Sangha Update and Celebration!: The Clear Heart Sangha Is Turning Twenty!

Venerable Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh silently teaching children a mudra Thich Nhat Hanh's Continuation Day is coming . . . and so is ours!!

THE CLEAR HEART SANGHA IS TURNING TWENTY!

I think there's a way of training ourselves in order not to become the victim of fear and grief -- that is to look deeply into ourselves and to see that we are made of non-self elements. And when we look around ourselves, we can recognize ourselves in the non-self elements, like a father looking at his children can see himself in his children, can see his continuation in his children. So he is not attached to the idea that his body is the only thing that is him. He's more than his body. He is inside of his body but he is also at the same [time] outside of his body in many elements. And if we have the habit of looking like that, we will not be the victim of our attachment to one form of manifestation, and we will be free. And that freedom makes happiness and peace possible. —Thich Nhat Hanh

Our life is our poem, we must sign it.

May we all create beautiful poetry through our thoughts, words and actions. May we all continue beautifully!

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all well and enjoying these days that remind us that autumn is approaching.

Speaking of autumn . . . I just returned from the Cape Sangha Retreat, Sitting in an Autumn Breeze, and wanted to thank those of you who were able to be with us for all of your support as well as the Cape Sangha for all of the love and care that went into creating conditions to help everyone feel very nourished. It was wonderful!

One of the retreatants is a professor, who sent me a wonderful article on the benefits of mindfulness . . . it offers a scientific explanation as to why everyone on the retreat felt so much better by the end of a few days of concentrated mindfulness practice! Here is the link to the APA http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx

THE CLEAR HEART SANGHA IS TURNING TWENTY! We have all been co-creating the RI Community of Mindfulness for all of these years. It is a wonderful blessing to be a part of such a lovely community of people committed to living in a way so as to create peace in ourselves and to share it with everyone else. There are more and more of us, who by attending our sangha gatherings, are creating refuges for people to come and practice and transform and heal. It has been such a joy to be a part of all of it. I hope that you will be able to be with us to celebrate . . . what better way to observe the occasion than to be joyfully together? This coming Sunday, September 16, we will enjoy a vegetarian potluck supper at 4 PM followed by our mid-month gathering at 6 PM . . . at our home in Matunuck. We will do some flower watering . . . if so moved, we will have an opportunity to share some way that the sangha has helped to cultivate joy in our lives. I hope you will all be able to be with us.

THERE WILL BE AN ORDER MEMBER AND ASPIRANT MEETING THIS SATURDAY at the Bell Street Chapel . . . from 9:45-12 noon. Clare will be facilitating this meeting and we will have a recitation of the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings . . . and a Dharma sharing. This meeting is open to all Order members, aspirants and anyone interested in learning more about our order. The Radiant Bell Sangha meets on Saturday morning from 8-9:30 AM . . . then our meeting will begin around 9:45. You are welcome to come for either or both!

Thich Nhat Hanh will be 86 in October. If you would like to honor him, you could send a a card with a commitment that you are making to deepen your practice. He always asks us to keep it simple . . . something we can accomplish. If you are able, you might also like to send a contribution with your continuation day card to the Thich Nhat Hanh Continuation and Legacy Foundation, 2499 Melru Lane Escondido, CA 92026. This needs to be mailed by September 21 . . . in order to be delivered to him in time for his birthday. This is a foundation which has been established to support the monastics and our practice into the future. You can get more info at: Thich Nhat Hanh Legacy and Continuation Foundation https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=tnh&id=1

Lots and lots of opportunities to practice . . . Please remember: the Day of Mindfulness coming up on the 29th of September at the South Kingstown Land Trust. Please register ASAP at http://joannefriday.com/calendar/.

September is the Month of Peace. Lots of great events happening . . . these are two of them . . .

our own Jennifer will be showing her work in an exhibit at the First Unitarian Church in Providence . . . opening this Friday, September 14 at 5 PM. Information below.

Paul Chappell, the Iraq War veteran and West Point Graduate who has founded a peace institute, will be talking at URI on Thursday Sept 20 at 7:30 PM and inBristol on the 21st. I had sent out a video with a lecture he had given at the Gandhi Institute in Rochester a while ago . . . more information below . . .

There will be a weekend retreat at Senexet House in Woodstock, CT . . . sponsored by the New London Community of Mindfulness. They have invited me to offer the retreat . . . focusing on "Riding the Waves of Change Fearlessly: Maintaining Our Balance in Turbulent Times"

On October 27, there will be a Day of Mindfulness in West Hartford, CT.

