Forest Sangha Newsletter April 1992

Ajahn Chah Passes Away; Venerable Thitapanno
50th Day Commemoration; Ven. Nyanaviro
A Noble Life: 17.6.1918 to 16.1.1992
A Niche in the Woods; Aj. Viradhammo
Life of a Forest Monk (Pt III); Luang Por Jun
Work in Hammer Woods; Mike Holmes
Staying Alive; Ajahn Sucitto

Being Nobody; Aj Sumedho
Why Are We Here; Aj Chah
Brightness; Aj Sucitto



Dhamma greetings from Santacittarama, the Vihara in Italy. As the cold winter winds are bracing the bare hills of Sezze, our community, only two at the moment, is getting ready for the winter retreat. Now the heat of summer months are only a memory, although the sun is still mercifully warming up the days after the long frosty nights.

Luang Por Sumedho enjoyed his time with us, and brightened our minds once again with the light of Dhamma. The retreat in Rome organised by the A.M.E.C.O. group ('association for meditative awareness founded by Prof. Corrado Pensa) was well attended, with Luang Por in great form, although he had to teach sitting in a wheelchair, having broken his leg in Hamburg, on his way to Italy. While we were in Rome we were also able to bring to completion the legal founding of the 'Santacittarama association', receiving from Mr. & Mrs. Piga the generous donation of the Vihara building.

The past year's experience has provided us with wise reflections for the furthering of our practice and Dhamma activities.

Our activities are well supported by the interest of many groups and individuals. In 1992 I will continue teaching weekly meditation classes for beginners, as well as further ten-day meditation courses and lectures. The presence of Theravada monks in Italy has enriched the spectrum of the Buddha's teachings, and our laity has benefited from the visits of some of our elders from Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The support and growth of Buddhism in Italy has culminated in the legal recognition of the 'U.B.I' (Buddhist Union of Italy) as well as the Maitreya Foundation (for the propagation of Buddhist culture, of both of which I am a representative member. In the month of March we should start the much needed renovation of the foundations of the Vihara building, and if fund raising efforts will cover the costs, we plan also to extend our guest facilities to accommodate both men and women practitioners, and convert a large room into the main Shrine and Meditation room.

All in all we could say the past year's experience has provided us with wise reflections for the furthering of our practice and Dhamma activities.
Yours in the Dhamma

Thanavaro Bhikkhu

Angulimala's Song

I am hungry yes my hands are burning
Shaking still my heart is full
But look at these hands, Sir, the fingernails are clean

These days I spend my time learning how to sit
I have spent half my life afraid
I have raged like a bull which has no master
I have drunk from a thousand rivers
But still I could not quench this thirst

How many times I have felt strong
The strength of a hundred men
But when it came to it
I myself could not stay this hand

I have followed this mind like a child follows its father
Over a million miles I have wandered
What else could I do? It was the only way I knew
Then one day I got tired of running
And your voice came as clear and still as mountain air
What could I do but respond?

Outside, the children press their faces up against the window
In the streets they throw stones, I hear their laughter and their song
And I laugh too - their song is good

I'm glad I have stopped running
For in my dreams I stumble on
I who thought 1 understood so much in one fell vision
Who now knows nothing have wanted to hear your voice again
But nothing comes. Silent I learn to listen inwardly.
I sit up straight and wait.