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 NEWS FROM ANUKAMPA BHIKKHUNI PROJECT

Newsletter # 43 January 2022

Dear <<First Name>>,



Happy and belated New Year greetings to you!

In the midst of challenges and uncertainties, I trust that you have entered the New Year with a feeling of hope, determined to continue cultivating wisdom, compassion and peace. Recognising our extraordinary opportunity to contact and develop confidence in the Buddha's teachings, may we keep inclining our minds towards the wholesome and invite the qualities we want to see in the world, into our hearts, our speech and our deeds. May we forgive ourselves when we fall short of our own expectations and begin anew, with gentleness, kindness and resolve. We have the power to create the world we want to live in and it all starts within ~ expressed through beloved community!

The New Year got off to a slow start for me and I was recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. I am sure I speak for many when I speak of exhaustion and overwhelm and yet I still find a pure source of energy through serving the Dhamma, to accompany meditation and extra rest. I am currently enjoying time with family after two years away from my hometown in Derbyshire.

In this letter, we share news of a Q&A session with Ajahn Brahm this coming Thursday (13th), as well as an in-person retreat in November; updates on Anukampa and travel plans; the entire backlog of recent talks, including the playlist and feedback from the "Fizz & Sparkle" retreat, a talk given to Buddhist Fellowship Singapore on "Solitude vs Loneliness" and Tenzin Palmo's wonderful teachings for us. We also include our next events, including a new Tuesday Silent Sitting Group and peer-led sessions, so you can tap into the support and care of community, even while I am away.


Photo above: with my father on Curbar Edge, Derbyshire.

Upcoming Regular Teachings, Jan-March 2022



~Please note down the precise dates, as they differ to accommodate Ven Canda's travel and retreat plans. 


Sunday's Delving Deeply In Dhamma 
7.30 - 9pm GMT
9th Jan (Ven Canda) *23rd Jan (peer-led), 6th Feb (peer-led: "Fulfilling Buddha's Vision" documentary), 20th Feb (peer-led), 6th March (peer-led tbc), 20th March (Ven Canda)  
Link:https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85006432089
Meeting Password: 145401

Wednesday's Pali Chanting & Blessings Group
17.30 - 18pm GMT
12th Jan  (no chanting in February), then resuming weekly from 9th March.
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88410481720
Meeting password: 364195%L 

Friday's Sutta Discussion Group
19.15 - 20.30pm GMT

14th Jan (then a break through Feb)

THEN NEW TIME FOR MARCH ONLY: 18.45 - 20.00pm GMT!
11th, 18th & 25th March.


Link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87463836452
Meeting Password: 909557

Saturday's Guided Metta & Sharing Group
9-10am GMT
8th January, (then a break through Feb until further notice...)  
Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82533145821
Meeting password:  01140!$M


*Peer-led groups will be hosted by Lia, and follow the usual format, of half an hours' silent meditation, followed by a recorded talk or documentary, and a Dhamma discussion within the community.

If you have not yet attended one of our peer-led groups, we encourage you to give it a try! Feedback shows it can be very resourcing and offer a precious place of spiritual connection and support.


~Also: see below for details of our new Tuesday Silent Sitting Group.


All our teaching events are also found here: www.anukampaproject.org/events

N.B You will need to be signed in to your personal zoom account to access all meetings.  Please refer to our easy guidelines here.
 
~For security reasons please do not share links on social media, but instead refer people to our website :-) 


A cold crisp winter's day in the Peak District, Derbyshire, Jan 2022

New: Tuesday Silent Sitting Group!


~Every Tuesday from 7.15 - 8pm GMT (please join early as you will need to be punctual to be let in!)

One wonderful outcome of Ajahn Brahm's "Fizz & Sparkle" retreat was a request that we continue a regular silent meditation session for our beloved community, in the same vein as the valued silent sitting session that we hold during our retreats. One of our Zoomi Bhikkhuni co-hosts, Matthias, has generously offered to host this on behalf of Anukampa for us all to join whenever we wish.

Since the retreat we have had a regular group of about 20 people, so hopefully by sharing the joining link here, we can increase out combined meditation power by having more of you (physically and spiritually) present! I hope that meditating with Dhamma friends weekly will be a support for you to develop and maintain your own home practice - it never fails to amaze me how strongly connected we can be from afar distance and without even uttering a word, so I also enjoy popping from time to time.

Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83651452007
Meeting Password: 904346


India pilgrimage 2015 with Ajahn Brahmali and the Fourfold Assembly, meditating in Sarnath

The "Fizz & Sparkle" Retreat: Feedback & Full Playlist


Just last month from December 6th to 12th, Ajahn Brahm and I led our second online retreat together, via Zoom. Around 70 participants in full-time attendance created a palpable atmosphere of joy, peace and stillness in the zoom room, through their diligent practice.

I would like to share some of the uplifting feedback we received, to sing praise not to any individual but to the power of the Dhamma to transform mind and heart, no matter where we start from or what we are dealing with.

Before that, I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank our wonderful co-host and YouTube teams, (this time comprising Reny, Derek, Matthias, Paul and Karen). Working harmoniously together, they ensured that everything ran smoothly without a glitch, made the teachings immediately available to thousands through livestreaming and uploads, and presented excellent examples of selfless service with a genuine smile :-)

I also offer my warmest thanks to my on-the-ground support crew, hosts Kareem and Jasmine, who offered me delicious, lovingly made meals and a comfortable temporary home. They are pictured below with our lovely friend Charlotte, near Slad Valley, Stroud:

 

Retreat Feedback


The retreat was fantastic. What an opportunity! To spend a week with two remarkable teachers in the comfort of my home environment allowed me to work from the circumstances of my life and with the conditions of my body. My team of personal assistants were all involved and also kept silence to support me with personal care, cooking and housekeeping (mostly we had rehearsal time in the previous week). It did involve some interaction with smiling, occasional gestures, and words where really necessary. It has now provided a benchmark of quietness to return to. Ajahn’s advice to the person whose girlfriend was sick, “Be kind,” guided me through the week. The encouragement to explore and experiment answered my recurring question, "Is this okay?" with "If it's bringing more ease and peacefulness, then yes." I left the week with more confidence, the experience of deeper meditation, and peacefulness. I really appreciated the care and kindness in every way from the teaching and guiding to the last administrative detail. It made such a safe place to retreat and learn. Now I have found it I realise how long I have been looking for this. Thank you all, Louise.

 
Thank you for creating this special space for us and giving us opportunity to listen to the dhamma and practice. I'm very grateful for the teachings offered and supportive atmosphere. I was worried I will not be able to benefit because of my panic attacks but felt very cared for and encouraged throughout the retreat which created good results in the end. Ayya Canda is gentle, warm and inspiring in her efforts to establish a place of refuge for women who want to go forth in UK. She explains things in comprehensive and down to earth way and is open to share her own experiences with touching honesty. The friendliness and beauty of the atmosphere of the retreat was contagious. And all of that in the safety of your home. I highly recommend this type of retreat for anybody! Kind regards, Adrian.

 
Dear Venerable Canda, 
 I wanted to say I have such gratitude to you, Ajahn Brahm and the co-hosts for hosting such a wonderfully, peaceful, enlightening, humorous and profound retreat. The final "salute" from yourself and Ajahn Brahm was incredibly moving and underscored the delight of being one with a spiritual community. The added meditation time with Matthias was really beneficial to the structure of the retreat and my own practice and I am delighted by his offer to keep it going - I will continue to show up for those! As many others rightly said, the community already exists, it is only the physical representation of that, i.e. the monastery, that is still manifesting.  Your teachings and sharing of the dhamma have already transformed my life in ways that cannot be quantified and for that I have such immense gratitude to you for, Emily



