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Latest News From Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project
Newsletter # 28, End March 2020

> Greetings & Connecting in Challenging Times
> Zoomi Bhikkhuni: Delving Into Dhamma With Anukampa Live Online!
> "Ajahn Corona:" Ajahn Brahm Interview and Tour News
> Awaiting Ajahn Brahmali In 2021 
> Dhamma Resources: Latest Teachings By Ven Canda
Tips For A Beneficial Daily Routine
> Emptiness Is The Greatest: Guided Meditation by Ajahn Brahm, 26th March

Dear <<First Name>>,


Warmest greetings to you during these challenging and uncertain times. I sincerely hope this finds you and your loved ones safe, well and provided for. Though difficult, these times also offer an unprecedented chance to slow down and reconnect with what is really important. This begins with caring for the simple present moment and realigning with our most cherished values.

In stark contrast to the flurry of excitement in our last newsletter, announcing multifarious events, our world has now come to a virtual standstill to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nothing feels certain or predictable any more ~ and hopefully we are shaken out of our complacency and delusion that it ever was! Hearing of and perhaps seeing sickness and death around us brings the truth of suffering, impermanence and unreliability into stark relief. Can this wake up call help us renew a sense of urgency to apply the Buddha's teachings in our lives?

On 15th March I bid farewell to my last lovely guest, Cherry, and have since been dwelling in solitude at the Residence. I have been using a Vinaya allowance that permits a monastic to cook in times of danger and difficulty (* see footnote), and three kind, relatively local supporters are taking turns to leave shopping at my door. I feel enormously privileged to have a roof over my head and sufficient food, so please do not worry about me. Instead if you are able, check up on your elderly or sick neighbour or join a local (UK) initiative, such as this one here

Self-isolation is strange and unfamiliar to most of us, and anxiety provoking for some, yet I encourage you to consider it a radical offering of loving kindness and compassion~ with a deep awareness of our interdependence ~ that seeks to protect all beings from harm. By remaining physically apart, we serve the common good and can still reach out and connect with each other ~ and I'm excited to see if we can even strengthen a sense of spiritual community in the next few months!

So, please read on below, to see how...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Here is the Vinaya passage from the Bhesajja-kkhandhaka, thanks to Ajahn Brahmali
At that time Rājagaha was short of food. People brought salt, oil, rice, and non-staple foods to the monastery. The monks stored it outdoors, but it was eaten by vermin and stolen by thieves.
“I allow you to store food indoors.”
The monks stored it indoors, but it was cooked outside. They were surrounded by beggars and the monks ate in fear.
“I allow cooking indoors.”
Because of the famine, the attendants took more for themselves and gave less to the monks.
“I allow you to cook yourselves. I allow you to store food indoors in the monastery, to cook indoors in the monastery, and to cook yourselves.”

Zoomi Bhikkhuni:
Anukampa's Live Online Dhamma Sessions!



Staying at home provides an ideal opportunity to our develop meditation practice, or even begin a regular practice. In order to support you in this, I will be offering several regular online meditation groups via the video app., Zoom, at least until the end of May.  

If  you are unfamiliar with online Dhamma sessions, rest assured, you are not alone! I've been grappling (and occasionally grumbling!) with the technology involved myself, for much of last week, but now, having attended my first online session with Oxford Insight, I feel confident that we can co-create a safe and loving community to deepen our meditation and offer each other emotional support.

Just download Zoom on your computer, get your cushion, or relax into a comfortable armchair, and join a session of your choice by clicking on one of the links below (5 minutes before the meeting begins):


1. Saturdays: 9 am- 10 am  "Guided Metta Meditation and Sharing Group" (every Saturday from 28th March)

What better way to start the weekend than expanding our heart with the powerful, sublime practice of loving kindness and a gentle check-in with friends? This group will help us bring the benefits of metta into our lives in a truly transformative way. Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/567503672  


2. Sundays: 7.30 pm - 9 pm "Delving Deeply Into Dhamma" (every Sunday from 29th March)

These sessions will include a half hour guided meditation, followed by a themed Dhamma Talk and an opportunity for discussion and Q&A. This is a rare chance to get personal guidance in your practice and make best use of the extra solitude we experience at this unprecedented time. Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/797458952


3. Wednesdays 5 pm - 5..30 pm "Chanting & Blessings Group" (every Wednesday from 1st April)

This group is for those interested in learning some Pali chanting, such as the Karaniya Metta Sutta and more. At the beginning of each session we will call the names of people who would appreciate a blessing, so please join and make your dedications known. Link:  https://us04web.zoom.us/j/550027029


4. Lastly, my Monday evening sessions with Oxford Insight (led by other qualified teachers on other Mondays) will also continue via Zoom. See the website here for details, posted soon.

I will be teaching on: 3rd & 27th April; 11th & 25th May & 8th June 2020. 


~Please note that whenever you follow the links it will say that the meeting "should be starting in a few minutes;" however, the meeting will only start 5 mins before the times specified above. These events are also found on our website here.

