keeping sangha connected
Reinventing the Wheel Bodhipaksa offers an alternate reading of the Twelve Nidanas
Also in this issue:
Sustainable Buddhist Living at EcoDharma
Being Present with Whatâ€™s on Our Plates
As I reflect on the last few months and all that’s happened in that short period of time, I find myself overjoyed at being a part of the Triratna sangha - both at Aryaloka, which is near and dear to my heart, and within the Triratna Community as a whole. I look at the center and the movement and I see a vibrant undercurrent of positive growth and energy, deepening engagement, spiritual friendships blossoming, the seeds of effort being sown, and the fruits of those efforts being realized. This year has seen six new Order members become part of our local sangha, and it’s a marvelous thing to see spiritual friends whom we know and love make that ever so important commitment to Going for Refuge, to practice, and to sharing the merits of that practice with all beings to the best of their abilities. How fortunate we are to have that dedication so strongly affirmed, and so many times! I have found it incredibly inspiring to share, with sympathetic joy, in these ceremonies. Being in the ordination process myself I have some sense of what my friends have experienced, explored, learned, and realized in the process of preparing for ordination, and that knowledge gives me a deep sense of kinship and happiness for them as they open a new chapter in their spiritual lives. Also, like many of you who were in attendance for our Skype call with Bhante Sangharakshita, I was bowled over by the opportunity to listen and speak to our teacher directly, and to witness his careful attentiveness, his ready clarity in response to the questions we posed, and his sparkling sense of humor. To have a chance to express my gratitude to him personally for the tradition he has passed down to us, and how that has changed my own life,
will surely be one of the great highlights of my spiritual path. My hope is that one day I will be able to visit him and give him a huge hug of thanks, but for now this opportunity will certainly suffice. The meditation marathon and the sangha picnic also stand out to me as bright points for all of us in the last few months. Having so many folks take part in the marathon and really get engaged (and have so much success as well!) was a fantastic example of the strength of individual sangha members coming together around a common cause, and bringing that out to the wider world. We all benefitted greatly from everyone’s participation, and hopefully it created opportunities to talk about the Dharma and our Center with people in our lives who may not know much about what we all do when we’re here studying and meditating. There seems to be a real strength of practice going on as well that rumbles beneath everything that’s happening. Sangha nights continue to bring new Dharma seekers who are are met by the fantastic expertise of the sangha night team, mitra studies are filled with a depth and engagement that is stunning, spiritual friendships are blooming all over, and we always have a full program of fantastic events. And beyond that, our sangha’s sense of being part of something greater seems to be continually growing. Order members, mitras, and friends are travelling between centers, cross-pollinating and building new connections. Behind the scenes, the Triratna Community is busily humming away and finding new ways to communicate and work together in traditional groups and online as well. The overall feeling is one of unity, full of new frontiers for our sangha. We’re standing with each other, working out the kinks, looking ahead, using what skills we have on hand, and finding the best ways to move forward together, to practice together, and to live the Dharma together. ◆◆
VAJRA BELL KULA EDITOR IN CHIEF: Eric Wentworth firstname.lastname@example.org ADMINISTRATION EDITOR: Dh. Vihanasari email@example.com SANGHA EDITOR: Satyada firstname.lastname@example.org ASST. SANGHA EDITOR: Pam White email@example.com FEATURES EDITOR: Mary Schaefer firstname.lastname@example.org ARTS EDITOR: Elizabeth Hellard email@example.com
ARYALOKA COUNCIL MEMBERS COUNCIL CHAIR: Dh. Dayalocana firstname.lastname@example.org TREASURER: Tom Gaillard email@example.com Dh. Surakshita firstname.lastname@example.org Dh. Vihanasari email@example.com Dh. Akashavanda firstname.lastname@example.org Dh. Arjava email@example.com Dh. Shrijnana firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Wentworth email@example.com
Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 firstname.lastname@example.org · www.aryaloka.org
Please be sure Aryaloka’s windows stay closed in winter and remember to close them when leaving the center in warmer months. Thank you! 2
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musings from the chair This year six mitras from Aryaloka have been ordained into the Triratna Buddhist Order, four of them in September on a two-week retreat at Akashavana in Spain. The retreat reflected the international aspect of the Triratna Order. The ten women being ordained came from the United States, Sweden, Germany, England, Spain, and Mexico. The Heart Sutra and Precepts were recited not only in English but in Spanish, German, and Swedish as well. Akashavana is located at the end of a dirt road that winds up and around the mountains. It is a magical place in the clear blue sky — a place of great peace and inspiration. But it was not only the setting that provided inspiration. The depth of practice, commitment, devotion, and harmony among the women was evident throughout our retreat. They accepted their ordinations for the sake of all beings. Their kindness and compassion will be at the heart of their practice as they share the Dharma in their lives and at our center. It is with great happiness that we welcome four new Order members to Aryaloka. Now let’s introduce the new Order
The new Order members and their Public and Private Preceptors. Back row, left to right: Ashokashri, Dayalocana, Karunadevi. Front row, left to right: Lilasiddhi, Vikasashri, Singhatara, Shantikirika.
members and their Buddhist names in Sanskrit: Sheila Groonell is now known as Lilasiddhi, which means “accomplishment through play.” Debby Cardwell is now Vikasashri, which means “the radiance of opening the heart and serenity.” Marianne Hannagan is now known as Singhatara, which means “protector who
is like a lion.” Candace Copp is now Shantikirika, which means “sparkling with tranquility, peace and happiness.” They join Dharmacharini Kavyadrishti, ordained in March, and Dharmachari Satyada ordained in July at Aryaloka. There are now 42 Order members on the East Coast of the United States. Sadhu! ◆◆
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. AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
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 writ-
er? Well, now is the chance to challenge that self-view. The Vajra Bell kula has among its volunteers an excellent set of editors to help you on your way. Have an idea, but you’re not sure if it’s prime-time material? Let us know what you’re thinking - it may grow from a seedling thought into a solid story. The important 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. ◆◆ VAJ R A BE L L
Meditation Marathon a Stunning Success!
Aryaloka’s first-ever Meditation Marathon brought our sangha together for a week of meditation, fundraising, and joyful celebration! The Marathon was launched in July with an invitation for every sangha member to participate. The request was a simple one: ask friends and family to be ‘“sponsors” of your meditation for one week, beginning August 19th. As July gave way to August the excitement spread, fueled by feature articles in local newspapers and enthusiastic promotion by our Meditation Marathon volunteers. On August 19th the marathon began, with a welcome ceremony, a kickoff group meditation, and wonderful food. All week featured group “sits” at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and on Saturday the 25th we gathered for a potluck supper, live music, and prizes that included books, massage gift certificates, and even a handmade Meditation Marathon quilt! We also celebrated our success as a group and individually. Here’s a look back at the numbers: 26 marathoners were supported by... 154 sponsors (and t-shirt buyers, and tattoo wearers)... and together we raised $6,900! After accounting for expenses, Aryaloka had raised over $6,300, and the collective meditation for the benefit of all beings was priceless! If you didn’t get a chance to participate, and are feeling a little sad about missing out – don’t fret! 2012 Meditation Marathon t-shirts are still on sale in the bookstore for a limited time. And we’re already making plans for next year’s marathon, to be held in the early summer. Thank you for your support, and sadhu!
Please join us for Aryaloka’s 2013 Pledge Drive Aryaloka’s annual pledge drive will take place in October. Please support us! Your monthly pledge is a vital resource for Aryaloka. You can pledge online at www.aryaloka.org, or call the office for instructions at 603-659-5456. Thank you for your support!
~ Tom Gaillard
Volunteer groups at Aryaloka
by Steve Cardwell Greetings and good wishes from the kula corner at Aryaloka. Kulas are the volunteer groups that do a ton of work at the center. They clean the building, plant bushes and flowers, cut the lawn, shovel 4
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the snow, manage the library, take care of the shrine room, do the recycling, provide rides for visitors, produce the Vajra Bell, and much more. Aryaloka would have a really tough time surviving without the generous work of our good people. Would you like to join us? It’s easy -
just pick up a copy of our new Volunteer Teams brochure located in the Aryaloka foyer. Look over the list of kulas and then give me (Steve Cardwell) a call in the Aryaloka office at 603-659-5456 and we will get connect you with the leader of that kula. ◆◆ AUT UM N 2012
from the council
From the August Council meeting: Please welcome Eric Wentworth as the new publicity coordinator. Eric will be taking over from Shrijnana who had previously been coordinating publicity as well as doing her regular job as program director. Thank you, Eric! ◆ It was decided not to continue advertising in national Buddhist publications such as Tricycle, Shambala Sun, and Buddhadharma as it was decided that these funds could be put to better use in advertising regionally and locally. It turns out that very few people find us through national publications. ◆ The Council made a minor tweak to the cleaning manager’s job description to include coordinating volunteers. ◆ The facility team is planning to close up the bottom of the shop area (next to the
ground) to keep squirrels and other small critters out. Work on the driveway will start once the riding lawn mower arrives. Repairs are still needed to the solitary cabin. ◆ The curriculum kula held a supper for teachers at the end of August to introduce the new Aryaloka curriculum, including suggested resources. This is still a work in progress and teachers decided to meet again before too long to continue the discussion and suggest additional content. ◆ Saddhamala has stepped down as the women’s mitra convenor. Many thanks and much appreciation for all of her deep involvement with and strong support for the women mitras for so many years! Sadhu! ◆ A women’s mitra convening team - much like the team that supports the men mitras - will meet at the beginning of October to make plans going forward. ◆ Eric is looking into expanding the Vajra Bell to encompass all of the centers in North America. If this is not feasible, the
Vajra Bell will remain unchanged. ◆ Akashavanda is looking into developing a possible communication plan for the center. From the September Council meeting: ◆ The finance team is planning to launch the fall pledge drive sometime in October. ◆ The development team reported that the Meditation Marathon was a great success! Many thanks to those who meditated and the many more who supported them. We made about $6,900. ◆ It was decided to increase overnight rates for staying at Aryaloka or Akasaloka by $5 per night. ◆ Dayalocana shared information about the recent North American Triratna Assembly conference call. No action was needed or taken. ◆ Council members were asked to consider their continued involvement with the Board and to suggest candidates for any vacancies that may come up.
