Rules and conventions are established to make things more convenient, that's all. Let's take money, for example. In olden times, people used materials and goods to barter as money. But they were difficult to keep, so they started to use coins and notes. Perhaps in the future we'll have a new royal decree saying only lumps of wax can be used as money throughout the country, or chicken dung. Then people would start fighting and killing each other over wax or chicken dung. This is just the way it is. What we use for money is simply a convention that we have set up. It is money because we have decided it to be so, but in reality what is money? Nobody can say. When there is a popular agreement about something, then a convention comes about to fulfill the need. The world is just conventions. But it is difficult to get ordinary people to understand this. Our money, house, family, our children and relatives are simply conventions that we have invented, and we really believe they are all ours, but seen in the light of Dhamma, they don't belong to us. It's when we think that they do that we suffer.
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.
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
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.