BHAVANA SOCIETY NEWSLETTER (excerpts) Vol. 9, No. 4 October-December, 1993 Copyright 1993

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BHAVANA SOCIETY NEWSLETTER (excerpts) Vol. 9, No. 4 October-December, 1993 Copyright 1993 Bhavana Society Bhavana Society Rt. 1 Box 218-3 High View, WV 26808 Tel: (304) 856-3241 Fax: (304) 856-2111 This electronic edition is offered for free distribution via DharmaNet by arrangement with the Bhavana Society. DharmaNet International P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley CA 94704-4951 * * * * * * * * CONTENTS "The Way Of Seeking Happiness" by Bhante H. Gunaratana "Dhamma And Personal Autonomy" by John Martin Notes and News * * * * * * * * THE WAY OF SEEKING HAPPINESS by Bhante H. Gunaratana The statement "I seek happiness" implies that the one who makes that statement is not happy now, for if he/she is happy he/she doesn't feel the need to seek happiness. You can be happy if you have faith in unending happiness. For example, have faith in your religious teaching, in yourself, in your work, in your friends and in the future. Faith or confidence is shown by your optimistic attitude to life. It is your spiritual faculty. You should cultivate it. You increase your confidence through your own experience. This means your faith starts growing and developing from what you have already experienced, and continues to grow into future hopes and trust. You already have evidence of your own abilities. You can do your day-to-day activities such as walking, talking, reading, writing, running, jumping, eating, etc. quite well because you have built them up from your childhood. You can depend on and believe in these simple abilities and without any hesitation you execute them in your daily life. Similarly, if you have faith in your hidden and unmanifested potentials you can proceed with confidence. A well disciplined life also is a source of happiness. You should train yourself to have physical, mental and spiritual discipline in order to realize this type of happiness. If you have not organized your room, don't make your bed, don't wash yourself and your clothes, don't clean your room, your house, your yard; then you cannot learn to clean your mind, as well. When you learn to organize your life the number one priority should be the discipline of your mind. Suppose you leave your shoes, socks, clothes, books, pen and pencils, your computer discs, papers, etc., here and there without any order, without putting them in their right place. When you want to use them again you cannot find them. Imagine the amount of time you may waste trying to find them when you need them very urgently. Similarly, when you have not learned to discipline your mind you experience problems that can make you very unhappy. Most unhappy people, from their childhood have not learned to organize and discipline their lives. Discipline is like organizing your office, or your home, which can bring chaos to your mind. Similarly, when your mind and body are not disciplined, you experience chaos in life which leads to unhappiness. Therefore if you want to be happy, organize your life through good discipline. People are also very unhappy because they do many things without feeling any moral shame. They do not feel regret when they lie, steal, seek morally unhealthy sexual relations with others' spouses, develop the habit of excessive drinking, slandering others, using filthy language, etc. Those who commit these shameful acts are very unhappy people. Those who abstain from these acts and instead, respect others' lives, property, and modesty; who speak the truth, avoid slanderous talks or harsh language and use very friendly language, always find themselves in a greater state of happiness. Some people do not fear committing an immoral act. They do not think about what could happen to them when they do an immoral thing. This brings them troubles, whether they recognize or not there are laws governing our lives. Some of these laws are ethical and moral in nature and some are legislation that governments have introduced to run a country smoothly. Some laws are unjust and discriminatory. Breaking any of them without following proper legal procedure causes pain and unhappiness. If someone pays no attention to any of them and commits numerous immoral acts thinking that he/she can get away with it, nevertheless, the system follows him/her very closely and catches him/her. Then she/he goes through an enormous amount of suffering in this very life. What will happen to them after death, of course is not known. Therefore having moral fear becomes a source of happiness. Moral shame and moral fear are called laws that protect human society. A society protected by moral shame and moral fear is safe and happy. A lack of education can be a further source of unhappiness. Many people are unhappy because they have not learned the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, what to do and what not to do, what is beneficial and what is not, etc. Learning can be a source of happiness. This does not mean, however, that all learned people are happy. It depends on the kind if things you learn. If you learn the wrong things you will not gain happiness. Good learning should bring you discipline, which in turn brings you wealth. Learning how to use your wealth wisely, you become well known as a good person and thus your learning also teaches you how to be happy. It does not matter how much you learn, if you do not know how to use your knowledge to make yourself happy. You must learn the right things to make you happy; that is, you learn from your experience. You may do the same thing over and over again, but if you do not learn from your experience you remain unhappy. Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them. Rather than simply foolishly regretting or simply feeling guilty about it, learn from mistakes. You are your own school from which you can learn an enormous amount of things. Look at yourself very carefully and see how much you can learn from your past and present errors. If you feel you are anxious and full of fear, look at yourself very closely. You will find that you are rigid, uptight and tense. Relax your mind and body when you are nervous and angry. Then see how comfortable you feel. You can also learn from many exterior sources, such as books, teachers, friends, relatives, parents , peers and siblings. Use all your learning to make yourself happy. Seek wisdom. Don't pretend to be wise while you do foolish things. Avoid foolish people who induce you to do harmful things to yourself and to others. Wise beings are those who always remain mindful, and make the right choice in how they speak, act and think. When you are in a troublesome situation try to think in a way that will pull you out of that swamp and avoid thinking in a way that makes you sink deeper. If you get angry when things go wrong, don't deepen your anger and confuse yourself. Relax and try to look at the situation objectively. Consider all possible viewpoints before jumping to a conclusion. Wise people are not egotistic and selfish. Having sufficient material wealth can also be a source of happiness. Wealth in itself is neither good nor bad, but you can make it so depending on how you use it. When you have material wealth, be pleased that you can pay your bills, feed yourself, your family, friends and relatives and provide support to your neighbors, your religious society and your country. You can do many good things, as well as have material security, when you have wealth. You will be very pleased to think that you have earned your wealth by rightful means, and you will be very glad to be free from all indebtedness. But don't depend on wealth for your happiness. Use it very mindfully. Don't get trapped by wealth and end up doing wrong things so that you lose both your wealth and happiness. Generosity can lead to happiness. It is taught in every religious tradition and in fact does not have to be associated with any religion. It is an intrinsically natural state of mind that all living beings inherently possess. Even animals exhibit it. When you are generous you feel happy because the giver enjoys the gift far more than the recipient, who may feel obligated to the giver. While the recipient may feel a little embarrassment in receiving, the giver does not feel embarrassed to give. The giver enjoys the memory of the joy the recipient expresses in his/her face. Because it is greed that makes our lives very miserable, when we practice generosity, we learn to experience happiness. "The cultivation of generosity is the beginning of spiritual awakening. Its essence is characterized by relinquishing and letting go. By doing so we can open to these qualities within, which both carry us to the most profound states of freedom and are the loving expression of that freedom. Nearly all the time, we are unknowingly holding on to people, to concepts, to experiences. This holding on brings tension and disharmony to our lives. The path of spiritual practice is the letting go which returns us to stillness and to peace".[*] *[A quotation provided by the Southern Dhamma Center in North Carolina] Practice loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity. One who cultivates these expressions of noble divine qualities can live very peacefully and happily. You never feel tension in your heart if you seek these qualities. Try to be mindful of these qualities; you have their seed buried in your subconscious mind. When you are tense and anxious these noble qualities do not grow. They remain dormant, like seed underground, when the land is very dry. When it rains the seed grows. Similarly, with the moisture of loving-kindness, compassion, and appreciative joy grows. Make them grow faster so that you experience peace and happiness quickly. Practice patience. It does not mean letting someone have free rein to use you. It means biding your time to express yourself correctly and more effectively at the right time, with the right words, at the right place, with the right attitude. If you lose your patience and say things with haste you may regret what you say. You may say wrong things which may later cause more great pain. You may regret this for the rest of your life. One who wishes to practice discipline may sacrifice it by losing patience. Try to understand others as best you can, though it may be very difficult. Much pain and suffering is caused by misunderstanding, misinterpreting and suspicion. If you have a sufficient dose of patience you can develop your understanding. You must remember that others have as many problems as you have, or more. Some very good people are sometimes in a bad place and may say or do things unmindfully. If you remain mindful and patient, you can better try to understand them, rather than getting upset. Bad moods are sometimes caused by ill health. When someone is in ill health you normally don't get upset. Instead you want to be compassionate and try to help them. If you remain patient you can help them so that they and you can be very happy. Build up your spiritual wealth. Accumulation of spiritual wealth is very much like accumulation of material wealth. Do it gradually and slowly. Practice your meditation and your store of spiritual wealth will grow. What are the components of spiritual wealth? In Buddhism it is known as Noble Wealth (Ariyadhana) because they build up your psychological strength, make you confident, peaceful and happy, even when you are materially poor. These are the qualities that we have mentioned in this article. Find a good friend who is a loving person, and is dearly loved. He/she speaks gently, kindly and with deep meaning. He/she