keeping sangha connected
Also in this issue:
How Music Can Inform Spirituality by Sravaniya
Working for Indian Buddhism by Viradhamma
Mary Schaefer & David Watt
I don’t say this lightly: Eric Wentworth is one tough act to follow as Editor-in-Chief of the Vajra Bell. He has done an outstanding job as designer (he’s transformed the newsletter into a beautiful piece of art), and he is a skillful and kind kula leader who knows his dharma! Eric has stepped aside as editor-in-chief but thankfully has not relinquished his willingness to continue to design the issue. That was one condition that enabled me to step into an editor role; the other was to opt for “co-editor” instead of “chief editor,” sharing this responsibility with David Watt. Thank you, David. It takes two to follow Eric’s act! This issue and the next explores “Right Livelihood” – how to make a living without causing harm to others. We have invited two Order members – Viradhamma from the San Francisco Sangha and Aryaloka’s Singhatara – to share how they practice Buddhism in their work and careers. Now retired from what he calls his “regular career,” Viradhamma launched the non-profit DharmaJiva, dedicated to raising international awareness of the caste
system and the revival of Buddhism in India. His principle focus in the past three years has been arranging visits of Western and Asian Buddhists to India. Eric and I joined Viradhamma on such a pilgrimage two years ago. In his article, Viradhamma describes his most recent journey there. Singhatara talks about Right Livelihood as part of the ethical training in the Eightfold Path. Her job in human services, she writes, offers her many opportunities to practice the Five Precepts. Mitras Barry Timmerman, Ashley Bush and Denise Martin offer eloquent perspectives on how they practice being aware of the implications and consequences of what they do and how they cultivate the conditions for Right Livelihood. The issue also features reviews of programs featured recently at Aryaloka, such as the Introduction to Noble Silence Retreat by Diane Marsden and the Nordic Nirvana Retreat by Dianne Wright. Sravaniya offers a beautiful reflection on how music informs Buddhist spirituality. You also will find previews of several upcoming programs, including visits by a number of Triratna Order members from the United Kingdom who will be visiting Aryaloka this spring and summer. Watch for those details in the weeks ahead. ~ Mary Schaefer
As Eric Wentworth’s time as the editor of the Vajra Bell comes to an end, and we prepare for the next issue I am struck by two things. The first is the realization of how much mindful work that Eric devoted to the newsletter and how well (and cheerfully) he did it. The second is how grateful I am to Mary Schaefer for sharing the editorship with me. Mary brings intelligence, focus, organization and energy to the tasks at hand. Thank goodness. Lately, I’ve been reading the back issues of the Vajra Bell, and I’m struck by the quality of the journalism, essays on the dharma and personal reflections. Indeed, the distinctions between these categories generally disappear on the pages of Vajra Bell. Beginning with Sangharakshi-
ta, the Triratna community has celebrated the creation and study of the written word. The Vajra Bell has nourished that tradition, and we will work to continue that. Since I started coming to Aryaloka more than six years ago, I have found that all the other spiritual teachings I hear are echoes of the Dharma. Through the workshops and classes here, I’ve actually developed a practice, and I’ve seen how reflection, scholarship and the arts all nourish the practices of sangha members in different ways. While not everyone reads the Vajra Bell cover to cover, every issue speaks to the different aspects of one’s practice, and I am happy to be a small part of it. Finally, I want to shout out to all of the people who have contributed copy to this issue. I salute your willingness to accept the invitations we put out and the quality of your contributions. Thanks so much. ~ David Watt
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VAJRA BELL KULA CO-EDITOR: Mary Schaefer email@example.com CO-EDITOR: David Watt firstname.lastname@example.org ADMINISTRATION EDITOR: Dh. Vihanasari email@example.com ARTS EDITOR: Elizabeth Hellard firstname.lastname@example.org MEDIA EDITOR: Jaime Grady email@example.com CONTRIBUTOR: Dh. Satyada firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN: Eric Wentworth email@example.com
Spiritual Vitality Council Amala (Chair) Vidhuma (Vice Chair) Arjava Dayalocana Karunasara Surakshita Board of Directors Arjava (Chair) Barry Timmerman (Secretary) Elizabeth Hellard (Treasurer) Dayalocana Akashavanda Amala Jean Corson Prasannavajri Surakshita
Aryaloka Buddhist Center 14 Heartwood Circle Newmarket, NH 03857 603-659-5456 firstname.lastname@example.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 at The Buddhist Centre Online: http://thebuddhistcentre.com/aryaloka Cover art: Rijupatha
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from the board of directors Many of you may have heard about the changes and restructuring occurring at Aryaloka. The purpose for the planning and changes has been to maintain the spiritual and financial vitality of the Center. Aryaloka has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception. Thanks to the dedication, wisdom and hard work of many people, we now have a thriving and continually growing spiritual community. In keeping with our mission of teaching the Dharma and providing quality services to the community, succession planning was undertaken and is currently being carried out. We want to communicate these changes to all of you and invite your comments and feedback as we go forward in our quest to be a place where the Three Jewels shine brightly. The following restructuring has occurred: The Aryaloka Council has become the Aryaloka Board of Directors. The primary officers of the Board are Arjava (Chairperson), Elizabeth Hellard (Treasurer), andÂ Barry Timmerman (Secretary). Dayalocana will remain on the Board as outgoing Chairperson. We owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude for many years of guiding Aryaloka in her role as Chairperson of the Board. We are pleased that she will remain on the Board as a mentor. Her wisdom is invaluable. Surakshita will remain on the Board as well. He brings wisdom and a strong background in business and ethics. We added three new members to the Board of Directors in June 2014. Jean Corson brings a strong background in mar-
keting and team organization. Akashavanda has been a past Treasurer and also has a strong marketing and non-profit background. Prasannavajri has experience with programming, pledge drives, and chaplaincy. There will be four teams under the Board: The Finance Team, The Administration Team, The Facilities Team and the Development Team. The Spiritual Vitality Kula has become the Spiritual Vitality Council. The Spiritual Vitality Council is comprised of Order members. Amala has been elected the Chairperson of the Spiritual Vitality Council. Vidhuma has been elected the ViceChairperson. Other members are Arjava, Dayalocana, Karunasara, and Surakshita. The Spiritual Vitality Council has a team under it - The Program Team. The Chair of the Spiritual Vitality Council will sit on the Board of Directors and the Chair of the Board of Directors will sit on the Spiritual Vitality Council. This will ensure that the two bodies are working in concert. Although the Board and the Council will have their own separate monthly meetings, there will be joint meetings as well. We have hired a full-time Executive Director. We are grateful and pleased that Shrijnana has accepted this position. Shrijnana will sit on the Board of Directors as a non-voting member. To assist the Executive Director in the prodigious tasks ahead, we have hired a full-time Administrative Assistant. We are pleased that Vanessa Ruiz has accepted this position. Vanessa is a friend of Aryaloka, having a connection here, prior to her new position, through retreats and classes. The Aryaloka board has convened with new and old members to take on the task of managing our growing center. Much of
the board discussions have been about the progress our new Executive Director and Administrative Assistant have been making in bringing office systems up to par with new technology. With a member of the Spiritual Vitality Council on the Board and a member of the Board on the Spiritual Vitality Council, there is good communication beween the two bodies. The Board has addressed many ongoing projects to improve Aryaloka, as well as discussing upcoming improvements to the buildings and land. The current Board is re-invigorated, with lots of good energy and ideas. An important aspect of how the board is operating is to always keep in the forefront Buddhist ethics when making decisions and considering changes. Shantikirika has graciously and enthusiastically volunteered to manage Buddhaworks, the Aryaloka Bookstore. A bookstore kula is in the process of being formed. A debt of gratitude goes out to Steve Cardwell. We would not have such a successful bookstore if it were not for Steveâ€™s creative development and reliable management of that enterprise over the years. We also thank Steve for his administrative support over the years, as he worked with Vihanasari in the Aryaloka office. We want to thank Vihanasari for her years of work in the Aryaloka office as an administrator. Her equanimity and kindness as she undertook the daily tasks of operating the center have been a blessing. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions. We wish her well, as she now gets to put her feet up and watch the river flow by. We welcome your questions and comments. Feel free to email or call the Aryaloka office, or speak to anyone on the Board of Directors.
The Aryaloka Council and Board minutes are posted on the bulletin board at the foot of the stairs.
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.
