Bhante Thiep has expressed his wishes to dedicate the next three(3) months for practicing. He shall remain at SFM but will spend most of the time in the woods.
Beginning on Friday, 1/29/2021, Bhante will use a Kuti (a meditation hut) in the wood for practicing. During this time, Bhante will come out from the wood to accept alms at 11:00 a.m. The alms collection would be outside. In case of bad weather, the front porch may be used.
Lay people are welcome to chant or to meditate at SFM, but they will have to practice on their own.
Your cooperation and understanding are greatly appreciated.
We are saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend and supporter, Pat Smith. In the earlier days, Pat was instrumental in helping us establish Sarasota Forest Monastery in Englewood when we needed the community support to gain the local and County approvals for SFM. Pat was never more than a phone call away to whatever we needed. She was influential in the Englewood community. As the SFM has been and is an early-stage organization, fundraising events were absolutely necessary for our continuity, and Pat was a major force to make this happen, whether to getting tables and chairs from her church, getting workers to clear the parking lot, contacting vendors for any essentials for our events. She was always generous with her time, and her knowledge of the local community was invaluable.
Pat loved to have Buddhists in Englewood. In her own word, “they are good people, gentle people, who will add a lot to our community.” Pat joined in several SFM Board meetings to offer ideas for long-term success from the community perspectives. John Raab recounted, “with Pat as SFM’s cheerleader, we didn’t have to do very much more to gain the local and County approvals for SFM.”
Pat had a vision for SFM to be a place that is welcoming to all, whatever a person’s background or experience level might be. She was engaging while interacting with new visitors and wanted to make sure that everyone was included and informed about events at the monastery. Pat’s great talents in community outreach made her the perfect conduit for spreading the word about the new forest monastery in town. She helped with networking with other churches and businesses in the Englewood area, and was instrumental in arranging a local news publication to come out to the monastery to interview Bhante Thiep. While Pat was relatively new to Buddhist practice, she had an open mind and genuinely expressed interest in learning, taking what she found to be helpful for her own life. She was by all accounts very brave, whether in speaking her mind or in traveling to foreign countries.
Having traveled extensively in greater Asia, Pat loved the diversity we were bringing to the community. Of course, she enjoyed the harmony and peace. May she achieve the ultimate Peace and Liberation!
It appears that COVID-19 pandemic is going to be with us for a while, and that we need to find the way to practice meditation safely. A group of devotees has been organized and getting together weekly on Sunday afternoon in the woods at SFM property. All interested persons are welcome. Please meet at the house on 520 Lewis Street at noon and walk to the woods together. We have two monks, Bhante Thiep and Luang Por Kham, to lead us.
Notice: In addition to Bhante Thiep, SFM is pleased to announce that we have a new monastic guest monk, Luang Por Kum, for the upcoming rains retreat (3 months) beginning Thursday, June 18, 2020. Luang Por Kum is currently residing at Wat Buddharatanaram Meditation Center in Keller, Texas.
When people come to the temple, good things happen. The atmosphere at SFM yesterday was amazing in all fronts whichever way you look, either people, place, or things. Pa Somboon and P’ Ta have been coming to SFM most nearly every day. Pa Somboon has done tremendous amount of works in the garden. Her Thai basil is ready for consumption; I took some yesterday. It is good to snip them once in a while to promote growth, and healthy volume.
Spring and summer are the good time for gardening. People often bring excess fruits and vegetables to share. We also have some Thai herbs in our garden at SFM, thanks to Pa Somboon who takes the lead in the garden project. With consideration to the ongoing pandemic, it is good to socialize outdoor, and what could be better than gardening.
COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for a while yet; it is best to understand it, and deal with it safely. On that note, we suggest that all people enter SFM building to wear mask for our safety.
SFM regrets our inability to hold meditation sessions in a time when it would have been quite beneficial to all of us. Typically, our day-to-day lives have been mostly consumed by “mundane” activities, some of which include “entertaining” our six senses. Rather than dwelling on irritable boredom as a result of extra time on our hands, we can now be more productive by focusing on Buddhist Practice where we can generate good kamma. In times like these, we can better appreciate the Absolute Truth expounded in Buddhist doctrine, Anicca (impermanence), Dukha (unsatisfactoryness/suffering), and Anatta (selflessness). Buddha’s advice on Yoniso Manasikara (Wise Attention) is worth mentioning especially in these uncertain times. In Sabbaasava-sutta, factors on wise reflection include “establishing self-restraint and removing unwholesome thoughts from the mind’. This can be accomplished by continued practice of meditation: Mindfulness (sati) and Concentration (samādhi).
Go to a silent place. Be seated with an upright posture and allow the breath to manifest in your awareness. A beginner yogi experiences the gross breath, which has already risen and formed. With repeated practice, observe the arising breath (origin) and middle of the breath which has risen. With refined mindfulness, a yogi observing the arising breath (origin) can observe its cessation (at the end). With continued practice, one moves from the experience of the gross breath, one end of the spectrum, to a subtle breath, the other end. Progressing to the subtle breath is a development of mindfulness, endurance, and patience. When the breath can be observed in subtle forms without external distractions, bodily experience and thoughts reduce in their force. There is calmness. Thus, the wholesome intentions (cetanā) that lead to good kamma.
(Note: Above summary was developed from the writings by Buddhist meditation masters Dhammajiva Thera and Bhikku Analayo. If you need in-depth information, please contact us at SarasotaForestMonastery@gmail.com)
Tomorrow comes Visak Day. It would be beneficial for all , not just the recipients of this message, but other people , who need reminding , as well if you would chant in the morning and in the evening ( or more) and spread Metta to all living beings . Or spending the whole day doing that.
May all of you ever be enriched with longevity, prosperity , happiness and strength.
We have been observing the news as regards Coronavirus pandemic that continues to spread from person-to-person around the world and eventually around town among us here. The danger from this infectious disease is alarming. It would be best that we focus on health and safety of everyone involved.
It is with regret that we are announcing the cancellation the Spring Festival 2020.
We are pleased to welcome Phra Ajahn Manop Paripunno Karnjanabumrung at SFM on Thursday, March 5, 2020. Phra Ajahn Manop is from Wat Doi Dhamma Chedi, Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. He practices Buddhism in the Forest Tradition following the teaching of The Venerable Acariya Mun. It is recommended that we familiarize ourselves with the monastic discipline so that we can accommodate him properly. A good place to start would be in the Vinaya (Disciplines – actions of body and speech) and Dhamma.
Please resume the Buddhist practice as well as the offering to Sangha beginning on Friday, March 6, 2020.