Page 1


keeping sangha connected

Getting “Engaged”

What Does Dharma in Action Mean To You? ~ Bodhana & Satyada Also in this issue:

Preparing for Teaching by Narottama

Tips on How to Begin Your Vegetarian Diet

editor's note

Eric Wentworth

I don’t know about you, but even though I try my best to maintain equanimity about the fickle New England weather, I’ve been itching for this winter to be over - to see those daffodils poking their heads up out of the mud, to open the windows and let the fresh air in, to hear the sweet music of feathered friends again, and to glow with joy as the world becomes green once more. It’s a response that emerges deep from some ancient roots. Long before humanity gave expression to the beauty of this changing season, at some level spring has energized and excited the whole of the natural world. This topic came up last week with my daughter when we were discussing Easter. Our family doesn’t really take part in the holiday in any traditional sense. We’ve done the bunny thing, and the candy is always popular, but lately we haven’t felt the need to even observe Easter at all, and the kids don’t seem to mind. We certainly don’t take part in the more religious aspects of it. So, my daughter - now that she’s gotten old enough to really think these things over - was curious about what the holiday is supposed to mean. We started by talking about the basics of what Easter means to the Christian faith, and the story of the Resurrection. She looked at me with a mix of disbelief and dubiousness. I could see I was going to have to go a bit deeper! So, I talked more broadly about what Easter means symbolically. I explained that many of the popular traditions around Easter actually come from distant pagan roots celebrating the coming of spring. Even the name “Easter” originates in the name of a Northern European pagan goddess, Eostre, whose name in turn means “spring.” And her symbol was - wait for it - a rabbit! The egg and the act of holding the holiday observance at sunrise are symbols of birth that have been used since the beginning of human history.

That all made a whole lot more sense to her, and I think it actually enriched her sense of what’s really important in it. At very least she was no longer dubious. After the conversation I was pretty inspired, too, by how deep and beautiful the tradition of observing spring is - celebrating new life and rebirth. Of course, Buddhism has its own set of traditions, symbols, rituals, festivals, and observances. And just like in this story, there is real and lasting value in exploring the deeper meaning inherent in all of it the meaning that runs straight to that prehistoric core of how we relate as humans to a mysterious world. Buddhist myth and symbolism are keys that can unlock a deeper connection with life on a non-rational level. There is power in observances as well. For instance, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, most of us have at some point felt the spark of magic and feeling of love for our fellow beings that often accompanies it. In that feeling lies something much deeper and more transcendent than any mere religion. Religious observance of all kinds calls upon us to open up to something which is just beyond - perhaps far beyond - the mundane. For Buddhists this might be found in the act of performing a puja ceremony, or just in the simple act of bowing to the shrine. It is even inherent when we sit for meditation practice. Each new moment on the cushion is an act of symbolically Going Forth. But on special occasions we bring this power of observance and recognition more to the fore, with our community alongside us, and that’s where Buddhist festival days come in. In April we celebrate the Sangha Jewel during Triratna Buddhist Community Day. For us this is an opportunity to bring the same level of attention and joy and honor to our beloved sangha as other religions might bring to their holidays. It’s a chance for us to understand, and embody, and practice in a way that meets the deeper symbolic meaning of Sangha. So, let’s celebrate! May this change of season bring new beginnings and joy to your doorsteps! ◆◆

Would you like to contribute to Vajra Bell, or do you have feedback? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact any of our kula members listed in the box to the right. 2


vajrabell www.aryaloka.org/category/vajra-bell

VAJRA BELL KULA EDITOR IN CHIEF: Eric Wentworth eric@wintercrowstudio.com ADMINISTRATION EDITOR: Dh. Vihanasari vihanasari@comcast.net SANGHA EDITOR: Pam White pwhite31@comcast.net FEATURES EDITOR: Mary Schaefer mbschaefer@comcast.net ARTS EDITOR: Elizabeth Hellard ekhellard@comcast.net MEDIA EDITOR: Jaime Grady jaimegrady75@gmail.com CONTRIBUTOR: Dh. Satyada sloan@comcast.net

ARYALOKA COUNCIL MEMBERS COUNCIL CHAIR: Dh. Dayalocana dayalocana@comcast.net CO-TREASURER: Dh. Arjava havaughan@comcast.net CO-TREASURER: Dh. Akashavanda akashavanda@gmail.com Dh. Surakshita gary.patenaude@comcast.net Dh. Vihanasari vihanasari@comcast.net Dh. Shrijnana shrijnana@gmail.com Barry Timmerman barrystimm@comcast.net Elizabeth Hellard ekhellard@comcast.net P.T. SECRETARY: Eric Wentworth eric@wintercrowstudio.com

Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 info@aryaloka.org · www.aryaloka.org Find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Araloka ...or on the Aryaloka Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/aryalokasangha/ Connect on The Buddhist Centre Online: http://thebuddhistcentre.com/aryaloka

SPR I NG 2013

musings from the chair Here at Aryaloka, nestled among the pine trees along the banks of the Piscassic River, we experience spiritual community, peace, and the joys of Dharma study and reflection. At times, with our focus on practice and the Aryaloka sangha, it is possible to lose sight of the larger Triratna Buddhist Community and its centers and projects throughout the world. How wonderful to consider that on the very same day in our global Triratna community, sangha members are walking to their meditatation space through snow, through rain, under a canapé of palm trees and tropical flowers, under sunshine or a starry sky, listening to the sound of the ocean or the wind on the mountain tops. City centers, rural retreat centers, social projects, right-livelihood projects, a diversity of languages and

from the council

Dh. Dayalocana

cultures - all contribute to the imaginative and colorful mosaic of connections that link our community of Order members, mitras, and friends. In April we celebrate the worldwide Triratna Buddhist Community and all the gifts that come to us from our teachers, practice opportunities, and friendships. If you are interested in knowing more about the various Triratna Centers and activities in other parts of our country or world, I encourage you to explore The Buddhist Centre Online at http://thebuddhistcentre.com. Here at home you will find many opportunities to talk with people from our sangha about their experiences at Triratna events outside of New England. Order members from the east coast recently attended an International Order Convention in India. Amala lived for three months at EcoDharma Center in Spain. Many in our sangha gathered for a convention and a retreat in Mexico last fall, and several wom-

en were ordained recently on retreat at Akashavana in Spain. Some of our male mitras’ travels include retreats - in California last summer and centers in England. People from our local sangha have joined Triratna tours of Buddhist sites in India. Others will soon tour Buddhist sites in Japan with Kiranada. Possibilities for a wider connection with our greater community abound. Throughout the world Triratna practitioners share a focus on Going for Refuge to the Three Jewels. We share a wish for peace and understanding - realizing that our thoughts, our views, and our actions contribute to more kindness, harmony, and happiness throughout the world. May we all do our part to continue our own practice and to develop connections with our sangha near and far. The efforts of so many of us around the world are interesting, hopeful, and inspiring. Sadhu to the Triratna Buddhist Community! ◆◆

Dh. Vihanasari

◆ Steve Cardwell attended our January meeting and gave an excellent presentation about Buddhaworks, the center’s bookstore. Steve highlighted some of the new items for sale and gave a very engaging explanation of the history of the bookstore, how it has progressed, and his suggestions for further growth. Sadhu, Steve!  ◆ A new discussion blog has been implemented for those who attend Friends’ Night classes. This new feature is designed for the Tuesday Night folks to be able to ask questions, participate in discussions, and receive additional information from the three class leaders. An informal Facebook group for Aryaloka friends was also discussed and approved. Both the blog and Facebook group are private to keep discussion uncomplicated, so please register to participate. ◆ Elizabeth Hellard’s employer has gen-

erously offered a substantial yearly donation to support a charity of Elizabeth’s choice. She has kindly asked that the funds be donated to Aryaloka, with a portion specifically going to subsidize the printing of the Vajra Bell newsletter. ◆ Surakshita, Akashavanda, and Arjava (with assistance from Maryellen Burke) presented the first draft of “A Vision for Aryaloka’s Future” which will be discussed at future Council meetings and at the Council’s upcoming working retreat in May. Many thanks for all the hard work put into this!  ◆ The Council decided to implement a new SalesForce database as soon as possible. Eric will work on getting this up and running, which will greatly increase our ability to compile information that helps our center to run more smoothly. ◆ At the February meeting, Elizabeth Hellard was unanimously elected as our newest Council member. A warm welcome, Elizabeth! ◆ Our mobile card reader is all set up and ready for Aryaloka to use for such

purposes as bookstore purchases, dana for Friends’ Nights, payment for retreats and classes, etc. ◆ Arjava has put together a list of the highest-priority renovations needed at the center. These include surveying the property, adding additional parking along the driveway, renovating the small cabin, modifying the staircase at Aryaloka, and adding track lighting in the bulletin board area. The Council approved funding for the survey, the stairway, and the lighting, and will discuss other needs at the next meeting. ◆ The Council approved asking nonsangha event leaders to sign and abide by Aryaloka’s Code of Conduct. The CoC will also be posted on the website. ◆ The Council also extensively discussed the first draft of “A Vision for Aryaloka’s Future.” ◆ The next Council meeting was scheduled for March 27th, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. All sangha members are welcome to attend Council meetings - please contact Dayalocana in advance. ◆◆

