On Sunday, 16th of March 2014, about 19 lay supporters participated in a One Day Meditation Retreat to mark Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s 29th ordination anniversary.
The theme of the day was “Contemplation of Feeling”. “Contemplation of feeling” is one of the four foundations of mindfulness. It is a useful tool that we can use in our life. We investigated the Dhamma, the teaching of the Buddha. Until we can investigate, contemplate, hold the Dhamma close to our heart and put it into our practice, the Dhamma is only out there, a knowledge that we have acquired.
Feeling (vedana), according to the Dhamma, is a bare basic sensation that registers as pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. It is one of the five aggregates and one of the links in the ‘Dependent Origination’, that is, ‘Contact conditions feeling, Feeling conditions craving.’ During the retreat, we practised being aware and mindful of the feeling, the pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feeling without going into the labelling, thinking and the story line.
The highlight of the retreat was when ‘Jack in the box’ popped up. ‘Jack’ was illustrating that the feeling pops up with contact. Due to our underlying tendencies and conditionings, the ‘Jack’ in us just pops up again and again without our invitation and permission.
There was a lovely story behind the ‘Jack in the box’ that was used at the retreat. The ‘Jack in the box’ originally belonged to Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni. Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni used to use the ‘Jack in the box’ in the weekend retreats that she conducted at Safety Bay. It was offered by one of the supporters after she heard Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni’s teacher, Ayya Khema, used to use ‘Jack in the box’ in her illustration at retreats. I felt honoured and delighted to be able to continue with the tradition at a retreat to celebrate my teacher’s ordination anniversary.
Congratulations to Ayya Vayama Bhikkhuni on your ordination anniversary. May you attain Nibbana in this very life.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.
by Ayya Seri Bhikkhuni