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News Updates

Ten Royal Duties

Affairs of state are clearly not the focus of Buddhist teachings. Indeed, conversation about ‘kings and ministers’ figure in the many forms of ‘low or animal talk’ that the Buddha recommended we avoid (Anguttara 10.69). This injunction stems from the view that we often engage in such talk simply to exercise our opinions, without useful purpose.

Yet, however contested modern political discourse might be, the function and qualities of leadership are of ongoing relevance in our worldly lives. And when it’s observed that no dimension of life is excluded from the Dhamma it does not surprise that, in addition to diverse spiritual teachings the Buddha gave to various kings of his day, he is also known to have offered them guidance on royal governance. 

With the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II and ascension of King Charles III, reflection on the role of monarchs – indeed, any form of personal, professional, or state authority – acquires renewed pertinence. 

Is there a Buddhist approach to such ancient and contemporary concerns? A list of qualities found in the Jataka Tales, provides one response. The Jatakas present memorable incidents believed to issue from various previous lives of Gotama Buddha. The following ‘Ten Royal Duties’ (also, ’Norms’ or ‘Rules’: Dasa Rajadhamma) appear in the Jataka III,274:

Danagenerosity

Silavirtue

Pariccagaaltruism, or selflessness

Ajjavahonesty, or integrity

Maddavagentleness

Tapoself-control

Akkodhanon-anger, or calmness

Avihimsaharmlessness, or non-violence

Khantipatient forbearance

Avirodhauprightness, or conformity with principles of Dhamma

Even a brief glance will confirm that the list is in harmony with numerous refined qualities recommended by Buddhism to be worth developing… by anyone.… Read the rest

Dhamma Hall – August Update

As can be seen by the photos posted in the News section, the Dhamma Hall is now taking shape. As usual, the early work all took place below ground (e.g., foundation footings, electrical lines, septic and water lines, etc.) all monitored by repeated surveying. Although such work doesn’t interest everyone, for the residents even this proved to be rather captivating, as it was conducted by an impressive excavator, dump trucks, large concrete pumper, and teams of workers. Lots of commotion! 

This first rows of insulated blocks for the foundation, have now been filled with concrete and buried below several feet of packed gravel. The insulated walls have continued to be raised and strengthened with concrete and rebar, and now stand nearly complete, with just a few more rows needed at each gable end. 

Before these ends are completed, some of the timber framing along the walls will begin. However, before this is done attention will be focused on the floor. Like everything, this is a sequential process, entailing a heavy plastic vapour barrier set between 2 layers of insulation, onto which tubing for the radiant heating will be attached. The concrete can then be poured and levelled. Outside of the main building, the well and a septic tank have also been dug. … Read the rest

July Update

Luang Por Sumedho’s VisitAjahn Pavaro

It’s a normal summer morning: The big lawn is being mowed; rooms are being cleaned; hardwood planks are being worked on the jointer; a trip to the dump has cleared our recycling bins. The Dhamma Hall is also slowly being raised, block by  block. Yet over much of July things were charged with a unique spirit, as all the  normal routines and tasks of the monastery were weighed and variously considered  in preparation for the visit by Luang Por Sumedho.  

The first week of the stay was kept deliberately quiet, as Luang Por – accompanied  by his skillful, longtime upatak Ajahn Asoko – settled in after a full period at  Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery and on the West Coast. It was Luang Por Viradhammo’s wish that the visit contain plenty of open time for our senior-most  Elder. This meant it was not feasible to arrange public talks or events beyond a day or so in advance. Nevertheless, the Tisarana community, some additional guests, and fortunate day-visitors did have several opportunities to hear Dhamma  reflections, pay respects, and receive Luang Por Sumedho’s blessings.  

Some talks are now posted on Tisarana’s YouTube channel, including one here, which he delivered on Asalha Puja, as Buddhist monastics the world over enter the Rains season.… Read the rest

Kitchen Steward Position starting August/September 2022 – High Priority Opportunity.

Remote forest monasteries like Tisarana Buddhist Monastery, generally depend on the voluntary services
of Lay Stewards for day-to-day activities such as cooking, driving and shopping for essential needs of the
community. Our Stewards live on-site, full-time, volunteering their services free of charge, for a certain
period (minimum of three months). Stewards form an integral part of our community, participating in the
daily routine and serving the resident community.

This is an excellent opportunity for practitioners looking for a simple lifestyle dedicated to service and
meditation while strengthening their attitudes of generosity and renunciation. Living in a community of
like-minded individuals with similar outlook is a major source of upliftment leading to the deepening of
spiritual aspirations.


Job Description:
The Kitchen Steward is responsible for preparing meals for the resident community, maintaining the
kitchen roster, scheduling and coordinating Dana offerings, managing kitchen facilities and supplies,
attending to food safety and cleanliness, driving to Perth or Ottawa for shopping/errands, etc. Cooking
experience in a community environment would be highly desirable although not essential; on-the-job
training is provided. Actual meal preparation duties are shared with others on a rotational basis, as needed.


Suitable Resident Lay Steward candidates will possess:
– Commitment to abide by the Eight Precepts while at the monastery.… Read the rest

TISARANA DHAMMA HALL – CONSTRUCTION BEGINS!