The Aryaloka Council minutes are posted on the bulletin board at the foot of the stairs. SPRI NG 2 0 1 3




Tuesday Friends’ Night at Aryaloka has been humming with activity, as always! From January through the end of March we’ve had a wonderful series of classes tailor-made for all levels of practice. The beginner’s group delved into the Eightfold Path with Lilasiddhi and Shantikirika. Drawing from Sangharakshita’s excellent writings on the subject, with supplemental thoughts from other Buddhist writers, the group went step by step through each of the eight limbs of the path and developed a deeper understanding of their practical implications. Arjava and Barry Timmerman led the second part in the two-part “Freedom” series, studying from Who Ordered This Truckload of Dung by Ajahn Brahm and Tales of Freedom by Vessantara. The class

read and discussed these wise and mythical tales, cultivating insight and methods to confront some of the great questions and difficulties of life. Satyada led a third class devoted to the idea of sangha, using Sangharakshita’s book What is the Sangha? The goal of the class was to better understand the role and importance of sangha in our spiritual life and tradition. With the end of one cycle of study, Tuesday Friends’ Night begins anew in April - first with a Friends’ Night Cafe to mark the transition, and then with a new set of scintillating topics! In other news, our sangha has celebrated several festivals and events since the New Year. Meditate for Peace Day was very well-attended by sangha members and the wider community alike. Karunasara led a wonderful festival celebration honoring the Buddha’s death and the passing of other loved ones on Parinirvana Day in February. And in late March we celebrated the life

of one of Sangharakshita’s most important teachers and closest friends, Dhardo Rinpoche. We now look ahead to the coming months and to other fun and exciting gatherings. On April 6th we celebrate the richness of the Sangha Jewel with the Portsmouth center on the Triratna Buddhist Community festival day. May 18th and 19th bring our “Bodhisattvas at Play” Spring Work Weekend - a vitally important and incredibly fun way to give back to our sangha by helping out with all the various things that need doing around the center. On June 8th we open our doors wide to the public and sing Aryaloka’s praises at our annual open house. And of course, we can’t forget that the time has come again for our second annual Meditation Marathon, slated to begin on June 9th! We can’t wait to kick this fundraiser off again after having such a huge success last year! So much to look forward to and be grateful for. Happy spring everyone! ◆◆





During the first couple of months of 2013, regular activities at Triratna Vancouver in Vancouver, B.C., Canada increased to Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Because of the limited space in our small basement centre, in early February we gambled once again on booking a large, spacious room at the Vancouver Centre for Peace for a day retreat. Led by Vimalasara, Shantinayaka, and Upakarin, the day was a great success with over forty people attending. We are looking forward to two more friends joining our mitra sangha in the Spring. ~ Dh. Dayasiddhi

Greetings from Portland, Maine! The Nagaloka sangha continues to settle into our new space on Forest Ave. as spring approaches. We have a new Center Manager, Louise Tuski, who has been very focused on keeping Nagaloka beautiful, clean, and helping all things to run smoothly. We have finished our winter study of Tales of Freedom by Vessantara. Each chapter was very well received and led to lots of in-depth discussion on our Wednesday Friends’ Nights. We spent some time between studies looking at a few chapters from the Dhammapada. Now we have begun a new study that will take us into spring: Buddhism, Tools for Living Your Life

by Vajragupta. We celebrated New Year’s Day with meditation and a childrens’ storytime. Ian Tuski performed a classical guitar recital at Nagaloka in January. Some of our sangha members had the opportunity to attend the Outlying Sangha Retreat at Aryaloka. Maitrimani led us through a celebration of Parinirvana Day in early March (sometimes holidays get postponed due to snowstorms!). Mitra study continues once a month, followed by a potluck lunch. Childrens’ Pujas are scheduled once a month and bring some shiny young faces through our door! We will be having visiting Order members join us this spring to lead day retreats and intro classes. Keep an eye on the Nagaloka website for more upcoming events! ~ Gail Yahwak

first sangha evening when all the mats and cushions were being used, which is a delightful problem to have! For our Sangha Nights this spring we’ll be “Walking, Running, and Stumbling along the Noble Eightfold Path” as Suzanne and Viriyagita team up to offer a practical and engaging exploration of this core Buddhist teaching. Narottama continues to make his pilgrimage down from the northern shore of Maine to lead our “Intro to

Meditation and Buddhism” days. And the rest of the team offers a variety of day retreats, small study groups, and festivals. Our Sunday morning meditation group is becoming a favorite part of the week for many. It’s a delight to find a place of refuge in the heart of downtown Portsmouth!  To find out more about Portsmouth Buddhist Center, visit www.portsmouthbuddhistcenter.com  or call 603-617-2285 ~ Dh. Viriyalila


Lots of new people have been finding their way to the Portsmouth Buddhist Center over the last few months. More and more people are coming along to explore their interests and tap into their curiosity about the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.  We’ve experienced our 4


SPR I NG 2013


On February 9th the San Francisco Buddhist Center celebrated the public ordination of Dawn Pavli, who now becomes Hridayasri. Her name means “Radiance of the Heart,” and her Private Preceptor was Suvarnaprabha.  Karunadevi was the Public Preceptor.  Hridayasri has been a very dedicated and active participant in SFBC ONTARIO SANGHA (ONTARIO, ON, CANADA)

Harshaprabha - usually based at the Ipswich Buddhist Center in the UK - makes the journey across the Atlantic to Canada twice a year and has been working for some time to raise funds that will assist in the development of Triratna activities in Ontario. The funds go in part towards supporting retreats and travel for those with an interest in making contact with the Triratna Community who do not have as many resources available in their

activites for many years and is a skilled Dharma and meditation teacher. The ordination retreat took place at the SFBC’s land in Northern California. In other news, Viradhamma recently returned from five weeks in India where he led a pilgrimage group, participated in the Triratna International Council, and attended the International Order Convenion at Bodh Gaya.  Regarding the convention he says, “It was a moving experience to see 500 Order members drawn from so

many countries and so many walks of life, all meditating together under the Bodhi Tree. The rituals and meditations were led jointly by both men and women, and by Indian and non-Indian Order members, which is very unusual at Bodh Gaya.” The San Francisco sangha is looking forward to an April retreat led by Paramananda, and also to the month-long silent retreat to be led by Viveka and Tejananda this summer. ~ Dh. Viradhamma

area. Funds also go to purchasing cushions, mats, texts, and other resources for new groups. While there currently is no formal sangha in Ontario, there are two upcoming events planned for the spring, each a set of day workshops to introduce newcomers to the Dharma. The first event is in Goderich during the last weekend of April, on the 27th and 28th. Harshaprabha will visit for a short time afterwards in Guelph, and then will be off to another set of newcomer events in Toronto slated for May 4th and 5th. If you would like to support Dharma

activities in Ontario by making a donation, you can visit Harshaprabha’s fundraising page on JustGiving at http://www.justgiving.com/harshaprabha ~ Eric Wentworth

For Your Information... TRIRATNA CENTERS IN NORTH AMERICA: Newmarket, NH Portland, ME Somerville, MA New York City, NY Missoula, MT

San Francisco, CA Seattle, WA Portsmouth, NH Vancouver, BC

On Your Marks, Get Set, SIT! Prepare to Test Your Meditation Mettle at the 2nd Annual Meditation Marathon!

