“Students of the Path” Online Sangha Turns 2 Years old

Our “Students of the Path” Discord Sangha turns 2 years old this weekend and we just celebrated with some chanting, guided meditation, and precepts.
 
We’ve gotten up to Majjhima Nikaya 66(yes starting from 1) in our Sunday Sutta class(6:30pm Eastern every Sunday) and continue to have lay persons discussions and various channels related to Dhamma.
 
We also mix and work in concert with other buddhist channels on discord, being part of the larger Buddhist community on the platform.
 
If you’d like to be a part of our world wide online sangha with multiple monastics, come join us via this link – https://discord.gg/YBAzGcV
 
it is free and the platform can be used via browser, phone app, or desktop app
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Out of Seclusion & Dhamma Podcast in the works

Welcome to a new year everyone. Bhavana is now out of seclusion and the first retreat is coming up. It’s a fairly busy time for Bhavana and for me right now, but I wanted to announce a project I’ve been thinking about the past few months.

I kind of toyed with it a little in the past, but this year what I’d like to get going is a podcast, for now I’ll call it the “Students of the Path Podcast” and I believe I will continue with the “10 Minute Dhamma” series I began last year.

I think for the beginning I will be covering very basic information about Buddhism, as I would like this for sure to become something that has good outreach to everyone who may be interested in Dhamma, and I will branch out from there.

I’m not sure if I will be doing this video and audio, or just audio, but I would like to eventually also have guests on and make it into a real deal serial podcast, but for now it’s time to just start small.  In fact I’ve been procrastinating about it, which is why I wanted to make this announcement so it would give me the extra kick in the rear to devote some time to getting this started.

I have good feelings for Bhavana , and myself, this year, lets all try to make it a good one :).

2018 Travel Schedule as of January

Tentative Travel Dhamma schedule for 2018 so for :
 
In February I will be spending all or part of my seclusion time at Forest Dhamma monastery in VA.
 
March 2-6 : Naples Florida Dhamma Tour
 
April 6-8 : Buddhist Insights NYC – Metta Retreat
 
April 14th : Day Long Retreat at Stockton University NJ
 
July 6-8 : Buddhist Insights NYC – Mindfulness of Death
 
November 2-4 : Buddhist Insights NYC – Satipatthana Retreat

Practitioners of the Dhamma are Tops

As I was “walking with Chah” my favorite Dhamma talk, pretty much out of any dhamma talk i’ve ever listened to, came up, and two points from it I wanted to share. The first is about practitioners :
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There’s no suffering like the suffering of a Dhamma cultivator and there’s no happiness like the happiness of one either. There’s no zeal to compare with the zeal of the cultivator and there’s no laziness to compare with them either. Practicers of the Dhamma are tops. That’s why I say if you really practice it’s a sight to see.
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This I fully agree with, which is why I love to be around people earnestly trying to live this practice. now the Second :
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It’s just like a farmer who hasn’t yet finished his fields. Every year he plants rice but this year he still hasn’t gotten it finished, so his mind is stuck on that, he can’t rest content. His work is still unfinished. Even when he’s with friends he can’t relax, he’s all the time nagged by his unfinished business. Or like a mother who leaves her baby upstairs in the house while she goes to feed the animals below: she’s always got her baby in mind, lest it should fall from the house. Even though she may do other things, her baby is never far from her thoughts.
It’s just the same for us and our practice – we never forget it. Even though we may do other things our practice is never far from our thoughts, it’s constantly with us, day and night. It has to be like this if you are really going to make progress.
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Lately in my talks I’ve been gradually forming a coherent set of words to convey a meaning I’m trying to put forth, and as usual Ajahn Chah puts it so simply.
This was in relation to when I explain how when the practice becomes not just something you do, but who you are, part of your life, it’s always there with you, even if you are in the midst of all kinds of activities, because you have built it up as a habit to such an extent that even when you are not thinking about being mindful, your mindfulness can arise on it’s own accord due to you setting the groundwork for the causes and conditions of it’s arising.
Just as a mother puts her baby down and is doing other activities, the baby is not far from her thoughts, so too a practitioner who has become the practice, never forgets it and it is never far from their thoughts, as they strive to apply the practice skillfully in all aspects of their life.This is when, as I’ve said(and Chah says above) the practice really takes off.
this is reminiscent(and I don’t think by coincidence) to the Buddha using the example in the metta sutta, that one should protect their mindstate of metta like a mother protects their only child.