Dear Friends, In this Issue...
  • Centre Update
  • Trust Retreat & AGM Recap
  • Questions-and Answers
  • Generosity and Service Opportunities
  • Student Testimonial
  • Dhamma Modana Virtual Monday Group Sittings
  • Virtual Group and Day Sittings & Pariyatti Free Resources

Dhamma Modana Centre Update

      The Centre continues to do its best to serve as many students as possible while adhering to local health authority guidelines and practices.

      This summer the Centre held:

            -3 (10-day) courses
            -1 Satipitanna
            -1-week service period
            -Trust Retreat, Annual General Meeting and Trust Meeting.   
 
For more information, visit the course scheduling section of the website.
Trust Meeting Group Sit, August 2021

Trust Retreat & AGM Recap

On August 21st & 22nd Dhamma Modana hosted a gathering of old students for the 2nd Anuual Trust Retreat and General Meeting. Over the course of the weekend, attendants engaged in discussions about the Centre finances, received updates from working committees and toured the Centre grounds.

 

Background: What is the Trust?

Goenkaji appointed trustees in addition to Assistant Teachers to handle the operational logistics of managing a Centre. The first Trust in Canada was appointed in the 80s. Dhamma Modana’s Trust consists of seven members who meet every 6 to 8 weeks.

 

Centre Committees Updates

Kitchen Committee

The kitchen committee completed a re-design of the menu to accommodate smaller courses and individual tray dinning as opposed to the traditional buffet style. The committee has continued to remain in communication with the centre's covid re-opening committee and local provincial health authorities to ensure the necessary protocols are practiced. In addition, the committee has worked on simplifying the menu as a reflection of reduced student numbers and dana from smaller courses.

Landscaping Committee
The committee used the opportunity of smaller courses to experiment with maintaining a Centre food garden.  Ongoing discussions on whether or how this will be repeated next year. While the garden produced ample food resources that the was put to good use it was acknowledged to be labour intensive. Trail maintenance, forest management, fire prevention and safety, and landscaping continues.

Operations and Maintenance
On-site servers took advantage of the Centre closures this past year to complete various renovations that would have been difficult to complete in tandem with courses. These include:

  • The majority of the interior of the Centre has been painted
  • Carpets have been cleaned
  • 30' Trailer purchased + shed was built to house it to act as a manager residence
  • Two gas stoves installed (this should be removed as it happened while Danel was serving, so over a year ago)
  • Sanitizer purchased and installed (this also happened over a year ago)
  • Upgrade to the HVAC system in the hall
  • Privacy fence was built along the west side of the property
  • Kitchen reno allowing for another sink close to the stoves / addition of a men's servers bathroom / an area for a future mop sink was plumbed in /
  • The hot water only feed to the women's server's residence was corrected
  • Exterior siding outside the kitchen was completed
  • Roof built over the exterior kitchen door leading to the patio and walk-in cooler
Projects to yet be completed include:
  • Kitchen backsplash
  • Improvements to the manager residences
  • gutters for roof over the walk-in cooler

Finance Committee
Along with other book keeping and other financial responsibilities, the finance committee is tasked with drafting a loan repayment plan. In 2018, the current Dhamma Modana property was purchased and supported by the sale of the previous lands in Cowichan Lake plus old student loans . These loans now constitute a significant debt for Dhamma Modana. Because cash flow has been significantly reduced by COVID, some lenders have extended repayment dates as a response. The next major repayment deadline is in 2025. Dhamma Modana is open to new student loans and the finance team is actively investigating different options for keeping the Centre running efficiently and effectively.

Communications Committee
The communications committee has recognized the importance of maintaining communication with old students during a time of isolation and Centre closures. For this reason, the committee embarked on a few new projects this year.

Newsletter
The committee partnered with Dhamma Surabhi to distribute a monthly newsletter. Both Centres alternate months and by the end of 2021, a full of year of newsletter publications will have been completed. Earlier newsletter can be found on the website.

Website
Regular website updates are conducted in order to maintain students informed on current COVID protocols, course updates, virtual group sittings and online old student resources.

Social Media
Dhamma Modana is expanding its social media platforms to include Twitter and Instagram. Regular Centre updates will be posted in the account as well as resources for new students.

Virtual Group Sittings
The committee arranged a weekly virtual group sitting that has been successfully running every Monday. To join, more information here.

Day 0 & Day 10 Committee
This group has been tasked with simplifying the check in process for students in order to comply with COVID safety protocols. Registration was moved to the dining areas to provide enough space for physical distancing. The committee is always looking for students to volunteer to help on Day 0, three students are needed per course.

Housekeeping Committee
The committee has been tasked with reviewing and updating Centre wide cleaning protocols and supplies in order to comply with provincially mandated COVID safety measures. The committee continues to monitor government mandates on sanitation and incorporates them to the Centre guidelines.

