News and Dharma from the Portland Buddhist Priory
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The rarely seen (at the temple) winter blooming camellia. It made a brief showing just before the recent snow and ice. It looks like there are still more blossoms on the way, despite the cold!
Dear Friends,

I seem to come back regularly to the theme of gratitude for the ability to practice in a very hard world and I recently found this article by Pema Chodron to be helpful. It has a perspective on how we might think of training our minds from the habit of anger and vexation but also talks about how we might feel empowered in a world seemingly filled with problems outside of our control.
2020 Finances

We are grateful to report that during this past year, in spite of the global pandemic, the temple was generously supported.

In addition to the mild increase in our basic operational cost due to the pandemic, we also gladly added two new residents to the temple which has increased our expenses. Added to the increase in our basic operating costs, we were able to make some helpful improvements to the temple including remodeling the library, improving and updating our computer network (which helped with our increased online presence due to the pandemic) and adding some new power tools (which helped with the library and future renovations).

Even with these extra costs, we ended the year being able to add to our general savings as well as to our building fund which now stands at a bit over $27,000. For a more detailed look at the temple finances, please respond to this email and I will send you our end of year report.

Again, we are deeply grateful for your continuing willingness to support our mission of supporting the offering and practice of the Buddhadharma!

Painted walls and ceiling, new altar, refinished floor with a new rug!
Zoom Meetings

Our weekly gatherings continue to take place on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday on Zoom. These meetings seem to be working to help people stay connected and to take refuge in the Sangha. We have recently updated our zoom links and, if you would like to join us, just reply to this email and we will send you the links.
Regular Schedule

During this time of health crisis, although we are mostly closed to outside visitors, the temple continues to follow our regular practice schedule of meditation, ceremonial and work. We are glad to realize that even from afar, we are all practicing together even now, and we look forward to a time when guests can join us at the temple again!

For changes in our upcoming events and details of the Priory schedule, please go to our calendar page.

Alms Bowl

Your kind offerings of practice, work, money, food and other things keep the Priory open for the benefit of all beings. We are deeply grateful for your support.

During this time of global pandemic and stress for all of us, I want to thank those of you who have made helpful donations! We seem to be doing well financially, and we are touched by your thoughtfulness.

This month we received: Cookies from afar and abundant support.
Thank You!

For more information on the Priory needs, visit the website: Supporting The Priory.
A Bit Of Dharma

The Physical World Is Not Answerable To My Personal Will

Recently I found myself laughing at the thought that, again, it was just not going to be how I wanted it. I can't even remember what "it" was that I thought I wanted; maybe it was just for things to go "my way" for a bit, but it was clear that things were not going to break my way. 

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett taught that that line, "The physical world is not answerable to my personal will," was a law of the universe: wherever we go in the whole of existence, we will not be able to control circumstances. When we hold onto wanting to have "what we want, when we want it, the way we want it," there is inevitably going to be suffering.

It is true that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes that might even be a good thing. But it is also true that we just can't expect to control things in a way that will insure that we always get what we want and this too is actually a good thing. How limiting and limited my life would be if it were only constrained to what I could conceive of to want?

There is a poem by Wendell Berry that speaks to this called "Our Real Work:"
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

At the time of being impeded by our frustrated desire, if we can muster the will to bow, to sit still, to let go and accept how things actually are, who knows what song might emerge?

Poem copyright ©1983 by Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words.

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