You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2008.

pagoda-buddhha1Last month I gave a 20 minute Dharma talk to 11th graders from the Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Kanata.  Nothing like a short time-frame to focus the mind! The talk covered the 4 Noble Truths, the 3 pillars (sila, samadhi, panna) and the 5 precepts.  I said that I thought the core of the Buddha’s teaching was:

Do no harm, do good, purify the mind

There are many paths to this, but I like the precepts (aka “mindfulness trainings”), especially the way Thich Nhat Hanh has formulated them: they are beautifully appropriate and relevant to today’s society. In his book entitled “For a Future to be Possible“, Thich Nhat Hanh describes in detail how the Five Wonderful Mindfulness Trainings can be used by anyone in today’s world to create a more harmonious and peaceful life.

I didn’t mention:

No Self – No Problem

But that’s a pretty good starting point also.

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bio-normanNEW YEAR’S RETREAT WITH NORMAN FELDMAN AND MOLLY SWAN

December 30, 2008-January 2, 2009, Galilee Centre, Arnprior, Ontario 

Welcome the New Year with reflection and intention, silence and community, surrounded by the beauty of Arnprior and the warmth of the Galilee Centre! Bring your cross-country skis, snowshoes and hiking boots. We will be supported by the meditation practice, dharma talks, and a midnight gathering.  This retreat is suitable for those already familiar with vipassana practice, as meditation instructions will be kept to a minimum.

See the True North Insight Schedule for details and registration.

img_2257I was a witness to Ven. Sumangalo’s ordination last Sunday.  This was the first time I had seen the transition between “lay person” or  “anagarica” to “samanera”.  This was also the first ordination to take place at the Tissarana Buddhist Monastery, and suspect not the last.

As I expected, it was very moving.  Especially the part where Ven. Sumangalo’s parents gave him his “requisites” : a robe and a bowl. It must be difficult in a way, for parents to “give over” their child to a life of monasticism and celibacy.  No grandchildren, for sure!

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But to make such a commitment to a life of goodness, kindness and selflessness is a beautiful thing and a beautiful thing to behold!  And parents must see that too, of course.

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