Happy New Year!
60th birthday & New Year Newsletter
One year in Budh Gaya, India, the monastery that was hosting our annual series of ten day retreats, was undergoing extreme renovation work. All day, every day there was the sound of hammering, shouting and the Indian builders talking and laughing.
The abbot of the monastery came to me and asked how things were going, ‘Fine,’ I said, ‘but there is an awful lot of noise.’
‘The experienced meditator can meditate whatever the external conditions,’ replied the abbot wisely.
In reality I already knew this as I had already spent eleven years meditating each lunch time in a noisy factory on my home Island. However, for people new to meditation we try to create the more supportive atmosphere of silence.
By coincidence that evening, my retreat manager and a student were speaking in hushed voices directly in front of the abbots door. Suddenly it was opened and a young monk stood in the half light and said, very politely of course, ‘Please go somewhere else to talk, the abbot is trying to meditate !
It is easy to sound wise when quoting the scriptures and famous teachers, but it is only through our own direct experience of life that we will truly acquire wisdom.
One huge argument with my father when I was an adolescent was when he forbade me to do something. I demanded to know why, and he replied that it (whatever it was) wouldn’t work, and that I should learn from his experience. Even as a young man I knew this was not the way.
Knowing about Dhamma is not knowing Dhamma, and the difference between the two is enormous.
Many western students of Japanese Zen practice are captivated by the romantic stories of great masters who drank sake, had relationships with women and lived a ‘crazy’ life. What they forget is that these masters had trained earnestly for many years before arriving in this place.
Again, there is a great difference between simply following the mind and being one with the mind !
Here I speak about ‘letting go,’ such a simple phrase, but the Dhammic power of this phrase is phenomenal. It is by holding on that we suffer, it is by letting go that we are free. However, before we can instruct others to let go we have to know how to do this ourselves.
At one time a mother arrived in front of a master and exclamed, ‘My son is smoking ciarettes, will you show him how to stop ?’
‘Yes,’ said the master, ‘bring him to me in one month.’
One month later the mother arrived with her son and the master spoke to him.
After the interview the mother asked the master why she had to wait for a month before he could give this advice on how to stop smoking.’
The master replied, ‘before I could advise your son how to stop smoking, I had to know how to stop for myself.’
So, the Dhamma is always simple. Make your practice with humility. Don’t pretend to be something that you are not, you will always show yourself, and live with love and be aware.
May all beings be happy.
Sharing the Dhamma
After his enlightenment, the now spiritually awakened Gotoma, shared his experience and consequent understanding with his five former colleagues at the deer park outside Benares.
As they too became liberated by accepting and comprehending the Pure Dhamma, he told them to go and share what they had understood for the benefit of all beings.
Jesus instructed his disciples to do the same and even my own teacher sent me out into the larger world to share Dhamma so that all beings may benefit...
As I now begin my 60th year I feel inspired and energised to spread this Pure Dhamma even more than ever.
Dhamma is like a beautiful meal, even if we benefit from it, how can we feel comfortable if others are starving?
As we begin 2012, I offer myself completely to the service of Dhamma, so that people everywhere may hear the words, make the practice and ultimately be free from the cause of their unhappiness.
I believe that I have a message that is pure, worthy and not corrupted by either religion or half understood New Age ideas.
Now, for the first time in my life, I respectfully ask for true disciples to come forward and train with me; to work hard, promote the pure Dhamma and serve the world with love.
I offer these thoughts to the universe, and I wish the best for you in this New Year.
Anjali with Michael
coming together in Dhamma
A new service for close disciples of Michael
Anjali is the Buddhist word for the hands coming together in front of the heart in an attitude of prayer. It signifies mutual respect, gratitude and humility, and this is where we meet you and I, on our Dhamma Path, in an environment of love and compassion.
It is not my place to tell you how to live, or what you should or should not do, but only to share with you the Pure Dhamma as my teacher shared it with me. This is the great and beautiful tradition of sharing the Truth. Not religion, not politics, not social adgenda, only mutual love, respect and above all, self responsibility.
Our intention here is to make close contact with the Master readily available so that a true and energetic Dhamma practice remains our priority, and that we don’t feel isolated or even abandoned, in our spiritual life.
Dhamma realisation brings peace, happiness and a depth of understanding that we cannot even begin to imagine before we have it. The reality is simple, when we are happy we will share that happiness with all beings, when we are confused we will share that confusion with all beings. Ultimately the whole world will benefit by you staying on the path of love and awareness. When the heart is open, the face smiles.
Anjali with Michael will take the form of the retreat private interview where you are free to ask questions about meditation practice or simply life itself. The time will be for you and with the free modern technology of Skype, vision and sound are available together. We will encourage you to make this committment for a private Dhamma session at least once a month.
Of course, we ask that a small fee is paid to support the life of the teacher and also because you as a disciple must show your intention to be serious about this relationship. Dhamma is the most important thing in life, please don’t miss the opportunity to be in the presence of someone who lives it moment to moment.
For details of this please contact:
May all beings be happy