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The latest from Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project
Newsletter # 17  July, 2018

> Ajahn Brahm Talks Open for Bookings!
> An Incredible Teaching Tour With Ajahn Brahmali
Taking Refuges and Precepts
> Anukampa in Next Buddhist Society Journal
> A Mini-Monastery Experiment in Lyme Regis 
> Back to Winter Down Under 

Dear <<First Name>>


Please excuse us for sending a second letter- this is the correct one! (The last one contained incorrect links, so kindly delete it and keep this one instead).
 
This newsletter is packed full of Dhamma teachings and we hope you will enjoy reading about and listening to talks from Ajahn Brahmali's tour. You will also find two new talks each from Ajahn Brahm and Ven Candā. Before that though, we wish to announce the opening of three upcoming Ajahn Brahm events in December, with tons of space for everyone. 

~We are looking for a volunteer coming to all these December talks by car, who could store and deliver some Dhamma books to the events. To offer this meritorious service, please write to team@anukampaproject.org

Ajahn Brahm Talks Open For Bookings! 

 

"Jhanas & Enlightenment" UK Tour:

December 6th- 16th, 2018


 Ajahn Brahm's UK retreat from 9th to 16th December booked out within two days of opening registration- even faster than anticipated! With over 40 people on our waiting list, we regret that we are now closed for waiting list applications and hope you will join us at the events below: 


6th December, 6.45-8.45pm"Not Me, Not Mine, Not A Self" 
Guided Meditation, Dhamma Talk and Q&A at Kagyu Samye Dzong, London SE16 3SA 

As the Buddha said, “What is impermanent is suffering, and that by its very nature cannot be taken to be ‘me’, ‘mine’, or a ‘self‘ ” (SN: 22, 59). The Buddha’s teaching on anatta (non-self) is deep and profound because it challenges something very basic to our assumptions about life.

Ajahn Brahm explains how the practice of deep meditation, combined with careful investigation, uncovers the truth of anatta so that freedom can be found from the illusion of a ‘self.’  Registration open- click here


7th December,  7-8.30pm: "The Happiness of Peace" 
Dhamma Talk and Q&A at Leonard Wolfson Auditorium, Wolfson College, Linton Rd, Oxford OX2 6UD

The Buddha said that the highest happiness is the happiness of peace, which far surpasses the happiness of sensual pleasure.

In this talk, Ajahn Brahm differentiates between worldly happiness that depends on things going just to plan and deep inner happiness that supports us through all the vicissitudes of life.  Registration open- click here

 

8th December, 7pm-9.30pm: "You Don't Have To Be So Perfect!" 
Guided Meditation, Dhamma Talk and Q&A at Rudolf Steiner House, London NW1 6XT

How many of us feel that we have to be perfect- or at least better than we think we are- to be happy, loved, and make progress on the Path?

This talk explores how, by learning to accept ourselves just as we are (so-called shortcomings included) we can foster self-compassion, unconditional love and peace. When we open our hearts to ourselves, our past and to life, we are able to grow through the inevitable difficulties we face.  Registration open- click here

An Incredible Teaching Tour With Ajahn Brahmali

 


The tour kicks off at Kagyu Samye Dzong, photo by pallotta_photography

 It has been a huge privilege to host Ajahn Brahmali in England and he left us all on a wholesome high! The remarkable tour was pretty packed yet Ajahn was on top form, delivering intellectually lucid, spiritually rousing teachings directly based on the suttas. He brought us nearer to the Buddha as our principle Teacher, by carefully drawing out the meaning, implication and practical application of many subtle nuances one could easily miss, as though spreading wide an intricately woven embroidered cloth to examine its beauty more closely. Of particular poignancy for me (Ven Candā) was having two distinct parts of my life brought together by retreating in my home county of Derbyshire and having lunch offered to me and Ajahn by my parents- at my childhood home! 

One of the beautiful aspects of mental cultivation that really stood out on "The Gradual Training To Lasting Joy" retreat, was the often neglected teaching on wise reflection, as part of right effort to undermine the hindrances. For instance, a powerful means to overcome anger or resentment is to deliberately focus on a person's good qualities, rather than dwell on aspects of behaviour that irritate, just as one would move aside algae from a pond, to uncover pure water for quenching one's thirst, beneath (AN 5: 162). Repeatedly reflecting in this way builds a storehouse of positive perceptions, which are then at hand to counter those perceptions giving rise to anger, before it obscures the mind. Additionally, by reminding ourselves of our conditioned, changeable nature, we begin to understand there is nothing essential or inherent in a person to be angry with and harbouring hate only hampers our spiritual development. Practicing such right effort- off the cushion- helps remove the coarser obstacles to meditation, so that by the time we sit down our heart is relatively calm. With proper preparation, the job that remains is to simply allow the breath to enter and gladden the mind.

The last evening Q&A session of this glorious retreat turned into an outpouring of gratitude. It was deeply satisfying to learn how much benefit people gained from delving into the suttas in a meditative context and many expressed a renewed commitment to taking them forward into all aspects of daily life.



"Finding True Freedom" was an exceptional talk to end the tour. One participant later wrote, "I would not have missed it for the world. Right from the get-go my feeling was that it was like sitting in an incredible field of love." On that last evening back in London, I felt particularly moved on noticing how many spiritual companions associated with Anukampa were present- especially as I knew no one less than three years ago! When asked for an update on our progress at the end, I said THIS GATHERING- implying all the spiritual friendship, goodness and dedication among us- IS the monastery (so far). The bricks and mortar will simply build on that.

