Dear <<First Name>>,
I was very content to return from the US to the first stirrings of Spring
in England, on 11th February, and find Anukampa's Residence in tip top condition, ready for visitors once again.
Having had some time on retreat I experience a renewed appreciation for the opportunity to serve and am meeting the demands of my role(s) with a lighter touch.
Venue hunts for both Ajahn Brahmali and Ajahn Brahm- as well as Anukampa's very own Vesak celebration-
are firmly ON, among many personal teaching commitments.
Ajahn Brahm's 2020 tour dates stretch from 3rd until the 15th November,
so keep those dates free in your diary! Ajahn has, to our delight, agreed to teach another 7-day retreat at Belsey Bridge
(at least partially due to the delicious treacle sponge!) and I am now finalising details for the rest of the programme, including talks in London, Oxford and Birmingham. Before we open for registration at the end of March
, we welcome you to our other events discussed below.
~For guest information and applications to stay at Anukampa Residence, and all other enquiries,
please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ajahn Brahmali's Flying Visit In June!
Ajahn Brahmali, who many of you know as Ajahn Brahm's senior-most monk disciple- not to mention a Dhamma prodigy in his own right- will be blessing us with an opportunity to hear his insightful, clear and rousing teachings this June.
Here are his events:
Sun 21st June, 1pm- 2.30pm "Happiness & How To Get It!" Dhamma Talk, Chapel Suite at Wellington Hotel, 71 Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PA ~ register here.
*Those who would like to stay to socialise afterwards may do so until 3.30pm and ensure we are tidied and cleared away before 4pm, when the hire time expires. It is an easy journey to the next talk (if going by train, go from Victoria to East Croydon station).
Sun 21st June, 7-9 pm "The Four Noble Truths" Dhamma Talk Thames Buddhist Vihara, 49, Dulverton Road, Selsdon, Surrey CR2 8PJ
~ no registration required
Mon 22nd June, 10am -3.30pm "Satipaṭṭhāna Meditation (Four Focuses of Mindfulness)" Day Retreat, Thames Buddhist Vihara (see above), 49, Dulverton Road, Selsdon, Surrey CR2 8PJ
~ no registration required
Mon 22nd June, 7.30pm - 9.30pm "Right View & Spiritual Friendship" Guided Meditation & Dhamma Talk at October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL ~ register here.
A Fond Farewell And Warm Welcome
Our Treasury team is changing as we bid a fond farewell to Tehani and extend a warm welcome to our new treasurer, Malika.
"It has been an honour to serve this wonderful project for over two and a half years - initially as a volunteer bookkeeper and then as the treasurer. During this time I had the privilege of working with a lovely group of people, made some good kalyana mittas and also deepened my personal practice. I am now taking a step back due to work and personal commitments. I am sad to leave my role, but will continue to support Anukampa as much as I can. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our very generous donors for your continuous support in various different ways."
And Malika introduces herself:
"I was born and grew up in Colombo, Sri Lanka and now live in Berkshire with my husband Warna. I am a Qualified Accountant and specialise in leading teams of Finance Professionals, in delivering large scale Finance Transformation Projects. I am also a Volunteer at Barnardo’s UK and enjoy swimming, music and spending time with friends and family.
I came across Ajahn Brahm’s teachings about 10 years ago, and these valuable Buddhist teachings truly transformed my life. My respect and admiration for Ajahn grew even stronger with the Bhikkhuni ordinations, and I am honoured to be part of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project. In my new role as Treasurer, I am duly supported by Tehani (former Treasurer), Liling (Finance Volunteer), Anukampa trustees and volunteers and our wonderful Spiritual Director, Venerable Canda."
On behalf of all at Anukampa, I wish to express deep gratitude to Tehani for her excellent service, expertise and sincere Dhamma practice- you have enriched our lives enormously and it is blessing to walk this Path with you!
Above: Tehani (next to me, Ven Canda) & Malika, at Anukampa Residence
Forest Refuge, Empty Cloud: My Time In The US
The new decade got off to a peaceful start. I was extremely privileged to spend the month of January at Forest Refuge, Massachusetts, on retreat with the guidance of Bhante U Jagara and Shaila Catherine. Flying out just a day after the New Year Retreat I led for Sheffield Insight meant arriving a couple of days late, but with a heart full of joy and gratitude~ almost disbelief~ to find I'd truly left everything behind!
