Dear Friends, In this Issue...
  • The Monkey and the Brahmin - Jataka Stories
  • Forest Management Plan
  • Donation Gratitude
  • Questions-and Answers
  • Generosity and Service Opportunities
  • Dhamma Modana Virtual Monday Group Sittings
  • The Gracious Flow of Dharma, Goenkaji
  • Virtual group and day sittings & Pariyatti free resources
The Monkey and the Brahmin- Jataka Stories

The Way to Ultimate Calm, Selected Discourses of Webu Sayadaw, Translated from Burmese by Roger Bischoff, Buddhist Publication Society, 1992, 2001.

Our Bodhisatta, in one of his lives, became the king of monkeys. One day he found a Brahmin who had fallen down a precipice in the jungle and was helpless and certainly going to die down there. This Brahmin was lamenting his fate and crying, “Oh poor me, I have fallen into a chasm a hundred yards deep. I shall certainly die down here. Oh, poor me, Oh oh oh.... My relatives and friends, my wife and children, don't know about my misfortune. Nobody is here to help me!” and he cried.

Now, noble beings are always concerned about the welfare of all beings, without exception. And as the Bodhisatta is such a noble being, he who was then the monkey king, felt pity for the Brahmin, in the same way he would have felt pity for his own children. And so, he climbed down the precipice and went up to the Brahmin. “Do not fear. Do not despair, I won't let you die. I shall take you back to the place you want to go,” he said to the Brahmin to reassure him and to cheer him up.

But he wasn't ready yet to put him on his shoulders and carry him up the precipice because he was afraid that he might fall and that the Brahmin might be hurt. He took a big rock of about the same weight as the Brahmin, put it on one shoulder and tried to carry it up the precipice, jumping from rock to rock. Only after having passed this test did he carefully take the Brahmin on his shoulders and climb back up jumping from one boulder to the next.

After this great effort, the monkey king was exhausted. He was happy while performing this good action, but he was still happier when he had accomplished it and had saved a life. He was confident that the Brahmin he had saved from certain death was trustworthy, and said, “After carrying you up, I am a little tired. Please keep watch for a while so that I can rest,” and he placed his head in the Brahmin's lap thinking himself well protected from all the dangers of the jungle. But while the king of the monkeys slept, the Brahmin thought, “I shall go back home soon, but I have nothing to give to my wife and children. I shall kill this big monkey and give his flesh to them as gift”. He took the rock the Bodhisatta had carried up for the practice run and dealt the Bodhisatta's head a deadly blow.

When the Bodhisatta felt the pain of the blow, he quickly climbed the next tree and he asked himself who or what had attacked him. He then saw that there was no enemy around but that the Brahmin himself had tried to kill him, and he thought to himself, “Yes, there are people like this in the world too.” As the Bodhisatta was thinking this, the Brahmin started lamenting again, exclaiming that he was lost in this big jungle and that he would perish after all. But the monkey king said to him, speaking from the tree, “Don't worry. Don't be afraid. I have promised to take you back to your home and I shall not break this promise. I shall take you home. I can't carry you on my shoulder anymore, but as you opened my skull, there is blood dripping to the ground continuously. Just follow the track of blood I shall make for you from up in the trees.”

This is how the Bodhisatta acted. He took all this on himself because his goal was Omniscience, Buddhahood. He worked on all ten paramis. 

Landscaping at Dhamma Modana
Landscape Committee, April 2021

Forest Management Plan

The goal is to minimise disturbances while developing biodiversity which is essential for the health of the forest. Policies for snag/down wood, pest, exotic plant control, conservation and restoration, have been crafted with the intention of minimising human intervention through developing a self-sustaining ecosystem. 

