VAJRA BELL Volume 7 Issue I
Introducing Amoghasiddhi n introduction to Amoghasiddhi begins, as do all proper introductions, with names. Amoghasiddhi is not a mere appellation but a name that describes who Amoghasiddhi in fact is. It tells something of importance about the essence of this Buddha. The “A” that begins Amoghasiddhi’s name represents a negative prefix that modifies “mogha” or “moha,” which means perplexity, confusion, spiritual ignorance. Thus we learn that Amoghasiddhi is not confused, not spiritually ignorant. The remainder of the name, “siddhi,” tells us Amoghasiddhi is a master, one who is accomplished in the extreme - above and beyond the usual human limits of competence - at not being spiritually ignorant. In fact he is the complete opposite of one who is spiritually ignorant. “Mogha” can also be translated as failure, unfruitful, or unsuccessful. Thus Amoghasiddhi is also the master of success, the one whose success cannot be obstructed. This is perhaps the most common epithet for Amoghasiddhi, “the Buddha of unobstructed success.” You have now been superficially introduced to Amoghasiddhi, the one who is an accomplished master of spiritual understanding, of unfailing success. But truly, whoever you are, you may rest assured that you need no introduction; Amoghasiddhi has met you before. Spiritual understanding is the deepest and fullest grasp of the universal truth that every experience and every object arises out of certain conditions. Likewise, every object and every experience becomes part of the conditions out of which other objects and experiences in turn arise. To see this, to understand this, to grasp this comprehensively - in its fullest reach and meaning – that is Amoghasiddhi. A dynamic, moment-to-moment arising of actions, their consequences – new actions, new consequences - unfolding, unfolding, and AMOGHASIDDHI
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Aryaloka Buddhist Center 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket, NH 03857
Illustration of Amoghasiddhi from “A Guide to the Buddhas,” courtesy of Windhorse Publications
From the Editor By Samayadevi For those who love snow, this has been a stunning time. We have been snowed in and snowed out, with and without power, for hours on end and days on end. Stephen Sloan wrote in an email: “Unfortunately no power at my house. No phone, cable or internet either (may be a week before we get them back). A large tree fell over our driveway taking out all of our connections with civilization. However, I still have the Three Jewels.” How true. And how sweet that is. We do have the Three Jewels, and Amoghasiddhi, “the Buddha of unobstructed success... who befriends you slowly and steadily becomes
your inseparable guide.” Even in power outages, with a tree over the driveway. And his consort Samaya Tara, “whose compassionate energy can move in all directions without obstruction or hindrance,” not dependent on atmospheric conditions but only on our open hearts and minds. Punya showed us all what an open heart and mind looks like. He showed us in his long life and he showed us in his peaceful, aware passing. There is a lovely remembrance in these pages by Buddhapalita, and photos as well. Punya knew about overcoming obstructions and still teaches us what that looks like in our own lives. He is a blessing for us all. Even now.
Musings from the Chair By Dayalocana In October I traveled with three women mitras to Akashavana, a retreat center in the mountains of Spain, for a two-week ordination retreat. At Akashavana we found great stillness, spaciousness and beauty. In the silence it was possible to experience those qualities deep within oneself. Quiet joy was also abundant as we witnessed the ordinations
The following is a summary of Council meetings held at the end of 2008. In October, proposed renovations were discussed and prioritized. It was decided to keep the Akasaloka building open for the coming winter. The following officers were unanimously elected for the coming year: Chair - Dayalocana, Treasurer Khemavassika, Recording Secretary - Vihanasari, Corresponding Secretary -
Contact Information Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aryaloka.org
Aryaloka Council Dayalocana email@example.com Saddhamala firstname.lastname@example.org Amala email@example.com Khemavassika firstname.lastname@example.org
of seven women into the Western Buddhist Order. Dharmacharinis Akashavanda, Prasannavajri and Maitrimani are now here, part of our sangha, practicing at Aryaloka and Nagaloka in Portland, Maine. Their names represent the beauty of a clear blue sky or spaciousness, the diamond like purity and strength of a vajra, and the precious jewelFROM THE CHAIR
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Vihanasari email@example.com Samayadevi firstname.lastname@example.org Prasannavajri email@example.com
Vajra Bell Kula Samayadevi, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council By Vihanasari
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Samayadevi. In November, future directions for the Center were discussed and plans were made for future fundraising ideas, with Prasannavajri facilitating. It was also decided to continue with plans for events that attract larger numbers of participants, such as the popular yoga and meditation retreats. Members brainstormed ways to broaden our visibility, attract more newcomers, and maximize
Vihanasari email@example.com Stephen Sloan firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Wentworth email@example.com
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Please be sure Aryaloka’s windows stay closed in winter and remember to close them when leaving the center in warmer months. Thank you!
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Green Tara: She Who Saves By Karunadevi
“When only my names are recollected, I always protect all beings, I, O Savior, shall ferry them across the great flood of their manifold fears. Therefore the great Seers sing of me in the world under the name of Tara.” Green Tara is one of the most popular of the archetypal bodhisattvas of Tibet. She is actually both a Buddha and a bodhisattva. As a Buddha, she is the counterpart of Amoghasiddhi in the Mandala of the Five Buddhas, prevalent in the Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition. Samaya Tara exemplifies the qualities of fearless compassion readily accessible to beings in all the six realms as she steps down with her right foot and extends her right hand in the giving mudra. Green is the color of the ‘action’ family of Amoghasiddhi and Tara. The color symbolizes an ability to accomplish all things. According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, green light is “the purified element of air.” The element air (vayu) represents the unrestricted movement of psychospiritual energy in all directions at the same time. It is a subtle color of green, mysterious in quality, a mixture of blue and yellow. Blue is heaven and yellow is earth, a union of opposites – wisdom and compassion, feminine and masculine. The time of day associated with Tara and Amoghasiddhi is midnight, a time when invisible forces
Illustration by Eric Wentworth
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Sangha Notes - “What’s Happening?” By Suzanne Woodland As the season changed from autumn to winter, the Aryaloka Buddhist Center continued to offer a variety of programs to support those seeking to explore or deepen their practice of meditation and study of the Dharma. The autumn months saw the completion of the Tuesday night study sessions on the topic of “Engaged Buddhism.” Also offered on Tuesday night was the opportunity to learn more about the Western Buddhist Order, its history and structure. Meditation also remained a part of each Tuesday night’s offering.
The Aryaloka community was fortunate to have several guest speakers including visiting order member Dh. Nagabodhi, who serves as President of Aryaloka. He shared his perspective on the practice of confession. The Aryaloka community also had an opportunity to hear from Viradhamma, who shared his experiences of India. Local artist Betsy Sterling Benjamin gave a talk on Buddhist textiles in early December and later graced our sacred space with an exhibit of her lovely artwork for several weeks. December 23 was a special evening at the center with Barry Timmerman and Hayden Ball joining the mitra community.
