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The latest from Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project
Newsletter #12, December 2017
> Ajahn Brahm's tour success & recordings
> Ajahn Brahmali's 2018 UK retreat
> Ajahn Brahm Loses Faith at Cambridge Union
> Changes & Developments in "Anukampa Camp"
> Dhamma Offerings by Ven Canda
> Steps of renunciation

Dear friends,

It’s been a month and a half since we bid farewell to Ajahn Brahm, after a dynamic and powerful teaching tour. Thanks to a fabulous team of volunteers and countless random acts of kindness, for the second year running we were able to impart the Buddha's profound message of peace to over a thousand people - and a teddy bear! Now we hope to rekindle the sense of warmth and inspiration experienced live and share the benefits with those unable to join in person, as we begin to upload recordings of each event chronologically to Anukampa’s YouTube channel.

My heart soars to hear feedback such as this:

"Joining you for meditation and a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm was wonderful. Even though I could come to only one talk, the experience strengthened me in Dhamma. Thank you for making this possible. I hope my words here give strength to you, too. Our community around Anukampa is a true force of goodness. May we grow together and grow in Dhamma."

"It was such a wonderful week, blending together activity and stillness, service and community building. I found the second year of events brought a much more tangible sense of the bonds of kalyānamitta (spiritual friendship), and have yet to fully absorb what occurred in such a short space of time, as I'm sure most people can relate to! Special thanks to our teacher Ajahn Brahm for his support to Anukampa, his unflagging selfless service, and teaching style that is so accessible even my dad was laughing heartily at one of the Manchester talks- quite possibly the first time he has accessed the Dhamma."

 

Ajahn Brahmali's UK retreat: "The Gradual Training in Lasting Joy." 1st-8th July 2018, The Nightingale Centre, Derbyshire

We are overjoyed to announce that Ajahn Brahmali, "right hand monk" to Ajahn Brahm, will be making his debut visit to England in support of Anukampa next year! An exemplary scholar and much sought-after teacher of early Buddhism, Ajahn Brahmali brings the depth and scope of the Buddha's message to life with palpable joy and direct application to practice. For a taste of what to expect, dip into his excellent talks and sutta classes on BSWA's YouTube channel, such as this Introduction Talk on meditation.


Ajahn Brahmali's programme will commence with public talks in London on 29th and 30th of June, before the silent retreat. We are preparing to start registration by January, but are too excited to keep it to ourselves until then!

Ajahn Brahm Loses Faith at Cambridge Union! 


On 9th November, Ajahn Brahm zipped back to England solely to join the Cambridge Union debate, "This House Has Lost Faith in Faith." Ajahn was invited to speak FOR the motion, but despite his eloquently passionate presentation, his team lost heavily to the "Faith-er's!" Have a watch here and let us know why YOU think faith ruled the day.

Changes & Developments in "Anukampa Camp"


With much gratitude and gentle bow, we wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of Aminah, a pioneering volunteer who has supported Anukampa from the beginning in every conceivable way. As Aminah takes a step back, we will be building on the excellent foundations she has helped set in place. Our technical systems will undergo a complete overhaul to ensure greater efficiency and amazing new volunteers will contribute their loving energy, expertise and innovation. We extend our warmest welcome to webmaster Dawid, Sue and Annie in events registration, Thamali in administration, and Kirsty who formatted this newsletter. As our community blossoms, we feel greatly uplifted by your ongoing, wholehearted support.

This coming year is also the first since 2004 that I’ll be in England for nearly a years’ stretch! From now until mid-January and again for a month in Spring, I will be supporting the personal retreat programme at Gaia House- a marvellous opportunity to develop greater Dhamma-sharing skills, and let those interested know of our work. After that, in May, we will investigate possibilities for a temporary base.

Dhamma Offerings by Ven Canda


"Training in Beauty" talks and meditations from a day retreat on 18th November for Brighton Bodhi Tree are now available here.

Upcoming day retreat: February 11th, 10am-5pm: “Is Mindfulness Enough?” Further information and bookings can be found here.

 

Steps of renunciation


"Nibbana is the empty and natural process of body and mind, doing its cessation thing."
Ajahn Brahm

Letting go of the grasping mind is crucial to liberation. As the suffering inherent in clinging becomes clear to a meditator, renunciation can begin to make sense as a relief rather than a loss. Whether it's a small letting go such as giving things to a charity shop, or full monastic renunciation, it is important to differentiate between a natural process based on wisdom, and a more aversive pushing away of whatever appears to be the problem.

If you feel drawn to monastic life but are not yet sure you are ready, proceed gently. Establish yourself firmly in Dhamma by sitting longer retreats, spending time in monastic communities and cultivating a regular daily practice. Investigate: Do the benefits of meditation translate into a kinder, more compassionate way of relating to myself and others? Am I deepening in contentment and refining my ethical conduct without strain? It may also be helpful to identify and seek help for any psychological or emotional trauma, as pain that has not yet been handled skilfully in the light of loving awareness may be triggered by the challenges of ordained life and projected onto fellow monastics.

Search carefully until you find a teacher who really lives the precepts and in whom you have great trust. It takes time to get to know someone and don’t be blinded by the robe! A happy, welcoming community who dwell with mutual respect and embrace you as you are will be a huge support. Discover what the training system involves and take your time before committing. Use reason as well as intuition and be both realistic and inspired! And support the full ordination of women so that Buddhism can thrive (no rhyme intended)!


Image courtesy of Richard Burch
To end I share a quote that sums up my path:

“I’m not religious, I’m just religiously committed to kindness”

With much kindness and compassion,
Ven Canda
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