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Teachings at Bodhinyanarama

Ajahn Chah Similies
From: "Tree in a Forest"


Nothing happens immediately, so in the beginning we can't see any results from our practice. This is like the example that I have often given you of the man who tries to make fire by rubbing two sticks together. "They say there's fire here!" He says, looking at his sticks. He then begins rubbing energetically. He rubs on and on, but soon becomes impatient. He wants to have that fire, but the fire just won't come, so he gets discouraged and stops to rest for while. When he starts again the initial heat that he had worked up has already been lost so the going is slow. He just doesn't keep at long enough. He rubs and rubs until he is tired and stops altogether. Not only is he tired, but he becomes more and more discouraged. "There is no fire here!" He finally decides and gives up completely. Actually he was doing the work, but there wasn't enough heat to start the fire. The fire was there all the time, but he didn't carry on to the end. Likewise with the mind. Until we are able to reach peace, the mind will continue in its confusion. For this reason the teacher says, "Just keep on doing it. Keep on with the practice!" Maybe we think, "If I don't yet understand, how can I do it?" Until we're able to practice properly, wisdom won't arise. So we say just keep on with it.
The teaching of the Buddha is both simple and subtle. Simple in the sense that the Four Noble Truths are sufficient as regards information, subtle in that while the structure of these Truths is quite intellectually accessible integrating it as a part of daily life is usually quite a challenge. The logic of the teaching is quite clear but developing a complete, internal understanding requires a particular kind of investigation. Monasteries largely exist for this reason; to create a dedicated environment for this inquiry. One of the best ways to deepen your understanding of the theory, in relation to meditation and daily life, is to spend time at the monastery - see: staying as a guest

The internet offers an almost overwhelming range of material on Buddhism which can be confusing. There are many schools, lineages and traditions each with different approaches and benefits for different people. This web site, and the monastery it represents, is quite specific and to simplify your search along similar lines the Forest Sangha web site can be a good place to explore this particular tradition further. We don't have a lot of written or spoken material on this site but you will find plenty links on the Books and Audio page.

Monastery Teachings

There are regular events that you might wish to join. There is no charge or need to book.
  • Pujas: Every morning at 5:15am (upstairs shrine during winter months) and evening at 7pm (main dhamma hall). Chanting and silent meditation. There are no scheduled pujas on Monday.
  • Sundays:
    • Afternoon: group meditation in the main hall — 1:30 to 4:30pm.
    • Tea together in the kitchen at 5pm. A monk is usually present at this time.
    • The evening starts in the main hall at 6pm with chanting in Pali and English followed by a 40 minute meditation; some instruction and guidance is given.
    • Those who wish can then take the Three Refuges and Five Precepts.
    • After this there is a talk on some aspect of the Buddha's Teaching followed by questions and discussion.
    • There is then a short closing chant about 8pm. This can end the evening or...
    • On alternating weeks we meditate until midnight after the talk-discussion. See the calendar for specific days.
  • Wednesdays:
    • Evening: 7pm.
    • After the usual evening puja – chanting and meditation – there will be a dhamma 'thing.'
    • This could be a talk followed by discussion.
    • It could be a sutta study - of one evening or over more than one.
    • Perhaps discussions exploring meditation technique and practice.
    • There are many possibilities and to a large extent this will be determined by you; what is most useful?
  • Meditation Workshops:
    • The first Saturday of each month: 1–5pm
    • You would be most welcome to come at 10.30 and share a meal with us.
    • Otherwise the afternoon starts at 1pm with a short chant.
    • The time is then spent practicing meditation and developing some understanding of the Buddha's teaching.
    • Varied periods of teaching, discussion, walking and sitting meditation make up the afternoon.
    • This is suitable for both beginners and experienced meditators.
  • City Meditation: – this is currently on hold until further notice.
    • The first Monday of each month: 6 – 7.30pm
    • Quaker Meeting House: 7 Moncrieff St (off Elizabeth; off Kent Terrace).
    • A 'relaxed' version of our regular Sunday format.
    • There is always a short, basic meditation introduction to begin. There is no set format and the time is generally spent practicing meditation, discussing that - and generally exploring 'life' in the context of the Buddha's teaching.
    • This is especially suitable for beginners and experienced meditators may also find it useful.
  • Retreats: details here

Around New Zealand

There are various lay-led meditation groups that the Sangha visits from time to time but scheduling varies a lot.

The most regular is: Palmerston North where we try to visit for the second weekend of every month.