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Cut it off from the start

quote/unquote

Image from this website talk on papanca

The important thing is to sustain moment to moment awareness of the mind. If you are really caught in mental proliferation, then gather it all together, and contemplate it in terms of being one whole, cut it off right from the start, saying, “All these thoughts, ideas, and imaginings of mine are simply simply thought proliferation and nothing more. It’s all anicca, dukkha, and anatta. None of it is certain at all.”

Discard it right there.

~Ajahn Chah

Summer issue of “The Forest Path” now online

“The Forest Path,” The Summer 2017 newsletter of the Bhavana Society Monastery and Retreat Center in High View, W.Va., the first Theravadan Buddhist monastery in North American, is now online.

The issue features the fourth and final part of a series on the Four Noble Truths, written by Mangala Bhikkhu. This series seeks to explore the Buddha’s powerful teachings on the nature of suffering in a way that clarifies and engages the reader, asking one
to question why we suffer in the first place. The second article is from the ‘Ask Bhante G’ series, in which Bhavana  abbot Bhante Gunaratana answers questions posed to him during interviews and retreats. The third article is an excerpt from The Sedaka Sutta in the Samyutta Nikaya, translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

View in your browser or download a .pdf of the issue at this link:

http://bhavanasociety.org/newsletters/issue/summer_newsletter_2017

PS: One of Bhavana’s monks, Bhante Jayasara, recently led a day-retreat in the Charleston-Huntington area. Here is one of his recorded Dhamma talks.

DHAMMA TALK: Ajahn Sumedho on mindfulness and meditation

https://soundcloud.com/douglaseye/ajahn-sumedho-on-mindfulness-and-meditation

If the Soundcloud player does not show, click here

HERE IS A PORTION of a talk given by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho on a recent visit to Washington, D.C., his first trip ever in his long life. Ajahn Sumedho talks on mindfulness and meditation. The talk was given July 1, 2017,  and was  co-sponsored by the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., and the Thai Embassy. Ajahn Sumedho is the senior Western representative of the Thai forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism.

FOR MORE TALKS by Ajahn Sumedho, click here.

DHAMMA TALK: Making meditation one’s livelihood

DhammaTalk

Bhante Jayasara, a Theravadan Buddhist monk from the Bhavana Society in High View, W.Va., gives a Dhamma talk on “making meditation part of one’s livelihood.”

The talk was part of a day retreat on May 27, 2017, at the Peace Tree Center for Wellness in Huntington, W.Va., sponsored by PeaceTree and The Meditation Circle of Charleston WV. For more on the Bhavana Society Buddhist monastery and retreat center, visit bhavanasociety.org

DHAMMA TALK EXCERPT: Ajahn Sumedho

DhammaTalk

HERE IS AN EXCERPT of a talk given by Ven. Ajahn Sumedho on the occasion of a recent visit to Washington, D.C. The talk, given July 1, 2017,  was co-sponsored by the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C., and the Thai Embassy. Sample: “What is it that’s aware of inhaling and exhaling?… Through this kind of investigation, this awareness or mindfulness, we begin to have the insight knowledge into consciousness knowing itself.” Ajahn Sumedho is the senior Western representative of the Thai forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism.

Bhante Jayasara talk on Mindfulness

DhammaTalk

Bhante Jayasara, a Theravadan monk from the Bhavana Society in High View, W.Va., gives a talk on mindfulness in daily living at Unity of Kanawha Valley in Charleston, W.Va., on May 26, 2017, as part of a visit sponsored by themeditationcircle.com and the PeaceTree Center for Wellness (www.peacetreecenter.com). For more on the Bhavana Society, visit bhavanasociety.org. For more on Bhante J, visit bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com/author/bhi…hujayasara

Bhante Jayasara to visit Charleston and Huntington in late May

PLEASE NOTE: The Saturday, May 27 day retreat with Bhante J is full-up.

We are glad to announce a visit to Charleston and Huntington, W.Va., by the Theravadan Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Jayasara (Bhante J) on Friday, May 26; Saturday May 27; and Sunday, May 28.

