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How It All Fits Together

Picture: stone wall at the entrance to Harnham Monastery

The Full Moon for this month of February falls on Saturday 11th. This will be Magha Puja which is the time when we reflect on how two and a half thousand years ago 1250 fully awakened beings spontaneously came to visit the Buddha. This was the occasion when the Buddha delivered what we know as the Ovada Patimokkha

Refrain from doing that which is evil.
Cultivate that which is good.
Purify the heart.
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

We may find these brief teachings from the Buddha quite simple, but they can be very difficult to truly apply moment by moment. However, if we really want to make sense of the senselessness around us, then this is a wise path to follow. And as followers of the Buddha, our task is not to merely strain our brains, trying to figure out conceptually how all the myriad and apparently endless, confusing, conditions of our world fit together, rather it is to learn how to trust; to trust in the truly peaceful heart. The best way to discover the ability to apply these teachings is to train our hearts in peacefulness. Of course a little initial peacefulness alone is not enough; indeed the wrong kind of peace simply makes us numb. We also need wise teachers to inform us, modesty to calibrate our enthusiasm, humility to shine light on our limitations and patience so we persevere whatever the odds. Our winter retreat thus far has given us plenty of opportunities for studying the path. On Sunday and Monday 15th/16th January we marked the 25th anniversary of the passing of our teacher, Ajahn Chah, with Luang Por Munindo offering reflections called The Spirit of the Spiritual Life 1 &2. This was followed by a week which was defined by formal silence and group practice. The building work being done to repair crumbling ceilings in the main cottage was completed by Kim and Marcin without too much interruption to the retreat (at least for most of us). Since then, Rion, our architect from London has been here shaping things up for the work projects about to begin in spring. The technological glitch which we thought was fixed some time ago and had meant Dhamma talks were not being delivered via iTunes, has now actually been fixed. Generous offerings of support continue to be made and we are very grateful.