Looking forward to seeing you soon! :-)

Photo: Live streaming from the study of Anukampa Bhikkhuni Residence (rug is synthetic ;-))
  

"Ajahn Corona:" Ajahn Brahm Interview & Tour News

 

When I spoke to Ajahn Brahm last week he was adamant that he still intends to teach for us in England this year, yet it is still too early to say whether this is a realistic possibility. We therefore decided to review the situation in a month. So, yet another chance to apply what our Great Teacher has taught: "When there is nothing to do, do nothing!"

Knowing a few soothing words would be of help at this time, on 20th March Ajahn agreed to a short interview with me, via Skype, for all to share, which quickly went viral! Listen to the interview here or by clicking on the photo:

Awaiting Ajahn Brahmali In 2021! 

 

As you may have anticipated, Ajahn Brahmali is unfortunately no longer able to visit us this June. We are however happy to announce that there are plans for him to lead another retreat at The Nightingale Centre, Derbyshire, in June 2021~ subject to the uncertain nature of life! This is one more reason to look after yourself carefully and develop your understanding of the Buddha's teachings in the meantime. If you had bought tickets for 2020 events and would like to be refunded please contact bookings@anukampaproject.org.

  Dhamma Resources: Latest Teachings By Ven Canda


Thanks to the wonderful extra-efforts of our YouTube team we are delighted to offer more teachings. There is a surprise too, namely, two guided meditations "scored" to music, designed to enhance relaxation. Sitting on the back-burner for a while, this seems like an opportune time to try them out! We also have recordings from my last two day retreats, for Bristol and London Insight, and the complete set of the guided loving kindness meditations from the "Love To Break All Boundaries" metta retreat.
 

Tips For A Beneficial Daily Routine


So, we've got to stay in~ let's make the most of it! Here are some tips which might help you establish a healthy, productive routine:
  • Meditate: try adding loving kindness meditation to your daily practice ~ you can join our Saturday metta class (above) ~ and don't forget to incorporate walking, standing and "curling up" aka reclining meditation for variety! 
  • Laugh: Try Ajahn Brahm's "push ups" (pushing up the corners of your mouth in front of a mirror, first thing!), or join an online laughter yoga group.
  • Exercise: try online yoga or qi gong, jogging, star jumps, walking etc 
  • Eat healthily: plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, home-baked bread, banana cake, thick, hearty soups and stews (which you can also freeze)
  • Tidy and beautify your home space- allow sunlight and fresh air inside, create a calm ambience with candles
  • Spend time in nature: if you are able, use your "one walk a day" allowance, keeping a safe distance and bridging it with a smile! For those at home, tend plants, sow seeds (flowers or quick-growing vegetables, like radishes, kale, lettuce, spinach); watch the trees grow, and hear the birds sing.  
  • Chant with us on Wednesdays, or sing! 
  • Get creative: draw, paint, or colour in (free colouring in resources here).
  • Journal: use writing as a form of self-expression, connection and release. You could try these questions: 1. What am I grateful for? 2. What am I struggling with or finding painful? 3. How am I taking care of myself and others? 4. How am I relating experience? 5. What beautiful qualities am I able to cultivate? 6. What am I able to let go of? 
  • Breathe to soothe anxiety- e.g. regular breathing or extending the exhale (exhaling is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which influences our body’s ability to relax and calm down). Find eight breathing exercises here
  • Listen to and value each other; learn to accept and forgive.
  • Cleanse and boost immunity with green tea, vitamin C & D, other supplements that you trust, daily salt gargles for sore throats and regular sipping of hot water. 
  • Join an online meditation group- one or more! (see Anukampa's Live Dhamma Session's, above). 
  • Go to bed early and practice loving kindness before you fall asleep: "May we be healthy, anxiety free; May we be safe, live with kindness and ease." Adapt these phrases to reflect your deepest wish for all beings.

NB: The above is intended to support your general well being only and is not medical adviceFor best practice for coronavirus prevention and tips on self-isolating, see the WHO advice here, or the NHS advice here. Latest UK government advice is here


At Blenheim Palace grounds: the beautiful world that awaits us~ nature is healing and life carries on!

"Emptiness Is The Greatest" by Ajahn Brahm  

 

Before we part for now, I would like to express profound gratitude and respect towards our Teacher Ajahn Brahm, who, out of great compassion continues to meditate deeply and teach us when we most need it. You can listen to his wise words and meditation guidance, offered from Jhana Grove meditation hall on 26th March here. I hope you will be as inspired as I was.

I am also immensely grateful to each one of you, for your care and all your kind messages of support ~ it means more than ever at this time.

Let's end with the wise words of my dear Venerable Sisters at Dhammasara Nuns' Monastery, Gidgegannup, WA:

[May we] "...turn every situation, dark or bright, into an opportunity to cultivate wholesome qualities [and]...perceive this time as a divine messenger calling us to rouse our sense of urgency and to remind us to care for what's really important in life."

With love and solidarity,
Ven Canda and the Anukampa Team :-)

Donate Here To Support The Spread Of Dhamma

The beautiful magnolia is blooming in the "thousand tree park" near Anukampa Residence. 

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