Arizona International Buddhist Meditation Center
The Arizona International Buddhist Meditation Center is a non-profit organization where all are invited to practice the Universal Truths of Sakyamuni Buddha's Teachings.
DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW MEDITATION HALL IS UNDERWAY!!
For more details and a look at the plan click here: (New Meditation Hall )
For construction progress pictures click here: (New Meditation Hall Construction Progress )
Location and Contact
432 South Temple Street, Mesa, Arizona, 85204
Can't find us? Well, we're a small house - no sign, 3rd on the right on Temple. Come help us grow!
New Meditation Schedule
We are looking forward to a strong turn out for the meditation sessions this year and have been enjoying record breaking numbers of people coming to our weekly groups.
JANUARY EIGHT WEEK MEDITATION CLASS SCHEDULED
A new Saturday eight week meditation class will start on January 19, 2013. Please call AIBMC if you would like tosign up. Thank you.
The Wednesday evening meditation with Shane will continue to meet from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
We have temporarily stopped conducting Sunday meditation classes, but will let you know when Sunday meditation will resume.
News and Events
December 8th - 9th , 2012 - Second annual weekend retreat with Venerable Yogavacara Rahula
For the second year Bhante Rahula led a two day retreat. On Friday evening Bhante Rahula gave a talk at the AIBMC center in Mesa at 7pm on "Why meditate?". The retreat itself began Saturday at the Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona. You can learn more about this beautiful retreat center, including location information, from their website at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center
The retreat was a wonderful resource for meditation, studying the Dhamma, and combining yoga with meditation to improve the practice.
We are grateful that Bhante was able to visit and share his understanding with us and look forward to his return.
November 3, 2012 - Kathina Robe Ceremony
The Rainy Season (or Vassa) ended with The Kathina Robe Ceremony. Although the new meditation hall is not yet complete it was sufficiently far enough along that we could hold the ceremony under the new roof!
December 10-11, 2011 - Body and Mind Connection - A weekend retreat with Venerable Yogavacara Rahula
Bhante Ananda will often ask the question of someone: "What is the benefit?" None of the 38 people who attended Bhante Ananda's weekend retreat at Spirit in the Desert with Venerable Yogavacara Rahula will have any trouble knowing the benefit of this retreat! Bhante Rahula taught students to blend his unique form of yoga with meditation practice - a combination which all can agree is most helpful to enhancing the practice and countering hindrances. Bhante Rahula emphasized mindful attention to the body and breathing as the foundation for cultivating awareness and insight into the deeper nature of our body and mental process. Students practiced meditation in sitting, standing and walking sessions with stretching and breathing exercises to help circulation and to concentrate on the body within the body.
The Spirit in the Desert facilities in Carefree were outstanding. The spacious meditation hall allowed plenty of room for meditation and yoga and the grounds offered many beautiful and peaceful areas for walking meditation. The vegetarian food was served in a comfortable dining hall with beautiful and peaceful views all around. Those who stayed overnight were surprised to find themselves in large spacious suites with study areas and kitchenttes. If you missed the retreat and want to learn more about the location go to their website at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center
GREAT NEWS!!!!! Bhante Ananda has reserved the retreat center for next year and invited Bhante Rahula to return!!
For those who could not attend here is a little bit about Bhante Rahula. Bhante Yogavacara Rahula was ordained in Sri Lanka in 1975. He was a part of the Bhavana Society, West Virginia since 1987 and served as the vice-abbot. He regularly teaches and conducts retreats, including retreats integrating yoga breathing and exercise with vipassana. His approach to meditation emphasizes mindfulness of the body. Bhante Rahula conducts retreats in the United States, Canada and Germany. He also regularly goes to India to teach Buddhists and give talks in remote villages.
As a self-described “confused youth”, Bhante Rahula served a three-year stint in the army, then traveled in Europe and Asia. He spent much of this time living as a hippie, experimenting with a variety of recreational drugs. Eventually, he encountered Tibetan Lamas in Nepal and, after a month-long meditation course, began earnestly seeking a spiritually fulfilling life. He studied yoga in India, then traveled south and began learning about Theravada Buddhism. He ordained at Tapovanaya Buddhist Monastery under the tutelage of Late-Venerable Vangeesa Maha Thero in Sri Lanka and lived there for 11 years, practicing in solitary caves and huts, learning dhamma, and eventually leading retreats. Bhante Rahula describes his transformation from a young hippie and army dropout to a Theravadan Bhikkhu in his autobiography, One Night’s Shelter. If you would like to keep abreast of Bhante Rahula's activities see his blog at http://bhanterahula.blogspot.com.
November 5, 2011 - Kathina Robe Ceremony
On Saturday, the Rainy Season (or Vassa) ended with The Kathina Robe Ceremony. The activities were a great success.
The Vassa, a three-month rains retreat, was instituted by the Buddha himself and was made obligatory for all fully ordained bhikkhus; the details are laid down in the Mahavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka (3rd and 4th chapters). The retreat extends over a period corresponding to the North Indian rainy season, from the day following the full moon of July until the full-moon day of October; those who cannot enter the regular Vassa are permitted to observe the retreat for three months beginning with the day following the August full moon. From the time Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka by the arahant Mahinda, the observance of Vassa — Vas in Sinhala — has been one of the mainstays of monastic life in the island. During the Vas the monks are expected to dwell permanently in their temples and suspend all traveling. If unavoidable circumstances necessitate traveling, they are allowed to leave their residences on the promise that they will return within a week (sattahakaraniya). On the first day of the retreat the monks have to formally declare that they will dwell in that manner in the selected monastery or dwelling.
