|Forest Sangha Newsletter||April 1988|
In assembling a newsletter, one is always juggling with the uncertainties of the future and with subjective interpretations of the present and the past. There's a feeling that if you set it down in black-and-white and get it to the printers on time, maybe that will actually help recorded or proposed events emerge from their dreamlike reality into actuality. A similar process is experienced at the beginning of a year; when the mind has been sharpened by a long meditation retreat, one begins to understand what that compulsion is. It is the becoming that is in towards birth. 1988: what will happen? What are the plans? there's a scurry to get the year planned out before the actuality of the uncertain and the unpredictable merrily chews up the diaries and the projects and the visions. Someone is taken ill. Some machine breaks down, people and events arrive which weren't expected - and what we planned for doesn't get born. Then, if you haven't understood how things are, you suffer.
Even the best plans are only perceptions in the mind
In the spiritual life, the underlying intention is away from becoming and birth, but our situation in the world asks for plans, events and statements. So we prepare a framework for events to establish the right intention of bringing Dhamma into the world, and let things take their natural course. Even the best plans are only perceptions in the mind, but right intention means that whatever does arise will be conducive to Dhamma. There is so little that we can expect or control, but in that is the need for, and the discovery of, a pure heart.
So here is 1988: the current Mask of The Great Unknown. And here are the viewpoints of a Newsletter, based on the intention to keep in touch: can't do better than that - and at least it shows that someone is watching.
Over this time
the Rainbows mailing list has increased considerably to include places
such as New Zealand, Australia, Poland and America. This growth encourages
the perception of a global community, which seems a more skilful way of
viewing the human family than through cultural and national differences.
In response to suggestions, ideas and criticisms, Rainbows has undergone
various improvements, and no doubt will undergo more as the future unfolds.
The Family Days, which have been the source from which both Rainbows
and the camp evolved, have been rather uncertain affairs. This is mainly
due to the lack of continuity that individual families can offer. For
many, the long travelling distances to Amaravati have allowed for only
occasional visits. Running Family Days has always been unpredictable -
there's no way of knowing who will come and what ages the children will
be. A great deal of adaptability has been necessary to make the best of
these days. Actually, in spite of the uncertainties, each of the gatherings
have been delightful, with a sense of sharing and warmth amongst the people
involved. However, until there are more interested families able to come
on a regular basis, the idea has been put forward to hold these days less
A Distinguished Visitor:
As abbot of
Wat Cholapratahn, a large monastery in Nonthaburi on the outskirts of
Bangkok, Ajahn Pannananda regularly teaches and has a Dhamma school. As
well as attending to the duties as abbot of his monastery, he is also
invited to give as many as four talks a day to different sectors of society:
students, teachers, civil servants and soldiers. He has the ability to
make the teachings of Buddhism accessible to the understanding of a whole
variety of listeners, and he regularly appears on National radio and T.V.
His direct but fair comments On the ethical conduct of the nation - even
of its eminent figures - make him a voice of Thailand's moral conscience.
Because of his service to Buddhism he has been honoured by the King with
the ecclesiastical rank of Tan Chao Khun; recently his official title
was upgraded to Tan Chao Khun Depvisuddhimedhi. Like many monks however,
he uses his ordination name, and people refer to him in affectionate respect
as "Luong Por Pailfla".
We are once again delighted to receive him as our guest at Amaravati
and Chithurst for the latter part of June and early July. Although he
speaks good and charming English, the Dhamma flows more naturally for
him in Thai; so we have arranged two venues for him to give talks primarily
to the Thai community: at Amaravati on Sunday June 26 (with English translation)
and in Thai only at The Camden Centre in London on July 3rd.