is easy to communicate with, and is respectable, and compassionate. He/she would never encourage you to do anything wrong, but always encourages you to do the right thing. He/she is ready to help whenever needed. He/she is very learned and resourceful and is ready to share the knowledge with you without any hesitation. Having a friend with these qualities will make a great difference in your life. If you really seek happiness find such a friend, by all means. Find a good meditation center and good meditation teacher who is not interested in your money but is sincerely willing to assist you in meditation practice. It is difficult to find an ideal location in which to live. However, there are places where you can find a relatively peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Avoid very noisy places, such as near factories. Avoid big cities if at all possible. Find a place to minimize the duties you do every day; where the post office, fire station, shopping center, and school for your children are reasonably close. Above all, the place you chose to live should be in a good neighborhood, neighbors who are friendly, kind and considerate and are not involved in crimes, fights, drugs and alcohol. Don't forget your daily meditation. Meditate in the morning as soon as you get up and in the evening before you go to bed. You can be very happy with the knowledge that you have done many meritorious deeds. If you can, increase them as much as possible. You may help clean your neighborhood or work to improve the air , water and the earth as much as you can. Avoid buying things that pollute the environment. Try to help the poor and needy as much as you can. Help the elderly and sick as much as you can. Learn to respect nature and environment; help avoid wasting trees. Don't forget to do some Yoga exercises every day. If you cannot find a good Yoga teacher or Yoga instruction book, try to do some other physical exercises. At the least, walk for one hour every single day without fail. Every rational person knows the benefits of exercise for reducing blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, avoiding diabetes, removing boredom, and making the entire body healthy. Physical health is absolutely necessary for mental health; they both bring happiness. No matter how much you exercise, if do not eat the right kind of food, you cannot avoid being unhealthy and putting on weight. Eat the right kind of food and avoid all junk food. Eat moderately. If you eat a good breakfast and a reasonably substantial lunch and have very light soup in the evening, you will feel very comfortable the next morning. Some times we hear people say, "Eat your breakfast like a king, share your lunch with your friend and give your dinner to your enemy." We would like to alter the last part out of compassion for the enemy. Don't give your dinner even to your enemy. Save your money that you would spend for your dinner and help the poor and needy. Discipline yourself in your eating habits. Try not to eat junk food. Make sure you do not live to eat, but eat to live. Control your consumption of food. After a certain age your metabolism slows down and you cannot consume as much food as growing children. Don't make eating a habit. Don't eat fatty, oily and sugary foods that increase your blood pressure. Try to be the first to say to others, "Good morning", "Good evening", "How are you?" "Thank you". Whenever you receive a favor always remember to say, "I really appreciate your help." Remember to speak very softly, gently, kindly and truthfully as much as you can. Remember never to speak harshly. Criticizing people can gradually deteriorate friendship. Always remember to nourish your good friendships. "Make new friends and keep the old." In a happy life, good friendship is most important; even better than relatives. When you associate with someone who has very low standards, you, too, will eventually be reduced to their level. If you associate with someone who is your equal, while you may not make much improvement in your own growth, you would not be spiritually degenerate. If you associate with someone who is greater in many respects, you always learn from that person and improve yourself. Try to find someone greater in wisdom, understanding, education, experience, compassion, confidence, courage, determination, etc.. If you cannot find such a one at least seek one equal to yourself. Always try to come to terms with your parents. They can be a great source of inspiration and encouragement, and can really give you very good advice. Not every parent can give good advice; some may need assistance. When parents are old they really need your emotional, material and spiritual support. Many people have countless problems with their parents, and some can never forgive their parents for what they did to them as a child. Some parents abuse their children, which, of course, is an inexcusable offense. However, in order to make your life happy, you should learn to come to terms with your parents. Although they may be completely wrong, you can be happier if you respect them as much as you can. Don't do anything to hurt them. Hurting even an animal is not going to bring you an iota of happiness, unless you are sadistic. When you cultivate a very gentle and kind heart towards your parents they really feel very happy and you in turn will be very happy when you see the results. It is very difficult for you and your parents when you are very harsh with them. What they may have done can never be undone. However, when you learn to forgive and forget the past mistakes of your parents, you exhibit noble qualities. To err is human; to forgive is divine. Try to be a divine person by forgiving your parents. If they have been very kind parents, by all means you should try to be very kind and gentle towards them in turn. If you