In-Reach Committee
In-Reach guides old students with the volition to serve to the correct service opportunities. In-Reach has been working for the past year to improve engagement and outcomes for the Centre's functioning.

Trust Meetings
Old students are welcome to attend Trust meetings. If you would like to attend the next meeting and/or serve with a committees please email [email protected]. For more service opportunities see below.

Generosity and Service Opportunities 
  • Management - short, long or seasonal options
  • Sit-Serve-Serve
  • Remote work opportunities or in-between course service
         Email: [email protected]

 

 


Questions and Answers

Question: I feel that our emotions can be teachers, that we can learn from our anger or our sadness. What is the view of Vipassana on this?

Goenkaji: Emotions by themselves do not make us miserable. If we can learn how to observe our emotions, we come out of misery and therefore learn something from them. But if we allow ourselves to be overpowered by these emotions then we suffer. One thing Vipassana teaches us is this: Emotion will arise; let me observe it objectively. “Look, this is an emotion: anger or sadness,” or this or that. “Along with this let me observe what sensation is on the body. Ah, this sensation is impermanent. Let me see how long it lasts.” This is how we come out of our suffering.

 

Question: Vipassana focuses on the internal reality. That’s fine, but what about the external reality that really causes a great deal of suffering? What use is Vipassana in dealing with the real pain of the world?

Goenkaji: Understand, Vipassana is not an escape from the problems of day-to-day life. One comes to a course for ten days to learn the technique of Vipassana and gain strength to face the problems of the outside world-just as you might go to a hospital to become physically healthy, and then leave to live healthily in the world. Similarly, when you learn to use this technique of observing the reality inside, you can face the problems outside more easily. It is not that by the practice of Vipassana all the problems will disappear; but rather, your ability to face them will improve.

The problems of the outside world are created by individuals living in the darkness of ignorance. Just as lighting one lamp will dispel the darkness around it, similarly, one person practicing Vipassana will affect the society. If more people practice Vipassana, slowly this will start having a positive influence in the world. Even if only this one person is practicing Vipassana at least he or she will be able to face the problems and find solutions. And those solutions will be healthy solutions.

 

If you have questions about your practice you may email 
at‑[email protected] indicating whether you prefer an email response or a phone call.
Walking Trails Dhamma Modana, Summer 2021 
 

Student Testimonial after 1st 10-Day Course
 English Translation

  ۷ روز پس از ویپاسانا یا آگاهی 
Link to Original Persian 

12 Days after Vipassana (Observing the reality of truth as it is) 

I learned about Vipassana about seven years ago and during these seven years, I tried one or two times to register to the waitlist but it didn't go through. I wasn't always sure about spending 10 days of my life just doing meditation. My internal conversation was like: how can I leave my life for 10 days? Is it required to spend 10 days just to meditate? Is it normal to do that? I will do it myself just maybe 10 minutes a day I don't need to do these radical trips, after all, I want to be normal. But the reality was I was so immersed in the distractions of life that I couldn't do it myself.

Years past and I started doing some online meditation with a very nice lady who had passed a 10-day course and she was offering online meditations. After each 10-minute meditation online I felt so relaxed and good that I thought with myself that all of my questions and concerns will be answered in meditation. Knowing that I registered for three centers at the same time and right on the day of my 42nd birthday one of the centers accepted my application. 

Having all sorts of anxiety problems and relationship problems in life and in my business, I was so excited that finally I can escape from all my anxiety and do meditation; something in the bottom of my heart was telling me that the answers to my problems are found in my meditation. I was so excited that I started to pack almost 5 days before, bought new towels and blankets and sheets and I started writing about my experience and I went to the center one day before, just to see the location. I camped in my car the night before the start of the course and showed up at the Centre very early, I remember I was the first person.

For me, it was so hard to say bye to my 3-years old daughter and also giving off my phone and laptop. I was kind of addicted to my phone and computers, some days my screen time was up to 14 hours, basically all of my waking hours. 

After finishing that journey which was a long long journey inside, now I can say that this journey was one of the best journeys of my life a long journey inside my own world.

It wasn't all roses and good though, there were a few times during the course that I felt sick, I felt miserable and at least two times I decided to leave. With the help of some people in the center and just being a little bit more patient, I stayed there. 
 

Long hours of sitting had some pain showing up in my back and my legs and digging through my unconscious mind, my past and my relationships made me see nightmares and feel a lot of discomforts. I had enough calmness and time to review my bad dreams at night and learned from them, most of the dreams I still remember and they all had clues for what I did in the past wrongly and pointed me to the right path. I was talking to myself that I have no responsibility here, my sleeping bed and my food are ready, so all problems that I have are from inside! So I had no excuse to be unhappy! 

