Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:48 am

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:
BlackBird wrote:You remind me of myself... Metta and good luck.
Jack

And yes, the Visuddhimagga is quite old and therefore out of date in certain areas. But keep in mind, there are still those monasteries which are conducive to concentration, and those that are not.


You missed the main thrust of my post, and so to make myself clear I will have to speak in no uncertain terms, I preface the following with an apology if it should hurt you.

You need to humble yourself. Going around telling others to keep things in mind at your age, having had no experience of staying in monastic environs and only a short time practicing Dhamma, you remind me of myself because I too was quite self assured and arrogant like that at that age. It is a problem which will lead you to no small amount of suffering if you do not make attempts to correct it. I know because it led me to a tonne of it.

You may think arrogant is the wrong word, and that it is not a justified criticism given the small amount of tells given by our short dialogue here, and perhaps you are right, perhaps not. The point should be made: The easiest way to do this, and to succeed at it, is not to come from a place of thinking you're knowledgable, but to come from a place of humility and meekness, if you storm in at 17 years old speaking as though a wise man who knows all about the Dhamma and what it's about, others will come to resent you, and this will not only make your stay quite unpleasant, but will make things difficult for them also.

Reading the Suttas and some ancilliary texts does not make you wise, you might think otherwise, as I did, and if you do you will fall hard at some point. Better to let yourself down gradually. You are already so sure of yourself and what the Buddhist path is, but over time you will see that things are not quite as black and white as they appear at your age. As the years go by you will become aware of everything I've said here: Things are always a shade of grey.

At that time too many people said to me, monks especially: 'Why don't you wait a few years, you are so young! Go out and live and get some worldly experience, it will do you good'. I felt hurt, I thought they didn't know what they were talking about - Such was my arrogance. Well meaning sure, I gave them that - But they didn't understand my mind, or my situation I felt. I was different than the average 17 year old I knew this, and they would grow to see it too. But life does not always play by the rules you set out for it. In the end they were right, and I was wrong. A bitter pill to swallow, but a pill that has nevertheless served me well.

And here I am going into my 24th year, only now do I think I am mature and ready for the monk hood, only now can I say that I really think I'll be able to make a go of it. I think for most 18 years is too young for a Westerner, even for me it was too young. A few years of life experience does the world of good for one's ability to be patient and stick things out for the long haul.

Maybe things truely are different for you, but I doubt it. As I said in my previous post, I doubt you'll take this on board if you are anything like me, and your response before more or less confirmed that, but we shall see. Sometimes seeds take a while to germinate.

I write this with love.

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:30 am

BlackBird wrote:
EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:
BlackBird wrote:You remind me of myself... Metta and good luck.
Jack

And yes, the Visuddhimagga is quite old and therefore out of date in certain areas. But keep in mind, there are still those monasteries which are conducive to concentration, and those that are not.


You need to humble yourself. Going around telling others to keep things in mind at your age, having had no experience of staying in monastic environs and only a short time practicing Dhamma, you remind me of myself because I too was quite self assured and arrogant like that at that age. It is a problem which will lead you to no small amount of suffering if you do not make attempts to correct it. I know because it led me to a tonne of it.


I definitely understand, but I didn't know that was the main message of your post. I've acknowledged it for myself, and that's why I'm upping the self-discipline more. If the monastic life is hard, I'm all for it. The hardships will humble me. If that's arrogance, then sorry, but I can't honestly tell due to the small amount of practice I've had. I'm more than willing to humble myself, but it's very difficult in my current situation. It'll come eventually. If you can give advice for it, it would be appreciated greatly. What thoughts would be signs of arrogance? Are there any articles on accesstoinsight you know about which talk about this? I've read "pride and conceit" but any other articles you know about would be nice. Do you know any other additional methods?

Edit: I also want to say that I really appreciate you telling me this. If I go into the homeless life with an arrogant-mindset, it will obviously do me no good. I just don't see why somebody would need to drop the practice in order to be more humble.
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby kmath » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:50 am

To the OP,

I was in your shoes once. Without much knowledge of Buddhism or monasteries, I moved to Abhayagiri at 19. I lived there for 9 months before I could ordain as an Anagarika. Then after a year in white, I decided to disrobe.

Abhayagiri is a terrific place and you would be trained well there. I have a lot more information if you want it. Send me a PM if so!

Best of luck,

KM

P.S.

I'm from Wisconsin so I might be able to help with the travel considerations!
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby Mkoll » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:55 am

Dear EmptyCittas1by1,

In terms of reducing arrogance and conceit, you can start with this:

Pay reverence to the Triple Gem. Bow your head down to the floor. Understand that the Buddha and his Noble Disciples are worthy of the highest reverence and respect. Do some form of this before and after meditation.