Note: In all situations, special circumstances will be taken into consideration. AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
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from the spiritual vitality council The following is an outline of the By-Laws and operating principles for the newly created Spiritual Vitality Council. Please contact a member of the Spiritual Vitality Council (members are posted on page two of this issue) if you have any questions, or you can also contact the Aryaloka office for more information. ◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆◆
Aryaloka Spiritual Vitality Council Purpose, Definition, and Operating Principles Preface These By-Laws and Operating Principles are for the Aryaloka Buddhist Center’s Spiritual Vitality Council. Aryaloka is a Triratna Buddhist Community Center dedicated to the teachings of its founder Urgyen Sangharakshita. The Spiritual Vitality Council has been formally created by the Board of Directors and is written into the Center’s By-Laws. Purpose The purpose of the Aryaloka Spiritual Vitality Council is to develop, maintain and
enhance the continued spiritual well-being of all those who participate in the spiritual community of the Aryaloka Buddhist Center. This is done throughout all aspects of the community’s activities including the program of various scheduled activities, teaching, Order Chapter meetings, Order Days, the Mitra training program, and other community activities. The foundation of the Spiritual Vitality Council rests in the Four Acceptances (taken by all Triratna Buddhist Order members during each’s public ordination. These four acceptances are, With Loyalty to my Teachers I accept this Ordination; In harmony with friends and brethren I accept this ordination; For the sake of Enlightenment I accept this ordination; For the benefit of all beings I accept this Ordination. These Acceptances together with the Precepts form the basis from which spiritual well-being is to be defined in the Aryaloka Buddhist Center Sangha. Composition and Officers of the Spiritual Vitality Council The Spiritual Vitality Council shall be composed of from 5 – 8 members who shall be members of the Triratna Buddhist Order. One member shall be the Chairperson of the Aryaloka Board of Directors. The women’s and men’s Mitra Convenors shall also be members of the Spiritual Vitality Council. The remaining members shall be senior Order members who are engaged in activities at the Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center. The
Council shall have at least two officers; a Chair and a Vice Chair. The Chair shall be elected by the members of the Council and shall serve for a five year period. The Vice Chair will serve on a three year basis. Members of the Council shall serve three year terms. Members shall be replaced as necessary through nominations from the currently Council members. The Chair of the Spiritual Vitality Council shall also serve on the Board of Directors of the Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center. The Executive Director of the Aryaloka Buddhist Retreat Center shall be invited to all Council meetings. If in attendance, she or he shall give a report to the Council. If not in attendance, the executive Director will prepare a written summary report to the Council prior to the meeting. Meetings The Spiritual Vitality Council shall meet as often as deemed necessary by the Chair. Scope of Activities The Spiritual Vitality Council’s scope of activities shall encompass all aspects of the spiritual well-being of the Aryaloka community. This includes oversight of the quality and appropriateness of the Aryaloka program of scheduled activities as well as the various Mitra and Order events, formal and informal. Any activity at Aryaloka Buddhist Center that touches the spiritual well-being of the community may be considered under the purview of the Spiritual Vitality Council.
Welcoming the Newest Order Member with Ceremony By Dh. Vihanasari Aryaloka was full to overflowing on the evening of September 17th as guests gathered to celebrate the ordination of Eric Wentworth into the Triratna Buddhist Order. Sangha and Order members, family, and friends mingled over light refreshments before being seated for the ceremony at 7 p.m. “Eric,” whose new Buddhist name had not yet been announced, sat on a blue mat and cushion in the middle of the floor, facing Dhammarati, his public preceptor. Dhammarati led the beautiful ceremony, an important part of which 4
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was the announcement by Bodhipaksa, “Eric’s” Private Preceptor, of his new name - RIJUPATHA (rih-joo-pah’-tah) which means “He who walks the path of uprightness, directness and honesty.” The ceremony concluded with three ringing shouts of “Sadhu!” (congratulations/ well done!) from the audience as they showered Rijupatha with rose petals. Finally, everyone enjoyed a feast of delicious food in the dining area while Rijupatha received informal congratulations and well wishes from all. Sadhu, Rijupatha, and welcome to the Triratna Buddhist Order! AUT UM N 2014
sangha notes ARYALOKA SANGHA
We’ve had another action-packed spring and summer at Aryaloka! ◆ We warmly welcomed Rijupatha (the former Eric Wentworth) into the Triratna Buddhist Order at his Aryaloka ordination ceremony on Sept. 17th. ◆ Three men became new mitras at Aryaloka - David Watt, John Eldredge, and Daniel Kenney! ◆ The Stupa Project, containing a relic of one of Sangharakshita’s main teachers, Dhardo Rinpoche, is almost complete and is beautiful beyond compare. ◆ The new office team of Shrijnana as Executive Director and Vanessa Ruiz as Administrative Assistant assumed their duties in May. ◆ Aryaloka hosted three major retreats in September: the Men’s Going for Refuge retreat, the Women’s Going for Refuge retreat, and the North American Order Convention. ◆ Friends’ Night classes included “The Eightfold Path”, “Karma and Rebirth”, and “Exploring the Anapanasati Sutta.” ◆ The next session of Friends’ Night classes will be starting on October 21st. Topics include “Basic Buddhism: the Four Noble Truths”, “Buddhist Stories” and “Cultivating Loving-Kindness.” ◆ Check out our inspiring fall retreat schedule including “As Metta Unfolds: Intermediate Meditation”, “Mindful Eating: After the First Bite”, “Autumn Joy: Mindful Hiking and Bicycling”, “Exploring Mindfulness” and “Intensive Noble Silence” in November. Visit www.aryaloka.org for more details. ~ Dh. Akashavanda
This autumn we are evoking the energy of Padmasambhava, one of the most engaging figures in Buddhist myth and history. Suddhayu will be offering two day retreats on Oct 19th and Nov 22nd to explore this fascinating figure through meditation, ritual and discussion. In November, Candradasa and Viriyalila will team up to offer an experimental day entitled “Radical Living - Radical Relationships.” They’ll be exploring how to bring awareness and kindness to ourselves and others in a way that frees us. And in December, Viriyagita will lead a day retreat on the Bardo Thotrol called “Preparation for the Moment of Death.” Using meditation, exercises, and readings, we will explore how we can be more present with ourselves and others in the dying process.
NAGALOKA SANGHA (PORTLAND, ME)
Nagaloka has enjoyed an eventful summer. We recently welcomed four new mitras into our sangha: Beth, Matt, Susie, and Shane. All have been attending Nagaloka for some time and we are grateful to have them as part of our spiritual community. In September we held our annual Sangha Picnic at Vienna Farm in Gorham, graciously hosted by mitra Jim Jaeger. The farm is home to over twenty beautiful horses and an impressive hay barn. Over the summer we switched up
Our Sangha Nights, and the new Beginner’s Buddhism Night on Thursdays, continue to see an abundance of people looking for guidance in meditation and Buddhist practice. To celebrate our third year offering a place of practice in Portsmouth, we’ll be holding a PBC Sangha Gathering on November 16th. This will be a very special occasion as we’ll be holding a ritual to welcome and appoint our new Chairperson, Suddhayu, along with our two new mitra conveners, Viriyagita and Narottama. All three have been actively involved in helping to shape the Portsmouth Center and the council is delighted to support them in taking these more formal leadership roles. All are welcome to join us for Sangha Nights on Wednesdays, Beginner’s Buddhism on Thursdays, and our weekly group meditation on Sunday mornings. For more information, find us at www.thebuddhistcenter.com/ portsmouth or email us at portsmouth@ thebuddhistcenter.com
our usual book study after Friends’ Night meditation with a Members Present series, wherein each week a different mitra chose one detail of the Dharma to study and present to the sangha using various materials. The presentations were thought provoking and made for great sangha discussions. On September 14th and 15th Vimalasara visited and led two workshops on her book, Eight Step Recovery: Using Buddhist Teachings to Overcome Addiction. On October 8th we begin a new mitra study session entitled What is the Sangha? It will be led by Narottama on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.
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 on the right of Page 2. AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
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The Vajra Bell asks:
How do you Practice Right Livelihood? The average person will spend about 30% of their life at work, clearly making one’s livelihood - and one’s choices about what that entails - an important place to include our Buddhist practice. The Buddha agrees! Right Livelihood is one limb of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, and a focus of ethical practice that brings us into awareness of the effect that our work has on the larger world and those around us. We asked a handful of sangha members to explain to Vajra Bell readers what Right Livelihood means to them, and how it manifests in their daily lives... 6
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A Tentative Practitioner’s Perspective on Right Livelihood By Barry S. Timmerman What do we mean by “Right Livelihood?” Here are two definitions based on the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, a system of practice embraced by Buddhists. Barbara O’Brien, author of Right Livelihood, The Ethics of Earning a Living says: “Right Livelihood is, first, a way to earn a living without compromising the Precepts. It is a way of making a living that does no harm to others. In the Vanijja Sutta the Buddha said, ‘A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison.’ ” Thich Nhat Hanh provides this definition in his own compassionate and wise way in The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: “To practice Right Livelihood (samyag ajiva) you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others... Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.” Awareness is a key component in practicing the Precepts and, more specifically, Right Livelihood. Selfexamination of our intentions, conscious and unconscious, sheds light on the potential consequences of our actions. Practicing Right Livelihood is difficult on many levels. It involves a deeper understanding of conditioned coproduction, the understanding of “from this, that arises.” It involves trading selfish wants for selfless action. We cannot be perfect in our actions. In The Seventh World of Chan Buddhism, Ming Zhen Shakya suggests that finding a “pure” livelihood is impossible, saying that “obviously a Buddhist cannot be a bartender or a cocktail waitress, or even work for a distillery or a brewery. But may AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
he be the man who builds the cocktail lounge or cleans it? May he be the farmer who sells his grain to the brewer?” If we remember that all beings are interconnected, we realize that trying to separate ourselves from anything “impure” is impossible. Despite this impossibility, we can make ethical choices that honor our commitment to living the Precepts. Right Livelihood is not an idea that is confined to Buddhism. As a child, long before I was aware of Buddhism and the Precepts, Right Livelihood was an idea that I knew about from the cultural influences of family and religion. Growing up in a Jewish home, my family valued philanthropy. I can remember when my stepfather, an engineer, decided not to work on projects that had to do with weapons. Right Livelihood is an integral part of Judaism as described in this excerpt from the Palestine-Israel Journal: “Jewish religious culture has particular structures and institutions that comprise a positive and unique contribution to an environmental agenda. These are expressed in halacha, the Jewish code of right livelihood, which gives shape and form to the central Jewish emphasis placed on the importance of deeds.” As I continued through adolescence, my intentions were certainly self-centered ones, despite these earlier influences. The materialism of western culture overwhelmed whatever generosity seeds that had begun to grow. As I settled into many years of active addiction, that selfcenteredness grew, taking a firm hold on my thoughts and actions. When I began the recovery process from addiction, I heard repeatedly, “We can only keep what we have by giving it away.” The next several years were devoted to learning recovery skills, doing a lot of individual and group therapy, and attending more twelve-step meetings than I can count. There was less of “Me” and more of “We.” As I regained my faculties, I immersed myself in further education, including reconnecting with Buddhism, which I had begun as a teen reading Alan Watts. I felt a strong calling to find a profession where I could help others. Part of this exploration was an undergraduate thesis project. I wanted to inquire deeply into the motivations people have for becoming
therapists. Interviewing a number of therapists and looking at my own conscious and unconscious motivations, I encountered the concept of the wounded healer. If we apply the Four Noble Truths to this template we get suffering, cause of suffering, cessation of suffering, and path to the cessation of suffering. I became a therapist. My own suffering led me to a place where I discovered the skills to occasionally help alleviate the suffering of others. At the very least, I have found a way to provide a holding environment for others in pain. I suppose this is a form of Right Livelihood. From the Triratna perspective, Sangharakshita suggests that Right Livelihood could involve Buddhists forming Right Livelihood communities. In England, with socialized healthcare, this concept is achievable. Windhorse Publications and other Right Livelihood enterprises, undertaken by the Triratna Buddhist Community, have been quite successful steps toward creating a “New Society.” This vision of self-supporting communities devoted to practicing and teaching the Dharma is coming to fruition. Living and working under a capitalist system that dehumanizes all beings, it is especially challenging to find skillful ways to not be a part of that system. Regardless of our job, or lack of a job, we should be aware of the implications and consequences of what we do. Practicing Right Livelihood does not mean one has to quit their current job. It may mean that we adjust our relationship to the environment we’re in and work on changing that environment from within. It could take the form of how we relate to others in our workplaces. Bringing kindness, skillful speech, and equanimity to our daily interactions with co-workers is a form of practicing Right Livelihood. Dr. Rick Hanson has some sound practices for cultivating Right Livelihood: “Mindfulness of the body - by remaining aware of the body, you can stay present with the people and the activities involved in your work. Avoiding harms to oneself and others. Tending to the mental dimension and cultivating blameless mind. Focusing on the fundamental causes. If the causes are good, the result is bound to be good.” VAJ R A BE L L
Reflections on Right Livelihood from a Biology Instructor By Denise Martin A number of conditions support my ability to practice Right Livelihood. I teach biology at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, a small liberal arts Catholic College founded by the Society of St. Edmund’s. This academic community recognizes the importance of spiritual development; service to others is highly valued, and people who follow other faith traditions are welcome. It has been my good fortune to be part of this learning community for the past thirtytwo years. For the last ten years, I have been consciously engaging as a practicing Buddhist. At first glance, being a biology instructor may not seem like an ideal venue for practicing Right Livelihood. For many years biology classes typically involved memorizing lots of facts – concrete “immutable facts” – and conducting “experiments” in which the instructors knew the outcomes prior to starting and dissecting animals. These approaches do not fit with many of the Buddha’s core teachings. An obvious example is non-harm (ahimsa). Animal dissections not only cause the death of the animal, but also bring harm to the people involved in collecting and killing the “specimens.” These types of labs were the hallmarks of the biology program when I arrived at St. Michael’s College in 1982. There were some benefits to this approach to teaching. Students had to spend a lot of time making observations, use their hands to take notes (on real paper) as well as make sketches of what they observed. Grading was straightforward, because everyone did the same thing and there was one right answer. Although seeing biology as a concrete set of facts may be comforting in some ways, this approach to teaching was not sustainable or accurate. In the last thirty years there has been an explosion of new information in the biological sciences. Some research has refuted previously 8
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accepted facts, while other research has opened up completely new horizons. What I find particularly exciting is that many researchers are providing more evidence that supports the Buddha’s teachings on non-self (anatman), impermanence (anitya), and interconnectedness (pratitya-samutpada). This is especially true in the fields of ecology and evolution. David Barash wrote in his recently published book Buddhist Biology (2014): “We cannot separate the bison from the prairie, or the spotted owl from its coniferous forest. Since any distinction is
I encourage practicing mindfulness of breathing techniques, especially before tests or other stressful activity. arbitrary, the ecologist studies the bisonprairie, owl-forest or egret-marsh unit. Food webs... do not merely describe who eats whom, but trace the outlines of their being.” So more and more biology is focusing on what we have in common with other beings, how ever-changing factors interact with and shape our lives as we interact with and shape others. Exciting! As this information explosion took place, I began shifting the laboratory programs away from the more classical approach. This included phasing out dissections as well as the use of live vertebrates for experimentation. The one that I had dubbed the “frog Aztec lab” was the first to go. What prompted me to retire these labs was the growing conviction that what the first year students gained did not justify taking the life of another animal. We do have upper division courses for pre-health students who need to develop firsthand knowledge of mammalian anatomy, but their numbers are far fewer. In addition to ethical issues, I became concerned that the students weren’t having enough opportunities to become independent learners. Our student
population changed markedly over the years. The students from the early 2000s had a very different childhood than the kids from the early 1980s. The latter were more likely to be from blue collar families and were the first to go to college. Not so for most of the students we have today including children of former students (yikes!). Our post World War II type program needed to evolve in order to meet the needs of current students. After many years of discussing, cajoling – and occasional whining – our department completely revamped the first year laboratory program in the fall of 2006, and we are working with this revised approach to this day. Up until that point, we had made some changes to the program, but this was stepping out into a whole new paradigm for a first-year program. We now spend the entire fall semester studying one ecosystem, an endangered fire-mediated sandplain forest that is located near the campus. The students are required to keep detailed field notes, learn to identify trees and insects. Three to four students form a research team, come up with a testable question to pursue for the rest of the semester. Throughout the semester the students present their work to their peers and are required to write more formal papers along the way. The semester culminates in a formal poster session that is open to the public. The work that they are doing is being used for future planning of the forest and faculty/student papers have been published in peer review journals. These students are engaged in research that may not have been done before, and they are making a contribution. It gives the first-year students an actual sense of what field biologists have to do, including putting up with very hungry mosquitos. The spring semester also has been revamped into a more open-ended, inquiry-based program. One of the more popular units focuses on the antibacterial property of spices. After being taught basic techniques and doing background reading, students choose a direction to pursue and implement the necessary experiments to test their hypotheses. As the students work on projects, my goal is to get them to design experiments that can have alternate AUT UM N 2014
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outcomes and to not get attached to a particular view. The emphasis is not on the “right answer” but on the “right question.” If they conduct a properly designed and executed experiment and do not get the expected results, they are discouraged from saying, “My results were wrong.” They also are not allowed to use the phrase that they have proven their hypothesis when they obtain the results they did expect.
All results are conditionally accepted and subject to revision and rejection in the future. The distinction between Buddhist and Biological principles continues to blur. On a personal level, I have become much more conscious of bringing my Buddhist practice into my day-to-day activities on the job. This includes establishing guidelines for acceptable behavior in the lab, which I envision as a sangha of potential Bodhisattvas. I encourage practicing mindfulness of breathing techniques, especially before tests
or other stressful activity. I have faced some unpleasant “truths” about my tendency to make assumptions based upon external appearances or behaviours, or judging students for making “wrong decisions.” These and other habitual tendencies are rooted in holding onto fixed self-views. Sometimes it is frightening to acknowledge them and then let them go. However, my faith in the Three Jewels guides me as I accept and embrace that these young adults are my teachers.
Treating the Workplace as Ground for Spiritual Practice By Dh. Singhatara Right Livelihood is part of the ethical training of the Eightfold Path in Buddhism, and is connected to the Five Precepts – a set of ethical principles practiced by Buddhists that are both clear and comprehensive. Order members in the Triratna Buddhist Order take on extra Precepts, practicing ten ethical principles altogether that provide a comprehensive guide to the moral dimension of human life. They are called by Sangharakshita the Ten Pillars of Buddhism. We practice with the intention that the Precepts should be observed as an expression of an ever-deepening commitment to the Three Jewels – the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The rules of Buddhist ethical training are called “siksapadas,” ethical principles that should govern one’s entire life and are learned from a teacher. The Five Precepts 1. Abstention from Violence (positive = Love) 2. Abstention from taking the notgiven (positive = Generosity) 3. Abstention from sexual misconduct (positive = Contentment) 4. Abstention from false speech AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
(positive = Truthfulness) 5. Abstention from intoxicants (positive = Mindfulness) Ethical behavior is said to express higher orders of awareness. Our teacher Sangharakshita says, “If my intention is to play a useful role in this society in order to support myself and to help others, then my work is right livelihood.” He suggests making a living without causing harm to sentient beings, and without engaging in the business of weapons, producing meat or involving intoxicants. Workplace well-being The job place offers endless practice opportunities in general for ethical standards by which to live for Buddhist and non-Buddhists. As a Buddhist, my workplace offers me opportunities to practice the Five Precepts. I work in human services for an agency that protects individuals who have been deemed incompetent by a court of law. My job description follows a code of clearly written ethics and principles of practice that guide my decisions as a surrogate decision maker. I am fortunate that the moral code of ethics and principles of my job description are in alignment with my life’s commitment to the Buddhist Precepts and the Three Jewels. I continue to review the conditions of my workplace, my attitude and my physical well-being. I reflect on the unsatisfactoriness and impermanence of the job. Mostly, I have a daily meditation practice, I meet with my spiritual friends,
and I take time away from technology. I am a human being. I make mistakes and I try to be aware of my shortcomings. Examples of ethical behavior could be refraining from office gossip around the water cooler, or taking a postage stamp or office supplies for personal use. I try not to take up my officemate’s time with frivolous talk, or become intoxicated at office parties. My job challenges me with many opportunities to practice and pay attention to the present moment. Practicing the positive Precepts in difficult situations is so gratifying – I have less anxiety, and my energy is clearly focused towards pursuing the good. I try to see my shortcomings, and discuss the areas I can work on with my spiritual friends. I enjoy meeting life in the moment, with kindness toward myself and others. Many people work in toxic environments that are physically and emotionally draining, especially in other parts of the world. People struggle to feed themselves and their families. Americans are fortunate in that our conditions are much more favorable. But hardships exist here too. Many Americans struggle with anxiety, stress, and trying to make ends meet. I’ve struggled in many jobs over my lifetime. My present work has its challenges, but my conditions are somewhat flexible here in the modern west. If a job is toxic or clearly not in harmony with the Precepts, all we need to do is try to find other employment. I have learned that the way to peace, wisdom, and enlightment is in following the Noble Eightfold Path. VAJ R A BE L L
Enjoying the Continuing Benefits of Right Livelihood By Ashley Davis Bush, LICSW Right Livelihood is the fifth limb of the Noble Eightfold Path. In general, we think of Right Livelihood as work that is in alignment with the Five Precepts – in other words, making a living in a way that does no harm and is ethically sound. In the strictest sense, this would rule out certain professions, such as being an exterminator, a bartender, or a butcher. However, I tend to see Right Livelihood as having an outer layer and an inner layer. The outer layer is what “looks and sounds” good. So, being the director of an orphanage in Calcutta, for example, might appear better than being a used car salesman. But it’s the inner layer (of intention and action) that is really the essence of Right Livelihood. If the orphanage director behaves like the unkind Miss Hannigan from the musical “Annie,” then she is violating Right Livelihood. Likewise, if the used car salesman makes ethically sound deals, then he embodies Right Livelihood. Although the spirit of Right Livelihood may actually inspire you to change careers at some point, the inner layer of Right Livelihood can be applied regardless of your paycheck source. The cashier at Market Basket and the heart surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital both have an opportunity to treat their work with Dharmic reverence. For myself, I am fortunate to have been working in a profession for the past 25 years that I truly love. And I chose this career long before I knew the difference between the Dharma and a Dorito. I chose to go to graduate school in social work because I wanted to help people in emotional pain. That mission has guided me to see clients in mental health clinics and in private practice, to write five selfhelp books and hundreds of articles, to lead professional and community workshops and to host a radio show called “Embracing Change.” Although the outer layer of my work 10 VAJ R A BE LL
“looks and sounds” good, it’s the inner layer that brings me the most joy. And that inner layer has definitely been influenced and enriched by my Buddhist practice. My work gives me an opportunity, every day, to intentionally focus on three key aspects of the Dharma: loving-kindness, mindfulness and impermanence. Loving-kindness – I have always cared about my clients and been concerned about their well-being and growth. My motivation has been to assist, to guide, to facilitate, and to shepherd. But upon learning the practice of the metta bhavana, I’ve been able to take my feelings of lovingkindness for clients to a new level. For
Impermanence is on my radar every single day. However, viewing it from a Dharmic perspective helps me tolerate and even embrace it. me, loving kindness now means that I intentionally wish my clients well either before or after a session. I stop, take a moment to hold each client in my mind’s eye, and I think these four phrases: may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be at peace, may you be safe from harm. Sometimes I even do this practice during a session while a client is speaking. Mindfulness – To do my best work, of course, I cannot be daydreaming during a session. I must be present as I witness suffering, trauma, emotion, conflict and sorrow. To that end, I’ve adopted a Buddhist practice, a “mindfulness transition ritual,” that I actually do with my clients at the beginning of sessions to ground myself in the moment. I begin each session by having us briefly sit with our eyes closed. I invite my client to focus on their breath, feel their body relaxing into the moment and then I ring a Tibetan singing bowl three times. I say, “When you hear the sound of the bell, listen to the tone. Let the sound relax you, calm you and take you deeper
and deeper inside to a place of stillness.” Although this ritual helps the client transition from “the world out there” to the therapy space “in here,” it’s also a mindfulness practice to help me be fully present for the session. Impermanence – Early in my career, I specialized in bereavement work. Not only did I begin to work with grievers, but I also began to research and write my first book, Transcending Loss. I must confess that there was absolutely no apparent reason why I would be so intensely drawn to grief work. No life experience could explain my fascination. However, it was the lens of reincarnation that gave me an explanation for my specialty. I do believe in my heart that it was past life loss that generated a present life karmic contract to help grievers. I have been actively working with grievers now for two decades. I have sat with those who have suffered the deaths of babies, young children, adult children, young spouses, and older spouses. I have borne witness to the grief of sudden death and prolonged illness. Impermanence is on my radar every single day. However, viewing it from a Dharmic perspective helps me tolerate and even embrace it. The upshot for me is that working with grievers has blown the dust off of my life. It makes me consciously aware that anyone I love – including myself – could call today their last day on earth (until the next incarnation, of course). Against the chronic background of loss, I do not take life for granted. I believe that Right Livelihood is a state of being, an intention, and that its seed might germinate in almost any profession. For me, with a Buddhist background, my work stimulates an awareness of loving kindness, mindfulness, and impermanence. For anyone, their livelihood becomes right to the extent that it activates skillfulness and kindness in their actions and interactions. When each of us claims that potential, we can help create a little more nirvana on earth. Ashley Davis Bush discovered Aryaloka in 2007. She and her husband Daniel both became mitras in 2009. AUT UM N 2014
Exploring the Inner Terrain of Right Livelihood By Dh. Prasannavajri Sangharakshita’s Guide to the Buddhist Path carries the following definition of Right Livelihood: “The application of the basic ethical principles of Buddhism to the whole area of ‘gainful employment’ or working for a living is known as Right Livelihood. The essential principle underlying this is that such livelihood, in order to be ethical, must be non-violent, non-exploitative, and, as far as possible, related to the spiritual goal.” The landscape of Right Livelihood is more than a nice spiritual idea or endeavor for earning a living. It is a vast, spacious, inner terrain within one’s understanding that may suddenly, or gradually, develop over time. In my experience, the subtle wisdom of Right Livelihood evolved in both ways. My timeline takes me back to the mid70s when I returned to New Hampshire after a couple of years in northern New Jersey, where I was involved with an esoteric group that espoused the teachings of the Russian mystic, Georges Guirdjieff. Survival mode was a recurring economic theme in those days. Quietly desperate to pay the rent, I interviewed for a job with a small manufacturing company, was hired on the spot, and began working that afternoon. Nevertheless, financial relief was increasingly overshadowed with an unsettling fuzziness that the job was not a good ethical fit. The company produced one thing only: walnut handle grips for Sturm, Ruger & Company’s single-action revolvers. I lasted only through the summer when I received a “pink slip”, in part because I peppered the owner with requests for medical insurance for his employees. In his view I was trying to fix something that was not broken. In the larger view, being fired was a gift and a blessing. A month later I was working for the NH Chapter of the American Heart Association – slightly more aligned with ethical livelihood! In Bhante’s words, “We all have to earn AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
a living… but however we do it, no harm should come either to others or to ourselves through the work we do.” One cannot underestimate the subtleties of limited understanding when viewed from a larger, ethical picture. I most likely would never have taken a position selling guns outright. However, manufacturing and shipping wooden handle grips created sufficient distance in the mind from its intended destination of finishing production of a revolver. Distance, whether external or internal, is a rich ingredient for the makings of denial. Additionally, lurking in the conditioned unconscious was a certain “okay-ness” about guns. I carried the cultural imprint of a TV generation that sat riveted before weekly programs of Roy Rogers, Lone Ranger (Kemo Sabe) and Tonto, the Range Rider, Paladin, Gene Autry and many other great Westerns. But my heroine, my all time favorite, was Annie Oakley, the first liberated woman of the West. They all carried guns, and they were the good guys. The years following my days with the Heart Association were punctuated with various employment opportunities that may be considered Right Livelihood occupations. Each endeavor gradually revealed deeper levels of discernment. In a parallel process, I gradually transitioned from an economic survival mode to a clarified, enduring mode of selfreliance. This was grace. The grace of Right Livelihood provides nourishing conditions for hearing the emerging echo of all Precepts within the heart’s inner spaciousness. The song bird soars through this spaciousness melodically singing, “Do no harm... do no harm... do no harm...” Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh wrote in the The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching: “To practice Right Livelihood (samyag ajiva), you have to find a way to earn your living without transgressing your ideals of love and compassion. The way you support yourself can be an expression of your deepest self, or it can be a source of suffering for you and others... Our vocation can nourish our understanding and compassion, or erode them. We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.” There is powerful insight in those
last words, “We should be awake to the consequences, far and near, of the way we earn our living.” The experience gleaned during my working career highlighted an awareness of not only external consequences, but also the inner terrain of karmic complexity. In hindsight, I perceived how I was unconsciously drawn to and magnetized by, a certain level of employment that mirrored my underlying mental and emotional states, namely obscurations (I love that word!). These employment conditions offered creative learning opportunities that slowly softened the rough edges of my well-honed survival patterns. At the same time I was innately, naturally drawn to helping people. Lacking discernment in those early years, that helping spark led the way to relationships that can be described as a rich domain “where angels fear to tread.” Wisdom of the ages tells us that help that is not wanted is not help. The “Ms. Fixit” persona that jumped in uninvited bit the dust more often than not. Ahhh... more blessings. Carrying a certain amount of pride (understated…), ambition – including spiritual ambition – a penchant for large institutions, and a slightly compulsive yet hardy inner drive, I ended up, through a host of meandering conditions, working in the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC. I felt at home in the political arena where my position dealt primarily with constituent concerns and requests. Working in a Senator’s office gave me influence and opened bureaucratic doors on behalf of citizens back in the home state. I thought of it as spiritual leverage. Nevertheless, impermanence is a true thing. Four years later, not surprisingly, I married a professor who interestingly hosted similar obscurations to my own. We relocated to Pennsylvania, and later to southern California, where it became apparent what an amazingly lovely karmic match we were. Within the first year, tears of purification began in earnest; I could not have asked for a more suitable set of spiritual conditions to purge the fixity of the inner ego-terrain. Ten years later, I got a “pink slip” from the marriage – and all of conditional life went into a harrowing, gut-wrenching tail spin. In a beneficial way, I suspected I had “pink continued on page 22 VAJ R A BE L L 11
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Working for Indian Buddhism By Dh. Viradhamma
n 1956 a remarkable man climbed a few steps to a speaker’s platform in the center of Nagpur, India. He had spent his life advocating for the millions of poor Dalit (“untouchable”) people and was frail and in poor health, but he looked out on a crowd of some 400,000 people and firmly appealed to them to leave their traditional religion and become Buddhists.