Luang Por Viradhammo and the community are delighted to report that after several
years of careful pondering and planning (and a two-year delay) Tisarana’s Dhamma
Hall is now formally under construction.


Following the excavation work which began in early May, in the past two weeks, the
final surveying has been done, the forms have been laid, concrete poured, and the
first rows of eco-friendly, insulated blocks have been set in place for the foundation.
On June 2 these blocks were filled with another round of concrete. When cured,
this will leave the site ready to be backfilled and have established the level of the
Hall’s floor. Far from the site, meanwhile, massive Douglas fir and pine posts and
beams are being meticulously crafted. Many architectural elements of the Dhamma
Hall make this building unusual, recently prompting one of the workmen to remark
that for him the project may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Proving that it’s
not only the monks who are enjoying the show!


As admittedly absorbing (from our on-site perspective) as it is to watch these skilled
workers ply their trades, our pleasure in witnessing these ‘bricks and mortar’ details
is animated by an ongoing appreciation for the myriad forms of encouragement,
generosity, and hard work that have brought us to this stage.… Read the rest

OBS Zoom events April 22 & 23, 2021.

Hello, we’d like to pass along information from the OBS regarding their upcoming events. These have been posted in our teaching events calendar along with the zoom links. In case you’ve missed that, please see below.

The OBS has a large capacity for these two meetings, so please feel free to join in. All other details are available on their website.

Friday Evening Meeting with Ajahn Viradhammo
April 22, 7:30 – 9:30PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86534353039?pwd=Y3NaVUVFZmQ0ZE41UGhQN1I3NlVXdz09

Meeting ID: 865 3435 3039
Passcode: 851585
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/klAERrksD

Saturday Day of Mindfulness with Ajahn Viradhammo
April 23, 8:45 AM – 3:00 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85252958778?pwd=VFNzNmpQS2VWNHFEV2cxYUhXd1B4UT09

Meeting ID: 852 5295 8778
Passcode: 130711
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdivsxfzwr

Read the rest

New Guest Orientation Weekends 2022

We are delighted to announce the resumption of our New Guest Orientation Weekends. This is a great opportunity to welcome new guests for an overnight visit and to experience life at Tisarana.

Please refer to dates on our calendar.

Please note that those registering are required to attend for the full duration – arriving on a Friday afternoon and departing on the following Monday morning. … Read the rest

2022 Winter Retreat

The Canada geese have now been back in our marsh for a couple of weeks. No matter the actual calendar date, this is the sign we await to mark the beginning of Spring and, with it, the nearing of the Winter retreat’s end. Today we had a pair of new visitors at mealtime, marking another change, another ‘year,’ when the Tisarana community shifts into its more active mode.

Before doing so, some reflections on the past three months. Along with our long-term Stewards (Niraso, Karano, Michelle), this year we had a harmonious group of full- or nearly full-time retreatants (Viboon, Teri, Tid James, Curtis) to assist in the normal kitchen and cleaning duties as well as the seasonal snow clearing. Anagarikas Aidan and Daniel also served in the kitchen as well as in their functions as monastics-in-training. Tan Amarasiri led regular chanting sessions and Dhamma instruction (in addition to various office and accounting duties). Ajahn Pavaro offered several diversionary slide shows of Asian sites and pilgrimages. In addition to leading the community in the three hour period of meditation observed for three weeks each month, Luang Por Viradhammo set daily tone with a reading from Ajahn Jayasaro’s inspiring biography of Luang Por Chah.… Read the rest

April is Old Friends month & New Guest Orientations to Resume in May 2022

With the arrival of Spring and loosening of Covid restrictions, we are delighted to welcome back our old friends and supporters for overnight visits. Supporters and friends of long-standing are invited to visit us by filling in a Guest Booking form. The Office will get back to you shortly.

With the mandates around Covid relaxing, the monastery will be able to resume our orientations for people seeking their first overnight visit. These typically take place on one weekend per month through to December. 

If you wish to be a first-time overnight guest at Tisarana, more information is available in the “New Guest Orientation Training” section under Visiting/Guest Information. The first weekend Orientation for the year 2022 will be scheduled for May. Dates for this session will be posted around 25th of April 2022. We thank you for your patience and understanding. Read the rest

End of Year Reflections (2021) by Ajahn Pavaro

Another round of seasons at Tisarana. The quiet, open space of the previous winter retreat is long past; subsequent seasons have been filled with regular pujas and Sangha gatherings, daily chores, needed kuti repairs, cabinetry, and numerous planning meetings for our prospective Dhamma Hall. Especially since mid-August (when a public ceremony marked the Hall’s formal site clearing) more folks have arrived for visits. It’s been a pleasure to see people’s full faces again and to share in their appreciation for rejoining the Tisarana Sangha, and one another, in person.

Now it’s December 25th. My day has begun by sitting with the community, as Luang Por Viradhammo leads a meditation session, and responds to questions over Zoom from students in distant Singapore. While listening to Luang Por, from time to time my awareness gathers elsewhere. The theme of my delinquent morning attention? Ingmar Bergman’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Watching the film in lay life for many years on Boxing Day has rendered it, seemingly indelibly, into the mood of the season for me. After all, this is a season redolent with perception and memory, even within our rich Buddhist environment. (As further demonstrations, a festive little tree stands near the food-offering area; today’s meal will include shortbread and fruit cake.)… Read the rest