Youtube Media Tour

As I get geared up back into doing dhamma media, I wanted to make a post giving a little tour of the various types of videos on the “Students of the Path” youtube channel that I’ve been running since 2012.

https://www.youtube.com/studentofthepath

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“A Journey into Homelessness” Is my first series and the beginnings of the channel, where I document from 2012-present my journey into monasticism:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…

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Ask a Bhante(Submit a Question, Get a Video Answer) :

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…
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SOTP Podcast (The Beginnings of a Podcast I had hoped to do regularly, i’d like to get back to it soon) :

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…
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Q&A Excerpts(Individual questions from full Q&A Videos):

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…
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Dhamma Shorts(Individual short sections of full Dhamma talks) :

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…
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Full Q&As :

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…
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Full Talks :

https://www.youtube.com/playlist…

Sometimes, the Bubble Bursts.

“Bhikkhus, these two kinds of persons are rare in the world. What two? One who takes the initiative in helping others and one who is grateful and thankful. These two kinds of persons are rare in the world.” – an II 119
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an 2.32 “Monks, I will teach you the level of a person of no integrity and the level of a person of integrity. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, “Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful & unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no integrity. A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by civil people. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity.”

We live in a bubble, and we are eternally ungrateful for it.

What do I mean by that? When was the last time you flipped a light switch to turn on a light and thought about the immense infrastructure and the tens of thousands of people who are working all day every day to make sure you can have light in your house?

Now multiply that a thousand fold to all of the things that go to create this wonderful comfortable and safe bubble we’ve created in the first world that keeps us from nature, the nature of the world, and human nature.(health/first aid/police/energy, on and on)

People really love nature, especially if they’ve never really spent a bunch of time in the woods and realized that it didn’t care if you existed or not and your survival chances were near zero if you were stuck out there with no modern support. Nature, reality, is a brutal truth we try to escape from as much as we can.

And so we see in some places with the pandemic, that what we consider to be modern health care systems that are so wonderful for all of us, are so overwhelmed that they have to triage(if you’ve never experienced even a practice run of a triage, I highly suggest you do if you have the chance, I did multiple times as a teenager who had a lot of emt/fire friends) who lives and who dies.

That sounds so foreign to us in modern first world country. We just take for granted that we can just save people, that we can’t just “let” people die. We have a hard time mentally wrapping our head around it… and that is because we live in a bubble that protects us from a large amount of the things that our ancestors had to face on a regular basis.

Most of you know i’m a bit of an eternal optimist. I’ve been through a good amount of crisis and death in my life, and it’s never an easy thing to go through, but it helps you set your priorities straight, and allows you to handle a crisis much better and more mindfully, which means things go better for you and those around you.

It also teaches you gratitude, for so much, even the people who are long gone from your life but helped you become who you are. That gratitude for even the small things in life helps keep you on the right track.

My hope is that people will start taking many less things for granted because of this, including the people around them, their community, their family, the people that help keep the bubble running strong every day. I’m not saying its bad we live in the bubble, but it’s bad when we take it for granted and lose sight of reality, that leaves us unprepared for the next time nature/reality comes and bursts our bubble for a little while.

I remember 15 years ago sitting there watching my wife slowly die while on intubation, understanding that there was nothing left in medical sciences power that would keep her alive and it was her time to go.

In this time it’s good to keep in mind one of the core teachings of Buddhism, the 5 Subjects of Contemplation. The Reminder that you are subject to old age, sickness, death, loss of loved ones, and are responsible for your actions.

The last one is perhaps the most important.. you are responsible for your actions, and when put in a situation where you have little to no control(you have very little always, we just fool ourselves into thinking we way more then we do) over what is happening to you, how you choose to act is the most important thing, and one of the few things you have control over.

So stay healthy, and may I suggest to use this time to reflect and practice dhamma, practice developing gratitude for so much that is positive and supportive in our lives, that for better or worse shelter us from reality, that same reality that we as meditators seek to understand with insight.

Out of Seclusion and 2020 Travel Schedule

I’m now out of seclusion and ready to start 2020. As I stated before this year I will not be doing any travel teaching, but I will be traveling to spend time at various monasteries to learn and grow and take care of myself as a young monastic and for growth in the dhamma as a practitioner.

This is my basic schedule for the year in terms of travels. I post this for a few reasons, one, I will need help in transport between various places, so anyone able to help would be appreciated. Secondly while I’m gone Bhavana could also use visitors to help with the day to day, so thats a good time to come visit Bhavana .

So far the basic framework is this :

April – I will be gone from ~ April 15-29, to spend time at Temple Forest monastery up in NH as well as visit my Buddhist Insights friends at their new place in my home state of NJ.

June – I will be spending near on the whole month in California(where are all my California friends ?:) ). I will be spending a week at Abhayagiri and a week at Wat Metta, I also hope to visit my sisters at Dhammadharini as well Karuna Buddhist Vihara.

anyone willing to help me get between Bhavana and the airport for this one, or help in California, would be helpful.

In August I will be spending a week at Forest Dhamma with Ajahn Dick and the great community there.

in November I will be spending the whole month in Australia to visit various monasteries thanks to a generous donor. I will be spending a week at Ajahn Brahm’s monastery and visiting others.

So thats about it for this year, 4 travel events, I will be sending out an email to my regular transport volunteers to see if they are able to help with transport for any of these, and anyone else willing to be stuck in a car with me for a few hours would also be appreciated 

Starting in 2021 I’ll get back into travel teaching, and most likely will be moving on from Bhavana once I hit my 5th vassa and come off dependence that year.

My Vassa Begins : Will be Unavailable until March 1st.

Today I begin “my vassa”. The Vassa period is a monastic tradition of staying in one place during the seasons of the rains(vassana) in India at the time of the Buddha. Monastics can travel during vassa for a variety of reasons(teach dhamma, sick parents etc) but are not supposed to be gone longer then 7 days. It’s still practiced today, but in the west the traditional vassa period of July-October makes literally ZERO sense, as this is among the most active times for dhamma events and retreats.

My true Vassa begins today and ends March 1st. Bhavana has one more month before it essentially shuts down all official activities and goes into seclusion( if you’d like to come stay at Bhavana during that time, the minimum stay is a week and you support the monastery in seclusion, its a very quite and meditative time).

From here on in I will be almost totally offline and will start to build up into more and more seclusion. I still need to be online for Bhavana Business, which still has two more weeks of public retreat in December, and doing sessions on my discord community, but my online scope will be drastically reduced.

I will not be responding to questions and emails during this period unless very serious or an emergency. I may post a video or some kind of dhamma(I’m actually due for a 3 year as a monk video that i’ve been pushing bacK), but not much. This culminates in February where I get to go totally off grid in seclusion and be by myself for the whole month as I do every year, but December and January are a quasi-seclusion period. It’s been a very busy and exhausting year, its time for a little rest and relaxation vacation ,Vassa.