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forest sangha newsletter

July      2007                  2550                      Number 80
The Forest Sangha is a world-wide Buddhist community
in the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah

About this issue

Welcome to the Forest Sangha Newsletter online. This issue can be found in several places. You can download the whole newsletter as it was printed and distributed, or you can browse this website to find the individual articles and bits of news. Click "download pdf" for a PDF file - which we hope is in a resolution fine enough to allow for clear images, yet not too huge to download for most users of this site (1.1 MB). If the PDF is too big for you to download, the entire newsletter (absent a few photographs) is available on the pages of this website. Be sure to check the sidebars (FSN notices, Grapevine, etc.) for current announcements and Sangha news, etc., which change with each issue.

ajahn chah


From the editor

This past May marked 30 years since Ajahn Sumedho and Luang Por Chah arrived from Thailand to set up shop in the “Hampstead Vihara” on Haverstock Hill in London. Most of us know the story. Invited by the chairman of the English Sangha Trust to investigate the possibility of establishing a Sangha presence in Britain, Ajahn Chah left four bhikkhus behind: Ajahn Sumedho, Venerable Khemadhammo, Ven. Anando and Ven. Viradhammo – none of them much more than ten years in the robes. As was usual with Luang Por Chah, there was no certainty as to what to expect.

Despite a history of strife at the Trust, the new arrivals signalled a promising new era; and though the first years duly proved difficult, those growing pains turned into the blessings of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery and all that has since blossomed forth. The “Forest Sangha” community which this newsletter represents, with its roots in Ajahn Chah’s monasteries in Thailand and now spread across Europe and the globe, is a direct result of those tenuous first days on Haverstock Hill, full of uncertainty and promise. In honour of the occasion, on the following pages a few who were there around that time offer us glimpses of their experience.

A glimpse of experience is also what we get in From conflict to cure, which is – I assure you – just a snippet of the story of Sister Bodhipala’s long journey into robes. We hope you find such sharing useful. Sometimes the story of another person’s life has a way of touching our own, and the images of a life’s lessons can stick deeper in the heart’s memory when described in a personal tale.
The power of forgiveness. The power of meditation. The Dhamma in its various aspects, from cultivating compassion and serving others to renouncing the world of the senses – Sr. Bodhipala’s story has many lessons to teach a person who wishes to hear them.

Be sure to check the Grapevine, too, where you’ll find a bit more news from some of the monasteries in this issue, as that section continues steadily to expand.

May you all be happy and free,

Bhikkhu Jayanto



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