We’re delighted to announce the 2013 Meditation Marathon! This unique and exciting fundraising event will electrify our sangha again this spring, culminating in a week of meditation and celebration June 9–15. WHAT is the Meditation Marathon?! WHY is the Meditation Marathon?! For the answers to these and other questions, read on… WHAT is the Meditation Marathon? Aryaloka’s 2013 Meditation Marathon is a fundraising event designed to build community, deepen our meditation practice, and bring energy and warmth to our sangha. The Marathon is modeled on “walk-a-thon” activities, where committed volunteers solicit donations in supSPRI NG 2 0 1 3

port of a charity. Beginning in May, we’ll invite the whole sangha and the people they know to join the Meditation Marathon! Each “Marathoner” will ask friends, family, and colleagues to sponsor their practice for the week that the event takes place and soliciting pledges in the weeks leading up to the event. Then, on June 9th, the Meditation Marathon begins! We’ll kick it off with meditation and fun on Sunday afternoon. Each day that week we’ll hold group meditations for those who would like to practice alongside other Marathoners though you’re welcome to meditate on your own as well throughout the week. On Saturday, June 15th we’ll celebrate at the “Finish Line” with a sangha party including prizes for exceptional

participation! The Meditation Marathon is one of Aryaloka’s most important (and fun!) fundraisers, with all proceeds going to support Aryaloka’s mission of spreading the Dharma. The Marathon Organizing Committee will be there to help every step of the way with getting you set up to start reaching out to others for pledges. Suggested donations range from $10 to $50, but we hope they’ll go even higher - there’s no limit to the number of donors each Marathoner can have! Just think: one Marathoner with ten donors who contribute $20 apiece will raise $200 for Aryaloka! Each Marathoner will have a web page that makes donations easy and fun. You’ll be able to customize the page with continued on page 9 VAJ R A BE L L


Upcoming Aryaloka Retreat Highlights The ground thaws, the rain falls, the mud dries, and the flowers blossom. Keeping in step with the unfolding of spring, Aryaloka is abuzz with retreats that promise warmth and rejuvenation for those well-established in - and those new to - the Buddhadharma. Please visit the Aryaloka website for registration and pricing on these and many other upcoming retreats. Radiance and Openness: The Heart Sutra April 19-24 Led by Amala Every Buddha throughout time, With just this Perfect Wisdom, Fully wakes up to perfect and complete Enlightenment. On this five-day retreat we will enter into the world of Perfect Wisdom, through reading, mantra, meditation, and just a little cognitive exploration. The retreat will be led by Amala, who has been a student of the Heart Sutra for four decades. She is also a devotee of Prajnaparamita, the Mother of the Buddhas, who is a loving embodiment of wisdom. A member of the Triratna Buddhist Order since 2000, Amala has led retreats and taught meditation and Buddhadharma for well over a decade in Buddhist Centers, schools and colleges. The retreat is open to anyone familiar with basic Buddhist teachings and solid meditation experience. Bring your favorite translations and commentaries on the Heart Sutra to share. Bring your heart and

confidence in the Dharma. Amala says: My aim for the Heart Sutra retreat is to have some fun with it. There are many layers to the sutra so we will apply several approaches, including trying to write some of the concepts in our own words. We can attempt such a thing with a light and playful attitude. Peeling away our delusions doesn’t have to be a ponderous task. It’s all about taking ourselves more lightheartedly. Living with Mindfulness Introductory Retreat April 26-28 Led by Sunada & Viriyalila What does it mean to live mindfully? How do we bring more calm and inner clarity into our daily lives? How can we stay confident and purposeful when times get rough? This gentle introductory retreat is open to all, especially those with no prior experience with meditation or Buddhism. We will explore the Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness in a down-to-earth, practical way through meditation, discussion, and hands-on exercises. We’ll also investigate how to live with greater awareness and contentment with ourselves, and in turn, how to live in harmony with the world around us. There will be detailed instruction for those who are new to meditation, and periods of silent practice for those with experience.

Loving-Kindness on the Cushion and on the Mat: Yoga & Meditation Retreat May 3-5 Led by Shrijnana, Arjava, & Judy Wall On this weekend retreat we will embrace our authentic self in a supportive and transformational environment through the practice of yoga, meditation, artistic exploration, and periods of social silence. Yoga sessions will include both active sessions that promote strength and flexibility and restorative sessions that foster relaxation and mindfulness. Meditation sessions will focus on the metta bhavana (loving-kindness meditation), which opens our hearts to ourselves and others. Whether you are just learning yoga or meditation, or have been practicing for many years, the instruction will be tailored to your level. Basic Training in Non-Violent Communication May 24-27 Led by Shantigarbha Do you want to deepen trust and connection – the key to lasting relationships? Join us once again for an experiential three-day training event in continued on page 7

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 onehalf of the total cost to finalize registration. If a registrant cancels two weeks or more before the retreat, s/he will receive a credit of the full amount toward another event. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant forfeits half of the retreat fee, and the remainder may be credited toward 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 credit of the full amount toward another event. If the cancellation is received less than two weeks before the event, the registrant forfeits half of the retreat fee, and the remainder may be credited toward another event.

Note: In all situations, special circumstances will be taken into consideration. 6


SPR I NG 2013

retreat highlights Continued from Page 6

Nonviolent Communication with certified trainer Shantigarbha. This three-day workshop will give you sufficient information and practice to start using NVC in your daily life. Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is sometimes referred to as compassionate communication. Its purpose is to strengthen our ability to inspire compassion from others and to respond compassionately to others and to ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing, and requesting. We are trained to make careful observations free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us. We learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what we are wanting in a given moment. When we focus on clarifying what

is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening – to ourselves as well as others – NVC fosters respect, attentiveness, and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative. ~ Adapted from Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. Published in the US by PuddleDancer Press. For more information, visit the Centre for Nonviolent Communication website at www.CNVC.org Intensive Noble Silence Retreat June 21-July 1 Led by Bodhana, Karunasara, & Lilasiddhi The intention of this intensive retreat is to create an atmosphere conducive to extended meditation with the fewest external

Reflections on the Practice of Nonviolent Communication By Scott Hurley I first encountered Nonviolent Communication (NVC) on an introductory workshop in Auroville, India, where I was studying abroad as an undergraduate. At first I thought it was corny and wanted to drift off from my experience. But something in me was hooked. I kept NVC in the back of my mind for almost three years and occasionally tried it out to stay in touch with my feelings in the presence of others. I have since received twenty-eight hours of formal training and joined a biweekly practice group in Brattleboro, VT. I would like to share an overview of the history and method of NVC, some of the teachings that stick out in my mind, and some of the ways that I think Buddhists could benefit from its practice. NVC was developed by a man named Marshall Rosenberg who grew up in Detroit, Michigan during times of racial violence. He became concerned with the question of what happens that makes some act violently and exploitatively and what allows some people to stay compassionate SPRI NG 2 0 1 3

distractions. Retreat participants will have no rota jobs or responsibilities so they can focus completely on their meditation practice. An emphasis on the collective aspect of practice using the five precepts is woven into the fabric of this retreat. This 10-day silent retreat is strongly recommended to those who want to bring their meditation to a new level. Participants will have the opportunity for daily, individual conversations with retreat leaders about their meditation practice. Participants are welcome to tent on the grounds. Meals will be light and snacks will be provided. After a brief introduction, and a question and answer period the first evening, we will be in Noble Silence until the morning of the final day. ◆◆

Men's Events to Watch this Spring

under even the most trying circumstances. Discovering some problems with our language that leads to conflict, Rosenberg developed the NVC model. The NVC model starts with four components. The four components are observation, feelings, needs, and requests. We focus on these components in order to develop a compassionate connection. We observe the circumstances around which feelings have arisen, sense the needs behind those feelings, and follow through with a request to get those needs met. This can be used in any sort of situation – to respond non-violently to an intense and angry message, to share the joy we are feeling in a situation, or to connect with what is going on within ourselves. One teaching to which I had a strong response is about three stages of relating to others. In the stage of emotional slavery we take responsibility for others’ feelings and strive to keep them happy. In the obnoxious stage we take responsibility for our feelings and needs but without respecting those of others. In the stage of emotional

Spring into summer with a retreat for men scheduled for Friday, May 31st through Sunday, June 2nd. The retreat is titled A Smorgasbord for the Whole Man - Nourishment for Body, Speech and Mind. As the title suggests, there will be a wide variety of elements in this retreat - elements that are intended to provide an opportunity for each of the participants to craft an experience that will offer them sustenance, both physical and spiritual. Retreat activities will include meditation, study, work on a project at the center, cooking, casual conversation, and general building of energy within the men’s sangha. One of the planned activities is a talk to be given by Padmavajra. Padmavajra is a senior Order member from England, where he serves as part of the team working with men in the ordination process at the Padmaloka Retreat Center. Ordained as a young man, Padmavajra has personally witnessed much of the growth of the Triratna community over the years. He is well known for

continued on page 18

continued on page 19 VAJ R A BE L L


Being Prepared: By Dh Narottama    Leading classes and retreats can be a rewarding, humbling, and challenging experince - an opportunity for growth for all concerned. And yet, as with many human endeavors, dangers can lurk in the nearby shadows. There are a few important areas to explore before we decide to lead a class. First, for Triratna Community members we should ask, “Is this topic in line with the Buddha’s, and Sangharakshita’s, teachings?” If we are in front of a class and expounding teachings from other traditions in the Dharma world, what does this say about representing the Triratna Buddhist Community to the public?  Clear communication with others in the teaching kula - as well as Order members and spiritual friends - is essential if we wish to strengthen the Dharma and not water it down in a way that simply sounds good to us. Second, we need to be prepared by knowing the material that will be conveyed. Studying and becoming excited about the topic and what it means is the very beginning.  It is best that the material has been absorbed and has been practiced and discussed with fellow teachers. This should include reflection and meditation. There is no greater source of wisdom than a teaching that has been integrated into our being through practical experience.  Third, and most importantly, one must prepare by connecting with and calling to mind gratitude and appreciation for those who have gone before us, while grounding ourselves in the knowledge that we do not have all the answers. We are simply conduits for spreading the Dharma. If we are entering with an attitude of “I know” and the class does not “know” then there is little room for an important part of the teaching experience to take place - the experience of the teacher being taught by listening to the others in the class. The river of teaching, when flowing properly, is purified by love for all beings and has little room for large domineering personalities that say, “I am the teacher and you are the students, so listen up while I polish my ego with my flapping tongue.” A very important part of any class is 8


Lessons learned by teaching the Dharma to others

Photo Credit: Rigmarole/flickr.com, Creative Commons License

listening intently to the introductions at the beginning. This is where, if we listen closely, the people taking the class may reveal something about themselves that could indicate where the group could go. Why are you here? What do you expect to get from this class? What is your meditation experience? These are some common questions that can identify areas where we might be helpful as teachers. Many years ago, as a mitra, I was leading meditation and Dharma classes after my friend Dayaratna returned to England. He had started meditation and Buddhism classes in Belfast, Maine and I had supported him for several years. Just before he left he asked if I would like to continue the classes. I decided to take it on. Each week I would prepare a lesson, and for two hours we would meditate, listen to one of Sangharakshita’s talks or read from one of his books, and then we’d discuss how these teachings applied to our lives. After a short while I had convinced myself of how important I was and how the class could not possibly happen without me. My self-importance grew to the point where I wanted all the control and I did not ask for help in any aspect of the classes. “Oh, what a good man I am!” I thought on a semi-conscious level - a classic do-gooder, as described in Bhante’s book Know your Mind. I was using a leadership role to feel important - desiring attention and control for my sake and not so

much for the sake of all beings. This is an aspect of raga - cupidity, attachment, craving, desiring, hankering after any pleasurable external or internal object by taking it as pleasing to oneself. At some point I became mortified when I saw what was happening. I was remorseful and confused, and felt totally unworthy of my position as a leader.  Bouncing from the heights of self-importance to the low of self-loathing I called Dayaratna to confess my unskillful mental state. As I recall, he chuckled and said, “Yes, we humans have many mixed motives as to why we do what we do. But remember, you are also helping to bring the Dharma and meditation to folks in Maine.” This humbling experience has never left me and now whenever I begin to see my self-importance arise I recall this powerful memory. So, my friends, check the appropriatness of the topic, talk with others about it, learn and know your material, and connect with those who have gone before and with your committment to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. One last step in being prepared is, just before the class starts, to bow before the shrine and call forth our courage and love. Connect with the gifts that have been freely given to us and that surround us, and with openess and light pass on something of that to others. Love to all. ◆ ◆ SPR I NG 2013

I Could Be a Vegetarian if Only Someone Else Would Cook! By Pam White Have you ever given any thought to becoming a vegetarian? Maybe your doctor has been challenging you to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, or just start thinking about living a healthier life? Has your study of the Dharma given you reason to consider the concept of “doing no harm” in ways that could impact your eating and food purchasing habits? Are you intrigued by the imaginative people who seem to come up with healthy, inventive vegetarian entrees that taste so good and who make it look so easy? No matter what your position as you consider this question, the practical considerations of deciding if this is for you learning how to shop for, prepare, and create vegetarian fare - inevitably come up. Just know that you are not alone in this challenge. Many people in this sangha and beyond have had to start somewhere, and

meditation marathon Continued from Page 5

your own photo and message and solicit donations by email or through social media. Your supporters can easily give online - or, if they prefer, old-fashioned paper pledge forms are available as well. Support the Aryaloka community and support your practice too! It’s not all about raising funds! The Marathon week will focus the whole sangha around meditation, a crucial element of our Buddhist practice. It will affirm meditation’s role in our lives! It will forge community within the sangha as we work joyously towards a common goal! And it will raise awareness and support of Aryaloka in our community! There’s so much good that will come from this - who can resist participating? Does this replace Aryaloka’s annual Mandala Pledge Drive? No! The Meditation Marathon is a fun and exciting way to solicit support from the broader community - all the folks in your life who may or may not even know about Aryaloka. While you’re welcome to sponsor yourself and others, we hope you’ll focus on asking for support from friends, famiSPRI NG 2 0 1 3

each journey is unique. My personal experience with a vegetarian diet came quite unexpectedly. My partner decided, through his studies, that for ethical reasons he could no longer participate or contribute to the slaughtering of farm animals. My immediate reaction was to become very upset and fearful. After all, how on earth is a couple supposed to create two separate meals at dinnertime? It seemed quite unrealistic, time-consuming, expensive, and too much change for me. But once I got beyond my ego and initial reaction, I began to think of all the positive benefits that “going veggie” could offer. So, together we sat down and began brainstorming what meals we could create from our limited knowledge. It became a rather bonding experience - and an adventure - as we bought vegetarian cookbooks from bookstores, “googled” recipes online to find out how to get enough protein in our diet, and started frequent-

ing restaurants that offered meatless options. Using our imagination and creative juices to make healthy meals has become quite an integral part of our lives. In addition, we have been able to reap the benefits of lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, and weight loss. But, my favorite benefit is... most of the time I don’t even have to cook! I get to sit back, relax, and anticipate the next artistic, inventive meal that my best friend will be serving up! If you want to try out vegetarian options, you can start by doing some or all of the following things: • Start slowly • Eliminate one or two items from your diet at a time, then eliminate other items as you feel comfortable • Talk with other people, and ask for their advice and recipes • Subscribe to web sites like www.vegetariantimes.com for free recipes

ly and colleagues. It’s a great conversation starter, and you may even inspire someone in your life to learn more and explore the Dharma for themselves! And don’t worry - you’ll be invited to show your personal support for Aryaloka and our community in October, when we launch our 2014 Mandala Pledge Drive!

lard. You can expect to hear lots from them and all the other committee volunteers coming soon.

