On August 23, six Abhayagiri residents and fifty lay supporters gathered at the Mindfulness Care Center in San Fransisco for a day of sharing. Rik Center, founder of the Mindfulness Care Center, had organized the event as an opportunity to recollect the history of Abhayagiri, to reflect on the blessings that the monastery has brought to people’s lives, and to support Abhayagiri’s ongoing development. Ajahn Pasanno began the day by reflecting on the importance of the forest as a refuge from the city and the mutual interdependence of the lay and monastic communities. The monastics led chanting followed by a guided meditation from Ajahn Pasanno reflecting on the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha as internal refuges and qualities of the awakened heart. The lay community then recommitted themselves to the Three Refuges and Five Precepts. Following the precept ceremony, Ajahn Pasanno gave a longer talk reflecting on the lack of separation between Dhamma practice and “the real world.” The morning concluded with the traditional meal offering to the Sangha provided by the event participants.
The afternoon began with a slideshow depicting the ongoing construction of the new Reception Hall. Next, an open microphone session provided the opportunity for many laypeople to reflect upon the meaning Abhayagiri Monastery and the Thai Forest Tradition has in their lives. Several participants mentioned that Abhayagiri feels like a safe refuge in midst of a confused and confusing world. Ajahn Pasanno was particularly touched that supporters who visit the monastery only infrequently still feel strongly connected to this community. The day concluded with a closing reflection by Ajahn Pasanno and a final community meditation sit. The donations at the end of the day contributed $12,000 towards finishing the interior of the Reception Hall.
Recordings of the event
Practicing Together in the City (opening talk)
Reflecting on the Refuges (guided meditation)
Drawing Close (Dhamma talk)