Dear Venerable,
I am so grateful to you and the wonderful team to have enabled me to join such a great retreat. As I'm geographically far away for any community/Buddhist centre, I am so happy to be able not only to listen to such valuable teachings, but also to feel I belong to a community.
About the teachings, I love that Ajahn and Venerable know so well how to speak to our mind and especially to our heart. Every talk, I feel the Buddha talking directly to me and my problems through your wise and kind words. Like the ox trying to pull the carts full of stones, encouraged by your warm words, always overflowing with compassion, I now feel start pulling again and the carts are moving a little bit. No beautiful breath, no nimitta ~ yet ~ but some delicious moments of peace with the breath.
I also appreciate the little anecdotes about you and and your practice during the evening dhamma talk, it helps me understand and relate to a deeper level to the teachings. About the organisation, everything was so smooth (from my point of view), it's almost doubtful there is dukkha around! Many thanks to all the volunteers and co-hosts! I enjoyed the retreat to the last minute, and was very happy to be able to share at the end with the Q&A session and the private room chat.
Please be assured that what you're doing is very valuable to many of us, not only organizing retreats, but also feeding us the Dhamma, like a mother would feed her babies ~ one spoon of sutta, one spoon of metta, one spoon of chanting. I hope you will soon be able to enjoy some time for yourself and among your monastic friends and I'm rejoicing for you at that thought. Sadhu sadhu sadhu! Melanie



The "Virtual Dhamma Hall from where I taught in Stroud, thanks to Jas and Kareem :-)
 
Thanks for all your hard work in making Buddhism successful in this part of the world. My mother, sister and niece are all big Ajahn Brahm fans so it would be great if my niece has the option to train or ordain at some point within the Bhikkhuni monastic structure as set in motion by Gotama Buddha and continued today. In terms of feedback I thought the retreat was great. I thought your talks were excellent and complimented what Ajahn Brahm had taught that day. I didn't stay for most evening Q & A's as I wanted to continue meditating as the talk and guided meditations you gave set up my evening meditation practice perfectly. Sadhu and Metta, John


Dear amazing Anukampa Bookings team,
I would just like to say thank you one more time for letting me join this retreat and for being able to participate in it. This experience gave me very intensive and beautiful insights regarding the inner peace, meaning of life and the way of experiencing any kind of feelings: from love to sadness (very beautiful feelings as they are on the way of slowly fading out or taking them from another point of experience). Gratefulness. This retreat gives another perspective of life, love, care and peace and at the moment I wish you all a lot of all of that and all the beauty of it - in the way you treat it, to spread forward just the way you do. It is such a strong message for the world and humans. Meditation can be mind blowing and this what you do is the mind blowing. Thank you very much! Nina

 

Thank you for a very beneficial and wonderful retreat. It seems we all were ready for it. Everyone seemed to be so happy and grateful to be there. How wonderful is that? You achieved a lot to gather so many people from all over the world for 7 days to practice. My meditation practice was very peaceful during the whole retreat. It seems Ajahn Brahms "let go" and "let go of the steering wheel" and of course the "brain washing" finally sunk in. When I heard years back the talks of Ajahn Brahm, I always thought this is far too simple, but as I figured out in this retreat, that is the first step forward to deeper meditation. I did not dispute Ajahn Brahms competence in any way, it only sounded too easy and not serious enough. Also the still meditation session in the late afternoon was a wonderful place to meditate in company. Very kind of Mathias to offer this to us and also to offer this in future, Ulli
 

Dear Ayya Canda,
I just want to leave my deepest gratitude for the incredible retreat. Thank you so much. It helped me a lot to get my priorities straight (basically aligning them more with the Dhamma). I think I really got over my workaholism and burnout that had been lingering for quite some time. You are a great teacher and I am looking forward to connecting more with you and the Anukampa community in the future. Also thanks for the great co-hosts. I am very grateful for their work which made all of this possible. Frank


 
I'd just like to say what a wonderful retreat it was and a privilege it was to hear such profound pure Dhamma from Ajahn Brahm and Ven Canda. I was so inspired by Ven Canda’s genuine noble qualities, energy and hard work to teach and help us progress in the path. She continues to inspire me in my own development of the Dhamma practice and to develop such warm pure qualities of metta, compassion and wisdom just like her. I thought the retreat was conducted very professionally and smoothly by the co-hosts who too were beaming full of metta and compassion. Also having seen and spoken to some of other participants from all over the world It became obvious to me a loving spiritual community was growing and forming the Anukampa Bhikkhuni family. I look forward to now meditating with these lovely kalyanamittas via the power of zoom. That’s so amazing! Hope Ven Canda now takes a good rest and comes back with more radiant ‘Fizz and Sparkle!' Samantha

 
I wanted to thank you for the retreat week. It was very intense. The very first time I did a seven day retreat all alone. And this not feeling at the best in my life. I has given me a lot of confidence being able to go through this. Because I was so mindful walking I found not one but 3 four-leafed-clovers. I was so mindful they just stood out. It's like the Dhamma. If you look for it mindfully, you will find it, Dominique


 

 
 

The full playlist for the retreat (of 21 videos) is now available here.