After personally taking the Refuges from an eminent monk, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar turned and led the crowd in the Refuges and a special set of twenty-two Precepts. The Buddhist Renaissance in India had begun. It is a remarkable story, but one that is barely known outside of India. Today, millions of Indians consider themselves to be Buddhists and see the Dharma as a way to change their own lives and rid India of the caste system that oppresses hundreds of millions of people. Making the Connection
Image by s myers
One of the basic teachings of Buddhism is that we live in an interconnected world where our choices can affect people – even years later and in faraway places. I can certainly see this in my own life. Dr. Ambedkar’s decision to embrace Buddhism in 1956 has had a profound impact on my own life and my choice of livelihood. I first encountered the Buddhist Renaissance in 1994 when I traveled to India to take ordination as a Dharmachari. In an era when the opposition to Apartheid was in full swing, I was surprised to discover a similar struggle going on in India that was virtually unknown – even among Buddhists in Asia and the West. While on retreat I made friends with Indian mitras and Order Members who came from backgrounds of extreme poverty but who were totally committed to practicing Buddhism and achieving social justice in India. These friendships inspired me to see that Dharma practice is about transforming the world as much as it is about personal development.
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indian buddhism Continued from Page 13
In the intervening years I made many trips to India to participate in conferences and retreats, and in 2008 I retired from my regular career and began to devote more time to supporting the Indian Buddhist renaissance. In 2011, I launched a non-profit called DharmaJiva (Dharma Renaissance) with the goal of raising international awareness of the caste system and the Buddhist movement. DharmaJiva arranges public talks, cultivates networks of supporters, and organizes visits by Indian Buddhists to the West, but our principal focus in the last three years has been arranging visits to India by delegations of Western and Asian Buddhists. The personal connections created by these tours to India are invaluable. We live in a media-rich environment where books and videos can give us some sense of what it is like to live in another culture, but it is quite a different thing to actually go to India and meet with people in the slums and listen to their stories. It is through these kinds of connections that meaningful support will come for the revival of Dharma practice in the homeland of the Buddha. 14 VAJ R A BE LL
February 2014 Delegation This past February DharmaJiva sponsored a special international delegation that included a Shin priest from Japan, an expert in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University, an English mitra, several followers of Thich Nhat Hahn, and a Vipassana practitioner from Canada. The group spent ten days in central India and visited a number of Buddhist centers, social projects, slums, and historical sites before traveling north on pilgrimage to Sarnath, Nalanda, Rajgir and Bodhgaya. During the trip we had a wide variety of experiences of life in India and the new Buddhist movement. In Nagpur, the group went to the annual Buddha Festival organized by the Nagpur Buddhist Center at the Dhiksha Bhumi grounds â€“ the large park where Dr. Ambedkar launched the mass conversion to Buddhism in 1956. The Festival is a large outdoor event involving several days of cultural programs, talks and music, and is attended by thousands. Our delegation members got to meet people, visit information displays and shops, watch children playing on inflatable slides, and eat a tasty meal in the food court before we were all seated in the large hall along with 2,000 people for the evening presentation. The program included
some very enthusiastic musical groups playing up-tempo popular music, and featured several speakers including myself. After introducing some of my delegation members, I gave a talk about the popularity of mindfulness meditation and Buddhism in the West. I noted that Westerners can learn a lot from the Indian movement about the need to have an altruistic focus on transforming society. In Pune we visited one of the twentythree hostels Triratna has established in India to provide free room and board for boys and girls so that they can have a safe life and access to good schools. Many of the children in these hostels come from rural areas where caste oppression is terrible, and others are drawn from impoverished families in the city slums. When we arrived at the Vishrantwadi Hostel, we were greeted by eighty friendly and excited girls who presented us with flowers and treated us to an excellent dance performance performed to Bollywood film music. Their ability to memorize seven minutes of non-stop coordinated movements was quite impressive, and they obviously loved having a chance to perform for guests. Amidst the obvious poverty and social problems in India, our evening with the girls was uplifting and encouraging. At various stops during the trip, our AUT UM N 2014
hosts arranged seminars where local Buddhists talked about their life and work, including some very personal stories. At the Nagaloka Center in Nagpur an Order Member named Tejadhamma talked about his ongoing work with a family of Adivasi (tribal) people who lived for several years in some unused sewer pipes in a field near his Buddhist center. Adivasis are desperately poor and make their living through begging and stealing. Alcoholism, violence, child marriage, and poor health are endemic. Four years ago Tejadhamma started building a relationship with the family, gradually working to gain their trust and convince the adults to allow the children to skip some of their begging rounds and get an education. At one point the family disappeared, and he had to find them again on the outskirts of the city. Eventually, he got three children to sit under a large tree and begin basic literacy classes. Gradually, more kids came, and Tejadhamma had to provide food to the family to make up for the lost income since the kids weren’t begging. Unfortunately the caste Hindus in the neighborhood became upset about the presence of so many Adivasi kids and cut the beautiful tree down to stop the class. But Tejadhamma got some funding to AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
build a shack and re-started the schooling. Now several of the children are living in a Triratna hostel and are getting a regular education at a government school, perhaps the first-ever people in their community to become literate. Livelihood and Practice Working for DharmaJiva has been a fantastic experience for me, both as a personal practice and as an opportunity to contribute to a very large and positive social movement. On a personal level I find that traveling to India is an opportunity to “go forth” from my normal habits and lifestyle. Travel in India helps you notice – quite quickly – your habits and unexamined assumptions about yourself and the world. It shines a light on our views about the value of material wealth, the meaning of relationships, and what brings us real happiness. I find that working in India can be very difficult because of the grinding poverty, pervasive corruption, inefficiency, and deeply ingrained casteism, but it is an opportunity to develop the Buddhist virtue of patience – a response of careful and mindful effort to help a situation to the degree that we can. On the collective level the DharmaJiva experience has been rewarding, because
I get to see firsthand the results of many thousands of people working together to lessen the unnecessary suffering in the world. The Triratna sangha in India has accomplished extraordinary things by spreading the Buddha’s message of freedom, personal dignity and human potential to hundreds of thousands of people that were always taught to think of themselves as having no value. It is a privilege to be a part of this movement. If you would like to learn more about DharmaJiva and the Buddhist Renaissance please visit www.DharmaJiva. org. Viradhamma was ordained in 1994 in Bhaja, India, and is a Council Member of the San Francisco Buddhist Center and the Chairman of the North American Mens’ Ordination Team. He is the founder and Director of DharmaJiva, a non-profit that works on behalf of Buddhism in India.
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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.