WHY is the Meditation Marathon? The Marathon is Aryaloka’s principal fundraising event of the year. In 2013 - the first year the Marathon - we had huge success and brought in nearly $7,000. That was an enormous help to Aryaloka’s budget in 2013, and we hope to do even better this year (heck, why not reach for the stars and double or triple it?). WHO is the Meditation Marathon? The Meditation Marathon is you! All of us, really... Our goal this year is to have as many sangha members taking part in this event as possible. It may be the impossible dream, but if we could get 100% participation from Order members, mitras, and other core sangha, we’ll be well on our way to a successful fundraiser - and with so many people involved it would be SO much more fun, too! A great organizing committee will be leading the charge, co-chaired by Shrijnana, Eric Wentworth, and Elizabeth Hel-

continued on page 18

Sounds exciting! How can I help? Sign up and become a Marathoner! Our goal is 100% participation from Order members and mitras, and as many sangha members as possible. And you can encourage others to join as well - anyone interested in meditation and/or Aryaloka is more than welcome to take part! Volunteer! There’s plenty to do, so contact any of the co-chairs or call the office at 659-5456 if you’d like to be a part of this exciting event! If you have questions or comments, please contact the co-chairs at the email addresses listed below. Thank you in advance for your support of Aryaloka’s 2013 Meditation Marathon! Eric Wentworth eric@wintercrowstudio.com Shrijnana shrijnana@gmail.com Elizabeth Hellard ekhellard@comcast.net VAJ R A BE L L


Getting “Engaged”


SPR I NG 2013

Vajra Bell asks:

What does “putting the Dharma into action” mean to you?


any members of the Aryaloka Community put the “Dharma into action” through a variety of activities - from bringing the Dharma to prisons, to teaching Buddhism in area schools, to traveling to places like India or Madagascar to offer their talents and skills to those who are less fortunate.

Aryaloka has a Community Outreach Kula that responds to a range of requests for information about Buddhism and meditation. The kula is comprised primarily of Order members, along with experienced mitras. One of their activities is to offer classes for young people and adults in area churches who are studying religions other than their own. Kula members also speak at public or private high schools and colleges in world religion and world culture classes. Individual college or high school students interview sangha members or work with Aryaloka on projects they may be doing as a way to learn more about Buddhism. Kula members attend school-to-work fairs where they talk with students about the importance of volunteering time for things that help others outside of their regular vocation. Another way Aryaloka spreads the Dharma is by participating in commemorations, roundtable discussions, special events in the area, and even by officiating at the occasional wedding or funeral. In this issue, Dh. Bodhana and Dh. Satyada share what “engaged Buddhism” or “putting the Dharma into action” means to them personally. continued on page 12

SPRI NG 2 0 1 3


getting “engaged”

“There is no such thing as generosity” By Dh. Bodhana The Anguttara Nikaya Sutta gives various reasons for exercising generosity, and here I am thinking of generosity as giving of yourself: One gives with annoyance or as a way to offend the recipient Fear also motivates a person to make an offering One gives in return for a favor One also may give with the hope of getting a similar favor for oneself One gives because giving is considered good I cook. They do not cook. It is not proper for me who cooks not to give to those who do not cook. Some give alms to gain a good reputation Still others give alms to adorn and beautify the mind The sutta continues to list other reasons such as a family tradition, a desire to be reborn in a deva realm, favoritism, illwill, delusion, and on and on. The sutta (Aiv.236) also maintains that alms should be given without any expectations, nor should alms be given with attachment to the recipient. The only valid reason for giving should be to rid the mind of the ugliness of greed and selfishness. If we are truly honest with ourselves I think we would find that giving of ourselves freely with no expectations or attachment is a very difficult thing to do. For most of my life I worked under the assumption that one hand washes the other, or “I will help you if you help me.” In most cases I did have a reason for my generosity, and it was more often than not one or more of the reasons given in the sutta. So when I first came across the idea of dana, giving freely without any expectations, it was difficult for me to put into practice.

It was not until I first stepped into a prison that I began to understand how one could give to someone with no strings attached, no expectations and no judgment. When you see dukkha on such a large scale your heart cannot help but break, and you must act to meet the suffering. It was not until I first stepped into a prison that I began to understand how one could give to someone with no strings attached, no expectations and no judgment. When you see dukkha on such a large scale your heart cannot help but break, and you must act to meet the suffering. I did not realize it at the time, but from that point on I would have to continually step out of my comfort zone in order to be of some service to the men and women who are incarcerated. I owe a great debt of gratitude to all the inmates I have come in contact with over the years for it is they who taught me how to practice the Dhamma. I have often wondered why I was drawn to work in prisons and jails. I was not a very good teacher, I did not know of anyone who had spent much time in prison. I never spent time in prison, yet I felt very comfortable working with the people there. The only thing I have come up with is that there was a need, and I felt compelled to help. As I said, I was far out of my comfort zone, but sometimes your heart just takes over no matter what your head says. I was lucky, because I had found a very good Dhamma guide – The New Hampshire State Prison for Men – and it was full

of teachers. In the beginning I had many expectations. I assumed that since “I” was making an effort to show up that they had a duty to be there. Since “I” was willing to teach, they had the obligation to learn. Since “I” had the knowledge, they were obligated to absorb said knowledge. Over the years the men taught me that it was not about me at all. They would learn and accept the Dhamma on their terms, not mine. In many cases they understood the Dhamma on a deeper level than I did. At some point it ceased to be about me and my expectations or what I would get out of the deal - although in reality, I received much more than I was able to give. I quickly learned that these men were far more honest and open than most of the people I knew. If I was going to teach meditation and Dhamma in the Concord Prison, I had to be as open and honest as they were. These guys could read people from a hundred yards away so there was no hiding. In prison lingo, it was time to “get real.” The first thing I had to sort out was why I was there. When I looked at it honestly, it was not for the inmates at all. There were many reasons. For one it was about massaging my ego... “Look at me! I am teaching meditation in prison!” Maybe I would be ordained sooner. Or, “I am such a good person.” After several years I learned to leave my ego at the door, along with my politics. These men did not need me, all they needed was the Dhamma and the desire to end their suffering. It is important that we all find a way to put our Dhamma into practice. It does not matter if it is helping out at a soup kitchen or volunteering at hospice, at Aryaloka or the local animal shelter. What is important is that when we observe a need, we move toward addressing that need. I believe that it is through freely giving of ourselves that we find the Dhamma. There is no such thing as generosity… only awareness of need and the natural impulse of the heart to address it. ~ Sri HWL. Poonja ◆◆

For more information on the Khanti Prison Outreach Program, please contact Bodhana at bodhana@comcast.net 12 VAJ R A BE LL

SPR I NG 2013

getting “engaged”

“Address those needs within our ability” By Dh. Satyada When I was asked to write this article, I was given the rough guide of engaged Buddhism as the topic. So I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on what “engaged Buddhism” means to me. If I go to the web, I find that: Engaged Buddhism refers to Buddhists who are seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental, and economic suffering and injustice. ~ Wikipedia So, that seems like a pretty good definition, but what does it really MEAN? Whenever possible (and it’s almost always possible) I like to hear directly from the Buddha on how to approach situations in my life. Within the Vinaya Pitaka, in the Mahavagga section, there is a sutta-like story called “The Monk With Dysentery” (Mv 8.26.1-8). Sangharakshita has given a quite well known talk on this episode, entitled A Case of Dysentery, available on Free Buddhist Audio at http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/audio/details?num=152. As the story goes, the Buddha and his attendant Ananda are out inspecting the monastic community and they come across a monk with dysentery who is not being cared for. When the Buddha asks the monks why the man is not being cared for, he is given the reply, “He doesn’t do anything for the monks, lord, which is why they don’t attend to him.” After personally caring for the sick monk, (and embarassing the other monks quite badly, as their great teacher does what they should have been doing all along) the Buddha points out: Whoever would tend to me, should tend to the sick. For me that about sums it up. If I would be willing to tend to the Buddha, then I should also be willing to tend to any being in need. As the Buddha - and Bhante SPRI NG 2 0 1 3