Check out the closing talk and discussion by Ajahn Brahm on The Importance of Spiritual Friendship & Metta for a taste of joy! 

Or, if you are in a hurry, and want to relax and brighten your mind, try this 15 minute meditation on Metta & Forgiveness by me (Ven Canda).


"New Year, New Hope" ~ Q&A With Ajahn Brahm!

 

Thurs 13th Jan 12 - 13.30pm GMT 


Now, for a surprise treat this week, we welcome you to this special question and answers session to get the New Year off to a Dhamma-filled start!

The session is a registration only event. Please ensure you read the information below carefully, before you book.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION!

~  After registering you will receive a confirmation email with the Zoom link. You need to keep this safe as we cannot re-send the link!

~  Due to high no-show rates to zoom events, we will overbook this event to ensure the best attendance possible.

~ Please arrive 15 minutes early on the day to ensure you get a place.

~ If you are not able to get in, don't panic! We will also be recording and live-streaming the event via our YouTube Channel, so no one will miss out.

~ Please DO NOT send your questions in to us in advance. Questions will only be taken at the event itself. At that time, you will be instructed to submit your question to one of our hosts.

~ Please keep questions brief and limited to one per person, at the event only.


We wish you an inspiring, uplifting Dhamma-filled day!

Register here.


Sunset at a reservoir in South Yorkshire, January 2022 :-)

Plans to Renew, Inspire and Reinvent, in 2022!


The last two years have been trying for everyone and here at Anukampa we have achieved amazing things in unexpected ways. I am immensely proud of the community that has continued to develop through our online teachings. I am inspired by your commitment to the Dhamma and the love and warmth you bring, that makes teaching a delight. Through our zoom teachings in particular, our volunteer teams have consolidated with people developing deeper bonds and more ownership and agency in their Dhamma service. This is really positive progress!
 
At the same time, we have struggled (due to safety restrictions) to gather the in-person support necessary to sustain my life as a monastic within the parameters of the Vinaya that advise against cooking. This makes it hard to gain a clear perspective on whether there is enough support for our monastery aim. My instinct is that conditions are ripening and new shoots are soon to poke through snowy ground, but now is the time for a pause. The pandemic and crazy housing market make the ground a little rocky but with time and patience, lovely flowers will bloom.

First for tending this flower! Since the rains retreat ended in October, I have moved residence no less than five times and regrettably had to cancel the New Year Retreat that some of you (and I!) had hoped to attend. My body and mind are begging me to stop in order to rest and replenish my energies, so I can continue to serve from a more resourced place. I hope that if you too are experiencing burn-out (or preferably before you are!) you will take inspiration from me and let go of all but absolutely essential commitments and concerns, even if it goes completely against the grain. I like to remind myself that the Buddha said:

"The person practicing for their own welfare, but not for the welfare of others is more excellent and sublime" [than the person practicing for the welfare of others but not their own welfare]. "The person practicing both for their own welfare and for the welfare of others is the foremost, the best, the preeminent, the supreme and the finest of [all] persons."  Excerpted from the Anguttara Nikaya 4:95



As a lone monastic, maintaining a sense of belonging to Sangha is also vital. Ajahn Brahm has of course warmly invited me to Perth; however, as borders are still closed to UK citizens, I plan to reconnect with monastic friends in the US first of all. On 20th January I fly to New Jersey and travel via Empty Cloud Monastery to Forest Refuge retreat centre. During February I will be on retreat and entirely offline, so please enjoy the peer-led sessions that Lia (and friends) will provide. After that, (not withstanding disruptions to travel plans), you may see me zoomed in from the Redwood Forests of California ~ and so I have slightly adjusted the timings of our March Sutta Discussions (see above) to accord with the time difference there.