Ajahn Brahmali greatly enjoyed teaching and travelling in England and gave some feedback of his own:

 "Bhikkhunīs are on the march in the UK! After a busy but inspiring teaching tour – with four days in London and a full week in the Peak District – I have seen first-hand the momentum that is building around Ajahn Brahm’s and Ven. Candā’s vision of establishing a bhikkhunī monastery in England. Ven. Candā’s impressive leadership skills and long experience as a monastic became evident as I worked closely with her. The heartfelt support from a large and diverse Buddhist community is equally remarkable. It is a vision for the long-term, but there is every reason to believe this will become an exceptional resource for women who value the Buddhist monastic life."


Ajahn Brahmali discusses true freedom: portrait by Winnie Chang

Words fall short of expressing the depth of gratitude I'm sure many of us feel towards Ajahn Brahmali, for joyfully imparting his vast knowledge and understanding of the Buddha's teachings and supporting Anukampa's aim. Special thanks also to Bodhinyana Singapore who sponsored hire expenses to boost our fundraising efforts; Sheffield Insight Meditation for loaning cushions and mats; Brentwood Buddhist Society for creating beautiful quote books that were distributed at the events; Cristo and Rudite for video/audio recordings respectively; Matteo and Winne for photography; and all other volunteers who helped make this tour such a resounding success!   
  
                                                       

We aim to get the entire set of retreat recordings with you by next week, but the first recordings are already available here, thanks to our hard-working team:

Dependent Origination and Liberation                          
The Fast Happy Path
Kamma and Rebirth
Overcoming the Five Hindrances
Finding True Freedom

 Taking Refuges and Precepts     


Once again I spent a rich Dhamma evening with friends in Brentwood, in early May. For a special treat we recorded the group's powerful chanting of taking refuge and precepts at the beginning of the guided meditation. This ritual is not a requirement, but provides a powerful container for practice.

Taking refuge in the qualities of the Buddha (as Noble Teacher and Guide), Dhamma (the teachings and natural law of conditionality) and Sangha (the monastic community who practice sincerely) involves aligning our heart with our highest potential. It means recognising there is something we have yet to understand and experience and- with confidence coupled with wise discernment- looking in the direction the Buddha points. Reaffirming our intention to live an ethical life of non-harm AND active kindness, inspires us to reflect on our thoughts, words and deeds by asking: does this action lead to happiness and well-being for myself and others? Accordingly, we learn to refine our conduct, for the benefit of all. 

Enjoy discovering the links below:

Refuges, precepts and guided meditation: "Meeting Bodily Sensations"
Dhamma Talk: "How Meeting Suffering Develops Wisdom"

Anukampa in Next Buddhist Society Journal


Ajahn Brahm and I are very grateful to have been invited to contribute to the next (September) publication of The Middle Way journal of Europe's longest standing Buddhist Society. In this special women's edition, I speak about the spiritual journey that led me to found Anukampa, before Ajahn Brahm offers some inspiring words on why our project is close to his heart. If you are not already a member, the journal can be ordered here

A Mini-Monastery Experiment in Lyme Regis


Right before Ajahn Brahmali's tour I spent three weeks in Lyme Regis, in a supporter's flat with a female care-taker. I was greatly encouraged that people in the immediate surrounds came to offer lunch a total of seven times! Naturally, the tranquil beauty of nature conduces to a peaceful mind and that interested people can manifest in such a small town makes it seem viable to skip the step of renting in London and instead try our first base in rural Devon or Dorset, after Ajahn Brahm's December tour. Once we find something suitable we will be taking applications for women who would like to stay, initially for up to a week, to look after the resident nun (!) There would be daily joint sittings, weekly Dhamma discussions for the public and a combination of service and solitude. This arrangement would enable me to have a rest from the peripatetic life, find help with my organisational duties and make regular trips to London for volunteer meetings and respond to incoming teaching invitations (so far from groups in Brighton, Oxford and Frome). Please note that the location we rent in next year does not determine where we will finally reside- anything could happen yet. I think of it like dipping toes in new waters to gauge the temperature, before (possibly) diving in!

Back to Winter Down Under 


My favourite time of year, the monastic rains retreat (vassa), is upon us again and it couldn't be more perfectly timed! Armed with powerful material from Ajahn Brahmali's retreat to inform calm abiding, I'll be suitably downsizing from a rich inter-city life of service to a secluded world of Eucalyptus forest, kangaroos, cockatoos and introverted meditators. This year my delight is multiplied as I share this precious opportunity with an Anukampa trustee, which will no doubt inject more Dhamma energy into our team-work. Every year Ajahn Brahm uses the auspicious occasion of his birthday to generate acts of generosity and this year I'll be joining him for a fundraising event with proceeds shared between Newbury Buddhist Monastery near Melbourne and Anukampa's future Bhikkhuni monastery- wherever most of you want that to be! 
So, for now, I bid a long farewell and greatly look forward to seeing you post-vassa, at Ajahn Brahm's talks and retreat. In the meantime we leave you with a couple of new Ajahn Brahm video's, (a guided meditation for noisy situations (!) and a Dhamma Talk), from his 2017 weekend retreat, to get you in the mood for more! 

With loving kindness, appreciation and blessings in abundance throughout vassa,
Ven Candā 

Tibetan Singing Bowl at Kagyu Samye Dzong, courtesy of pallotta_photography
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