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Meditation Circle resumes, Monday Jan. 9

Happy New Year to all!
The Meditation Circle of Charleston will resume its weekly gatherings on Monday, Jan. 9. Please come and join the circle and start the new year off with mindfulness. We gather at 5:30 p.m. for discussion and any instruction for beginners or folks renewing a meditation practice. Sitting, standing and walking meditation takes place from 6 to 7 p.m.

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The Buddhamas Carol (or ‘Ode of a Vipassana Yogi’)

There just aren’t that many Buddhist Christmas carols out there. Here is one by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, a Theravadan Buddhist monk who recently made a visit to Huntington and Charleston, W.Va., as part of his worldwide perigrinations. For more on Bhante Rahula (who will be leading a retreat in April 2017 on vipassana meditation at the Bhavana Society in High View, W.Va.), check out his blog at bhanterahula.blogspot.com.

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Here are the lyrics to the song, which are a Dhamma discourse in themselves:

A Buddhamas Carol
or
Ode of a Vipassana Yogi
(Composed by Bhante Yogavacara Rahula)

Silent Night, Peaceful Night,
All is calm, Stars are bright,
Round the hall Yogis sitting still,
Keeping their backs straight, exerting will,
Enduring pain without any ill-will,
Pervading Metta all throughout space,
Wishing good-will to the whole human race.

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Silent Mind, Peaceful Mind,
Thoughts are few, pain is slight,
Focusing mind at the tip of the nose,
Knowing each breath as it comes and it goes,
Perceiving the light that steadily glows,
Feeling the rapture from head to the toes.

Continue reading The Buddhamas Carol (or ‘Ode of a Vipassana Yogi’)

Being quiet

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“Try to be quiet in every way. The body is sitting here quietly. The breathing is quiet, and as for the chatter of the mind, don’t get involved. There are two ways of dealing with it: one is to block it out, say, with a meditation word like buddho. You can just think buddho, buddho, buddho, very fast. It’s like jamming the circuits. Or try to immerse yourself in the breath as much as possible. The chatter may be in the background, but don’t pay any attention to it, don’t give it any importance. If you don’t feed it, you’ll find that it gets weaker and weaker. The mind really does get quieter. And only when the mind gets quiet can you begin to notice things.
~
Once when I was in Rayong a group of people from Bangkok came up the hill to where I was staying in the old ordination hall. They plopped themselves down in the hall and exclaimed how peaceful, how quiet it was there in the monastery. Then they pulled out their boom box and turned it on—all the better to hear the peace and quiet with.

That’s the way a lot of us are when we meditate. The body’s still, the breath is still, but the mind is like a boom box, broadcasting all kinds of thoughts and concerns. For many of us, meditation is the only time of the day when we get to sit and be with our thoughts without any interruption. But that’s not what it’s for. We’re here to watch, to observe. So, we have to do what we can to discourage the mind’s involvement with all that chatter…”

~Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Read the full talk, “Quiet in Every Way,”  at this link
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Quote courtesy of the Facebook page, “The Skillful Teachings of Thanissaro Bhikkhu”

Online Dhammapada resource

The Meditation Circle has begun reading “The Dhammapada,” in a translation by Gil Fronsdal.  (See post below.) But there is a free online version of this classic collection of the Buddha’s core teachings translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita.

Comparing translations is always an educational and interesting exercise as different translations turn phrases differently and use different words that can add nuance and other shades of meanings to these teachings. You can find Acharya Buddharakkhita’s translation here to read online.  Or can download versions of it here in various formats.

 

This week’s Dhammapada verse

 

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The Meditation Circle has begun to read verses from Gil Fronsdal’s translation of “The Dhammapada,” a collection in verse form of some of the Buddha’s core teachings. As we are not certified teachers, but just facilitators of the Meditation Circle, our goal is just to offer some food for thought for folks to ponder and not to “explain” or interpret these verses. In the next few weeks, we will be reading from Fronsdal’s introduction to “The Dhammapada,” which gives a good overview of the verses, which are among the most widely known of the Buddha’s teachings. If interested in the book, you can find it here: “The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic With Annotations.”

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Below are the verses  — verse 3-6 — we will be reading next  in the group:

He abused me, he attacked me,
Defeated me, robbed me!”
For those carrying on like this,
Hatred does not end.

She abused me, attacked me,
Defeated me, robbed me!”
For those not carrying on like this,
Hatred ends.

Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hate alone does it end.
This is an ancient truth.
Many do not realize that
We here must die.
For those who realize this,
Quarrels end.

Bhante Rahula to visit Charleston and Huntington, W.Va. Oct. 13-14-15, 2016

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The Meditation Circle of Charleston (WV) is pleased to host a visit to Charleston and Huntington, W.Va., by the globe-trotting American-born Buddhist monk Bhante Yogavacara Rahula. (‘Bhante’ — BON-tay — is an honorific akin to ‘Reverand.’) Below is our tentative schedule for his visit, subject to modifications as we get closer. But we wanted to put the dates out there for people to reserve the time, if interested in attending. All events are free but we encourage people to show up before the starting time.

Bhante Rahula has a fascinating personal history, told in his autobiography, “One Night’s Shelter.” As described on one site:
“This candid and highly readable autobiography of the well-known American Buddhist monk describes his transformation from a GI and drug-dealing hippie to becoming an ascetic contemplative in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The unvarnished accounts caused some stir, as Bhante Rahula describes dealing drugs and getting arrested for smuggling a kilo of hashish from Afghanistan prior to his becoming a monk. He is now most well-known for integrating Hatha Yoga with Vipassana meditation.” He is also author of “The Way to Peace and Happiness,” “Meditation: The Mind and Body Connection” and “Breaking Through the Self-Delusion.”