This breather also happily marks a shift in the project dynamics. Six years in and the groundwork is complete. We earned our charitable status in April 2017 and have organised five extensive teaching tours with our outstanding teachers Ajahn Brahm and Ajahn Brahmali, as well as three week-long online retreats with me teaching along side them. I have grown into my teaching shoes with your encouragement and support, and truly delight in regularly sharing the Dhamma with groups in England and worldwide. It is now time to increasingly allocate the bulk of the management and administrative side of the project to the trustees and volunteers to free me up further for my true monastic duties ~ including liberation! 

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge that we have received some kind emails offering volunteer skills and we fully intend to respond once we have regrouped and ideally have a volunteer manager to allocate roles and orient new volunteers. Please keep in regular contact and let us know of your interests and time availability so that we can engage you in due course ~ you are highly valued so please bear with us patiently! Together we are walking towards our common aims and learning much along the way ~ and for that I couldn't be more grateful..


Christmas card drawn by my 10 year-old niece, Bodhi McCabe, showing her happy winter home/community, including rabbits, guinea pigs and hens! 25.12.21

Save The Dates!

 

November 2022: The Return Of Ajahn Brahm...?


 

In December 2018, Anukampa's revered Teacher and Spiritual Advisor Ajahn Brahm taught his first ever 8-day residential retreat in England, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, a quiet landscape of open skies and seemingly endless space. 

This retreat took place at the fabulous Belsey Bridge retreat centre that offers three huge meditation halls (allowing for a separate designated walking meditation hall), single room accommodation for every retreatant, and to everyone's delight, heartily good vegetarian and vegan food. I remember with fondness how Ajahn raised his glass (of water) with a respectful nod to his late mother Hazel Betts, as we were served a sickly sweet (gluten free!) treacle sponge that reminded him of his happy childhood. Most of all of course, the retreat was memorable for the unparalleled opportunity it gave to us to imbibe deep Dhamma teachings with expert personal guidance, in an atmosphere of true loving kindness that opens the heart. You may have seen our wonderful group photo, taken at the end of the retreat with beaming smiles and a huge red teddy (auctioned with Ajahn's beanie thrown in!) - but if not here it is again:



We decided to book another retreat for 2020, which sadly had to be cancelled for reasons that needn't be explained. Fortunately, we were able to move our booking, along with our deposit to a new booking from 13th to 20th November 2022! 

Ajahn Brahm, the trustees, and I, are in dialogue aimed at going ahead with the retreat, despite the unpredictable circumstances we find ourselves in as we feel this could be a wonderful way to bring us all back together! On Sunday I delegated retreat organisation to a group of volunteers, including our loyal bookings volunteer Annie and two trustees. My heart feels light, knowing that everything is in excellent hands. You can look forward to hearing from the retreat team in the next couple of months, to announce registration. And, in the meantime, save the dates!

Special Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo Documentary 



Last November we were extremely privileged to host Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo for an insightful Q&A session (see below in this newsletter). Now, you may be interested in this documentary of Jetsunma's life story.

Latest YouTube Videos 


~To be notified of new teachings, SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE channel here!

Special Q&A With Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, 27.11.21

"Solitude & Belonging" Ven Canda for Oxford Insight, 29.11.21

"Expect The Unexpected" Ven Canda, 19.12.21

NEW: "Solitude Vs Loneliness" Ven Canda for Buddhist Fellowship Singapore, 26.12.21
 

Friday Sutta Discussion Playlist, All Sessions 1-18


Latest Sutta Discussions: "May Our Enemy Sleep Well!" 17.12.21, and  "Ways to Remove Resentment") Ven Canda, 07.01.22

"Sharing The Joy Of Service" Ven Canda, 09.01.22  

Surprise Appearance: "Believing Women" A Webinar with Bhante Sujato for Sakyadhita Australia (including bhikkhunis like Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo ~ I drop in at around an hour!) 
May these Dhamma offerings provide food for thought as well as the inspiration and guidance for putting them into practice, making every moment count.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support that gives meaning and richness to all that we do and I hope to see you somewhere online very soon, at Ajahn Brahm's Thursday 13th Q&A session at 12-13.30pm GMT, if not before.

With metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha, (loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity),

Ven Canda :-)
Please Consider Donating To Spread Dhamma!

Winter sunrise at Lyme Regis, Dorset, courtesy of Guo :-)
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