Dear Fellow practitioners, warm greetings.
Recently at Anandagiri we had our Kathina ceremony. It was quite a big and auspicious occasion for our usually quiet meditation sanctuary, as we received a good number of visiting monks as well as around 300 joyful, kind and generous lay guests! As the occasion was one where the Buddha statue and Dhamma Hall were also to be officially offered, as well as a new adjoining piece of land, many supporters made a special effort to come.
Traditionally in Thailand on the evening before the Kathina offering there is a night of Dhamma sharing. As many people are 'cooking up a storm' or 'arranging an avalanche of flowers' the evening before tends to be comprised of those who are more specifically interested in meditation. I felt that it was a good opportunity to acknowledge the significant good already present in all of those in attendance, and then to try to mirror back the importance of distilling and refining this goodness more and more on the mental level. Coming together in generosity and harmony is powerfully enriching… as it also lays the very foundation for deepening the cultivation and harmonising of the particular mental qualities that lead to liberation.
I hope that something in this talk is nourishing in some way, and that you may feel Blessed and supported in your spiritual practice wherever you find yourself now.
With Loving – Kindness
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
Remembering the greater 'context' within which we do our practices is difficult at times yet it is important and can be extremely helpful. For the impatient mind, dealing with lots of thoughts and lots of pain when we come to sit can actually seems quite pointless. But when we understand that making the effort to apply mindfulness consistently is the practice that brings clarity and calm and ripens the mental faculties to experience insight, we come to recognise that the thoughts and the pain are in fact quite valuable. For whatever phenomena are present when we come to sit, these are the 'dhammas' that are present to become 'mindful of.'
In seeing them clearly 'as they are' the mind eventually experiences peace. This process of patiently enduring with the mind whilst inclining it towards peace is a practice that develops many wonderful qualities… without us even realising it a lot of the time. Some great masters have explained that Devas (heavenly beings) with right view actually aspire to be born in the human realm, precisely so as to be able to develop more mindfulness and wisdom with the variety of phenomena that we experience.
This talk is offered as an encouragement for all of us to keep practicing with 'whatever it is'.
I hope that something herein might be helpful.
Ajahn Achalo Bhikkhu
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