Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower grow. There cannot be a lotus flower without the mud.
We try to cover up the suffering in us by way of consuming. We turn on the television, we talk on the phone. We get on the internet. We read the pages of a novel . . . Many of the items we consume every day are highly toxic. Because they are filled with anger, violence, and despair.
To consume in order to cover up our suffering does not work. We need a spiritual practice to go deep into our suffering.
In order to come home to ourselves without fear of encountering the suffering, we must have a practice of mindfulness and concentration.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
I hope this finds you all well and happy and making good use of your mud and compost so that you are blooming beautifully!
CLEAR HEART SANGHA–Robert and Monica usually host our 4th Sunday of the month meeting at their home. They have notified me that they will be having house guests this weekend and will not be able to host the gathering. Being that this month has five Sundays, they have offered to host a gathering next Sunday evening, July 29, at 6 PM instead. Below you will find directions to their home.
MIND TAMERS – There will be a gathering at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, July 24, at St. Matthew’s Church in West Barrington. We will have our sitting/walking/sitting and begin to look at the practices offered in the revised version of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings of our Order . . . See http://www.plumvillage.org/mindfulness-trainings/340-14mt-revised.html . . . also below . . . They contain many lifetimes worth of practice and wonderful guidelines to help us to not create more unwholesome karma, transform our suffering and be able to be available to help others. This will be followed by a Dharma sharing. I hope you will be able to join us . . . it is always a true joy to be with you.
CLEAR PATH SANGHA – There will be a gathering this coming Wednesday evening at 6 PM at Westminster Unitarian Church on Kenyon Avenue, East Greenwich. We will continue our exploration of the Eightfold Path as well as our habits of mind. It has been a wonderful journey so far, and all of you, your sharing of the fruits of your practice and thoughtful inquiries have certainly enriched the trip! I hope you will be able to be with us Wednesday.
SATURDAY, JULY 28 DAY OF MINDFULNESS
The Rhode Island Community of Mindfulness invites you to join us for “Befriending the Beasts Within: Mindfulness Practices for Transforming Difficult Emotions,” a Day of Mindfulness at the beautiful South Kingstown Land Trust. Pre-registration is requested . . . though because of the generosity of our beloved anonymous benefactor – our rent is covered, so there is no charge for the day . . . the organizers are requesting a $10 donation . . . to help to cover expenses . . . but it is not necessary. All are welcome! For more information and to register, please download the registration form and the beautiful eflyer . . . designed by our own Jennifer at http://joannefriday.com/calendar. Share the flyer with anyone you think might enjoy the day. If you’d like to continue the festivities, pack a picnic, and enjoy a picnic supper at the beach—which is just down the road—afterwards!
SUNDAY, AUGUST 12 SANGHA PICNIC AT COLT STATE PARK!!!!!
This is the annual intersangha picnic . . . again, in a beautiful setting with wonderful folks and lots of fun. Please bring your family and friends, a vegetarian dish to share, your favorite game, song, story, poem, musical instruments, etc! The wonderful flyer with all of the info about the event (again designed by Jennifer with beautiful artwork by Kristen’s daughter Haley) is available at http://joannefriday.com/calendar.
CAPE SANGHA RETREAT SEPT 6-9 – REGISTRATION CLOSED
I have been asked by the organizers to notify you that this event is full and that registration has been closed. For all of you who will be coming, I will look forward to practicing with you in September!
SAVE THE DATES OCT 12-14 SENEXET HOUSE RETREAT WITH THE NEW LONDON SANGHA
I have been invited to offer a weekend retreat at Senexet House in Putnam, CT. More details and the registration form will be available soon.
So we have lots and lots of opportunities to be joyfully together. We are very lucky! I hope that our paths will connect soon, and in the meantime . . . I have a PRAYER REQUEST . . . I am at Sloan Kettering today for my biannual check up . . . please send good thoughts!
with much love, many hugs and the joy of singin’ and dancin’ in the rain for you,
The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings are the very essence of the Order of Interbeing. They are the torch lighting our path, the boat carrying us, the teacher guiding us. They allow us to touch the nature of interbeing in everything that is, and to see that our happiness is not separate from the happiness of others. Interbeing is not a theory; it is a reality that can be directly experienced by each of us at any moment. The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings help us cultivate concentration and insight which free us from fear and the illusion of a separate self.
The First Mindfulness Training: Openness
Aware of the suffering created by fanaticism and intolerance, we are determined not to be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology, even Buddhist ones. We are committed to seeing the Buddhist teachings as a guiding means that help us learn to look deeply and develop understanding and compassion. They are not doctrines to fight, kill, or die for. We understand that fanaticism in its many forms is the result is the result of perceiving things in a dualistic or discriminative manner. We will train ourselves to look at everything with openness and the insight of interbeing in order to transform dogmatism and violence in ourselves and the world.
