May 2021

“As I am, so are others, as others are, so am I.
Having thus identified self and others, harm no one nor have them harmed.”

– Sutta Nipata

Air Quality Upgrades at the Center

Dhamma Pubbananda recently applied for and received a grant from the Vipassana Community Foundation (VCF). VCF is an old student funded nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide resources for the spread of Vipassana meditation around the globe, by providing grants and capacity building investments to new and existing Centers worldwide. Our grant, obtained from their recently initiated COVID Fund, is to be used as needed for Center operations and construction during these times where COVID has impacted our Center. The first project we used these funds for was to improve the air quality at the Center, particularly in shared spaces like the Dhamma Hall, dining rooms, and interview rooms. We purchased HEPA air filtration units for the dining halls and interview rooms and added a UV light to the Dhamma Hall HVAC system. We also upgraded the air filters in the HVAC systems throughout the Center to MERV 13 standards.. Our next project will be to add foot pedals to the dish rinsing sinks in the dining halls. These improvements will make the Center even safer for students, servers, teachers and staff as we continue offering courses during these COVID times.

Online Basic Pali Course by MAVA

MAVA is pleased to announce an online Pali course to help Vipassana Meditators understand the Buddha’s words better and strengthen their practice. The course is being offered every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month starting on May 9th from 11:00am to 12:00pm. If you are interested in attending the class, please email [email protected].

Spring Dhamma Service Period
5/2/2021 - 5/12/2021

There is much to do at the Center this spring. We have many projects planned and need lots of hands to get things done. And there are many ways to lend a hand such as cooking in the kitchen, outside grounds work, and some carpentry/maintenance projects. All Covid protocols are in place. Call or email with any questions.

Part time participants are welcomed.. To sign up, click here.

Interview with Dhamma Server

This month we interviewed Lan Chau about her work on the gardening committee. Lan was a delight to speak with and really saw the benefits of service in our practice. Two things that I loved in this interview – the idea of spreading our happiness through whatever means whether that be flowers or cooking for others and the idea of service as applied meditation critical to our growth. Read more below to get Lan’s take on these ideas!

Q: How did you start working on the Gardening Committee?
A: I’d been coming to the Center and gardening previously, but the committee only started last year. I wanted to repay what I received through service and got a feeling of inspiration from the others who served – I wondered before how people served without pay – and found that when I started serving, I wanted to be equally available (supporting whatever needed to be done), including supporting the kitchen.

Q: What was attractive about this type of service?
A. I specifically signed up for the gardening committee, I like gardening; I like to plant flowers, see the green and the colors of the flowers. This makes me happy. So, I wanted to have that at the Center, since the Center is a happy place. It doesn’t necessarily need that more, but I wanted that. And at the Delaware Center we don’t have a lot of plants or flowers at the moment, so I’m happy to plant and be part of that.

Q: What do you see as the benefits of this type of service?
A: From the service, I find that I get more benefit than anything I can repay. S.N. Goenka mentions that when we serve, we practice the ten paramis, and the Center is the best place to do so. When I first saw meditation and S.N. Goenka said that meditation is not just for when we sit, but through everything. I found that hard to apply in daily life in the beginning, and have found the Center is the best place to do so, because everything is done slowly and without competition or oversight or prescribed ways of doing it.. Everyone comes with an intention of being mindful of what we are doing, so I got to practice the ten paramis – being mindful about what I do, what I say, how I respond, and staying equanimous in my responses when disagreements arise. When I apply those at the Center, I can bring that understanding to my daily life and transition these same skills to my daily life.

Q: How would you suggest others interested get involved with either this committee (if it has greater need) or other support to the Center?
A. I have found that serving is not just for serving, but rather a greater benefit for us, for me as a server. The more I serve, the better I become. Plus, serving gives me an opportunity to transition the meditation started at the Center into my daily life. It is the first step to apply the true meditation at the Center and bring it to our outer life, because it can be hard to apply the meditation in our daily life at first, given the tension and other challenges. It can be harder to maintain our awareness and be mindful. So, when you are serving at the Center you have the opportunity to be aware and mindful of all the things that we do.

Q: Anything else readers should know or would be interesting to readers?
A: I serve and it is wonderful and I wish that everyone gets to serve and receive the benefit. When we serve we receive equal benefit as sitting. Without serving, you really can’t value meditation. Everything, just like studying without practice – you don’t get the full benefit. Serving is applying the study of meditation. Just by sitting down and meditating, but not applying it in serving, misses a big part of the practice.

If you are interested in long-term service or sit-serve opportunities with Dhamma Pubbananda, please contact [email protected].

Sign up to be notified of service opportunities by sending a blank email to: [email protected].

May people who haven’t received the benefits from Dhamma, receive it and get to practice it. Metta!

Pariyatti Newsletter Information

Pariyatti has a monthly newsletter that is both inspiring and educational providing support for your practice and access to the Buddha’s teachings through books, commentaries, and other media. See the old student talk by Dr. Paul Fleischman from 3/7/21 with questions and answers. Sign up for the newsletter here, and view past newsletters.

Financial Update

Financial report for 2020:

The Center is still in a very positive financial position in spite of courses being temporarily halted in April 2020 and then restarting again at limited capacity thanks to the donations of generous Old Students. Overall, Dana received vs. expenses is less positive then prior to Covid and a summary of the changes are below. All donations in excess of costs are used to support improvements and construction at the Center.

Dana: $50K/month (pre-Covid) to $35K/month (current)
Expenses: $31K/ month (pre-Covid) to $25K/ month (current)
Net Income: $20K/ month (pre-Covid) to $6K/ month (current)

Online donations, please click here.

Old student loan program, please click here.

Dhamma Story:
Mahākassapa and Bhaddā Kapilānī

During the Dispensation of the Buddha Vipassi, the sixth predecessor of the Buddha Gotama, Mahakassapa and Bhadda Kapilani had been a poor brahmin couple. They were so extremely poor that they had only a single upper garment, and hence only one of them at a time could go out of their hut. In this story the brahmin was therefore called “he with one garment” (ekasataka).

One day, when the Buddha Vipassi was to give a special sermon, they both wished to attend, but as they had only a single upper garment between them they could not both go at the same time. The wife went during the day and her husband went at night. As the brahmin listened to the sermon, the value of giving and generosity became so deeply impressed on his mind that he wanted to offer his only upper garment to the Buddha. But after he had so resolved, scruples came to his mind: “This is our only upper garment, so perhaps I should first consult with my wife. How can we manage without an upper garment? How can we get a replacement?” But he resolutely pushed aside all such hesitation and placed the garment at the Blessed One’s feet. Having done so, he clapped his hands and joyfully called out: “I have vanquished! I have vanquished!” When the king, who had listened to the sermon behind a curtain, heard that shout of victory and came to know the reason, he sent sets of garments to the brahin and later made him his court chaplain. So the couple’s plight had come to an end.

(Great Disciples of the Buddha)