Yoga at Aryaloka: Preparing the Body and Mind for Meditation Many Westerners approach yoga as simply physical exercise, but yoga’s original purpose was to prepare the body and mind for meditation. “Yogas Citta Vrtti Nirodhah – Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind,” Patanjali wrote in the yoga sutras 2,200 years ago. Physically, yoga gives our bodies the strength and flexibility to hold a meditation posture comfortably. Mentally, yoga quiets our restlessness and focuses and concentrates our mind. Aryaloka offers several yoga events each week and each month to quiet your mind and increase your body’s flexibility and strength: Michele McComb has led popular yoga and meditation retreats for years at Aryaloka and Kripalu. She will be holding her final retreat at Aryaloka – Open Heart, Quiet Mind Yoga and Meditation Retreat – from November 8th through 11th. This retreat welcomes all levels of experience and allows you to embrace your authentic self in a supportive and transformational environment through the practice of Kripalu yoga, the Metta AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
Bhavana meditation, and periods of social silence. Michelle is a Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor and a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She also is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with a special interest in training in bodycentered approaches. At the end of the year, Michelle will be moving on to focus on yoga therapy, but Lily Sibley, a popular Seacoast area yoga instructor, will continue to offer yoga retreats at Aryaloka. Shrijnana offers weekly yoga classes on Wednesday evenings and Friday afternoons. She has been practicing yoga for close to twenty years, in both the Iyengar tradition and an Ashtangha-
inspired vinyasa style. A 2012 graduate of the YogaWorks training program, Shrijnana is especially interested in exploring the connection between yoga and meditation. The Wednesday drop-in class (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.) is geared to all levels, generally beginner to intermediate. It is a wellrounded class with a mixture of standing, sitting and relaxing poses. This class uses simple vinyasa-style sequences, ujjayi breathing, and drishtis (gaze points) to deepen focus and concentration. No registration is needed and cost is $6-$10. The Yoga and Meditation class on Fridays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. is a gentler approach to yoga and incorporates restorative postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. The Monthly Intermediate Class provides structure and guidance for people wanting to take their yoga practice further. It is intended for those who are already familiar with the main standing and sitting poses, including sun salutations. Intelligent sequencing of poses, linking the breath with movement, and hands-on continued on page 10 VAJ R A BE L L
sangha notes ARYALOKA SANGHA (NEWMARKET, NH)
The Aryaloka sangha has had some real highlights over the past several months and we can’t wait to share them with you! ◆ As Dayalocana mentions in her Musings article in this issue, we’ve celebrated the ordinations of a stunning six new Order members so far this year! First was Kavyadrishti’s ordination on March 4th and then Satyada was ordained on July 7th, when Aryaloka made a bit of history by live-streaming the ordination ceremony online around the world. We believe that this is the first time that’s ever been done and we are honored to have been able to share the event. Then four of our own traveled across the pond to Akashavanda in Spain and returned as Lilasiddhi, Vikasashri, Singhatara, and Shantikirika. A truly wonderful year, and such a gift to our center and the Triratna sangha to have all of these new Order members in our midst! Sadhus to all! ◆ On July 15th we made history again by linking up with our teacher, Bhante Sangharakshita, via Skype call - the first time this has been done in North America, certainly, and a fantastic way to connect. We were joined by Vajramati and the gang
NAGALOKA SANGHA (PORTLAND, ME)
Greetings from Nagaloka in Portland, Maine! Fall is upon us here in the north with the trees changing colors and the amount of sunlight growing shorter. As our season changes we can look back on a wonderful summer here at Nagaloka. ◆ We had the great gift of having many friends and Order members visit us from Aryaloka to give talks on our Wednesday nights. We were lucky enough to see Viriyalila, Amala, Samayadevi, Prasannavajri, Satyada, Eric Wentworth, Mary Schaefer, Singhatara, Shantikirika, Viryagita, Bodhana, and Nagabodhi - who shared his knowledge of the early days of the Triratna movement. Through them we travelled to India, practiced for all beings, heard about Free Buddhist Audio, explored devotion and gratitude, dove into our 6
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from the New York City Triratna sangha. Despite a few small technical glitches, the call went beautifully and it was such a joy to connect with Bhante directly. The event was led by Dayalocana, who asked Bhante questions that had been submitted by local sangha members. The questions ranged from the source of our tradition’s meditation forms, to the early days of the FWBO and Sangharakshita’s time in India, to his favorite reading (which he had much to say about!). Bhante’s eloquence and good humor shone through the entire exchange, and at the end many sangha members said personal hellos and expressed their gratitude to him for what he founded and the effect that that has had on their lives. You can see the full recorded call on Aryaloka’s website here: http://www. aryaloka.org/about/media ◆ Aryaloka held its annual Sangha Picnic on September 9th at Great Island Common in Newcastle. It was a beautiful day, and the sun came out at the same time as the scrumptious food. There were myriad amazing potluck dishes, each of which begged for a tasting, and which left our bellies full. There was also ample time for playing happily on the lawn with the children or taking a walk along the shoreline. Loads of fun!
◆ Our sangha recently celebrated the addition of two new mitras - Jaime Grady and Sandra Stewart - who made their declarations to a full shrine room of smiling friends and family. Sadhu to both of you - all of us at Aryaloka look forward to being part of your spiritual journeys. ◆ New brochures about Aryaloka and about volunteering at the Center are available upstairs in the lounge and in the foyer for those who would like more information or would like to lend their time and skills by joining a kula. ◆ The Center’s newly repurposed meeting room downstairs (Number 2) is working out well and getting lots of use. The hay that was stacked around the base of the big barn over the winter has been repurposed and has a new home on the paths. Much of the garden is past its summer glory and we will soon need to buy cut flowers for the shrine room and other areas around the center. Much appreciation to Kavyadrishti and other sangha members for all their work among the beautiful summer blooms. Thanks also to Pete Ingraham for filling in as cleaning manager for Lilasiddhi while she was away being ordained in Spain.
kleshas, learned about ordination and the process leading to it, rejoiced in Dhardo Rinpoche, and dipped our toes into Noble Silence and Buddhism in a prison setting. Now that is a FULL summer! Thank you so much to all our visitors - your presence was truly appreciated. ◆ We also celebrated Nagaloka’s 10th Anniversary with a potluck dinner and sangha meeting. Our very own Louise led us through an evening of poetry (by Emily Dickinson) and her talented son Ian performed a bit of classical guitar. It was a lovely evening. Also, some very good news - Louise has asked for ordination! ◆ Other very delightful news is that Denis Nye and Ashlee Sadowski made their mitra declarations on July 10th at their mitra ceremony. They bring the total number of mitras at Nagaloka to thirteen. ◆ September brought us to our new ongoing study. We have begun Tales of Freedom by Vessantara on our Wednesday
Friends’ Night, each week studying a new story to teach us the Dharma and the way to freedom. We also began a new mitra study on The Three Jewels, from the Foundation Year of the Dharma Training Course for Mitras. ◆ Dharmasuri and Louise led our firstever Children’s Puja for sixteen lovely little ones and their parents. The children made “giving baskets,” pipe cleaner people, and wrote notes or drew pictures to offer to the Buddha. We chanted and wiggled and had an inspiring time. ◆ Dharmasuri has begun another fourweek introductory class and Louise has started up her Creative and Mindfulness Movement Class for children. We have a great schedule of day retreats coming up. Keep your eye on our website for details at www.nagalokabuddhistcenter.org.
