Life is Uncertain
Life is uncertain; the future is uncertain. The only certainty is that there will be death - and even the time and manner of that is wonderfully unknown. The wise, contemplating this simple fact, use it as an incentive to practise; that in us which is not so wise seeks security in what is insecure, taking refuge in an image of the world that can be swept away at any time. Fortunately from time to time there is a reminder, an event in our lives that we can't ignore, we can't pretend it didnt happen and the fact of uncertainty or change takes on a deeper meaning; our ideas of the future at least for a short time cease to be something that we take for granted.
Luang Por Chah would always emphasise uncertainty in his teaching, and so it is one of the main focusses of practice in his monasteries. Any undertaking is made with the proviso, "If things work out." One of the sisters reminded me of something that I had said during one morning gruel meeting: "I will be at the evening puja this evening - if I am all right." It had just seemed a sensible thing to say; it was not, as one could have suggested, that I had had any foresight or intimation that a few hours later I would be on my way to hospital in quite a precarious condition. From the inside it was a remarkably peaceful experience; there was no energy to think or to be concerned about the future. All I could do was be there, drifting in and out of consciousness, while others attended to my immediate physical needs or beamed in powerful thoughts of kindliness for my well being.
Having survived the ordeal pretty much intact, there is the time now to review this life and its priorities. My responsibility as editor of this newsletter is something that I have been questioning for some time since, not being so skilled at delegation, I have found it taking a disproportionate amount of time and effort to gather and prepare material to a suitable standard. Clearly it had to change but until recent weeks, it was uncertain how that change would happen. So now Tavaro is faithfully continuing to offer his skill as typesetter and help with the design, and Ajahn Sucitto once again has stepped in - preparing a more modest Dhamma offering in a simpler format. All being well, the next couple of issues will be taken care of in this way. After that, who knows? The future is uncertain!
In the meantime may I express sincere appreciation for the many kind messages, gifts and offers of help that have come during my illness and recuperation. And may we all continue in our striving to find peace and security in the midst of uncertainty.
Amaravati Temple Opening July 1999
As many of you will already know, the official opening of the Amaravati
Temple and Cloister is planned for the weekend of July 3rd and 4th 1999.
Much of the administration and preparation is already in progress.
Over this weekend and also during the days before and after the official
events themselves, we are hoping to welcome many of our friends to Amaravati
-- Sangha members past and present, lay friends from this country and
overseas and representatives from other faiths.
It is clear that in order to host a gathering of this size, we are going
to need a great deal of help! If you are in a position to offer assistance
before, during or after the festival period, July 1st 7th, we are
keen to hear from you. Please let us know if you are able to offer help
in the following areas:
- kitchen: cooking, cleaning and serving
- child care
- reception duty: hosting and stewarding visitors
- car park management
- driving: especially own vehicle
- general site maintenance and cleaning
- campsite setting-up and management
- care of the grounds and garden
- first-aid and medical support
Also we would very much appreciate offers of equipment for use during
the festival. We are particularly keen to borrow camping equipment
tents, air mattresses etc.
Please contact Shirley Cox, Temple Opening Co-ordinator at Amaravati.
Search for Small Things
shells of snails
under the hedges
the dew on a leaf
dripping in puddles
all for the robin
to drink, all
these things, so
these small things