look forward to reading her words in this space in the next edition. On the topic of transitions, our sangha continues to grow ever more vibrant. On Saturday, September 4th, surrounded by over forty Order members, and together with numerous mitras, friends and family, Denise Connors was ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order. A resident of Newmarket and long-time member of the Triratna Buddhist Community, she was given the name Bodhilocana, meaning “She who possesses the eye of perfect wisdom.” Bodhilocana’s Ordination came at the culmination of the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Aryaloka and the start of the
North American Order Convention. As the Order sangha grew, so did the mitra sangha. Mary Schaefer, Marcus Netherton and Jen Bouchard became mitras, friends of the Trirana Buddhist Community, in a ceremony held on September 28th. Sadhu! As mitras, Mary, Marcus and Jen will have the opportunity to deepen their friendships and engage in specialized study. This fall, the women’s mitra study program will be exploring the many dimensions of views - wrong views and right views and how we as practitioners can transcend our wrong views. Men in the Monday night mitra study program will delve into the Bodhicaryavatara, Santideva’s A Guide to the Buddhist Path to Awakening. This precious body of work from the Mahayana tradition forms the basis of the Triratna Buddhist Community’s puja, a devotional practice offered monthly near or on the full moon. Sangha evening was well-attended this summer. Saddhamala joined the regular Tuesday night team during Amala’s absence and led participants in the explora-
tion of the Five Spiritual Faculties of faith, wisdom, vigor, patience and mindfulness. Working with Tales of Freedom by Vessantara, Arjava and Suzanne shared the Buddha’s teachings through the medium of stories. Many of the wonderful activities that have occurred at Aryaloka are reported elsewhere in this issue of Vajra Bell, but one of note that is not reported elsewhere is the Taste of Silence retreat. That retreat, led by Bodhana, offered participants the opportunity to spend a weekend in meditation and contemplation while supported by the richness of silence. Introductory programs continued to be offered this summer including an Introduction to the Metta Bhavana meditation practice for the development of lovingkindness. Yoga practitioners enjoyed the Open Heart Quiet Mind retreat. In July, the Aryaloka sangha celebrated Dharma Day, a day to rejoice in the teachings of the Buddha, with a talk by Aryaloka’s chairperson, Dayalocana. May all happiness be yours.
News from the Boston Sangha By Dh. Sunada The Boston Sangha is still homeless, and has been since last March. Our usual space got flooded by the spring rains, and it’s been unusable ever since. But there’s a light at the end of the tun-
nel. We’ve rallied and have come up with a proposal to our landlord to fix the place up with our own labor - putting down vinyl (waterproof) flooring, repainting, and the works. The problem is that it’s a basement room, and it’s prone to flooding during spring thaws. So we’re looking for solu-
tions to deal with that. In the meantime, we’ve got some good leads for renting an alternate space on a temporary basis. We’ve got a solid core of a sangha that’s determined to find a way through this. And it looks like we’re finally going to get there. Stay tuned!
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 to finalize registration. If a registrant cancels two weeks or more before the retreat, s/he will receive a refund of the amount paid minus a $35 processing fee. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant forfeits half of the retreat fee. 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 a $35 processing fee. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant forfeits half of the retreat fee. Forfeited deposits may not be transferred to another event.
* * * * * Note: In all situations, special circumstances will be taken into consideration. * * * * *
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News from Nagaloka By Gail Yahwak Again the changing of the season is upon us as we welcome autumn here in Maine. The color display put on by the trees is a beautiful reminder to relish nature and the magnificence nature brings. This change of season has found Nagaloka in a change of study at our Wednesday Sangha Nights. We have just recently finished the book Life With Full Attention by Maitreyabandhu. This was a well-liked book by our sangha and brought some new faces in to study with us. We spent ten weeks going on this journey of cultivating mindfulness of body, feelings, mind, the teachings, other people, nature and art, and insight. The book is packed with practical ways of be-
ing mindful in daily living. Each chapter is followed by exercises and meditations that provided a very useful working ground. Our next study will be on Ritual and Devotion, taken from the foundation year of the Dharma Training Course. Dharmasuri led a three-week Intro to Buddhism and Meditation class in August. She packed Nagaloka with fourteen fresh faces, eager to learn. Dharmasuri will lead an evening Intro to the Mindfulness of Breathing in late September and an evening Intro to the Metta Bhavana at the beginning of October. In January 2011 she will provide another combined four-week Intro to Buddhism and Meditation on Tuesday evenings from 7-9 p.m. Akashavanda is coming to Nagaloka to
lead mitra study! Thank you! She is facilitating Module Three of Year Two in the Dharma Training Course, entitled Turning the Mind to the Dharma. We are meeting every other Thursday for this study. We have had another new mitra request: welcome to Mark White! Sadhu! His mitra ceremony was held on Sunday, September 26th. Our lunchtime meditations with Maitrimani have started up again on Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. Our Sangha Night is held on Wednesdays from 7-9 p.m. Other meditation sessions are Mondays and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. Keep an eye on our website for details about upcoming events and programs at www.nagalokabuddhistcenter.org.
September Financial Update - How Are We Doing? By Tom Gaillard, Treasurer At times like these in our Aryaloka sangha, we rejoice in the joy and vitality of our Buddhist community. The driveways are decked with colorful banners, the gardens are filled with flowers and guests, and the calendar bursts with activity. So many have given so much over so many years (at least twenty-five!) to make Aryaloka the special place it is today. Those gifts of dana are often in the form of time, and effort, and thought; they’re also in the form of dollars. It’s a fitting time to provide an update on Aryaloka’s financial position. So, how are we doing? The answer is that we’re doing pretty well. The Council approved a break-even budget for this year, which anticipated a loss in the summer months but a pickup in the winter. So far, we’re right on plan; our income is below budget but we’ve managed our expenses carefully as well, so our loss so far this year is slightly less than planned. However, we’re going to need stronger income to meet our goal of a break-even year! Your Aryaloka sangha is supported financially by three pillars: Dana, Retreats and Programs. Retreats are most impor-
Our challenge is to increase our income to provide a foundation for our next twenty-five years. tant, generating almost half of our total income. Dana provides another 25 percent, through pledges from the Mandala of Supporting Friends and generous individual donations. We rely on programs, such as Sangha Night, Mens’ and Womens’ Days, mitra study and the like, for an additional 16 percent. Sales from our bookstore, retreat rentals and guest fees round out our income. So far this year retreat income has been close to budget, but dana and program income are falling well short. That’s where you can help (but more on that later)! As for expenses, we spend roughly 36 percent of our income to compensate those who administer the center and spread the Dharma through Aryaloka’s many teachings, retreats and programs. Facility ex-
penses, including our mortgage, utilities and the like, are another 30 percent. Retreat expenses (mostly food and, to some extent, instructors) are the third largest expense at 17 percent. In addition to those ordinary expenses, we’ve been able to make significant improvements this year including $25,000 to modernize the kitchen and several thousand dollars to replace a septic pump that went kerflooey. It’s been a true luxury to have the cash on hand to make those necessary improvements in time for our 25th! So, as we look ahead, our challenge is to increase our income to provide a foundation for our next twenty-five years. This fall we’ll reach out to those not yet pledging, in the hopes they will make a monthly financial commitment. We’ll work with our Programs team to offer more great retreats and workshops that you and all your friends will be pleased to support. And at year end (and as the spirit moves you) you can shower Aryaloka with spontaneous gifts of dana, in thanks for our special spiritual home. If you’d like to make a pledge or gift today, please visit www.aryaloka. org or call the office. Thank you for your support!
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From Couch to Cushion: Changing Idleness Into Insight By Nancy Strout Porter I recently attended Aryoloka’s Introduction to Meditation and Buddhism class with Narottama. This six-week course on Wednesday evenings became a catalyst in my spiritual quest. Through application, discovery and instruction my spiritual understanding and practice moved forward in a life-changing way. Many of the myths I believed about myself, others and Buddhism broke wide open, exposing hidden areas in my life needing attention. Though not always easy to face, this explosion of truth is exactly what I needed to move forward. Buddhism interested me for years. I began studying about two years ago, obsessively reading books and sporadically attending meditation classes and retreats. At first the concept of sitting appealed to me in a somewhat dysfunctional way. After all, I can be lazy and enjoy sitting around. I can squander an entire day just sitting on the couch musing about this or that, reading, watching T.V., lazing around, procrastinating. I’m a teacher who has the summer off, often floundering without the external structure of the school year. So, I figured maybe I’d be good at this practice where sitting was encouraged and I could let go of guilt I felt about being idle. I also was attracted to the “take–it-or-leave-it” approach in Buddhism. Every Buddhist
teacher I’ve had has reminded me that Buddhist teachings should not necessarily be accepted hook, line and sinker. The ideas are generally presented as choices rather than rules. Since I had layers of guilt from previous religious experiences and somewhat of a free spirit, this concept drew me in. There were close to twenty people in the class from various backgrounds and experience with Buddhism and meditation, but for whatever reason, the six weeks ended with a core group of about six participants. Narottama commented that this is not unusual. Most classes began with a sharing of how the previous week had gone with respect to the concepts previously discussed. Again, I loved the nonjudgmental approach taken. Share or don’t share, always a choice. Initially I felt embarrassed to disclose the results of my sometimes shabby practice, yet I always learned from the experiences shared by others, especially the admitted struggles. I came to realize that perhaps my own struggles could in some way be helpful to others. I began to look outside of myself. Maybe the biggest thing I realized is the importance of a sangha. Though my husband and daughter both are Buddhist, and many of my friends enjoy hearing about my spiritual endeavors, I had secretly been longing for a core group of like-minded friends to
share in the process with me. Narottama guides his classes to fit the group. Anyone considering attending the next one can expect wisdom, meditation and Dharma offered in a nonjudgmental flexible way. I have come to realize that sitting meditation is actually an active pursuit, and the periods of idle sitting that I was accustomed are not the same as meditation. Ironically, the more often I sit in meditation, the longer I stay off the couch, although I admit to still actively trying to avoid meditation at times. Sometimes it is difficult for me to get from couch to cushion, but it is always worth it. The truth is that I do need to look closely at my tendency toward idleness, but the difference now is that I can do it with love and kindness toward myself. I can apply the Eightfold Path or the Four Noble Truths to any area of my life and gain direction. And, while the “take–itor-leave-it” approach is appealing, as time goes on, I take more and leave less, especially since realizing that there is no escaping the consequences of my actions. The fact that it is a process comforts me. Sitting has made me more active than ever before, trying new things despite my fear. I know now that the right conditions can mold right behavior…even in me. I know the difference between sitting on the couch to avoid, and sitting on the cushion to face.
