The Woodchuckers’ Ball
The ‘Woodchuckers’ Ball’ was a joyous and successful gathering the last weekend of September. This annual tradition is to ensure availability of wood to fuel the Hermitage wood stove for the winter. Over the two days, more than 24 (socially-distanced) members of the community moved and stacked enough wood for at least the next three years! Anumodana!
After more than a week of off-the-chart hazardous air quality at the Hermitage due to wildfire smoke, the air quality returned to a healthy range. Ajahn is grateful for the concern of community members reaching out to make sure the monks were safe and well.
During morning coffee time, Ajahn encouraged us to see how long we could remember to be grateful for fresh air.
Comings & Goings
On October 3rd, Ajahn Karunadhammo and Tan Rakkhito returned to Abhayagiri after spending the summer at the Hermitage. Ajahn Cunda arrives from Abhayagiri on October 23rd, and will remain through June 2021. He will serve as the senior monk at the Hermitage for part of the time that Ajahn Sudanto is on sabbatical.
As previously noted, Ajahn Sudanto will be on sabbatical beginning in early December. He will spend December through March at Abhayagiri, and then return to the Hermitage for the balance of his sabbatical (of undetermined length, but least one year).
Venerable Nisabho arrives at the Hermitage on November 29th for the winter.
Progress on Ajahn’s New Kuti
There has been great progress on moving forward with the new kuti. Ajahn has selected a contractor, and will be submitting the building permit application. Construction is expected to begin in the spring, and be complete by summer. Mudita!
Ajahn Sudanto resumed walking alms rounds the first week of October, on weekdays only for now.
Our Connected Dhamma Community
Our Pacific Hermitage YouTube community was absolutely joyous for the return of our daily Morning Coffee Time time in September, after a Mondays-only August.
Yet we know all things are impermanent, and with Ajahn resuming weekday alms rounds, daily Morning Coffee Time ends this week. He may offer something on weekends, stay tuned.
There is such profound gratitude for the immeasurable generosity of Ajahn Sudanto’s teaching and presence with the community during these pandemic times. There are not sufficient words, so we’ll just say sadhu and anumodana.
Ajahn Reflects On: Bearing With
[Excerpted from Morning Coffee Time with Ajahn Sudanto, 9.17.20]
The Buddha gives a lot of emphasis to the value of patient endurance, and as Ajahn Amaro pointed out very adeptly one time, “bitter endurance is not patient endurance.” The perfection of being patient and enduring something is to bear with that which is unwished for, unwanted, painful, or unpleasant – absent any tanha or unskillfulness.
So, what might replace tanha and a desire for some different experience – and all the thoughts and emotions that come with that – could be something like equanimity. Or even just some sort of radical acceptance of the way it is. We do have the capacity just to bear with. If we have the skillfulness to pare things back to really attending fully to the present moment, it’s amazing what human beings can bear with. All kinds of unpleasantness, pain, difficulty is something that we can we can hold in consciousness if we recollect this teaching of the second arrow, and are very heedful not to create extra suffering.
And the engine of creating extra suffering is this rejection of the conditions that we’re presented with. It functions somewhat on how we’ve been living and practicing. If we don’t have a habit of dwelling with a heart full of acceptance, absent of greed, hatred, and delusion – like the delusion that it should be otherwise, or that we deserve some other experience, or the delusion that it doesn’t belong – it would be very easy to have an experience that this [e.g. smoke] doesn’t belong. These things definitely belong, this is part of what it means to live in the human realm.
But even more importantly about that, really, is coming back to this question again: is this worth suffering over? Are you going to allow yourself to suffer over something which is painful, unwished for, uncomfortable? Or are you going to rise to the challenge to bear with? And to keep the mind in an equanimous state, and a patient state, grounded in the present, heedful, not to be emoting and spinning stories and a commentary that would feed the tendency to drift toward some form of desire (tanha) for things to be otherwise.
And as one gathers the mind into awareness of the body, and the breath, and the present moment, and pares things back to the way it is, and learns to abide in that, not only do you find a refuge from generating and feeding the extra added suffering of responding to what your experience is presenting you with, you find that we’re quite resourceful in being able to bear with whatever life presents us with. And over time that creates a lessening of anxiety, and a kind of fearlessness that whatever life throws at us, we can probably take it. And we can probably receive it in a way that doesn’t generate any excess dukkha or doesn’t stimulate us to create harm to oneself and to others.