How Music Can Inform Buddhist Spirituality By Dh. Sravaniya Let us ask: can music inform our practice of the Buddhist path and help us grow spiritually? The American composer Philip Glass, who is himself a practicing Buddhist says: “If someone asked, what is the basic practice of Buddhism, I’d say it is overcoming negativity. And I can think of nothing negative about music. People love music. It is very nourishing because it takes people out of their everyday mentality and brings them to another level. Making people happy becomes the motivation for the music.” For a Buddhist practitioner, being a musician is almost the best thing. Let us investigate some of the interfaces between Buddhist spirituality and music. Where do Buddhism and music meet, what attributes might they share, and how might an understanding of these help our practice of both? Music is concerned of course with creativity, with expression, with imagination. All these things are indispensable in the pursuit of the spiritual life. We must cultivate them. So my music opens up my spiritual life, my meditation, and even my friendships to a greater openness and inspiration. Inspiration is particularly important. When we fail to do what we know to be good, it is because we don’t sufficiently know ourselves. Our energies are not integrated. Music acts as an integrating force on many levels, but it is particularly good at bringing inspiration to the fore. And it’s much easier to do something when you’re inspired. Buddhism is concerned with the attempt to unite opposites, to demonstrate that they are illusory. In particular, it tries to loosen the boundaries between self and other, between subject and object. Music also seems to be a very good vehicle to do this. It’s easy, as we all know, to get completely absorbed in music, to forget ourselves, even to go beyond ourselves. Stravinsky, in his “Poetics of Music,” suggests that we should subjugate our 16 VAJ R A BE LL
Dionysian impulses to the law of Apollo. Our wild impulses must be tamed so that the work can retain order. I think this is a mistake. Rather we should strive for the paradox and celebrate both simultaneously. Despite what Stravinsky says, I think he perfects this paradox in the “Rite of Spring.” The Japanese tradition of Zen Buddhism deliberately exploits the use of paradox, in the form of koans, to try to lessen our ego identity. Music can act as such a koan, can help us go beyond narrow perceptions of ourselves and the world. We speak of music as being beautiful. We want it to be beautiful, at least most of the time. The more we surround ourselves with the beautiful, the more likely it is that our everyday lives will reflect that. In this way music becomes a living metaphor for my spiritual life. Finally, music concerns connections on all kinds of levels. The musicologist Christopher Small points out that music is never still or static. Music is an action. So he coins the verb “to music” and the gerund, “musicking” when he writes about music. What is it that is being done when people come together to music, which is to say, to take part in a musical performance?
What meanings are being created? I believe the answer lies in the relationships that are created when the performance takes place. Relations not only between the sounds that are being made – that’s an important part, but only a part – but also between the participants, that is, among the performers, between the performers and listeners, and among the listeners. These relationships, in turn, model, or act out, ideal or desired relationships as they are imagined to be by those taking part... to take part in an act of musicking is to take part in an act of self definition, an exploration, and affirmation and a celebration of one’s identity, of who one is. The act of musicking provides us with a language by means of which we can come to understand and articulate, precisely and clearly, those relationships and through them the relationships of our lives. Buddhist spiritual life, like music, is also concerned with relationships, with connecting and attempting to understand that ultimately all there is in life is a vast web of connections. It is how we perceive and cultivate and act out these relationships that will help us grow both musically and spiritually. AUT UM N 2014
poetry corner Reflections - Mitra Study Year 4, Module 1: Towards Insight, Reflection and Meditation By Jo Ann Beltre
Week 1: Stopping. Assignment: sit, and do nothing Ever dutiful, Gazing at the pellet stove. Sitting, stopping here. Flame leaps and dances, While my mind, does not. Somehow just sitting I do not feel accomplished. The dangling carrotWhere is the carrot? Just rope. Silently I museWhy follow a rope? Week 2: Realizing. Reflection, in action. Assignment: Choose something on your mind and purposefully reflect My cushion is warm. My closet, bleeding incense. Stop. Sit. Think a bit. Dropping in my thoughts, like stones: What is that carrot? Do I seek answers? Week 3: Reflection on a topic. Assignment: Reflect on a random idea Unanswered questions I see - cause me discomfort. My brain much prefers Intellectualizing, Analyzing, Finding solutions. Suddenly it’s clear: Doubt. Unfortunate companion. Again, drop in my stone; I watch it fall, and settle. The lake, unperturbed. My answer: Sraddha. Week 4: Reflecting on a text. Assignment: Reflect on a short phrase from a text Read and digest, Deconstruct, reconstruct. Then repeat - on this: “Faith arises out of listening to the dharma, AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
and this listening is itself grounded in faith.” And this: “Faith requires courage to break through the natural inertia and self-preserving tendency of things and minds.” And this: “Faith is the seed of all wholesome states. It inspires the mind with confidence and determination.” And this: “Intellect and faith depend on each other, support each other, and balance each other.” And finally, this: “Through wisdom and understanding, faith becomes an inner certainty.” “Buddhism unfolds Organically, like a tree” Sraddha is the seed Because of faith, I listen. I hear the Dharma. Faith grows, and feeds the tree. Week 5: Contemplating Buddha Assignment: Contemplate the Buddha Considering my shrine, And peaceful stone Buddha there, My daughter wonders: “Do you talk with Buddha, mom?”
Pause. I’m uncertain. If I did, what might he say? Silence, perhaps? Or, Just my own mind’s voice? Contemplate Buddha. My heart fills quickly Joy, gratitude, love. Wondering- W.W.B.S.? What Would Buddha Say? I resolve - to listen. First, peaceful silence. Then, mind’s voice begins to sing (Just as I had thought). Quiet. Slowly realizing I hear Buddha’s voice! Of course! It’s my own. Week 6: Impermanence Assignment: Reflect on impermanence Faith, seed of a tree, Becomes the tree, then bears fruit. Sheltering the birds. Fruit becomes the bird. Bird becomes the soil That nourishes the seed Sraddha. No separation. Beautiful circle. Without beginning. Without any end. Sraddha grows, and grows. Who needs a carrot?
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New additions to the bookstore - by Steve Cardwell
We just received many new meditation singing bowls from Nepal in different sizes and designs. There are three designs for the two-inch bowls at $20 each, and the three-inch bowls have a box with the Buddha at $39. The beautiful four-inch longevity bowls are $59. Also, we have fiveinch lotus bowls for $49. And lastly, there are the gorgeous six-inch bowls with either Green Tara or Blue Medicine Buddha at $79. All the bowls come with a wooden striker and are made by artisans practicing Right Livelihood in a Buddhist community. There are also some fascinating titles in the bookstore that are worth investigation. Some are old favorites and others, such as Eight Step Recovery, have just recently been published: The Way of the Bodhisattva Shantideva Now in the bookstore we have both a paperback and CD version of The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva. “Treasured by Buddhists of all traditions, The Way of the Bodhisattva (Bodhicharyavatara) is a guide to cultivating the mind of enlightenment, and to generating the qualities of love, compassion, generosity, and patience. This
text has been studied, practiced, and expounded upon in an unbroken tradition for centuries; first in India, and later in Tibet. Presented in the form of a personal meditation in verse, it outlines the path of the Bodhisattvas—those who renounce the peace of individual enlightenment and vow to work for the liberation of all beings and to attain buddhahood for their sake.” ~ Amazon review Imagining the Fetus By Vanessa R. Sasson & Jane Marie Law “This varied collection of approaches to and religious sensibilities about the fetus is unique and fascinating. The volume is a very creative and informative contribution to scholarship on this topic. I highly recommend it to scholars and layperson alike.” ~ Jaqueline S. du Toit, Professor of Afroasiatic Studies at the University of the Free State, South Africa. World as Lover, World as Self By Joanna Macy “A new beginning for the environment must start with a new spiritual outlook. In this book, author Joanna Macy offers concrete suggestions for just that, showing how each of us can change the attitudes that continue to threaten our environment. Using the Buddha’s teachings on Paticca Samuppada, which stresses the interconnectedness of all things in the world
and suggests that any one action affects all things, Macy describes how decades of ignoring this principle has resulted in a self-centeredness that has devastated the environment. Humans, Macy implores, must acknowledge and understand their connectedness to their world and begin to move toward a more focused effort to save it.” ~ Amazon review Eight Step Recovery: Using the Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction By Valerie Mason-John (Vimalasara) & Dr. Parambandhu Groves “The Buddha was in recovery. Taking this bold statement as a starting point, this wonderful book shows how we are all addicted to aspects of life and can all benefit from training our minds and hearts to be free of the tyranny of compulsion. Over the eight steps you are given a priceless gift – the possibility to gain mas-
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
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tery over your mind and heart and find freedom.” ~ Vidyamala Burch – founder and codirector of Breathworks, author of Mindfulness for Health. Living Wisely: Further Advice from Nagarjuna’s Precious Garland By Sangharakshita “How do we live wisely? This is the burning question that Sangharakshita seeks to answer in this second volume of commentary on a famous text, Precious Garland of Advice for a King, the advice being that of the great Indian Buddhist teacher Nagarjuna. Bhante says we need to use our positive ethical position, our momentum in goodness, to develop wisdom, a deep understanding of the true nature of existence. We become good in order to learn to be wise.” ~ from Windhorse Publications
ClearVision: Dharma Via Video
By Dh. Satyada There are many ways to learn the Dharma: one of the best is to hear it expounded by a skilled Dharma teacher. The organization Dharma Seed makes hundreds of such talks available to stream online at http://www.dharmastream.org. The talks are also available for downloading so that they can be heard offline. These talks are from a wide vari-
ety of teachers including Achaan Chah, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Tara Brach and Ayya Khema (in no special order). Some of the talks are in English, and others are in different languages. The site offers a way to only get talks in English. One could spend many pleasant moments browsing through this collection and many more moments absorbing some of the profound teachings to be found here! ◆◆
Please be sure Aryaloka’s windows stay closed in winter and remember to close them when leaving the center in warmer months. Thank you!
