April             2008                             2551                      Number     83
The Forest Sangha is a worldwide Buddhist monastic
community in the Thai forest tradition of Ajahn Chah

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About this issue



April 2008, and another newsletter has come together, this one taking shape during our three-month winter retreat. We focus on the theme of ‘teaching’, which is a broad topic for this community, and an important area in our lives. What does it take to learn? What does it require – or mean – to teach? There’s a lot that can be considered, and potentially shared.

The offerings here were helpfully provided by Ajahns Munindo and Chandapalo by way of a Q&A format, and Aj. Munindo and Tan Hiriko deserve special thanks for gathering the adapted quotations from Luang Por Chah and the website guide. The winter retreat prevented the arrangement for other contributions initially envisioned, such as a perspective on teaching from the nuns’ community and something about teaching retreats. Of course, there’s always much more…

The ways we learn and how teaching transpires are myriad and mysterious, and not easily defined even within conventional teacher-student relationships. In the world of Buddhist training systems there are many different approaches. While all seek to ‘train the mind’, one might focus on maintaining rarefied conditions while another welcomes the ordinary. Though the essential task remains the same for any one of us – to uproot the cause of suffering through fulfilment of the Eightfold Path – the kind of communication and support we need to know what this requires will differ with our different characters and at different times.

Accordingly, even within our own community of monasteries one finds various approaches to training. In this issue we hear from Ajahn Munindo on what he offers at Harnham and how he understands his role as a teacher. Ajahn Chandapalo answers a few questions too about his experience teaching in (Continental) Europe. And to let you know if you don’t already about our attempts to make Dhamma more available through the Internet, a brief list is provided of the main websites currently run by the European monasteries represented by the FSN.

Finally, just as we were going to press we received a few words from Ajahn Thaniya (see the Grapevine sidebar, under sangha notices), in light of her recent decision to disrobe. Ajahn Sister Thaniya has been living the samana (religious renunciant) life with the Sangha for 17 years, most of that time at Cittaviveka, most recently as senior nun. She is respected and well-loved by those who have had the opportunity to live and practise with her, and it’s with enormous appreciation for what she’s given, in living this life for so many years and for her many contributions to our extended community of Sangha and supporters, that many of us will hear the news. Everything is always teaching us.

Bhikkhu Jayanto 



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