Below is the schedule for his visit. We encourage folks who have a meditation practice to sign up early for the Saturday day-retreat as space is limited at the PeaceTree Center for Wellness and we will be limiting registration to the first 30 people who sign up through EventBrite, in order not to overwhelm the room. There is also a sign-up for the Studio 8 meditation on Sunday, May 28 because of the size of the room.

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FRIDAY, May 26:  ‘Mindfulness in Daily Living’
LOCATION:
Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle Rd., Charleston, W.Va.
TIME: 6 to 7:30 p.m.
DETAILS: Bhante J will speak on bringing more mindfulness and awareness into our daily lives and then take questions.

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SATURDAY, May 27: Silent Day Retreat: Deepening Your Meditation Practice/Dealing with the Restless Mind
LOCATION: PeaceTree Center for Wellness,
5930 Mahood Dr., Huntington, W.Va.
WHEN:
Morning Session: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Lunch break: 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Vegetarian Lunch provided.)
Afternoon Session: 1 to 4 p.m.
DETAILS: This will be a silent retreat with several sessions of guided and quiet sitting meditation, with a chance to ask questions during the retreat. Cushions and chairs will be available and you are welcome to bring your own cushion. Because of space limitations, the retreat will be limited to the first 30 people who sign up. Some experience with quiet sitting meditation is encouraged though not required.
SIGN UP: This retreat is full-up.

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SUNDAY, May 28:
Meditation & Dhamma Talk
LOCATION:
Studio 8 Yoga and Wellness, 803 8th Ave, Huntington, WV 25701
TIME:
12:30 to 2 p.m.
DETAILS:
Bhante J will give a Dhamma talk and lead a meditation
SIGN UP: Click on this link to register for this Dhamma talk and meditation.

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More on Bhante J:

Bhikkhu Jayasāra (“Bhante J”) is an American-born Buddhist monastic who currently resides at Bhavana Society of West Virginia near High View, W.Va. He was born in 1978 and raised Catholic. He came to Buddhism in his late 20s and officially took refuge and precepts to become a practicing Buddhist lay disciple on Vesak in 2008. In 2011 he took the Eight Lifetime Precepts with Bhante Gunaratana and was given the name Jayantha.

By this point the practice had instilled in him a desire to become a monastic. Bhante J began to regularly attend retreats and weekend visits to Bhavana and learned all he could about the monastic life. He began living at Bhavana Society in September 2014, became an Anagarika (postulant) in March 2015, became a Sāmaṇera (novice monk) in October of 2015, and a Bhikkhu (fully ordained monk) in October 2016

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For more on Bhante J, visit his personal blog at:
bhikkhujayasara.wordpress.com

For more on the PeaceTree Center for Wellness, visit this link.  PeaceTree is a growing wellness development and training center. It is designed to connect individuals, families, and communities to activities that support our mission and vision of peace, wellness, and hope.

Spring 2017 edition of ‘The Forest Path’ now online

The Spring 2017 edition of the Bhavana Society’s quarterly newsletter, ‘The Forest Path’, features the third part of a series on the Four Noble Truths, written by Mangala Bhikkhu. This series seeks to explore the Buddha’s powerful teachings on the nature of suffering in a way that clarifies and engages the reader, asking one to question why we suffer in the first place. The second article is a reflection by Michael Summers, a member of Bhavana’s Media Team, who recently gave a presentation on Buddhism at a local West Virginia community college. The third article is from our ‘Ask Bhante G’ series, which focuses, in this issue, on answering questions concerning metta and vipassana meditation.

Click here to read the issue.

How the path unfolds

Through engaging in mindful attention both during meditation sessions and as we go about our everyday activities, we begin to see how the Buddhist path unfolds. Where is the path, and what is the path? It is within us—within, we might say, the mind and its activities. We will never find the path anywhere else— not in books, not in a shop, not in temples. It is within us. Mindfulness is the key that opens the gate to this road.
 
