Good morning friends and members of the OBS,
We’ve moved the DoM’s location. For the foreseeable future while the Tu-An Pagoda under goes renovation the OBS Days of Mindfulness (DOM) will be located at Trinity United Church in Ottawa’s west end. When Ajahn Viradhammo visited Trinity for the first time on July 16th, he commented that he felt the large ark-like sanctuary, was similar to traditional Buddhist temples, in that both are designed to suggest going inward, in prayer and meditation. If you live in Ottawa or visiting please feel welcome to sit with us at Trinity on August 20th.
Developing wholesome states of mind, while experiencing dukkha – was highlighted in the July OBS newsletter. Similarly Ajahn Viradhammo spoke to cultivating, implementing skillful perceptions at a hot Quaker House meeting on July 15th.
The fan was set so all could hear and while guiding us in meditation Ajahn asked, “What is NOT hot?”
After the sit, Viradhammo advised how to skillfully pick up the news, but how not to carry it around. Sense restraint was emphasized but he also said he was personally interested in understanding this time, the history we’re living in. His is a dhamma perspective where he has been trained to watch the causality of politics and culture. “My brief is not worldly its transcendent. I didn’t ordain to give opinions on politics.”
Recently while reading about the horrible events in Nice, Viradhammo noticed his mind starting to go to the story ..” who was this person? how did it happen? ” Then he thought ..why don’t I just stop and let the feeling of this hit me and see how I am affected by this. “ He then observed he was deeply affected by the incredible suffering. He just let that affect be with his heart.
He found that when he went to the narrative, that kept the mind at an excited, disgusted, an agitated level. But when he just looked at the suffering, so many beings suffering, he just let that be with his heart, and his heart came to silence and opened in compassion.
Ajahn said he could then go away from the story having been informed and where his mind wasn’t carrying that story line because he was more settled in the heart. He knew what had gone on, but his mind wasn’t agitated or continuing to comment on it. There was always the possibility of continuing to talk about it. That he said would be papañca (elaboration), we need some of that and yet “ not to let our minds latch on to these things… If the news cycles are bringing one to more fear, paranoia and hatred then practice sense restraint, just don’t look at it.”
Then he spoke to the koan: … ” its like a joke, you get it or you don’t… ‘ What is NOT hot? ‘ You can’t find that, you can only be that. We tend to not trust that. We trust the heat, our various stories, we’re very engaged with our stream of consciousness, thoughts, emotions, bodily feelings, memories, the whole nine yards…One thing I tend to do a lot, if there is anything intense in consciousness; in stream of consciousness, I try to say, ‘ well, what is NOT intense ? ‘
If I do that I have to be very silent…if I start to think about ‘what is NOT intense?’ I’m not really noticing. If I am silent that always brings me back to this ineffable silence of knowing, awareness, wakefulness. To me that’s the one thing I can trust.. Hot is still there but I’m not IN the stream of consciousness… One is not the intensity, one is the awareness. ”
Viradhammo continued by saying … ” we are all good people, doing social justice work, responsible to our work and families..these are the foundations for peace but sometimes we are so engaged in the stream of consciousness trying to be peaceful…that we don’t see that peace is not in the stream of consciousness. Its not there …its always unreliable. It seems peaceful, but that’s when all the ducks are lined up. The temperature is right, your hip doesn’t hurt…that’s not peace, that’s happiness. Happiness is just having what you want…so happiness is OK but whats the goal of this practice ?… its this ineffable peace which is not dependent on causes or conditions.”
” Rather than being a thinker, see thought as an object. First and foremost we trust in awareness rather than thought. Thought has its place, but in Buddhist practice right thinking is the thinking that takes you to no thought.What is emptiness?…when you listen to the fan and you let go of thought, its empty of self-definition, empty of becoming, its still present, its still consciousness. What is consciousness? ..sights, sounds, conscious of sounds and where is it? Its always here now…so do you trust that? Like now I feel hot. ‘Its like this.’ That might sound like a very apathetic way to live your life, but the more you follow it and respond to life with generosity, compassion, appropriateness and so on, the more you are peaceful, the more you can respond to life , be generous………and rest in the silence of knowing. ” – Thus have I heard with gratitude, Colleen
Upcoming OBS Retreats, Teachings, Study Groups, Observances &
Monday, August 1st – 12 noon EDST – Advance Early Bird registration for OBS members will be available on this page LP Viradhammo’s September Residential Retreat at Galilee Centre, Arnprior. Non members are welcome to apply August 4th. The volunteers managing this retreat thank you, in advance, for your patience as we will need a week to confirm your registration. A Wait List will be started if we can not accommodate all who register.
Tuesday, August 2nd – New Moon
Friday, August 5th – Friday Evening Meditation with Ven Khemako −7:30 pm at Quaker House, 91A Fourth Ave, in the Glebe
All are welcome to join in for group mindfulness practice and dhamma instruction.