~ Eric Wentworth & Mary Schaefer
~ Dh. Dharmasuri
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sangha notes CONCORD SANGHA (NH STATE PRISON FOR MEN - CONCORD)
On Friday evening, September 14th, twenty-eight men from the Concord Prison sangha gathered in the prison chapel for our third and final retreat of the year. This retreat was focused on meditation — specifically on moving deeper and how to find that still point within each of us. We looked at the how and why of meditation as well as the three qualities of sati, sampajanna, and atappa that are needed to develop concentration. As with all of our retreats there was plenty of discussion as well as sharing of meditation experiences. It is a very diverse sangha with men from many spiritual traditions joining with us to explore our
individual paths through the lens of the Dhamma. The men began arriving at the chapel at 8:30 on Saturday morning for the second day of the retreat. Getting to the retreat is a practice in itself — the attendees have ten minutes to cross the prison yard and get to the chapel and then they all have to be checked in to verify that this is where they are supposed to be. If their name does not appear on the Correction Officer’s list it’s back home they go. No last minute registration allowed. All inmate names, as well as volunteer names, must be on the operations bulletin thirty days prior to the event. The first order of the day was a recitation of the Refuges and Precepts, followed by a short meditation. We then gathered in a circle for a discussion about
One of our lovely Aryaloka greeters was surprised recently to have a newcomer introduce themselves as coming from the Kingston Group. “We have a Kingston Meditation Group?” you might say. Yes! For the past three years, beginners’ classes have been taught every September, introducing meditation to the small village of Kingston, NH. When, in 2009, a surprising thirtythree people responded to that first notice in the Carriagetowne News, a waiting list and second group was formed. From that initial beginning, we have now added a weekly “morning sit” on Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m., open to anyone with an ongoing meditation practice. We are a small support group with members from Kingston, Exeter, Fremont, Plaistow, and Danville. All are welcome to join in on our quiet sit. We offer meditation with bell-ringing, but with no instruction. The welcoming new Kingston Community Library at 2 Library Lane has been our host. You can find the library a few meters from Rte. 125 where it meets Rte. 111. Although the library is officially closed, the doors are open early for our meditation group every Wednesday. Come join us. For more information, contact Dh. Kiranada at 603-642-3479. ~ Dh. Kiranada
I am very pleased indeed to report that on September 27th we signed a lease to rent a room at the Center for the Arts at the Armory, at 191 Highland Ave. in Somerville. It’s about the same size as our previous space in Davies Square, but much nicer and in better shape. We will have it looking spectacular! It’s about a fifteen-minute walk from
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going deeper and finding stillness within meditation. Our goal for the afternoon was to sit for two hours. The longest most of the men had meditated prior to this was an hour and fifteen minutes. At 12:30 we began our afternoon meditation. The time flew by in deep silence, except, of course, for the occasional door slamming, key rattling, radio crackling, and the endless drone of the air exchange which delivers bonechilling air into the chapel. After the sit there was a short break and then we reconvened to talk about our experiences and, lastly, to report out. Once again the retreat was over in what felt like the blink of an eye. Many thanks to Khemavassika and Vihanasari for participating and your many years of supporting the Concord Sangha. ◆◆ the subway, and also has a big parking lot behind it. Alas, no windows - sigh! - but it is nevertheless a very attractive space. Our new home will be available to us on October 15th, and we’ll be holding classes right away with a four-week intro class beginning on October 29th on the topic of meditation and the Noble Eightfold Path. We will keep you informed as to when we will be having our opening celebration and dedication ceremony… We hope you will be able to join us! ~ Dh. Sravaniya
Wisdom of the Body: Deepen Your Practice Aryaloka offers a number of yoga programs that prepare our bodies and minds for meditation. A related program – The Wisdom of the Body – will be held December 7-9 at Aryaloka. In meditation, focus on the body and posture are not mere preliminaries. Mindfulness is all about opening up our awareness. And how else would we do that than through our bodies and our senses? The body is THE vehicle with which we take in what our experience has to offer. But how open are we to receiving it? If we create auspicious conditions in our body and environment, meditation and realization will automatically arise. On this retreat, you will practice embodied awareness as a doorway to
deepening your practice. You will learn principles of posture that set the stage for openness and receptivity. You will explore different approaches to cultivating mindfulness and metta (loving-kindness) through the gateway of sensory experience. And there will be plenty of silence to allow you to touch that place of stillness within. This retreat will be led by Sunada, whose name means “beautiful sound.” Sunada works as a Buddhist life coach (www.mindfulpurpose.com) and teaches meditation at Wildmind (www. wildmind.org). The retreat is open to all who have experience with the Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana practices. ~ Mary Schaefer VAJ R A BE L L
Living with Commitment Cultivating Sustainability at EcoDharma Retreat Center By Dh. Amala Just below the high mountains of the Pyrenees in northeastern Spain, in the province of Catalunya, is a long, high valley. It is bordered on one side by limestone cliffs where vultures ride the updrafts, and on the other by a gorge lined with tall pines. Once heavily farmed – mostly for potatoes – the valley was home to families whose stone houses and shelters had been there for generations. Abandoned for farming and living before the 1980s, the valley has new purpose. The EcoDharma Retreat Centre now utilizes and preserves the natural resources of this beautiful high valley. Since my first visit there in 2010, EcoDharma has captivated me. The place suits me, and I return for extended visits whenever I can. What follows may dispel the mystery around my trips to Spain every few months. Where do I go, and what is it about? EcoDharma is a unique Triratna center – a place, a community, and a visionary project. There are several strands of activity and focus: the community of permanent residents who run the place; the land itself including a large vegetable and fruit garden; retreats and workshops; outreach to social and environmental activists. The project began several years ago and is in its third full year of retreat programs. In the words of founder Guhyapati, “The project seeks to bring the insights and methods of the Buddhist tradition into association with emerging ecological perspectives. Our approach is based on the idea that the transformation of the world and the transformation of the self are not separable. It is an approach to Dharma that recognizes the embeddedness of the individual in society, and of humanity in nature.” One starting point for EcoDharma is, well, the Dharma. The fundamentals of ethics, of transformation through meditation and contemplation, and appreciation of conditionality are 8
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implicit in activities and interactions at EcoDharma. Many people who attend events catch the passionate, inspired Bodhisattva spirit — understanding at a profound level how our actions affect everything and everyone around us. They may leave with a commitment to live in new ways that will limit harm and bring greater benefit to the world. This can happen with or without explicit Buddhist language. The principles and implications
of living with greater awareness of self, ethics, and the world might be shared in a political discussion, watching birds, greeting the locals who still come to the valley to hunt wild boar, or a visitor’s discovery that sitting in meditation can lead to a re-ordering of one’s life priorities. There is not only talk about the Dharma — it is found everywhere. The second starting point is concern continued on page 9 AUT UM N 2012
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for and awareness of the environmental and social crises of our time. Plant and animal species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate. Food resources are distributed in unbalanced ways so that many still go hungry. Industrial agricultural methods degrade soils and suck water from deep aquifers that do not replenish quickly, if at all. Almost all aspects of modern life are dependent on limited resources such as fossil fuels — the extraction and management of which create far-reaching political, social, and financial power struggles around the world. Oil and coal are essential for transportation, power production, heating and cooking, chemical and plastics industries, and more. Our lives – individually, locally, and at government levels – are entwined with organizations that operate on a vast scale without, it seems, natural ethics (in the Buddhist sense) in mind. At EcoDharma the idea is to scale things to a level where choices and actions can be managed in ways that are informed by ethics and an understanding of the conditioned and interconnected nature of things. It is the age-old effort to live in a way that supports spiritual transformation AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
– of self and world – with a particular emphasis on the ecological context. The aim is to live sustainably - causing no harm to self, others, or the environment as well as to inform and empower people to meet the challenges and the shape of dukkha in our world, both personal and global. What are the logistics of attempting to live sustainably? What does this mean on the ground? Electricity at EcoDharma
is generated by photovoltaic solar panels. Hot water comes from a solar system or sometimes the top of a wood stove. Water, straight from springs on the land, is carried by hand to storage tanks scaled for each dwelling, or runs by gravity feed through surface pipes to service the main retreat house and garden irrigation system. Wood heat is managed for each space as needed, using hardwood responsibly harvested on neighboring slopes. The toilets are simple outdoor composting systems (a well-sited outhouse with a magnificent mountain view is a wonderful thing!). Other logistical aspects include the building structures. The Centre comprises well over 100 acres of land and various buildings in several plots along the mountain valley. The intent around the buildings and land use is to preserve the area’s history and pristine views, let the land heal from over-farming, and not add any structures that would damage the fragile semi-arid environment. Some facilities are so well tucked away that it can take a couple of weeks for visitors to figure out where they are! Locals are happy to see the old stone structures preserved and used anew. Regional regulations stipulate that renovations must preserve the integrity of original structures and use continued on page 10 VAJ R A BE L L
