Good evening friends and members of the OBS,
A key Buddhist teaching is that change occurs constantly, and that any sense of permanence is an illusion:
Impermanent are all component things,
They arise and cease, that is their nature:
They come into being and pass away,
Release from them is bliss supreme.
– Mahaa-Parinibbaana Sutta
September is a time when impermanence, or anicca, tends to weigh on my mind. I’m amused by the irritation I felt this week upon noticing the first leaves threatening to turn red. And by the incredulity I felt upon realizing my cherished godbrother, still five years old in my imagination, is about to start high school!
Realistically, the trees in Strathcona Park aged as much any given day in August as they did on the day I noticed their red tinges. Meanwhile, Mark has been continuously aging, one day at a time, like the rest of us. But autumnal events like the changing of leaves and the advent of a new school year can jolt us from the sense of permanence that develops during the long, relaxing days of summer.
When considered unskillfully, we can perceive impermanence as a threat. It can be easy to tense against impermanence, to try to control the changes around us rather than letting go into what is. Ajahn Chah reminds us:
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you will have complete peace.
However, this complete letting go takes both skill and practice.
For members wishing to explore anicca more fully we offer the following resources:
• Meditating on impermanence and death is a traditional Buddhist method of working with anicca. Ayya Khema’s Impermanence Contemplation and Dayanandi and Ratnagunda’s Contemplations of Impermanence invite practitioners to reflect on how the phenomenon of impermanence reveals itself in our lives.
• Ajahn Brahmali, Impermanence This dharma talk provides an in-depth discussion of anicca, and describes the freedom that arises when one is able to fully understand and absorb this teaching.
In next months’ newsletter we will investigate how to work skillfully with anicca by sharing strategies from our readers.
So tell us:
What strategies have helped you peacefully navigate the change and inconstancy in your own life?
Readers are welcome to submit their thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org . Your suggestions will be shared (anonymously) in the October OBS Newsletter.
September 1 – New moon
September 2 – Friday Evening Meeting with Ayyā Medhānandī. 7:30 pm at Quaker House, 91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa click here
Ayyā Medhānandī Bhikkhunī is the founder and guiding teacher of Sati Sārāņīya Hermitage, a forest monastery for women in the Theravāda tradition. A native of Canada, she was born to Eastern European refugees who emigrated to Montreal after World War II.
Ayyā first requested full-ordination as a bhikkhunī from her teacher and preceptor, Venerable Sayadaw U Pandita, in 1988. At the time, this was not possible for Theravāda Buddhist women. Instead, Sayadaw granted her the ten-precept vows of a Theravāda novice nun on condition that she take them for life. Thus began Ayyā’s training in the Burmese monastic lineage. After 20 years as an alms mendicant nun, Ayyā received full bhikkhunī ordination in 2007 at Ling Quan Chan Monastery, Keelung.
September 3 – Noble Eightfold Path Study Group at Tisarana Monastery, 1356 Powers Road, Perth ON click here for map 11:30 am – 4 pm.
Please visit the OBS STUDY GROUP website for more information.
September 8 – Waxing half moon
September 16 – Full moon
September 16 – Friday Evening Meeting with Ven Khemako. 7:30 pm at Quaker House, 91A Fourth Ave, Ottawa (Click here or map).
September 17 – Day of Mindfulness with Ven Khemako. 8:30 am – 3:30 pm at Trinity United Church, 1099 Maitland Avenue (click here for map).
Venerable Khemako was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1959 into a large Catholic family. He 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 (annual three-month retreat).
All interested members may bring food donations for the Tisarana Monastery to either teaching event this weekend. For more information on what items are needed please see Tisarana’s Dana Offering Instructions (https://tisarana.ca/contribute-food-and-supplies/obs-dana-program/) .
September 24 – Waning half moon
September 25 – OBS Fall Social. Ottawa South Community Centre, 260 Sunnyside Avenue (click here for map). 2 pm – 5 pm. All are welcome, and we are always happy to see newcomers. Please bring either a sweet or savory snack if you can, as well as your own mug.
September 30 – October 7 – OBS Residential Retreat with LP Viradhammo. Registration now closed. Held at the Galilee Centre, 398 John Street N, Arnprior ON (click here for map).
October 30th marks the ten year anniversary of the Tisarana Monastery. To commemorate this event we ask interested OBS members to contribute any photos they might have of Tisarana, or monastic events held there, from the past ten years. These photos may be highlighted in next month’s newsletter. Please send any photos you would like to share to email@example.com.
October 30th is also the date for this year’s Kathina celebration. Kathina marks 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. These traditions will be carried on this October 30th; 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
Retreat Registration Reminder
December 28, 2016 – January 4, 2017: Residential Retreat with Ajahn Succitto. Villa Saint-Martin Retreat Centre, Pierrefonds QC. Cost ranges from $585 to $685, depending on room type and OBS membership. Registration for OBS members begins September 15, 2016. If space if available, registration for non-members will begin September 19. For more information please visit the OBS RETREATS website
Submissions to the OBS Newsletter are always welcome. Please send submissions by October 1, 2016 to Krista Shackleford-Lye, OBS Newsletter Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org