Your pride may resist this at first and it may feel awkward or ungenuine (it did for me) but I assure you it gets better if you keep it up.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:01 pm

Mkoll wrote:Dear EmptyCittas1by1,

In terms of reducing arrogance and conceit, you can start with this:

Pay reverence to the Triple Gem. Bow your head down to the floor. Understand that the Buddha and his Noble Disciples are worthy of the highest reverence and respect. Do some form of this before and after meditation.

Your pride may resist this at first and it may feel awkward or ungenuine (it did for me) but I assure you it gets better if you keep it up.

:anjali:


Thanks :smile:
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby boris » Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:27 pm

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote: Are there any articles on accesstoinsight you know about which talk about this? I've read "pride and conceit" but any other articles you know about would be nice. Do you know any other additional methods? ....


There are many Suttas, in fact most of Suttas teach as how to work with mind. General line you can find for exampme in M8 http://suttacentral.net/mn8/en

Very important factor is to have good friend, who can help you. He may not teach you using words, but just by observing his behaviour you may learn about how monk should be like. You can use also negative way and if behaviour of monks in your company is not proper, you may say that they are your teachers, and teach you how monk should not act. :smile:

Also there is no harm to deepen your knowledge of monastic life in general, quite interesting for example is Fathers of Desert tradition, in their Sayings you can find many practical advices for monks, and usually they concentrate on practice, not on Christian dogma. John Climacus was living after Fathers o Desert, but he represents the same spiritual line. Here some quotes from his book The Ledder of Divine Ascent http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ladder ... ine_Ascent

Let us monks, then, be as trustful as the birds are; for they do not have cares, and they do not collect.

He who has tasted the things on high easily despises what is below. But he who has not tasted the things above finds joy in possessions.

A monk is one who is conditioned by virtues as others are by pleasures.

The soul has dispassion who is immersed in the virtues as the passionate are in pleasures.

But he who has an attachment to anything visible is not yet delivered from grief. For how is it possible not to be sad at the loss of something we love?

If anyone thinks he is without attachment to some object, but is grieved at its loss, then he is completely deceiving himself.

Those who are thoroughly versed in secular philosophy are indeed rare; but I affirm that those who have a divine knowledge of the philosophy of true solitude are still more rare.

A proud monk has no need of a devil; he has become a devil and enemy to himself.

He who has died to all things remembers death, but who ever is still tied to the world does not cease plotting against himself.

As of all foods bread is the most essential, so the thought of death is the most necessary of all works. The remembrance of death amongst those in the midst of society gives birth to distress and frivolity, and even more—to despondency. But amongst those who are free from noise it produces the putting aside of cares, and constant prayer and guarding of the mind.

The monk is he who within his earthly and soiled body toils towards the rank and state of the incorporeal beings. A monk is he who strictly controls his nature and unceasingly watches over his senses. A monk is he who keeps his body in chastity, his mouth pure and his mind illumined. A monk is a mourning soul that both asleep and awake is unceasingly occupied with the remembrance of death.

The beginning of freedom from anger is silence of the lips when the heart is agitated; the middle is silence of the thoughts when there is a mere disturbance of soul; and the end is an imperturbable calm under the breath of unclean winds.

Those who enter this contest must renounce all things, despise all things, deride all things, and shake  off all things, that they may lay a firm foundation. A good foundation of three layers and three pillars is innocence, fasting and temperance.

He who cherishes his stomach and hopes to overcome the spirit of fornication, is like one who tries to put out a fire with oil.

Let us pay close attention to ourselves so that we are not deceived into thinking that we are following the strait and narrow way when in actual fact we are keeping to the wide and broad way. The following will show you what the narrow way means: mortification of the stomach, all-night standing, water in moderation, short rations of bread, the purifying draught of dishonour, sneers, derision, insults, the cutting out of one’s own will, patience in annoyances, unmurmuring endurance of scorn, disregard of insults, and the habit, when wronged, of bearing it sturdily; when slandered, of not being indignant; when humiliated, not to be angry; when condemned, to be humble. Blessed are they who follow the way we have just described, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Self-esteem without any other passion can ruin a man, and in the same way, if we have formed the habit of judging, we can be utterly ruined by this alone, for indeed the Pharisee was condemned for this very thing.

Let no one with right principles suppose that the sin of lying is a
small matter, for the All-Holy Spirit pronounced the most awful sentence of all against it above all sins.
If you have promised Christ to go by the strait and narrow way, restrain your stomach, because by pleasing it and enlarging it, you break your contract. Attend and you will hear Him who says: ‘Spacious and broad is the way of gluttony that leads to the perdition of fornication, and many there are who go in by it; because narrow is the gate and hard is the way of fasting that leads to the life of purity, and few there are who go in by it.”


A vigilant monk is a foe to fornication but a sleepy one mates with it.

A monk who denies himself sleep is a fisher of thoughts, and in the stillness of the night he can easily observe and catch them.