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traditional materials within a building’s original footprint. EcoDharma owns three good-sized old stone houses and about the same number of small ones. One farmhouse, Cal Toha, has been completely renovated and houses the main retreat activities. A second house far up the valley is being worked on this year with with a possible long-term retreat residence in mind. The third building, partially fixed up, serves as the residential community hub. The five community members each have their own private space, primarily in yurts, clustered around Cal Victor. A large yurt for volunteers and an office yurt are also situated nearby. A couple of secluded solitary facilities – a beautiful yurt and a sweet log cabin – plus a gorgeous meditation hall tucked into the woods complete EcoDharma’s physical setup. Access to EcoDharma happens through a succession of conveyances. One first arrives in Spain – by air or perhaps by train – and then takes a bus from Barcelona to Isona, a small town in the Lleida region. There, one is met by an EcoDharma community member and transported by four-wheel drive Land Rover. The drive goes past almond orchards and up a little bit in elevation to the tiny village of Abella de la Conca — a few houses stacked together under impressive stone formations. From there the track gets steep and uneven. The deep ruts and rocky outcroppings make an off-road vehicle essential. About thirty minutes from Isona, one pulls up outside Cal Toha, 4,000 feet up and in another world. Whoever is around emerges – from
yoga at aryaloka Continued from Page 5
adjustments guide participants to a deeper experience of each pose, allowing the practice session to be both more vigorous and inwardly focused. These classes meet on Saturday or Sunday mornings and are a little longer to allow for short periods of meditation at the beginning and end. See the website for dates in October, November and December, and for times and fees. ~ Dh. Shrijnana & Mary Schaefer 10 VAJ R A BE LL
the kitchen, the garden, or down the track. They will have heard the Land Rover slowly working its way up the hill from a couple of miles away. All help unload luggage and supplies, as a trip to town is almost always a chance to restock. Maximizing fuel usage is motivated as much by cost as the principle to conserve. There have been discussions – only half joking – about adopting a donkey or mule, as the farmers had years ago, and leaving the Land Rovers at the bottom of the road. EcoDharma asks us to think and make conscious choices. In addition to ecological considerations around infrastructure and resources, the ethical and Dharmic values show in community life, communication, and decision-making. Each weekday morning begins with group meditation, followed by breakfast. After the meal there is morning check-in, intended for personal sharing. Planning work for the day comes next – who is doing what, with whom – and any other issues that need airing. It is not unusual to discuss collective practice, silence, veganism and local food sourcing, and sharing tools with the neighbors all in the same half hour. There is a study night every week, which may be on a Dharma teaching or on such topics as beekeeping or recent developments in permaculture. Decisions are made by the resident community on the basis of consensus, with input from long-term friends of the project. Everyone strives to apply the Precepts in their speech – to speak honestly, purposefully, kindly and respectfully. All are committed to decisions and actions that benefit the whole and meet personal needs. This is not easy. Commitments held by a whole community both challenge and strengthen one’s personal resolve and capacity. Through
it participants grow and change, and an example is made that may inspire others. Alongside daily community life are programmed events. Retreats and workshops offer eye-opening and transformative training in meditation, ethics, sustainable living practices, communication and collective process, the wisdom of the wild, how to be silent and self-contained. Many retreats may be familiar to us: meditation, study, puja, yoga, working together on retreat tasks. Others broaden our view of retreats: the Wanderers Retreat is a walking and meditation trek for two weeks into the wilds just over the ridge from EcoDharma; the Sustaining Resistance events for activists offer ways of renewing and maintaining inner resources for compassion and collective process. The EcoDharma setting alone has a tremendous impact on most visitors: the huge star-filled sky, vultures flying above, wildflowers and rocks. Yet, there are more layers to this place than meet the eye. Some retreatants never see the resident community hub around Cal Victor or realize the logistical mountain challenges. Their experience is supported behind the scenes by the integrity and passion of community members committed to living the Dharma in harmony with global ecological vision. This is EcoDharma: living on the land, taking care of it, learning from it, hearing the Dharma everywhere and bringing it to each other for the benefit of all. From this tiny corner of Catalunya, may the Bodhisattva spirit grow and spread out across the world. For further information about EcoDharma programs, visit their website at www.ecodharma. com. ◆◆
Upcoming Men's Practice Days on Basic Goodness and More as Winter Approaches Our monthly Men's Practice Days at Aryaloka are open to men of all experience levels — from newcomers to seasoned Order members. These events are an excellent opportunity to explore specific Buddhist topics, strengthen sitting practice, and build spiritual friendships and closer connections with other men. Coming up on October 13th, Vidhuma and Perry Blass will be leading a day on
Basic Goodness. Basic Goodness is not typically in the language of Buddhist writings, and yet the concept and its manifestations are near the heart of the Buddha’s teaching in so many ways. The day will be one of exploring what Basic Goodness means for practice. Men’s Practice Days are also lined up for November 11th and December 16th, so gentlemen, mark your calendars and join us for a great time with the guys! ◆◆ AUT UM N 2012
Being Present with What’s On Our Plates Mindfulness and Mindful Eating Are Not a Cure for Life, But Are a Path to Discover Health
By Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., RD, CDE Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., psychologist and author of The Now Effect, offered a wonderful observation of the benefit of mindfulness meditation, which he describes as the act of intentionally paying attention to the present moment while putting aside our snap judgments. He explained that this practice can open us up to wonder, happy moments, and a sense of grace to life, but that it doesn’t cure us of having low points, periods of getting “hooked” by life’s frustrations, and anticipatory anxiety. He explains, in a very pointed way, that mindfulness is not a cure. This is because life doesn’t come to us needing to be cured. Life comes to us as an unpredictable tumble of moments that include both the highs of love, children, and unexpected beauty as well as the lows of loss, the imperfections of our humanness, and the unavoidable pain caused by age, disease and death. Mindfulness is not about finding a cure for these expected swings, but learning to accept the shifts and enjoy the ride that they offer. It appears through our AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
increasing understanding of neuroscience that our ability to witness these moments nonjudgmentally allows the brain to adapt, to change and to better tolerate life. So, when mindfulness gets off the meditation cushion and comes to the dinner table, what can you expect? Unfortunately, eating mindfully is also not a cure, a diet or a fad. Instead, mindful eating offers an opportunity to practice this new skill of being present. Bringing mindfulness to the table can offer three or more delicious chances to really sink our teeth into the present moment. The key to eating more mindfully is to begin with a moment of checking in with your body. Maybe start the meal with a few deep cleansing breaths. Then ask questions and listen earnestly to your body’s replies, allowing curiosity and interest to become the biggest part of the meal. Next, shift the intent of eating from finishing the meal to noticing the bite in the mouth: How does it taste? Are you full yet? Are you enjoying the flavor? Are you feeling rushed? All questions are welcome. All answers will come in time. During these moments of listening, we often wake up to what matters most, offering us the clarity to
change our diet, our health, and ultimately our relationship to food. This shift is sometimes described as the moment we “awake” or begin to participate fully in our life. Yet, maybe eating mindfully is a key to something a little bit more than changing our diet. Life, as stated earlier, does not need to be cured. It needs to be experienced, and mindful eating can remind us that is something worth savoring. If you are interested in learning more about mindful eating, please visit The Center for Mindful Eating website at www. TCME.org. Megrette Fletcher is a GFR Mitra at Aryaloka. She has maintained a daily meditation practice since 1999. Megrette offered a vegetarian cooking workshop this summer at Aryaloka and will be offering a three-day mindful eating workshop with Dh. Amala in March 2013. She is a dietitian, diabetes educator, and author. Her most recent book, co-authored with Michelle May, MD is called, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes: A mindful eating program for thriving with prediabetes and diabetes. ◆◆ VAJ R A BE L L 11
Reinventing the Wheel
ratitya samutpada, or conditioned co-production, is the central principle of Buddhist practice, often presented in traditional teachings on the nidanas. But could there be something in these teachings that has escaped notice? Bodhipaksa opens up new possibilities for this ancient guide.
The traditional view of the twelve nidanas
You’re probably familiar with the traditional teaching of the twelve nidanas. This teaching explains how we travel through an endless round of rebirths, resulting in suffering. This list is seen in the commentaries (but not the suttas) as being about how our experience unfolds over three lives. 12 VAJ R A BE LL
I’m going to suggest an alternative way of looking at this teaching, but in case you’re not familiar with it, here’s the traditional explanation: Past life In our past lives, spiritual (1) ignorance has given rise to (2) sankharas, which are habitual, conditioned patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior. I’ll call them “habitual patterns” from now on. continued on page 13 AUT UM N 2012
reinventing the wheel Continued from Page 12
This life In this life, (3) consciousness arises. This is explained as the first spark of consciousness of the new life. This takes root in an embryonic body, so we now have (4) body-and-mind, which is called nama-rupa, meaning name-andform. This new body develops in the womb and comes to have (5) six senses — the usual five, plus the mind sense, which is aware of thoughts, feelings, etc. The six senses lead to (6) contact with the world. Based on these contacts, (7) feelings arise — a simple felt sense of whether what we’re perceiving is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. On the basis of feelings, (8) craving arises (although other emotions are possible, of course). Then on the basis of craving, (9) grasping arises. And this action of grasping leads to continued (10) becoming in the future. Our actions create our lives. Next life Next we skip to the next life: (11) birth, and then (12) old age, sickness, and death. The cycle continues and goes on and on.