Aryaloka Community Marks Significant Ceremonies of 2010 By Dh. Kiranada The life of our sangha and the Triratna Buddhist Community involves many significant ceremonies throughout the year that we recognize. 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 Triratna Buddhist Order, those in the ordination process who formally acknowledge spiritual friend-
ships through Kalyana Mitra ceremonies, and ordinations within our Aryaloka community. Congratulations to the following friends. We will try to carry news of these important mileposts regularly in the Vajra Bell.
Kathy St. Hilaire, Shana Clark, Denise Martin, Mary Schaefer, Marcus Netherton, Jen Bouchard
Diane Palaces, Elizabeth Hellard, Alyssa Fradenburg (NYC), Denise Martin (VT)
Kalyana Mitra Ceremonies:
Bodhilocana with Dayalocana and Sravaniya. September 5
Denise Connors became Bodhilocana. Private Preceptor; Ashokashri, Public Preceptor; Dayanandi, September 4.
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Puja Evenings an Opportunity for Collective Practice By Stephen Sloan Puja is a Pali word that means “honor, worship and devotional attention.” There are several traditional elements that can be involved in a puja (thanks to www. buddhamind.info): • Offerings - Flowers, candles and incense that can be placed on the shrine. • Bowing - An act of humility before the
shrine, and what it represents. • Lights - These need not be limited to offerings on the shrine. • Chanting - The use of traditional chants to connect with both the wisdom teachings of the Buddha and to the devotional heart. • Meditation - Opening in silence to the “spirit” of the occasion or contemplating an aspect of the teaching. • Relationship - Developing a sense of communion with all present through
October News from Clear Vision From Dh. Munisha Clear Vision is Triratna’s audio-visual project, based in Manchester, UK. We look after Triratna’s image and video archives and make them available at www.clearvision.org and www.videosangha.net. This month we have two pieces of news:
New Dharma materials for children and young people - free In addition to our work for Triratna, since 1994 we’ve made highly-regarded Buddhist materials for schools. Building on our experience, we’re now launching our first online interactive Buddhist materials for children and teenagers to use at home or Centre, entirely free. For 8-12 years: The Life of the Buddha interactive Seven videos with information sheets, questions, games and a parent/teacher handbook. For 12-16 years: Us and Them: Buddhism and Community Ten videos examine aspects of identity and community, using the Four Sangrahavastus.
Information, questions, activities and parent/teacher handbook. (See the materials here: www.clear-vision.org/Home-Use/Young-People)
Talks from the European Order Weekend online You can watch online all the talks from the European Order Weekend held in eastern England in August. These include talks to mark Sangharakshita’s 85th birthday and a talk by Sangharakshita himself. http:// www.videosangha.net/playlist/EuropeanCombined-Order-Weekend **** For regular updates, join our email list: firstname.lastname@example.org Please consider supporting Clear Vision’s work with a regular or one-off donation: http://www.justgiving.com/clearvision/donate
group activity, bowing, chanting, etc. Each month on the Friday nearest the full moon there’s an opportunity to join together at Aryaloka 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.
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many contributions. Sadhu! Many thanks, also, to Sheila Groonell who has recently stepped down as Kula Coordinator and as head of the Cleaning kula. Her great energy, enthusiasm, and creativity have made such a positive difference to our center! Sadhu! And a warm welcome to Steve Cardwell who has added the job of Kula Coordinator to his many hats. Many thanks for volunteering! At its September meeting, the Council voted to establish a Kitchen Manager’s position to be in effect from now until the end of December, at which time it will be reviewed. Bodhana has kindly agreed to take this on – thank you! It was also voted to extend the cleaning position (at a slightly reduced level) until the end of December.
Happy viewing! Munisha Director, Clear Vision (Do you value our work? Please consider supporting us. It’s quick and easy at http://www.justgiving.com/clear-vision/ donate)
Audio-visual resources exploring Buddhism
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Buddhaworks: From the Bookstore By Steve Cardwell Greetings and good wishes from Buddhaworks. We have new items to check out. Aryaloka unisex T-shirts in three colors: black, cardinal, and denim blue. We also have ladies T-shirts in light blue. These are quite nice and have been selling briskly. Also you will find new Samadhi meditation cushions and mats from Vermont. The prices in the bookstore are actually cheaper than if you bought them direct and paid for shipping. There are two different color combinations that you can choose from. We also have some new books you might find interesting: Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of The Dalai Lama By His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama “The Dalai Lama’s autobiography should leave no one in doubt of his humility and genuine compassion. Written without the slightest hint of pretense, the exiled leader of Tibet recounts his life, from the time he was whisked away from his home in 1939 at the age of 4, to his treacherous escape from Tibet in 1959, to his winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. The backdrop of the story is the 1950 Chinese invasion of Tibet.
He calmly relates details of imprisonment, torture, rape, famine, ecological disaster, and genocide that under four decades of Chinese rule have left 1.25 million Tibetans dead and the Tibetan natural and religious landscapes decimated. Yet the Dalai Lama’s story is strangely one of hope. This man who ‘prays’ (meditates) for four hours a day harbors no ill will toward the Chinese and sees the potential for good everywhere he casts his gaze. Someday, he hopes, all of Tibet will be a zone of peace and the world’s largest nature preserve. Such optimism is not naive but rather a result of his daily studies in Buddhist philosophy and his doctrine of Universal Responsibility. Inspiring in every way, Freedom in Exile is both a historical document and a fable of deepest trust in humanity.” - Brian Bruya Buddha is as Buddha Does: The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living By Lama Surya Das “This may prove to be the most important spiritual book I’ve read in my ten years as a meditator and practitioner. While most Buddhist and spiritual authors effectively express much-needed wisdom and perspective to apply to our hectic, and often frightening, world today, Lama Surya Das shows us how
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
to put that wisdom into practice to make a real and lasting difference in our lives. The book outlines the Bodhisattva Code, an ancient, time-tested guide to enlightened living, which we can live by immediately for our own and others’ benefit through the recommendations and practices offered within. It clearly spells out how to improve and strengthen all our relationships, including with ourselves. For the beginner stepping on the Buddhist path for the first time, Buddha is as Buddha Does describes that path in all its richness. For the activist, spiritual or otherwise, it is a true resource that will guide its readers with wit, wisdom and a wealth of practical knowledge. Add to all that the fact that the book was a thoroughly enjoyable read” - A reader’s comments Laughter, Tears, Silence By Pragito Dove Using the principles she teaches, Pragito Dove transformed her fear and grief into joy and inner peace. Her accessible, innovative methods allow you to reap the benefits of meditation in thirty seconds, four minutes, or twenty-four hours, wherever you are and whenever you need a moment BUDDHAWORKS
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Movie Review By Dan Bush “Unmistaken Child” (2008), 102 minutes, Unrated Available on Netflix or iTunes Tenzin Phuntsok was born of a poor Nepalese family. Tenzin Phuntsok is eight years old. Tenzin Phuntsok has a blog. Tenzin Phuntsok Rinpoche is the “Unmistaken” reincarnation of Geshe Lama Konchog. It is October of 2001. The emaciated face of the deceased Lama Konchog is seen in his cremation bed before he is lifted and brought in procession to a pagoda-like furnace. Leaning against a temple wall is Tenzin Zobar, the devoted disciple of Lama Konchog,
tears in his eyes. In billows of smoke Lama Konchog’s spirit leaves the scene. Later, learned monks carefully search through the ashes picking out tiny “relics” and discerning the direction of his departed spirit. Thus begins Tenzin Zobar’s four-year search for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher. Unmistaken Child brings us from the Kopan Monastery in Katmandu, on foot and horseback, by car and helicopter, to the Sera Monastery in southern India, to the foothills and mountain slopes of the Himalayas and into the homes of Nepalese Buddhists. We view a sacred journey and follow Tenzin Zobar through each step of an ancient process. He shares with us, sometimes in Tibetan, sometimes in English the details of his journey; his worries, his frustrations, his hopes, his laughter. Following a “map” of astrological signs and relying on his instinct, Tenzin, visits village after village, looking for a unique child. He engages youngsters in conversation offering them toffees, he asks villagers about children with special qualities and
flashes Lama Konchog’s beads before the eyes of toddlers hoping for some recognition. Visiting his home village in the Tsum Valley, Tenzin climbs a steep mountainside to the dilapidated cave retreat where Lama Konchog spent over twenty years in meditation. It’s here that Tenzin tells us that he considers that finding his beloved teacher’s reincarnation is his “life’s responsibility.” Unmistaken Child is, quite simply, a fabulous documentary. It’s an epic quest for a reborn spiritual master and the filmmaker, Nati Baratz, deserves all the awards this film has garnered, including the River Run Film Festival’s Best Documentary in 2009. On top of the awe-inspiring footage of the Himalayas and Nepalese villages, Nati Baratz also brings us face to face with Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. Unmistaken Child is available for purchase on Amazon for $21.49. I almost rented it on iTunes for $3.95 before realizing that it was available from Netflix on instant view. For the rest of the story, go to www. phuntsokrinpoche.com.
with lots of laughing, excitement, and sighs of relief!) our new website is up and running. The entire process came to completion just as we headed into Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary celebration and the new website was born a great way to usher in the next twenty-five years of our center’s future. Over the nearly year and a half of working on the site with the Web kula, Samayadevi and Prasannavajri stepped down and our group was joined by by Viriyalila, and input on the project over the whole period extended to more people than I can even name likely some that I don’t even know about! I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that it was a remarkable joy and honor to be on this kula. This was an extremely large undertaking for all of us, and it was a challenge in many ways, but through it all our team worked together with a grace, respect and coherence
that is nearly unheard of when many voices and visions are at the same table. One often hears about the horrors of “design by committee,” but none of that was evident in our gatherings. Together we blended like milk and water. Where there were differences, they were quickly resolved. Where there was uncertainty, it was easily answered. And the end result reflects a unity of our shared vision of what the new website could be. So, what will you find on the website? Here are some of the new and exciting features:
Online In-Site By Eric Wentworth Aryaloka Buddhist Center http://www.aryaloka.org You may have noticed something different when visiting Aryaloka’s website this autumn! Beginning in 2009 a small team of people - including Amala, Dayalocana, Saddhamala, Samayadevi and Prasannavajri - began convening a committee dedicated to the goal of “gussying up” our center’s website. After presenting their vision of what this new website could look like and how it could function to a handful of tech-type folk who had experience with this sort of thing, I came on board to help bring that vision to life. After a rigorous process of gathering information, meeting, discussing, approving, taking photos, designing and coding (interspersed
Events Calendar The addition of an events calendar allows you to see what’s coming up at a glance. ONLINE INSITE
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ONLINE INSITE Continued from Page 9
When you roll over each event on the calendar, it gives a short teaser telling you what it’s about. Events are color-coded to reflect the group that they are designed for.
Online registration A key part of the planning of the site involved online registration and payment. Now you can sign up for events and pay online using your credit card or PayPal, making it much easier to make your reservation.
Virtual Tour In the “About Us” area, you’ll find our new virtual tour, which has some great shots of the Aryaloka we know and love.
Buddhaworks Page As new books and products become available, they’ll be posted in this section so you can stay up-to-date on what’s in the bookstore.
Vajra Bell The Vajra Bell page has been updated with a new look and new options. Now you can read the newsletter online in a snazzy new format. And there are more changes in store for this section, including Vajra Bell in color, a fresh new design, updates and articles from other North American centers, and occasional special features that can only be viewed online. Keep your eyes peeled!
“Life as a Buddhist” Section
and joining the Order. It features community news and updates, more about the volunteer kula system, and information on the Khanti Prison Outreach program.
Online Donation Just as you can pay online for events, now it’s much easier to make donations to Aryaloka. It’s especially easy to make an ongoing pledge through our Mandala of Supporting Friends. Just choose your donation level, click a button, and the pledge will be automatically withdrawn from your credit card every month.
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Contact Us There have been some great changes and additions to this section. Did you know Aryaloka is now on Facebook? Or that you can receive updates from our site through RSS feed? How would you like to sign up for our newly designed email list? There are lots of ways to keep in touch with what’s going on at the center. If you’re looking for Aryaloka, the directions page now includes Google maps. We also have a new “Surveys” page where occasionally we’ll be posting surveys that you can participate in to make your experience at the center even better.
freebuddhistaudio Spreading the Dharma in 180 countries. 40+ Centers worldwide. One million talks downloaded by the end of 2010.
“It gives me very great satisfaction to know that the work of FBA is benefitting so many people – this is one of the most important developments within our new Buddhist Movement to have taken place for many years. I hope you’ll support them by pledging whatever you can afford to help this excellent project flourish for all in the years to come.” (Bhante Sangharakshita, Summer 2010)
Another big part of the new site, this section is part of our ongoing efforts to inform newcomers about Buddhism. It gives an overview of Buddhist practice, and in particular, how it’s practiced in the Triratna Buddhist Community.
Aryaloka now has its own section for local talks on FBA! We depend on the generosity of all our supporters worldwide to keep our service free - please give if you can. Any amount you can offer is welcome!
Become a Supporting Friend of Free Buddhist Audio at:
This area presents a wealth of great information about our sangha, with photos and bios and information on becoming a mitra
www.freebuddhistaudio.com/donate fba: building community online
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Poetry Corner A Mind-Turning Meeting By Joan Rochette
I walk on a wheel, a circle with a never-ending rim, walking ‘round, looking in for a reason or a rhyme. The pack on my back is heavy, the path worn deep. Were others singing, were they scared, were they sure of what they’d find? I pass a book store and a temple. I must not linger there. In the circle is my answer, and others would never understand. Then I see a man sits resting, though his sandals are worn thin. “Don’t you hurry, don’t you care? To keep walking is the answer, not sit there.” His eyes are gentle, but his answer firm. “On this circle with its never-ending rim one must learn four lessons to move beyond the pain.” But who is he that I can trust his words as he continues on. “You have this life, don’t waste it. There is illness. There is death. Listen while you still have time. Throw away your longing for what you think you need. Throw away all you’ve brought along. You will never find the answer there.” Is he out to rob me? Is his smile only a facade? Why should he have an answer that is better than my own? My voice grows bold, “I walk the rim, looking in. I carry what I need. My pack holds books, a tent, a little money, too. There are things I want and things I need. I will find my way along as best I can.” As if his patience never fails, he tells me once again. “Wanting nothing with all your heart, you can finally stop this stream.” I am frightened, I’d be poor. I’d walk alone for ever more. My sister will say I’ve wasted all this time. My boss will give the promotion to the kid with the MBA. Yet he speaks again, “You cannot walk forever. Your choice will end in sorrow or in joy.” His words sound true. But I am hungry, I’m afraid. If I do this, if I do that, keep this, abandon that -my heart is aching now. Can I really find an answer
on this never-ending rim? I leave him standing there and go along my way, walking ‘round, looking in. But he’s at my side again. “Abandon all your hopes and dreams, Give up your quest to find the answer on this rim. Have you found an answer in what you left behind, or in what you carry on?” I am hungry, I am sad and stop at the next McDonald’s. There are things I want and things I need. But I cannot rest at night. My sleep is fitful, full of questions and regrets. I will make more money, show the office how I can succeed, visit a Greek island, move to a larger apartment, meet a man who will share my burdens and my dreams, and I will continue on this rim. And he is there again. “I thought you had abandoned me,” I acknowledge in my pain. His gentle voice continues on. “There is something that will never fail you, but you cannot end your pain with what you look for now. Sit and think awhile of these four things: You have the fortune of a vibrant mind and a body that is sound, but sorrow, illness, pain, and death await us all. Every step you take will determine what your life will hold, and nothing that you look to now will take you off this rim, and nothing in this circle will take away your pain. I sit with him awhile, my heart finally resting from its quest. Is there something I can learn? Can there really be another way? I listen to the story of how he found a door to where peace and joy abide. And I dare to hope that someday, my sandals, too, worn thin, I may sit and wait for someone who comes along this circle with its never-ending rim, walking ‘round, looking in.
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Arts at Aryaloka
Aryaloka Celebration Banners – Contemplative Arts By Dh. Kiranada Today our forest road is lined with vibrant colorful celebration banners which were created early in August by an enthusiastic group of more than twenty Aryaloka friends, family and Order members who worked for more than five hours to create them. The banners are in the style of Bali banners, seen on that island during religious ceremonies throughout the year. Our banners are seventeen feet tall, made of cotton and dyed in various Japanese shibori (tie-dye) techniques under the direction of Dh. Kiranada and assisted by Dh. Khemavassika. We began with grounding and centering meditation. Stepping outside to work on tables and poles, we began binding, folding, and clamping BANNERS
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Join Us for Another Arts Evening Event By Dh. Kiranada Come join us on Sunday, November 14th from 6-9 p.m., as Aryaloka once again focuses on the arts. It will be an evening to welcome photographer Don Gurewitz, view his extraordinary work and briefly hear of his travels in Buddhist Asia over a twenty year period. Next, sangha poets Candradasa and Joan Rochette will enlarge on the themes of Asia and travel with their stimulating poetry. The final offering will be music by Order member Sravaniya that so engaged the Aryaloka audience during a May string quartet event and at a recent September ordination. We have heard that a special offering of “sound and light” will accompany Sravaniya’s homage to the Teachers of the Present on the Triratna Refuge Tree. Gourmet refreshments, engaging images, uplifting words and sublime music will all blend into a lovely evening of contemplative arts at Aryaloka. This will be something not to be missed in the life of the sangha. Bring your friends and family. The last time there was standing-room only!