Growing up in Iran with some cultural similarity to East and to India and Berma where thease teachings originated, I could understand the teachings from a different prospective, I could relate to most of the ideas taught in Vipassana and what is deviation from that original teaching which is said is pure form of what Buddha taught almost 2500 years ago. 

But all the patients paid off, I can't describe what was my experience on the 10th day fully using words, I was a different person. I felt like a super-man driving out of the center my driving was totally different from before. My mind was working differently, I was a different person. All the problems and anxieties that I have been struggling with for decades seemed to have been vanished. The reason for that was because I was living in the moment. 

The course is designed in a way that puts your attention toward yourself, there is not a lot of outside things for you to direct your attention so naturally, you go inside, naturally, you direct your attention to yourself, and naturally, you start living moment by moment; breath by breath.

In summary, I got my soul back, my mind was so distracted and so stressed for long years that I could not sit still and did not have concentration, this was resolved completely, 

Depression and anxiety disappeared completely, it worked like hundreds of hours of consultation for me. Before that I could not read or write long texts, my mind had lost its sharpness and concentration, this alone could be a good result if you look for something in return from gaining from sitting for 10 days.

From a logical mind and from the outside it just doesn't make sense that you sit for 3 to 4 hours a day and do nothing. But in reality, the miracle happens when you sit long enough. 

After the 10-day course, I discovered that besides the world that we all see around us there is a bigger and better world, the world that is more important than the outside world; that is the world within us. If the world inside us is a mess, no matter what you do outside, no matter how luxurious, how amazing the outside world is you still don't feel good. And the moment your inside world is in order and your mind is in equanimity and you are in that meditative state, no matter how the outside world is like, you feel good and you are happy even if you are in a prison. Honestly that 10-days is like you are in a prison; as you have nowhere to go but inside. 

In that 10-days I traveled to my childhood, felt my childhood pains, traveled to the future up to the last breath, and mapped my life and future plans. I had ideas sprouted in my mind. I learned a new way of living, a better way of living.

After two days of finishing the course, I already missed that, Doing one-hour meditation per day as my current commitment to myself, doesn't give me that meditative state that I have gained in the 10-days. I'm kind of addicted to meditation right now, any time I have nothing to do I will sit down, close my eyes, and pay attention to my breath and my body. 
It's said that your body is the only really that connects you to the mind-matter world.
In the last days of the course, you learn about sharing your merit and love with others.  I hope this writing has a little bFor me, it was so hard to say bye to my 3-years old daughter and also giving off my phone and laptop. I was kind of addicted to my phone and computers, some days myFor me, it was so hard to say bye to my 3-years old daughter and also giving off my phone and laptop. I was kind of addicted to my phone and computers, some days my screen time was up to 14 hours, basically all of my waking hours. 

After finishing that journey which was a long long journey inside, now I can say that this journey was one of the best journeys of my life a long journey inside my own world.

It wasn't all roses and good though, there were a few times during the course that I felt sick, I felt miserable and at least two times I decided to leave. With the help of some people in the center and just being a little bit more patient, I stayed there.  screen time was up to 14 hours, basically all of my waking hours. 

After finishing that journey which was a long long journey inside, now I can say that this journey was one of the best journeys of my life a long journey inside my own world.

It wasn't all roses and good though, there were a few times during the course that I felt sick, I felt miserable and at least two times I decided to leave. With the help of some people in the center and just being a little bit more patient, I stayed there. it of that in it and hopefully it helps people toward getting into the world of meditation and changing their life and the world for better.

And finally, because the world is a world of give-and-take and everything is influenced by capitalism, I just want to analyze this from a businessman's perspective. This is a 10-day vacation! it's totally free. Your accommodation and food are already paid for, all you have to do in return is to work on yourself for 3 to 4 hours a day. Even for a business-minded person, this is a great deal, you just sit and get services from very nice people. The only commitment you have is to sit for 3 to 4 hours and work on your own mind and purify your mind. Do you know better pay or an easier job like this? So even if you are a business-minded person it's a great deal, I recommend you to take this deal. Give it a try yourself, the first lesson of Vipassana is that, you have to experience yourself and give importance to your own experience and do not rely on other people's knowledge, so these were my experience to give you just an idea, go to www.dhamma.org to experience yourself.


Dhamma Modana is looking for students to share their experiences sitting and/or serving courses for distribution on our newsletters and social media. If interested, please contact [email protected] for more information or submit your piece below:
Submit Testimonial
Duncan, North Cowichan, Summer 2021
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 at least once a week.

All old students are welcome to join. If you would like the calendar invite sent to you, please email the [email protected].

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting
+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 Dhamma Modana 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. 

How are we doing?
We’re eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and general feedback. Please send them to [email protected].

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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
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