Forest Sangha Newsletter July 1989
THIS ISSUE Cover:
Articles:




Editorial:
Gratitude to Ajahn Chah; Jayasaro Bhikkhu
Image of the Dhamma; Sister Viveka
Living in the World with Dhamma; Ajahn Chah
Part of the Lineage: pt.I; Aj. Sucitto interviews Aj. Jagaro
What is the Devon Vihara? Supanno & Pasadaka
Out on a Limb; Venerable Kovido
Lineage is more than History; Ajahn Sucitto
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Question Time; Aj Sumedho
Allowing Silence; Aj Sucitto
EDITORIAL
Lineage is more than history

At the time of the year's full blossom in the gentleness of May, hundreds gathered at the monasteries to honour the All Enlightened One, the full flower of humanity that we know as the Buddha. What a quietness attends ceremonies that pay tribute to his birth, enlightenment and final release! The heart's silence in gratitude and respect; the measured salutations to Buddha images; the reflections on Dhamma and the resolute meditation vigil are all part of the homage. And Wesak apart, they are the foundation of everyday practice.

Two and a half millennia separate the birthdays of the Buddha and Ajahn Chah, but in our time there's less than a month between the days when we commemorate them. Less than a month further on, we' can watch three men Going Forth as bhikkhus following the Buddha's Dhamma - Vinaya in the monastic style set up by Ajahn Chah. How real is the sense, and the distancing effect of Time? As you read this, these events are separated by mere moments, whereas for those who participate, there can be the realization of nonseparation. The mind's Going Forth is actually not fixed to one event in time or place. It's a universally reiterated theme in all spiritual practice. So, as we honour the tradition, we can feel honoured that our practice is what gives the highest meaning to a traditional Path.

 
To leave self-consciousness behind and turn to Dhamma is to be part of the lineage of practice that we call Sangha. In that commitment to Dhamma, as the Buddha himself said, is the true veneration of the Tathagata.
 
A historical sense grants us the awe to be attentive. After that it can become a burden. Historg begins wherever you choose the events that are significant-and thereby remote, History can never include oneself or the present moment; so we may feel that the Buddhist tradition is apart from us. It's quite an ironysince the place of Dhamma practice is oneself at this present moment - yet how long does it take a monk or nun to feel that they are a real and vital part of Sangha? How many lay people feel that the tradition is outside them, that they can't even visit the monastery without a proper reason: "Don't want to be a nuisance, don't like to intrude" Veneration without insight can easily put the religion high up on a pedestal beyond our reach.

To leave self-consciousness behind and turn to Dhamma is to be part of the lineage of practice that we call Sangha. In that commitment to Dhamma, as the Buddha himself said, is the true veneration of the Tathagata. It is significant for all of us, because it's the same for all of us: in effect we only exclude ourselves from the tradition when we maintain the isolation - and desolation -of self-view.

And over the years one becomes very grateful, personally grateful, for the Buddha's final and unfailingly clear directive: "All compounded things" (monasteries, masters and the moaning mind) "break up - be mindful and keep going!" There's no history in that, and no promise for the future - just a supportive lineage of practice.

Ajahn Sucitto