Meditating: A Buddhist View By Jinananda “Meditation is a household word, everyone has their idea of what it is, but does this mean that it is more misunderstood than understood? Here Jinananda, an experienced meditation teacher, gives us the Buddhist perspective. He shows us that – far from being a safe, patching-up, therapeutic tool – meditation is a radical, transformative, waking-up practice.” ~ from Windhorse Publications
Audio-visual resources exploring Buddhism
www.clear-vision.org AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
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Upcoming Events You Won’t Want to Miss RETREATS Autumn Joy: Hiking & Biking Retreat October 10-12 Led by Arjava & Haley Koperski Join Arjava and Haley Koperski for a weekend of mindful activity in the outdoors. This retreat includes two days of bringing mindfulness into action, in contact with nature - with a full day of hiking and a second day of biking, interspersed with mindfulness activities and daily reflection and discussion back at the center. Mindful Eating: After the First Bite October 31 - November 2 Led by Megrette Fletcher & Amala You can bring the power of mindfulness into your life by engaging in the practice of mindful eating. To transform your mind, health, and life, learn how to use three steps with food and the act of eating, using 2,500-year-old wisdom from the Buddhist tradition. Intensive Noble Silence Retreat November 11-18 Led by Bodhana, Karunasara & Lilasiddhi This intensive retreat creates an atmosphere conducive to extended meditation with the fewest external distractions. Retreat participants will have 20 VAJ R A BE LL
no responsibilities during their time here 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. Winter Meditation Retreat December 26-30 Led by Sravaniya Tis the season to be still! Tis the season to reflect! As we enter the depths of winter we will use the opportunity of this end of year retreat to do two things: We will simply enjoy days of shared stillness, deep silence and meditation, and we will quietly reap the benefits this will inevitably bring. INTRODUCTORY/INTERMEDIATE As Metta Unfolds: Intermediate Meditation Course Wednesdays, Oct. 8 - Nov. 5, 7pm - 9pm Led by Amala In five weeks of evening sessions we will enter the realms of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. What if you were more kind to yourself? What if you could develop greater compassion for everyone in this challenging world? What
is the gateway to joy? Come to this series of classes if you have been meditating for a while and wonder where the heart fits in. Introduction to Meditation Course Wednesdays, Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 10am - 12pm Led by Bodhana This four-week course provides a thorough introduction to the fundamentals of sitting meditation practice. During the course, two different meditation practices will be taught: the Mindfulness of Breathing and Meditation on Loving Kindness. Introduction to Meditation Days Nov. 23 & Dec. 21, 9am - 1pm Led by Lilasiddhi These workshops are an intensive introduction to foundational meditation practices. Basic methods of setting up our meditation and a traditional Buddhist meditation form will taught. Sunday, November 23 - Metta Bhavana Sunday, December 21 - Mindfulness of Breathing CLASSES/WORKSHOPS Meditation Tune-Up Series Ideas and Inspiration to Help Your Meditation Practice Thrive This workshop series will help revitalize AUT UM N 2014
your practice, focusing on various aspects of meditation and provideing practical tips to help you move into a more deeply concentrated state of mind. Moving Into the Dhyanas October 19, 9am - 1pm Led by Lilasiddhi The Dhyanas, concentrated states of mind characterized by calm, presence, and joy, are attainable by everyone. This workshop, led by Lilasiddhi, will explore these refined mental states and provide tools to help us experience them more readily during meditation. Buddhas in the Air November 9, 9am - 1pm Led by Amala In this workshop we will do the joyful practice of chanting together. No prior experience or skill is required, only a willingness to let air and energy flow through you in the name of the Buddhas. We will do some meditation together, some physical movement and warm-ups, and plenty of chanting. Men’s Practice Day: Contemplating the Self November 2, 9am - 3pm Led by Frank Gladu Men’s practice days are an excellent chance every few months for the men’s sangha to come together in the context of practice. For this session, we’ll be continuing our exploration of the System of Practice by looking at how we define the “self.” Looking closely at the world demonstrates that nothing is fixed or permanent - all is in flow and interdependent. By changing our view of self we discover something transcendent. AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
Exploring Mindfulness: The Joy of Bringing Awareness Into Our Daily Lives November 22, 9am - 8pm Led by Akashavanda & Tom Gaillard
ARTS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Are you ready to take your mindfulness to a deeper level? Treat yourself to a relaxing and spacious day of mindfulness practice, including meditation, activities, noble silence, gentle yoga, and small group discussion. This mini-retreat will offer you practical ways to apply mindfulness in your relationships, communication, and work.
These classes offer a simple introduction to Buddha’s teachings by emphasizing kindness and respect for others. There is one segment for children ages up to 9, and another for 10 to 17-year-olds.
Keeping It Real: Spiritual Friendship December 13, 9am - 1pm Led by Dayalocana
This is a great chance to practice generosity and to work together with friends. We will be cleaning, tidying, working in the gardens and on the grounds – whatever needs doing to make the center shine!
Perhaps you have heard that the Buddha said to Ananda, “spiritual friendship is the whole, not the half, of the spiritual life.” How is that relevant for our spiritual journey today? Is there a place for friendship along with solitude? How do we develop friendship without attachment?Join us for a morning of exploration of spiritual friendship Kalyana mitrata. Ancient Wisdom: The Vimalakirti Nirdesa December 20, 9am - 1pm Led by Suddhayu Investigate the nondual nature of Reality through meditation, study, and profound silence in this day workshop based on the cosmically imaginative Mahayana Buddhist text known as the Vimalakirti Nirdesa.
Young Sangha Gatherings Oct. 19 & Dec. 14, 2pm - 4pm Led by Alicia Roberts
Autumn Work Weekend Oct. 25 9am - 4pm, Oct. 26 9am - 2pm
Aryaloka Arts Evening November 2, 6pm - 8pm Featured Artist: Virginia Peck An evening with the arts at Aryaloka, featuring Virginia Peck. This will be the artist’s reception for the exhibition “The Faces of the Buddha” on view at Aryaloka from September 23 through November 18. Sangha Day Festival November 8, Time TBA The Aryaloka community will be joining together in celebration of Sangha. This special day of practice, discussion, and rejoicing will be co-led by Order members throughout the region, with support from kulas of Mitras and Friends. It promises to be an inspiring opportunity to experience the diversity and depth of our local sangha. VAJ R A BE L L 21
prasannavajri Continued from Page 11
slip” karma. It would be another ten years before I would venture across the threshold of Aryaloka, get “caught” by the Dharma, and eventually learn the holistic language of the Noble Eightfold Path and of Right Livelihood. In the meantime, I finished graduate school with degrees in psychology and counseling psychology. Diverse employment positions continued to move my consciousness to the deeper end of the occupational Right Livelihood pool. The array of work involved youth and teens, their parents, family dynamics, group process and building community. I met (and continue to meet) so many wonderful individuals whose spirit and actions generously radiate Right Livelihood. They are not Buddhists. But they GET IT in their own way, in the unfolding of their own positive karma. Following his Enlightenment, the Buddha was not looking for other Buddhists. Rather, he sought those who would be receptive to the spaciousness, the universality of the Dharma that he fully awakened to. “The Buddha was born as we are born. What the Buddha overcame, we too can overcome; What the Buddha attained, we too can attain.” ~ The Triratna Devotional Puja Book Let’s return to Sangharakshita’s quote where the essential principle underlying Right Livelihood is, “that such livelihood, in order to be ethical, must be non-violent, non-exploitative, and, as far as possible, related to the spiritual goal.” “Related to the spiritual goal” is the direction I wanted to go in, but it took a while for that principle to become integrated in my awareness and employment choices. I joined the Aryaloka sangha in February of 2002. After a few months I came across a booklet that listed the retreats that were offered to people who were in the ordination process. Looking at that list, my mind started drooling. (Craving comes in all forms.) The following week I wrote and asked for ordination. Two weeks later, I was informed that it might be a good idea to become a mitra first! I dove into the process. Over time, I heard a great deal about the “team-based Right Livelihoods” 22 VAJ R A BE LL
that seemed to be thriving in England. The “team-based” approach involved groups of Buddhists living and working together which allowed them to live out their ethical values in a context that supported spiritual practice, meditation and building spiritual community. The Buddhist-run businesses supported the ideal “to give what you can and take no more than what you need”, with the majority of proceeds contributed to local Buddhist centers and/or the wider Triratna movement. The more I heard about “team-based Right Livelihood” the more I was drawn to England like a moth to a flame. Unbeknownst to me, powerful lessons lay in wait that were yet to be absorbed. So often, we are the last to find out… In October of 2003 I find myself in East London, living in a Buddhist women’s
Right or Perfect Livelihood is an ever evolving dynamic process of awakening compassionate love community and working in a team-based Right Livelihood business, all within walking distance of the London Buddhist Center. My idealized thinking went like this, “Now I’ll really learn about Right Livelihood. Surrounded by all these practitioners, I’ll really deepen my practice. Now I’ll be able to understand the Order at a fundamental level given that I’m planning on joining its ranks. Now… Now… Now.” I was on English soil for two years – two years of serious boot camp British flavor, otherwise known as culture shock. Two years of wonderful retreats and meeting equally wonderful practioners. Two years of deepening study and understanding of Dharma. Two years of living on an island that thinks of itself as a continent. Two years of learning that community living and team-based Right Livelihood are very, very, very generous with challenging situations, resembling a rock tumbler. I was a wide-eyed, naïve, lone American, surrounded by a seemingly never-ending profusion of individualized views – all in the name of the Dharma. I often reminded myself of the Buddha’s aunt who asked him precisely “What is the Dharma?” The Buddha answered, “Whatever it is that helps you to grow, that is the Dharma.”
