Forest SanghaNewsletterJanuary 2003

Sati-sampajanna: The Brightest Kamma; Ajahn Sucitto
Silent Attentiveness & the Mirror-like Mind; Ajahn Vimalo
A few words on Dhamma from Down Under; Ajahn Kalyano
Cycles of time: Renewal; Ajahn Thaniya


Cycles of time: Renewal

'Rahula, after you have done an action by body, speech, or mind, you should reflect on that action thus: "Does this action that I have done, lead to my own affliction, the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both? Was it an unwholesome action with painful consequences, with painful results?" When you reflect, if you know: "This action that I have done, it leads to my own affliction, the affliction of others or the affliction of both. It was an unwholesome action with painful consequences, with painful results," then you should confess it, reveal it, and lay it open to the Teacher or wise companions. And, having done so, you should undertake restraint for the future. But when you reflect, if you know: "This action does not lead to my own affliction, or the affliction of others, or to the affliction of both; it was a wholesome action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results," you can abide happy and glad, training day and night in wholesome states.' Majjhima Nikaya: Sutta 61

Once again winter is drawing close; the season of inwardness is upon us. Once again we find ourselves withdrawing from the elemental play - out of rain, wind, cold and mud. With this winter mood there can be an awareness of cycles of time, a sense of, 'here we are again;' there are aspects of the familiar, but everything - inside and out - is undeniably different. It is valuable to pause, before we get swept into the tumbling momentum of the new arising, so we can contemplate what the results of this past year are. If we take the conceptual boundary of a year coming to an end, we can feel what traces there are left from it for us.
...when we turn our eyes inward, we can see that the bright or confused actions of body, speech and mind all leave traces in our hearts.
Some of this vipaka will be manifest externally. But of profound importance are the internal residues from how we have lived. At Cittaviveka the Dhamma Hall is no longer a skeleton of a building, only usable when the season is warm and gentle; it now has a stone floor, plastered walls, and doors to keep the cold out - a welcome space for meditation. And of particular loveliness is the white Buddha-rupa who smiles down on all who enter - a year when such a beautiful Buddha is born is indeed a fortunate one. So, amongst all that has arisen, some of it difficult and heart-rending, there is this obvious sweet fruit of the past year. Then there is the heart-fruit of the goodness that nourished it, the gladness and faith that have been strengthened in all those who supported it. We can feel what it is like to be able to stop and recollect, 'I'm part of that. I supported its coming into being.' As with this, so it is with so many things we offer our life energy to.

To review the consequences of action is certainly something the Buddha encouraged. He said it is a way we can train ourselves, purifying our bodily action, our verbal action and our mental action. Then, when we channel our heart's wholesomeness into supporting what is for the well being of others, the consequences are naturally fortunate. We can feel that we are part of a field of merit. These results then give us courage to continue with this path of purification.
When we sit quietly with ourselves, when we turn our eyes inward, we can see that the bright or confused actions of body, speech and mind all leave traces in our hearts. It is important that we bring these into the field of mindfulness and full comprehension; we can then allay what is unfortunate, and find strength and encouragement from what is bright and noble. We clear out the residue that, if left to re-seed, would only be to our harm. We can feel into the resentment we may carry, touch the darkness of it and through compassion for ourselves let it be cleared out. From this place of care for ourselves, we can allow forgiveness, and with this a sense of wisdom arises - 'given the conditions how could it have been any other way?' This clear attention brings a sense of renewal: when we attend to our hearts fully there is the possibility of new growth and a verdant flowering.
As we rest into our goodness, letting it be medicine to soothe and allay the pain of what has been hurtful for us, we can start to sense a deeper reality that holds all of it. Through mindfulness and a full comprehension of the whole of our experience the traces the heart carries are perceived, and the very knowing of the mind becomes revealed to us. We come into awareness itself: we feel this profound ground of being, and taste its ambrosial fruit.

Ajahn Thaniya




The Tao of Sitting on Benches
(for Ven. Thitadhammo)

If there is a way forward it must be back
Back to the inscription
       On the stone before moss
Back to the seed which is all that is left
Of the ancient forest before that
& if an intelligent thinks that I'm mad
Because I sit & watch the sun go down when it rains
So Be It, those
       Who justify fail to convince
The wisdom of being
       Insecure, the faith to doubt
Like the silver birches at the mercy of the wind
In the field that glitters
       With pearls, with tears
Like water, which follows itself
I am my own shadow as the sun goes down
The fury of splendour fighting through clouds
& will be silent
       I promise, soon