news blog


New Moon Update: January 2021

Today, Wednesday 13th, is the New Moon day for the month of January 2021. The next Uposatha day will be the Full Moon which falls on Thursday 28th January.

The doors to our Dhamma Hall vestibule are once more closed to visitors. Please be sure to read the announcements page for current conditions. If you have any questions or concerns, either email us at dana@ratanagiri.org.uk or telephone us on 07958 394 796.

In the talk that I gave at the monastery on New Year's Eve I reflected on the theme, Because Some Things Matter More. We all have a sense that some things matter more than others, but how do we confidently engage a contemplation on these matters. In the talk I suggested that it is fundamentally important that we determine to emphasize the cultivation of honesty. When our actions of body and speech are dishonest our minds become deeply disturbed and we can't trust our own judgement. 

The Buddha taught that without a wholesome sense of shame and fear of falling into shamelessness, our world disintegrates. In the Pali language, a wholesome sense of shame and fear of falling into shamelessness are referred to as hiri and ottappa, and the Buddha calls them lokapala, or protectors of the world. Whatever beautiful ideas we might entertain in our heads or expound to others, if our behaviour of body and speech is not beautiful, we are susceptible to disintegration - inwardly and outwardly i.e. our psychological and physical worlds are at risk of falling into chaos. 

Conversely, with increased honesty comes increased trust. When trust and confidence arise out of our commitment to integrity they will serve to support clarity of heart and mind. We can expect to feel more ready to meet life's challenges. We may not immediately find all the answers to our deep questions, but we might feel more able to handle the uncertainty without defaulting to simplistic notions. Fundamentalism and extremism - religious or political or any other form - can be understood as reactions to a level of uncertainty that we are not ready to deal with. With the increased ability to trust ourselves that comes with hiri-ottappa we are better placed to view the inner and outer chaos, to honestly and mindfully feel how we feel about it, and carefully enquire into the causes of chaos. 

None of us know what the future holds. This is not because something is going wrong; pandemics, unrest and conflict are all part of being human. We cannot immunize ourselves against uncertainty, however we can protect and strengthen our spiritual immune systems by heeding the wise teachings of the Buddha. 

Our Evening Puja is still live streamed every Saturday at 7pm BST, and you are warmly invited to join us.

With sincere well-wishing,
Luang Por Munindo

Harnham jan 2021