On that same evening, Aryaloka’s newest Dharmacharinis Prasannavajri (formerly Anastra Madden) and Akashavanda (formerly Anne Rugg), who were ordained this autumn, joined Vihanasari to share their ordination experiences. Nancy Lorraine who practices regularly with the Portland community, Nagaloka, was also ordained in the autumn, becoming Maitrimani. Other new Order members included Saricitta (Rita Holmes) and Danakamala (Dino Papavasiliou) who were also ordained in the summer. In December the women’s mitra SANGHA NOTES
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Greetings from Buddhaworks (the Bookstore) By Steve Cardwell Greetings and Happy New Year from the bookstore. Hopefully 2009 will be a year of new beginnings and bring us many exciting and inspirational books to further our practice. Recently we received a new stock of Crystal Journey candles and also some interesting and beautiful products from Nepal. Calendars and date books are on sale now, but supplies are limited. Please take a look at these new titles that have just been received. “Buddhist Animal Wisdom” By Mark McGinnis Around the beginning of the Common Era, Indian Buddhists began to collect fables, or jataka tales, illuminating various human virtues and foibles—from kindness, cooperation, loyalty and selfdiscipline on the one hand, to greed, pride, foolishness, and treachery on the other. Instead of populating these stories with people, they cast the animals of their immediate environment in the leading roles—which may have given the tales a universal appeal that helped them travel around the world, surfacing in the Middle East as Aesop’s fables and in various other guises throughout East and Southeast Asia, Africa, Russia, and Europe. Author and painter Mark McGinnis has collected over forty of these hallowed popular tales and retold them in vividly poetic yet accessible language, their original Buddhist messages
firmly intact. Each story is accompanied by a beautifully-rendered full-color painting, making this an equally attractive book for children and adults, whether Buddhist or not, who love fine stories. “This Moment is the Perfect Teacher” Audio CD By Pema Chodron Lojong is a powerful Tibetan Buddhist practice created especially for training the mind to work with the challenges of everyday living. It teaches our hearts to soften, reframes our attitude toward difficulty, and allows us to discover a wellspring of inner strength. In this recorded retreat, Pema Chödrön introduces the lojong teachings and explains how we can apply them to any situation in our life because, as Pema says, “every moment is an opportunity for awakening.” In addition, Pema also leads a guided tonglen meditation, a practice aimed at developing courage and cultivating compassion for ourselves and others. “In Buddha’s Kitchen: Cooking, Being Cooked, and Other Adventures in a Meditation Center” By Kimberly Snow The sweet potato queens meet Pema Chodron in this book about “enlightenmenthaving”- as a Tibetan teacher might phrase it - in the kitchen of a California Tibetan Buddhist retreat center. Southern-born, Presbyterian-bred author Snow lays out a
buffet of episodes from her life before and during her tenure as cook in the center. She’s a divorced ex-gourmet chef and refugee from academia, “always leaving, never staying to work it out.” In this book, the Buddhist dharma (teaching) comes from the stove instead of the meditation cushion, making it concrete, engaging and generally highly entertaining. In addition to her raconteur ability, Snow has a gift for applying Tibetan Buddhist teaching, which can seem foreign or esoteric, to real life with its quirky demands and characters. One chapter is even entitled “Dzogchenpa Among the Presbyterians.” Narrative progression in the first half of the book is a little choppy as the author relates life episodes in no apparent logical order, but later chapters gather steam, providing background that unrolls to drive the book forward to a resolution of dawning wisdom. Some of the episodes could go on longer, because characters are so memorably sketched that it’s a shame to leave them so quickly. Overall, this is a small jewel, and it’s altogether refreshing to read a Buddhist book with a sense of humor. These items and everything in the bookstore are available for cash or check or IOU. Because we are a self-service bookstore, we cannot accept credit cards but please take whatever you want and mail us a check. You can take a self-addressed envelope with you. Thanks for your continued support of Aryaloka. Your dana makes it all possible.
New Policy for Retreat Deposits: Retreats/Classes/Solitaries Those registering for retreats (including solitaries) and classes of any length will be asked to pay a minimum deposit of one-half of the total cost. If a registrant cancels two weeks or more before the even, s/he will receive a refund of the amount paid, minus a $15 processing fee. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant will forfeit the minimum deposit. Forfeited deposits may not be transferred to another event.
Yoga Retreats Those registering for yoga retreats will be asked to pay the full cost in advance in order to finalize the registration. If a registrant cancels two weeks or more before the retreat, s/he will receive a refund of the amount paid minus $35 that may be credited to another event. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant will receive a refund of $100. Thirty-five dollars ($35) of the remainder may be credited to another event, the rest will be forfeited.
* * * * * Note: In both categories above, special circumstances will be taken into consideration. * * * * *
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Movie Review By Eric Wentworth “How to Cook Your Life” (2007), 92 minutes, Rated PG-13, Available on Netflix In the high-paced environment that we all live in, sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of what we put in our body’s tanks and how it fuels our everyday lives. This doesn’t simply involve eating organic and making sure we exercise; eating really well requires a completely revolutionary outlook on how we relate to our food during its creation as well as its consumption. The mindful energy we put into sustaining ourselves and others through food is never wasted - the careful kneading of a loaf of bread can never be replaced by the mechanical arms of an industrial bread production line - and it has dramatic ramifications on our physical and mental health. “How to Cook Your Life” is an exquisitely filmed documentary that addresses some of the issues surrounding our culinary lives. It follows Edward Espe Brown, a Zen practitioner and chef, as he teaches cooking classes in Californian and Austrian Zen centers. He also speaks more widely to his own experiences with food and how they
have deepened his practice of Buddhism and enriched his life. Brown quotes his teacher at the beginning of the film: “When you’re cooking, you’re not just cooking, you’re not just working on food, you’re working on yourself. You’re working on other people.” He talks quite a bit about his own struggles with anger and impatience, his difficulties with comprehending some of the ritual practices of Zen, and at times his battle with these things is on display for everyone to witness with some discomfort of their own. The quality of honesty and openness in his communication with others is striking, and is always balanced by humility, humor and insight. One comes to understand that through food, Brown has arrived at a deep knowledge of himself - his own shortcomings and successes - and that he has a yearning to share this experience with others. The film is filled with fascinating reflections on the nature of food and cooking in our culture. It brings one back to a sense of pride in laboring over the creation of what we eat, creating it fresh with your own hands, putting nothing but the best ingredients and the best of oneself into it. It causes us to seriously question the value of the fast-food society we live in and shows how simple the MOVIE REVIEW
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Buddhaworks The Aryaloka Bookstore
* Meditation Candles * DVDs from Pema Chodron and Lama Surya Das * Meditation Journals * CDs from Thich Nhat Hanh
* Singing Bowls * Brass Door Chimes from Nepal and India * Children’s Coloring Books * Lots and Lots of Great Books!
