Announcement to the Kootenays:
Happy Thanks Giving…..and in the Spirit of Giving…..
I am connecting you with a wonderful person named Ananda who is spending the winter at Mountain Waters Retreats.
Ananda is a Canadian Buddhist Monk
Below is a message from him and picture as you might see him walking around town.
And also how you may support him.
He welcomes a meal a day to be DONATED to him between 10 am and 1pm.
I wanted to extend his welcome to our community and I thought some of you might want to participate in meeting him, supporting him with food donations.
Please feel free to pass this message along if you see fit.
He soon will have a cell phone as well.
And you can message him on FB or send him and e-mail
With care and gratitude
Life at Mountain Waters
My name is Ānanda, and I am a Canadian Buddhist monk.
I just arrived in Nelson a few days ago and I will be spending the winter here.
You might see me slowly walking down the street in the late morning, with a big bowl in hands. This is what we call “going for alms-round”.
Monks at the time of the Buddha went out on alms-round every day in the nearest town or community with their bowl to collect food to maintain their body and continue their practice.
We do not beg nor ask for food.
We simply walk in silence, on the side of the street, with our bowl so that those who feel compelled to support our practice can put food in our bowl.
Monks do not take what is not given.
This is a very important part of our practice for many reasons.
We live only by the generosity of others.
The monks were instructed to always be present to the state of their mind, especially during alms-round, so that no unwholesome states would arise (Greed or hatred).
Therefore, we are instructed to always be sending Loving-Kindness (Mettā) to everyone around us as we walk along.
Almsround also creates an opportunity for people to develop in wholesome qualities like generosity, and cultivate a wholesome kind of happiness, which is what the Buddha taught.
It is perfectly fine to ask me to wait for a few minutes if you would like to give something but need to go get it first, this is quite common as well.
I only eat one meal a day as the Buddha instructed the monks.
It is common practice to invite monks for a meal.
At the time of the Buddha, this was usually a good occasion for the host to have a private conversation with monks, talk about the Dhamma or simply answer some questions they may have concerning the spiritual life.
The Buddha and the monks often give/gave talks after their meal (Upon request)
We do not teach or say anything when there is no request or interest.
We do not go out trying to convince people of anything, that is irrelevant to us.
This would be going against our practice.
Some people might want to give a little bit every day
or on certain days of the week.
That is also quite common practice.
There can be arrangements made.
For example, we do not normally knock on peoples doors on almsround, but it is hard for people to know when monks will be coming by. Someone could tell me to knock on their door when I go by their place, that is possible if it is the desire of this person.
Generosity is the first step on the Buddha’s path to happiness.
The Buddha taught the the cause of all unhappiness in this world is selfishness.
Generosity, Giving, is its complete opposite.
It opens up and gladdens the mind instead of clenching it and narrowing it down.
The mind becomes happy, peaceful, collected.
These wholesome states are preparatory for meditation.
Especially when the gift is given to a virtuous recipient in which the giver has faith and confidence that they are living a virtuous life.
The Buddha said: If people only knew how beneficial generosity was, they would never take or eat anything without sharing it.
He also said:
By giving a gift to an animal, the offering may be expected to repay a hundredfold.
By giving a gift to an immoral ordinary person, the offering may be expected to repay a thousandfold.
By giving a gift to a virtuous ordinary person, the offering may be expected to repay a hundred-thousandfold.
An offering made to the Sangha (Community of monks) is incalculable, immeasurable.
Monks hold dear certain rules, which we call virtue.
The main ones are:
To abstain from harming any living being consciously.
To abstain from taking what is not given.
To abstain from all sexual activity.
To abstain from false speech, spiteful speech, divisive speech and senseless talk.
To abstain from taking substances that dull the mind and cause carelessness.
By these five rules, we offer an immeasurable number of beings freedom from fear, enmity and affliction.
Those who support this practice of virtue also take part in the merits that derive from it.
For those who take care of the Dhamma,
the Dhamma takes care of them.
We also abstain from accepting money and doing transaction.
(Since we are far from the context of northern India 2600 years ago, someone is volunteeringly taking care of all monetary donations and transaction for me.)
And lastly, if you are a woman,
don’t be set back if I do not hug you or shake your hand,
monks avoid touching women.
This is not against women, quite the contrary.
This is a protection, for women, for the monks and for the sangha’s (the community of monks) reputation of acting blamelessly.
If you have any questions, you can come and ask me, it will be a pleasure to answer.
May all blessings be upon you.
Have a wonderful day.