I took some time off work last night to visit the Ohio Buddhist Vihara, a sort of monastery of the Theravada Buddhist tradition located close to my home. I have had thoughts of visiting this place before, but I had no luck contacting them through their website and was hesitant to call them because I feared I might bother someone.
A couple weeks ago I decided on a whim to just drive over there and see the place. The front door had a sign on it indicating that visitors ought to call their phone number and they’ll be happy to open up, but I did not have a phone on me. I waited a while outside, in no particular rush to go anywhere, and was soon noticed by one of the resident monks. We talked for a brief time, again coming back to the fact that I really don’t want to be a bother to anyone, and I asked when they hold Dhamma talks.
After learning of their meeting time (Wednesdays at 7 PM), my mission accomplished, I soon departed.
I knew it would take me a couple weeks to get around to it because I would need to take time off work, but this really presented little issue to me. One thing I have realized in the last couple of months is that I have no shortage of teachings. I have numerous texts available to me and a robust online community with which I can discuss questions or concerns, so I do not feel as if I am missing out on anything particular on a daily basis at this point in my development.
That said, I understand the importance of having the proper reverence for the monastic community, and quite frankly, there is so small an actual Sangha locally that I have to consider the possibility that it could be an even more indispensable resource than I may have previously considered.
So I met with a number of other Buddhists at the Vihara, some of which I remember meeting previously at Gaden Khachoe Shing, the Tibetan monastery I have mentioned in previous posts. I will admit to having been a little surprised to realize that I wasn’t the only one crossing various traditions in my practice, and this realization gives me some extra measure of confidence.
After chanting and meditation, we listened to Venerable Koppakande Sumanajothi (I got his name from the website, otherwise I would have had no hope of remembering — or spelling — it) speak, mostly on the subject of happiness and of finding (and cherishing) good friends with which to share one’s thoughts / problems. And of course, being willing to listen to those friends’ concerns also. It was a fairly basic message but sometimes we have to get back down to basics and make sure our foundation is solid.
The next mission I have is to meet the monastics at the Khmer Temple, another location only a few miles from my home. I think one might say that my courage is increasing to a point where I’m not afraid to bother anyone quite as much as I used to be, so it is just a matter of making time.
Be well, friends. I will write again soon.