Your support brightens Aryaloka’s future. Buddhaworks is located at the Aryaloka Buddhist Center
This issue’s featured websites http://www.seacoasteatlocal.org Love farmer’s markets, but don’t know when they are running? Trying to switch to buying local foods, but aren’t sure where to find local growers? Want to find a simple, but effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Well, Seacoast Eat Local is your answer. Seacoast Eat Local is a New Hampshire organization dedicated to supporting locally grown and produced foods and the people who eat them. They do this by providing listings of local products that consumers can use. This helps the individual make better purchasing choices and helps the producers increase public visibility. There are many reasons to eat local. It’s better for the environment, for one. When an apple has to travel from Chile to New England, an immense amount of fossil fuels must be expended to get it here, not to mention the petroleum that is generally used in fertilizers, the pesticides used to fend off critters, ONLINE IN-SITE
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News from Nagaloka By Gail Yahwek
forward in a skillful and positive manner! Since we have been in our new space So very much has been going on at we have had some new faces and lots going Nagaloka over the past few months. We are on. Candradasa came for a visit and led a happy to report we have moved into our new Wednesday night meditation and study. space at 81 Oak St. in Portland, Maine. It is Viriyalila has been teaching “Buddhism, a lovely, warm, and beautiful spot with large Tools for Living Your Life,” as well as a few windows, high ceilings, and exposed brick day-long retreats with Narottama. Nagabodhi walls. came for a visit and gave a public talk on We have opened a small bookstore area “Mindfulness in Everyday Life.” Linda and in the front windows selling books, rupas, Viriyalila organized and hosted an Open prayer flags and incense, with some malas House on a Friday evening when our local art and jewelry to come. galleries are open. Special thanks to Betsy SterlingThe move went very smoothly with lots of sangha members there to help pitch in! Benjamin who allowed us to hang three of her Thank you so much to Dharmasuri for really stunning silks in our space. Their beauty is an believing in Nagaloka and keeping us moving inspiration to all.
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like nature of friendliness. At the same time we welcomed new Order members to our sangha, we were sending our metta to Dharmachari Punya who died in December after living with cancer for the past two years. Punya was among the first Order members who came from England to the United States to teach the Dharma in Boston. His steady determined practice; his patience; his wisdom; his kindness and care for others has been appreciated by all of us. Through these last years his strong connection and devotion to the Dharma were an inspiration that touched many of us in the sangha. As you will read in this issue of Vajra Bell, the Buddha Amoghasiddhi symbolizes fearlessness and unobstructed success. He represents spontaneous, perfected action that is skillful and compassionate. We, too ,can move in that direction with inspiration from the Dharma, Buddhas and bodhisattvas and sangha members. It is through our study and practice together that we move beyond the current ties and views that bind us. The Aryaloka program for 2009 is full of opportunities for each of us to share the Dharma and create peace and kindness in this world. Dharmacharini Dayalocana
Our Wednesday night sangha has been studying “Everyday Zen” by Charlotte Joko Beck. Studies have been led by Karunasara and our newly ordained Maitrimani (special congratulations there!!). This book has led to some open and heartfelt discussion on how to apply practice to our life, or, more clearly, realizing that our life is practice. There are lots of events coming in January and February, including; day retreats, intro to meditation classes, intro to Buddhism classes, and a meditation practice day. Please see our website for details at www. nagalokabuddhistcenter.org. Our regular meditation sessions are Wednesday at 7 pm, Thursday at 6 am, Friday at 6 pm, and Sunday at 9 am.
From the Concord Sangha On November 21st and 22nd, The Concord Sangha held a retreat: the topic Ethics. Karunasara presented a model for us to use in the decision-making process. This model helps us to view our dilemmas from all possible angles and consider the implications our decisions will have upon ourselves, others, and the environment, and how it all relates to the Precepts. We experienced first-hand how our emotions can hinder our ability to objectively find the best course of action. During our discussions, we examined a few scenarios which did not have simple black and white answers. Some got pretty excited when their core values were challenged. And those differences in our values indicate that there is no simple right or wrong; sometimes there are two right answers. So, in making the most skillful decisions, it’s wise to consider a variety of solutions, who is affected and how we can still honor our values. Thank you Karunasara for leading us through this exploration of ethical decision making; it was great! On Friday night we had a special treat as Lori Seibert took her Refuges and Precepts as part of a candle ceremony.
This ceremony began as a means for the residents at Concord to affirm their personal commitment to practicing the Dharma. After chanting the Refuges and Precepts, a candle is lit as a symbol of our connection with Aryaloka, the Three Jewels, and the Precepts. Bodana then takes the candle and, whenever we can make it to Aryaloka, another ceremony takes place and the candle is returned. Recently, James Mosonyi, one of our original Concord Sangha brothers got his candle back. We were told it was an emotional ceremony for Jim. Sadhu, Jim. Anyways, since Lori can visit Aryaloka anytime, Bodhana said he would make her “wait to get it back.” There were plenty of friends from Aryaloka in attendance: Bodhana, Khemavassica, Karunasara, Lori, Steve Cardwell, Stephen Sloan, Paul Dupre, Candace Copp, Laura Davies from the I.M.S. in Barre, Massachusetts, and two newcomers, Brad and Lynn. We missed not seeing Debbie Cardwell and Vihanasari. You all have shown how the Dharma brings out the best in everyone. May you all be happy, joyful, loving and peaceful. Rich Cormier
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Kula Corner By Sheila Groonell Kula Coordinator HELP WANTED! Bodhisattvas Desperately Needed! Are you looking for a way to help others? To move your appreciation of Aryaloka from words to real practice that will directly help others? Jobs are currently open on the Cleaning Kula for those who want a good workout as well as for those who need less vigorous activity. It’s convenient! You can make your own
hours. It’s fun! You’ll get to know others, make friends, and share laughs. Excellent Benefits ! An open and warm heart, infinite gratitude, the satisfaction and contentment of service to others, and a clean building. PLUS you can begin to fulfill your Baby Bodhisattva requirements for service to others and work toward your Dana Merit Badge. Seriously, all the cleaning at Aryaloka is currently being done by only a few women, all over age 60. Please help us. ACT NOW! PLEASE contact Sheila Groonell, Kula Coordinator at 778-7522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lessons From An Ice Storm By Stephen Sloan It was a chilly night in December, and all we could hear was the ice bouncing off the skylight. There had been other nights like this, so we didn’t think much of it. In the middle of the night we were awakened by a loud crash. The house shook. A quick survey in the dark did not reveal any trees leaning against the house. Guess we’ll have to wait till morning. Oh, and did I mention, the power is out? The next morning, the dimensions of the situation became a bit more clear.
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attendance. It was decided to revise and expand the current web site. Prasannavajri volunteered to explore options. The Council is committed to moving forward to develop programming, marketing, and fundraising activities that will support renovations to the facility in gradual stages.
During the night there had been an assault on our connections to civilization. A large oak tree had fallen across the driveway, taking down the power lines, the phone lines, and cutting us off from the road. And the house was starting to get cold. The radio warned not to go near any downed power lines. During a cell phone call to the dispatch center, I was advised that there was no power anywhere in the town of Raymond. I decided that this was the opportunity to move the downed ICE STORM
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In December, members discussed requests from people asking to stay at Aryaloka for an extended period of time, ideas on how to conduct performance appraisals, suggestions for redoing the Aryaloka web site, possible kitchen renovations, and the Aryaloka Development Fund - long-term fundraising activities that will support upgrading the facility.