Where does our practice lie? If you’re interested in what’s practically going to have an effect on your life, you may feel, along with me and most other Buddhists that I know, that the contact-feeling-craving links are the most interesting part of this process. That’s where our practice lies. For most of us the nidanas are effectively yadda yadda yadda, contact-feeling-craving, yadda yadda yadda. We experience contact with the world. We find some of our contact-experiences painful and want to avoid them. We find some of these contacts pleasant and want to repeat them. Some contacts are neutral, and we’re bored by them or ignore them. This is all very familiar. The nidanas of contact-feeling-craving give us a place to work. This place is the present moment. The rest of the wheel is in the past or future, and so they’re untouchable. What’s here now, we can work with. Instead of mindlessly generating unskillful volitions of craving, ill will, avoidance, fear, etc., we can instead cultivate compassionate and patient responses.
An alternative take on the nidanas I’d like to offer an alternative take on the nidanas that highlights another area for us to work in. I’ve come to think of the relationship between consciousness and name-and-form as being even more interesting than that between feeling and emotion. It’s important to understand that in the first expositions of the nidanas, in the Mahapadana Sutta, for example, there aren’t twelve of them; the first two are missing. Ignorance and habitual patterns are not included. And it’s quite significant that the two “past-life” nidanas are absent. It’s not just an accident! In these alternative takes on the nidanas, we start with consciousness giving rise to name-and-form. But the Buddha AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
makes a big deal in these suttas of saying that name-and-form also conditions consciousness. Name-and-form and consciousness condition each other. They form a loop. And the Buddha says “This consciousness turns back at name-and-form, it does not go any further.” This is obviously open to interpretation, but it sounds like the Buddha is saying you can’t find a cause or condition for consciousness outside of the closed loop of name-and-form and consciousness. This is quite intriguing. Now the commentarial tradition tries to explain this away by saying that the Buddha just happened not to talk about his previous life, but he doesn’t just miss out the two “past-life” nidanas — he actually establishes a new dynamic by saying that name-and-form and consciousness form a closed loop. And he seems to be explicitly saying you can’t go outside that in terms of looking for conditions.
The term “nama-rupa” To understand how name-and-form and consciousness can be mutually conditioning, let’s look at the first of those terms. “Name-and-form” is nama-rupa and it’s almost universally looked at as being the body-plus-mind. However, “name” is a funny word for mind! And Buddhism has lots of good words for mind — including citta, manas, and vinnana itself — and doesn’t otherwise use the term nama to mean mind. Rupa means form, and it can refer to forms perceived with the eye, as well as the human form. Both are standard usages. In the traditional three-life explanation of the nidanas, rupa is taken to mean “human form” rather than “perceived forms.” I think this is worth questioning. Name-and-form is a pre-Buddhist term, and is found in the early Upanishads. There, it meant the mind’s tendency to divide and separate reality. We see things that are in fact part of a continuity, and regard them as separate. They now (apparently) have separate forms. We then reify these perceptions of separateness by naming, and turning dynamic processes into static entities. By giving names (nama) to things we make their apparent separateness seem even stronger. The most basic discrimination that the mind makes is into “self ” and “other.” So I think of “me” as being everything inside this form. “Other” is everything outside this form. But there are infinite other discriminations made by the mind. Basically, nama-rupa is the experience of “thingness.” It’s the experience of separateness. So that’s name-and-form. Or at least, it’s one way to look at it.
The term “consciousness” Consciousness, vinnana, seems to refer to something other than just “the act of being aware.” The term vinnana is never defined in the discourses, but it’s from a root meaning “to have discriminative knowledge,” which would seem to relate closely to “name-and-form.” Consciousness discriminates and divides. It creates this sense of a “world out there” and a “me in here” and it names these phenomena. It slices and dices the continuity of reality into chunks. And then it gets trapped by its own conceptualization. We experience the universe as being composed of discrete things: in here, out there. Self, other. This is our closed loop. continued on page 14 VAJ R A BE L L 13
reinventing the wheel Continued from Page 13
Consciousness conditions nameand-form. Name-and-form conditions consciousness. And you can’t get out of that loop, not without insight.
An alternative take on the nidanas So here’s a rethinking of the nidanas, and how they function. It’s an interpretation in which everything takes place in this life: 1. Consciousness. This is dualistic consciousness. This is nothing to do with a “rebirth-linking consciousness” and there are no earlier nidanas, since the chain of causes “turns back at consciousness.” It’s the kind of left-brain consciousness that slices-and-dices our experience into separate “bits.” 2. Name-and-form. Our discriminative consciousness creates a sense of self and other, which is the most basic manifestation of nama-rupa, We see ourselves as physically separate from the world, which is the experience of rupa, and we reinforce this sense of separateness by naming, which is of course nama. And these two, 14 VAJ R A BE LL
name-and-form and discriminative consciousness, form a closed loop. The other nidanas are a description of how suffering arises within this loop. 3. The six sense fields. Our division of the world leads to a dualistic experience of the six sense fields. These traditionally are the senses plus their objects. Because consciousness names and separates, it distinguishes “sense” and “object” as separate, although they are inseparable. This is nama-rupa at work! But how can you have seeing without there being something to see? How can you have hearing without anything to hear? Experience is inherently non-dual. 4. Contact. This leads to the illusion of contact. It’s not that contact doesn’t happen. It’s that we think of contact dualistically. We think there’s a self in here, experiencing a separate world out there. We think this self in here contacts the world out there, but in reality self-and-other are inseparable, except in our minds. 5. Feeling. And contact leads to feeling. We’re evaluating what events “out there” might mean for the “us” that we think is “in here.” Are events a threat? (Unpleasant). Are they of potential benefit? (Pleasant). Are they neither?
(Neutral). 6. Volition. And then we need to be motivated to do something in response to our feelings, so we have emotions or volitions that tell us what to do. Emotions set us in motion. We have volitions like craving, but many other volitions — anger, fear, etc. — are possible. 7. Action. And so we have actions based on those emotions: actions such as grasping. 8. Becoming. And then grasping (and other karmic actions) leads to further becoming. What is it that “becomes”? It’s the sense of a separate self. Craving separates. Ill will separates even more. Further becoming is another way of talking about the perpetuation of a sense of a separate self that consciousness and name-and-form have created for us. The Buddha talked about the activity of “I-making” (ahamkara). Becoming is the creation, or re-creation, of the sense of self, of our sense of separateness. 9. Further becoming leads to — and I’m going to put them into one string — birth, old age, death, and this whole mass of suffering. Put in one string of text, this is a standard formula for AUT UM N 2012
dukkha, or suffering! So I don’t think this is about a future birth. In this life we are born, get old, get sick, and die. This is the life in which we suffer. It’s not even necessarily our own birth that’s being talked about here. If you’re a woman, giving birth is suffering. Being a husband while your wife gives birth is suffering. Seeing your parents aging is suffering. Having people you know die is suffering. Once we’re freed up from thinking about the nidanas in terms of rebirth we can think of many more dimensions of birth, old age, sickness, and death being suffering. So we start with the closed, samsaric loop of consciousness and name-andform, which is a dualistic framework, and see how that gives rise to dukkha, “this whole mass of suffering.” So the nidanas aren’t, I think, about a future life at all. They’re about how, in this life, we suffer. And we have two places to work. First, we have our old friends contact/ feeling/craving, and second we have consciousness/name-and-form.
Name-and-form and consciousness as a practice I said earlier that I’d recently started to find the nidanas of name-and-form and AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
consciousness to be as interesting as, or even more interesting than, the contactfeeling-craving nidanas. How so? The Buddha gave a famous and important teaching to a wanderer called Bahiya. He said, “In the seen, only the seen; in the heard, only the heard; in the cognized, only the cognized.” That’s usually taken to mean “just experience, don’t proliferate thoughts about your experience.” And I think it does include that. But I think it’s also something simpler and more profound. It means don’t turn your experience into a reinforcement of the idea of self and other. It means you have your experience of seeing, hearing, cognizing, but don’t think of that in terms of there being one who sees, hears, or cognizes something that is not his or her self. It means, drop the sense of self and other, and just experience. The Buddha discusses this explicitly in the Kalaka Sutta: “Thus, monks, the Tathagata, when seeing what is to be seen, doesn’t construe an object as seen... He doesn’t construe an object that is to-beseen. He doesn’t construe a seer.” There is seeing, but there is no “thing that is seen” and no “self that sees.” Just seeing. The Buddha says something else to Bahiya, “When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen [etc.] then, Bahiya, there is no you in terms of that.” In other words, there is no self (you)
in relation to other (that). This turns out to be a remarkably simple and powerful practice. Try this right now. Just relax back into your awareness. Don’t strive for anything. You are seeing. You are hearing. Thoughts are arising. Let it happen. Just relax a bit more until you drop the notion that there is a “you” seeing “an other.” Experience is just there, arising effortlessly. At some point “I-making” will kick back in of course, but these brief experiences of non-self can be deeply peaceful. This re-visioning of the nidanas solves, I think, another puzzle. Usually the nidanas are explained as being undone in reverse order. With the ceasing of birth, death ceases. With the ceasing of becoming, birth ceases. With the ceasing of grasping, becoming ceases. And so on back to... with the ceasing of consciousness, name-and-form cease. But what would it mean to say that consciousness ceases? This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, unless you’re talking about annihilation — and Buddhism is not nihilistic. But if vinnana is not consciousness per se, but is dualistic consciousness, then it’s easy to see how its cessation can be a valid spiritual goal. Dualistic consciousness ceasing, name-and-form (our dualistic perception of our universe) also ceases. And since it’s name-and-form that underlies all of our suffering, suffering, too, ceases. ◆◆ VAJ R A BE L L 15
Men's Day at the MFA
arts at aryaloka
Aryaloka has a deep commitment to the contemplative arts - supporting the art process, creativity, and artistic expression as tools for communicating spiritual insights and, in the process of creation, dropping the "self."