have a spouse or someone you live with, be loyal to that person. Your breech of trust can open hell for both of you. You do not want to cheat on your spouse. In turn, cheating on your spouse can create real hell in your home. You don't have to step out or die to experience hell; you can experience it by yourself. You should be dutiful to each other, love each other, respect each other, and share your sorrow and happiness with each other. Often one might complain that the other is married to the computer, to work, to pleasure outside the house, or for not expressing their emotions. Some people like to express their emotions very often; others do not want express their emotion. One may be able to cry very easily very often, while the other may not be able to cry at all. One may work too hard and become a workaholic, while the other may find work very easy and do it very quickly, and the rest of the time likes to read or talk or travel. The one who likes to work enjoys life as much as the other person. Both of you may be trying to achieve the same state of joy from two different types of work. One must try to understand the other. You often think what you do is more important than what your spouse does. If, however, both of you enjoy what you individually and separately do, you can learn to respect each other and continue to have a better understanding, rather than nagging, quarreling, and nit picking. The one who is more emotional should try to grow more in reasoning and understanding. The one who is more rational and hides emotion should try to express and explain their ways to the other in as simple, loving and gentle terms as possible. Through mutual love and respect both of you can develop a large degree of understanding and trust. If you have children you have to work doubly hard to maintain equilibrium in the house. Raising children in a balanced manner is like walking on a rope five hundred feet above the ground for ten miles. On the one hand, you cannot be so harsh on them that you earn their lasting enmity. On the other hand, you cannot let them do whatever they wish. You have to teach them, train them, love them, care for them, help them to grow in every way. You have to respect them as wonderful little beings who are going to shoulder the world after you. They are your friends if you treat them correctly. They are your enemies if you treat them wrongly. They can bring peace and happiness to you, to your family, to your society, to your country and to the whole world if they are educated, nourished, supported and well cared for. Learn as much as you can about how to bring up your child in the most wholesome way without teaching them hatred, ignorance and delusion. They certainly can bring you joy, peace, and happiness if you do your job right. Try to find a helpful occupation. This, of course, is not difficult if you carefully look around. There are many good occupations. Any occupation dealing with poisoning the environment, earth, water and air or with poisoning people's minds, brain-washing them, selling or buying living beings, killing, stealing, or dealing with illegal drugs and drinks, is not a good job that can bring you peace and happiness. Find time to discuss Dhamma. Today there are many ways of learning Dhamma. People often say that there are not suitable people, times and places to learn and discuss Dhamma. However, there are many available avenues. Unlike in the past, now there are many books to learn Dhamma. There is another device to discuss Dhamma: personal computers. Very soon many people may start Dhamma discussion through E. Mail. It does not matter how you discuss Dhamma--whether by E. Mail or by telephone or meeting people face to face. Spend some time discussing Dhamma. We do not encourage any blind faith in Dhamma. Discuss it with others who know Dhamma. You will find it most helpful in making yourself happy. You will learn many new ways of looking at yourself. You will learn Dhamma that will bring you to know yourself well, not superficially. Try to understand the true nature of your body, feelings, perceptions, thoughts ideas, and consciousness. Don't try to focus your mind only on the feeling. Buddha advised us to look at all the five aggregates including feeling. You gain great happiness through discussion of Dhamma. Read books that make you peaceful and help you to relax. Watch and listen to things that make you peaceful and happy. Listening to Dhamma and pondering on the meaning of Dhamma makes you peaceful and happy. As you gain concentration you come to see things as they really are; which is the only way to bring real happiness and peace. Above all, abstaining from all evils and listening to and practicing Dhamma definitely brings peace and happiness. Humility, patience, diligence, contentment and gratefulness are very natural paths to happiness. If you do your daily meditation to remove all psychic irritation from your mind you can live happily. The true balance of life comes from peaceful behavior. Never ask someone to make you happy. Look within yourself to find reasons for your unhappiness as well as the way to happiness. Normally people don't do that. They always find someone to blame and often we hear them say, "It is not me. So and so makes me unhappy." Most unhappy people can certainly make others unhappy, too, through their behavior. If you know for sure that so and so makes you unhappy, try to make your mind as clear as possible so that you can find a way out of that situation through mindful and skillful means without aggravating the situation, and even helping them to be happy. The decision is within your reach to make you happy and the other person happy. With the exhaustion of craving there is exhaustion of suffering. With exhaustion of suffering there is permanent happiness (extinction of suffering) [*] * [Tanhakkhaya