The first-ever Birken Forest Monastery and Pacific Hermitage virtual retreat was an overwhelming success. Hundreds of retreatants joined us – from South Africa to Azerbaijan, from Canada to White Salmon, WA. There was great appreciation for Ajahn Sona and Ajahn Sudanto for their generosity in bringing this to us, and gratitude for the strong sense of sangha.
There was a wide range of positive feedback on many fronts. In terms of the flow, it was quite beneficial to have coffee time in the morning to discuss the prior evening’s dhamma talk. Many appreciated the flexibility of being able to do the retreat at home. And a benefit particular to the online format was that it was helpful to integrate the teachings real time. Overall, we were connected, inspired, and enriched.
“I’m really big on the value of commitments. If you did the retreat and derived some benefit from it, it’s good to not just go back to your normal life without making some sort of commitment to yourself.”Ajahn Sudanto
Our Connected Sangha
Our sangha continues to flourish online. Morning coffee at 8:00 a.m. with Ajahn Sudanto has fast become a cherished daily ritual for many in the community, near and far, a precious silver lining out of the challenging causes that precipitated it. Add to that the twice daily chanting and meditation live streams – deep bows of gratitude for the compassionate support for our sangha!
What’s Happening at the Hermitage
We are excited to welcome Ajahn Karunadhammo and Tan Rankkhito to the Hermitage for the summer, arriving on June 8th. That same week, Ajahn Sek and Tan Khantiko will be returning to Abhayagiri. We have enjoyed their stay with us.
Welcome Our New Meal Dana Coordinators
Welcome to our new meal dana coordinators, Suzy and Casey! They take the reins from Joseph and Kalyani on June 7th. We are grateful for the generous efforts of Joseph and Kalyani supporting the monks in a time of great change.
Meal offering procedures continue to evolve as conditions change, so please make sure to check the website for updates, and contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Ajahn’s Reflects On: The Hindrances
[Excerpted from Morning Coffee with Ajahn Sudanto]
The Buddha talks about the hindrances as the nutriment for and the cause of ignorance and craving, as obstacles for everything that we desire. These five things are obstructing us, weighing us down from easy access to joy, happiness, peace, serenity, lucidity, clarity of mind.
Why is it that we can’t see anicca, anatta, and dukkha? These habits of sense desire, ill will, lethargy, restlessness, and doubt are operating. Not always at full volume…but midling, mild, and subtle forms of these are constantly being rehearsed. These are habits of consciousness, they are emotional habits that we have, and we need to become a student of them.
One way to inspire ourself is to come back to this question and ask: Why is it I’m not enlightened? Why is it I suffer? Why is it that joy doesn’t just arise more frequently in my mind? The Buddha’s answer is because these other dynamics [hindrances] aren’t well understood. We’re not mindful enough of them. We don’t recognize the full cost of what it is they are doing to our consciousness. And we haven’t learned how it is they arise, how they’re maintained, and how they can cease. We would do well to internalize a practice of recollecting that, of checking in on that.
As Ajahn Sona says, awareness is not enough. It’s a particular kind of awareness that we’re after in the Buddha’s path of practice.
Speaking of Suttas
If you missed Ajahn Sudanto sharing these teachings during coffee time, good news, you can watch the recordings on YouTube. And even if you didn’t miss them, they are available to revisit and reinforce our learning 🙂
Stay Tuned for more information
With the Covid-19 situation, our plans for the Pah Bah are undetermined.
Join the Pacific Hermitage on YouTube daily
5:30 a.m. Morning Chanting & Meditation
8:00 a.m. Morning Coffee with Ajahn Sudanto
6:00 p.m. Evening Chanting & Meditation
(currently chanting the 3 cardinal suttas in Pali, one each evening)
The work of contemplation is to listen more deeply, more clearly, more carefully, to go beyond what we already know.Ajahn Sudanto