29 July 2011
26 July 2011
On Sunday evening we had the pleasant surprise of having a few members from the Carlisle Meditation Group join us for the evening Puja. Many of the Thai community also showed up which made for a nice full group. The group invited us back to Carlise Wednesday evening and so we once again met at the Batcherby Community Centre to share the moments together is serene contentment. I was asked to do a simple guided meditation and to my surprise it wasn't a total disaster. The conversations opened up a little bit more this time and Luangpoh gave a teaching about Khamma and how important it is to work towards understanding it in our lives. It gives us us matter-of-fact answers to a lot of questions we have about the world around us. Luangpoh and I are in agreement about how special the relationship is between The Carlisle Meditation Group and the Buddha Metta Society and we hope that both sides feel they are already members of both. Below is a wonderful letter written to us by a friend.
25 July 2011
This past Sunday we were invited to the home of Ashley and Peung. We were pleased to be met by just about all the families who normally come here to the Engine Shed. There was an amazing meal offered but first we shared blessing with Parita chanting and then chanted together.
24 July 2011
We shared a wonderful evening with friends and family of Pascale de Beranger who is sick in hospital with lung cancer and is in much pain. We had a period of chanting, silent meditation, and then shared blessings. Luangpoh was able to visit her just before she went back into hospital for surgery and shared with her methods of dealing with her pain. He explained about his recent experience with his cobra bite and how he was able to move his mind away from the pain as if standing aside, and not personalizing the pain. He explained that if he did not do something quickly he would be overcome by pain and the poison would make it to his heart before he could make it to hospital. By concentrating his mind he was able to disassociate with the pain just enough to be able to take control of his body to squeeze the poison away. Through meditation, he explained to Pascale, she could concentrate the mind away from the pain enough to make it through her recovery more peacefully.
21 July 2011
Luangpoh and I spent the evening with the Carlisle Meditation Group in the city where Luangpoh met some old friends and we made some new ones as well. We had a nice puja and Q&A. Discussion included such things as how generosity leads to morality which then leads to concentration and wisdom. If your meditation practice is grounded in morality then it will support the other aspects of it such as formal sitting sessions. But if your experience only involves the sitting sessions without mindfulness practice during the day then you may not know the benefits of living in the Dhamma. Some members had attended Ken's (previously ordained disciple of Luangpoh) day retreat in Kendal on the weekend and discussed their experience such as methods of meditation on the body. One method Luangpoh expanded on is to see all the elements of earth, wind, fire, water, space, and consciousness within the body. We can then visualize them returning back to just space until there is nothing left except consciousness unless we become enlightened when that element does not arise again. We thus see impermanence, emptiness, and dependence on all the other factors for existence in the first place.
18 July 2011
14 July 2011
Today we were offered another wonderful dana and Luangpoh shared a reflection on what it means to give. He recollected what it was like as a child to offer food for the monks with his mother. He remembers the care that was put into the preparation, the quality of mind while bringing it to the temple, the high standard of the presentation of it, and the humble way that it was offered to the monks. This all presented the opportunity to concentrate the mind on doing something so wonderful that it created a feeling of wellbeing that could last the entire day. We discussed today that this is the most overlooked method of concentrating the mind that the Thai people have engrained into their daily lives. A large portion of the people will start their days with generosity as the focal point of their activities.
07 July 2011
We have been traveling continuously in the United Kingdom for a few weeks now to share the compassionate teachings of the Buddha with groups of lay people who do not have easy access to such teachings of the Dhamma. We have been practicing deep listening to try to learn what the needs and wishes of these people are in regards to having such teachings available to them. We were honoured to have the Venerable Tan Jao Khun Thong Chai from the Rama 9 temple in Bangkok with us for the first week.