October 2018: Newletter n°53
It is ourselves who perform unwholesome actions
and it is ourselves who will meet the result.
It is ourselves who perform wholesome actions
and it is ourselves who will purify this mind.
Purity and impurity are personal concerns.
No-one can purify another.
Dhammapada verse 165.
Why would we be angry with the teacher?
Meeting the Buddha was perhaps the greatest and most important moment of my life.
Hearing the teachings of love and awareness opened my heart to the possibility of putting down my fears and bringing something of value not only to myself, but to all beings.
Establishing that practice then with my own teacher of Dhamma under the simple yet deeply profound conditions of application and self responsibility, was everything to me.
The moment the Master says, 'don't believe a single word I say, but investigate for yourselves whether it is true or not' (Kalama Sutta) you will know that you are hearing the voice of absolute confidence in truth.
Belief is not the path. Direct experience of truth is the path.
However, as any earnest disciple will tell you, this path of truth, of continually turning inwards to the subtle cause of any and all our difficulties, demands a fearless nature, a brave heart and a resolve to let go of excuses and finger pointing, and arrive at the heart of the matter, the escape from the delusion of 'self'. The question is never really, ‘why do I suffer?’ but more, ‘when does ‘I’ suffer?’
When life does not give us what we want it is very easy to blame others. To take our worldly 'self' based position and condemn them for their failures.
However, when we arrive in front of the Master with our problems and complaints, they will always lovingly turn us back into ourselves. To look inside, not outside. Why do we suffer, why do we meet this frustration and how can we be free from our fear?
If I can quote my own teacher of twenty two years saying anything to me it would be, 'ah Michael, now you need loving kindness.' He never indulged any fantasies that my unhappiness was somebody else’s fault, but turned my head always to the path of wisdom and love.
After that moment of pure Dhamma instruction it was left for me to apply it to my life and see if it worked or not - of course, it always did.
But believing in the teachings when life is comfortable and applying them during difficulties is not the same thing, and so often, even in the presence of the Master, we don't want to hear the truth of Dhamma, but to have our worldly position supported. The Master can take no place in this. Truth is truth whether we agree with it or not. Our journey then, is to put down the world and its consequent suffering, no matter how appealing it may seem in different moments, and face the Dhamma - our path to freedom.
It is said that ‘when we face the Dhamma, what can go wrong?’
When we turn away from the truth, we cannot be surprised to find ourselves angry with the teacher, who cares only for our liberation.
They may listen with compassion, but they cannot be fooled by argument and politics.
This is the gift of this special and most precious relationship.
May all beings be happy.
New Year Retreat 2019.
Because of organisational difficulties at Hof Drawehn we are now only able to offer a short New Year Retreat for 2019.
The dates will be Wednesday 2nd January to Sunday 6th January.
We are sorry for this change in our usual routine but the conditions around numbers and room reservations that now need to be met, and the financial penalties if they are not are far beyond what Pure Dhamma can accept or absorb.
This situation emphasizes the need to find new seminar houses that can accept silent retreats, and why we launched our Gofundme campaign (Pure Dhamma Meditation Fund) to establish a safety net to meet any deposits required and if necessary pay any penalties if we are not able to fulfil the particular seminar house conditions. In this way we can continue to offer retreats without risk. Our function always is to offer Dhamma, not to become rich.
I come from a monastic background of training and never thought of Dhamma as a business where financial profit was the objective and so this particular world of emphasis on money does not sit comfortably with me.
Ah, if only i had my own monastery............ That everything changes is a fact of all existence and so we are asking you as part of a Pure Dhamma Sangha to help us move on and find new places to offer Dhamma.
May all beings be happy.
Show me your original face, the face you had before your parents were born.
The Dhamma journey is a process of cause and consequence like everything else in life, and so if we face the right direction we cannot be surprised to arrive at our destination, even if we have already forgotten that it was a journey at all
From A journey to Awakening. by Michael Kewley
Follow Michael on twitter@MichaelKewley and facebook
Next Pure Dhamma Newsletter, January 2019
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