Who can contribute to the Vajra Bell?
News from the Boston Sangha By Sunada Several members of the Boston Sangha trekked to Aryaloka in early October to attend Nagabodhi’s retreat on the Buddha. It was the first time at Aryaloka for some! It gave us a wonderful opportunity to practice together and experience sangha in a different way than we can by meeting once a week on a weeknight. I’m sure we’ll be back for more. In December we finished studying Sangharakshita’s “Living with Awareness,” which was very helpful for understanding the deeper implications of mindfulness. In January, we’re looking forward to studying “No Death, No Fear” by Thich Nhat Hanh.
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community completed a study program on the topic of meditation. This effort dovetailed with ongoing meditation teacher training being led by Amala and Bodhipaksha. In addition, members of the mens’sangha have continued to meet almost monthly to explore several topics in depth and to deepen their collective practice. Retreats continued to be offered for those looking for a more extended time at Aryaloka. These included Nagabodhi’s “From His Greater Lamp” retreat, the quarterly Yoga and Meditation retreat, as well as a new Rest and Renewal Retreat geared especially to nurture those who provide care-giving and support to others. Members of our spiritual community also had an opportunity to attend an advanced class on Non-Violent Communication. Following the annual winter meditation retreat, the new year was rung in at midnight with the striking of the large bell in the shrine room 108 times. From 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. on January 1, the center played host to a stream of visitors and regulars who came to meditate for peace.
Submit an article, poem or picture for consideration, or simply share some information and we’ll do the writing for you. Just contact any of the Vajra Bell staff - see the “Contact Information” section on Page 2 of this issue.
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Remembering Punya, A Deeply Loved Friend By Buddhapalita December 13, 2008 Â Dear Friends, Â With the death of Punya, who had been a dear and very close friend for many years, I have felt moved to write something about him. It is rare to have a friendship that spans over two decades and one which grew deeper by the year. I was fortunate to have this kind of friendship with Punya. But even more so because of the richness he brought to my life, his deep warmth, sense of humor, practical support and helpfulness. Also, perhaps one quality I grew to see was his ability to help harmonize differences and this was connected to a certain down-to-earth wisdom. He was also someone who had a natural devotion to the Buddhas and this came though in Puja. Punya, along with Manjuvajra and Vajradaka, were the first members of the Order to move to the US and start to help set up the FWBO here. His contribution was very important. Though perhaps not as extroverted as the others, he quietly worked away and helped keep a certain stability. I recall when I lived at Aryaloka, he was the most devoted chapter member for many years, driving almost two hours each way to attend, often the last one to leave. He would come regardless of weather or circumstances. He did not find it easy to raise a family, work (often 60 hrs. a week or more) and be an active member of the sangha. However, he never failed to make an effort to be a friend or engage with people. His loyalty to friends was exemplary, and I cannot recall him ever taking part in any lengthy conflicts with anyone. He was quick to resolve any difficulties with people. When he found out he had cancer, he
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It is rare to have a friendship that spans over two decades and one which grew deeper by the year. I was fortunate to have this kind of friendship with Punya. called me up and within a few weeks we were on a two-week trip to visit his family and various close friends in the UK. I was lucky to be able to spend this time with him and gained an even stronger love for him through it all. Over the last seven or eight years we had regularly met up (we lived about 3000 miles apart) and usually spent five days to a week somewhere in the desert of the southwest US. Tucson was his favorite area. These trips were not only a break for us, they helped us become closer friends. I loved those visits together. He loved the sunshine and warmth and invariably had a spring to his step and a sparkle in this eyes! After the news of his illness, we talked on the phone almost every day, and I hope in some way I was some comfort to him. I deeply regret I was not able to spend more time with him these last several months. I did manage to see him for a few days before his death and it was a huge relief to me that
I was able to say my good byes and show my appreciation and love for him. It was wonderful that Vajramati, Thiradhamma and Atula in particular were there. I know how much he appreciated them all. Also that so many others came to visit just before he died - it cheered him up. His younger brother came out from the UK along with his wife and it was moving to see their affection for Punya. Lastly, Punya’s wife, Sucharita, had
been a great support and comfort to Punya through this difficult time - she was truly a rock through this for him. I wanted to thank her for all the help she gave him along with her love and affections for him. There is much more I could say - perhaps sometime I will feel able to write more. With love, Buddhapalita
What Does Buddhism Say About Death and Rebirth? By Karunasara Buddhism, the name we give our practice of the Dharma in our world today, does not tell us anything truly definitive about rebirth. There are various paths of dharma practice that help us to move toward attaining Enlightenment and to decrease suffering and bring us happiness in our lives today. Birth, our lives now, and death are major periods of time, change and experience that we call bardos. In Tibetan practice there are also bardos between death and rebirth. Because we experience each bardo as a specific time of change, we often focus on them in our practice. Death is a major time of change and the biggest challenge to our
idea of a fixed, unchanging self. The basis of the law of Dharma is that all life is a state of flow or process, nothing exists outside of this continual process of change. This tends to be frightening for us. We want answers. We want reassuring information. Different schools of Buddhism have different explanations of what happens when we die and after we die. In the Theravadin tradition or Pali Canon, what happens after death is not defined. The Buddha stated that it was more important to focus on our daily actions, attitudes and mind development than think about life after death. He also spoke of seeing all his past lives and the karmic effects that caused each of his lives.
Tibetans, based on Mahayana and Vajrayana schools, focus much more on THE mystic/clear nature of mind and continuing life in the nature of rebirth. This includes training for people after death through the use of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Tibetans have developed a “science” of dying and death through meticulous observation and mind exploration. Both schools focus on the opportunity to achieve Enlightenment as we are dying and both schools emphasize the importance of meditation and dharma practice throughout our lives. These are ways to bring about Enlightenment as well as to understand death and lose some of our fear of it.
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Going Forth: Four Stories of Ordination Akashavanda:
Many years ago I heard about a new women’s retreat center somewhere in the mountains of Spain. I paid little attention because I didn’t see how it had anything to do with me. HA! Little did I know that this luminous place is where I would have the most significant, beautiful, intense, painful, and joyful experience of my life (other than giving birth to my children). I had heard about the spiritual death that occurs during an ordination retreat, but was a tiny bit skeptical. How does it happen? Why? When? I discovered that it’s part magic, part well-developed process, and part individual readiness and effort. Not to mention the most spectacular scenery - monolithic rock formations, multiple mountain ranges, brilliant sunsets, the night sky dripping with stars, a pristine snow fall - that pries open one’s heart. For me, the days of confession and purification, the six element meditation practice, the private and public ordinations all contributed to a real spiritual death and rebirth. I left as Anne and came back as Akashavanda (“orchid in luminous space.”) As Bhante has said, ordination is the “threshold to the transcendental.” Indeed it is! I am so grateful to Bhante, the members of the ordination team, and my preceptors Dayalocana and Dayanandi. My wish is that EVERYONE on this path can experience a similar deepening and joy.