Long sleep produces forgetfulness, but vigil purifies the memory.



The devil often has the habit, especially in warring against ascetics and those leading the solitary life, of using all his force, all his zeal, all his cunning, all his intrigue, all his ingenuity and purpose, to assail them by means of what is unnatural, and not by what is natural. Therefore, ascetics coming into contact with women, and not in any way tempted either by desire or thought, have sometimes regarded themselves as already blessed, not knowing, poor things, that where a worse downfall had been prepared for them, there was no need of the lesser one.

The mother of sweetness is earth and dew, and the mother of purity is silence with obedience. Dispassion of the body attained by silence, has often been shaken on coming into contact with the world; but that obtained by obedience isgenuine and inviolable everywhere.

A fish swiftly escapes a hook; and a sensual soul shuns solitude.

Meekness is an unchangeable state of mind, which remains the same inhonour and dishonour.

In meek hearts the Lord finds rest, but a turbulent soul is a seat of the devil.

A small hair disturbs the eye, and a small care ruins solitude; because solitude is the banishment of thoughts and ideas, and the rejection of even laudable cares.
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:26 am

Thanks for the sutta, the advice, and the quotes. The quotes remind me of Sumedho's words in "The Buddha Comes to Sussex", something along the lines of "All paths lead to the same place, but they use different words".
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby pulga » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:49 am

From John Climacus's Scala:

He who has tasted the things on high easily despises what is below. But he who has not tasted the things above finds joy in possessions.


From the Māgandiyasutta, MN75:

'Suppose, Māgandiya, there was a leper with sores and blisters on his limbs, being devoured by worms, scratching the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterising his body over a burning charcoal pit. Then his friends and companions, his kinsmen and relatives, would bring a physician to treat him. The physician would make medicine for him, and by means of that medicine the man would be cured of his leprosy and would become well and happy, independent, master of himself, able to go where he likes. Then he might see another leper with sores and blisters on his limbs, being devoured by worms, scratching the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterising his body over a burning charcoal pit. What do you think, Māgandiya? Would that man envy that leper for his burning charcoal pit or his use of medicine?'

'No, Master Gotama. Why is that? Because when there is sickness, there is need for medicine, and when there is no sickness there is no need for medicine.'


http://suttacentral.net/mn75/en
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby boris » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:15 am

“Bhikkhus, whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of sensual desire, he has abandoned the thought of renunciation to cultivate the thought of sensual desire, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of sensual desire. If he frequently thinks and ponders thoughts of sensual desire. If he frequently thinks and ponders upon thoughts of ill will…upon thoughts of cruelty, he has abandoned the thought of non-cruelty to cultivate the thought of cruelty, and then his mind inclines to thoughts of cruelty.

M 19 http://suttacentral.net/mn19/en

and:

"Suppose that there were a man who had left his home village or town a long time ago. And he were to meet with a man who had left the village or town only a short time ago. He would ask if the people in the village or town were secure, well-fed, & free of disease, and the second man would tell him if they were secure, well-fed, & free of disease. Now, what do you think, Sunakkhatta. Would the first man listen to the second man, lend ear, and exert his mind to know? Would he get along with the second man; would his mind feel at home with him?"
"Yes, lord."
"In the same way, it is possible that there is the case where a certain person is intent on the baits of the world. When a person is intent on the baits of the world, that sort of talk interests him, his thinking & evaluating follow along those lines, he feels at home with that sort of person, and his mind gets along with that sort of person. But when talk concerning the imperturbable [the fourth jhana and the spheres of the infinitude of space and the infinitude of consciousness] is going on, he does not listen, does not lend ear, and does not exert his mind to know. He does not get along with that sort of person; his mind does not feel at home with him. This is how it can be known that 'This person is intent on the baits of the world.'
M 105
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

and:

Here, ruler of gods, a monk has heard that nothing is worth adhering to. When a monk has heard that nothing is worth of adhering to, he directly knows everything …
M 37

Experience is telelogical, we cannot escape from searching for pleasure, but we can redefine our definitons of pleasure and pain.
And supported by these new definitions ( based on Dhamma) we can enter fields of unknown yet pleasures ...
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:33 am

Hi Empty Cittas, I see from your response that you're already on the way.

As concerns the minds tendency towards conceit: How best to combat it is something only you can find out, but if you bare it in mind constantly to remain humble, you will not fall astray. If you can habituate the frame of mind that you can take even the greatest fool as someone who can teach you something and how much more so a wise man, you will be in good stead. Just be tender towards others egos, especially the elders.

Oh and ask lots of questions, even if you think you already know the answer, you may just get a perspective you hadn't considered :)

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby appicchato » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:57 am

...we cannot escape from searching for pleasure...


Not everyone would agree with this...
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:24 am

appicchato wrote:
...we cannot escape from searching for pleasure...


