Forest SanghaNewsletterOctober 1988

Ajahn Chah's Birthday; Viradhammo Bhikkhu
Question Time; with Ajahn Sumedho
Co-operation & a Different "Golden Rule"; Santacitto Bhikkhu
To Arrive Where You Are; Conversation with Tudong Monks
Keeping it Simple; Ayya Candasiri
Ancient Meadows; Dr. Barry Durrant & Ayya Viveka
Family Camp; Ayya Thanissara, Upasika Medhina, & Children
State of America; Sucitto Bhikkhu

The Changing Faces of Sangha

Those attending this years upasampada at Chithurst may have noticed at the end of the mysterious and inaudible proceedings (Ajahn Sumedho has requested a PA system for next year) another earnestly attended process. It was the announcement of a samana labha avasa and if you're still guessing, that means that Amaravati, Chithurst, Harnham, Devon and the Swiss Vihara have agreed to act as a commonwealth, sharing greater and lesser possessions according to need. It formalises in material terms what has always been the spirit of our communities.

Community consciousness -where the group is the reference point rather than the views of the individual - is an evolved state that one sees as the only way towards skilful relationship with each other and the planet. It does require a maturing through individuals conforming to standards and precepts, and a sense of trust for those who make that commitment. To not be offended by the world - Ajahn Sumedho's current resolution -is the prerequisite for compassionate response. Then the views of the individual can be seen in the correct light, as steps towards acceptance of differences, and cooperation despite them.

Glad responses come up when we can explore the aggrieved, the fantastic or the ordinary with an open mind.
Am I trying to justify another Newsletter assortment of perspectives that not everyone's going to agree with? Well, more than that. Sangha life in general received quite a boost from a series of Global Co-operation Workshops as mentioned below - which presented opportunities to relax the critical instincts, the indignation at the world predicament and resolution (often made by Buddhists) to be completely hopeless. Glad responses come up when we can explore the aggrieved, the fantastic or the ordinary with an open mind.

Kathina season comes round again, so for Asian and Western lay people there is a special time to Co-operate around the themes of offering to the Sangha and helping to keep these monasteries going, for the welfare of the many. Then in January and February the monastic retreats bring the ordained community together around Dhamma on a moment-by-moment basis. This year, the Devon and Harnham sanghas, and we hope, Ajahn Jagaro from Down Under, will be merging into the Deathless at Amaravati. May we all learn to share what we have and accept each other's offerings with gratitude.

Ajahn Sucitto