Anniversary Art Exhibit Engaging By Dh. Kiranada The week-long Aryaloka 25th Anniversary Celebration was multi-faceted and one of the jewels that particularly engaged the public was the Anniversary Art Exhibition co-coordinated by Viryalila. Showcased in the center’s yoga room gallery throughout the month of September, the exhibition included work by four Order members - Amala, Akashavanda, Viryalila and Kiranada - and one friend of Aryaloka, the artist Virginia Peck. Amala showed three evocative photographs on the theme of “light and dark,” depicting entries into sacred Buddhist spaces, shot in India, California and New Hampshire. An accomplished weaver in a past life, she now focuses her abundant artistic talent on photography. Viryalila, a particularly creative and innovative artist, has combined her love of meditative reflection with photography for many years. Her exquisite work in this exhibition explored the elements - earth, water, fire and air - as found in nature.
Akashavanda, a particularly enthusiastic quilter, finds her artistic place in the world of contemplative stitch. Her love of color and meditation are evident in the four vibrant quilted wall-hangings she exhibited: White Tara, Blessed Joining, Rainbow Clouds #9 and Tree of Life. Kiranada also works with fiber using the silk wax-resist process of Japanese rozome for her imagery. The three pieces exhibited include a ten foot long hanging dedicated to her research into the ahimsa (non-harm) raising of silk worms for their silk cocoons. Her other two layered silk pieces, The Heart Sutra and Beyond, Beyond, reference Dharma studies and were created during winter studio time in Bali. The three giclée print canvases exhibited from Virginia Peck’s Faces of Buddha series were visually arresting and popular favorites. Virginia’s work was featured at Aryaloka during a 2009 fall exhibition. It beautifully complemented and enhanced this engaging exhibition of Aryaloka talent.
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Arts at Aryaloka
“Images of Buddhist Asia” on Display The Photography of Don Gurewitz By Dh. Kiranada Arts at Aryaloka is delighted to welcome the work of the award-winning international photographer Don Gurewitz in the fall exhibition Images of Buddhist Asia, showing from October 8th to November 30th. Thirteen magnificent large-scale photographs, taken over a period of ten years, will include images of the land and people of more than eleven Asian countries including Bhutan, Tibet, Laos, Thailand, Japan, and Nepal. Gurewitz says, “Since my first visit to Asia in the 80’s, I have been fascinated with Buddhist art and aesthetics as well as the influence of Buddhism on the sensibilities, lifestyles and customs of the peoples who embrace it.” From the tips of Tibetan lamas’ red hats, to the blazing gold of a Thai stupa, to playful young monks in Lhasa, to the cool morning mist that hangs over temple spires in Bagan, Myanmar, Gurewitz shares the eye and compositional skill of an accomplished artist, while never forgetting the people behind the photographs. Gurewitz taught himself photography in the mid-eighties while investigating labor issues in Central America during the civil war in El Salvador and Nicaragua. What was at first documentary photography soon took on a life of its own, he says. With visits to over sixty countries on five continents, Gurewitz speaks passionately of photographic vistas in Bali “that take your breath away,” as well as the people he encountered whose “creativity, ingenuity and sense of beauty is expressed in the rituals of their daily life.” In presenting his work, Gurewitz hopes “that viewers will see my images not only through the eye of an artist… but through the eye of someone with social sensitivity.” His photographs are unique in “sharing the
subjects’ strength of character, generosity of spirit and their relationship with each other and the world.” We are exceeding pleased to feature Don Gurewitz’ work at Aryaloka Buddhist Center this fall and invite you join us on Sun-
day, November 14th at 6 p.m., for an Arts Evening that will include the artist sharing his personal insights on Images of Buddhist Asia. The works are available for sale in a variety of sizes and all sales benefit Aryaloka.
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Women’s GFR Retreat “Through Beginner’s Eyes” By Elizabeth Hellard The women in the Triratna ordination process gathered at Aryaloka from August 14th to 22nd for the annual women’s GFR retreat. Twenty-two participants and six facilitators spent eight days in community, study and conversation. There was time for small group discussion and many private conversations. Beautiful altars were created each morning and we celebrated Puja in the evenings with chanting, drums and inspired offerings. The theme for the retreat was Faith, Loyalty and Reverence in the Triratna Buddhist Order. This corresponded to the third acceptance at ordination, “With loyalty to my teachers, I accept this ordination.” We had deep and interesting discussions about the Garava Sutta from the Samyutta Nikaya and delved personally into Dh. Subhuti’s paper Revering and Relying Upon The Dharma: Sangharakshita’s Approach to Right View. It was a week of sharing and deepening friendships with both new and long-time mitras and Order members. During part of one Order member’s talk, she spoke about how everyone and everything are our teachers and amusingly spoke of bowing down to cats and dogs. She said, “When you forget your dualistic ideas, everyone becomes your teacher, everything demands your respect.” It’s something I think of each morning as I bow down to put food and water in my cat’s bowl. Along with the topic of faith, loyalty and reverence to our teachers, there was a great deal of conversation about Sangharakshita and the early years of the Triratna Buddhist Order. I came away with a much deeper understanding of his commitment and experience leading up to his founding the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order in 1967. We talked about Sangharakshita’s teachers and how he blended eastern Buddhist practices to create an Order for those of us in the west. What he did was an extraordinary accomplishment. Eight women were on their first GFR retreat. While it would be impossible to put into words the total experience of the
retreat we would like to offer comments from a few of those first-timers who spent the week looking at the ordination training process through beginner’s eyes. Denise Martin from Richmond, VT shared these reflections about her first GFR retreat: “I was very excited when I first found out the topic for the retreat was With loyalty to my teachers, I accept this ordination because this is an area that I have had more difficulty experiencing in my own practice. I love studying the Dharma and I consciously try to live mindfully following the Noble Eightfold Path. I keep in regular touch with other sangha members and try to come to Aryaloka at least once a month even though I live three hours away from Newmarket. I have a regular meditation
practice but what I have not experienced is a deep feeling of devotion for the Buddha during the few pujas I have attended. I guess feeling very connected to two of the Three Refuges is pretty good, but there is a part of me that has felt “blank” in this area. So when the topic of devotion and loyalty was announced for the GFR retreat my response was, ‘Let’s see what happens when I become immersed in this for a week.’ “The week was filled with the richness and diversity of the individuals who came together for this retreat. My overall impression was spaciousness. There was time to reflect, meditate, study, engage in devotional practice and be with one’s own thoughts and feelings. Interactions with others opened up new possibilities to deepen one’s WOMEN’S GFR
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Men Enjoy Intensive “Going for Refuge” Retreat By Stephen Sloan From September 10th through September 19th, Aryaloka hosted a retreat for men in the ordination process, who are Going for Refuge (GFR). This was an intensive retreat focused on meditation and study with the theme of The Transcendental Principle. The retreat was led by several senior Order members in the Triratna Buddhist Order, including Naghabodhi - the President of Aryaloka - and Dhammarati. Also part of the leadership team were Vidhuma, Shantinayaka and Viradhamma. Several other Order members were part of the retreat including, from the Aryaloka sangha, Narottama, Candradasa and Surakshita. Danakamala handled the cooking with great skill. Several men from the Aryaloka sangha were part of the retreat including Eric Wentworth, Zoltan Molnar, Steve Wade and Stephen Sloan. We also had men visiting from San Francisco, Montana, Detroit and New York. The study portion of the retreat focused on the first chapter in Sangharakshita’s Survey of Buddhism and a paper entitled Revering and Relying upon the Dharma by
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practice and created even more space to seek refuge in the Three Jewels. Although many of us did not know each other very well (or at all before coming on this retreat) there was honesty, humility and compassion as we worked and played together. We shared a foundation of trust as we opened up to each other as authentic beings who had gathered together for this common journey. I was especially moved by the honesty and sincerity of all the women Order members on the retreat team. They were excellent role models and mentors for the rest of us. “As for my original question about my relationship to devotion and loyalty, I came to realize that I actually am a very devoted person with strong feelings of loyalty to my teachers, my sangha and the Buddha. I tend to express my loyalty in quieter ways and I am not sure pujas will ever be my ‘thing,’
Dh. Subhuti. Each night there was a talk on the next day’s study material. That material was then discussed in depth in small study groups. This retreat is an important annual event in the ordination process. This is the only time each year that all men in the North
American ordination process have a chance to meet together. Thus it’s a chance to build spiritual friendship among future Order members in North America. Also, since the depth and breadth of knowledge represented is large, the discussions in our study groups were lively and inspiring.
but I was able to open up more to the shared aspect of this experience. Someday I hope I will have the opportunity to say wholeheartedly, ‘With loyalty to my teachers, I accept this ordination.’”
(faith) can open up one’s ‘lotus heart’ to be receptive and aware enough to hold both ours and others’ joy and pain with gentleness.
