Good morning Friends and Members of the OBS,
Our last newsletter explored how the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence (anicca) can manifest itself in day-to-day life. The transitory nature of our existence can cast a pall of uncertainty over our lives. This uncertainty can lead to a fear of change, and hinder our ability to accept our experiences. Our aversion towards change is an instrumental cause of suffering in our lives.
In his dharma talk “Accepting The Storm Of Experience” , Ajahn Viradhammo speaks of the value of being “witness to change”, rather than tensing ourselves against it. One powerful way to do this is by relating differently to the changes that inevitably enter our lives. We can use change as a “chance to watch” our reactions to change – fear, anger, disappointment, hope, joy – as they arise and fall away. However threatening anicca may seem, observing and understanding this doctrine can allow wisdom to arise. Observing our breath during meditation can also lead towards an understanding of anicca. Every breath has a beginning, middle and end; every breath gives us an opportunity to practice letting go.
Mindfulness of anicca can also increase our gratitude for what we have in the present. This is particularly relevant this Thanksgiving weekend. When we become impervious to the changing flow of experience, it is easier to overlook details that add joy to our lives – the sound of a cat purring, the flicker of a candle, or the touch of a loved one.
Working skillfully with change can take courage; it is not always easy to investigate our reactions, rather than get caught up in them. However, this practice can ultimately lead to greater wisdom about the nature of reality, and increased appreciation of the present moment Understood this way, anicca becomes a pathway to a deeper appreciation of our lives, rather than an instrumental cause of suffering. This opportunity for growth is something to be thankful for.
“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
October 1 – New moon
October 7 – Friday Evening Meeting. 7:30 pm at Quaker House, 91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa click here for map. Participants are welcome to bring food donations for the Tisarana Monastery. For more information on what items are needed at this time, please visit Tisarana’s OBS Dana Program webpage.
October 9 – Waxing (half) moon
October 16 – Full moon
October 21 – Friday Evening Meeting with Ayya Medhanandi. 7:30 pm at Quaker House, 91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa .Click here for map.
Ayya Medhanandi Bhikkhuni is the founder and guiding teacher of Sati Saraniya Hermitage, a forest monastery for women in the Theravada tradition. A native of Canada, she was born to Eastern European refugees who emigrated to Montreal after World War II.
Ayya first requested full-ordination as a bhikkhuni from her teacher and preceptor, Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita, in 1988. At the time, this was not possible for Theravada Buddhist women. Instead, Sayadaw granted her the ten-precept vows of a Theravada novice nun on condition that she take them for life. Thus began Ayya’s training in the Burmese monastic lineage. After 20 years as an alms mendicant nun, Ayya received full bhikkhuni ordination in 2007.
October 22 – Day of Mindfulness with Ayya Medhanandi. 8:30 am – 3:30 pm at Trinity United Church, 1099 Maitland Avenue click here.
All interested members may bring food donations for the Sati Saraniya Hermitage to either teaching event this weekend. For more information on what items might be of use please visit the Sati Saraniya Hermitage’s website (https://satisaraniya.ca/offering-dana/offering-food/) .
October 24 – Waning (half) moon
Missing Meditation Cushions
The Ottawa Buddhist Society had a maroon cushion and zabuton for teachers to use during retreats, Days of Mindfulness, and Quaker House meetings. These two items are missing. If anyone knows where the items are residing, please contact Nissanka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reminder – Tisarana Monastery 10 Year Anniversary and Kathina Celebration
This Sunday October 30th marks the ten year anniversary of the Tisarana Monastery. In addition to this special event, Tisarana will be holding their annual Kathina celebration that day. Kathina celebrates the end of the three month rainy season retreat (vassa) embarked on annually by Theravada monks. Traditionally, Kathina provided laypeople the opportunity to donate cloth to the monastics, who often required new robes following the monsoon season. The Laity also contributed food donations (dana), and joined with the monks in a community meal.
Please visit the Tisarana website for a full schedule of the day’s events. People wishing to read a more detailed historical account of Kathina may be interested in “Kathina Then and Now” by Aggacitta Bhikkhu ..available at Buddhanet
Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things. – Pema Chodron
Submissions to the next OBS Newsletter are always welcome. Please send submissions by November 1, 2016 to Krista Shackleford-Lye: email@example.com