Aloha Sangha status report

Thank you all for the support you have given me during this 11 month hiatus.

Aloha Sangha will resume the weekly newsletter this week. The group sessions, however are still on hold for the time being. I will be available via email if you need any help.

It was very important that I took this break. It gave me time to evaluate my life and this sangha.

I went through periods of clinical depression and very difficult acting out behavior on my part, such as compulsive spending, and problems being honest with myself and others. Psychotherapy has been very useful, as has been my own Dhamma study and meditation.

I questioned deeply held beliefs about the Dhamma, and if it is even worth it for me to even try to communicate my limited understanding.

My concern is to offer the sangha the best guidance I can in approaching the remarkable Early Buddhist teachings both in terms of practice as well as in their integration into the crazy world we live in.

My hope is to present the teachings as objectively as possible, and let them work their magic without my interference.

I have benefited immensely from email correspondence with my mentors in the USA. There are also two senior Theravada Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka I have been studying with during this hiatus. They offered to answer any questions which you may have through email.

I have little interest in approaching this work from what currently passes for “mindfulness” in our times. I stay as far away as possible from this “capitalist hijacking” of the pristine teachings.

Although my own practice is decidedly not secular, I have no problem in presenting the Dhamma in a way that satisfies a secular audience, which is quite different from what has been criticized as the “McMindulness” movement.

The question of resuming group meetings, either online or perhaps later in person, is one I am still evaluating. One option I am exploring is to invite one of my mentors to participate online, but this is proving challenging due to time zone issues.

Please stay subscribed to the weekly newsletter, as any changes in this matter will be announced there.

I thank you all again for all your concerns and support. I have been trying to answer every email I have received form you all, and have still not responded to every single one. Please be patient as I intend to do this soon.

Please feel free to share your comments or suggestions below.

With heartfelt metta. May you be well, happy and peaceful.

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14 thoughts on “Aloha Sangha status report”

  1. Aloha Tom,
    Thank you for the thoughtful and vulnerable update. The care with which you hold this group and these teachings is deeply felt. Your work on this front has been an incredible gift to me and so many others over the years. I hope to practice again with you and the sangha again in the future. I hope your beautiful family is well.
    Warmly
    Noah

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Noah. I do appreciate the kind words and the aloha in your reply. The path just keeps going …

      Reply
  2. Aloha to you and your ‘ohana, Tom. I was so happy to receive a missive from you, as I’ve been wondering how you’re doing but didn’t want to intrude. I’m glad that you’ve been getting the guidance you need from accomplished dhamma teachers. Whatever you want to do is fine.
    I am grateful for this gift in your newsletter – I’ve never heard it before, and it’s so reassuring:
    “Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.”
    – Bob Sharples, from Meditation: Calming the Mind

    Reply
  3. It is so great to hear your voice again. I am touched that you share your personal challenges along with the beautiful artwork, poems and sayings etc.. I’ve had just as many challenges too and hearing you again is such a comfort. I’m happy with whatever you decide to do Tom. Love and Aloha, Deb

    Reply
    • Thanks Deb for all your support these past few years. It’s meant a lot to me. Hope to actually see you soon…

      Reply
  4. sigh…there is nothing more to say about the state of life here at this time without being redundant. You have said it all so eloquently.

    I loved hearing from you, and knowing that we are all connected once again! Such a bright light! There is much to absorb in these words, which will last until next time.

    Thank you

    Reply

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