dukkhakkhayako, dukkhakkhaya nibbanam (S.III 190)] * * * * * * * * DHAMMA AND PERSONAL AUTONOMY by John Martin One of the most important and deeply underlying motives for striving along the spiritual path of Dhamma is the desire to liberate oneself from Samsara. Attendant to this desire for emancipation from samsara is the recognition that personal liberation is essential for a happy life. We find it painful, distressing and wearisome to be continually subject to the harsh and powerful forces of the world and the psyche, which can overpower us, determine our life trajectories beyond our control and inflict unfair, unjust circumstances upon us. Feelings of powerlessness, despair and nihilism can arise from such world weariness and self compulsion. Such feelings can engender resignation and paralysis, frivolous escape and busyness, or an earnest, serious desire to transcend and liberate one's self from such worldly dissatisfaction. Sentient beings have a longing to be free from influences and conditions which bring about imprisonment and suffering. Those beings who are not mired too deeply in ignorance (avijja) will want to make the effort to realize individual freedom. In the western intellectual tradition, the desire to realize individual freedom is culminated when one has achieved "personal autonomy." In Buddha-Dhamma the ultimate realization of freedom is nibbana. Personal autonomy, as understood in western philosophy, is a personal characteristic we ascribe to someone who is generally in charge of their life. Such a person is not overly dependent on others (emotionally or epistemically) or is a slave to impulsive feelings and desires. The autonomous person possesses the ability to see through to completion, projects and goals that have been established in an independent way by his/her self. The convictions and world view of the autonomous person have been the result of an active, critical evaluation and reasoning process which has considered varied alternative view points in an environment friendly to vigorous, open discussion. In an essential sense, the individual must have the opportunity to discover (after pondering over the many views and ideas which have been preserved through history) what is true for one's self and to choose what projects are the most valuable and appropriate for one to pursue and accomplish in one's own lifetime. An autonomous person is seen as an agent where the self and the will is necessarily understood as being the controlling source of choice and action. Self-reliance, individuality, authenticity, self-creation, self-legislation and temperance are virtues which characterize someone who is autonomous. Individual autonomy must also be distinguished from the negative concept of freedom. The concept of negative freedom refers to "freedom from" something. Freedom, in this negative sense, refers primarily to a condition characterized by the absence of coercion or constraint imposed by another person or institution. Yet personal autonomy is more properly understood in a positive sense, as self-government or self-determination. According to this conception, the more one is able to direct one's own life, the greater the degree of one's autonomy. Freedom, in its negative sense stated above, can be seen as an important and necessary condition for autonomy. But autonomy involves more than just being free. One can easily think of a situation where people are freely, but mindlessly mimicking the opinions, tastes, goals, principles and values of others. One can also imagine an inmate in prison who lacks freedom, yet, is an autonomous character. In order for a choice or preference to be autonomous, they not only must be freely chosen (not enforced by outside influences) but internally endorsed by the individual as genuinely her own. So, we see that personal freedom, as understood in terms of personal autonomy, results from (1) knowing one's "true self," (2) by critically evaluating through rational deliberation what one ought to do and be, and (3) exercising the power to realize self-endorsed desires and goals in the absence of external constraints. As a contrast to the philosophical treatment of personal freedom in terms of autonomy, let us now look at how personal freedom is understood according to Buddha-Dhamma. Freedom, in Dhamma, is understood as that state of reflective, meditative consciousness which is profoundly aware of the illusory nature of the belief in substantial, ontological selfhood (atta). This arises from the profound, meditative insight which understands impermanence (anicca) as being the basic characteristic of existence. [*] In such a meditative state of understanding, the conscious being does not see itself as being determined or compelled to act according to any desire or goal that its "self" may have. Action is undertaken by a conscious being (who understands the nature of Dhamma), from compassionate, disinterested motives with attention always focused on alleviating or transcending suffering (dukkha). Meditative action is also initiated from an objective assessment of what practically and skillfully needs to get done (upaya) in the world in order to live a simple life free from "kammic" accumulation and worldly entanglement. In living such a selfless, compassionate and simple life, there is no serious, urgent need for self identity or self definition, no ultra-serious attachment (upadana) to the idiosyncrasies of a particular selfhood nor ultimate allegiance to the mundane goals that an empirical self may adopt. This doesn't mean that one totally dispenses with self-referential thinking nor stops caring about the obligations relevant to worldly circumstances, but that the nature of self is seen and understood as arising from empty, impersonal processes, and not a "thing" deserving of metaphysical seriousness. Action is seen from