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The latest from Anukampa Bhikkhuni Project
Newsletter # 16  May, 2018

> Valuing You Means Protecting Your Privacy! 
Ajahn Brahm's "Jhanas and Enlightenment UK Tour, 2018
Making Each Moment and Act of Self-Care
An Inspirational Gift!
> Space Still Available For Ajahn Brahmali's Evening Talks

Dear <<First Name>>,


The last two weeks have seen Annie and I (Ven Canda) avidly preparing registration for an exciting event (see below) and our trustees are busily updating our privacy policy to accord with new EU data protection laws. After hours writing and formatting a quirky newsletter to ask for your re-subscription (!), we were informed by the NCVO that opting-in again will not be necessary, as you are willingly and -we hope- happily subscribed! We very much value your continued support in these early stages of our project, knowing the best is yet to come, and assure you we will always respectfully safeguard your data.

Ajahn Brahm's "Jhanas & Enlightenment UK Tour"

 

December 6th- 16th, 2018

 
Retreat Bookings Open Below!
 

We are more than thrilled to have Ajahn Brahm teach his first ever 8-day silent retreat in the UK this winter, as the main part of his visit. This is likely to be a once in a lifetime chance (for those who can’t make it to Australia or Asia) to have a full-length retreat with a much loved and trusted meditation master, revered for his humorous yet penetrating wisdom; his palpable compassion and peace.

 

Careful plans for a longer retreat have been several years in the making. Ajahn Brahm’s previous UK tours were specifically designed to bring large numbers of people together in Dhamma, and in support of Anukampa’s monastery aim (see Ajahn's video clip on this subject here). We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response so far to Ajahn’s teaching and our inspired mission, and sense that the time is ripe for the Dhamma seeds thus planted to now take deeper root.

 

In addition to this hard-to-obtain residential retreat, we have also organised a few evening Dhamma Talks, so everyone will have chance to participate in Ajahn Brahm's amazing "Jhanas and Enlightenment" Teaching Tour, his 3rd for Anukampa in consecutive years!
 

The Tour Events:

6th December, 6.45-8.45pm Dhamma Talk: "Not Me, Not Mine, Not A Self" London (bookings for this talk open in next newsletter)

8th December, 7pm-9.30pm Dhamma Talk: "You Don't Have To Be So Perfect" London (bookings for this talk open in next newsletter)


9th- 16th December:  Residential Retreat: "Jhanas and Enlightenment: A Natural Process" registration open- click here

In this silent retreat we will learn how to allow the natural process towards jhanas and enlightenment to unfold, as we let go into stillness and bliss!
 

Making Each Moment An Act Of Self Care:

Lessons From Retreat

 

Less than two weeks ago, I left the Gaia House haven to venture back into the speedy world of cities and smog. A renewed sense of ease accompanies me, which manifests in very tangible ways, including a lighter, more self-compassionate attitude to service.

Admittedly quite exhausted before my retreat, I can barely remember feeling so happily relieved to let everything (especially technology) go and plunge into silence! Every silent morning, nourishing meal, cup of tea, gentle stretch and conscious breath became a deep act of self-care. For two weeks, if I inclined to spreading metta outwards, my mind would (figuratively) beg, "please, not yet- I still need you most!" So what choice but to drink my fill- and I enjoyed every drop. Once truly resourced the sharing happened naturally, even increasing the reserves. Spacious, unscheduled days pass quickly when only several events occur; early morning sit, breakfast, two more morning sits before lunch, a rest, an amble along the lanes or fields, more meditation, and luxurious evenings in reclining chairs, or with a rousing Dhamma talk- that's it. Certainly, a nun's idea of heaven (while it lasts!).
 

In my final meditation week I joined a teacher-led retreat entitled 'Overcoming The Inner Critic' with Laura Bridgeman, who accompanied me on tudong (walking pilgrimage) in 2016. We looked closely at some of the conditioned patterns we carry that no longer serve our needs. The archetypal inner critics operating most strongly for me are the 'Perfectionist' and the 'Underminer'- which can make a debilitating pair (if you believe in them) combined! Seeing them clearly and objectively undermined the grip of their often veiled messages such as 'It won't be good enough', or 'If it's not perfect you will disappoint, so keep going, do better and work hard!' (sound familiar?) Often just kind-fully meeting the voices allowed for great strength and humour to arise and from there it was much easier to distill and connect to the beauty behind the message, such as the genuine wish to serve. This experience inspired the topic of Ajahn Brahm's December talk: "You Don't Have To Be So Perfect" -a marvellously rebellious message of 'good enough' that he often conveys to us all.

The inner nourishment of retreat also enabled much clarity to arise about healthy ways to proceed with Anukampa. The unexamined enquiry "how can my practice serve the project?" shifted to "how can the project serve my practice?" and this feels more consciously rooted in my spiritual aims and aligned with the essential purpose of a monastery. From strong roots grow strong trees, so in the next months and maybe years, focus will be on honing good organisational and communication structures, and exploring ways of empowering each other to bring our strengths and initiatives to the mix. Once this reduces my workload (!), we will be in a position to think about property- in the meantime we may choose to rent a flat as a small community base. On May 12th we will have our first 'key volunteer' meeting to discuss this: hopefully the first of many more to come. 



I spent the last month at Gaia as temporary resident teacher and once again felt privileged to bear witness and gently guide people's inner unfolding, as an apprentice in deep listening and kindly holding space. Caring for my own heart through inwardly embodied connection, and noticing when I was moving energetically into the other's terrain felt key, and it seems remarkable that often the most healing gift to people is simply a non-judgemental grounded presence, rather than lots of advice. This is a hugely rich learning field for me, which is now coming to hand in comforting a dear friend as she nears the end of her blessed life, her goodness shining forth.

Truly, the more we care for ourselves, the more we are able to care for all beings, and this way the well-spring of compassion won't run dry. This way our service becomes love made visible, in this transient world of pleasure and pain.

 An Inspirational Gift


Our Facebook volunteer Paul has had an oil painting commissioned by artist Mala Wijekoon, of the Arahat Bhikkhuni Sanghamitta, who founded of the Bhikkhuni Sangha in Sri Lanka around 230 BC. She arrived with a sapling of the Bodhi Tree from Bodhgaya. Paul wrote to us saying "I would like to offer the painting to you and the (eventual) bhikkhuni monastery for inspiration there." Read how the Bhikkhuni Sangha was planted in Sri Lanka here.

Space Still Available for Ajahn Brahmali's Evening Talks!  



29th June, 7-8.30pm Dhamma Talk: "Dependent Origination and Liberation" London register here

8th July, 7-9pm Dhamma Talk: "How To Overcome The Five Hindrances" Sheffield register here

9th July, 7.30-9.30pm Dhamma Talk: "Finding True Freedom" London register here




"Bhikkhu's (and bhikkhunis), there are these two kinds of anukampa (compassion). What two? Anukampa shown with material goods and anukampa shown with the Dhamma. Of these two kinds of anukampa, anukampa shown with the Dhamma is foremost." A.N.2:150
We look forward to imbibing Dhamma together at Ajahn Brahmali's summer talks!

With deep loving kindness,
Ven Canda and the Anukampa Team.

The beautiful Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, near Norwich, for Ajahn Brahm's retreat.
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