The Beauty of Impermanence in Song
Heather Maloney Returns to Aryaloka
Heather Maloney got her start performing in the jazz clubs of New York City with Grammynominated guitarist Hui Cox. After a promising beginning, she decided to move to the woods of Massachusetts where she joined the staff at the Insight Meditation Society to explore her deepening path towards meditation. She spent over two years in the solitude of a small intentional community, where she started to combine her poetry and journals with her unique and powerful singing voice. Heather has since crafted her own style to deliver her message of hope, self inquiry, and the beauty of impermanence. Over the last three years on the road, she has been singing her songs in over 225 shows in twenty states and released two heralded albums. She is now working on a third that will come out on Signature Sounds in 2013. This will be her third performance at Aryaloka, and she is deeply welcomed! Join us on Sunday, December 16th, at 6:30 p.m., and share this with your friends and family. ~ Peter Hamlin
Earth, Water, Fire The fall Arts at Aryaloka exhibition will be a show by interdisciplinary artist Rebekah Younger of Woolwich, Maine who will focus on a treasured Buddhist theme; the Elements. Earth, Water, Fire, on exhibit from October 5th to November 14th, includes thirteen contemplative photographs - some quietly intuitive and others luminous and full of natural images. Rebekah’s work is deeply connected to the art and meditation teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, founder of Shambhala Buddhism. She writes that “These images are part of a larger inquiry into the nature of the Five Great Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind and Space), as part of my study of Vajrayana Buddhist philosophy. The entire manifested universe is composed of these elements. They form a mandala 16 VAJ R A BE LL
From first flash of perception to prolonged gaze, Rebekah Younger records her visual experience, offering the viewer an opportunity to be enriched.
of energetic qualities that manifest on the coarse, subtle, and secret levels in all aspects of life: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. As I understand their nature, I can more skillfully work with the world as it is for the benefit of all.” In this first New Hampshire exhibition, Rebekah records moments of seeing “flashes of perception” using a digital camera. Each piece is designed to engage the viewer in contemplative looking. The thirteen photographic works are digital inkjet prints, framed as 24”x 20” or 20”x 24” images. Also included is a larger collage - Earth, Water, Fire - presented as a giclee print on canvas. The works include four images from each of the three elements. Nequasset Creek Reflection is an impressionistic piece
that could be a Monet painting. Fire Haiku and Neon Abstract hold the energy and glowing light of burning embers - very moving. After the Fire and Float Line - which depicts a snaking white float defining the luminous gray depths of a still lake - are powerfully graphic works from nature. Rebekah Younger has had a long and varied art career as a printmaker, painter, photographer, fiber artist, and spatial designer. She came to New England from the Bay Area of California in 2001 and attended the Brunswick/Portland Shambala Buddhist Meditation Center. She has certification as a Shambhala Art™ Teacher, and is Assistant Director of Shambala Training™ and an outstanding continued on page 17 AUT UM N 2012
arts at aryaloka
Celebrate Autumn with Arts Evening
A night of creativity with photography, music, poetry, and sangha Arts Evenings continue to be an autumn tradition at Aryaloka. On Sunday, November 11th from 6–9 p.m., we’ll be hosting an evening of music and poetry that will focus on the visual, the poetic, and the realm of sound. We welcome Maine interdisciplinary artist Rebekah Younger, whose exhibit Earth, Water, Fire will be showing at Aryaloka through midNovember, and who will be giving an artist’s talk that evening. She’ll discuss the focus of her contemplative art and photography, her Buddhist practice, and more about Shambhala Arts. Jon Prichard, of Kittery Point, Maine also returns to inspire us with the Native American flute. Jon’s music finds its source in studies of early folk and Celtic traditions and the music of R. Carlos Nakai. The pairing of Native American flute with the exhibit theme is sure to create a moving, improvisational performance celebrating nature and the elements. Joining Jon will be Cathy Okhuysen
of Portsmouth, whose spiritual practice includes sacred chants from a variety of traditions and sources. Cathy’s transcendent singing will be accompanied by the shruti box, a traditional drone instrument from India. Quite something to hear and experience! Further crystallizing this beautiful evening will be the offerings of three very special sangha poets. This year we are highlighting the work of two poets who are new to our Arts Evening podium: Dh. Vihanasari of Newmarket, and Dh. Samayadevi of Amesbury, MA. After these two poets shared some exquisite and insightful pieces on a previous retreat; now they will be bringing their talents to this somewhat more public setting. Those of us who were on retreat with them know them as Dharma teachers, but did not realize that each have been writing since childhood. Our third poet is the renowned Dh. Candradasa of Portsmouth, by way of Scotland. Candradasa (Michael
Venditozzi) - who is also the Director of the Dharmachakra Archives, Free Buddhist Audio, and the Triratna Buddhist Community website - has been writing poetry since his teen years. We also know him as a wonderful and articulate appreciator of the arts in the Triratna tradition, where we work to “not see the arts as an optional extra but more akin to spiritual life itself.” When Candradasa describes the arts as that which sits “naturally alongside meditation, Dharma study and friendship as resting places for our attention,” and when he writes of “the privilege of sharing that space... even for a moment,” my heart soars. So join us for this special evening and bring family and friends as well, for it is something not to be missed. Gourmet refreshments, engaging images, uplifting words, and sublime music promise to blend into a lovely evening celebrating the contemplative arts at Aryaloka. ~ Dh. Kiranada
Also, don’t miss Akashavanda’s art quilt exhibit at Aryaloka - The Stitch-fold Path: Coloring the Buddha - running from November 18th through December 18th, with opening reception on Sunday, November 18th from 1:30-3:00 p.m.
earth, water, fire Continued from Page 16
and gifted teacher. Her outstanding wearable fiber art work has been exhibited in major museum shows throughout the United States and in many prestigious fine craft exhibitions. As part of her work on an Interdisciplinary Arts Degree from Goddard College in 2008, her focus expanded to express more of the wonder of visual perception through video installation, photography, abstract painting, and digital media. Her career in the arts continues to evolve as she works now to bring her skills to interior and public spaces as a consultant through her company, inSite Contemplative Design. Rebekah will join us at Aryaloka for a reception and talk on Sunday, November 11th, as part of the arts evening festivities from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. If you are intrigued by this work, please consider purchasing one of these photographs for your home or business, as every sale benefits both you and the Aryaloka Buddhist Center. ~ Dh. Kiranada AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
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Viradhamma Reports on the 2012 Buddhist Geeks Conference
By Dh. Viradhamma Buddhist Geeks is a group in Colorado that describes itself as working at “the intersection of Buddhism, technology and emerging culture,” and is best known for a popular website that features audio and video interviews with a wide variety of Buddhist teachers, as well as scholars, scientists, software developers, and a huge range of people who have a connection to meditation and Buddhist ideas. A quick glance at their website (www. BuddhistGeeks.com) suggests the selfconsciously hip style of the group, the Buddha image in their logo peers out at the observer through oversized glasses. In addition to its online presence, Buddhist Geeks also sponsors conferences that bring together well-known speakers to talk about how Buddhism is being practiced in the 21st century. I recently had an opportunity to attend the August, 2012 conference in Boulder, Colorado, where the featured speakers included Lama Surya Das, Stephen Batchelor, Martine Batchelor, Ken McLeod, and David Loy. The format of the conference included traditional presentations and panel discussions, but there were also periods set aside for selforganized small group meetings (“Geeks Unplugged”), a party with a Bodhisattva Rocker DJ, and morning meditations. The conference could best be described as a “salon,” a social meeting where people of sometimes wildly divergent backgrounds and interests can interact with each other and learn about a range of ideas and practices. The topic that I heard discussed the
most was the Secular Buddhist movement that Stephen Batchelor has inspired through his recent writings (Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist), which suggest that karma and rebirth were never taught by the Buddha but were in fact added to the Pali Canon after his death. A lot of conference participants seemed quite comfortable with the more scientific and materialistic tone of the Secular Buddhists. Another high-profile teacher was Daniel Ingram, a medical doctor who has written a popular and controversial meditation manual and claims to be an arhat – an enlightened person. Meeting him was a curious experience, since most respected teachers are reticent about making claims concerning the degree of
their awakening, and Daniel Ingram is hardly reticent about his attainments. Perhaps the most interesting presentation at the conference came from Willoughby Britton, a scientist from Brown University who works with the National Institutes of Health to survey all of the current medical and scientific studies on meditation. In a talk entitled Mindful Binge Drinking she pointed out that academic research on the effectiveness of meditation is still in its infancy, and, while many people clearly want to validate Buddhism using scientific methods, much work remains to be done. She mischievously illustrated her point by showing brain scans of accomplished continued on page 19
Audio-visual resources exploring Buddhism
www.clear-vision.org 18 VAJ R A BE LL
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poetry corner Untitled
By Dh. Narottama Come and see for yourself!! Your future! With our constant and easily ignored wise companion Old age... At 94 years, And Trembling The plastic cup met plastic teeth As one thin dried arm, held a hand that had a weathered look. “Just a sip,” To wash down a pain pill. So much Effort To rise from bed and drink cool water. The Walker bumping With each baby step Bone grinding bone, Shoulders dropped head down You ever so lightly And with great Strain drag yourself from the bedroom To prepare for Another day With your beautiful blue eyes blazing.