Thanks to our web Bodhisattvas, information about all of the above are available at http://joannefriday.com/calendar/

I hope you will be able to be with us this weekend, and until then, I hope that you will be enjoying these twenty-four brand new hours and creating a beautiful poem.

with much love, many hugs and the joy of being able to share this precious lifetime with you, Joanne

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FROM JENNIFER ABOUT THE EXHIBIT I was only able to include one image before my computer would rebel!—Joanne]

I wanted to write to share images of the work that I expect to be included in the Peace Flag Project exhibition at the Atrium Gallery at the First Unitarian Church in Providence. I believe that Mimi Sammis will have work in the show, but I'm not sure who else. The reception will take place on Friday, September 14, at 5 p.m. It would be lovely to see anyone from the sangha who would like to attend. I'm pasting a couple of passages below from [my artist's book] it will be flowers that are especially relevant to the attached works.

My own images of my father, of the war in Vietnam, of contemporary wars have similarly become fragmented, in the words of architectural historian Anthony Vidler, “morselated” in a way that locates significance or, as he puts it, “power” in the break, rupture, breach, in the void announced by the fracture and the individual and collective losses that it marks.32 Through their fragmentation and multiplicity, they seem to stutter and further heterotopically slip and oscillate in and out of familiarity, between an imagined space and a real one.

32. Anthony Vidler, The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely(Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 1992), 70.

. . . .

In re-imagining representations of war, especially contemporary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I find it difficult to continue viewing the images that are the sources of my reinterpretations. They relocate my attention to some dark space where perception seems limited, limiting, its limits palpable—dense, static, circumscribed, uncertain.

Elaine Scarry writes of the language-, perception-, and world-destroying aspects of pain—of its “totalizing” potential to “eliminate all that is ‘not itself.’”20 My images of other’s photographs have become less “descriptive.” Some retain corners or elements of legibility that anchor them in this world as photographs of printed matter. Others blur into abstractions that are tearing from their referents. Collapsed or expanded into moody fields of amorphous color, space becomes indeterminate. Where can a viewer locate him/herself in these images? Where is the ground? Are we refused entry and left at the surface, or do we enter a space of disorientation and uncertain depth? Scarry suggests that pain’s destruction is spatial in nature—that it is experienced “as either the contraction of the universe down to the immediate vicinity of the body or as the body swelling to fill the entire universe.”21 Pain is “objectless,” Scarry writes—it “is not ‘of’ or ‘for’ anything—it is itself alone. This objectlessness . . . almost prevents it from being rendered in language . . . [from being] objectified in any form, material or verbal.”22 It is, to use Scarry’s descriptive, an “unmaking” experience or a state that refuses, walls, obstructs.

63

20. Scarry, The Body in Pain, 54 – 55. 21. Ibid., 35. 22. Ibid., 162.

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Paul Chappell of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, will be in RI on September 20th and 21st.

On the 20th, he will be at the University of Rhode Island, where he will offer a book talk and signing at noon and a second talk at 7:30 PM on the topic ”Why World Peace is Possible and How We Can Achieve It.” Both talks are sponsored by the Center for Non-Violence and Peace Studies at URI. Please visit their website for more details. For questions, please contact nonviolence@etal.uri.edu.

On the 21st, he will give another talk entitled “Why World Peace Is Possible.” This talk will take place at 7 PM at the Bristol Statehouse, 240 High Street, Bristol, RI, and is sponsored in part by East Bay Citizens for Peace. Please visit their website for more information. For questions, please call 401-247-9738 or email steeringcommittee@eastbaycitzens4peace.org.

Both talks are open to the public and are offered in remembrance of the UN World Peace Day on the 21st.

Captain Chappell was educated at West Point and subsequently deployed to Iraq, where he underwent a transformation into a peace activist, when he realized that the invasion of Iraq would not lead to peace, which is why he was there.

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Bruce from the Harmony Sangha in CT forwarded this lovely video of pioneering activist and National Geographic Fellow John "Planetwalker" Francis,  who took a 17-year vow of silence to walk across America, inspiring thousands. Here he offers lessons on the need for reflection in one's life. "The Ragged Edge of Silence" nationalgeographic.com/video/specials/nat-geo-live-specials/francis-lecture-nglive/