England put me on a fast track of growing out of naïvety into discernment. I salute the Brits. Like a ticker-tape, several years pass following my return from England. During that time, I am received into the Order, which interestingly coincides with employment choices that move in the direction of working with elders/seniors as a Resident Service Coordinator in property management situations. A thumbnail sketch of the RSC position is to help residents stay in their apartment as long as possible. In some ways this population is more complicated than youth, but not as rowdy, for which I have great appreciation. In the Fall of 2010, the inner terrain of my Right Livelihood experience gave birth to a significant question. It seemed very plausible that I would work way beyond retirement age. So, what did I want to do? Voila! Right answer spontaneously follows right question. With pristine clarity, I wanted a job where I could most fully express my spiritual life. The spiritual wheels were set in motion. By January, I applied for, interviewed, and was accepted in the 2011 Fall Unit of a Clinical Pastoral Education program in a continuing care organization that specialized in geriatric spirituality. I felt I’d won the lottery! It is a gift that keeps on giving. Following two years of CPE training – blended with my Buddhist experience and ordination, and years of educational and work experiences – I was offered a part-time chaplaincy position working in their Health Services Center. I also have another part-time employment as RSC in a senior retirement community where residents are “younger elders” than in the Health Services Center. Each position informs the other. Each require a similar skill set of presence, reverence, and open-hearted empathy for the aging process, as well as honoring and supporting the fundamental innate goodness, potential, and richness of each individual. Bottom line, it just doesn’t get better than this. “…before giving rise to bodhichitta,” writes Lama John Makransky in Awakening Through Love, “a practioner may work in a job mainly to earn money for food, rent, and so forth. While there, he tries to recall his spiritual practice. After giving rise to bodhichitta, the bodhisatta goes to work each day so as to further realize and embody wisdom and compassion in action in ways that can inspire others to realize continued on page 23 AUT UM N 2014
How Can You Contribute to the Vajra Bell? As a sangha, one of the most important things we do is to share our individual experiences of the spiritual life. By contributing our own stories to the richly-flavored stew of Dharma life that surrounds our center, we create strong connections among each other and strengthen each others’ practices, sometimes without even knowing it. Just by telling another person about something you know or an experience you’ve had, you may provide the missing part to a puzzle that has been unfinished in their mind. You may bring them peace, simply in the knowledge that they are not the only one struggling with an issue. You might say the right word at just the right moment that will alter their lives forever.
With this in mind, if you’ve ever been interested in contributing to the Vajra Bell, this is the time to do it! Have you taken an amazing photo lately? We can use one! Trying your hand at poetry? We’re eager to share one of your poems. If you’ve attended a retreat or event at an Triratna center, we would love to have you write something about it for us. If you have a great website to share, a Dharma movie you’re eager to talk about, or a page-turner of a Buddhist book that you have to let everyone know about, let us know! There are so many ways that you can enrich the pages of the Vajra Bell - let your imaginations run wild! So, you say that you’re not a great writ-
er? Well, now is the chance to challenge that self-view. The Vajra Bell kula has among its volunteers an excellent set of editors to help you on your way. Have an idea, but you’re not sure if it’s prime-time material? Let us know what you’re thinking - it may grow from a seedling thought into a solid story. The important thing is to take the leap. You never know what will happen unless you give it a shot, and there may be someone out there just waiting for what you have to say. To contribute, or to suggest an idea for a future issue of the Vajra Bell, you can contact any of the kula volunteers, listed in the contact column on page two of this issue, by email or in person. ◆◆
many expressions, and in Bhante’s words, its pristine source “…is directly related to what one considers of ultimate importance in one’s life.” In my case, I love working with elders, not because it fits a description of Right Livelihood, but rather it is how elders, by their very being, have been my spiritual benefactors and taught me to STOP AND JUST BE! in the truest sense of the word. To my own amazement, I metamorphosed from a human “doing” to a maturing, compassionate, human “being.” I had no idea how much love, awareness and joy just being with another is. It is an extraordinary love story that repeats itself over and over with each person I have the privilege to sit with.
“We are learning to be a compassionate presence for others that is grounded both in the realities of their suffering and in their potential for freedom. And we are learning to act from there. As we wish beings freedom from all the levels of their suffering, we are also learning to uphold their deepest capacity for freedom in the nature of the mind. And there is great joy in that…”
Continued from Page 22
their best potential. The money earned from work goes to support a life centered on that purpose.” Right or Perfect Livelihood is an everevolving dynamic process of awakening compassionate love for self and others, and for the benefit of all beings. Right Livelihood may be likened to a picturesque, meandering river generously fed by various streams of outer experiences, blended with the interflow of lived experiences – precepts of the heart, warmth of spiritual practice, and non-egoic wisdom that seeps into the interconnectedness with all of life. A vocation takes many forms,
upcoming events Continued from Page 24
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Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Practice Night, 7-8:15 PM Keeping it Real: Friends on a Spiritual Journey, 9 AM – 1 PM, Led by Dayalocana Young Sangha, 2 – 4 PM, Led by Alisha Roberts Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana
For Your Information... TRIRATNA CENTERS IN NORTH AMERICA: AUTUMN 2 0 1 4
Newmarket, NH Portland, ME Cambridge, MA
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~ Lama John Makransky
Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Practice Night, 7-8:15 PM Ancient Wisdom: The Vimalakirti Nirdesa, 9 AM – 1 PM, Led by Suddhayu Introduction to Meditation: Mindfulness of Breathing, 9 AM – 1 PM, Led by Lilasiddhi Drawing Group, 9:30 – 11:30 AM, Led by Eric Ebbeson Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Winter Meditation Retreat, led by Sravaniya
New York City, NY Missoula, MT San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA Portsmouth, NH Vancouver, BC VAJ R A BE L L 23
(All events are subject to change. For the latest, up-to-date information, check our web site at http://www.aryaloka.org or call the office at 603-659-5456.) Events in italics held at Akasaloka. Mitra classes & Order days not included.
6 Faces of the Buddha Art Exhibit opens 7 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 7 Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! 8-11/5 As Metta Unfolds, intermediate meditation course, 5 consecutive Wednesday evenings, 7 – 9 PM, led by Amala 9 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 10-12 Autumn Joy weekend retreat, Led by Arjava and Haley Koperski 14 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 14 Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! 15 Introduction to Meditation Course, Four consecutive Wednesday mornings, 10 AM – 12 PM, Led by Bodhana 16 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 17 Practice Night, 7-8:15 PM 19 Meditation Tune-up: Moving into the Dhyanas, 9 AM – 1PM, led by Lilasiddhi 19 Young Sangha, 2-4 PM, Led by Alisha Roberts 19 Drawing Group at Maudsley State Park, 9:30 – 11:30, Led by Eric Ebbeson 21 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 21 Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! 23 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 24 Practice Night, 7-8:15 PM 25 & 26 Bodhisattvas at Play Work Days 28 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 28 Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! 30 Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana 31 Practice Night, 7-8:15 PM 31–11/2 After the First Bite weekend retreat, Led by Megrette Fletcher and Amala
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Arts Night, 6 – 8 PM Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Full Moon Puja 7 – 9 PM Sangha Day, time TBD Buddhas in the Air: Chanting Workshop, 9 AM – 1 PM, led by Amala Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Intensive Noble Silence retreat, led by Bodhana, Karunasara, and Lilasiddhi Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Practice Night, 7-8:15 PM Exploring Mindfulness: the Joy of Bringing Awareness into Our Daily Lives, 9 AM – 8 PM, Led by Akashavanda and Tom Gaillard Introduction to Meditation: Metta Bhavana (Loving Kindness), 9 AM – 1 PM, Led by Lilasiddhi Drawing Group, 9:30 – 11:30 AM, Led by Eric Ebbeson Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! Thanksgiving Pot Luck, time TBD
December 2 2 4 5 6 6-7
Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Friends Night, 6:45-9:15 PM, all are welcome! Open meditation session, 9 – 10 AM, led by Bodhana Full Moon Puja, 7 – 9 PM Order/Mitra Day, time TBD Women’s GFR Overnight continued on page 23
ongoing events Sangha Night At Aryaloka Every Tuesday evening, 6:45-9:15 p.m. • Led by Arjava, Akashavanda, Amala, Satyada, Lilasiddhi, and other sangha members. • Open to all • 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 any of these activities, you are free to participate or to just sit and listen. Nothing is compulsory. If you have any questions, please ask! 24 VAJ R A BE LL
Full Moon Puja Friday evenings as scheduled (unless noted). See the Aryaloka website or Vajra Bell events schedule for dates and locations. 7:00 p.m. meditation, followed by puja. The rich devotional practice of meditation and puja is shared on these special Friday nights by those who find devotion an important part of their practice. When we celebrate the Sevenfold Puja, which combines faith and devotion with poetry and sometimes an element of visual beauty, we find that our emotional energies are to some extent refined. When this happens, it becomes possible for the vision and insight of the higher thinking center to act through these refined, sublimated emotional centers directly on the moving center. In this way, the whole of life is completely transformed. Sangharakshita ~ Ritual and Devotion AUT UM N 2014