12-12-2014 Sangha Update

 

 

 

Happy Holidays!

An amarylis for you…
a Buddha to be!

You are what you want to become. Why search anymore? You are a wonderful manifestation. The whole universe has come together to make your existence possible. There is nothing that is not you. The kingdom of God, the Pure Land, nirvana, happiness, and liberation are all you.
- Thich Nhat Hanh

The moment you understand the
importance of loving yourself, you
will stop hurting others.
— Thích Nhất Hạnh

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all well and cozy and warm and aware of your state of interbeing.

We will have an opportunity to enjoy that state even more by being joyfully together on Sunday evening at 6 PM at the home of Cindy and John West. (directions below)We will enjoy sitting/walking and sitting meditation and continue to practice with the book “Reconciliation”.
I hope that you will be able to be with us.

There will be yet another opportunity tomorrow (Saturday) morning when the Generations Sangha will be meeting at Westminster Unitarian Church in East Greenwich. This is a Sangha meeting for all ages. There will be songs, projects for the children and Dharma sharing for the adults. The meeting goes from 10-11:30 followed by snacks! It is always a real peasure to be joyfully together with people of all ages and the children are a special delight. If you are able, come and join us.

Next Saturday is our monthly OI/Aspirant gathering at the Bell Street Chapel in Providence from 10-noon.
This is open to Order Members, Aspirants and anyone who would like to learn more about our practice. There will be a recitation of the Fourteen Trainings and we will begin our Winter Retreat practice. This year I am inviting folks to look deeply at the Five Trainings, and practice with them.  one at a time, for ten weeks. I was inspired to do this by being part of a discussion where folks were voicing their views on not eating meat as it pertains to the First Training. It was clear that it is very easy to fall into attachment to views and dualistic thinking if we are not mindful. I am including below, my contribution to the discussion about teachings that Thay has given us for practicing with those Trainings. We are so lucky to have the benefit of such a wonderful teacher who has given us practices to expand our compassion and be free. If you would like to join us in deepening our practice of those Trainings, you are all welcome.

SAVE THE DATE!!!!! Facilitating from Within: Facilitating Sanghas in the Tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.

We will finally be having the much anticipated and long-awaited Day of Mindfulness on Facilitation on Saturday, January 24 at the First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI, from 10-3:30 all are welcome. If you presently facilitate at Sangha gatherings…or if you would like to learn about it and do that in the future…or if you are just interested…please join us. The last one was very fruitful and this one is coming together and promises to offer lots of new possibilities to benefit from the Sangha wisdom, to support each other as we practice together, and to be joyfully together. I hope you will be able to join us. Details will follow. We would like to have a volunteer to be registrar for this event. If you are available, please rsvp. Thank you, thank you!!

I have also been invited to offer a talk at 10 AM at the UU Congregation of South County this Sunday morning …”Happy Holidays – with Love from the Buddha. ” I will be sharing some practices that the Buddha gave us to be truly happy for the holidays.

PRAYER REQUEST
I am yet again having to undergo testing at Sloan Kettering on Monday. Please send metta.

Happy Holidays!….Here are gifts that the universe gives us…these are some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen of this glorious cosmos of which we are a part. Enjoy!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.rsvlts.com/2014/11/26/amazing-earth-photos-2014/

With much love, many hugs and the joy of interbeing with all of you,
Joanne

LETTER ABOUT THAY’S TEACHINGS ON THE FIVE MINDFULNESS TRAININGS.

Good Morning (or Evening…depending on where you are) Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A deep bow to all who have shared and created a wonderful opportunity for listening in order to understand. As the Buddha has said, there are 84,000 Dharma doors.

It is very moving to be a part of a community which is attempting to live in harmony, look deeply enough to cut through and collapse seeming dualities and practice inclusiveness and interbeing.

Thay describes inclusiveness  as the ability to accept a person with differing views, exactly as they are, without any expectations that they will ever change. He added that when we can do this, we can create enough spaciousness so that they can change if they choose to.

I remember Sr. Chan Khong, sharing that Thay has been very clear that there are no absolutes in Buddhism. She said that many years ago the Vatican had sent out a petition against abortion for Thay to sign. They felt that in light of the first Training, Thay would surely sign. He would not sign it, saying that there are no absolutes. He said that every decision must be made by looking deeply at what will cause the least amount of suffering for all involved. This can be different for every individual. The only absolute is that we will experience the consequences of whatever actions we take.

Clearly, not eating meat is very important to Thay. I also remember Sr. Chan Khong  saying that Thay had shared that he would rather have dinner with carnivores than self-righteous vegetarians.

We are all doing our best to live in integrity and using the Trainings as our North Star. We all have our own karma, cultural and familial conditioning and  transgenerational habit energies which, in my own case, are being transformed extraordinarily  slowly. I have found that by practicing looking deeply and developing understanding and love for myself, instead of criticizing and judging myself,  little signs of transformation have emerged. I have found that when I can accept myself as I am with no expectations that I will ever change and hold myself with love and  an understanding of the depth of my challenges (knowing that I have all of this in common with 100%of human beings),I can have more love, acceptance and compassion for myself and everyone else. There are no dualtities…we are all on the Path.

