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forest sangha newsletter

January     2007                  2550                      Number 78
The Forest Sangha is a world-wide Buddhist community
in the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah


Arrows and Clouds





Under the Bodhi Tree
Adapted from a talk given by Ajahn Thaniya

"It’s the Buddha’s birthday" someone said this morning, and I found myself surprised – I guess because Wesak is, so much to me, the day I recollect the Buddha’s awakening, the historical Buddha and that which he realized, nibbana [liberation; the end of suffering]. But Wesak is also the day we recollect his birth, as well as his Parinibbana [the Buddha’s final passing away]. There is something very powerful in the image of these three together, the birth, the awakening and the Parinibbana, in the way they relate the conventional reality and the transcendent. The sense that a being was born, having been born, dies; which is the predicament that we all share.

Read on...

Triple Celebration of the Triple Gem
Ajahn Munindo reflects on recent events at Harnham

When we decided to mark our 25th anniversary on the same day as our Kathina festival this year, then follow it the next day with a double ordination, and then with an Elders’ Council meeting the day after that, to some it seemed we might be taking on too much. It’s true, it might have been too much. As with all such events we didn’t know how many people would come, Sangha or lay friends; we didn’t know how we would accommodate everyone, what the weather would be like, how we would cope with the parking…. Yet as Ajahn Sucitto later pointed out, goodness has a tendency to attract goodness, and I took the decision to go for it. And anyway, if I believed in the way things seemed to be, Harnham Monastery probably wouldn’t be here.
I’m sure it was the same for the monastery’s founders, Nick Scott, Virginia Deaper and Richard Hopkins: without their faith, daring and commitment this sanctuary wouldn’t even have been started.

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walkingThe Dhamma of walking
Ajahn Sucitto on practice while long-distance walking

‘I don’t think I can do this.’
‘This is fantastic!’
These two comments, eight hours apart, came from one of the participants in a walk I did this year in the mountains of Crete. Indicative of the struggle and the breakthrough involved when passing through previous limitations, they’re a sign of Dhamma-practice. It’s much the same on a 10-day meditation retreat, when on the third day the inspirational energy is flagging and the results of the endeavour haven’t yet made themselves apparent. That’s the practice, that’s the furthering: through meeting the edge of our limitation and mindfully working through it, we can arrive at a larger, more confident sense of our capacity.

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swissMonastery reports
Checking-in with some of the monasteries
at the end of another year

Amaravati Monks
2006 has seen, as ever, a number of comings and goings within the still and steady vessel of Sangha life at Amaravati. Mostly this year it seemed to be arrivals. Ven. Vinitha, already a novice for 12 years in his native Sri Lanka, joined us early in the year, taking upasampada with Luang Por Sumedho before the vassa. Joining him was Samanera – now Bhikkhu – Dhammiko, one of a steadily growing group of Portugese practitioners taking interest in joining the monastic community here.

Read on...





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