I stepped off the plane and into the bright California sunlight last July at the start of a magical journey that had nothing to do with time or distance and everything to do with transformation. I had come to be ordained into the Western Buddhist Order. I had always thought that, should I be invited to become ordained, it would happen at Aryaloka, the place where my spiritual journey began and where I continued to practice with my many Dharma brothers and sisters. But life had other plans. Rita (the future Saricitta) and I were to have our private ordinations on retreat with a
group of Order members who had themselves been ordained within the last several years. We were staying at Camp Salamander (although I never did catch sight of any salamanders there!), high in the Santa Cruz mountains, where three large yurts held the shrine room, dining/kitchen area, and some dormitory space. The silence on retreat was profound, the rituals incredibly beautiful, and the meditation deep and sustaining. My private ordination was held in a sunny meadow overlooking mountains in the distance. Accompanied by the music of insects, birds, and a gentle wind, I received my new name from Dayalocana, officially took the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara as my spiritual guide and role model, and became a new being. I spent the next couple of days on solitary retreat in a nearby cabin on the edge of a deep gorge. Walking for hours along the stream at the bottom of the chasm, I spent a lot of time reflecting about what ordination meant for me - a marker on my personal spiritual journey; an opportunity to take my practice to a deeper level; a next step on the path to Enlightenment; and a commitment to dedicate my body, speech, and mind to the benefit of all beings. After the solitary was over, I packed up and was driven with Saricitta to Jikoji where we were to join Dino (the new Danakamala) for our public ordinations. After the ceremony, we would spend the next week with Order members from all over North America who were there to attend the biannual WBO North American Convention. The public ordination was as beautiful and moving as the private one had been, though a lot more...well...public. Retreatants and guests gathered to witness our vows as new Order members, hear our new names for the very first time, learn a little more about us, and welcome us into the Western Buddhist Order. I felt as though I was riding on a giant tidal wave of love and support made up of all of my Aryaloka experiences, my spiritual friends, and the energy and enthusiasm of everyone at the Convention. I look forward to my life as a brand-new Order member. I am truly blessed!
In a private ceremony inside a small dojo decorated with flowers, ribbons, incense, candles and pictures of dakinis, I was given a new name. That was the first part of my ordination ceremony into the Western Buddhist Order. For the next couple of days I was left mostly alone contemplating the experience of a new identity not yet made public. I kept thinking about the fourth acceptance vow “for the benefit of all beings” and that I was one of those beings benefiting by the efforts of others who have taken this vow - benefiting from all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas and all the teachers in the refuge tree including Bhante and the entire WBO. A couple of days later with a few drops of water and a kesa around my neck the name Danakamala, “lotus of generosity,” was made public. It’s official. I am a Dharmachari now and one of the reasons for this is that “for the benefit of all beings I have accepted this ordination.”
The then Anne, Dayalocana and I bounced along in the very back row of the land rover that was ferrying us, and the other women in the two rows of seats in front of us, to Akashavana. Actually I think Anne and I were slouched in the back, forced to bounce. The ride had been fun to begin with. Now we were ready to stop this roller coaster madness. We kept going, mostly up. Dayalocana bounced. She was perched on the front of her seat between Anne and I, quite upright with the most wonderful child’s eyes and smile on her face saying, “I want to drive!” We had thought we would walk the last few miles to the retreat center and changed our minds after a good day’s travel on trains, a bus and now a land rover. Our considerate driver, knowing we might want some sense of pilgrimage, dropped us off about a third of a mile from the retreat center so we could walk at least part of our journey. Good to get our legs back. (A little while later she drove up to the center with our luggage.) What we could see from Akashavana was ORDINATION
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Annual October Auction at Aryakola By Elizabeth Hellard TheAnnualAuction atAryaloka on October 28th was a huge success. Given the state of our general economy, the $4300 received that night was a tribute to the generosity of those who attended. On a personal note this was the first time I stepped away from being a “receiver” to being a “giver.” I’ve been going to Aryaloka for several years, receiving Buddhist instruction during Tuesday night Sangha and receiving spiritual practice during weekend retreats; but the auction was my first real opportunity to give and it felt great. Sometime in September Khemavassika made the announcement that there was an auction planning meeting scheduled and my first reaction was, “I want to get involved in this.” I hadn’t been to any previous Aryaloka auctions so I had no idea what I was getting myself into; all I knew was that this was my opportunity to bring something to the table and to start to give back just a small bit of what I have taken from this wonderful community. And as happens so many times, I was mistaken.
In my offer to give, I actually received much more than I ever expected. My plan was to do a little organizing, help with set-up and cleanup and just plug myself into whatever needed to be done. What I experienced was so much more. During the two planning meetings (yes, it only took two planning sessions to prepare for the auction) I got to know Khemavassika and Stephen Sloan on a more personal basis. We respectfully listened to each other’s ideas, changed a few things that had been done in the past and with the least bit of effort and angst prepped for the auction. I have to admit I was a little nervous the afternoon of the auction when Khemavassika, Stephen and I started to put the items out for display – it all seemed a little too easy. I was wondering what we had forgotten or what ball had been seriously dropped. But at 6:00 p.m. people started to arrive with their bidder numbers in hand and the silent auction items were tagged and ready. One moment there was nothing on the dining room table. I turned around and, in what seemed like an instant, Saddhamala and her team had prepared and
displayed a simply scrumptious array of desserts. Earlier in the day I had the chance to chat with Nagabodhi, which made me appreciate that much more the fabulous job he did as auctioneer. He added just the right amount of humor and enthusiasm to each item he offered for bid. It was a fun evening with many hands making for light work. The volunteers are too numerous to count. Dozens of folks contributed items for the silent and live auction, another group helped with decorating and clean-up, and over 30 people placed their bids for treasures. Raising funds to sustain Aryaloka is important, but what’s more important are the friendships and connections we make during the planning process and the shared sense of satisfaction over the successes. It takes so little effort to make a difference. Old lessons are sometimes the best lessons: “It’s in giving that we receive.” So next time someone taps you on the shoulder and asks you to volunteer or get involved, say “yes.” You’ll receive so much more than you give.
