Peace on Earth . . . Beginning with Us!
You are like a candle. Imagine you are sending light out all around you. All your words, thoughts and actions are going in many directions. If you say something kind, your kind words go in many directions, and you yourself go with them. We are . . . transforming and continuing in a different form at every moment. —Thich Nhat Hanh
I hope you are well and able to maintain your balance and be peace at this very busy time of the year. Let your Light shine!
We received the sad news that Clare's father, Peter, passed away just before Thanksgiving. He was an extraordinary man who clearly touched many lives in a wonderful way . . . and Clare is a beautiful continuation. (See article below.) Please continue to hold Clare and her family in your prayers, and you can send love and condolences to Clare Sartori, 680 Curtis Corner Road, Wakefield, RI 02879.
We will be gathering this Sunday to be peace together at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County on North Road in Peace Dale at 6 PM. It is so lovely to be able to come together to stop and come back to ourselves. Clare will be facilitating and focusing on the Five Mindfulness Trainings. I hope that you will be able to be with us.
I also wanted to let you know that many of us will be following the winter retreat teachings on the "Ten Gates" which are being offered online by the monastics at Deer Park Monastery. I will explain a bit more on Sunday. Since the time of the Buddha, the Rains Retreat . . . or what we call the Winter Retreat is a time to stop and deepen our practice . . . through study, applied practice, mindful work and service and play. Thanks to the generosity of our monastic siblings, we can all join in. The teachings consist of Dharma talks, handouts and suggestions for practice. It is a wonderful time to make a small commitment to ourselves and receive the support of the sangha in succeeding. I have included only the applied practice suggestions below . . . the talk files are too large . . . You can access the teachings at deerparkmonastery.org . . . then click on "teachings" . . . then click on "Ten Gates." They have uploaded the second week which is on the four ways we nourish ourselves . . . are we nourishing the wholesome seeds or the unwholesome? At this time of year when consumption is a main focus, this can be very helpful! . . . But I would suggest that you begin at the very beginning, and savor it! Enjoy!
There will be an OI/ASPIRANT MEETING on December 15 at the Bell Street Chapel in Providence from 10 - 12 following the meeting of the Radiant Bell Sangha which is held from 8-9:45 AM. This is for Order members, aspirants and anyone who is interested in learning more about the practice. We will have a Recitation Ceremony for the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings, and a Dharma sharing. We will focus on the teachings from the Winter Retreat, which I mentioned above. I hope that you will be able to be with us.
Nick Evento of the New London Sangha, who was on retreat with us at Senexet House, has asked to be kept in our prayers and meditations. He is experiencing a pancreatic problem and is having a procedure performed on Monday. Please hold him in your prayers and meditations as well as in your hearts.
And I close by including a beautiful and moving article to remind us of our own basic goodness and to water our seeds of generosity. This police officer is the embodiment of Samantabhadra, the Bodhisattva of Great Action who brings joy to one person in the morning and alleviates the suffering of one person in the afternoon . . . His action has rippled out into the cosmos in the ten directions!!! Enjoy!
with much love, may hugs and deep gratitude for warmth on a chilly day for you, Joanne
The Ten Gates: Winter Retreat Practice 2012-2013 Week One: Intention Setting and Focus
This week's reading: Article from the New York Times June 30th: “The Busy Trap”
1) Thay has described four aspects of our spiritual life that we as practitioners can look into: Study, Practice, Work and Play. You are invited to spend some time this week looking into these four areas and setting intentions for each one of them in the lead into the winter retreat, as described in the accompanying talk. Perhaps consider diagramming them out for reference. 2) What are some simple practice commitments you would like to make with yourself? What will you be exploring deeply? How about together with your Sangha? 3) Further to the previous question, in looking at the upcoming winter retreat, and looking at your current situation, what are some of the things that unnecessarily occupy your time and attention- what do you normally get stuck in? Are there areas that you might like to consider letting go of for these next 90 days?