May all of us love one another and listen to each other.
May all of us see each other with the eyes of compassion as the precious wonders of life that we are.

with much love and a deep bow of gratitude for interbeing with each of you,
your sister,
Joanne
Chan Lac Thi
True Joy of Giving

DIRECTIONS TO THE WEST HOME

We live about 2 miles from URI.  From rt 138, go north onto Old North Rd.  (across the street from  big sign ““Kingston Hill Store  Books  Used and Rare””.  Also, just a smidge west of the 138/108 traffic light).  Old North Rd starts off as a one way, continues on as a two way street, and finally ends as a T.  You will see our corner property from there.  Go left at the T (Old North Rd meets Stoneyfort Rd), and then a quick right onto Plantation Dr.  We are the first home on the right (2nd driveway is easiest).  Come on in the side door (porch/kitchen)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12-6-14 Sangha Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister Chan Khong with the Pope and Religious Leaders
all gathering at the Vatican to sign a Declaration Against Human Slavery.
You can sign it too!

“In order to sustain our work of compassion, we all need a spiritual community to support us and protect us – a real community, where there is true brotherhood and sisterhood, compassion and understanding. We should not do this work as cavalier souls, as lone warriors.

“The roots of modern slavery run deep, and the causes and conditions, the networks and structures supporting it are complex. That is why we need to build a community that can continue this work to protect human life not just until 2020 but long into the future.”

- excerpt from a statement which Thich Nhat Hnah had written to be read..and was read… at the gathering

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well and happy to have a spiritual community!

Our community will have an opportunity to gather tomorrow evening at the UU Congregation of South County at the Lily Pads Complex on North Rd in Peace Dale at 6 PM. As it turns out, we will be part of a worldwide meditation which has been requested by those meeting at the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change in Peru. Cindy will be facilitating and we will be focusing on the next chapter in the Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings which  is about the Five Skandhas  – the components that come together to give us this human form and make us think we are separate. . It is a deep teaching on interbeing…nothing exists by itself alone. We are made up of everything in the cosmos. Therefore meditating on taking care of the earth is taking care of us…there is no separation! I am looking forward to it…I hope you can join us.

Thay remains in the same condition in the hospital…I have included the latest update below and you can find updates as they become available at plumvillage.org. Before becoming ill he had planned to meet with the Pope and other religious leaders at the Vatican to speak out about human trafficking and he  had written a statement for the occasion which was delivered by Sister Chan Khong. It was very beautiful and is a call for all of us to take action to put an end to this obscene practice.. You can sign the declaration and see the youtube of Sister Chan Khong at…http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org

SAVE THE DATE!!!!!
We will finally be having the much anticipated and long-awaited Day of Mindfulness on Facilitation on Saturday, January 24, all are welcome. If you presently facilitate at Sangha gatherings…or if you would like to learn about it and do that in the future…or if you are just interested…please join us. The last one was very fruitful and this one is coming together and promises to offer lots of new possibilities. I hope you will be able to join us. Details will follow.

Back in October, the topic at our gathering at Robert and Monica’s was hugging meditation……which we enjoyed very much…..
I thought you might enjoy this as a follow-up…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope that your Thanksgiving holiday was lovely and that your gratitude remains alive and well for the whole new year!

with much love and many hugs,
Joanne

Thich Nhat Hanh’s Representatives Join Pope Francis and Other Spiritual Leaders in Rome to Speak Out Against Modern Slavery

Vatican City, Italy, December 2, 2014 – While Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh remains critically ill in the hospital, his most senior disciples are in Rome to represent him today, uniting with world faith leaders to declare a common spiritual stand against modern slavery and human trafficking.
Invited by His Holiness Pope Francis to take part in an historic event on December 2, 2014 organized by the Global Freedom Network, Thich Nhat Hanh will represent Buddhism to sign a statement on this day, the anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States, to call on the United Nations to end human trafficking and slavery globally. Pope Francis, Thich Nhat Hanh, Amma, Rabbi Skorka, Grand Imam of Al Azhar and other spiritual leaders will demonstrate to the world that all major faith traditions are united in declaring human trafficking, child labor, and other new forms of slavery “Crimes Against Humanity”.

Yesterday, Monday, December 1st, Thich Nhat Hanh’s community co-hosted an unprecedented day of shared spiritual practice at the Vatican, an event the Zen master initiated before falling into a coma on November 11th. Catholic nuns, Hindu yogis, Anglican priests and Buddhist monks walked together, ate together and prayed together as spiritual brothers and sisters, united in compassion and action. Sister Chan Khong, Thich Nhat Hanh’s eldest disciple and the director of his social work programs since the 1960s, requested the assembly to have compassion even for the traffickers, who are themselves victims of poverty, hatred and violence.