Nagabodhi’s Visit to Aryaloka - Fall 2008 By Steve Cardwell We had another fantastic visit with our President, Nagabodhi, this year and wow, was he ever busy! It all began on Oct 21st with a good man, Rick Lee, driving to Logan Airport to pick up our chief. The next morning was spent meeting with me to go over the schedule and appointments for his long visit. It’s quite wonderful that our President has such great energy and enthusiasm for our sangha. On Thursday the Portsmouth crew Danakamala, Viriyalila, Candradasa and Suddhayu - picked up Nagabodhi at Aryaloka for an all-day visit in that great little city. Friday morning Nagabodhi started the day with an important meeting with Amala for much of the morning. Then a meeting and lunch with Sunada. Friday evening began “From His Greater Lamp,” the annual retreat with the President. Sunday night was dinner with Bodhipaksa and Shrijnana at their home, giving Nagabodhi
a chance to spend time with them and their daughter Maia. The new week began on Monday with meetings with Joan Rochette, Rick Lee and Lynn Donnelly, followed by an evening with the men mitras. Tuesday Nagabodhi met with Stephen Sloan and then Shrijnana. This was the night for the annual Aryaloka Auction, of course, led by Nagabodhi himself. Wednesday there were meetings with Surakshita, then Vihanasari, followed by Viriyalila taking the chief to Boston to meet with the Bean Town sangha. Nagabodhi spent the evening with Sravaniya, returning to Aryaloka on Thursday. Later that evening he met with the women mitras. On Friday, Oct 31st, there were meetings with John Gregg, Arjava, and Bodhana. The evening included the Friday night puja and meditation. Saturday was an Order Day and then afterwards dinner with Vidhuma. Sunday was Sangha Day and a wonderful talk by Nagabodhi on the importance of sangha.
In the evening Saddhamala provided the President with dinner and conversation. On Monday, Nagabodhi was back on the road after meeting with Samayadevi. Then I took Nagabodhi to Portsmouth to meet up with Viriyalila who drove him to Portland and back for Nagaloka’s sangha night. Tuesday morning Nagabodhi met with Prasannavajri and that night it was Friends Night and another wonderful talk by Nagabodhi. Wednesday it was breakfast with Karunasara followed by a lunch meeting with Maitrimani and then a potluck supper with the Aryaloka Council. Thursday Nagabodhi met with Dayalocana all morning, had another meeting with Amala and then Lynn Donnelly and finally dinner and a visit with Akasavanda. Friday, Nov. 7th was Nagabodhi’s last day at Aryaloka and Khemavassika was very kind to drive him to Boston so he could catch a bus to New York and spend time with the sangha in The Big Apple.
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breath-taking. We arrived to a big blue sky. Looking down we saw deep valleys covered by small pines, stout gnarled oaks, and other varieties of trees and shrubs. Across from these deep valleys we had views of white and rust-colored cliffs. One got named Vulture’s Peak and during our stay at Akashavana we watched these majestic birds ride the air currents in our vast blue sky. Two other cliffs in this panorama stood proud on either side of a plateau and formed a Bodhisattva’s crown. There were just seven of us being ordained. We were out-numbered by nine Order members which felt very supportive. And we had a provision and organizing team of three Order members. I felt lucky reconnecting with people I know in Britain and bringing my two worlds, the UK and the USA, together. It is fun being with people from different cultures and to watch people discover different ideas and ways of doing things. Anne contemplated over hot water bottles and thought they were the oddest things. They make sense to me. They are a great way to keep a bed warm. We didn’t always have blue skies and it got cold at night. I forgot to tell her you can buy hot water bottles with soft furry teddy bear covers. The ones at Akashavana were just plain rubber, no cover. Maybe the teddy bear ones would have made more sense to her. I think we were supposed to be a little austere for the retreat. Soon Anne would become Akashavanda and Anastra, Prasannavajri. I was very happy with the name Maitreyi, that my private preceptor gave me; “Maitri,”
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act of taking care of ourselves and those around us can be. Of special interest to Buddhists, it shows how culinary creation can contribute to our practice and ritual and explains some of the
friendliness and “mani,” jewel. So, Maitrimani, the “jewel of friendliness.” Generally I find I can at least manage to be friendly and I very much enjoy this. I feel connected and learn about people. The part of the ceremony I felt most moved by was simply saying the refuges. The connection right back to Gautama Buddha stood out for me. We were in silence after our private ceremony for just a couple of days but it seemed like a very long time. We were all excited to hear everyone’s name and especially to hear our own name. It was a little like waiting for Christmas. We had a beautiful public ceremony together with much rejoicing. I believe I was the first one up the day after our public ceremony. I was putting a large pot of water on the stove in the kitchen to boil for morning tea and coffee before our meditation. The two early birds were soon up and moving around; that would be Prasannavajri and Siddhishvari. Siddhishvari came into the kitchen where Prasannavajri and I were and said, “I think it’s snowing.” We opened the kitchen door to find a winter wonderland with snow still falling. It was October 29th. The three of us got our coats and jackets on and headed out to be in the snow. A little while later others began to stir and rise. When we looked back at the retreat center, through the glass doors, we saw our companions standing in their flannel pajamas with children’s faces looking out in amazement, just like Christmas. We had fun in the snow that day. But alas, our fun had to come to an end. What a magical ending we had to our very special retreat. May you all have many magical retreats, big or small.
ways it fits into life at a Zen center. I was completely impressed with “How to Cook Your Life” and, immediately after watching it, went straight to my kitchen to bake my first loaf of bread with a big Buddha-like smile.
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Poetry Corner Weekends Are For Building More Than Just Stairs By Brian Jervis The morning is dark, the wind and rain slashing The tools are heavy, and the Prius I’m trashing The screen is fogging, the wipers are waving I’m driving to breakfast, the pancakes I’m craving And it’s Hi to Buddy, it’s great to be greeting Coffee is served, it’s hot and it’s steaming Much to think of, lets start with the planning The Experts are here, my ideas I’ll be canning Rushing to the car, and still rain is hissing Arrive at old Ary, to find people missing Woody is barking, he gives a great greeting I do my job, get the biscuits for eating Taking out the string, we start the measuring Stakes are put in, and the job it is forming We hired a machine, so let’s start the boring The hole it is deepening, the men are a-sweating Up goes the timber, the muscles are straining Down comes the rain, but there is no complaining Erect a tent, for the tools they are rusting Try to stay upright, though boots are encrusting Measure it twice, and once with the cutting Bring wood together, and enjoy the abutting Paul is dry, I hope that he’s working Stringers are needed, that job is a-lurking All coming together, so good it is looking Smells from the window tell of some cooking Saddhamala’s been busy, the soup she’s been making Time for a break, some sustenance needs taking Outside once again and still it is raining The yoga room stairs some care are receiving Transformation abounds, our exits are doubling If we’d had a fire, it would have been troubling The next day arrives, and wow! its not raining The laughter abides, and the work it is gaining Such good Sangha when Metta is striving Our mats left at home, here Dharma is thriving The stairs are firm, there is no swaying Great to be here with friends who are playing Our hearts are alive with the joy of just being Thanks Aryaloka, through you comes our seeing
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Poetry Corner Snow-White Revisited By Sangharakshita Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who is the most beautiful of all? “You are most beautiful,” The mirror always replies, Else he’d be smashed into pieces For telling lies. So he says his piece, And stays intact. We’re easily flattered, That’s a fact. We’d as lief hear the truth As see a ghost. Mirrors, mirrors on the wall, Know this better than most. Truth can appal. (from“Hercules and the Birds,” by Sangharakshita, Windhorse Press, 1990)
The Sunflower’s Farewell
It’s How You Play
By Eric Wentworth
Aloft on its tall stalk the sunflower hangs As though half weary. Harvest long since reaped, It sees beyond the ivied crumbling wall Blue-vaulted stubble in faint sunlight steeped.
