From: "Tree in a Forest"
Grand Central Station
When it comes to practice, all that you really need to make a start are honesty and integrity. You don't have to read the Tipitaka to have greed, hatred and delusion. They are all already in your mind, and you don't have to study books to have them. Let the knowing spread from within you, and you will be practicing rightly. If you want to see a train, just go to the central station. You don't have to travel the entire Northern Line, Southern Line, Eastern and Western Lines to see all the trains. If you want to see trains, every single one of them, you'd be better off waiting at Grand Central Station. That's where they all terminate. Some people tell me that they want to practice but don't know how, or that they're not up to studying the scriptures, or that they're getting old, so that their memory's not so good any more. Just look right here, at Grand Central Station. Greed arises here, anger arises here, delusion arises here. Just sit here and you can watch all these things arise. Practice right here, because right here is where you're stuck, and right here is where the Dhamma will arise.
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.