Gail Yahwak from Portland, ME shared these reflections: “It’s been a month since the women’s GFR Retreat. That time has had an effect on how I see the things that took place then. Although some things seem to be different at my very center without any effort, other things that I learned need to be actively reflected upon and cultivated to maintain. Otherwise I can feel them slipping away undetected in the night! Our topic of Faith, Reverence, Devotion and Loyalty to Teachers was quite eye and heart opening. To get a chance to learn how other women viewed this was a gift of sharing and sangha! It was a chance to feel deeply how sraddha
Elizabeth Hellard from Lee, NH wrote: “I thought a great deal about faith and commitment during the GFR Retreat. I remember quietly sitting outside one warm, sunny afternoon thinking about my teachers. I looked down and saw a bright green worm safely inching along, back and forth across three leaves that were hanging on a bush. The little worm would crawl to the edge and extend her body over the leaf then turn back into herself and return to the three familiar leaves she had been exploring. After a half hour she crawled to the edge once more, reached out and just let go. I wonWOMEN’S GFR
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25th Anniversary Celebration
A Look Back at Aryaloka’s 25th Celebration By Dh. Viriyalila Aryaloka celebrated its 25th Anniversary in late August/early September. It was a wonderful six-month period of reflection leading up to the big events as stories were told, guests were invited, and friendships rekindled. We were very pleased that Manjuvajra, Aryaloka’s founder, was able to join us for this significant milestone. The anniversary celebrations were a full week-long program of events, situated between a women’s Going For Refuge retreat, the North American Order Convention and a men’s Going For Refuge retreat. A special auspicious occasion arose following the women’s GFR retreat when it became clear that an ordination was on the near horizon. The concluding ceremonies of the 25th Anniversary festivities were quickly transformed into a public ordination ceremony for Bodhilocana, followed by the opening rituals for the Order Convention.
Some of the highlights of our anniversary celebrations included: Opening Ceremonies led by Surakshita and Dayalocana and featuring music specially composed by Sravaniya, a procession of hand-dyed Japanese batik banners led by Kiranada, a resounding chanting of the Bodhicitta mantra and a festive Sangha picnic on a glorious late summer day. You can view a little video of this ritual here: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqe59hxhZPI A lively and well-attended Open House involving many members of the Sangha as we shared what we do at Aryaloka with the community that surrounds us. Dharma talks given by Dayalocana, The Simile of the Heartwood, and Nagabodhi, Reflections on Aryaloka, now available on the newly-inaugurated community places page for Aryaloka hosted by Free Buddhist Audio. Additionally, a talk given by Vid-
huma on the North American Order Convention following the 25th Anniversary celebrations is also available on Free Buddhist Audio, titled Maintaining Inspiration. A Historical Slideshow, created with over 1,500 images collated from different people’s personal collections with original musical composition. Please join us in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Aryaloka, America’s first public retreat center. An energetic and lively sangha radiates through the domes of Aryaloka these days, thanks to many hands, much energy, lots of creative thinking, a willingness to deepen communication and friendship, faith in the Three Jewels and a belief in Bhante’s vision of spiritual community and Right Livelihood. All of us here at Aryaloka would like to extend much appreciation to all who have helped bring this important Triratna resource into being - may all blessings be yours.
Opening Ceremony Full of Sun, Smiles and Sentiment By Dan Bush For me, the 25th Anniversary opening ceremony was more than a celebration, it was a learning experience. I learned about Aryaloka history, I met new people and I learned how good a Gardenburger can taste. My wife, Ashley, and I parked on the paved roundabout outside Aryaloka and we were greeted by music from a brass orchestra. It felt medieval, as if we might find a jousting match at the end of the driveway. What we did find was an unusually large group of Buddhist friends gathering ‘round a circle of people bearing almost unwieldy long, thin, Balinese-style flags on poles 17 feet high. These colorful, enormous flags (created under the guidance of Kiranada)
were just the thing to symbolize the magnitude of our feelings for Aryaloka and our sangha. Dayalocana introduced the day’s celebration and then we all paraded behind the flag bearers down the driveway and around the circle to plant the first flag at Aryaloka’s entrance. With this and each consecutive flag, Surakshita shared with us a piece of Aryaloka history; from the founding of Aryaloka in 1985 by Manjuvajra and Thiradhamma, to Aryaloka’s first female mitra (Viriyagita), to Aryaloka as the site of the FWBO’s first American ordination in 1993. Before moving to the shrine room, the Young Sangha presented artwork created in honor of the day. At the entrance to the building was a large new banner (now
hanging in the shrine room) of the thousand-armed Avalokitesvara, painted by Amala and Viryalila. I had never seen the shrine room so full. It felt so rich, meaningful and poignant that I couldn’t stop smiling. Here we all were, a small but important part of the Triratna sangha - members, friends and families from Aryaloka, Boston, Portland and points in all directions as far away as Great Britain. Dogs and children joined in here as they did in every part of the celebration. Guided by Aryaloka’s president, Nagabodhi, we recited the Precepts in unison. Ending the ceremony, Amala and Sunada led us in a three part chant with drums. It felt effortless and professionally harOPENING CEREMONY
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25th Anniversary Celebration
An Open Letter to the Sangha on the Open House By Prasannavajri Dear Aryaloka Sangha, I have helped to organize a number of events over the years. However, Aryalokaâ€™s Open House on August 29th was by far the smoothest, most harmonious, graceful, and most amazingly positive of all! Everyoneâ€™s willingness to help, to do anything, and to do it well was so evident throughout the afternoon. In all, fifty visitors wandered
through Aryaloka traveling from twentyfour outlying communities. Towns included seventeen from New Hampshire, six from Maine, and one from Massachusetts. The following is what our Open House guests were greeted with! In all there were ten stations that our Open House visitors could meander through, gathering along the way a rich experience of the Dharma activity and ethos that are alive and well at Aryaloka Buddhist Center. It all started with Elizabeth Hel-
lard and Jon Prichard greeting people with their beautiful smiles and graciousness sharing a brief history of Aryaloka, giving handouts, and sending them on their way into our beautiful Center. How lovely for our visitors to meet with Vihanasari in the small lounge area and hear a wonderful description of meditation classes and retreats, an introduction to our kula system, and the global reach of Triratna Buddhist centers. OPEN HOUSE
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25th Anniversary Celebration Manjuvajra Revisits the Beginnings of a Buddhist Center By Elizabeth Hellard Manjuvajra, a Triratna Buddhist Order member since 1973 and founder of Aryaloka, spoke to a large and enthusiastic audience on September 3rd. His talk was one of the highlights of the 25th Anniversary Celebration week. Manjuvajra cleverly titled his talk Conception, Gestation, Birth and Infancy of a Buddhist Center. He opened his talk with the fundamental teaching of the Buddha that “all things arise in dependence upon conditions.” Even though Aryaloka was established in August of 1985, Manjuvajra started his talk with events that took place in 1978, the true conception year of Aryaloka. During the first part of the talk he spoke with humor about the conditions that brought him to the U.S. He shared private reflections about the evening in 1978 when a personal relationship had ended and his first thought of coming to the United States was conceived. The plans to come to the U.S. were two years in the making until finally, through an amusing series of conditions, Manjuvajra, Punya and Vajradaka left the U.K. and came to South Boston in 1980 to teach the Dharma and open a retreat center. He reflected that, “Sometimes all the threads of one’s past come together and weave the fabric of the future.” This “cellular stage” of the gestation period started as the three Order members arrived in the U.S. in the middle of a brutal South Boston winter. Manjuvajra, Punya and Vajradaka shared a house that was lacking central heat and most creature comforts. Manjuvajra told several humorous stories about a variety of jobs he and the others worked at in order to make ends meet. During that time they learned several sobering lessons about communal living, finances and prejudice. They tried to give Dharma classes in their South Boston house, but it became obvious they were attempting to open a retreat center in a less than desirable
part of South Boston. So at the end of the first year they moved the community and retreat center to Jamaica Plain, MA. The Jamaica Plain location was excellent and the community and sangha began to grow. While the center and Dharma teaching were growing stronger, Manjuvajra shared that there were personality differences brewing within the community during that time. The differences of opinion, style and approach to teaching were great, so he finally decided to leave the Jamaica Plain community and tour the U.S. for a year. During that year of traveling the gestation period moved into the “fetal stage” as Manjuvajra came to several conclusions. He decided a retreat center located away from the center of a city is the most inspiring and supportive of a monastic life style. His vision was clear. He wanted “a spiritual community, a residential community, living the spiritual life to the fullest with members who would invite others to join them in this spiritual life.” Manjuvajra came back to the east coast after his tour of the U.S. and coincidentally a flyer arrived in the mail advertising a property in Newmarket, NH. Manjuvajra and Thiradhamma visited the location on Heartwood Circle in Newmarket, viewed its interesting geodesic domes and decided it was the perfect location for a retreat center. What made the property even more interesting was that the owner was willing to finance 90 percent of the mortgage. This, plus a $25,000 gift from an Order member in England, provided the necessary funds to purchase the property. Aryaloka was about to be born. On July 26, 1985 the mortgage papers were signed. On August 3rd, Manjuvajra, along with Order members Thiradhamma, Ratnapani, Dharmabandhu and Baladitya, moved into the center, and just a few days later, on August 9, 1985, Aryaloka’s first two-week retreat was held. Manjuvajra spoke with fondness about the energy of Ratnapani, described Dharmabandhu as kindness personified, and talked
