4th July – 4th October 2020
From Saturday 4th July until Sunday 4th October Ven Canda will be on a three month silent retreat. This will be the first time in history that any Theravada Bhikkhuni is spending the vassa (traditional monastic “rains retreat”) supported as a bhikkhuni in a designated bhikkhuni dwelling in the UK.
The set up is the result of over four years of dedicated hard work and will offer enormous potential for guarding the five senses, continuous Kindfulness in all activities, contentment and physical seclusion ~ the foundations for deep meditation practice.
We hope that knowing Ven Canda is taking such steps in the Dhamma will be of great inspiration and encourage you in your own practice.
We look forward to seeing you again in October to share insights from this special practice period, whether in person of online.
In the meantime, to support you on your journey, you can find many Dhamma teachings from Ajahn Brahm, Ven Canda, Ajahn Brahmali and more on our Youtube channel here.
We are living in extraordinary times. As we are in our various phases of unlocking lock-down, depending on our geographical location and personal situation, we are also entering the fourth week of the largest anti-racist movement in living memory. Large and overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations are happening across three continents, in the wake of the tragic murder of George Floyd ~ and hopes run high for systemic change. Whether we are involved in activism, policy change, anti-racism training or examination of our personal relationship with racism and race, a capacity to listen to ourselves and each other with a patient, open heart seems key to lasting change.
A recent article in Tricycle Magazine notes that the Buddha was adept at using skillful and persistent questioning to address and unravel the wrong views underlying prejudice and supremacist ideology. In the Assalayana Sutta (M.N. 93), the Buddha brings about a change in a brahmin student through activating that student’s own capacity for intelligent reflection.
When young Assalayana declares to the Buddha: “Brahmins are the highest caste, those of any other caste are inferior; brahmins are the fairest, those of any other are dark; only brahmins are purified, not non-brahmins…,” the Buddha counter questions him incisively and with great humour, pointing (out among many things) that people from all castes are born in the same way, bathe and get clean the same way (!) experience the same kammic results of ethical action, and have the capacity to develop the immeasurable liberation of mind through loving kindness.
Venerable Pannavati Bhikkhuni
Venerable Pannavati, a black bhikkhuni ordained in the Theravada and Chan traditions, gave one of the most healing, inspiring and deeply compassionate talks I have heard on the need for self-honesty as a starting point in the conversation around race and unity in this outstanding Dhamma talk hosted by the Tilorien Sangha on June 19th. In it she says:
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t like where you are, what’s rising up in you,or what you see ~ it takes a radical kind of honesty to find yourself. Every time I’m looking at someone else, pointing my finger, I’m seeing where (in some ways) I’m just like them. In some ways I’m thinking certain thoughts that are unreasonable, that are hostile, that are cruel; that don’t speak for what I say I believe in and I embrace….It’s not about “Who are they?” ~ it’s about “Who am I?” What do I bring to this pivotal moment in time? What wisdom can I share [and embody] from the Dhamma that will elevate and lift us; that will point us where we want to be as a society, as a people, as a species? That is the question. Who do I choose to be in this world?“
You can read more about this incredible bhikkhuni here.
“Monk on a Motorbike,” as Danny Hill introduces himself, spends a good hour with Venerable Canda, discussing Dhamma, Venerable Canda’s path, women’s ordination in Theravada Buddhism, and much more.
Listen with a cuppa in installments if you wish! The whole podcast can be found here:
This newsletter shares the progression of our journey towards our Forest Monastery, what is needed to proceed and the joyful beginnings we have already made. Sign up for Ajahn Brahm’s talks if you haven’t done so already; join me (Ven Canda) for a winter metta retreat; and find my latest teachings (“Compassion and The Inner Tyrant” and more) and your free book, below, to “Let The Light Shine” a little more brightly in your heart and on your day.
In this New Year Newsletter, we welcome you to England’s first temporary Bhikkhuni Residence, explain how you can participate in the lunch offering and fledgling monastery life with Ven Canda, as well as share the first video uploads from Ajahn Brahm’s amazing 2018 December tour.