The Ten Gates: Winter Retreat Practice 2012-2013 Week Two
1) What are some of the ways I consciously choose to nourish myself and my nearest and dearest? 2) What are some of the ways that I nourish my Sangha? 3) Can I recognize some areas in which I am holding back from nourishing myself? Why might that be? 4) What are some practices that I find it easy to engage with “100%” ? 5) What are some practices that I experience a resistance to? Why do I think that might be?
This week, please continue to work with the four area practice plan that we devised last week. You are invited into a practice of eating meditation this week. Each day, choose at least one meal to eat in mindful awareness. At the end of each day, take some time to reflect over and enjoy the times and situations that you noticed your heart opening and that you reached out to connect with others. What beneficial actions and motivations did you notice in others today? You may like to write these down. Consider using this practice with your Sangha and sharing the wonderful qualities that you see in each other. This could be done creatively, for example, by everyone writing down some points on slips of paper that they put into the bell or a box, and then people draw them out at random and read them out for everyone’s benefit. Have fun with this powerful practice!!! __________________________________________________________________________________
Photo of Officer Giving Boots to Barefoot Man Warms Hearts Online
By J. DAVID GOODMAN
On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on.
The act of kindness would have gone unnoticed and mostly forgotten, had it not been for a tourist from Arizona.
Her snapshot — taken with her cellphone on Nov. 14 and posted to the New York Police Department’s official Facebook page late Tuesday — has made Officer DePrimo an overnight Internet hero.
By Wednesday evening, the post had been viewed 1.6 million times, and had attracted nearly 275,000 “likes” and more than 16,000 comments — a runaway hit for a Police Department that waded warily onto the social media platform this summer with mostly canned photos of gun seizures, award ceremonies and the police commissioner.
Among all of those posts, the blurry image of Officer DePrimo kneeling to help the shoeless man as he sat on 42nd Street stood out. “This is definitely the most viral,” said Barbara Chen, a spokeswoman for the department who helps manage its Facebook page.
Thousands of people commented on Facebook and Reddit, which linked to the post on Wednesday. Most of them praised Officer DePrimo, yet some suspected that the photograph had been staged. Many debated whether the officer’s actions were representative of police officers in general, or were just unusually exceptional.
“I still have a grudge against law enforcement everywhere,” wrote one commenter on the police Facebook page. “But my respects to that fine officer.”
Officer DePrimo, 25, who joined the department in 2010 and lives with his parents on Long Island, was shocked at the attention. He was not warned before the photo went online; the department had not learned which officer was in the picture until hours later.
The officer, normally assigned to the Sixth Precinct in the West Village, readily recalled the encounter. “It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” he said in an interview. “I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.” They started talking; he found out the man’s shoe size: 12.
As the man walked slowly down Seventh Avenue on his heels, Officer DePrimo went into a Skechers shoe store at about 9:30 p.m. “We were just kind of shocked,” said Jose Cano, 28, a manager working at the store that night. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”
Mr. Cano volunteered to give the officer his employee discount to bring down the regular $100 price of the all-weather boots to a little more than $75. The officer has kept the receipt in his vest since then, he said, “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”
The photo was taken by Jennifer Foster, a civilian communications director for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona. She said the moment resonated for personal reasons: She remembered as a young girl seeing her father, a 32-year veteran of the Phoenix police force, buy food for a homeless man.
“He squatted down, just like this officer,” she said.
After returning from vacation, she described the picture in an e-mail to the New York Police Department, thinking of it as a sort of a compliment card. She never expected the picture to end up online — “I’m not on Facebook,” she said — but a department official e-mailed her and asked if she would send along the photo so it could be posted.
As for the man he helped, Officer DePrimo never got his name, and he could not be immediately located on Wednesday. “He was the most polite gentleman I had met,” the officer said, adding that the man’s face lit up at the sight of the boots. Officer DePrimo offered him a cup of coffee, but “as soon as the boots were on him, he went on his way, and I just went back to my post.”