of Baladitya’s ability to bring young, interesting people along the Path. These first few years of infancy at Aryaloka were busy with Dharma classes as well as some local legal dealings with the Newmarket zoning board. This three-year legal struggle included winning over the immediate neighbors and finally being accepted as a Buddhist center. After much legal process, Manjuvajra succeeded in finally having the state of New Hampshire declare Aryaloka a tax exempt religious community. This core group of Order members started an on-site woodworking business called Lotus Products. Manjuvajra remembered using a bandsaw to cut out over 65,000 wooden hearts and titled this the “bandsaw meditation of mindfulness.” They also made wooden puppets and toys and the sale of these products supported the center. Once again, through the generosity of an Order member, Manjuvajra was able to quit working and focus entirely on Dharma activities, setting up a bookstore, doing administration and running the center. During those infancy years Aryaloka helped to spread the wings of the Dharma in the U.S. and assisted in setting up centers in Boston and as far away as Missoula, MT and San Francisco, CA. In 1992 Manjuvajra was exhausted and took a ten-week retreat. During that time he realized he loved the life of the mind and decided to move from building the institutions of the movement to building the Order. Even though Aryaloka was still a wobbly infant, the sangha was strong and Manjuvajra decided to leave Newmarket to continue his passion for building the Order. In 1993 he left the running of Aryaloka in the capable hands of several other Order members and moved on to Windhorse Books. He closed his talk with expressions of gratitude to the litany of people who helped MANJUVAJRA
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25th Anniversary Celebration
Dayalocana - The Simile of Heartwood Circle By Stephen Sloan On August 30th, Dayalocana, Chair of the Aryaloka Council, gave a talk that kicked off a week of evening events celebrating Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary. Her talk was organized around a quote from a Sutta included below: Like a man wandering in search of heartwood, would come to a standing huge tree with heartwood and he would ignore the heartwood, sapwood, bark and shoots and would cut the branches and leaves, and go away with it thinking it is the heartwood. A wise man seeing him would say, this good man does not know the heartwood, sapwood, bark, shoots, branches and leaves. He is wandering in search of heartwood, come to a huge standing tree with heartwood ignoring the heartwood, sapwood, bark and shoots, has cut the branches and leaves and is carrying them away thinking
it is heartwood. The purpose for which he sought heartwood will not be served. ~ Majjhima Nikaya 30 - The Culasaropama Sutta or The Minor Discourse on the Simile of the Heartwood Here the Buddha is cautioning us not to be satisfied with halfway measures, but to commit to going all the way to Enlightenment. Dayalocana picked up on that theme. She spoke of someone who might come down the driveway from Heartwood Circle and be pleasantly impressed by the beauty of the grounds, of the towering pines, of the inviting riverbank. But that person would be mistaken to think that the beauty of the place we call Aryaloka would represent the “heartwood.” If that person stopped at the beauty of Aryaloka the purpose for which he sought heartwood would not be served. Likewise, a person might visit the shrine room at Aryaloka and encounter the positive residues of countless hours of medita-
tion performed there. Or one might join in a Dharma class being taught by an excellent teacher and experience greater understanding of the Teachings. Others might come together with their spiritual friends and come to understand the benefits of sangha. But none of these would be correct if they believed that these experiences, no matter how inspiring, represented the heartwood. In the end, Dayalocana challenged us, we have to be willing to go all the way if we want to find the heartwood. While all of the wonderful things that we can experience at Aryaloka are pleasant and worthwhile, just as someone searching for the heartwood shouldn’t mistake the leaves and twigs as heartwood, so we shouldn’t mistake these wonderful qualities in Aryaloka as representing the Goal, as being all there is in the spiritual life. Instead we should commit ourselves fully to going all the way to Enlightenment and finding the heartwood.
Nagabodhi’s Talk - Reflections on Aryaloka By Stephen Sloan
I had the pleasure of listening to Nagabodhi speak during the celebration week for Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary. The evening opened with a wonderful introduction of Nagabodhi by Dayalocana, who gave us a bit of history about this man who is the president of Aryaloka, who has been visiting every year since 1987 and who loves ice cream more than anything (perhaps second to his wife). Nagabodhi began his talk with mentioning that twenty-five years is one percent of Buddhist history and that “to appreciate the
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Aryaloka in those early years and to those who continue to care for the center with obvious dedication. It was a treat to hear him
significance of this moment at Aryaloka, we have to go back two and a half thousand years and reflect upon the young man that started it all.” He proceeded for the next hour to engage us, weaving together the history of Buddhism, the Triratna Community, and Aryaloka with enthusiasm and energy. In talking about the history of Aryaloka, Nagabodhi shared a story of attending a ten-day conference with Manjuvajra and discussing strategies for developing the Dharma in the West. It was quite a successful trip for the two young men, as they were treated as though they were “the darlings” of the conference and as everyone was so
excited for the progress and the efforts being put forth by the FWBO. He highlighted the frustration felt by Manjuvajra in dealing with the contrast of such a powerfully positive experience and then returning back to “the middle of nowhere” to slog through the grind of day-to-day existence to get the center up and running. Nagabodhi reminded Manjuvajra that it was just that – the daily grind that enabled them to be able to report their progress at the conference. This story spoke to me as a lesson. As we hyper-focus on the day-to-day of our lives, we seldom see the progress we are making in ourselves.
speak with such openness and honesty. His humor and stories brought such a personal touch to the birth of our retreat center and helped bring life to the dates and facts. If you’re interested in a more detailed
description and photos of the conception, birth and infancy of Aryaloka please refer to Aryaloka Buddhist Center: A Historical Perspective Compiled for Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary 1985 – 2010 in the bookstore.
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25th Anniversary Celebration OPEN HOUSE
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Visitors moved up the stairway to the lounge area and were first greeted by Bodhana and Candace Hull sharing the ten-year growth and development of the Kshanti prison program in Concord complete with a beautifully-crafted display of the Concord sangha’s craftsmanship of meditation benches, malas, etc. Across the room near the tall clock was another table hosted by Arjava and Tom Gaillard where visitors learned about Tuesday Friends’ Night, received program handouts, and had an opportunity to sign up for Aryaloka’s email list. In the dining area, Linda Umbel and Diane Palaces provided awesome refreshments with a gracious touch of English high tea delicacies - beautiful to behold! Visitors moved upstairs to meet with Mary Schaeffer, who walked them through our Buddhist library collection, after which they heard from Shrijnana and Nina Jordan, who described Aryaloka’s children’s program - the Young Sangha and Parent Discussion Group.
Returning downstairs, visitors entered our well-stocked bookstore and were met by Steve Cardwell who responded to questions and also shared highlights of Aryaloka’s growth. Walking onto the screened porch area, our guests were greeted by Dayalocana and Surakshita. Onlookers learned through a visual display about the mitra system, as well as the ordination training retreat process offered to those who wish to deepen their commitment to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Moving into the yoga room, visitors enjoyed beautiful art work by sangha members. There, they also met with Stephen Sloan who engaged our visitors with an overview of Free Buddhist Audio. Across the yoga room, Eric Wentworth hosted an amazing 1,500-photo slideshow of Aryaloka’s 25-year history, highlighted with exquisite background music by Barry Timmerman and Jon Prichard. Wafting up to the shrine room, guests were greeted by Amala and Viriyagita who answered questions about meditation and who also provided three 15-minute sits, one per hour.
monic as all of our voices resonated and mixed under the dome. Then the big bell was pulled to the center and our bodies vibrated with each of the final twenty-five rings. In the back yard, warm and sunny, Quan Yin smiled over picnic tables and a whole lot of food; desserts and beverages on one end of the yard, veggie burgers (Bodhana and Arjava behind the grill) and all the fixings on the other. We all sat, ate, lounged, celebrated and took in the vibes for the length of the afternoon. At one point, Sheila pulled out her camera and took group pictures. For me it was a celebration and a learning experience but for so many of the Order members, mitras and friends the founders of Aryaloka’s first twentyfive years - it was a reunion.
of calm. Emphasizing expression, rather than repression, of emotion, these dynamic practices can begin with a variety of movements and sounds, or with silence. Meeting practitioners where they are — in sadness, fear, stress, anger, or joy — the techniques can be done in the midst of work, play, and home life, and either alone or with others. Drawing on such traditions as Sufism and Buddhism and such teachers as the twentieth-century mystics Osho and Gurdjieff, Dove’s synthesis meets the needs of contemporary life with attention to the full range of human experience and reverence for the peace and joy possible in every moment.
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Less By Marc Lesser
The Open House team joined the visitors in the third sit for a beautiful conclusion to our time of sharing the Dharma with the larger community. Upon leaving, visitors were invited to view Aryaloka’s lovely gardens, outdoor shrines and trails graciously hosted by Kiranada and Suzanne Woodland. The Open House marking Aryaloka’s 25th Anniversary was a joyous unfolding of sangha at its very best. The collective dedication and commitment of the Open House team complements the beautiful ethos of hundreds of people who have contributed to the Center over the years, and the sacredness of thousands upon thousands of meditative moments that rose in unison, for the benefit of all beings.... We reverence the Sangha, and aspire to follow it: The fellowship of those who tread the Way. As, one by one, we make our own commitment, An ever-widening circle, the Sangha grows.
A certain kind of busyness is crucial to life, allowing us to earn a living, create art, and achieve success. But too often it consumes us and we become crazy busy, nonstop busy, and we expend extraneous effort that gets us nowhere. Marc Lesser’s new book shows us the benefits of doing less in a world that has increasingly embraced more — more desire, more activity, more things, more exhaustion. Less is about stopping, about the possibility of finding composure in the midst of activity. The ideas and practices that Lesser outlines offer a radical yet simple approach to transforming a lifestyle based on endless to-do lists into a more meaningful approach that is truly more productive in every sense. As always, your support of Buddhaworks brings in needed money for Aryaloka. Thank you!
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25th Anniversary Celebration
Rededication Highlighted by Ordination By Eric Wentworth September 4th marked the end of Aryaloka’s grand 25th Anniversary festivities, and it was indeed an auspicious occasion. Not only were we celebrating the beginning of the next 25 years of Aryaloka history, we also had the blessed opportunity to celebrate with Bodhilocana (previously known as Denise Connors) as she began her journey as an ordained member of the Triratna Buddhist Community. The day’s events began outside with a silent gathering. Then the many sangha members who were in attendance proceeded inside to the shrine room for a meditation led by Dayalocana, followed by Surakshita’s lead-through of a Bodhicaryavatara Puja. Rededication verses were read by Dayalocana to ring in the next phase of Aryaloka’s journey. Bodhilocana’s ordination ceremony was a wonderfully unexpected surprise which integrated perfectly with all the activity around the center during the week. It was an amazing sight to see so many sangha members, friends and family there to share in the ceremony and to witness her clear joy to be making this commitment and her resolute confidence in moving forward on the Buddhist path. She was joined by her Private Preceptor, Ashokashri, and her Public Preceptor, Dayanandi, as well as over forty Order members. Offerings were made, many beautiful words were spoken, Sravaniya performed a musical composition for the event, and the Acceptance Verses were recited. In a shower of flower petals and cheers, Denise Connors became Bodhilocana - “she who possesses the Eye of Perfect Wisdom.” Following the main events, everyone gathered for tea and celebratory cake (which disappeared quickly!). It was a truly wonderful ending to a thoroughly fantastic week.
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Sangha Members Hike Mount Monadnock Blazing the Rocky Trail of Mindfulness on the Mountain By Elizabeth Hellard Nine hikers met in the parking lot on September 19th, a sunny Sunday morning, to start the trek up Mt. Monadnock. It was a beautiful morning with temperatures in the low 70s and just a hint of cloud cover; a perfect day for a hike. We all started out walking the trails together but age and stamina have a way of determining the pace. The younger folks always seemed to arrive at the rest areas first while we mature folks
had a more leisurely approach to hiking. As we climbed to the summit we enjoyed the beauty of the early New England autumn. Looking down we saw the bright red, orange and gold of the changing leaves below. We heard acorns dropping all around us as the squirrels and other creatures were getting ready for winter. The smell of pine was in the air and we talked of snow shoeing and cross country skiing soon to come. Since we do live in the Granite State itâ€™s fair to say that Mt. Monadnock is one big rock pile. The trails we chose were actually a bit more strenuous than I expected. But we took what life had to offer that day and worked with it. It was a great opportunity
to test our limits and find skilful way to maneuver the boulders. Itâ€™s interesting to see how often we have the opportunity to encounter our ego. This was a fairly strenuous hike with a great deal of rock scrambling. At times the preferred method of dealing with the climb consisted of attacking the boulder on all fours, crawling monkey style; not very pretty but effective. This was one chance to set ego and pride aside and opt for safety. Medical emergencies were kept to a minimum. Thankfully Marcus had a first aid kit and produced a piece of mole skin SANGHA HIKE
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RIGHT LIVELIHOOD Continued from Page 1
members at present are myself (Director), Viriyalila (Financial Director), and Eric Wentworth (Community Liaison). It’s great having a team to work with where you can rely on your fellow members having the same values. I used to work on my own on the project. Being part of something genuinely exciting and dynamic with others makes it all a much more satisfying experience, and the challenges of it keep an edge on my practice of skillful communication! Candradasa But perhaps that’s all rather routine in terms of talking about Right Livelihood in the Triratna context. So let me tell you about the rest of our team… Dharmachakra, founded informally sometime in the early 1970s is one of the oldest Right Livelihood situations in our Movement. And these days it’s also one of the most radical and experimental. The core team itself is spread far and wide. Aside from the New Hampshire component, we have key team members living and working with us from Saudi Arabia (Samudradaka) and London (Akasapriya)! We also have one team member (Mary) in San Francisco and another (Coleen) on the British island of Jersey. None of us have even met Coleen! You might reasonably wonder in what way, exactly, we can then claim to function as a team. I suppose the easiest way to look at that is to consider our work itself, all of which is now based online. We’ve had to figure out ways to communicate and share a common vision for our work knowing that the great distances that separate us also separate our users. Yet behind each download, sitting at every computer screen, is just a human being, the same as all of us: suffering and experiencing joy; longing for meaning; looking for love, happiness, and some measure of contentment in their lives. And that common experience is
exactly what we’re seeking to meet with our work and precisely what makes us a Dharma team. We know what it is to try and connect in a world that can seem vast and yet has been shrunk by the internet and globalization, and we work hard to make sure we do connect with each other; because if we don’t, then how could we ever hope to design systems and websites that offer a genuine means of connection with other people based on the deepest human values? So, above all for us, Right Livelihood is a practice of community – community with each other as a team and community with the world at large. Given our context, it’s fitting, in its way, that we are a global team, but we try always to remember the most local perspective of all: what goes on in the hearts of our users? By offering free web services for Triratna projects worldwide we can help them address that question too and meet the needs of everyone they encounter looking for the Dharma – whoever and wherever they happen to be!
Making a Career of Opening the Heart By Dh. Prasannavajri
Sangharakshita defines Right Livelihood as, “...a means of livelihood which is directly related to what one considers of ultimate importance in one’s life.” In other words, how one earns a living provides “...the conditions to live out ethical values in a context that supports their practice of Buddhism, meditation, and spiritual community.” As a Prasannavajri Resident Service Coordinator in a senior retirement community, I am involved in the well-being of 117 residents living in 110 units. I work as an integral part of the management team and am a primary link between residents and the larger community. Within the context of my job, my pri-
mary purpose is to assist seniors to stay in their home for as long as they can and want to by connecting their emerging needs with resources and services in the larger community. There are many opportunities to encourage residents to be proactive in their self-care by coordinating a host of educational presentations and forums. I am sometimes called upon to provide conflict resolution assistance, support the residents’ ability to uphold their lease, advocate on their behalf, and work with their families whenever needed. There are many subtle and not-so-subtle occasions to empower and strengthen the seniors’ ability to act and communicate on their own behalf. Within the context of a practicing Buddhist, my livelihood and my life as a Buddhist will often merge into one. Conditions for opening the heart abound when one is immersed in the lives of those who are dramatically aging with each passing day. Awareness of needs due to aging moves one into a deeper compassion and empathy for the powerful emotional, physical, and spiritual impact of the aging process. Impermanence is a constant companion with the elderly, leaving them frequently bereft as their physical and mental capacities continue to dwindle beyond their control. Coordinating services on their behalf serves to extend their independence and offers a measure of respect and reverence for the physical and spiritual quality of their life yet to be lived. I speak freely of their merit, breathe unconditional regard for their effort, and offer heartfelt - though sometimes silent - communication of one being to another. The experience is priceless.
Enlightened Living in the Workplace By Brian Jervis
The message of Right Livelihood is to love our world through our work, avoiding vocations that harm others. The preferred work is altruistic (benevolent and generous) and furthers the spiritual life by increasing helpfulness toward beings and decreasing harmfulness. RIGHT LIVELIHOOD
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The Buddha gave the following commonsense advice about Right Livelihood:
Repeat this quote to yourself whenever you feel yourself being drawn into an argument. Back away with love, and notice the reaction of the other(s), then notice your own reaction, you will be glad that you practiced this act of love. If we constantly monitor ourselves, we can develop autonomy and inner self-mastery, rather than being overly influenced by, and dependent on, the opinions and reactions of others. We can learn to recognize everything as impermanent, fleeting, intangible, dreamlike, and unreal. We can grow from dependency and codependency into healthy individuality. We can finally understand that we are responsible for how we feel and how we act.
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“Four things can bring happiness to this world: To be skilled, efficient, energetic, and learned in whatever profession you have; to conscientiously protect your income and family’s means of support; to have virtuous spiritual aspirations and trustworthy and faithful friends; to be content and to live within your means.” Trying to practice enlightened living authentic spirituality - does create an interesting challenge. Perfection is an ideal difficult to find on earth. Every workplace is a little flawed, a little fraught with hypocrisies, compromises, and egotism, including our own. The workplace provides a rich arena for us to become more aware of our actions, motivaBrian Jervis tions and intentions. It allows us to test out the commitment we have to walking the spiritual path. Strive to always do the right thing, but don’t expect anyone to notice or thank you for it. Self-transformation in a cave is easy compared to self-transformation in the workplace or home. We will be provoked in the workplace or home into responding to backbiting, dishonesty, ignorance, pride, jealousy, loathing, desire, etc., but remember it will be our ego that will respond in an unloving way, not our spiritual core. Feeling emotions is natural and okay. What is not okay is clinging to those emotions or letting them control us. Try practicing just letting go. My favorite saying regarding upsetting interactions between ourselves is: “If you have a choice between being right or being kind always choose being
“My definition of freedom is to be independent of others opinions.” I have said this to others and very often they misinterpret my meaning. When another is wanting to give advice and they have a genuine desire to help you, then obviously it makes sense to listen to what they have to say. However, if someone is putting you down to your face, or to others, it is important that those opinions do not influence you or your actions. That is what I mean by freedom. The most important discipline we can practice is a good, skilful attitude. Realize you have the choice, and choose to be happy rather than sad. Your attitude must spring from a well of gratitude and happiness and a total realization of the interconnected universe we live in. When you awaken, be grateful for that first breath, an intimate breath that is shared with every being on this Earth. As you dress, as you wash, as you eat, everything you receive is a gift from others, present and past, who have labored for you. Realize your whole life must be devoted to giving back and to saying, “Thank you.” Understand in all that we do or don’t do, the feelings we own must be ones of worth - ones that make the very most of the moment, a moment that could be our last. On the long driving commute to work, if it is boring, observe the magic beyond the windshield, play a taped story, do anything to make the drive
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a positive experience. If you’re not the one driving, you could meditate, or strike up an interesting conversation with a fellow passenger. Everything you do must include a focused realization of the precious gift of life. Take this attitude to work and you will quickly become conscious of your influence on others, helping to make theirs and yours a Right Livelihood. Understand how important your attitude toward life is and how it can influence the lives of others. At this junction I feel it is appropriate, talking of Right Livelihood, to inject somethinf from Thich Nhat Hanh. Thich says that everything that we do should receive our undivided attention. When we are doing the dishes, be completely involved in the task. Feel the suds, enjoy the warmth, be amazed by the sparkle as you dry the dishes. Make each moment a dedication to the joy of being alive and APPRECIATE having the privilege and ability of being able to perform a task. You will never know when that privilege might expire.