Nature and I lounge together, Distant from the buzz. Two aged men on a park bench Angling for checkmate.
Aloft on its dry stalk the sunflower hangs Insilence: in the West, the round red sun. The yellow petals, once its glory, wilt: Its seed is ready and its work is done.
Silently we acknowledge Each other’s ancient friendship. Endless lifetimes long. Full of mutual self-appreciation.
(from“Hercules and the Birds,” by Sangharakshita, Windhorse Press, 1990)
For Your Information ... • FWBO Centers in the U.S. - Newmarket, NH; Portland, ME; Belfast, ME; Lubec, ME; Somerville, MA; New York City, NY; Missoula, MT; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Richland, WA.
We soothe ourselves for now With the chess game sway Of heartbeats and tides, Sunbeams and smiles. Working towards the last round Against a worthy adversary. Stalemate. Quite all right. Another game tomorrow?
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MARCH 21 23 24 26 27-28 27-28 30 31
Order day with Devamitra Men’s mitra class Tues.talk:Buddhism and non-violence - Shantigarbha Women’s Mitra Class Retreat at Concord State Prison sangha NVC Basic training - Shantigarbha Men’s mitra class Tues.talk: Nonviolence and food
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power lines. Must’ve been okay because I’m still alive to tell about it. I cut up the tree, restoring our ability to reach the highway. Somehow, it was comforting that we were no longer trapped in our house. This allowed a quick shopping trip for survival supplies. The realization had sunk in that this was not going to be a temporary outage. At first it seemed almost romantic, dinner by candlelight. By day two, I was struck by my frustration at not having an internet connection. Strange how quickly we forget impermanence, how quickly we forget that change is suffering. As the days drew on, the elemental became more important. With no central heat, the temperature in my bedroom was a chilly 45° in the morning. The romance had worn off. But watching my mental states had strengthened my connection to my practice. In an e-mail sent from my laptop in a parking lot where I could borrow an Internet connection, I told two fellow sangha members: “A large tree fell over our driveway taking out all of our connections with civilization. However, I still have the Three Jewels.”
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breath that mysteriously never quite comes to an end except in the beginning of the next endlessly unfolding. That is Amoghasiddhi’s breath. Mysterious also is Amoghasiddhi’s field, his home. So the wisdom of dwelling animal. Unlike the animals of the other four in this place is the wisdom of actions that mythic Buddhas, Amoghasiddhi’s animal are perfected. Actions are performed for the exists only in imagination, perhaps because good of all beings, and the actions accomplish imagination is precisely the necessary force that perfectly. This world of perfected action for Amoghasiddhi’s work. The garuda, or is one of perfected conditions: harmonious, Tsang-Tsang is a human form to the waist with the wings, tail and feet of an eagle-like serene, pure. Amoghasiddhi is one of the five mythic bird. Lama Govinda says of this half-man, Buddhas of the Vajrayana tradition. Along half bird that it symbolizes “man in transition with Ratnasambhava, Amoghasiddhi joined towards a new dimension of consciousness... the three Buddhas Amitabha, Aksobhya, and the transition from human to the superhuman Vairocana in the seventh to eighth century. state, which takes place in the mysterious The mandala of these five Buddhas represents darkness of the night, invisible to the eye.” Amoghasiddhi’s mudra, formed by the all aspects of full and complete enlightenment. Each Buddha is associated with a direction, a right hand held palm facing outward in front time of day, a particular wisdom, a mudra, a of the heart, is the Abhaya mudra that protects basic color, a seed syllable, a symbolic object, and dispels fear. That quality of fearlessness an animal, a mantra and one of the five is essential to living the spiritual life. And skandas. Each represents the embodiment of Amoghasiddhi’s object? Only the object of certain aspects of enlightenment. Visualizing the greatest power imaginable will do. The and meditating on one of these mythic double vajra, one crossed at right angles to the Buddhas bring the meditator close to that other, the object that symbolizes the highest Buddha, and closer and closer to that quality comprehension of truth, the incomparable of enlightenment. Amoghasddhi’s direction power of a Buddha. Finally we come to is the north. His time is midnight and so in Amoghasiddhi’s skanda – the skanda of visualizing Amoghasiddhi he is surrounded by volitional activity or tendencies of mind. To meet Amoghasiddhi as I have a sky of midnight blue. His element is air, and thus he has the power of the wind, both fierce presented him here, in such a brief and passing and gentle, warming and cooling, a baby’s introduction as this, says almost nothing of breath, a tree-breaker. His particular wisdom, the Amoghasiddhi who befriends you slowly, as we have discovered, is the wisdom of all- and steadily becomes your inseparable guide. accomplishing action. He is described as the You can continually find him in the night sky, Buddha of the realization of the Bodhisattva in the wind, in the deep green of moss and path, a Buddha of actions, actions perfected especially in your mind’s best aspirations. and free of karmic consequences, actions that are pure, crystallized, transparent. The mantra of Amoghasiddhi is a simple and beautiful one (as I suppose all mantras are): Vidhuma was “OM AMOGHASIDDHI AH HUM.” To ordained in 1997, see the words written is not to hear the sweet after having practiced sounds as they move from your ear to saturate with the Aryaloka your mind. Imagine the soughing of tall sangha since 1989. evergreens against the stars of a clear and He became a mitra moonless night. Add the rhythmic hum of in 1993. He realizes waves sliding on the deserted evening beach, how extremely and then the long reverberation of a cymbal fortunate he is to have met and studied or bowl singing one low steady note. Imagine with many fine people during this time, something like that. and he is deeply grateful. He usually Amoghasiddhi’s color is the color of tries sincerely to put into practice all that action, a deep and dark, lush and living green. he has learned from so many excellent As you may have guessed from the mantra, teachers and friends. the seed syllable is “AH,” the soft long
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ornaments formed from wish-granting gems. A pure white sash flows over her left shoulder are at play. Tara’s mudra, her physical bodily and is tied loosely at her right hip. Tara’s name is defined as “star” or “planet.” expression, symbolizes these qualities of allaccomplishing action and wise receptivity. The more popular meaning comes from the She steps down with her right leg, ever ready verb form “Tri” meaning “to cross,” “traverse,” to help living beings help themselves, while or “escape.” So her name means “she who her left leg is drawn up as in meditation. This ferries across” from suffering to liberation or symbolizes the union of skillful means (upaya) “she who saves” beings from danger. Tara’s mantra, OM TARE TUTTARE and wisdom. Stephen Beyer writes that “her two hands are the understanding of the two TURE SVAHA, has a progression of meanings truths: her right hand the conventional truth, representing the three stages of liberation. her left hand the absolute truth.” The right “Tare” represents moving from an unhappy, hand expresses giving, open at her right knee worldly life to a happy, worldly life; “Tuttare” and reaching out, and the left hand in a mudra represents being delivered from the worldly similar to that of Amoghasiddhi expresses life to a spiritual life in an individualistic fearlessness, but her thumb and ring finger sense; “Ture” represents moving from the path are joined, symbolizing