- point out, it doesn’t matter if the being does anything for me. I don’t get to treat some beings as worthy of my attention and other beings as not worthy, I must tend to all beings as if they were the Buddha. So how does this manifest in my life today? Obviously I don’t have the resources to tend to all beings personally, so I have to make some choices about where to spend my limited store of time, energy and money. In my case, I’ve chosen two groups to work with, groups that are often perceived to “not do anything” for society - youth and inmates. For more than ten years I’ve worked with a youth coalition focused on helping our young people to make positive choices in their lives. For many adults, our youth appear to be either unappealing or dangerous or both. Often people move to the other side of the street when they see a young person approaching. Research has shown conclusively the enormous benefit that contact with an adult can have on a young person. Yet many of us avoid contact with them. My work in the coalition has focused on building awareness of the importance that connections throughout the community have in supporting positive choices by young people. There are many potential benefits for youth through their connection withthe wider community. For many of them even a few of these benefits will send them on their way to a positive future. When we fail our youth, too often the result is incarceration. My work in the prisons focuses on another group that “does nothing” for society - in fact they have been judged to have done something against society, even when their actions could be viewed as inevitable given the circumstances they’ve faced in their lives. When I sit with the “men in green” I see myself in their faces. I’ve made choices in my life that were dangerous both for myself and for the people around me. For the most part I’ve been lucky and those choices haven’t had the negative impact that they could have had. Had the conditions been slightly different, I could be wearing green also. In the text cited above, the Buddha tells

the monks: Monks, you have no mother, you have no father, who might tend to you. If you don’t tend to one another, who then will tend to you? The monks (and the rest of us as well), having gone forth into homelessness and thus renouncing all familiar connections, “have no mother... have no father.” So we need to be mother and father to each other in the spiritual life. I need to be mother and father to the “men in green” as a reflection of my going forth. Lest this piece begin to be suffused with the aroma of a burning martyr, let me point out that “engaged Buddhism” has many benefits for the practitioner as well. Recently I was leading study with a group of inmates on a text from the Pali Canon. One of the men approached me during a break and proceeded to offer a deep and nuanced understanding of the text. Who was the student there? As I travel each month to the prison in northern New Hampshire (about a two-and-a-half-hour drive), I’m regularly amazed at my good fortune to live in such a beautiful place. The road offers incredible vistas of mountains and forests. The group that I work with at the prison frequently exhibits profound insight into the Buddha’s teachings. Truly the inmates and the experience of teaching at the prison are tending to me as much as I am tending to them. When I visited Sangharakshita at his home in England, I asked him how a bodhisattva might approach being a Red Sox fan. He observed, “A bodhisattva would be quite busy, wouldn’t he?” At the time I took that to mean that a bodhisattva wouldn’t have much time to be a sports fan, but since that visit I’ve come to see another meaning behind his reply - there is so much need in the world that we’ll never have time enough to address it all. All we can do is to do the best we can to address those needs that are within our ability. For me, at this moment, that includes helping young people make positive choices and helping to bring the Dharma to those “men in green” - that’s what engaged Buddhism means to me. ◆◆ VAJ R A BE L L 13

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.

Ka-do: The Way of Flowers

Visiting artist Antoinette Drouart to hold August Ikebana workshop

Ikebana (living flower) has its origins in the 7th century, when the practice of Buddhism traveled from China and Korea to Japan.  A flower offering was always placed on the altar in front of the Buddha, and from this ancient discipline a practice was born. A simple seasonal floral arrangement reinforces the connection that mankind has with nature.  It offers the arranger a “way” - a ka-do - of expressing themselves and awakens their connection with the spirit of nature.  Those who work with ikebana arrange flowers with special regard to balance, harmony, and form.  The arranger and the flower arrangement itself express a harmonious balance that should also exist between humanity and the universe.  When we arrange our ikebana we forget ourselves and allow our ki to merge with the plant materials we are using.  On August 11th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aryaloka will offer a unique opportunity for a day workshop with visiting artist Antionette Drouart, in which she will explore with us two different seasonal flower arrangements. Please visit the Aryaloka website for more details. Antoinette lived in Japan between 1986 and 1991. She is a certified teacher in the Ikebana Sogetsu School, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. She is the owner of Ikebana Flower in Nashua, NH. To contact Antionette, call or email at 603-595-8877 or adrouart@ikebanaflower.com. ~ Dh. Kiranada

Heather Maloney Back for Spring! After weather forced her to cancel a scheduled performance at Aryaloka in December, talented musician Heather Maloney returns to play the concert that never was! Sometimes serendipity steps in, because in March Heather released her third album on Signature Sounds - “Heather Maloney” - and we are very fortunate to be one of her first stops on a new tour. We hope you’ll be with us on April 14th at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy an evening of “impermanence in song.” Bring your friends and family for what is always a sweet and intimate atmosphere. Visit the Aryaloka website for more info.


Drawing and Meditation Workshop on July 27th July 27th from 9–3 p.m. Led by Eric Ebbeson and Dh. Amala Artists have long known that the process of doing a drawing is best done when the artist is in a meditative state. Indeed, the same part of the brain that we use in meditation is also the one we use for drawing. In this workshop we’ll use this connection to unlock artistic abilities in people that they may not know they have! No artistic experience is necessary. This is a day to explore the connection between creative expression and meditation, using drawing as our medium. ◆◆ SPR I NG 2013

poetry corner Who Am I and Whose Am I Spiritually? By Prasannavajri Who am I? Not my name, Nor who I appear to be. Not my habitual behaviors or my emotions. Not my obscurations, nor my merit Of generosity, compassion, and joy. Not my perceptions, my thoughts, nor my ego-ideal That is chiseled out of thousands upon thousands Of struggling attachments and views, Challenging  to self and to others. I am none of the above, I am all of the above.   I rest in the still quiet pool beneath all the words, All nuances of thought, of confusion, of delusion. A gaping wound in the heart grows larger by the day. The more space allowed, the more I enter The suffering that surrounds us Out of which rises The essence of who I am Which is who you are, Which is who we are Together, On this journey Toward Enlightenment.   Who is not my Brother? Who is not my Sister? Who is not my Sangha, my Community, my Tribe? To whom do I not open my mind And let the Dharma pour out? To whom do I not open my heart


By Narottama With damp wool cap upon my head and saw grasped in hand I knelt before a mighty spruce to take I did intend. This hard green tree with bristling bough that lived to ninety and four gave scant a twitch as its marrow mixed with snow on forest floor. This saw was keen a stroke that cuts as flesh of tree appeared the sweat that raised upon the brow the same SPRI NG 2 0 1 3

And receive the burning flow of another’s suffering? The hidden scream of the heart Vibrates to the Lion’s Roar Of the Sacred Buddha, The Awakened One, The Beloved One, The Shower of the Way. Whose Am I Spiritually? To whom do I hold onto In the vast blue sky Of my deepest center, The place one lands when the mind Drops into the heart?   Whose am I spiritually while Continually clearing the pathway for The Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha That color the hues of chaplaincy, Transforming edges of anxiety into Thin shafts of luminous openness, Bearing witness, presence, and reverence To the aged ones, beloved mentors Of end-of-life flow.   The penetrating interflow of CPE nestles easily in The prevailing winds of a Buddhist perspective, Holding, cherishing, honoring The vibrancy of impermanence melded In the cycle of life, Paving the way for a new horizon, A new Awakening Within which we Shall sleep No more. 

as fallen tears Rhythm of work continued in silent stand of spruce Humans with intentions will this expose the Truth? The Ancient tree stands quaking knowing it is done then sailing through the icy air to earth we all become. The awful roar of falling witnessed by the trees then silence, always there again as a gentle, “if you please.” Could we all

pass so gracefully to worlds beyond this plane Helping life unfold again in the space we did retain. VAJ R A BE L L 15

movie review

Lennon, Yoko, and the Will to Enlightenment

The U.S. vs. John Lennon (2006), 96 minutes, PG-13 Available on Netflix The 2006 documentary, The U.S. vs. John Lennon, by filmmakers David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, is a fascinating historical perspective on the tumultuous events between 1968 and 1972 within the American anti-war movement. It is an inspiring biography of two artists who find love and fulfillment in their commitment to each other and in applying their creative energies to peace and love. It is a tragic classic tale of the underdog’s struggle and victory over insurmountable odds. Most significantly, it an instructive and inspiring case study on how one might set the conditions for the arising of the will to Enlightenment (more on this later). The film maintains a classic documentary style of expert commentary juxtaposed with archival footage and photographs, and is set to the music of The Beatles and John Lennon. Through the combined voices of Yoko Ono, Gore Vidal, George McGovern, Bobby Seal, Angela Davis, Walter Cronkite, Gordon Liddy, and others, we are told a love story - a history of struggle, political intrigue, spiritual quest, and a four-and-a-half year legal battle. The filmmakers present often graphic newsreels of both war and protest, alongside interviews and the performance art

political actions of John and Yoko. The juxtaposition of the chaotic, angry, and volatile depictions of protesters with the very sober - yet light-hearted and sublime message of love and peace John and Yoko were advancing is striking. The legal storyline, from which the title of the documentary springs, begins in 1971 when John and Yoko - who had recently moved to New York City - are invited to perform at benefit concert for political activist John Sinclair. Sinclair was serving a nine- to ten-year prison sentence in a maximum security prison for selling two joints to an undercover police officer. Lennon’s performance turned the tide of public opinion and resulted in the court reversing its judgment and freeing Sinclair

just days later. This demonstration of Lennon’s ability to sway public opinion caught the attention of the power structure. Soon after Sinclair’s release, John and Yoko received a letter informing them that they were being deported back to England. There is a brief scene featuring J. Edgar Hoover speaking of the type of recruits the FBI needed to make America great. He said the nation needed, “men and woman with the capacity for moral indignation.” This statement is sandwiched between footage of city streets filled with young men and women who are simultaneously holding signs for peace while seething and frothing with just such a capacity for “moral indignation.” continued on page 17

Audio-visual resources exploring Buddhism

www.clear-vision.org 16 VAJ R A BE LL

SPR I NG 2013

There’s Just No Treat Like a Retreat By Dianne Wright

If you haven’t yet given yourself the gift of a relaxing Aryaloka retreat, I hope you will soon find an opportunity to do so. I attended my first retreat in January. It was Experiencing the Joy of Mindfulness, led by Akashavanda and Arjava, and what a peaceful and joyful experience it was! It’s very special to have a whole weekend dedicated to relaxation and being fully present. On the Friday evening that the retreat began it didn’t take long for us to settle in comfortably and start out with a beautiful and peaceful meditation session. The next morning we were awakened at

movie review Continued from Page 16

The young idealistic protesters are depicted in the film as acting as part of a group and not as true individuals in the spiritual sense. They have grasped onto the one-sided trend of involvement that can motivate a spiritual aspirant to work on behalf of the liberation of all beings. They ardently want to change the world for the better, but they lack the transcendent wisdom to realize they are ultimately behaving just like Hoover’s G-men - they are their own worst enemy. It is striking how self-consciously aware John Lennon and Yoko Ono seemed to be

6 a.m. by the sound of soft chimes. We began our day with meditation while Arjava baked the homemade muffins he would spoil us with for breakfast and, lucky for us, the spoiling never stopped! Our day was very relaxing and filled with meditation, small group discussion, and free time. During free time you could choose to do anything… go snowshoeing, explore the woods and river trails right outside, take a nap, or quietly browse the library. We had time for reflection and Noble Silence after our Saturday evening puja, which continued through 10 a.m. on Sunday. Along with being peaceful, the retreat was also full of fun and humor. Our small

group went on a “Mindfulness Scavenger Hunt” that was designed with a lot of consideration and creativity. What a unique way to experience the senses and be fully present. I appreciated each task - my favorite was the surprise song selection. And you just had to be there to experience “Laugh Yoga!” Within a minute we were right in the spirit of it (by the way, laugh yoga feels great)! If you’ve never been on retreat, or if you haven’t been in a while, I would definitely suggest you put it on your wish list and give yourself the gift of time to reflect, explore, relax, and deepen your practice! ◆◆

of this reality. The thrust of their message of peace and love is aimed equally at the political establishment and the counterculture. They stand as individuals making creative use of their present realities to change the climate of ignorance, ill-will, and greed that fuel the rounds of samsara. Their creative approach towards affecting positive social change is a real-life example of combining the paradoxical trend of withdrawal and renunciation with the trend of involvement that builds the internal tension within an individual, ultimately resulting in the arising of the will to Enlightenment, or Bodhicitta. It is one thing to develop a life of meditative seclusion. It is another to dedicate

one’s life to the struggle for social justice. But to bring these two trends together without succumbing to the snare of view that leads one toward the development of “a high capacity for moral indignation” is quite another. Near the end of the film, after John and Yoko had finally won their case against the United States Government and in the context of Nixon’s resignation following the Watergate scandal, a reporter asks Lennon if he holds a grudge against those who have been trying to illegally bully him into leaving the country. He replies with no hint of animosity, but just a touch of humor, “No. I believe that time wounds all heals.” ~ Jaime Grady

Buddhaworks The Aryaloka Bookstore

* Books by Sangharakshita * DVDs from Pema Chodron and Lama Surya Das * Meditation Journals * CDs from Thich Nhat Hanh

* Singing Bowls * Brass Door Chimes from Nepal and India * Meditation Candles * Lots and Lots of Great Books!

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

SPRI NG 2 0 1 3


online insight

The Buddhist Center Online

The Buddhist Center Online www.thebuddhistcentre.com If you haven’t already had a look at and signed up for The Buddhist Center Online, I highly encourage you to check it out! This site is the new hub for all things Triratna around the globe, and more and more exciting resources and information are being developed all the time. On the home page you can find information about our tradition, news and updates from Triratna News, and photo galleries, to name a few. But that’s just a small beginning - there’s so much more. The Online Community is where more and more of the action is happening. Think of it as all the best parts of social media, blogs, multimedia resources, and a brick-and-mortar Buddhist center combined in a rich environment completely dedicated to Buddhist practice in the Triratna Community. Without all the drawbacks of other social media - constantly changing privacy policies, advertising, constant distractions,

becoming vegetarian Continued from Page 9

• Go to potluck dinners and compliment folks by asking for their yummy recipes - I am sure they will be


Continued from Page 7

liberation, we respond to the feelings and needs of others out of compassion while taking responsibility for our own feelings. Can these be related, I wondered, to the three stages of relating to the group that Sangharakshita discusses in his book, What is the Sangha? One relates first as part of the group, then in opposition to the group, and finally without reference to the group. Another teaching I responded strongly to is Rosenberg’s classification of blame, judgment, and evaluation as “life-alienating forms of communication.” He says that when we try to solve a conflict by using these tactics, matters often will become worse. I appreciate his awareness that when we respond out of fear, guilt, or shame it causes us emotional suffering and 18 VAJ R A BE LL

and posts about what your friends had for breakfast - this space provides the opportunity for real depth. It’s a space where you, and the rest of our community, can explore and develop a vision of what it means for the online world, which is not going away anytime soon, to be a part of our Buddhist practice. Sounds enticing, yes? Good! Because Aryaloka is already there, and so are all the other North American centers, with their own spaces for sangha members to engage with each other! And Vajra Bell will be finding its own home there to take advantage of all the possibilities that the space offers to engage our audience better. The Buddhist Center Online is already full of ways to connect with other centers and projects from our global Buddhist movement, and it will become a vital resource in the years to come. For a great introduction to what’s possible on The Buddhist Center Online, visit Triratna Highlights, which has excellent posts, updates, and media from events like the 2013 International Council and Order Convention meetings in India, videos of flattered and happy to share! • Become familiar with your grocer’s spice section and add new flavors to your menu • Embrace change and creativity • Practice whatever feels right to you that we are more likely to respond with anger in the future. It’ makes sense to me to know that when I need to be heard and instead receive advice, sympathy, or one-upping in response to my feelings, it is unlikely that I will be satisfied. There are several reasons that I think Nonviolent Communication could be of interest to Buddhists. First, in NVC we practice empathy, defined by Rosenberg as a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. I have seen this term mentioned in only two Buddhist sources but believe it is implicit in Buddhism and that most Buddhists would agree that it’s a positive thing. Second, the heart of Nonviolent Communication is compassionate connection. Compassion is essential to Buddhism and NVC promotes its development. Third, just as Buddhism points out that our reaction to feeling is what determines our future suffering or well-being,

