'The Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma'
Dear fellow practitioners,
today I am sharing with you one more item for our recently added 'Formal Chanting without Music' section.
The Dhammacakkapavattana sutta was the first formal Teaching taught by Lord Buddha. It was taught in the Deer Park at Isipattana a few miles outside of the ancient city of Varanasi to a group of five ascetics. These ascetics had practiced with the Bodhisatta previously while he was practicing extreme austerities before he discovered The Middle Way. The sutta covers the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, and by the time Lord Buddha had given the discourse one of these ascetics had an unshakeable penetrative insight… and attained the first level of Liberation. This occasion was when the Dhamma became first manifest in the world and the Sangha was also born. Due to all of this, it is a much loved and revered sutta.
It can be wonderful to chant these verses in Pali. I certainly enjoy it.
I also hope that it may be interesting and nourishing to you.
With every best wish.
A Visual Journey
Dear Fellow practitioners,
On this occasion I am sharing with you the second slideshow illustrating the growth and development of the Sacred Chedi which we are building here at Anandagiri. The construction of this Holy Monument has been the catalyst for visits from several wonderful senior monks. Tahn Ajahn Pasanno, Tahn Ajahn Piak, and Tahn Ajahn Anan just in this past year alone. It has also been a project that has brought many people together repeatedly, to celebrate our Faith and join in creating something beautiful in honour of our love for Lord Buddha and his Liberating Teachings. It may sound presumptuous my saying this? But I'll say it anyway! This slideshow is no ordinary slideshow! Sifting through the thousands of pictures that many people shared with me, I have been able to select The 300 Images, (which take 20 minutes to scroll through at four seconds each) that capture many remarkable things. With many people taking pictures from many angles - on many occasions, I had A LOT of material to sift through and choose from. The Slideshow gives thorough glimpses into the following…
- The very process of building such a monument.
- All of the people involved - monks, laypeople, sculptors, labourers, villagers etc.
- Then the witnessing of solid lumps of stone becoming beautiful pieces of Buddhist art under the guiding eye of myself and our chief artists, as well as the experienced hands of many sculptors. Then seeing plain bricks neatly laid becoming an inspiring sacred object.
The places of devotion that I've been to, along with other monks and students which inspired much of this project's design are another important component not so easily seen. A lot of factors go into building such a monument! (There have been many visits to museums in many countries as well)
The Chedi was inspired initially by the desire to help 'brighten up and clean up' the 'psychic atmosphere' around the vicinity of the monastery, for just 40 years ago it was a war zone, where communist guerrilla forces fought the army of the Thai government. This project has already taken a lot of time, faith, love, energy and devotion. And to be honest I would never have given myself to such a taxing task were it not for the sense that it was definitely needed. So the tiring and taxing side is the negative, although such endeavours bear great fruit in future we are told. The positive has been the extraordinary support we have received from so many people to bring it into being. It is quickly becoming more beautiful than I ever dared imagine. Other good news is that according to some of my gifted Teachers, many 'wandering souls' have, through the power of the merits produced and dedications made, been able to move onto happier situations. Saaaaadhuuuu !!!
There is much to be seen in the making of this Chedi. And perhaps even more going on in realms that we cannot yet perceive? In any event, the slideshow gives a very good look at many of the most significant events of the past year here at Anandagiri. The community, the Chedi and the trees are all growing. And of course in the future we hope that the Chedi will be a site that inspires much inner reflection, quiet meditation, and perhaps even liberating insight, when people recollect and then practice in accordance with the Buddha's Teachings. May it be so!
We rejoice in the offerings of the many big and small donors who have helped to make this project go forward. At the current pace the entire project should be finished by the end of next year. I hope that this visual journey will prove to be interesting and uplifting for you as well - wherever you are.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
(If anyone would like to make a contribution to the Chedi construction there is an opportunity. Feel free to contact one of the monastery stewards and request details. Approximately 85% of the estimated costs for the complete project have been either donated or pledged thus far)
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