Not everyone would agree with this...


Quite, indeed isn't the whole mode of the path to escape from searching for pleasure ;)
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby boris » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:06 pm

BlackBird wrote:
appicchato wrote:
...we cannot escape from searching for pleasure...


Not everyone would agree with this...


Quite, indeed isn't the whole mode of the path to escape from searching for pleasure ;)


The problem is that even when specific searching for pleasure connected with selfhood is removed, teleology still remains:

You say that, as far as you see it, the arahat's experience functions automatically. By this I presume that you mean it functions without any self or agent or master to direct it. But I do not say otherwise. All that I would add is that this automatically functioning experience has a complex teleological structure.

The puthujjana's experience, however, is still more complex, since there is also avijjā, and there is thus appropriation as well as teleology. But this, too, functions automatically, without any self or agent to direct it. On account of the appropriation, however, it appears to be directed by a self, agent, or master. Avijjā functions automatically, but conceals this fact from itself. Avijjā is an automatically functioning blindness to its automatic functioning. Removal of the blindness removes the appropriation but not the teleology.
http://nanavira.org/index.php/letters/p ... nuary-1962

Arahat will stili avoid contact with fire and fools. Why is like that? Because contact with these things is painful :smile:

Then we may say that paranibbana is total escape from searching for pleasure. Here is possible to argue that it is not quite like this, it is rather final success in our eternal search for pleasure. But on the first place, every intelligent man should recognized from context what was said, that it was said as description of puthujjana state and his relation to Dhamma.

appicchato wrote:
...we cannot escape from searching for pleasure...


Not everyone would agree with this...


You are right. Even less people would agree that existence and suffering are synonyms. There are so many levels of delusions.

What makes a person with a "good background" behave so savagely and without remorse while another gives his own life to rescue complete strangers? What creates a hero, a heel, a criminal, a contributor? What determines the difference in human actions? Throughout my life, I have passionately sought the answer to these questions. One thing is clear to me: human beings are not random creatures; everything we do, we do for a reason. We may not be aware of the reason consciously, but there is undoubtedly a single driving force behind all human behavior. This force impacts every facet of our lives, from our relationships and finances to our bodies and brains. What is this force that is controlling you even now and will continue to do so for the rest of your life? PAIN and PLEASURE! Everything you and I do, we do either out of our need to avoid pain or our desire to gain pleasure.

So often I hear people talk about changes they want to make in their lives. But they can't get themselves to follow through. They feel frustrated, overwhelmed, even angry with themselves because they know they need to take action, but they can't get themselves to do it. There is one elementary reason: they keep trying to change their behavior, which is the effect, instead of dealing with the cause behind it.

Understanding and utilizing the forces of pain and pleasure will allow you once and for all to create the lasting changes and improvements you desire for yourself and those you care about. Failure to understand this force dooms you to a future of living in reaction, like an animal or a machine. Perhaps this sounds like a complete oversimplification, but think about it. Why don't you do some of the things you know you should do?


Anthony Robbins, Aweken the Giant Within

While in the present some psychologists argue against that principle, its rather comes from missunderstanding. That principle is in fact quite complicated, and for example you may chose painful old state over possible new pleasent, but it will be because you are familiar with it and pleasure of safety is stronger then fear of the unknown.
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby boris » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:23 pm

EmptyCittas1by1 wrote:Thanks for the sutta, the advice, and the quotes. The quotes remind me of Sumedho's words in "The Buddha Comes to Sussex", something along the lines of "All paths lead to the same place, but they use different words".


I understand you idea, but stated in this way is evidently not true. There are so many paths and they lead to so many places, some of these places are quite unpleasent. You cannot put on the same level openly immoral Jewish Talmud and Jesus Teaching, not to mention Dhamma. There is only one place worth to go and only one path is leading there that is Eightfold Noble Path which starts from right view - knowlegde of anatta.

So your idea should be formulated more or less in such words: All paths supported by right view lead to the same place.
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:12 pm

:offtopic:
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby EmptyCittas1by1 » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:15 pm

:offtopic:

I think we got side-tracked by the discussion on arrogance...

If what you want to say has nothing to do with Metta or Abhayagiri, please don't post. Let the thread die if it needs to. Maybe we can contemplate impermanence :tongue:

:focus:
"Eat little! Sleep little! Speak little! Whatever it may be of worldly habit, lessen them, go against their power. Don't just do as you like, don't indulge in your thought. Stop this slavish following. You must constantly go against the stream of ignorance. This is called "Discipline." When you discipline your heart, it becomes very dissatisfied and begins to struggle. It becomes restricted and oppressed. When the heart is prevented from doing what it wants to do, it starts wandering and struggling. Suffering becomes apparent to us."

— Ajahn Chah
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Re: Metta or Abhayagiri monastery?

Postby boris » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:27 pm

Sorry :smile:
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