the union of wisdom of individual salvation to the altruistic spiritual and compassion, and the other three fingers life for the benefit of all. Tara’s beautiful form when visualized as a are straight representing the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is also meditation practice is situated in the midst of a deep blue sky, perhaps the sky of midnight. called the utpala mudra. The utpala is a blue lotus that blooms The form itself is made of light and radiates at night with the moonlight; it has a sweet light. Around Tara’s head is a deep red aura fragrance and long-lasting blossom. Tara and around her body is a blue aura of light. sits upon a disc of moonlight above a large Rays of rainbow light flow from the seedblue utpala lotus and holds at least three of syllable in her heart outward to all beings these lotuses - one fully opened, one partially in the six realms: the gods, the warriors, the opened, and one as an unopened bud. These humans, the animals, the hungry ghosts, and can symbolize the Buddhas of the three times the hell beings. Tara is known for being playful and may appear in unexpected places, or the stages of spiritual development. A crown sits upon her head with five jewels particularly in forests and in trees or where representing the Five Buddhas of the Mandala. there are rainbows. Sometimes I just sense Red Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light her presence in my heart, especially when I and Distinguishing Wisdom, sits in the center need her the most. In summary I will end with a mythic image above her head. As a bodhisattva she wears beautiful silks of rainbow colors and fine of Green Tara expressing her compassion for
the benefit of all. She is the embodiment of receptivity, fearlessness, and supreme compassion that comes from wisdom. She originates from a realm beyond space and time, from the far reaches of the infinite blue sky, yet she enters into the conditioned world without hesitation, fearlessly descending into the six realms of existence. Her compassionate energy can move in all directions without obstruction or hindrance. Her seed syllable TAM enters the hearts of her devotees and her mantra is recited by all living beings who glimpse her presence. When her mantra begins to circle around the TAM in my heart and my body begins to sense the green light that makes up her form, I find myself floating on a pale blue lotus of light. The Tara that I am becoming is holding lotuses in different stages of opening, reminding me that beings are also in all different stages of spiritual awakening. I breathe in the fragrance of the lotuses, which enhances the atmosphere of receptivity and devotion. Above her head are bodhisattvas of wisdom and compassion to whom she sends offerings on rainbow-colored light, while the bodhisattvas send down blessings of white light that further illuminate the TAM in the heart. Simultaneously, she is sending out beacons of rainbow light to all beings in all the six realms. When she enters into those realms all the beings begin to chant her mantra, and she can take in all the pain and suffering of the world without fear or anxiety or aversion or grasping. It all dissolves into the TAM and she sends out kind, gentle, soothing compassion to all the quarters of the universe.
vitamins, minerals and flavor. Seacoast Eat Local provides a searchable database of local food producers, as well as how to contact them and where to buy their products. The site’s calendar lists special events and all of the farmer’s markets for the Seacoast area, which are still going on even in winter. They also have information on which food pantries and soup kitchens accept fresh foods as opposed to dry items. The navigation of the website sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, and at least in the winter season it might need to be updated a bit more, but overall there is a wealth of good information. For anyone committed to eating locally, it’s a great place to start.
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and the inorganic coatings used to protect the fruit from spoiling before reaching you. All that wasted energy and environmental pollution, when we have apples just down the road! Multiply the effect of one apple on the environment for each fruit and vegetable you buy and your individual contribution to global warming grows. Eating close to home helps the local economy and makes it possible for local farmers to make a decent living on their own terms without having to sell their goods to large conglomerates. This, in turn, ensures that the region’s farms will be more protected from the need to sell their farms to
land developers, preserving open space and working farms for New Hampshire to enjoy. Finally, eating local is just better, healthier and tastier. The produce is fresh and consumers have more information about where and how it is grown. With more consumer knowledge and input, farms are much less likely to make unhealthy decisions about what goes into their product, because they know their buyers personally. Shopping at a farmer’s market teaches one to buy and cook seasonally, the natural way. You may not have fresh strawberries in the dead of winter, but the food you purchase will have been picked at the top of its growing cycle and will therefore be much healthier - packed with
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Upcoming Events (All events are subject to change. For the latest upto-date information, please call the office or check our web site: http://www.aryaloka.org.) (Akasaloka events are listed in italics) JANUARY 22 Women’s Mitra Class 25 Med. teacher training (class full) 26 Men’s mitra class 28 Intro eves. begin (6 wks.), 7-9 p.m 29 Women’s Mitra Class 31 Women’s GFR day FEBRUARY 1 Med. teacher training (class full) 2 Men’s mitra class 4 Intro eve. class 7-9 p.m. 5 Women’s Mitra Class 7 or 8 Parinirvana Day 8 Visit by Durham Comm. Church students 9 Men’s mitra class 11 Intro eve. class 12 Women’s Mitra Class 15 Men’s day
16 18 19 20-22 23 25 26 27-29 MARCH 2 4 5 7 8 9 12 12-15 16 19 20
Men’s mitra class Intro eve.class Women’s Mitra Class Order-mitra practice retreat - Viriyalila et. al. Men’s mitra class Intro eve.class Women’s Mitra Class Retreat on Viriya (open to all)- Devamitra Men’s mitra class Last intro eve. class Women’s Mitra Class Men’s day Intro day (mindfulness) Men’s mitra class Women’s Mitra Class Yoga and meditation Men’s mitra class Women’s Mitra Class Shakespeare eve. - Devamitra UPCOMING
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Ongoing Sangha Night at Aryaloka
Friday Night Puja
• • • •
The rich devotional practice of meditation and puja is shared most Friday nights by those who find devotion an important part of their practice.
Every Tuesday evening, 7:00-9:15 p.m. Led by Amala and Khemavassika Open to all who have attended an introductory class at Aryaloka Fee: Suggested donation $10 per class No registration necessary
Typically, our Tuesday night activities include: • • • •
7:00 - Gathering, tea and announcements 7:15 - Meditation and shrine room activity 8:00 - Study, discussion or a talk on the evening’s topic 9:15 - End
With all of the activities, you are free to participate or to just sit and listen. Nothing is compulsory. If you have any questions, please ask!
Friday evenings as scheduled. See the Aryaloka web site for dates and locations. 7:00 p.m. meditation, followed by puja.
“When we celebrate the Sevenfold Puja, which combines faith and devotion with poetry and sometimes an element of visual beauty, we find that our emotional energies are to some extent refined. When this happens, it becomes possible for the vision and insight of the higher thinking center to act through these refined, sublimated emotional centers directly on the moving center. In this way, the whole of life is completely transformed.” Sangharakshita ~ Ritual and Devotion
Published on Jan 1, 2009
* "Introducting Amogasiddhi" by Vidhuma * "Green Tara: She Who Saves" by Karunadevi * "Remembering Punya, A Deeply Loved Friend" by Buddhapa...