Wind Throw Prevention
Trees at the entrance are considered to be at risk during windstorms. This spring 80 trees were planted to establish a wind firm buffer by planting a few rows of deciduous trees in front of the conifers.
Twenty maple trees have been planted in a cluster of trees between the centre and Calais Road. When mature, these will act as a buffer during heavy winds events and mitigate the damage on the existing Douglas Fir trees.
Another twenty maples (including ten free additional trees) have been planted along the fence line between the centre and the adjacent neighbour on the West side of the property, acting as another wind buffer and adding more privacy. A few also went along the wetland in the middle of the forest. All of which have cages to protect them from deer.
The remaining trees, thirty sequoias and ten yellow cedars, have been scattered evenly on the back 10acres, wherever there was an opening in the canopy.

Trail Safety
Dangerous dead trees and branches that are a direct threat to the safety of the students walking on the trails have been cut.  Existing pathways continue to be improved (enlarging pathways, ground stabilisation on the edges or building simple stairs for the steepest parts).

Garden and Food
Two veggie beds have been amended. 1 bed is ready to plant. The second bed was forked into big clumps (lots of grass), which needs to be returned to, to get soil off clumps of grass. The beds generally need weeding, and there is little to no straw on them. However, the soil is beautiful feeling and looking.
In total, 5 sides of raised beds need replacing or make-shift mending. Rough cut can be purchased if the Committee approves, but then need someone to do the physical work.
There's a gorgeous thin raised bed up near the shed end that was completely mulched with straw, and would be ready to plant - It may get late morning and all afternoon sun? One side is completely gone.
Plans are underway to plant beets, kale and squash this year. 
Raspberries: canes have been cut and re-strung guide strings, weeded and amended with alfalfa pellets and mulched with leftover straw. In good shape now, totally done for this year.

 

The committee has about 5 active members, if you are interested in joining the committee or would like to communicate with the committee please contact [email protected] 

April Bloom, Camellia, Dhamma Modana  
 
Donation Gratitude 
 

The Vipassana Community Foundation reached out in mid-February to Centres in the US and Canada with the following:

The Vipassana Community Foundation (VCF) has established a COVID-19 Fund to support Vipassana Centers in the U.S. and Canada that have been most affected during the pandemic.

VCF will be distributing unrestricted grants in the range of $5,000 to $10,000; and is now in the process of selecting which centers are most eligible for these grants.

Dhamma Modana collected and shared our present and recent past financial picture with gratitude for being considered for such financial support.

We heard back that the VCF Board approved a grant of $50,000 to Dhamma Modana as part of their COVID relief Fund.

It's moving to witness and feel part of such generosity towards fellow meditators and those who will come and benefit from future courses. Kindness from people we may never meet, but share such an intimate journey with, traveling along the Noble Eightfold Path. I can't help but think that all the selfless effort put forward by the myriad volunteers since the inception of Dhamma Modana helped bring about the opportunity for this amazing kindness to flower. 

Most certainly our Trust, Committees and Volunteers will do their best to honor this and all financial support by continuing to grow and nurture the wonderful dhamma datu (vibrations of dhamma) at Dhamma Modana. 

For those of us not familiar with the Vipassana Community Foundation and their charter:

The Vipassana Community Foundation was originally founded in 2008 with the blessing of Goenka-ji to help support new and existing centers in the Americas.  In 2019 we expanded our charter to an international focus as well.  

Since we don’t run any courses ourselves, our main focus is to be of service to centers (particularly to centers that are just starting and/or being impacted financially) by providing grants as a result of the volition of old students.  In the Fall of 2020, we were approached by an old student who asked us to set up a COVID Fund — given that he saw how centers were being impacted during the pandemic.  This was approved by our Board.  And so we set up the fund and then spread the word about the COVID fund via geographic newsletters as well as our FB page, and students from all over the U.S. and Canada responded in making donations (which was truly a delightful manifestation of the power of dhamma and volition).  

Based on the applications, our Distribution Committee picked two centers to receive large anchor grants (one of which was Dhamma Modana). And then we also distributed 5 additional smaller grants.

There is more information about VCF on our website: www.vcf.dhamma.org

May all beings be happy.

