Thursday, April 17, 2014

Finally have a computer system up and running - had to replace a faulty hard drive as well. Running smooth, even looks like video editing might be possible, if I were ever so inclined. Currently encoding a new Dhammapada video, verse 66. Coming soon to YouTube.

Going family visiting tomorrow, so no Monk Radio until at least next week.

That's about it. Just another "I'm not dead yet" post for y'all.

Be well :) 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

organization

Getting organized on many fronts; before I can start making videos again, some technical difficulties have to be overcome. No cameraperson means trying a camera remote - gratitude to whoever ordered the remote off my wishlist - if it works as expected when it arrives, I'll be able to record videos again.

Next comes the computer - it seems to have broken in transit from Winnipeg - had to replace the cpu fan, but the graphics card isn't working either. have requested Sirimangalo International to purchase a new computer system (the one I have is five years old and has been to four different countries on three continents so far - talk about mileage).

Having a board meeting tonight to discuss moving the organization from Manitoba to Ontario, more organizationing.

Also trying to organize the whole Pali study thing, but it seems studying while under the influence of a cold virus is something this monk can't do.

Still sick, almost recovered I think. Was going to start Monk Radio up this weekend, but I think it better to wait until the organizing dust has settled a bit.

Went to a Laotian house this morning for alms. Four monks from four different countries (none of which being Laos); I being the only one who doesn't speak Laotian was asked to give a talk in Thai, which is the native language of no one in the building. It was heartwarming, really, after all the silly cultural stuff I've witnessed, to see us all trying to stumble our way through language and cultural barriers and no one really caring because we're Buddhists and, well, why cling to such things anyway?



That's why I like living in Canada as a monk. Well, Ontario anyway; Winnipeg was a little too Canadian for me, I think. Ontario is a nice place to live, lots of activity, highly multicultural so not so much clinging to this or that culture. Okay, so maybe it's because I was born here, I don't know. I admit that, having been all around the world, there's one thing most people upon and it's that there really is no place like home.

Of course, home is where the heart is and all that; and certainly on a monastic level there are better places to live than Barton St., but as far as organization goes, I can't imagine a better place to do it.

So, here's how the organizing comes out:

All video making and online question answering is being postponed until at earliest next week.

The USA trip is now down to the following locations:

9-12: Worcester, MA
12-15: Long Island & New York, NY
15-16: New Jersey
16-19: Washington, DC
19-22: Concord, NC
22-24: Atlanta, GA
24-30: Tampa & Dunedin, FL

Pali study is waiting for my brain to recover from its battle with tiny flesh-eating monsters. Here's what I managed to read today:

‘‘bhikkhave, pālileyyakahatthinā mama sabbakiccāni katāni. Evarūpañhi sahāyaṃ labhantena ekatova vasituṃ yuttaṃ, alabhantassa ekacārikabhāvova seyyo’’ti

Which translates a la Thai grammar:

"See here all bhikkhus, (that which is all kamma) which should be done (by a person) in total for me has been done by the elephant named pālileyyaka. Well, that which is the by-one-who-obtains-a-friend-who-is-of-such-a-form living indeed in-the-way-of-being-as-one was proper; that which is the state (of one) who does not obtain (a friend who is of such a form) being one who wanders alone is a state that is more exalted (is)."

Honestly, that's how they translate it... and trust me it makes about as much sense in Thai :) My poor virus-riddled brain.

Be well :)

Saturday, April 05, 2014

south for the summer

Okay, here's an ultra-tentative schedule for our trip to Florida... more like a sketch, really. Lots of room for adjustment, provided I can still make it back to Ontario before the 10th or so of July. Some of this hasn't been confirmed yet, so this is really just to give an idea of when we may be passing through.

June 9-12: Worcester, Mass
June 12-15: Long Island, NY
June 15-16: Ocean Grove, NJ
June 16-19: Washington, DC
June 19-21: Concord, NC
June 21-22: Columbia, SC
June 22-23: Atlanta, GA
June 23-24: Orlando, FL
June 24-July 1st: Tampa, FL

If I've missed anyone, please let me know, or if you want to add to this list.  The first two stops are most likely set, due to constraints at their ends. The rest is still unconfirmed and can be shifted a bit if necessary.

I'll be updating the website at http://carika.sirimangalo.org/ and there's already a nifty contact form there to request info or make an invitation to visit.

I have at least one male person who has offered to join me for the entire trip; please let me know well in advance if you would like to join us as well.

May all beings be well :) 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Oy, Canada

Home again; the colder weather suits me fine. Watching the sun come up from my desk on the second floor of the monastic residence. Spent the early morning hours meditating then writing out the introduction to Pali grammar in Thai. TIL that taddhita are for the purpose of using fewer words to say the same thing and kitaka use suffixes to tell saadhana or kaala.

The trip home went smoothly. The Beijing airport gets upvotes for free hot and cold water and downvotes for strict transfer security and no wifi for foreigners. My good friend Ven. Guttadhammo picked me up at the airport.