The Second Mindfulness Training: Non-Attachment to Views
Aware of the suffering created by attachment to views and wrong perceptions, we are determined to avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. We are committed to learning and practicing nonattachment from views and being open to other’s insights and experiences in order to benefit from the collective wisdom. Insight is revealed through the practice of compassionate listening, deep looking, and letting go of notions rather than through the accumulation of intellectual knowledge. We are aware that the knowledge we presently possess is not changeless, absolute truth. Truth is found in life, and we will observe life within and around us in every moment, ready to learn throughout our lives.
The Third Mindfulness Training: Freedom of Thought
Aware of the suffering brought about when we impose our view on others, we are determined not to force others, even our children, by any means whatsoever – such as authority, threat, money, propaganda, or indoctrination – to adopt our views. We are committed to respecting the rights of others to be different, to choose what to believe and how to decide. We will, however, learn to help others let go of and transform narrowness through loving speech and compassionate dialogue.
The Fourth Mindfulness Training; Awareness of Suffering
Aware that looking deeply at our own suffering can help us cultivate understanding and compassion, we are determined to come home to ourselves, to recognize, accept, embrace and listen to our own suffering with the energy of mindfulness. We will do our best not to run away from our own suffering or cover it up through consumption but practice conscious breathing and walking to look deeply into the roots of our suffering. We know we can only find the path leading to the transformation of suffering when we understand the roots of suffering. Once we have understood our own suffering, we will be able to understand the suffering of others. We are committed to finding ways, including personal contact and using the telephone, electronic, audiovisual, and other means to be with those who suffer, so we can help them transform their suffering into compassion, peace and joy.
The Fifth Mindfulness Training: Compassionate, Healthy Living
Aware that happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom and compassion, we are determined not to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying nor to take as the aim of our life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure, which can bring much suffering and despair. We will practice looking deeply into how we nourish our body and mind with edible foods, sense impressions, volition and consciousness. We are committed not to gamble or to use alcohol, drugs or any other products that bring toxins into our own and the collective body and consciousness such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books and conversations. We will consume in a way that preserves compassion, peace, joy, wellbeing in our bodies and consciousness and in the collective body and consciousness of our families, our society, and the earth.
The Sixth Mindfulness Training: Taking Care of Anger
Aware that anger blocks communication and creates suffering; we are committed to taking care of our energy of anger when it arises, to recognizing and transforming the seeds of anger that lie deep in our consciousness. When anger manifests, we are determined not to do or say anything, but to practice mindful breathing or mindful walking to acknowledge, embrace, and look deeply into our anger. We know that the roots of anger are not outside of ourselves but can be found in our wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in ourselves and the other person. By contemplating impermanence, we will be able to look with the eyes of compassion at ourselves and those we think are the cause of our anger, and to recognize the preciousness of our relationships. We will practice Right Diligence in order to nourish our capacity of understanding, love, joy and inclusiveness, gradually transforming our anger, violence, fear and helping others do the same.
The Seventh Mindfulness Training: Dwelling Happily in the Present Moment
Aware that life is available only in the present moment, we are committed to training ourselves to live deeply each moment of daily life. We will try not to lose ourselves in dispersion or be carried away by regrets about the past, worries about the future, or cravings, anger, or jealousy in the present. We will practice mindful breathing to be aware of what is happening in the here and now. We are determined to learn the art of mindful living by touching the wondrous, refreshing, and healing elements that are inside and around us, in all situations. In this way, we will be able to cultivate seeds of joy, peace, love, and understanding in ourselves, thus facilitating the work of transformation and healing in our consciousness. We are aware that happiness depends primarily on our mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that we can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that we already have more than enough conditions to be happy.
The Eighth Mindfulness Training: True Community & Communication
Aware that lack of communication always brings separation and suffering, we are committed to training ourselves in the practice of compassionate listening and loving speech. Knowing that true community is rooted in inclusiveness and in the concrete practice of harmony of views, thinking and speech, we will practice to share our understanding and experiences with members in our community in order to arrive at collective insight. We are determined to learn to listen deeply without judging or reacting, and refrain from uttering words that can create discord or cause the community to break. Whenever difficulties arise, we will remain in our Sangha and practice looking deeply into ourselves and others to recognize all the causes and conditions, including our own habit energies, that have brought about the difficulties. We will take responsibility for all the ways we may have contributed to the conflict and keep communication open. We will not behave as a victim but be active in finding ways to reconcile and resolve all conflicts however small.
The Ninth Mindfulness Training: Truthful and Loving Speech
Aware that words can create happiness or suffering, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully, lovingly and constructively. We will only use words that inspire joy, confidence and hope as well as promote reconciliation and peace in ourselves and among people. We will speak and listen in a way that can help ourselves and others to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will protect the joy and harmony of our Sangha by refraining from speaking about the faults of another person in their absence and always ask ourselves whether our perceptions are correct. We will speak only with the intention to understand and help transform the situation. We will not spread rumors nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may make difficulties for us or threaten our safety.
