Samita ASBL

Venerable Vimalas Winter retreat

I have emerged from my quiet and beautiful winter-retreat in solitude and feel so grateful to all of you who have made it possible for me to have this time to deepen my practice. It has been a very fruitful and wonderful time, with many walks in the quiet and snow-covered woods. When the snow falls, it is as if nature holds its breath and there are no sounds, a silence that is so precious to cultivate within ourselves.

This winter we lost our beloved Monastery-cat Wollie and wish her a good rebirth and of course, after many rounds of rebirth, ultimately enlightenment. I feel grateful for all the beautiful moments of laughter and love she has given me.

I emerged to the devastating news about Myanmar, the country that gave me my name and the beautiful and kind people I have encountered there. And the question arises: how is this possible in a Buddhist country? Of course the answer is, and always will be: avijjā, delusion. I have seen this so often, as we all have, in all societies, all religions, all organizations. We can only try our best to eradicate it in ourselves and make it our lifelong goal to do so. Without meditation, the deeper insights into our own being and the processes that form us, it is impossible to really change. But the only thing we can do is to try. To try to become progressively less deluded, to live every day as if it is a brand new beginning and to try our best to be loving and kind, learning along the way. So we have to forgive ourselves, and others, for our mistakes. But how hard is this to do when you are faced with such violence and anger? Just know that underneath all harsh words or acts of violence there is a deep-seated and blinding fear. Knowing that we can find some compassion in our hearts, also to those who hurt us. We have to do what we can to stop the violence, but in our hearts we should have only compassion otherwise we become what we fear. In the end only true compassion can overcome fear and this is the practice I have dedicated my life to.

With much love and gratitude to you all,

Ven. Vimala