I began this blog with a somewhat narrow ambition: create a space to share the joy that arises from my activities with the Portland Friends of the Dhamma. As the Buddhist center grows I’m finding my involvement and responsibilities appropriately shifting and surprise, surprise, the changes do not always lead to the arising of joy, heh, heh, heh. Hmmmmm . . . My focus for this blog is no longer quite so lofty. Rather, it now expands to a broader purpose of sharing my practice via the challenges and rewards that arise while aiming toward noble and skilfull balance. Kind of like letting go of blissful expectations; let the hair down, the wind blow and the tangles be known. So, in the spirit of sharing “This Upasika Life”, let the blogging proceed.
Notice the top knot of the Buddh'as hair in his lap
A bit of history: Portland Friends of the Dhamma sprung out of a desire to establish and nourish a sense of contact with the Abhayagiri community. As this contact grew I began to seek out others who also found the Ajahn Chah lineage inspiring and began to invite a person here and there, to gather together in the style of the Abhayagiri Monastery.
Within a few months I met Barbara Backstrand and Chris Robson, it was clear we shared a deep appreciation for our meditation styles and decided to anchor our connection with Abhayagiri. We wrote a mission statement, signed a lease on a lovely space and founded the Portland Friends of the Dhamma. That was nearly eight years ago. Barbara and Chris have both moved on, the community has grown and my role as founder is now changing.
The morphing of a founder’s responsibilities is not always an easy or pleasant undertaking. Still I believe it is a necessary step for any expanding community that intends to remain healthy and available to all it draws toward its purpose. I hope to write about the process of morphing, how to approach this as a follower of the Buddha's example and as one living well "This Upasika Life".