Liberation Park Newsletter - December 2005

Farewell to 2005

Thanks to all of your generous support, Liberation Park is concluding another year of life and Buddha-Dhamma practice in Oak Park, Illinois.  We continue to cultivate community, offer classes, and provide a place of practice and study for local residents as well as guests. With Santikaro teaching in Thailand and Jo Marie in retreat, Liberation Park is in silence during the month of December. Community members have been able to join in silent practice at various times throughout the week. Thanks to everyone for supporting this month of silent practice, and for providing requisites to make it possible. Opportunities for intensive practice can be scarce and are deeply appreciated when they arise.

As national and global conditions grow increasingly challenging, we continue our endeavor to develop a meaningful modern Buddhist response to the suffering, dilemmas, and opportunities for practice with which we are presented. In this spirit, we continue to deliberately shape Liberation Park in a direction free of the dominant consumer motif of our current society, aspiring to create a life and practice center dedicated to simplicity and non-proliferation on all levels.


Santikaro Reports: During the last month I had the opportunity to meet with old and new activist friends in Korea and Japan. In Seoul, I participated in a conference on the Anapanasati Sutta hosted by Korean monks who study and practice "old school Buddhism." I also met with Buddhist Solidarity for Reform, an NGO, and learned about some of the ways 50 plus years of US militarization has affected Korea. That theme continued in Japan, where I stayed with Think Sangha friends in Kamakura and at the Jodo Shu Research Institute in Tokyo. Rev Tomatsu and others continued my education about good Japanese food. The trip helped me to renew friendships that have been important to me over the years.

In Thailand this month, I and fellow activists, including forest monks who continue to work for the preservation of forest land, met with the Thai Deputy Prime Minister (who is also Minister of Justice) to apply pressure in the matter of last summer's murder of environmentalist monk Phra Supoj Suvacano (an old friend) and other murder victims whose cases have political implications. The government keeps repeating promises that have yet to show any solidity.

An 8-day Enneagram training at the beginning of the trip went well. This supports deepening study of the Enneagram in Siam and the Thai Enneagram Association. Coming up is the annual Anapanasati with Enneagram retreat that combines Buddhist practice with Enneagram perspectives. In between, I've met with friends, recorded poetry, and counseled students.

I was also able to visit Suan Mokkh for a couple days and had a happy time. Many feelings came up as I walked through familar woods, visited old lodgings, touched old trees, climbed hills, sweated, and slipped in the mud (rainy season). I still have good friends there and had joyful chats about Liberation Park, Suan Mokkh, and how our lives carry on. I spent a lot of time with Ajahn Singtong, with whom I spent 6 weeks in the ICU at the end of Ajahn Buddhadasa's life. I hope to write up his fascinating story. Most of all, being in the place that still expresses Ajahn Buddhadasa's vision of Buddha-Dhamma reminded me of duties for freedom and service.

Welcoming 2006

The New Year's Meditation and Yoga Retreat takes place from December 30 - January 2nd at Cabrini Retreat Center in Des Plaines. We still have  room for late-comers to register. Please join us in opening the New Year with three days of meditation, yoga, and New Year's ritual, led by Santikaro , and William Hunt of Oak Park Yoga. Please call or email to register - 708-848-4816 or

A Core Study Group will be forming early in 2006 to pursue a dedicated syllabus of core Dhamma Study. Meeting twice monthly (dates TBA), we will focus on Ajahn Buddhadasa's and select other teacher's writings and approaches to the study of core Dhamma principles. Some texts from non-Buddhist sources will be explored as well. Chicago-land students must commit to attend most of the classes, and be willing to keep up with assigned reading.  Please contact for further information.

Ajahn Buddhadasa's Centennial is this year - 2006! There are several events planned around the country. Please stay tuned for details of events in Seattle, Chicago, and the Sati Center in California. We are taking the opportunity to promote the teachings and approach of Ajahn Buddhadasa to the reform and revival of early Buddhism, through events, speaking engagements, a traveling display, and translation/distribution of his writings. If you wish to be involved in this worthy endeavor, please do contact us. If you wish to see articles on Ajahn Buddhadasa in some of the journals, please contact the editors with your request:  Buddhadharma and Tricycle.

Other Happenings

Also in the New Year, we look forward to collaborating with Insight Chicago on several  offerings. Insight Chicago is a North Side Insight Meditation Group, and together we are hoping to take advantage of our joined numbers to collaborate occasionally on one-day retreats, and in bringing outside teachers to the area. The first One Day Retreat collaboration is scheduled for Saturday January 21, at St. Luke's Parish in Evanston, led by Santikaro. Please plan on attending if at all possible, to support this growing Vipassana practice network. Since we must rent a space for this sort of collective practice, it will take supporters who are willing to attend in order to insure our continued ability to host such events. Call to register in advance 708-848-4816.

Insight Chicago is also assisting Liberation Park in bringing the Venerable Sudhamma from the South Carolina Vihara to speak and teach at the Midwest Women's Buddhist Conference scheduled for March 11th inChicago. A student of Bhante Gunaratana's, Venerable Sudhamma is one of only two American women to obtain full Theravada Bhikkhuni ordination and she currently co-abbesses the Vihara in South Carolina. In addition to teaching at the conference, she will give a half day of teachings at the Cenacle on Sunday March 12th from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.

Liberation Park and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, also in cooperation with the Midwest Women's Conference, will be hosting Sisters Molini Rai and Dhamma Vijaya, two Theravadan Bhikkhunis from Nepal who are involved with important activist work on behalf of Nepalese girls at risk for or escaped from the Indian sex trade ( As well as speaking at the conference, they will be speaking here in Oak Park at Unity Temple on Friday, March 10th, to help raise awareness and fund-raise for their important work. They are two strong and savvy women who have made great strides in a patriarchal system in order to work on behalf of young women at great risk. Don't miss it! (Thanks to Bret Lortie for organizing the venue.)

There are several translation and book projects, both of Ajahn Buddhadasa's and Ajahn Santikaro's currently in progress - thanks to the dedicated help of kind volunteer transcriptionists and editors. These projects may take up a good deal of time over the coming year (or many!) but we look forward to apprising you of details as progress is made.

Thank You

Again, thank you for your practice and support of these Dhamma endeavors. If you wish to continue your kind support - materially, spiritually and in friendship - all forms are appreciated deeply. May you be well and may your practices flourish.

In Dhamma,

LiberationPark Community

Previous Newsletter (September 2005)

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