Path to Liberation
From The Gracious Flow of Dharma, S.N. Goenka, VRI
Question: Is meditation the only way to get liberated?

Answer: Yes. Just accepting something with blind faith will not help. You have to work for your liberation. You have to find out where the bondage is, and then you have to come out of that bondage. This is Vipassana. Observe your bondage, observe your misery. Then you will find the real cause of the bondage, the real cause of misery and you will find how this cause starts getting eradicated, eradicated. Gradually yu are coming out of it. So liberation comes by the practice of Vipassana.

Question: Have you seen your previous birth?

Answer: Every moment I am dying, every moment I am taking a new birth. This process is going on, and I keep observing it


Questions for Assistant Teachers

If you have questions about your practice you may email 
at‑[email protected] indicating whether you prefer an email response or a phone call.
Photo: April 2021 project to cover long-term server's trailer

Generosity and Service Opportunities at Dhamma Modana
  • Management - short, long or seasonal options 
  • Sit-Serve-Serve 
  • Remote work -Join a committee team
  • Landscaping - Grounds & Gardening 
Please email [email protected]
with inquiries. 
Forget-me-nots, Myosotis

The Gracious Flow of Dharma, S.N. GoenkajiVipassana Research Institute, 1997

How can one practice morality? One must attain mastery over the mind. Our ancestors, the enlightened ones, gave us a very scientific technique for this. Dharma is a pure science of mind and matter, the interaction of mind and matter. Because of this interaction and because of our ignorance as to what is happening deep inside ourselves, we keep generating negativities, which means that we keep multiplying our misery. We make ourselves unhappy and we make others unhappy.

One should understand this law of nature not merely at the intellectual level. We cannot understand the law of nature merely by listening to discourses, by listening to Dharma talks, by reading scriptures, by discussions, by intellectualization or emotionalization. These may make us more confused. The only way to understand Dharma, to understand the law of nature, is to experience it. We should have direct experience of the truth, of the law of nature. We have to keep understanding the universal law with every step that we take on the path of Dharma.
Dhamma Modana Virtual Sitting

Weekly Group Sitting / Dhamma Modana / Followed by Q&A and Discussion

Dhamma Modana's weekly group sittings are on Mondays, 7pm-8pm, followed by AT-led Q&A.  

It is good to meditate together, especially these days with the current restrictions.
All old students are welcome to join virtually (see link) or calling. If you would like the calendar invite emailed to you, please send a request to:  [email protected]

Link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
Or
Phone: +1 647-317-5363   Canada, Toronto (Toll)
Conference ID: 843 089 335#

Pariyatti Free Resources & Newsletters

We recommend using Pariyatti.org as a resource, not only for the purchase of books but also for its large archive of free downloads. These include audio, video and text.

Be sure to check out their Free Resources section.

You may enjoy and be inspired by the Daily Words of the Buddha in your inbox each morning. A lovely way to start the checking email part of your day.

Visit Pariyatti’s archive of featured articles. You can read the latest December Pariyatti newsletter,  available for download here.
Dhamma.org App

There are so many audio, video and written resources now available on the Dhamma.org app to support you in your practice. Here’s a sampling that you may be interested in:
  • Self course FAQs for doing your own self course
  • On the Subject of Happiness
  • Video documentaries “From Myanmar to the World” and many more
More Resources

For more resources, visit the Old Student website. To access the Dhamma Modana old student website and all Vipassana related sites, the username is: oldstudent and the password is always the same. 

 
Please Provide Feedback About this Newsletter by clicking here
This notice is sent to old students of Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka in the North American Old Student Contact Database. You may also receive occasional messages from centers and newsletters via this database.

Best wishes,
Vancouver Island Vipassana Association
Dhamma Modana
2359 Calais Rd
Duncan, B.C. V9L 5V5
Canada
Visit website
E-mail us
Update e-mail address
Unsubscribe