Ken Mondal reflects on refuge and appreciation.

I have taken refuge in many things during my life. Having a nice home and financial security has certainly been very important to me. Outdoor recreational activities have provided me with a great deal of sense pleasure. But it seems that my real afflictions have been an overwhelming intense desire for praise, recognition, respect and a good reputation.

I can’t say that I have derived no happiness from all of these worldly concerns. But the happiness has been fleeting and I never seemed to fill my buckets of desire. And the effort to attain these things and keep them intact has provided me with a great deal of stress, anxiety and frustration. In other words, the Dukkha that my worldly concerns gave me in most cases cancelled out the happiness.

We all need something to depend upon and trust. Lately I am trying to find my refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha and my Actions. What I think, say and do are truly the ground upon which I will stand during the remainder of this life and future lives to come.

Besides my gratitude for this precious human life I feel most grateful for finding the Abbey and meeting the Dharma. It has truly changed my direction 180 degrees in knowing what is important and how to find true and lasting happiness.

The opportunity to give back through financial contributions and time here at the Abbey is really a gift I am giving myself.

My wife and I periodically work and live in Hawaii. Many people use the term “paradise” when referring to Hawaii. At first we tended to agree. But after not too long we started to experience all the disadvantages of living on the most isolated islands on the planet. Now whenever we hear the word “paradise” we look at each other and laugh.

Unlike the Hawaiian Islands the Abbey feels like an island of peace and tranquility in an ocean of chaos and violence. We all should be extremely grateful that we have accumulated so much merit in previous lives to have created the causes and conditions to be sitting here.