Vajra Bell

Welcome to Vajra Bell

vajra-bell-fall-2016

The Vajra Bell is a quarterly newsletter covering events and news at Aryaloka Buddhist Center and other Triratna Buddhist centers in North America. In each issue you’ll find insightful articles on Buddhist topics, updates from around the continent, reviews of Buddhist books and other media, poetry and artwork created by sangha members, and a full list of local upcoming events.

What does Vajra Bell mean? Vajra means thunderbolt or diamond, that which cuts through all obstacles to Enlightenment. The vajra is the symbol of a union of opposites, the ultimate expression of wisdom and compassion. A vajra bell rings out far and wide the melody of transcendental reality. As a newsletter, the Vajra Bell is a rich and rewarding read that brings our sangha together in common spiritual practice.

Each issue is available for download in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format or can be viewed online here at The Buddhist Centre Online. To view the full archive online, please visit http://www.aryaloka.org/category/vajrabell/

Read it online || Download as a PDF

If you are a member of the Triratna Buddhist Community in North America and would like to create print copies for your local sangha, or if you would like to contribute or comment on the Vajra Bell, please contact the Editor-in-Chief, Eric Wentworth, at [email protected].

highlights

The Autumn 2016 issue…

In this issue of the Vajra…

In this issue of the Vajra…

In this issue of the Vajra Bell…
In this issue of the Vajra Bell…
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Engaged Buddhist Training

eco-dharma

Engaged Buddhist Training from ecodharma centre on Vimeo.

To meet the social and ecological challenges of our times requires deep inner resources, interpersonal skills and fresh political thinking. Engaged Buddhist Training equips us for this kind of radical inner and outer transformation. Check out the work we’ve been developing at ecodharma.com. We hope it inspires you to join us!

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Nepal

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Karuna Trust

Following news of the devastating earthquake in Nepal, there is an urgency to respond to the immediate needs of survivors and to support long term recovery efforts.

Nepal has been devastated by an earthquake which struck the capital city, Kathmandu, and surrounding areas on Saturday. More than 5,000 people have been killed and around 8 million people have been affected by the devastation.

There has been widespread damage in the Kathmandu valley and the death toll is climbing rapidly. Many vulnerable people have been left homeless without adequate shelter, food and water. All donations to this fund will support disaster recovery and relief efforts for the earthquake in Nepal.

Karuna’s partner organisation in Nepal runs mother and child health work in the district of Pharphing. The district has been very seriously affected. Half of the houses there have been destroyed and as access to the area is still restricted we are as yet unaware of the total number of fatalities. What we do know is that there will be people who need our help now and in the coming months.

www.karuna.org

Green Tara Trust

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE

A powerful earthquake has hit Nepal. Green Tara Trust is there. The good news is that our are staff are safe. The bad news is that our programme area has been decimated. We are trying to get through. There will be people who need our help, mothers delivering babies and children without food or shelter. They need our help now & in the coming months.

www.greentaratrust.com

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Meditation Timers: Modern Gadgets Meet Mindfulness

At our Tuesday Sangha Nights we usually do things in a pretty traditional way. We salute the shrine, we chant the Refuges and Precepts, both in Pāli and in English, and then we sit to meditate. There’s a meditation leader, usually an order member or someone who’s asked for ordination, and he or she marks the beginning of the meditation and the start of each stage with a tingsha meditation bell, pictured here. The ambience is peaceful, with candles and incense, and a groupdragon tingsha of sangha members sitting on cushions in various postures, or on chairs, and soon enough the noise of the city fades away as we get into our meditations.

At home, a lot of us use more modern tools. There are several different timed meditations on the Triratna-NYC site, and you can simply play them from your computer to do a 20, 30, 40, or 60 minute Metta Bhavana or Mindfulness of Breathing.

And as with most things in life these days, there’s an app for that. My informal survey of our sangha has the Insight Timer as the clear favorite, but there are plenty of others. I’m in the Insight Timer camp myself, and I have several pre-programmed meditations of different lengths that I use. If you like a social media angle, you can make a profile of yourself, have ‘friends,’ join groups, send messages… all of that stuff. Personally I don’t use those features, but I can see the appeal if you want to have a kind of virtual sangha and see who, across the planet, you’ve just been meditating with.

insight timer

You can also keep a journal, adding notes on each time you sit – which meditation you did, what hindrances may have arisen, and so on. If you’re a lover of stats, you can see how your meditation practice has been going by the numbers – total number of days meditating, consecutive days, amount of time spent, etc. Of course you can ignore all of that, too, and just meditate.

The great thing about these timers is that you simply touch “start,” and then you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on a clock or watch. Not that a clock or watch isn’t a perfectly suitable alternative if you prefer not to use a smart phone.

There are also links to several other meditation tools, including special clocks and timers of the physical, non-app variety, as well as CDs and MP3s. If you have other favorites that are not included, leave a comment and let us know.

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