Bhante’s new home at the Adhisthana Center, talks from Vessantara and others, information on veganism... the list goes on and on. Also, in May, The Buddhist Center Online will be highlighting, as a special theme, Triratna practice in North America! That’s us, folks! We’ll have the opportunity to share with the rest of the world what we do - through audio, video, blogging, and more. This is a great chance for folks in the UK, India, and the rest of the wider movement to connect and see how practitioners here are practicing in the same way and with the same familiar intensity as others in our tradition, and also an opportunity to explore what makes practice in North America unique - with its own particular flavor and challenges. So sign up today at The Buddhist Centre Online, get familiar with the space, follow or join some of your favorite centers and groups, connect with others on the basis of practice, and keep your eyes peeled for awesome things to come! ◆◆ No matter what, the people in the sangha will support your efforts if you want to try. I encourage you to take the first step in your journey towards wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Do no harm, and let the feast begin! ◆◆ in NVC we learn to respond to feelings with compassion by learning what’s behind them. Fourth, NVC helps us to develop self-awareness by becoming more conscious of why we do things. From solving conflicts to learning how to listen to ourselves, I think the practice of NVC carries many benefits for all. If you are interested in learning more, the “goto” book for most practitioners is Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg. I have drawn some of what I’ve mentioned above from this book. You can also check out the website for the Center for Nonviolent Communication at www.cnvc.org which contains educational materials, information on workshops, and more. There is also a residential workshop at Aryaloka from May 24-27 led by Order member and NVC trainer Shantigarbha. May the practice of Nonviolent Communication bring joy! ◆◆ SPR I NG 2013

Teaching the Teacher: By Barry Scott Timmerman I enjoy teaching. I have taught in many different venues. I’ve taught college students in classrooms, professionals at workshops and seminars, teenagers in therapy groups and at teen leadership programs, clients in counseling sessions, and therapists in clinical supervision sessions. I have taught recovering people in twelve-step programs. I have taught my step-children and I’ve taught my little brother from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. I have taught adults at Aryaloka, and I have taught myself. The bottom line of any teaching experience is what one learns from teaching others. I hope and expect to be able to maintain “beginners mind.” I do not assume I am

men’s events Continued from Page 7

his inspiring talks (nearly 150 are available on freebuddhistaudio.com). He is also a member of the College of Preceptors for the Triratna Order. There will be a question and answer period following the talk. This will be the first men’s retreat at Aryaloka in several years. It is open to all men who are interested in being part of

an expert on anything. The older I get, the more I am aware of how much there is to know, and how little of it I really do know. Teaching requires preparation, thinking, and planning. It involves talking with your co-teachers to decide the “how, what, and who.” It requires effort to become familiar with the subject and to understand how best to tailor the teaching to the individuals that one is teaching. Being able to provide a variety of vehicles to convey a teaching is part of the creativity and challenge of the endeavor. Everyone learns differently - some are auditory learners, others are visual, and still others are experiential/kinesthetic learners. Teaching involves integrity - particularly when teaching Buddhism. One is obligated to practice what one preaches and teach-

es. When I mentor others, it is important that I model what my words reflect. There is a saying: “Walk your talk.” With this caveat in mind, I find that teaching others provides me with the opportunity to keep my own house in order. I love teaching the Dharma. I realize I can only bring others as far as I have come myself. For this reason, I use honest self-inquiry and feedback from others to help gauge where I am in my own journey. Finally, teaching others is quite rewarding because of what others teach me. What others share regarding their journeys, their suffering, their joys and accomplishments, teaches me to let go of ego-driven views. I am continually reminded of the commonalities we all share as beings experiencing this mysterious and sacred gift called life. ◆◆

our community of men who are putting the Buddha’s teachings into practice. While the greatest benefit would be gained by attending the whole retreat, flexibility is also offered to allow men to attend for whatever part of the retreat is feasible for them. Visit www.aryaloka. org or call the office at 659-5456 for more details and to register. In other news, Men’s Practice Days will be taking a hiatus in April and returning

on May 11th with a visit from Sravaniya, an Order member very active in the Boston sangha. And then, wrapping up the first half of the year, another Men’s Practice Day is slated for June 16th. Men’s events are open to men of all experience levels and are an excellent opportunity to explore specific Buddhist topics, strengthen sitting practice, build spiritual friendships, and create closer connections with other men in the sangha. ◆◆

Upcoming Events Continued from Page 20

24 24-27 27 28 29 30 30-6/2

6-8 p.m. Full-moon puja and meditation, 7-9 p.m. Non-Violent Communication Retreat with Shantigarbha (go online for details) Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level (class #5) – Amala 7 - 9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (4th class with Akashavanda), 6-8 p.m Men’s Retreat – Details TBA

JUNE 1 3 4 5 6

Women’s Order Day – Portsmouth Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level (last class) – Amala 7 - 9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (5th class with Akashavanda),

SPRI NG 2 0 1 3

The Rewards that Come from Guiding Others

7 8 9 10 11 13 16 16 17 18 20 21 21-7/1 23 24 25 27

6-8 p.m Aryaloka String Quartet Concert – Shravaniya and Professional Boston Musicians, 7 p.m. ARYALOKA OPEN HOUSE – Details TBA Possible Men’s Day Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Mitra Foundation Class (last class with Akashavanda), 6-8 p.m Introduction to Buddhism – Vihanasari, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Possible Men’s Day Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Mitra Foundation Class (first class with Satyada), 6-8 p.m Full-moon puja Noble Silence Retreat – Bodhana, Karunasara, Lilasiddhi Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome (Noble Silence at Akasaloka) Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Mitra Foundation Class (2nd class with Satyada), 6-8 p.m. VAJ R A BE L L 19

upcoming events APRIL 1 2 3 4 6 6 7 7 8 9 10 11 13 14 14 15 16 18 19-24 22 23 25 25 26-28 29

(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.

Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Intro to Meditation and Buddhism (class #5) - Satyada, 7-9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (class #1) - Bodhana, 6-8 p.m. Triratna Order Day - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Triratna Community Day - Dayalocana, Viriyalila, Candradasa, 1 to 5 p.m. Intro to Noble Silence - Bodhana, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pali Canon Study: Words Truthful, Beneficial, and Pleasing - Vidhuma, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Men’s Mitra Class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Intro to Meditation and Buddhism (last class) - Satyada, 7-9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (class #2) - Bodhana, 6-8 p.m. CENTER CLOSED Intro to Loving-Kindness Meditation - Satyada, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. HEATHER MALONEY CONCERT, 6:30 p.m. Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Mitra Foundation Class (class #3) - Bodhana, 6-8 p.m. Heart Sutra Retreat - Amala (register online or call the office) Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Mitra Foundation Class (class #4) - Bodhana, 6-8 p.m. Full-moon puja and meditation - 7-9 p.m. Living With Mindfulness Retreat - Sunada and Viriyalila Men’s mitra class

30 MAY   1 2 3-5 5 6 7 8 9 11 13 14 15 16 18 19 20 21 22 23

Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome

Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level (class #1) - Amala, 7 - 9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (last class with Bodhana), 6-8 p.m. Yoga and Meditation Retreat - Shrijnana, Arjava, and Janet Wall Order Day - Details TBA Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level (class #2) - Amala, 7 - 9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (first class with Akashavanda), 6-8 p.m. Men’s Day Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level (class #3) - Amala, 7 - 9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (2nd class with Akashavanda), 6-8 p.m. Bodhisattvas at Play – WORK WEEKEND – All welcome – Bring friends! Bodhisattvas at Play – WORK WEEKEND – All welcome – Bring friends! Men’s mitra class Friends’ Night - 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. - All are welcome Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level (class #4) - Amala, 7 - 9 p.m. Mitra Foundation Class (3rd class with Akashavanda), continued on page 19

ongoing events Sangha Night At Aryaloka Every Tuesday evening, 6:45-9:15 p.m. • Led by Arjava, Akashavanda, Amala, 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! 20 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 SPR I NG 2013

Profile for The Buddhist Centre Online

Vajra Bell newsletter - Spring 2013  

What Does "Engaged Buddhism" Mean to You? -- Sangha updates from the U.S. and Canada --- Meditation Marathon fundraising event kicks off in...

Vajra Bell newsletter - Spring 2013  

What Does "Engaged Buddhism" Mean to You? -- Sangha updates from the U.S. and Canada --- Meditation Marathon fundraising event kicks off in...