Learning Life Lessons Through Caring for Others By Dh. Viriyagita
It was a pleasure preparing to write this article as I came to appreciate more and more the value of my present job as a Right Livelihood experience. I have worked as a nurse for most of my life. The ideal of the profession of nursing is the provision of compassionate care, comfort, solace, and healing to Viriyagita those who are suffering. However, my job at Great Bay Services, a day program for adults with developmental disabilities, has more fully satisfied my need for Right Livelihood in all its aspects. First, I am surrounded by coworkers who give and give of their time and energy RIGHT LIVELIHOOD
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Last Signs of Summer
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for a hot spot on my foot and Jen applied a bit of ointment to Bernie’s scratched knee. We talked about the necessity of mindfulness on the mountain and the lesson of living in the moment as we mindfully made our way up and down the mountain. Every step was a practice in concentration. As we walked quietly through trails and climbed the slope we would check on each other as good friends do. We shared our food and drink and simply enjoyed being together and getting to know each other in a different way. It was a lovely form of walking meditation. When we reached the summit, the view was spectacular. I was the last to reach the top. About 1,000 yards from the summit my mind was saying I’d had enough and I was telling myself it was OK to just stop right there; another chance to encounter my ego. The rock scramble to the top was steep and I questioned whether or not I was up for the task. Jean came back to meet me
and gave me the bit of confidence I needed until together we slowly made our way to the top. It was a personal challenge and a good feeling of accomplishment, but I do wonder what part ego and pride played in my decision to reach the top. Overcoming obstacles is always a complicated combination of emotions. Our reward of lunch at the summit tasted delicious as we rested and took photos. What goes up must come down and the coming back down the mountain was just as much of an adventure. I just about wore out the seat of my jeans sliding fanny first down rock faces. Again, not very pretty but effective and safe. As we approached the end of the hike we gradually met up with our group of nine and all finished about the same time. At the end of our seven-hour day of hiking we all met in the parking lot tired, smiling and feeling good about our personal accomplishments. Then we enjoyed one of life’s little pleasures as we took off our hiking boots for the ride home.
Photo by Joan Rochette
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dered what was different that time to allow her to simply let go and fall to the warm earth below. It reminded me of a leap of faith, perhaps my leap of faith. That’s how I felt that week - as if I’ve been living in the safe comfort of my sangha and mitra classes, inching along content and comfortable at Aryaloka. But the GFR retreat gave me the opportunity to crawl to the edge, look over and let go – take that leap of faith that I’ll be caught by the solid foundation of the entire Order. It’s a new feeling of being involved in something much larger than me and my little world at Aryaloka. The ordination process is life changing. Those words come out easily but the true meaning is staggering. I left the retreat with appreciation, a new-found commitment and faith that I’ll be held and supported through this new territory.
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the long lengths of cotton fabric, focusing deeply on the process and connecting with the materials. The banners were first soaked in washing soda to prepare them to receive the dye. As we slid the bound-up cloth into the rich dye baths we reflected on Buddha’s words: “It is only the white cloth that takes instantly the color of the dye - Only the purified mind that takes the truth of the Dharma.” Over the next hour, diluted salt was stirred into the dye bath to assist the cloth in taking the deep color into every fiber molecule. Next, buckets of water were hauled forth and back as we rinsed and rinsed the bound cloth pieces. Then the miracle of resist patterns was revealed as the binding and clamps were removed. After a full day of work we were elated to discover intuitive patterns within the cloth banners. Here you can see echoes of our flowing river, woods and fern forests, patterns of stars and bars connecting us to the American sangha and lots of beautiful serendipity. Grateful thanks go out to all who participated, to the wonderful support team and the hard-working friends who cut poles, drilled holes and helped us erect these vibrant banners on our treasured grounds.
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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RIGHT LIVELIHOOD Continued from Page 24
far beyond their paid working hours. All are dedicated to the mission of empowering these adults to live a life with as much independence as possible, to experience a sense of community, and to live a life of meaning. The benefit of those we serve is placed far above anyone’s personal needs. Secondly, the job is never boring, constantly requiring me to be flexible and creative. We play, we rejoice, we share our sorrows and our joys. Thirdly, my boss is like no other I have experienced. She is a
model of impeccable integrity and ethical grace. I have never heard her say a negative word about anyone. Finally, I have been moved tremendously by the response of my coworkers to my ordination. Many attended the ceremony, even those who practiced in a very different spiritual tradition. When I returned to work after the ordination, I felt supported and understood in a very deep way. The transition from ordination to work was so much easier with so many staff having a sense of the significance of what I had just experienced.
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Sangha Night 6:45- 9 p.m. Intro to Buddhism and Meditation – 7-9 p.m. Women’s mitra class Six Paramitas retreat – Samayadevi and Akashavanda Young Sangha 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Intro to Buddhism and Meditation 7-9 p.m. Open Heart, Quiet Mind Yoga and Meditation Retreat – Michelle McComb and Arjava Arts Night – 6-9 p.m. Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Introduction to Buddhism and Meditation 7-9 p.m. Meditation and Full-Moon Puja 7-9 p.m. Intro to Meditation 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Metta Bhavana Order/Mitra Day 10 a.m. Sangha Day 3:30-5:30 p.m. followed by potluck supper Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Men’s mitra class ANNUAL AUCTION FUNDRAISER!
Intermediate level meditation 7-9 p.m. - Bodhipaksa
I have learned so much from the people I serve. I have witnessed some of the most loving and mature human relationships among certain individuals. One particular person was a “devotee” of a rock star and imbued him with many positive qualities that I am not sure he actually possessed. He strove to be like him, though. When he was in pain and suffering greatly, he invoked the name of his idol and vowed to be strong just as his idol was strong. I was humbled by his reverence and devotion to a higher ideal.
2 Women’s mitra class 3-5 Retreat on emotions and intuition – Vidhuma, Karunasara, Arjava, Bodhana, Vihanasari 4 Intro to meditation 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Mindfulness 5 Young Sangha 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. 6 Men’s mitra class 7 Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. 8 Intermediate level meditation 7-9 p.m. - Bodhipaksa 9 Women’s mitra class 10-12 or 13 Heart Sutra retreat 13 Men’s mitra class 14 Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. 15 Intermediate level meditation 7-9 p.m. - Bodhipaksa 16 Women’s mitra class 17-19 Men’s Order/Mitra weekend 19 Order Day 20 Men’s mitra class 21 Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. 23 Women’s mitra class 24 Meditation and Full-Moon Puja 7-9 p.m. 27 Men’s mitra class? 24-31 Winter Meditation Retreat 30 Women’s mitra class JANUARY 1
Meditate for Peace Day 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
VOLUME 8, ISSUE IV
Upcoming Events (All events are subject to change. For the latest upto-date information, please call the office or check our web site: http://www.aryaloka.org) (Akasaloka events are in italics) OCTOBER 1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15-17
Padmasambhava Day – 6:30p.m. Aryaloka Community Work Day 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Young Sangha – 10a.m.-12p.m Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Women’s mitra class Breaking Free From Fear day retreat 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Order Day Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Intro to Buddhism and Meditation – 7-9 p.m. Women’s mitra class Non-Violent Communication Deepening and Empathy
17 18 19 20 21 22 22-23 22-24 23 24 25 26 27 27-Nov. 2 28
Women’s Practice Day Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Intro to Buddhism and Meditation – 7-9 p.m. Women’s mitra class Meditation and Full-Moon Puja 7-9 p.m. Concord Sangha retreat at NH Men’s State Prison A Humble Heart Yoga – Lily Sibley Introduction to Meditation 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Mindfulness Men’s Practice Day Men’s mitra class Sangha Night 6:45-9 p.m. Intro to Buddhism and Meditation – 7-9 p.m. Noble Silence Meditation retreat Women’s mitra class
Men’s mitra class UPCOMING
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Ongoing Sangha Night at Aryaloka
Every Tuesday evening, 6:45-9:00 p.m. • • • •
Led by Viriyalila, Arjava, and Suzanne Open to all 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!
Full Moon Puja
Friday evenings as scheduled (unless noted). See the Aryaloka website or Vajra Bell events schedule for dates and locations. 7:00 p.m. meditation, followed by 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. “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 Oct 1, 2010
Right Livelihood --- Aryaloka's 25th Anniversary Celebration recap --- "From Couch to Cushion" by Nancy Strout Porter --- Arts at Aryaloka "...