2013 CRMC Summer Retreat
(Group Picture Below)
The Buddha spoke to his cousin Ananda regarding the importance of friends (the Sangha) in relation to living a spiritual or holy life:
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sakyans. Now there is a Sakyan town named Sakkara. There Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, “This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie.”
“Don’t say that, Ananda. Don’t say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.
“And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve… right speech… right action… right livelihood… right effort… right mindfulness… right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.
“And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life.”
(Source Translation: Upaddha Sutta: Half (of the Holy Life)” (SN 45.2), translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight, 29 August 2012,https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn45/sn45.002.than.html . Retrieved on 26 August 2013.)
Thank You all, friends, for joining us on retreat. Each one of you made the weekend a living expression of sincere and dedicated practice. Moira and I hope that you found our retreat helpful to your practice.
The weather was magnificent as well as the Won Dhamma Center and their staff and ministers.
A special thanks to Karen Rosand and her skill and helpfulness in managing the details of our retreat and to Jisoo for her helpfulness and presence. Reverend Dosung’s Saturday service was an inspiration to all of us. The food was outstanding, thank you Tenzo (Head of kitchen) and kitchen staff, and thank you Doug for the delicious vegetables from your “practice”.
We will be returning again next year for retreat, maybe twice!
It was a true honor having the opportunity be your teacher and to share the BuddhaDhamma with all of you this weekend. Your comments are greatly appreciated regarding any aspect of the weekend including the teachings, the booklet used, and the Won Dhamma Center.
The Dalai Lama said: “The purpose of time is to awaken.”
Our weekend retreat was a purposeful time indeed. Peace
With Palms Together, John and Moira
For All Who Reside In The Dhamma - Agantuka Sutta
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.
Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.
I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
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