Venerable Khemako was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1959 into a large Catholic family and received his primary education from priests and nuns at the local Church-run school. His long-standing interest in the core questions of philosophy and religion led him to begin lay Buddhist practice in 1997. As his practice and faith in the Dhamma increased, his interest and involvement in lay life waned. Ven. Khemako trained for two years as an Anāgārika and Sāmaṇera, ordaining as a Bhikkhu on June 2, 2012 with Ajahn Pasanno as preceptor. In June of 2014 Ven. Khemako moved to Tisarana to spend his third vassa.
Thursday August 11th – Waxing Half Moon
Saturday August 13th – The Noble Eightfold Path Study Group welcomes members and friends to join them in offering dana to the sangha at Tisarana. Many people are away on holidays this summer so if you are free to join us your attendance and gift of a food offering would be much appreciated by the OBS organizers. On this afternoon of the 13th, LP Viradhammo will teach the Buddha’s Discourse on Mindfulness: Sattipanna Sutta, specifically, the second foundation of mindfulness. INFO
” At first glance, the four frames of reference for satipatthana practice sound like four different meditation exercises, but Majjhima Nikaya 118 makes clear that they can all center on a single practice: keeping the breath in mind. When the mind is with the breath, all four frames of reference are right there. The difference lies simply in the subtlety of one’s focus. It’s like learning to play the piano. As you get more proficient at playing, you also become sensitive in listening to ever more subtle levels in the music. This allows you to play even more skillfully. In the same way, as a meditator gets more skilled in staying with the breath, the practice of satipatthana gives greater sensitivity in peeling away ever more subtle layers of participation in the present moment until nothing is left standing in the way of total release. ” Access to Insight
Thursday, August 18th – Full Moon
Friday, August 19th – Friday Evening Meditation with LP Viradhammo −7:30 pm at Quaker House, 91A Fourth Ave, in the Glebe
All are welcome to join in for group mindfulness practice and dhamma instruction.
Ajahn was born in Germany, 1947, to Latvian refugee parents. They moved to Toronto when he was four years old. Around 1969, while living in India, he encountered Buddhism, meeting the late Sāmanera Bodhesako, who introduced him to the teachings of the Buddha. He eventually travelled to Thailand to become a novice at Wat Mahathat in 1973 and took bhikkhu ordination the following year at Wat Pah Pong with Ajahn Chah. He was one of the first residents at Wat Pah Nanachat, the international monastery in north-east Thailand. Having spent four years in Thailand, he went back to Canada to visit his family in 1977. Instead of returning to Thailand, he was asked by Ajahn Chah to join Ajahn Sumedho at the Hampstead Vihāra in London. Later, he was involved in the establishment of both the Chithurst and Harnham monasteries in the UK. In 1985, invited by the Wellington Theravāda Buddhist Association, he moved to New Zealand, accompanied by Venerable Thanavaro, where he lived for 10 years,
setting up Bodhinyānārāma monastery. In 1995 he came to the UK to assist Ajahn Sumedho at Amarāvati and stayed for four years before returning to New Zealand, where he lived until 2002. He was living in Ottawa caring for his mother for nine years and is now resident Abbot at Tisarana
Saturday August 20th – Day of Mindfulness with LP Viradhammo – 8:30 a, – 3:30 pm at Trinity United Church, 1099 Maitland Avenue (NOTE NEW LOCATION). Click here for map.
All are welcome to join in the periods of mindfulness practice and dhamma instruction. Potluck lunch
Dana Offering Program for Tisarana and Sati Saraniya
The Ottawa Buddhist Society is pleased to offer ongoing opportunities to contribute dana and food donations to the Tisarana and Sati Saraniya communities. In addition to supporting the monks and nuns in Perth, dana allows us to practice generosity and experience the joy that comes with selfless giving.
This month, members and friends of the OBS are invited to bring dana to the Friday Evening Meeting (August 19) or the Day of Mindfulness (August 20). Subsequent dana opportunities will be provided the weekends of September 16/17, November 25/26, and December 16/17. Please see the OBS Dana Offering Program for more details.
Dhamma Recordings – Ajahn Punnadhammo’s May 2016 Retreat
Now available : listen to these OBS recordings from Ajahn Punadhammo’s recent OBS Non-residential retreat in mid-May 2016.
See this link for the teachings given by Rob Moult at Sati Saraniya Hermitage,October 2015. Now a link to his web site is available on the OBS web site under PARTICIPATE, MULTI MEDIA ONLINE, BOOKS
” Peace is not in the stream of consciousness…The goal of this practice is this ineffable peace which is not dependent on causes or conditions.”
– Ajahn Viradhammo