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Sakyadhita Newsletter 17                    
Full Moon, February, 2013

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REFLECTIONS ON A PUBLIC TALK BY GEN-LA KELSANG DEKYONG

Gen-la-Dekyong  

On Jan 22 2013, Gen-la Kelsang Dekyong, the General Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition, gave a public lecture in Calgary. She has an international reputation as a modern Buddhist giving practical advice that is valuable for everyone, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. Currently she is also the Canadian National Spiritual Director of the NKT. This was her first visit to Calgary, and two Sakyadhita Canada members offered their reflections:

 


Conference 2013

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Greetings!
    
  It has been our pleasure for the past few month to have Venerable Sārani Karunā Bhikkhuni as a 
contributor to our newsletter.

Decades of intensive study and retreat in Asia and the West has given Venerable Sārani a wide range of experience. 

This, combined with her western sensibilities, has made it possible for people to benefit from the Buddha's Path in a non-cultural, easily understood, format.

 

     Five candles

 Guilt

 

"He abused me, he struck me,

He overpowered me, he robbed me."


Those who do not harbour such thoughts

still their hatred.

Dpp. 4

Mara, The Tempter, loves the concept of guilt; after all it greases the wheel of the continuing cycle of rebirth so well. As it brings the past into the present, it creates the future. This is powerful enough, but, from Mara's point of view, it gets even better; it demands either condemnation or forgiveness. Either way, Mara's goals are met, a sense of self is established and re-established --- the wheel turns.

If Mara is The Temper, what are we being tempted with? It is often reckoned that we are being tempted with the notion of a sense of self, but that isn't the case, we already have a strong sense of self, what we are being tempted with is reinforcement of that sense. We are being asked to believe in that self, over and over again. And, what better way to do that than to continuously bring the past into the present? If the past is "real", the present must also be, and the future is assured because action is required. And action requires an actor.

When this process is examined, it can be seen that it all takes place in the mind. Obviously the past action, the event promoting guilt, is no longer taking place. What is taking place is the emotional aspect of the past action --- the feeling within --- which by its very nature reinforces the guilt, being simultaneous with it. When guilt is reinforced, the belief in guilt is reinforced, and the mind sets about seeing this reinforcement outside of itself in the world, quite literally making the world that is seen.

Upon deeper examination it becomes clear that the solution to guilt is not Mara's solution, which continues the cyclic nature of rebirth, but the simple suspension of belief in the very concept of guilt. This is easier said than done. To do so requires a dedication to staying present with what is actually happening in the moment. What is happening in the moment is the feeling within and our perception of that feeling. As we allow ourselves to do this, we can short-circuit the whole process by recognizing the feeling as a feeling and not reinforce it by giving it a sense of self. The compulsion to either condemn or forgive is not acted on and the temptation is lessened. Each time this is done, Mara's existence is weakened and eventually fades away completely. There is nothing to condemn, there is nothing to forgive; there is only peace.

 

Bhikkhuni Sārani Karunā

  Venerable Sarani

 

The 13th Sakyadhita International Conference on Buddhist Women

 

The 13th Sakyadhita International conference on Buddhist Women was held in Vaishali (Bihar) India, January 5 - 12, 2013.

Sakyadhita, Daughters of the Buddha, the world's leading International organization of Buddhist women, is an alliance of women (and men) committed to transforming the lives of women in Buddhist societies.

The conference theme for this year, "Buddhism at the Grassroots", highlighted the efforts and achievements of Buddhist women who have been involved in alleviating the suffering of living beings "on the ground".

 Presenters shared their own work as well as a variety of approaches including social activism, performance,

 meditation and philosophy. 

  Vaishali 2013

 Click here to read Mavis Fenn's
words on the conference

 

Click here to read Lee Kaiser's