New Moon Update: September 2021
Today, Monday 6th, is the New Moon day for the month of September 2021. The next Uposatha Day will be the Full Moon which falls on Tuesday 21st September.
Since we announced that the vestibule is open to receive offerings of cooked food in the morning there seems to have been a stream of friends and supporters taking an opportunity to do just that. Now, since the Full Moon day of Tuesday 24th September, the Dhamma Hall has been open between 10am and 1pm each day except Mondays. Although we are still being careful and continue to observe restrictions, we hope this process of gradually making the monastery more available will prove supportive. Please see the latest Announcement for details. Many people have struggled a great deal over the past year and a half and we would all prefer to be able to return to how things used to be, but the signs suggest it is wise to remain cautious.
Recently I gave a talk titled The Option Addiction in which I reflected on a teaching I received many years ago when I was a junior monk living in Thailand. If my memory is correct I met the monk who offered this teaching on only one occasion. What stood out then, and has stayed with me, was the way he spoke about wisdom. The particular point he made was that when there is wisdom we are able to see both sides of the situation we are in. When we lack wisdom, when we see only according to our preferences, we see only a portion of the picture and as a result our actions are partial.
Dhammapada verse 290 says, It is wisdom that leads to letting go of a lesser happiness in pursuit of a happiness which is greater. From the perspective of ‘my way’, I am inclined to settle for the lesser happiness of simply having things the way I want, and not having things the way I don’t want. For example, I don’t want the summer to disappear so quickly, I want it to last longer. Since I don’t have control over the weather it is wise to let go of my preference. But letting go of ‘my way’, letting go of our preferences, is not so easy. Thankfully we have the wise teachings of the Buddha and his disciples to guide us. This is why we have the encouragement to cultivate the five spiritual faculties – faith, energy, mindfulness, collectedness and discernment. Externally we have the physical faculties of seeing, hearing, smelling and so on, and without them life would be very difficult. Likewise, if the inner spiritual faculties are not functioning, life can be very difficult. So long as these potentials remain undeveloped the idea of letting go of our preferences appears thoroughly unattractive. Once they are even somewhat developed, letting go of ‘my way’ can begin to appear as the logical and intelligent way to approach life. It is not possible that everyone has things the way they want all the time, so learning to be able to let go is actually essential.
Now back to everyday matters... We recently posted an announcement regarding a kitchen manager for here at Harnham. If you know anyone who might be interested feel free to let them know.
Later this month there will be another Lake Workday. Presently it is planned for Saturday 25th September. If you intend to participate kindly contact us:
t: 07943 699 228
With good wishes,
Luang Por Munindo