this perspective as an objective, practical, disinterested activity; not as a means for personal glorification and accumulation. * [If everything is impermanent it follows that there can not be any entity that has ontological integrity; there can not be any "thing" that can exist or persist exclusively from its own power or self-same nature. Everything is more properly understood as being interrelated and supported by multiple conditions and causes. Hence, causality is the fundamental reality, according to Dhamma, not substance or "thingness."] Personal freedom, from the perspective of Buddha-Dhamma, is more accurately understood as freedom from self, as opposed to freedom for the self. The process of identifying with "self" (avijja) by any conscious being (regardless of how well defined and "autonomous" that "self" may be or appear to itself), is understood, according to Buddha-Dhamma, as the condition necessarily leading to personal bondage and suffering. The "Self" is not understood, in Buddha-Dhamma, as the necessary starting point of all free action. Since belief in the substantial reality of selfhood arises from a misapprehension of the primacy of causality and hence, blindness to the insubstantial processes (paticcasamuppada) responsible for all life and being, there is the tendency (stemming from this ignorant belief) to think of the "self" as being the most important thing to preserve, protect, refine and enhance. The "Self," as a result, bestows upon itself, ontological status. It is only in direct, meditative awareness and rational, analytic understanding of all the causal processes responsible for the arising of selfhood and hence, a profound realization of the voidness of all things, that genuine freedom (Moksha, and more ultimately, nibbana) is realized. * * * * * * * * NOTES AND NEWS Reminder of Membership Renewal We thank you very much for your very kind and generous donations and annual subscriptions for maintaining buildings, Bhavana Society's activities and resident members of the Sangha--monks and lay community. It was purely due to your generous support that we have been able to pay our bills including quarterly newsletter and monthly payment of $577.10 for the new property the society bought this year. Our quarterly newsletter is getting more and more expensive due to two reasons. One is that we make more copies every year and the second is the inflation affects everything. You may remember reading in our newsletter that we were planning to build a dormitory with a few bedrooms and separate bathrooms. The acquisition of this new property met that need. We used a part of our building fund for the payment of $35,000 which is more than one half of the total cost of the new property. This new addition, in fact, serves the society well to extend its service to more meditators and visitors. When we look back for the past ten years of our existence as a non-profit religious organization, we certainly can be pleased with the steady progress we have made. We purchased only 13 acres of forest land in May 1983. Twelve acres of land were donated by two of our dedicated devotees and with the new addition of 7 acres of land the Society now owns 32 acres of land and 15 buildings, ten of which are individual meditation cabins (kutis). We are confident that you would be very pleased to hear the progress we have made so far. We are optimistic that you would continue your support to achieve our next goal to build a separate meditation hall and library. The present meditation hall surely serves us quite well. We still feel that it may not be the most comfortable place for you to meditate while cooking is going on in the kitchen during retreats. We feel that you would like to have a more of a quiet place to meditate. This center, after all, is reasonably quiet as it is. However, if the meditation hall is a little farther away from the kitchen you may meditate still better. As we are approaching the end of 1993 and stepping into 1994, it is time for us to remind you what we have done so far and what we are planning to do in the future, with your kind support. As we try to cut corners wherever and whenever possible, we decided to publish this reminder in our newsletter rather than sending a separate one. If you have already renewed your 1994 membership or if you are a Lifetime member or Patron of the Society, please ignore this notice. Buddhist Publication Society, The Buddhist Publication Society, a specialist publisher of literature on Theravada Buddhism, has issued its new descriptive catalogue for 1993-94. A copy of this 60 page catalogue will be sent upon request. While the catalogue itself is free, we would appreciate a contribution of U.S.$1.50 (or its equivalent) to cover the cost of air mail postage. Write to Buddhist Publication Society, P.O. Box 61, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Kathina Celebration: More than 150 people including 9 monks attended the celebration organized by Ven. Katugastota Uparatana, Mr. & Mrs. Ananda & Lalitha Herath and Pandigama family. The. Sangha unanimously decided to offer the Kathina robe to Bhante Dhammaratana. Each monk also received a robe for the year. Most of the items on the essential needs list were donated by the devotees. We thank all of our friends for their very kind and generous donations in cash, supplies and for being with us. Happy New Year to All: The President, and Trustees of the Bhavana Society wish you all a very happy 1994. We have been able to function as an organization because of the support and cooperation of each and everyone of you. You have supported us to help thousands of people throughout the world through our Dhamma talks, meditation instructions, personal services, and distributing many Dhamma books and tapes. * * * * * * * *

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