From: "Tree in a Forest"
Suppose one morning, you're walking to work and a man starts yelling insults at you. As soon as you hear his insults, your mind gets agitated. You don't feel so good, you feel angry and hurt, and you want to get even! A few days later, another man comes to your house and tells you, "Hey, that man who abused you the other day, he’s crazy! Has been for years! He abuses everybody like that. Nobody takes notice of anything that he says." As soon as you hear this, you are suddenly relieved. That anger and hurt that you've pent up within you all these days melt away completely. Why? Because now you know the truth. Before, you didn't. You thought that man was normal, so you were angry at him and that caused you to suffer. As soon as you found out the truth, however, everything changed: "Oh, he's mad! That explains everything!"
When you understand the truth, you feel fine because you know for yourself. Understanding, you can then let go. If you don't know the truth, you cling right there. When you thought that the man who abused you was normal, for example, you could have killed him. But when you found out the truth, that he was mad, you felt much better. This is knowledge of the truth. Someone who sees the Dhamma has a similar experience. When attachment, aversion and delusion disappear, they disappear in the same way. As long as we don't know these things, we think, "What can I do? I have so much greed and aversion." This is not clear knowledge. It's just the same as when we thought the madman was sane. Until we learned that he was really otherwise, we weren't able to let go of our hurt and anger. Only when the mind sees for itself, can it uproot and relinquish attachment.
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
There are regular events that you might wish to join. There is no charge or need to book.
- Pujas. Every morning at 5:15 (upstairs shrine during winter months) and evening at 7 (main dhamma hall). Chanting and silent meditation. This varies slightly around observance days. There are no scheduled pujas on Monday.
- Observance Days. A day of quiet contemplation. Group meditation: 2-5pm (full & new moons).
Evening chanting, meditation and a dhamma talk: 7pm.
The actual day varies but these are roughly once a week. See the events calendar for details.
- Sunday Evening: every week, 6 – 8pm
- You can come at 5pm for a cup of tea and to chat with others. A monk is usually present at this time.
- The evening starts 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.
- The evening closes with a short chant about 8pm
- 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.