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Full-moon Update - May 2020 - Vesakha Puja

Today, Wednesday 6th, is the Full Moon day for the month of May, 2020, Vesakha Puja. The next Uposatha will be the New Moon which falls on Thursday 21st May. From now on these news updates will be sent out to coincide with the New Moon days. The Dhammapada Reflection will continue, as usual, to be posted on the Full Moon days. 

It would be understandable if you were wishing these uncertain times would pass, however the reality seems to be otherwise. Of course, part of us knows that uncertainty is always with us, just that most of us would probably prefer it not be quite this uncertain. So how do we handle all this uncertainty? Last weekend I gave a talk called Unapologetic Pursuit Of Contentment .The talk was prompted by a question that had been sent in asking if it was selfish of us to invest in developing personal inner contentment while so many people around us are suffering terribly. I suggested  a few practical exercises that people could try to help avoid being too lost in their heads. Because of this lock down, there are many who feel trapped in small apartments with only 4 walls to look at. It might help to regularly look outside through the window. Even if all you can see are more buildings, try seeing how far you can look, allowing your attention to linger there for a while and feel if that triggers some small degree of relaxation. Also it can help to take a half dozen slow, deep, breaths, gently lengthening the out-breath. Not forcing it, but allowing the lungs to be emptied completely before breathing in again. See if that helps your shoulders drop and your belly relax a little. 

One of the main points I made in the talk was to try taking on board the model of our awareness as being multidimensional. If we view awareness as singular then when we have a mood that is difficult to handle, such as despair or disappointment, it tends to take us over and  we feel defined by that mood: 'I am disappointed' etc. If we are able to accept the idea of awareness being like the ocean which can have tumultuous waves on the surface and at the same time be very still in the depths, then perhaps we will be able to feel connected to an inner sense of contentment at the same time as feeling whatever troubling moods are happening on the surface. When we believe we are our thoughts and feelings we impose a painful sense of limitation on ourselves. If we can accept the idea that awareness is much vaster that the activity of our thoughts and feelings then we will be able to tolerate all sorts of conflicts that perhaps might otherwise have overwhelmed us.

 Here in the monastery life continues with roof repairs and some spring cleaning. Also we have been using the time to upgrade our repertoire of the traditional chants. Some people have been in touch regarding the food situation and I am happy to assure everyone that so far it is working out fine. If anyone has any questions, do feel free to telephone those whose names were published on the earlier announcement: Bee Wan - 07912 683 576, Yom Aroon- 07951 724 407, Annie Smekens - 07742 876 521, and Yom Mame - 07855 902 226, (m) 01642 618 522 (ll). They should be able to help you. Also do feel welcome to email us at sangha@ratanagiri.org.uk

Although we are still not in a position to accept requests for special meals to be prepared in the monastery kitchen and offered on your behalf, some people have made donations for the general support of the monastery and their dedication has been read out at the meal time. 

You will have received by now a notification that the usual Vesak gathering has been cancelled for this year. Hopefully you have also received an eCard with our greetings. Maybe you will join us for the live streaming of the Evening Puja tonight, Wednesday 6th May. To mark this Vesak celebration we will be chanting the paritta before the meditation session. 

Wishing that all beings be well in all ways.

Luang Por Munindo