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Traveller
03 Sep 11, 21:59
I visted the Vihara today, I've got to say that the English people there were predominantly middle class, there didn't seem to be many ex-homeless, former drug addicts there. Oh well I suppose I'm making in roads for the lower end of the social spectrum! Seriously, though, I think it takes a certain kind of mind to appreciate Buddhism in the west. Still I have a high IQ and I speak politely.

Bhante Amitha was a really kind and gentle man, I wish I could have had some time with him to ask him some questions and seek his counsel about my life. Next time I'll try and arrive a little early and see if I can get some time to talk to him. I struggled with the Pali chanting. The meditation was excellent, essentially it was the Mahasi method. I felt really calm and clear afterward.

At the end, the Bhante blessed me and tied a piece of white fibre around my wrist, I'm unsure of the significance of this, I would have liked to have asked but Bhante Amitha was busy and I really had to go and get my train.

Will I go again, definitely.

There is also a Zen Sangha here in Nottingham and I intend to visit, both Theravada and Zen interest me and I would like to see which suits me better.

Element
03 Sep 11, 23:27
At the end, the Bhante blessed me and tied a piece of white fibre around my wrist, I'm unsure of the significance of this...
hi L.T.

the string is probably a blessing and also probably an offering to you of connectedness & friendship

i am happy to hear you felt calm and clear afterward

meditation is usually more powerful when done in a Vihara

also, Bhante Amitha may be able to offer you some time to talk with him, including outside of the formal visiting days

simply contact the Vihara and ask

with his white string, Bhante Amitha has offered his compassion & friendship to you

kind regards

element ;D

Traveller
03 Sep 11, 23:45
Element

Thanks for the explanation, I think I'll e-mail Bhante Amitha and ask if I may have some of his time to speak to him. ;D

ngodngam
04 Sep 11, 00:53
At the end, the Bhante blessed me and tied a piece of white fibre around my wrist, I'm unsure of the significance of this.

The answer is depended on how we use it. For example,

- someone thinks that it is useless and just throws it away;

- someone uses it as a wristband for beautifulness;

- someone uses it to show other people that he/she went to vihara and such made him/her feeling good by being interesting or talked by others;

- someone uses it to feel that he/she is special from the others. The others did not go to Vihara but he/she did;

- someone uses it to feel good that Bhante gave it and was friendly to him/her;

- someone uses it as a supernatural thing which should protect him/her from bad things or evils;

- someone uses it as a supernatural thing which should support him/her to be successful or to recover from sickness;

- someone uses it to remind him/her how he/she likes Viahara and that he/she should go to Vihara again;

- someone uses it to remind him/her to think of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Monks at everytime he/she saw it;

- someone uses it to remind him/her that he/she has to refrain from bad doings and should control and improve his/her morality;

- someone uses it to remind him/her that he/she should be clam and should not allow bad thinking or desire to concur his/her mind. He/she should improve his/her mindfulness;

- someone uses it to support his/her practice, e.g. at anytime he/she saw it, he/she feels that the wrist is part of body (like a wheel is part of a car), the body is not self, the wristband is not self;

- someone uses it to support his/her practice, e.g. remind him/her for awareness (‘Sati’). At anytime he/she saw it, he/she will have awareness (‘Sati’) and will be awaken. For example, he/she would aware that the eyes (as part of body) are looking at the wristband (not he/she is looking). He/she would aware that his/her mind is thinking about the wristband (not he/she is thinking); and

- etc.

From the above examples, the significance of and the benefits from such piece of white fibre are various depending on how we use. It would mean nothing, bad thing (e.g. greed to receive more, wear it as wanting to be beautiful or be special which creates more self), a little useful thing or very useful thing.

The body, and the mind are similar. It depends how we use them. We can use our body and mind to do and think good things, bad things, or nothing. One may use them to harm himself/herself and so many other people. One may use them to help himself/herself and so many other people.

The breath is similar. If we just breath in and out for nothing each day, such breaths are just for living and mean nothing (waste) in our practicing. If we add awareness into those breaths, such breaths are not only for livings and are useful for our practicing. We just need to know how to add awareness into them (which I already explained how to aware body and mind and how to feel the body breath in other threads).

Traveller
04 Sep 11, 14:09
Well personally, I'm going to use it to try and remind myself what would the Buddha want me to do.

Is there anything monks are not aloud to eat, in the way of spices and the like? My girlfriend makes some great greek lentil soup, it has a lot of garlic and pepper in it though, I would like to take some for the Bhante, I also thought of taking him fruit and since that is fairly neutral, I take it that razors would be an acceptable thing to give as well.

Traveller
04 Sep 11, 17:08
When I'd woken up a bit, I figured the easiest answer was to e-mail Bhante Amitha and ask him.

FBM
05 Sep 11, 02:16
Well personally, I'm going to use it to try and remind myself what would the Buddha want me to do.

Is there anything monks are not aloud to eat, in the way of spices and the like? My girlfriend makes some great greek lentil soup, it has a lot of garlic and pepper in it though, I would like to take some for the Bhante, I also thought of taking him fruit and since that is fairly neutral, I take it that razors would be an acceptable thing to give as well.

The only food you shouldn't give is the flesh of an animal that was killed especially for the monk. Actually, this only applies if the monk knows that the animal was killed for him. If he knows that, he's obligated by the Vinaya to reject it. Otherwise, they're obligated to accept whatever you give, food-wise.

Razors would be acceptable, yes. Toiletry items, writing/reading materials, whatever you think would be useful for him and/or his fellow monks. Money is not really acceptable for Sri Lankan monks, I think, but I might be wrong about that. What the books say and what actually happens tend to not always agree. ;)

ngodngam
05 Sep 11, 17:39
No restiction on spices for monks. Garlic and pepper are also allowed. But do not make it too spicy as it may not be healthy.

An intention to give it to any monk for benefits of the community of monks as a whole would be more merits than an intention to give it to a specific monk. For clarification, you give the soup to the Bhante, but keep your intention that he is a representative of all monks as a whole. So, you give the soup to all monks not only him in particular. We call this gift as 'Sanghadana'. You may ask about 'Sanghadana' from the Bhante.

Whether or not the Bhante will eat or like your soup, it does not matter. You have full merits since you give it to him. In fact, you had good merit already since you thought about giving a soup for him. Once you physically do it, you have more merits.