Happy New Year

And here’s one of my favorite images; it’s the golden mistletoe that still lives while all around is bleak and grey. This was the ‘golden bough’ that Aeneas plucked as ticket for entry into the Underworld. It became the central metaphor in James Frazer’s monumental book of the same name. If you haven’t read it, you should!

The mistletoe shows that, even when we think everything is dead, life persists. The old year dies today, and from that the new is born. May this year be full of joy and the growth of wisdom for us all!

Mistletoe in Winter


16 thoughts on “Happy New Year

  1. Bhante

    Thank you …hopefully I get to spend some time at Santi in March! …..to work on the Joy and Wisdom bit!

    My best wishes for the New Year to you and everyone at Santi


  2. Thank you Bhante.
    Happy New Year to a Wonderful Human Being.
    May your kindness, compassion and virtues continue to develop and increase.
    May you have long life, good health and much happiness.
    May you continue blogging on secular humanism, social justice and liberal progressive issues amongst others.

  3. Dear Bhante,

    Thank you so much for all that you’ve given us.

    May your good kamma look after you and give you good health, peace and highest happiness.

    Yours in the Dhamma,


    Dear Dhamma friends,

    May you all grow beautifully in your Spiritual Path.

  4. Happy New Year, bhante & everybody else 🙂

    Oh, and world peace, kindness & love everywhere! (I know, it’s not gonna happen, but I can wish for it anyway :p ).

  5. Thank you Bhante!!! I wish you the same. I so loved the Dharma talk you gave about Christmas the other week, both useful and fascinating.

    • Thanks for the tiger link, Peter – a sad story. The lack of oversight and accountability takes its predictable toll on the weak….

  6. hi folks,

    anyone wanting to check out another really good book on mythology should try Joseph Campbell…A hero with a 1000 faces….is probably his best known.

    A good new year to every one.


  7. While we are reading James Frazers’ 1920’s monumental book here’s a short article dealing with speciesism. I note that the term was not invented until the 1970’s so he was neither aware of it nor of animal rights but as he deals with animal sacrifice and consumption it is appropriste to consider more modern viewpoints.

    The article is “English and Speciesism” by Joan Dunayer http://ourcompass.wordpress.com/2011/01/02/english-and-speciesism/#more-13799

  8. Just as I was thinking that mistletoe is a parasite and hence not the sort of symbol you might think it to be, I found this on Ven. Cintita’s blog “Through the Looking Glass”

    “Mistletoe grows from a seed that is deposited in a bird dropping on a branch, stem or trunk of an existing plant. It develops enough of a root to absorb water and minerals from the host plant, but sprouts leaves and even flowers. It is a parasite….

    “The chap without a strong religious background, once my own case, is mistletoe. I suspect secular Buddhists are are almost always such chaps. As a result little attention has been given to the roots and leaves. Now, mistletoe grows slowly and does not really thrive the way the host plant would were the mistletoe not attached (this is a guess on my part—I’m not much of a botanist—but it supports the metaphor). Yet it can potentially bloom. In the meantime it gazes down upon the grass with disdain, little comprehending the roots and soil and the spiritual growth that is happening down there. It is common for Western hubris to see little value in Asian religiosity. It is difficult, but that is where mistletoe needs to put down roots if conviction and zip are flow freely into practice.

    Read the whole thing at http://bhikkhucintita.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/religiosity-in-buddhism-part-2-of-2/

    It’s worth your time.

  9. Happy new year Venerable Sire, and everyone else!

    Every now and then one gets into contact with the name Ajahn Mahā Chatchai in Bhante Sujato’s Dhamma talks or texts. I understand that this old teacher of his is living in Bangkok. And since I also do that at the moment I would very much like to take the opportunity to visit him.

    Does any reader of this blog has any information about him? Does he for example have a particular Wat where he stays that is open to visitors? And if that is the case; where can I find it?

    I would be truly grateful for any help in this regard!

    All the best


    • Hi Mikael,

      Great to hear of your interest – i do hope you get a chance to meet Tahn Ajahn Maha Chatchai – he’s a great teacher and a very skilled meditator.

      He is at Wat Pleng (Bang Plat), Soi Phanurangsee 75, Khet Bang Plat, Thanon Jaransanitwong. He is the vice-abbot there.

      Note that this is NOT the well known Wat Pleng Vipassana, which is nearby.

      Tahn Ajahn rarely travels, so he will likely be in when you visit. He lives very quietly, and is one of the few meditation teachers who is actually accessible and has time to spend with his students. He and some long term meditators – maybe 30 or 40 – have a regular session on Sunday mornings, with meditation, Dhamma talk, and chanting. It starts around 10.00am, if my memory serves me well. Tahn Ajahn speaks only a little English, but some of his students have excellent English. Let me know if you need a translator – if you go for the Sunday session this won’t be a problem, but at other times you may need to organize someone.

      And have a great time!

    • Thank you very much for your answer Venerable!

      I think I will try to get there on this Sunday actually…

      I wish all the best for you and the community at Santi! (And please send my best regards to Bhikkhu Vedananda.) I really hope that I will get the opportunity to visit you as well soon…


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