Excerpts from Dharmagiri International - News, Retreats, Events
“ If you have time to be mindful, you have time to meditate.” - Ajahn Chah
"First one learns Dharma, but does not yet understand it. Then one understands, but has not yet practiced. One practices, but has not seen the truth of Dharma; then one see Dharma, but one’s being has not yet become Dharma. One who has arrived at stream entry, enters the Dharma and sees the Dharma, but his being is not yet Dharma. Sometimes there will be anger or desire and he will know them yet still follow after them, because although he knows and sees Dharma, his being is not yet Dharma. The mind has not become Dharma.
So one may study Dharma, understand Dharma, practice Dharma, and see Dharma, but to actually be Dharma is something quite difficult. It is a place for each individual to reach, a point where there is no falsehood. From hearing the Dharma all the way to seeing it, you will still have suffering, and you won’t be free of unsatisfactory experiences until you are Dharma. Until you are Dharma, your happiness still depends on external factors. You lean on them: you lean on pleasure, on reputation, on wealth and material things. You may have all sorts of knowledge, but this knowledge is tainted by worldliness and cannot release you from suffering; you are still like a bird in a cage." Ajahn Chah from 'Being Dharma'
New from Thanissara:
Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Manifesto for Our Earth. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books. 2015
From Thanissara and Kittisaro
Listening to the Heart: A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism
North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA. 2014
North Atlantic Books
PO Box 12327
Berkeley, CA 94712
Husband and wife Kittisaro and Thanissara take turns coauthoring chapters in this deeply personal dharma book exploring the inner practice of meditation in support of awakening. Within the context of the lives of the authors, both monastics in their youth, awakening unfolds as a multifaceted process following the archetypal journey of the hero(ine). Traveling from innocence to disillusionment through the fields of trials and despair that lead to maturity, and ultimately to inspiration and a blessed life, Listening to the Heart tells the story of two unconventional individuals who have together embraced spirituality as the keystone of their lives.
At the heart of the book, through teachings on the nondual nature of reality, we enter the "intimacy with all things" as revealed in core Buddhist texts. Without ending at the goal of personal freedom, Thanissara and Kittisaro encourage us to go beyond the experience of inner peace to embodying wisdom in acts of service within the world. With a realistic appraisal of our current global crisis in which sustainability is threatened by catastrophic climate change, the authors encourage a preparedness that enables a mindful balance of equanimity and passionate engagement whatever the outcome of our global evolutionary journey.
The guiding refuge for this journey is the Buddha, the historical teacher and—most profoundly—that immediate and direct pure awareness, which we all can access. The book also draws on teachings and stories of Buddhist masters who are fearless, funny, and challenging. Eventually we are led into the Mary-like presence of the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin who, as a great archetype within Buddhist cosmology, reveals the deepest mystery of our own hearts and our capacity for merciful and compassionate response. As the inner process of awakening unfolds, it transforms seekers and their lives, as modeled by the authors. It both heals the personal self in its journey through its wounds and shadows, and yet at the same time dissolves identification with the self. The book then ends by returning to the simplicity of the authors' primary teacher, Ajahn Chah, with his encouragement to "Be the Dharma."
The Heart of the Bitter Almond Hedge Sutra
"This poem weaves together contrasting themes; that of our deepest heart, which feels the intimacy of all things, and the walls the mind constructs, which separates all things. This paradox is contextualized by the Heart Sutra with its revelation of a seamless world, and the Bitter Almond Hedge, planted around Cape Town by early European Settlers in their attempt to keep Africa out. As the hedge became internalized, eventually birthing Apartheid, it inflicted a devastating wound against human sensitivity, empathy and justice.
This denial of our profound interconnectedness is now moving to its horrific conclusion in the Global Apartheid of a macro Petro-Empire which rages against the Earth and her magnificent and bounteous species. Throughout the poem we hear the haunting voice of the 1st Nation San as their decimated spirits roam landscapes, left lonely, without the great herds of wildlife. As we glimpse the majestic beauty of these ancient lands, we are encouraged to reclaim our wounded souls and hearts.
We are also implored to resist the march of ecocide, before it is too late. While this poem reaches back into the mists of time, it also offers vision and hope for our perilous age. Ultimately, it is a rallying call for a revolution that places Heart and Earth foremost, and central, so a more conscious world can be fully birthed."
You can also order a copy from firstname.lastname@example.org to be sent to you from within SA (please allow a few weeks for printing and posting).