Contentment becomes easy when we value the beautiful simplicity of the present moment, and a contented mind is soft, receptive and poised. This disposition helped me drink in the teachings like nectar and benefit deeply ~ as far as internal causes and conditions allowed ~ supported by the pristine white snow and stillness of the forest. It was delightful to catch up with Ajahn Brahm at the end of my retreat and discover that he had also taken some time for solitude in early January and was still "flying high" as a result!
I greatly enjoyed my visit to Empty Cloud Monastery in New Jersey on emerging from retreat in early February, where I was invited to give a public talk and thereafter lead a weekend retreat called "Stopping The World With Contentment." The teachings were very well received and many were video recorded. We share one on "The Rewards Of Virtue" below, and the rest are coming on YouTube, soon.
The main aim of Empty Cloud is to bring lay people in contact with monastic teachers, whilst also functioning as a training monastery for nuns and monks. It was wonderful to meet both the resident and visiting monastics there, particularly because they come from a range of traditions, which makes for a rich exchange and sharing of perspectives. It is very rare for me to meet other bhikkhunis and especially those who, like me, have left their traditional communities in order to find new ways of bringing Dhamma into society, as monastics committed to a lifestyle of renunciation. To all those at Empty Cloud I wish to thank you for your amazing vision and for looking after me so well. I eagerly anticipate welcoming you to England, when the time is right, for further monastic exchange!
Joyful goodbyes! Ven's Soma & Suddhaso, with guests Irina and (above), May.
Returning To Anukampa Bhikkhuni Residence
"Rich and rewarding" is how I would describe the three weeks since arriving back to England. On 15th Feb, some of our trustees and volunteers travelled for several hours, despite severe storms, to spend the day at Anukampa Residence. Being together in person made for a fun trust meeting and those who couldn't make it- Ajahn Brahm (in Australia!), Helen (in Portugal) and Lushani & Sanjaya, joined via Skype. Ajahn roused and inspired us by sharing some advice the great forest monk Ajahn Gunha had given to him on his recent trip to Thailand: "Do service- that's the best way to develop your meditation." This is because of the beautiful energy service creates inside the heart~ and which we were experiencing right then and there!
L-R Thamali & Heenali (volunteers); and Ali, Malika & Caroline (trustees)
Naturally, the day involved being nourished by delicious edibles and Dhamma, and we also threw around some exciting ideas, such as our "Buddha's Birthday" (Vesak) plan! Such occasions are always hugely encouraging, but this one was particularly special as it was the first time that some of us were meeting our new treasurer, Malika, and had chance to welcome her to the team.
The next days continued to be full of rewarding teaching experiences for me. I was invited to Oxford's "Sunday Sangha" meeting, a group of well-practiced meditators who join weekly for lunch and Dhamma sharing. After some stimulating discussion, the lovely women sent me off smilingly, armed with daffodils that brought cheer to otherwise grey surrounds.
The fortnightly Monday sessions I'm headed to lead for Oxford Insight have since got off to a start again, with encouraging feedback:
Dear Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project team,
I wanted to say thank you to Venerable Canda for teaching us yesterday at the Monday Sitting Group in town. I learn so much, that has a practical impact on my life, every time she comes to teach us, so I just wanted to say I am very grateful.
Best wishes... (19.02.20)
On Sunday 23rd Feb, I had a beautiful day teaching in Bristol, continuing to tease out threads on the theme of contentment, as a pleasantly effective antidote to craving and discontent.
It was my first trip to Bristol, yet within twenty four hours I entered a whole new world of kindness and friendship and left feeling enriched. I wish to extend gratitude to the wonderful volunteers at Bristol Insight, who collectively picked me up, fed and hosted me with true hospitality, and to all those who expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to practice together. It amazes me how quickly intimacy and safety can develop among diverse groups of people who have come together for the first time~ and will never meet again in that particular constellation~ when the intention is to deepen in Dhamma. (Photo: Some of the lovely volunteers)
Updated Schedule at our Oxford Residence:
6.15am Group Meditation
7.15am Breakfast offering
8.30am- 11.15am Period of Service
10.30am Guest arrivals for lunch offering ~ email the team (below)
11.15am Lunch offering, Dhamma reflection and blessing
12.30am Clean up and depart by 1pm
1pm-6pm Quiet time for residents
6.30pm Evening tea for residents and visitors ~ email the team (below)
7.15pm Silent meditation sitting
8.15pm Saturdays: Sutta Discussion
Sundays: Recorded Monastic Talk from Ajahn Brahm
10pm Lights out and sleep
Ehipassiko - come and see!
- To share in the lunch offering, visit us for evening tea and/or meditation/ sutta class/Dhamma talks etc, email: email@example.com
- To stay for a week to deepen your practice in our peaceful Vihara ~ or explore and pursue the path to ordination, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a link to our bookings page.
We regularly update our Needed Items List and Dana Calendar to make it easy for you to know what is helpful in terms of food or other items. In this way, you can contribute to our success, even from afar!
"It was our great pleasure to do whatever little we have done so far. You are giving us the greatest gift of Dhamma," said a friend and helper of Anukampa.
Upcoming Talks And Retreats with Ven Canda
8th March: Day Retreat "Emotional Agility" London Insight Book Here
Meditation is a way to develop beautiful emotions like compassion and courage. Yet any authentic inner journey involves meeting feelings that we find painful (even ‘unspiritual’) and may be tempted to push into the recesses of our minds.
Using a range of perceptual and meditation techniques, we will learn to befriend and open to our emotional world with gentleness and respect. Developing such emotional agility helps us stay steady enough to penetrate the nature of experience, relaxing clinging towards any particular state of mind.
23rd March: " Cultivating A Heart Of Love" Dhamma Evening with Northants Buddhists
9th May: Day Retreat, Oxford Insight (details to follow)
Dhamma Evenings In Oxford
This year I will teach regularly for Oxford Insight.
Where? The Friends' Meeting House, St Giles, OX13LW
When? Mondays, 7- 8.30pm:
2nd, 16th and 30th March,
13th and 27th April,
11th and 25th May,
and 8th June.
Throughout these sessions we will explore various aspects of The Gradual Training as taught by the Buddha in around 40 places in the Pali cannon.
The Gradual Training contextualises and draws out the Noble Eightfold Path in great detail and with practical application to every aspect of our lives. I hope to touch on all aspects of the training in some depth, to give a complete overview of practice~ including virtue, contentment, guarding the senses, working with thoughts and emotions, mindfulness, samadhi, the brahmaviharas and satipatthana ~ yet each session will also stand alone and aim to be of value in and of itself.
I also welcome feedback and suggestions and some sessions may priortise discussion over teacher input.
Today (Monday 2nd) evening will be on "The Protective Power of Virtue"
Anukampa's Exciting Vesak Celebration
One lovely outcome of last October's volunteer gathering with Ajahn Brahm in Surrey, was the idea to organise our own Vesak celebration this May. Vesak is one of the most important festival days of the year for Buddhists and is traditionally a celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment and Parinibbana.
We have hired a very suitable large, bright hall in North Oxford for the occasion, which has been generously and anonymously sponsored by one of our guests. St Margaret's Institute is an easy 15 minute bus or taxi ride from Oxford train station, or a pleasant half hour walk along a canal. It sits close to the huge Port Meadow (Burgess Field), so if the sun shines we can do walking meditation or even picnic outside!
The day will be fun and include ample time to enjoy one another's company, share food & ideas for taking Anukampa forward, and of course, meditation and Dhamma talks/discussions. You will also have the opportunity to take the 5 or the 8 precepts ~ and for those who wish to formally commit yourself to the Buddha's Noble Path, the Three Refuges will be offered.
Please do come along and make this a memorable event!
Time: 11 am - 4.30 pm (lunch will be from 11.30 am- 12.30 pm, so arrive early!)
Date: Saturday May 16th, 2020
Place: St Margarets Institute, 30 Polstead Road, Oxford OX2 6TN. For directions, see link above.
* Please note there is no parking. Meal ideas for those coming on foot or by bus include sandwiches, salad, pastries, dips, crisps, cakes etc. Please bring any hot food in sealed tubs. Flowers and other decorations welcome but must be taken away (or offered to our Residence!) at the end of the day. Volunteers welcome to set and clear up!
YouTube:"Love To Break All Boundaries" & More
"[The way to find a balance between meditation and daily life responsibilities] is by doing loving kindness and serving. This takes you out of your self and gives so much to the world, so that you can engage without losing your peace." ~ Adapted from a Q&A with Ajahn Brahm, at the end of a talk on Friday 21st Feb.
Registration for Ajahn Brahm's UK tour will be in our next newsletter, at the end of March, so do keep a look out for that! In 2018, the retreat booked out within two days.
With deep loving kindness,
Ven Canda and the Anukampa Team
So, in anticipation of seeing many of you at Dhamma gatherings soon
By Leunig, the Perth Sangha's (and my) favourite cartoonist, shared by Jess Walton (-: