Environmentalism

31st August 2019

This was our seventh session at Broad Oak Village Hall

We randomly picked a mini practise to focus on. Rachel picked ‘Connect’

We practised our normal Sitting Meditation and Walking Meditation.

and then tea… 

Connect

We discussed this stage from the beginning of the sitting meditation.

Having established your awareness, that you are really sitting in your body, in the preceding step, ‘Connect’ brings our awareness to the world around us.

As our eyes are closed then our primary sense is hearing. It should be fairly easy to hear something, no matter what it is and then to be aware of the connection between your sitting body and the sensory data. We are not analysing what it is, just witnessing it’s presence with us as we go on this particular journey.

Hearing is by no means our only way to connect though. We can bring our awareness to scent or touch, even taste if you had a polo before you sat down!

Practise again

If you are finding the practise again section helpful you could hit this button too.

Tree

Fear, separation, hate and anger can come from the wrong view that you and the earth are two separate entities

TNH

Aṅgulimāla

I was reminded of the story of this man who had been overtaken by attachment to a very wrong idea. Correction that it was fingers that were collected not ears. I am not sure where that came from. Reservoir Dogs maybe.

It is a parable of redemption (which is nice) but it also underlines the power of stopping, even for a moment and seeing what is really happening.

We could all gain insight, just like Angulimala, if we were to come to as complete a stop as we can during practise.

The Story

The Buddhist scriptures relate that one day, after his meal, the Buddha went out from the monastery where he was staying and walked towards a great forest. Seeing him going in that direction various people working in their fields called out to him to warn him that in that forest dwelt the dreaded Angulimala.
 
Little is known for certain about Angulimala but the usual account of his life has him the son of a well-to-do family and at one time a brilliant student at the University of Taxila, then the Oxbridge of India.
 

At Taxila, other students were jealous of him and succeeded in poisoning their teacher’s mind against him, with the result that the teacher asked of him what he must have believed would be an impossible honorarium, a thousand human right-hand little fingers. Unbelievably, instead of giving up and quietly going home without graduating, the young man set out to collect the fingers and pay the fee.

Presumably, he quickly discovered that people were reluctant to willingly give up their little fingers and so he was forced to resort to violence and killing in order to obtain them.
Then he found he had nowhere to store these fingers. He tried hanging them on a tree but the birds stole them so his solution was to string them around his neck. For this gruesome and growing garland of bloody fingers he was nicknamed Angulimala which means ‘finger garland’ or ‘finger necklace’.
 
This was the man who, peering out from his lair, spotted the Buddha coming towards him and who that day had round his neck nine hundred and ninety-nine little fingers. This powerful and athletic serial killer, who had already successfully resisted several attempts to apprehend him, grabbed his weapons and dashed out to murder the Buddha and complete his score.
 
He expected to easily overtake him and quickly finish the job but then a very strange thing happened – even though the Buddha was only walking, serene and unhurried, Angulimala, despite his formidable strength and speed, found he couldn’t catch up with him.
Eventually, exhausted, angry, frustrated and soaked with sweat, Angulimala screamed at the Buddha to stop!
 
Then the Buddha turned and with neither anger or fear, speaking quietly and directly, he told Angulimala that he, the Buddha, had already stopped.
 
He had stopped killing and harming and now it was time for him, Angulimala, to do likewise. Angulimala was so struck by these words that there and then he stopped; he threw away his weapons and followed the Buddha back to the monastery where he became a monk.

Legacy

Angulimala had become so good at chopping people up that he became an expert midwife during his career as a monk. An example of transferable skills!

Angulimala is the name of the Buddhist chaplaincy in HM Prisons in the UK.

Check there work out here and consider helping out their practice of teaching mindfulness to other members of our wider community.

Now Every week

I have booked the hall every Saturday now throughout September.

On the first Saturday of the month I will be running an extra hour when I will start to explain the second part of the sutra.

It is only 3 more gatas but they are HUGE!

If you want to find out more then stay late on the 7th September.

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