November Ballet By Dh. Kavyadrishti
There is the cold, and the smell of skunk, and the sound of one car passing. Ballerinas rise from broken milkweed pods, some caught again by thistles.
Jack-o-lanterns shrivel at doorways like the old men who sleep on church steps. Oil trucks come back from their summer migration. The milkweed pods made barren by the wind
Candidates’ signs sprout overnight on lawns like dandelions.
hold fast like lonely grandmothers.
A forty watt bulb replaces the hundred.
A few stubborn crabapples wait to add to the splatter on the ground.
Wind moves leaves into hidden places like relatives sent to institutions. Joggers put on sweat pants;
There is the cold and the wait for one car.
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meditators that look very similar to scans of binge-drinking college students. The “techie” aspect of modern Buddhism was certainly on display at the conference, with vendors selling systems that allow you to monitor your brain waves and software developers promoting iPod apps that help you accomplish “forty minutes worth of meditation in just ten minutes.” AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
One of my reasons for attending the conference was to talk with people about the Buddhist revival in India. Both Lama Surya Das and David Loy were very supportive, but unfortunately nobody came to my self-organized “unplugged” session on how Buddhism is helping millions of Dalit people in India. I later talked to a young man who tried to organize a session on “Buddhism and Youth” who was also unable to attract any interest. In my experience people at the
conference were principally focused on meditation technology, neuroscience, and personal practice, but there wasn’t much interest in creating community or spreading the Dharma in an organized fashion. Buddhist Geeks does a great job of disseminating information and sharing ideas, but in the end the actual work of synthesizing the ideas into coherent systems and creating practice communities must be done by Buddhist sanghas themselves. ◆◆ VAJ R A BE L L 19
Two Perspectives on a Preordination Retreat Being a Spiritual Friend, Creating the Conditions By Dh. Narottama In this busy, fast-paced world what can be more beneficial than spending time with a friend - another human being who is fully aware of you, and you of them, with a mutual concern for each other’s growth and welfare? Such a friend gives us a rare opportunity to penetrate into the multimirrored reflections of the Universe that look back at us from within the clear lake of humanity. A friend, a Buddhist, who shares and practices within an ethical framework that starts with non-harm. A friend who makes regular effort in meditation and thus can bring a lightness and spaciousness to our world. Combining these two components - ethics and meditation - builds the foundation for clarity and wisdom. Wisdom through friendship can be a direct challenge to “this is me, I am this, this is mine” thinking. Feeling separate, spinning within our everyday rotating wheel of busy-ness, we can suffer. Awake and aware of others, in harmony and interdependence, we can rise, as one, to freedom. The Buddha praised friendship as the most important aspect of spiritual life, “because it is to be expected that with a spiritual friend one will practice the Middle Way, the Eightfold Path, together.” Years ago I asked Stephen Sloan if we could consider intentionally making an effort to be friends. Regular contact would be needed since we are separated by a three-hour drive, and we would need to make a dedicated commitment to our
Ethical Study Together, Then Bliss in Solitude by Dh. Satyada (then Stephen Sloan) On that sunny Sunday in June it seemed fitting that my car should be winding its way along those Maine highways to Narottama’s place. Fitting 20 VAJ R A BE LL
growth as individuals, a love of clarity, and an acceptance of the challenge to transform. This friendship intention - in essence creating time together - was cultivated through many meals and visits over the years, and slowly a level of trust developed, deepening our awareness of each other. Learning that the moment was at hand for Stephen’s acceptance into the Triratna Buddhist Order, we planned retreat time together in Maine during the lead-up to his ordination, with guidance from Dhammarati and Vidhuma. A small house - rustic by design, and nestled into a tree-lined field - provided the venue for our retreat. It offered a wide view of the coastal foothills and at night the stars, unencumbered by urban glare, were matched by the glow and attraction of countless fireflies that flashed in the damp evening fields. The meals were planned and the shopping done and a framework for our time together was determined. The schedule was to rise in the morning, chant the Tiratana Vandana and the Refuges
because it was the next step in a process that had begun five years earlier when I requested ordination. Fitting because it reflected a blossoming, beautiful friendship (kalyana mitrata) with Narottama. My journey was unfolding as I found my way amidst the processes surrounding me. The autumn before this drive to Maine my preceptor had told me that I would
and Ten Precepts in unison, followed by a double sit. There would be silent breakfast, study, lunch, an afternoon break, more study, dinner, and finally, puja. Harmony between us deepened early on as we found our “one voice” while chanting our devotion to the Three Jewels in the Tiratana Vandana. We practiced the pali pronunciations of the Ten Precepts in preparation for Stephen’s formal taking of these Ten Precepts from his private preceptor, Vidhuma. We studied The Ten Pillars of Buddhism - Sangharakshita’s book on ethics and their impact on the fabric of our existence - discussing how we behave in the world and how we can, with mindfulness, shape our lives to be in greater harmony with the Dharma. Closeness flowed organically as we searched our hearts and confessed - to our trusted friend across from us - our unskillful thoughts, speech, and deeds, those hindrances and entanglements on the Buddhist path to awakening. Questions arose for consideration: Do we believe in what we are going to undertake? Can we, despite all obstacles, hurdles, and the busy craziness that can define our worlds, create the conditions to step out of our known comfort zones and habitual wandering to deepen our understanding of ourselves, of others, and of the world we inhabit and share? Answers also arose: giving to another, removing ourselves from the known and familiar, cultivating a sense of personal challenge in all ways, confession of faults and the altruistic dimension - this is the best life. Being with a friend, receptive to “the other,” living, meditating, sharing meals and study and laughter - this is the best life. What can be more beneficial than being with a friend? ◆◆ be invited to join the Order. Of course this was welcome news; however, it was also an opportunity to practice patience since it quickly became apparent that the ordination itself could not, for a variety of reasons, take place for quite a while. This proved a blessing as I had plenty of time to contemplate what I was doing. It gradually dawned on me that, contrary to how I had continued on page 21 AUT UM N 2012
preordination retreat Continued from Page 20
viewed ordination in the past, it was not some recognition of spiritual attainment but rather the beginning of a new phase of spiritual practice. Narottama had offered to help me with my preparations for ordination and so we had planned a week together in the Maine woods, an environment of supportive conditions for spiritual practice. Using some of Narottama’s experience from his ordination retreat in Spain, we would focus on ethics and confession - an immersion in purification. All of this was on my mind as I drove the last few miles to Narottama’s home. He had arranged for me to borrow a cabin that he and his son had built years earlier located on land now owned by his neighbor. The setting was at once elemental, simple, and tranquil. The cabin was perched at the top of a hill with panoramic views in three directions. A basic shelter eloquently realized, the cabin had no conventional appliances or any of the modern conveniences common to the civilized world. Instead it was finished in strong wooden planks, bringing the simplicity of life in the woods to its tranquil interior. Gazing through the windows, I was met with views of distant hills and rolling valleys beyond the pasture and farm fields closer to hand. I would have the cabin to myself when Narottama and I were not practicing together. He was staying at his house nearby, and through his generosity I would have few duties for the week. He would supply all of the meals. These were supportive conditions indeed. Our practice together provided the foundation for our work towards purification. We began each day by chanting the Tiratana Vandana (Salutation to the Three Jewels) followed by the Refuges and Precepts. Next came two back-to-back periods of meditation and then breakfast. After a quiet period, we would get together to study the Precepts. In the afternoon we’d have lunch, enjoy a quiet time of solitude and reflection, and join together for further study. Dinner followed, with puja each evening before an early bedtime. In the quiet after puja, before sleep claimed me, I spent most of my evenings with the Diamond Sutra. The Diamond Sutra has always held a strong place AUTUMN 2 0 1 2
in my heart, and while it isn’t directly related to the practice of purification that Narottama and I were sharing, it seemed appropriate that it should have a place in my ordination preparation. During the week I began to feel the grip of modern life relax. One afternoon during a quiet time, I began to hear the rumble of thunder in the distance. As I watched from my seat looking out over the landscape, I observed dark clouds arising, heard and felt the wind picking up, and marveled at the energy as bolts of lightning danced around the fields. The storm was gone as quickly as it had arisen, leaving me with a metaphor for my negative mental states, which often create storms in my mind. Nature kept reaching out to me all week, urging me to let go of the alienation of modern life. There were deer; wild turkeys; all sorts of birds all around; and, of course, plenty of insects. I began to reverberate with and follow the rhythm of nature, responding naturally to the
temperature swings inside of the cabin, which had no heat or air conditioning. And then there was the outhouse - just three plywood sides with a bucket, but a visit there made it clear through the cycle of eating and waste that there was no permanent “me,” and that my experience was all a part of the rush of conditions pulling me along. My connection with nature, and through it the flow of conditions, meshed well with our study of the Precepts. We chose to focus on two Precepts each day - a study that was not ideological but practical. How could we best set up the conditions for spiritual growth? Our week ended all too quickly. But as I drove back to New Hampshire, I was filled with gratitude, contentment, and a sense of tranquillity. Often, following a profound experience, I’ve had a tendency to pull back, to shield myself from the full impact of that experience. This time I was able to just absorb it. ◆◆ VAJ R A BE L L 21
New additions to the bookstore