~Bhante Gunaratana
“Meditation on Perception”
www.wisdompubs.org/author/bhante-gunaratana
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(Quote courtesy of www.facebook.com/BhavanaSocietyWV)

not overlooking the breath

It’s surprising that in our lives we often overlook the breath and that in our meditation practice we are sometimes bored by it. Not only is each breath sustaining our lives, but being aware and mindful of the breath was also the basis for the Buddha’s own awakening. It can be for our own awakening as well:

“Bhikkhus, if wanderers of other sects ask you: ‘In what dwelling, friends, did the Blessed One generally dwell during the rains residence?’—being asked thus, you should answer those wanderers thus: ‘During the rains residence, friends, the Blessed One generally dwelt in the concentration by mindfulness of breathing.’ . . . “If anyone, Bhikkhus, speaking rightly could say of anything: ‘It is a noble dwelling, a divine dwelling, the Tathāgata’s dwelling,’ it is of concentration by mindfulness of breathing that one could rightly say this. “Bhikkhus, those Bhikkhus who are trainees, who have not attained their mind’s ideal, who dwell aspiring for the unsurpassed security from bondage: for them concentration by mindfulness of breathing, when developed and cultivated, leads to the destruction of the taints. Those Bhikkhus who are arahants, whose taints are destroyed, who have lived the holy life, done what had to be done, laid down the burden, reached their own goal, utterly destroyed the fetters of existence, those completely liberated through final knowledge: for them concentration by mindfulness of breathing, when developed and cultivated, leads to a pleasant dwelling in this very life and to mindfulness and clear comprehension.”  (Bodhi, “The Connected Discourses” 1778)

from “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening” by Joseph Goldstein

 

You can do it, too

Quote/Unquote

“Whatever you’re experiencing in your mind, other people are experiencing the same sorts of things. And what they’re experiencing, you’ve experienced before. This can help with compassion and empathetic joy. There’s that passage where the Buddha talks about seeing people who are extremely wealthy and realizing you’ve been there before. When you see people who are extremely poor or ill, you’ve been there before as well. This helps to equalize things to counteract resentment or pride.

But this reflection can equalize things in another way. You can think about people who are faced with the same mental problems that you have: the mind when it’s depressed, the mind when it’s scattered. All the great meditators of the past and the present have had just exactly the same kind of problem. Yet they were able to get past it.

In the same way, when you’re sitting with pain, realize that other people have sat with pain, too, and yet they were able to keep sitting with it. What did they have that you don’t have? They had persistence. Where did they get that from? It wasn’t that they were born with it. They developed it. You can develop it too.”

~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu
READ MORE: “Bodies & Minds Outside”

A mind imbued

Quote/Unquote

Photo by Dingzenyu Li.

“Here a bhikkhu dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with lovingkindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with mind imbued with lovingkindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, without ill will. He dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion… with a mind imbued with altruistic joy… with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with equanimity, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, without ill will. This is called measureless liberation of mind.”

7 Godatta. Cittasamyutta.
Part IV: The Book of the Six Sense Bases. http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/connected-discourses-buddha

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(Quote courtesy of www.facebook.com/BhavanaSocietyWV)

Mind habits

Quote/Unquote

“Although we have the potential for liberation, our awareness is not able to reach it, because we are concerned with what we already know. We are habit-formed and habit-prone and every meditator becomes aware of the mind habits with their old and tried reactions to outside triggers. They have not necessarily been useful in the past, but they are still repeated out of habit. The same applies to our moods, which are arising and passing away and have no other significance than a cloud has in the sky, which only denotes the kind of weather there is, without any universal truth to that. Our moods only denote the kind of weather our mind is fabricating, if it believes the mood.

“The four supreme efforts are, in the first place, the avoiding of unwholesome, unskillful thought processes. If we look at them as unskillful, we can accept the fact of learning a new skill more easily. Avoiding means we do not let certain thoughts arise, neither reactions to moods, nor to outside triggers. If we find ourselves habitually reacting in the same way to the same kind of situation, we may be forced to avoid such situations, so that we can finally gain the insight which needs to be culled from it…”

~Ayya Khema

from “Supreme Efforts”