(For more pictures of the day's events click on (AIBMC Kathina 2011 )
The Vassa is also a time for the lay Buddhists to express their devotion to the cause of Buddhism by supporting the Sangha with special diligence, which task they regard as a potent source of merit. It is customary for prominent persons to invite monks to spend the Vas with them in dwellings specially prepared for the purpose. In this latter case the host would go and invite the monk or monks formally. If the monks accept the invitation, the hosts would prepare a special temporary dwelling in a suitable place with a refectory and a shrine room. On the first day of the Vas they would go with drummers and dancers to the monastery where the invitees reside and conduct them thence in procession. The hosts would assume responsibility for providing all the needs of the monk or monks during this period, and they attend to this work quite willingly as they regard it as highly meritorious. If no special construction is put up, the lay supporters would invite the monks to observe the retreat in the temple itself.
At the close of the Vas season, the monks have to perform the pavarana ceremony. At this ceremony, held in place of the Patimokkha recitation, each monk invites his fellows to point out to him any faults he has committed during the Vas period. On any day following the day of pavarana in the period terminating with the next full-moon day, the kathina ceremony is held. Different monasteries will hold the kathina on different days within this month, though any given monastery may hold only one kathina ceremony. The main event in this ceremony is the offering of the special robe known as the kathina-civara to the Sangha, who in turn present it to one monk who has observed the retreat. The laity traditionally offer unsewn cloth to the monks. Before the offering takes place, the robe is generally taken, with drumming, etc., around the village in the early hours of the morning. Once the robe is given to the Sangha, certain monks are selected to do the cutting, sewing, and dying of the robe — all in a single day. Public contributions are very often solicited to buy the robe if it is not a personal offering.
This ceremony, which is performed with keen interest and devotion, has today become an important occasion of great social and religious significance for the Buddhist laity. This seems to have been so even in historical times when many Sinhala kings made this offering with much interest and devotion..
(For General Information on Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka (Bhante Ananda's place of birth) see (Buddhist Ceremonies and Rituals of Sri Lanka )
The mission of the Arizona International Buddhist Meditation Center is to teach the practical benefits of Buddhist meditation and the Dhamma. The Center is non-sectarian and open to people of all races, nationalities, ethnicities, and religions.
We offer instructional programs in meditation through regularly scheduled meditation, Dhamma talks, and special programs presented by visiting Buddhist monks whose experience and knowledge will help practitioners enrich their practice immensely (see news items). The Center can provide accommodation a proper environment for mental relaxation and our library of Buddhist books will be available for the use of all practitioners.
Meditation, or Bhavana in the Buddha’s language of Pali, means mental culture or development aimed at cleansing the mind of impurities and disturbances and cultivating the habits of concentration and mindfulness which leads eventually to the attainment of highest wisdom through realization of the Universal Truths of Sakyamuni Buddha's Teachings.
As the Center develops we also intend to add yoga studies as a additional tool for stress reduction.
A Note on Buddhism and Stress Reduction
Stress is a modern phenomenon caused by the rapid pace at which the world is continually changing around us. We experience this rapid change both internally and externally, and it causes us to become tense, uncomfortable, and stressful. The result is, we all wind up suffering.
In today’s this materialistic world we experience stress more than ever. To live stress free life is not an easy task for many of us because stress as a phenomenon remains unrecognized. It is now discovered that stress leads to other complications such as heart diseases, substance abuse, marital discord, frustration, anger, violence, and even murder. Without proper training we are unable to observe things as they occur around us. But are still quick to react to what we experience without observing the repercussions. Such blind reactions create chaos in life. The stress that gets accumulated in the human body and mind in this way needs to be discharged. Often, it gets discharged in the form of hatred, violence and hostilities. Thus, on many occasions our easily avoidable problems unfortunately, end in human tragedy. This is a universal human problem that requires a universal approach to resolve it.
Though people work hard to secure happiness, they end up in unhappiness. Most of these people are longing for temporary sensual pleasures and experience misery instead of finding lasting happiness (sukha). If one wants to be free from misery, one has to make a conscious decision to achieve this freedom. The Buddha’s teachings offer a way to eradicate misery altogether from our lives. Though the techniques have been available to us for over 2500 years, we can not sell or by these techniques like a medication. If one wants the positive results, one has to learn and practice them seriously, ardently and patiently. This practice leads the student to the destination of mental purity and mental tranquility. Lasting happiness results from mental tranquility which is also the freedom of stress.
With the availability of the teaching of the Buddha in the today’s world people it is necessary to have a conducive environment to engage ourselves in serious practice. It is not easy to find an environment truly conducive to meditation (although there are many commercial ventures that sell so-called ‘meditation’ at a high price, as if it were a medication to sell and administer). Many places do not seem to serve those who need this service the most, e.g. adolescents, the youth and the elderly.
Our intention is to provide a centre for all to learn and practice the Buddhist techniques of Bhavana (mental training) for mental serenity and mind purification. Through this program, our intention is to serve all regardless of religious, cultural or ethnic differences.