Wednesday, June 30, 2004

5. Last week's sangha night

Last week was interesting. We could not get the key to work. And so Andrew suggested we go to his office building. His office building has open floors, no occupants. Now it's taking the not given, but we were desperate, and it seemed harmless. We left no trace. Andrew, Sita, Alyssa, Jason and Bridget were there. Jason and Andrew did not meditate against the wall, but the rest did, since we did not have any mats or anything. Sita lead the chanting and Andrew the meditation.

Then I gave a little talk on the 5 spiritual faculties. I thought it went well, and there was some good input. Andrew pointed out that Vajramati prefers "confidence" to "faith" because of all the negative associations with that word. Turns out Bridget gave a talk on the 5 spiritual faculties once, and it was good review for her. Sita ran off after the meditation. She said she really needed the meditation. She's very busy with her summer course she's taking. Also her sister is pregnant, ready to pop, we're waiting to hear news.

Anyway, it was an interesting little adventure, and then next week good old Andrew got a key for the new lock, and we were back in our space. A little sangha night adventure.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

4. Sangha Night

This is our second Tuesday without Vajramati. Andrew lead the chanting and rang the bells for the meditation. We did metta bahavana. I wormed around, my foot fell asleep. I broke position twice. I had a fairly deep meditation considering or maybe it just felt deep and useful because I've taken a few days off. First time in a long time I've gone 2 days in a row. I need to recommit to it, the willpower it takes. Somehow it's been easy for the past 2 years, until William came along.

I printed out a sutta to discuss, but I read it just before, and it wasn't that great. So Alyssa talked about the 15 qualities to get calm, from the Ayya Kehma book we're reading in Mitra studies. The got the conversation going. Faye talked a lot to Alyssa. Andrew and Bridget piped in occasionally. We bolted afterwards. I'll see Andrew Thursday.

3. Log to date

GFR Ordination Log (Firsts, retreats and order members met, not books)

7/24/02 Begin beginning meditation class with Vajramati
8/16/02 Begin daily meditation practice, after completing the 4 course beginning course with Vajramati.
10/4/02. Meet Sunanda, who is visiting Vajramati.
10/25/02 Met Vidyajyoti
10/20/02. First Sunday retreat at Simon's, 10am-4pm.
12/27/02. Week long retreat at Aryaloka on Brahma-vihara led by Manapa. Made first offering during a sevenfold puja. Met Shrijnana, Suriyadhamma, Max (now Amaradeva), Mark (now Sravaniya).
1/19/03 Mitra ceremony
1/25/03 Begin mitra study, guest lead by Kulananda
1/26/03 Lunch with Kulananda
3/28-30. Weekend Diamond Sutra Men's Retreat with Suddhayu.
4/21/03. First Dharma talk on Avoloketeshvara at Sangha meeting.
5/31-6/2. Yoga Retreat at Aryaloka with Saddhamala and Michelle McComb (yoga).
7/11-13. Just Retreat with Manapa and Amala. Precept Grid Saturday, Sunday Poetry
9/4/03. Asked Vajramati for ordination.
10/10-12. First GFR Retreat led by Manjuvajra, met Nagabodhi, Thiradhamma
12/7. Retreat day at Simon's led by Bodhipaksa.
12/11-13. Amaradeva stays with us. First FWBO visit, meditation with me at home.
12/23. Talk on Ratnasambhava (Alyssa, Mary Ann, Sita and V). Talk #2
12/27-1/04/04. 8 Day GFR Retreat on ethics. Met Rattanotara, Vajrabandu. Also spent time with Vajramati, Thirradhamma, Amaradeva, and Manjuvajra, Steve Wade, Allan. Met Tony, Don and others.
2/20-22. Retreat with Bodhipaksha, drove up with Andrew, Alyssa and Sita.
3/15/04. Got the complete lectures of Sangharakshita on MP3s for my iPod.
4/14/04. William Honorato Bell is born.
4/19/04. Met David Smith, talked to sangha.
5/12/04. Graduate with a masters in social work from NYU.
5/19/04. Meditated 4 times in one day (solo).
6/12/04. Jyoti's naming ceremony. (Andrew, Sita, and Vajramati attend in sangha)
6/19/04. Met Stephen Batchelor for breakfast (with Vajramati, Andrew, Sita, Laura)
6/22/04. Talk to sangha on 5 spiritual faculties.

Monday, June 28, 2004

2. The Hours

Just watched The Hours. Supposedly the dirctor is a buddhist. I think of dukkha. The unsatisfactoriness of life. You want what you can't have, you push away what you don't like. It literally means a ill made chassie on a charriot. Things just don't go right. Who would willing concieve this as the best of all possible worlds. I read an article in the Times Metro section today about a woman who went into a mental institution to get her meds right, and was brutally raped. You don't have to look far for the dukkha. My son cries and cries. He gets his stomach full, then his stomach has gas. Then his bowels are constipated. Then he's tired. Then waking up is not easy.

1. What this blog is about

I want to write a blog about my deepening my dharma practice, about my going for refuge, seeking ordination from the FWBO ( FWBO stands for Friends of the Western Buddhist Order. It was started the year I was born by Sangharakshita, an English man who spent about 20 years in the East, then came back to England. You can read all about it in his books.

Or go to, which includes a link to the FWBO Files, a web site that is critical of the organization. I think Sangharakshita was unskillful at times in his sexual practices, but I don't expect him to be perfect. He is old and apparently racked with problems of old age. It is unlikely I will meet him. He has not been formally running it for a long time.

Here in NYC we only have one order member, Vajramati. We do get a lot of visitors. In my next post, I'll paste in my going for refuge log that I have created.

One reason I'm doing this blog is that I want to try and pull myself out of this tail dive I've been on. I haven't been meditating as regularly, as you could read about in the blog about taking care of my son. While I'm generally exhausted all the time, there are times when I'm not and I don't meditate. So I want to try and reflect and report in this blog, and use it as a tool to deepen my dharma practice, my seeking refuge in the three jewels.