In Thich Nhat Hanh’s prepared speech, today read by Sister Chan Khong in front of the assembly and press, the world-renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk wrote, “In this age of globalisation, what happens to one of us, happens to us all. We are all interconnected, and we are all co-responsible. But even with the greatest good will, if we are swept away by our daily concerns for material needs or emotional comforts, we will be too busy to realise our common aspiration. Contemplation must go together with action. Without a spiritual practice we will abandon our dream.”
“In our work to end modern slavery, we must find the time to take care of ourselves, and to take care of the present moment. By doing so, we can find some relative peace in our body and mind to continue our work. We need to recognise and embrace our own suffering, our anger, fear, and despair so that the energy of compassion can be maintained in our hearts. When we have more clarity in our mind, we will have compassion not only for the victims, but for the traffickers themselves. Our compassion can help transform them into friends and allies of our cause.”
“In order to sustain our work of compassion, we all need a spiritual community to support us and protect us – a real community, where there is true brotherhood and sisterhood, compassion and understanding. We should not do this work as cavaliers seuls, as lone warriors.
“The roots of modern slavery run deep, and the causes and conditions, the networks and structures supporting it are complex. That is why we need to build a community that can continue this work to protect human life not just until 2020 but long into the future.”
“Our Teacher was fully committed to being present at this event, despite his weakening health since the Summer,” said a monastery spokesperson. “Sister Chan Khong and Thay Phap An will sign the Declaration with our Teacher’s seal, which in Buddhist tradition is considered to be as powerful as him being here in person.”
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Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is an 88-year-old global spiritual leader, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, scholar, poet, artist, peace activist, and prolific author. His powerful teachings and bestselling writings on the art of mindfulness have reached a global audience of millions, in Europe, Asia and the Americas. He is the man Martin Luther King, Jr. called “an apostle of peace and nonviolence” when nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, and who has been described by The New York Times as “second only to the Dalai Lama” among Buddhist leaders influential in the West. For more than fifty years, Thich Nhat Hanh has been a pioneer of ‘Engaged’ and ‘Applied’ Buddhism, applying ancient Buddhist wisdom to contemporary issues. In recent years Thich Nhat Hanh has addressed members of the United States Congress, White House Summit on HIV/AIDS under President Clinton, World Health Organization, Parliament of India, UNESCO, World Bank, and World Parliament of Religions.
Sister Chan Khong is the first fully-ordained monastic disciple of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and the director of his humanitarian projects since the 1960s. Born in 1938 in Ben Tre in Southern Vietnam, Sister Chan Khong began social work in the city slums as a teenager. After meeting Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh in 1959, she helped him set up the School of Youth for Social Service, training thousands of young social workers to bring aid to remote war-ravaged villages. She organised the Buddhist Peace Delegation at the Paris Peace Talks in 1969, and later led emergency humanitarian efforts to rescue Vietnamese boat people from the high seas. Since the 1980s Sister Chan Khong has helped Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh establish Plum Village Monastery in south-west France, and is today the Elder nun of the International Plum Village Sangha of over 800 monastics. The deep mindfulness practices she has pioneered have brought reconciliation and healing to hundreds of thousands of individuals, couples and families worldwide.
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UPDATE ON THAY’S HEALTH………

Plum Village
November 30, 2014
To all Plum Village Practice Centers,
To all Practice Centers and Sanghas World Wide,
To our Dear Beloved Friends,

As the Winter Retreat continues to unfold in all our practice centers in Europe and America, Thay’s condition in the hospital remains stable.
Thay continues to rest peacefully with the ticking clock on his pillow, and we sense that he is relying on his deep awareness of breathing, rooted in Store Consciousness, to guide his healing process. Even the doctors have been surprised at the consistent level of oxygen in his blood. Thay is truly the best breather in the world, inspiring us to deepen our full awareness of the breath. Thay continues to remind us that each day we are alive is a miracle, and that simply to breathe is a gift.

The latest scan shows that Thay’s hemorrhage has slightly reduced in size. The edema is still present, but has not worsened. The doctors have met to re-evaluate their approach and review how to nourish Thay’s body more as we enter medium-term treatment. Thay continues to receive 24-hour care from his monastic attendants as well as hospital nurses. We are very grateful for the commitment of the hospital neurologists who are maintaining Thay’s healing process with open hearts and minds.

Earlier this year, Thay accepted an invitation from Pope Francis to go to the Vatican on December 1 & 2 to support a global initiative to end modern slavery. A delegation of 22 monks and nuns, including Sister Chan Khong and Thay Phap An (Director of our European Institute of Applied Buddhism in Germany) are now in Rome to realise Thay’s wish.

We continue to be grateful for your messages of support and the energy of mindfulness and compassion being generated for Thay. Wherever we are, we know that our practice of nourishing and healing ourselves is the best way we can all take care of Thay, and take care of the present moment.

Because suffering is impermanent, that is why we can transform it.
Because happiness is impermanent, that is why we have to nourish it.
-TNH, 10th June 2014

With trust and love,
The Monks and Nuns of Plum Village

Future reports on Thay’s condition will be posted officially at plumvillage.org, langmai.org,villagedespruniers.org, and www.facebook.com/thichnhathanh.

 

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