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New Moon Newsletter_October 24th, 2022

Today, Monday 24th, is the New Moon day for the month of October 2022. The next Uposatha Day will be the Full Moon which falls on Tuesday 8th November. 

The recent  alms-giving event (Thai: Pah Bah) was a delight. We were joined for the occasion by a minibus load of bhikkhus, siladharas, samaneras and an anagaraka from Amaravati, Cittaviveka and Hartridge Monasteries. Also a generous crowd of local friends and supporters brought food and offerings and enjoyed each other's company. Ajahn Amaro offered an uplifting dhamma talk on dealing with change.

Ajahn Chandapalo arrived from Wat Santacittarama in Italy on the day after our Pah Bah and stayed for 6 days. From 27th October to 3rd November, two bhikkhus from Harnham will be going to participate in the Cittaviveka Monastery Kathina in West Sussex. Shortly after that Samanera Nibbuto, who has spent the Rains Retreat there, will return to Harnham.

On Sunday 9th October I offered a talk titled, Meditation and/or Therapy. This was not the average theme of Sunday night's contemplation, but nevertheless relevant. Many people start out in their Buddhist practice full of faith and aspiration and are rewarded with an initial increase of confidence that there is 'actuality'; life is not mere chaos. However, for some their faith then becomes obscured by complex and apparently intransigent difficulties. It is a great pity if at that point they give up and lose faith altogether. It is similarly regrettable if they persist in hammering away using techniques that are not suitable. This is where we need to be agile in our approach to practice. The forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism is well known for its emphasis on asceticism, and for those who have the ability to pick up such practices there can be great benefit. For those whose conditioning means asceticism is likely to put them off meditation, a more gentle approach is called for. Although the tradition encourages, 'eat little, sleep little, speak little', that doesn't work for everyone. For some the opposite is called for. They need to relax around their eating habits and stop trying so hard to become 'spiritual'. Some actually need more sleep not less, and others benefit from finding a trusted friend they can speak with. Agility can be an important virtue.

As for what lies ahead, please note, the next Lake Work Day will be on Saturday 29th October. Then in November there is a Lake Work Weekend planned for 26th - 27th. Do feel free to join us. The next Harnham Buddhist Monastery Trust (HBMT) meeting is planned for November 5th, via Zoom. And, as is usual for this time of year, the clocks are about to go back which means from Sunday 30th October the midday meal bell will ring at 10.45 am with the meal being served at 11 am. Also as usual, there is a beginner's meditation class on the first Sunday of the month, 6th November.

With good wishes,

Ajahn Munindo