By Steve Cardwell Thanks to your many requests we now have one table in the bookstore for “beginners” and another table for “meditation.” You will find a great selection of books and CDs to choose from to assist your Buddhist practice, or as gifts for friends. There are other books in the bookstore for beginners and about meditation, but these two tables will be a good place to start your search. We also have some colored cards in the bookstore for you to write a little about your favorite books and recommend them to others. Just grab a card (located by the door) and write the title and why you think the book is great (please write clearly so that others can read your comments). Then the completed card goes in the front of the book, and when others pick it up they’ll see your review. At this time, please only write recommendations on books we currently stock. If you would like to recommend a book to be stocked, please email Steve Cardwell at info@aryaloka. org. Please contact me any time if you have general ideas or questions about the bookstore as well. Due to a recent overstock shipment we have a large supply of many books from the Triratna Buddhist Community. You might think about using this wealth of available literature for upcoming classes, workshops, or retreats that you may be leading or attending. Here are a few really good books
that you might consider that are in the bookstore now: The Five Ways We Grieve by Susan A. Berger This is a five-star rated book by Amazon readers. “In this new approach to understanding the impact of grief, Susan A. Berger goes beyond the commonly-held theories of stages of grief with a new typology for selfawareness and personal growth. She offers practical advice for healing from a major loss in this presentation of five basic ways, or types, of grieving.” ~ Comments from the publisher
being a safe, patching-up, therapeutic tool, meditation is a radical, transformative, waking-up practice.” ~ Comments from the publisher Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Happiness by James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander “In this beautiful and heartwarming book, Baraz and Alexander take us on a journey that truly awakens joy. This is a loving, wise, and compassionate testament to what is possible for each one of us. Highly recommended.” ~ Joseph Goldstein
Meditating: A Buddhist View by Jinananda
Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book has been recently reprinted and for many years has been a favorite in the Triratna Buddhist Community. “Meditation is a household word, everyone has their idea of what it is, but does this mean that it is more misunderstood than understood? Here Jinananda gives us the Buddhist perspective. He shows us that, far from
“This book presents the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Drawn directly from 24 Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese sources, and retold by Thich Nhat Hanh in his inimitably beautiful style, this book traces the Buddha’s life slowly and gently over the course of 80 years...” ~ Comments from the publisher
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 * Books by Sangharakshita * Lots and Lots of Great Books!
Your support brightens Aryaloka’s future. Buddhaworks is located at the Aryaloka Buddhist Center
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AUT UM N 2012
Letting Life Take the Lead in Later Life
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), 124 minutes, PG-13 Available on Netflix: 10/16/12 Directed by John Madden, and with an all-star cast including Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy, this film shines in so many ways - in the character development, in the storyline, and in the beauty and accuracy of its portrayal of India’s challenges and mystique. We begin with seven British seniors who have all, in one way or another, reached a point in their lives where they’ve come face to face with the difficulties of their golden years, and they each find they must make a drastic change. The primary character, Evelyn, is recently widowed and her husband has left her with nothing but debt. Graham spent a part of his childhood in India and is returning to make amends with his boyhood friend and
lover. Douglas and his nagging and negative wife Jean have lost everything to an investment made in their daughter’s startup. Muriel - strongly racist and xenophobic needs a hip replacement and doesn’t want to wait or pay to have it done in Britain. Madge and Norman are both single and looking for love to strike again late in life. They all decide to move to Jaipur, India and take up residence at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which sounds fantastic from the brochure. But trouble starts right away as they are suddenly thrust into a culture that has anything but comfort in store for them. When they finally arrive at the hotel, they begin to question what they’ve gotten themselves into. Initially, most of them are completely overwhelmed, but they begin to learn ways to adapt and then to enjoy their new lives in this foreign land. Having travelled in India, I could not help chuckling to myself as I watched these characters adjust, and the film does such a wonderful job of mirroring the exerience that I found myself pining for the beauty and strangeness that is India once again. The country certainly becomes a play-
Upcoming Events Continued from Page 24
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Intro to Meditation: Development of Loving-kindness, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Amala Vajrasattva:The Joy of Pruification class, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Akashavanda Quilt exhibit opens, reception 2-5 p.m. - Akashavanda Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY! Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. Intermediate yoga class 8:30-9:45 a.m., registration required Poetry Group 4-6 p.m. Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Six-week intermediate meditation class, 7-9 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. SANGHA DAY, 7-9 p.m. (puja included) – Dayalocana
DECEMBER 1 1
A Taste of Tai Chi, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Bodhisattva Ideal, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m – Samayadevi
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er in its own right in this film, and we get glimpses of some of the cultural conflicts and questions that still exist. It explores two forbidden relationships: the first between two gay men - torn apart by the stigma and shame of being homosexual in a traditional society and the second between Indian lovers who are kept apart by families who still believe in arranged marriage. The undercurrent of Untouchability in India is also raised in an exchange between Muriel and her female servant at the hotel. Muriel, who has spent most of the film wanting nothing to do with “dark-skinned” Indians, is invited to dinner with the girl’s family. A translator tells Muriel that the girl wants to thank her for her kindness. “But I haven’t been kind!” Muriel says. The translator replies, “You are the only one who acknowledges her.” Each character, in his or her own way, develops an acceptance of this new phase of life and reconnects with their joy at letting go and letting life take the lead. All of them are turned in completely unexpected directions, but they learn - as the Indian saying goes - that, “Everything will be all right in the end.” ~ Eric Wentworth
Order/Mitra Day – Surakshita Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Six-week intermediate meditation class, 7-9 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Council meeting Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. Wisdom of the Body retreat – Sunada Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. Introduction to Meditation Mindfulness of Breathing, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Going Deeper class, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Intermediate yoga class 8:30-9:45 a.m., registration required Men’s Practice Day Heather Maloney Concert, 6:30 p.m. Men’ mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Quilt exhibition ends Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. Winter meditation retreat – Suriyadhamma NO SANGHA NIGHT VAJ R A BE L L 23
(All events are subject to change. For the latest, up-to-date information, check our web site at http://www.aryaloka.org or call the office at 603-659-5456.) Akasaloka events are in italics.
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Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Intro to Meditation and Buddhism (fifth class), 7-9 p.m.- Vihanasari Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Women’s mitra class Mitra foundation class, mixed “Earth, Water, Fire” photo exhibit opens. See poster for times. Rental – domes closed all day Order Day Intermediate yoga class 8:30-9:45 a.m., registration required Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Intro to Meditation and Buddhism (last class), 7-9 p.m.- Vihanasari Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Women’s mitra class Mitra foundation class, mixed Introduction to Meditation: Mindfulness of Breathing, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. - Arjava Men’s Practice Day SANGHA HIKE– registration required Anapanasati retreat with Dhammarati, center closed NO SANGHA NIGHT Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Six-week intermediate meditation class, 7-9 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Council meeting
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Mitra foundation class, mixed Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. Full-moon puja and meditation, 7-9 p.m. WORK DAYS, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Six-week intermediate meditation class, 7-9 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana
NOVEMBER 1 2 2-4 3 5 6 7 7 8 8-11 11 11 12 13 14 14 14 16-18
Mitra foundation class, mixed Gentle, Restorative Yoga & Meditation, 4-5 p.m. Noble Silence weekend Order Day Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Six-week intermediate meditation class, 7-9 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Mitra foundation class, mixed Open Heart, Quiet Mind – Yoga and Meditation retreat, Michelle & Arjava Men’s Practice Day ARTS EVENING, 6-9 p.m. Men’s mitra class Sangha Night, 6:45-9:15 p.m.- open to all Earth, Water, Fire photo exhibit ends Six-week intermediate meditation class, 7-9 p.m. – Bodhipaksa Drop-in yoga class, 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Shrijnana Rental – domes closed until Sunday at 12:30 continued on page 23
ongoing events Sangha Night At Aryaloka Every Tuesday evening, 6:45-9:15 p.m. • Led by Arjava, Akashavanda, and other sangha members. • Open to all • Fee: Suggested donation $10 per class • No registration necessary Typically, our Tuesday night activities include: • 6:45 - Gathering, tea, and announcements • 7:15 - Meditation and shrine room activity • 8:00 - Study, discussion, or a talk on the evening’s topic • 9:15 - End With these activities, you are free to participate or to just sit and listen. Nothing is compulsory. If you have any questions, please ask! 24 VAJ R A BE LL
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 AUT UM N 2012
Published on Oct 1, 2012
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