The Tenth Mindfulness Training: Protecting and Nourishing the Sangha
Aware that the essence and aim of a Sangha is the practice of understanding and compassion, we are determined not to use the Buddhist community for personal power or profit or transform our community into a political instrument. However, as members of a spiritual community, we should take a clear stand against oppression and injustice. We should strive to change the situation, without taking sides in a conflict. We are committed to looking with the eyes of interbeing and learning to see ourselves and others as cells in one Sangha body. As a true cell in the Sangha body, generating mindfulness, concentration and insight to nourish ourselves and the whole community, each of us is at the same time a cell in the Buddha body. We will actively build brotherhood and sisterhood, flow as a river, and practice to develop the three real powers – love, understanding and cutting through afflictions – to realize collective awakening.
The Eleventh Mindfulness Training: Right Livelihood
Aware that great violence and injustice have been done to our environment and society, we are committed not to live with a vocation that is harmful to humans or nature. We will do our best to select a livelihood that contributes to the wellbeing of all species on earth and helps realize our ideal of understanding and compassion. Aware of economic, political and social realities around the world, as well as our interrelationship with ecosystem, we are determined to behave responsibly as consumers and citizens. We will not invest in or purchase from companies that contribute to the depletion of natural resources, harm the earth; and deprive others of the chance to live.
The Twelfth Mindfulness Training: Reverence for Life
Aware that much suffering is caused by war and conflict, we are determined to cultivate nonviolence, compassion and the insight of interbeing in our daily lives and promote peace, education, mindful meditation, and reconciliation within families, communities, ethnic and religious groups, nations, and in the world. We are committed not to kill and not to let others kill. We will not support any act of killing in the world, in our thinking or in our way of life. We will diligently practice deep looking with our Sangha to discover better ways to protect life, prevent war, and build peace.
The Thirteenth Mindfulness Training: Generosity
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing and oppression, we are committed to cultivating generosity in our way of thinking, speaking, and acting. We will learn better ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals and practice generosity by sharing our time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. We are determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. We will respect the property of others, but will try to prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.
The Fourteenth Mindfulness Training: Right Conduct
[For lay members]: Aware that sexual desire is not love and that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love, and a deep long-term commitment made known to our family and friends. Seeing that the body and mind are one, we are committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of our sexual energy and to cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy, and inclusiveness for our own happiness and the happiness of others. We must be aware of future suffering that may be caused by sexual relations. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others. We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with compassion and respect. We are determined to look deeply into the Four Nutriments and learn ways to preserve and channel our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will meditate upon their future environment.
[For monastic members]: Aware that he deep aspiration of a monk or a nun can only be realized when he or she wholly leaves behind the bonds of sensual love, we are committed to practicing chastity and to helping others protect themselves. We are aware that loneliness and suffering cannot be alleviated through a sexual relationship, but through practicing loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness. We know that a sexual relationship will destroy monastic life, will prevent us from realizing our ideal of serving living beings, and will harm others. We will learn appropriate ways to take care of sexual energy. We are determined not to suppress, to mistreat our body or to look upon our body as only an instrument, but to learn to handle our body with compassion and respect. We are determined to look deeply into the Four Nutriments in order to preserve and channel our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal.
Directions to and Parking for the Van Horn Home
Address: 24 Mallory Lane, Wakefield, RI 02879
From the North: Take US 1-S to RI-138. Turn right onto RI-138; drive for about 3.5 miles. Turn left onto RI-108 S/Kingstown Road; drive for 2 miles. You will pass the SK police station, then later a pond, and the Pump House Restaurant on your right. Take the next left onto Rodman Street. (Street sign is hard to see; Dennis Moffit Painting is on the corner, and the Peace Dale Mill is on the left.) You will pass the bike path and one stop sign. Mallory Lane will be on your left. Our house is the second on the left. See below for parking.
From the South/West: Take US-1/N past the Matunuck exits. Take the Pond Street exit (right after an exit for Post Road). Turn left onto Pond Street. Continue until Pond (dead ends onto Main). Turn right onto Main. Drive a short distance. Turn left onto High Street. Drive past town hall. In about 0.6 mi, turn left onto Allen. At stop sign, turn right onto Rodman. Continue past one stop sign. Mallory Lane is on the right. Our house is the second on the left.
Parking: Our street is narrow, so we ask that you not part on the street. Three or four cars will fit in our driveway. If there is no space left in the driveway, you can park on Jennifer Drive. Turn left back onto Rodman, and make a quick right onto Jennifer Drive. Thank you!!!