Summer 2016

        Newsletter Summer 2016


Dear Friends

  Greetings from a very lush and green Cittaviveka. Though some people may not, the natural environment seems to appreciate the steady amount of rainfall we have been experiencing over the last months.

    As is characteristic of the Spring and early Summer there have been various Sangha members, resident and non-resident, coming and going. We have been blessed with visits from various Elder Bhikkhus.

Ven. Ajahn Sucitto returned to the UK in early April. He has been coming and going since, but will be spending the Vassa Rains retreat here at Cittaviveka. Luang Por Viradhammo, the abbot of Tisarana Monastery in Canada, came for a few days in early May. Luang Por Toon, one of Luang Por Chah's senior disciples in Thailand, visited in mid-May and we had the privilege of him participating in our Vesak Celebration. Luang Por Munindo, abbot of Aruna Ratanagiri Monastery in Northumberland, visited for a few days in mid-June. Sister Ajahn Cittapala has also been spending a week each month at Rocana Vihara offering teaching and support. You will be pleased to know she will be in residence at Rocana Vihara for the whole of the Vassa and until mid-November. The dates Sister will be offering Dhamma talks are posted in the "Special  Events".

   In June two Thod Pha Pa events were organized. The first was the annual TPP offered by local supporters and the second by a group from Thailand. This group included  Luang Por Damrong, another of Luang Por Chah's senior disciples, and four other senior Thai bhikkhus. The coming together of people in the spirit of generosity made for both being joyful occasions. The funds raised will go towards the purchase of a shepherds hut, or what may be called a "kuti on wheels" to compensate for the two rooms we are no longer able to use due to stricter Health and Safety Fire Regulations. Any future funds raised will now be put towards renovating what has been for many years a makeshift monks' utility building.

       For this Vassa Rains retreat there will be in the male community 11 bhikkhus, 2 samaneras and 3 anagarikas. Ven. Joshin is also with us again for most of the Vassa doing excellent work around the grounds. On the female side there will be Ajahn Cittapala and an anagarikaa with other nuns visiting for shorter periods. During this Vassa time the community determine to stay in residence for the 3 months which provides a suitable time for the study of the Vinaya (Code of Conduct) as well as some personal retreat time. As in previous years we will begin the Vassa with a week of group meditation starting on July 21st . We are hoping Ajahn Sucitto may offer some 8.15am morning reflections during this time. Everyone is welcome to join in these sessions.

    A friend recently commented on the challenges of these uncertain times. The thought that came to mind in response to this was "Whenever have things been certain?" Times of gain can change to times of loss, praise to blame, pleasing times to difficult times, popularity to disrepute. This highlights why in the Buddhist tradition we take refuge in the Triple Gem guiding us to cultivate and fortify the qualities of mindfulness and wisdom that can enable us to cope more skilfully and calmly with the inevitable changes that occur in our life in the world. The Buddha teaches us that we can develop what one may call a higher awareness from which these natural changes and our responses to them can be witnessed in such a way that the mind is not caught up in or overwhelmed with responses like worry, anxiety or fear. Just as one who ascends a mountain can have a clearer and better view of the lowlands (Dhammapada 28). Or just as one would seek refuge on higher ground so as not to be swept away by tsunami.

       As I mentioned before the monastery is looking beautiful and the natural and peaceful environment lends itself to be a most suitable place for meditation and wise reflection and the opportunity to firm up our sense of refuge. At the Sunday mealtime during the Vassa there will also be the opportunity to take the 3 Refuges and the 5 Precepts. May we invite you to take advantage of it.

 Wishing you blessings in Dhamma,


                                                     Ajahn Karuniko