At the monastery, there were several packages waiting, including a cpu fan to replace the old one, though now it seems the graphics card may be shot as well. There was also a nifty bluetooth keyboard someone sent, so I'm typing comfortably using Blogger on my mobile phone. Thanks for everyone who sent stuff; quite amazed at how great the wish list has been for that. Blessings of external and internal wealth to you all. Someone ordered a little usb thumb drive that connects directly to the phone, but it arrived broken; trying to order a replacement, but the company says they need the order number. If you have it, please send it along.

Too many projects on my plate, as usual, but instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel useful. Will try to set up a video studio in the basement soon, start cranking out Dhammapada vids et al.

The trip is at the front of my mind; please, if you're a man and mentioned coming with me, and are still interested, send me another email so we can arrange to travel together. I suppose actually I could travel alone, but the USA is a bit scary for that, honestly (having been jailed once already just for being a monk...) Anyway, that is an option, so I guess it's on either way. Next step is to start calculating times and figuring out dates.

Translations are still underway (I hope!) and chances are good we'll have twenty languages by the end of the year. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone who took / is taking part in this project. It's pretty amazing what people from all parts of the world can come together and make happen.

Book two on how to meditate will come when it comes... not sure if I'll actually get around to it with all this Pali stuff every day, but we'll see. Someday it will happen.

Lots of good stuff in the works. If you're in Ontario and want to come to meditate in Stoney Creek, we welcome you. Rooms, food, teaching, what more could you want?

I don't normally answer comments to my posts, just in the interests of sanity, but if you're wondering about the illusory nature of Thailand, as a country it exists only in our minds. Saying that Thailand or Canada or even this body is an illusion is perfectly in line with the Buddha's teaching:

pheṇūpamaṃ kāyamimaṃ viditvā, marīcidhammaṃ abhisambudhāno.

chetvāna mārassa papupphakāni , adassanaṃ maccurājassa gacche.

Realizing that this body is like froth, penetrating its mirage-like nature,

plucking out Mara's flower-tipped arrows of sensuality, go beyond sight of the King of Death!

-- Dhp. 46

This doesn't mean all is an illusion; physical and mental aspects of experience are very real.

All for now. Be well and bring peace to yourself and others!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

airportage

Sitting in a beat-up old arm chair in the Bangkok airport waiting for our gate to open. Soon the illusion of Thailand will be replaced by the illusion of Beijing, Toronto, and finally an illusory Cambodian monastery in Stoney Creek, if I don't get stranded somewhere in the meantime.

Thailand was nice; able to see the good side clearer now that the bad side is at arm's length. I'm sorry to see how deeply divided the country is, but not surprised; the harmony and smiles were ever but an illusion.

What did become clear is how important it is to keep one's focus on one's own universe - the experiential world inside oneself and in the relationships in which one partakes. Goodness isn't an option, helping others not a luxury. When one helps others one helps oneself; when one helps oneself, one helps others, as the Buddha said.

A note about the trip to Florida, I don't have a confirmed assistant yet, so those of you male people who mentioned your interest, hopefully at least one of you are able to join me. There's also at least one woman who plans to join the trip, so we may have a bit of a posse of sorts. Bring your own tent. More on the trip once I've actually figured out how such a trip works bus-wise and such.

Flying again, landing April 2nd, 1810h, Pearson, Terminal 1, Air Canada flight 32.

Be well.

Friday, March 28, 2014

counting blessings

I've been blessed with so much in this life. Good health, a well-functioning mind, a solid family and wholesome upbringing filled with good friends and teachers. I was blessed to find my way to the practice of the teachings of a fully enlightened Buddha, blessed with good instruction in English, blessed with the privilege of ordaining as a Buddhist monk in a foreign country, blessed with the support and tutelage that has kept me alive and prospering in the monastic life.

Ajaan Tong Sirimangalo has been the greatest of all blessings of my life. I can't begin to express what his presence in my life has meant. He is the best reminder to me of what great luck I have coming into this life. Whereas people talk about how difficult it is to meet him, almost every time I've tried he was somehow available. This morning was no exception; just as he was preparing to leave, I arrived and was able to not only offer him a set of ten translations of my booklet, but join him and five other monks for lunch at a mansion near the airport before getting on a plane back to Bangkok.

Not sure what I did to deserve all of the goodness in my life, but I sure as heck know I've got a lot of work to do so as to not lose it. Ajaan asked me again for 111 languages, which he hopes we can finish by September. Ahem. Maybe he'll settle for twenty?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

meanwhile, somewhere in Thailand

Staying in a small hut in a jewelry factory near the airport for the night. The surgery was delayed until today but went off without a hitch. Tomorrow I have to go back to see the doctor but so far so good sight is a little blurry but don't need glasses anymore. Yay. Much thanks to all of those who contributed to my operation, as well as those who sent their well wishes.

May you all be well.