DOWNLOAD: Read or download  pdf’s of Bhante Rahula’s books here.
BLOG: Visit Bhante Rahula’s blog here.
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THURSDAY, Oct. 13:  6 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: PeaceTree Center, 5930 Mahood Dr., Barboursville, W.Va., (located about ten minutes from the Huntington Mall).
WHAT: Bhante Rahula will speak on “An Introduction to Meditation,” followed by meditation and Q-and-A.
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FRIDAY, Oct. 14:  7 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 520 Kanawha Blvd W, Charleston, W.Va.
WHAT: Meditation, Talk and Q-and-A.
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3/ SATURDAY, Oct. 15:

11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
WHERE: PeaceTree Center, 5930 Mahood Dr, Barboursville, W.Va., (located about ten minutes from the Huntington Mall).
WHAT: Yoga session followed by meditation and then Q-and-A.

5 to 7 p.m.:
WHERE: Unity of Kanawha Valley, 804 Myrtle Rd., Charleston, W.Va.
WHAT: Yoga session followed by talk on “Mindfulness in Daily Life”,  short meditation and Q-and-A.

Foundations of Mindfulness Practice: Attitudes and Commitment

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” Seven attitudinal factors constitute the major pillars of mindfulness practice… They are non-judging, patience, a beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go. These attitudes are to be cultivated consciously when you practice. They are not independent of each other. Each one relies on and influences the degree to which you are able to cultivate the others. Working on any one will rapidly lead you to the others… together they constitute the foundation upon which you will be able to build a strong meditation practice of your own… ”

Jon Kabat-Zinn,   Full Catastrophe Living  (New York: Bantam Books, 1990, 2013), p. 21.

Don’t be in a hurry

“So don’t be in a hurry and try to push or rush your practice. Do your meditation gently and gradually step by step. In regard to peacefulness, if you become peaceful, then accept it; if you don’t become peaceful, then accept that also. That’s the nature of the mind. We must find our own practice and persistently keep at it.”

~Ajhan Chah

2016 Bhavana Retreat Schedule Posted

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Bhavana Society Meditation Hall (courtesy this page)

The Bhavana Society Theravada Buddhist Monastery near High View, W.Va., in Hampshire County, has announced its retreat schedule for 2016 on the monastery’s website. Retreat sign-ups begin 30 days before a retreat begins and you are encouraged to sign up quickly as Bhavana retreats are attended by people from around the country and world and fill up fast. There is no charge for retreats,  in the spirit of Buddhist traditions that sees teachings as given freely because they are considered priceless. But dana — generosity — is always welcome as Bhavana survives entirely upon the generosity of its supporters and visitors.

The Introduction to Meditation retreat, Thursday, March 24 to Sunday, March 27 is open for registrations, but only for women, as all the spots for men have been filled. Here is the schedule for the year:

March 24-27, 2016 Introduction to Meditation 3 nights Monastic Community Beginner Yes
April 19-23, 2016 Introduction to Samatha & Vipassana Meditation Retreat 4 nights Monastic Community Any Yes
May 10-15, 2016 Noble Eightfold Path Retreat 5 nights Bhante Seelananda Intermediate Yes
May 22, 2016 Vesak Celebration Day This is not a retreat. Yes
June 6-11, 2016 Monastic Retreat (Buddhist Monastics Only) 5 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
June 20-25, 2016 Awareness of Death Retreat 5 nights Bhante Seelananda Intermediate Yes
July 8-10, 2016 Youth Retreat 2 nights Monastic Community Youth Only Yes
July 24-30, 2016 Jhana Retreat 6 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
August 18-21, 2016 Introduction to Meditation 3 nights Bhante Seelananda Beginner Yes
Sept. 2-5, 2016 Fall Family Work Weekend Retreat 3 nights Monastic Community Any Yes
Sept. 18-24, 2016 Seven Factors of Enlightenment 6 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
October 3-9, 2016 Metta Retreat 6 nights Bhante Seelananda Any Yes
October 23, 2016 Kathina Celebration This is not a retreat. Yes
Nov. 10-13, 2016 Three Characteristics of Existence 3 nights Bhante Gunaratana Any Yes
Nov. 23-27, 2016 Thanksgiving Retreat 4 nights Bhante Seelananda Any Yes
Dec 15-22, 2016 Year End Retreat Part I 7 nights Bhante Gunaratana Intermediate Yes
Dec 24-Jan 1, 2017 Year End Retreat Part II 8 nights Bhante Seelananda Intermediate Yes

Daily Words of the Buddha

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Dadato puññaṃ pavaḍḍhati;
Saṃyamato veraṃ na cīyati;
Kusalo ca jahāti pāpakaṃ,
Rāgadosamohakkhayā sanibbuto.

Listen: http://host.pariyatti.org/dwob/digha_nikaya_2_197.mp3

Who gives, one’s virtues shall increase;
Who is self-curbed, no hatred bears;
Who so is skilled in virtue, evil shuns,
And by the rooting out of lust and hate
And all delusion, comes to be at peace.

Dīgha Nikāya 2.197

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Quote courtesy of Bhavana Society Facebook page: