From: "Tree in a Forest"
We should investigate the body within the body. Whatever's in the body, go ahead and look at it. If we just see the outside, it's not clear. We see hair, nails, and so on and they are just pretty things that entice us. So the Buddha taught us to look at the inside of the body, to see the body within the body. What is the body? Look closely and see! We will see even though it is within us, we've never seen it. Wherever we go we carry it with us, but we still don't know it at all. It's as if we go and visit some relatives at their house and they give us a gift. We take it and put it in our bag and then leave without opening it to see what is inside. When at last we open it we find it is full of poisonous snakes! Our body is like that. If we just see the shell of it, we say it's fine and beautiful. We forget ourselves. We forget impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and not-self. If we look within this body, it's really repulsive. There's nothing beautiful in it. If we look according to reality, without trying to sugar things over, we'll see that it's really sad and wearisome. Dispassion will then arise. This feeling of disinterest does not come from feeling an aversion toward the world. It's simply our mind clearing up, our mind letting go. We see all things as not being substantial or dependable. However we want them to be, they just go their own way, regardless. Things that are unstable are unstable. Things that are not beautiful are not beautiful.
So the Buddha said that when we experience sights, sounds, tastes, smells, bodily feelings or mental states, we should let them go. Whether happiness or unhappiness, they're all the same. So let them go!
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 5:15am (upstairs shrine during winter months) and evening at 7pm (main dhamma hall). Chanting and silent meditation. There are no scheduled pujas on Monday.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.