Happy Bodhi Day . . . Happy Hanukah!
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. —Edith Wharton
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. —Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Hatred does not cease by hatred; by love alone does it cease.' —Buddha
I hope you are well and happy and enjoying this holiday season . . . along with Saturday being the first day of Hanukkah, it was also Bodhi Day, which commemorates the Buddha's enlightenment . . . So Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish friends, and may all beings from every Path continue to awaken during this holy season. May we all let our lights shine!
We will have a great opportunity to do just that tomorrow evening at 6:30 PM at St. Matthew’s Church in West Barrington. We can give ourselves the gift of stopping amidst the busyness of the season. We will enjoy sitting/walking/sitting. Margaret and Toni will share the Dharma, and that will be followed by an opportunity for all of us to share. I hope you will be able to be with us.
SAVE THE DATE!!! As you all know, our annual picnic was rained out . . . Now Ellen and Nick have graciously offered to host a vegetarian potluck gathering at their home at 1 PM on Sunday, December 30. We will have a short practice and sharing to begin . . . if you are a floor sitter, please bring a cushion. Ellen will be making some soup and would like it very much if you could RSVP as that will help with the planning . . . firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please remember that next Saturday, December 15, there will be an OI/Aspirant meeting at the Bell Street Chapel. This is open to Order Members, Aspirants and anyone interested in learning more about our practice. This will take place following the meeting of the Radiant Bell Sangha. The Sangha will meet from 8 - 9:45 . . . and the OI/ Aspirant gathering will begin at 10 AM. I will be facilitating. We will have a recitation of the Fourteen Trainings and discuss the Winter Retreat Teachings on the "Ten Gates" being offered by the monastics at Deer Park Monastery. You can access these teachings at deerparkmonastery.org . . . then click the "teachings" link and then scroll down to "Ten Gates." Each week there is a Dharma talk, handout and suggestions for practice. It is a wonderful gift that we are offered! Let's accept it! Enjoy!
Please also remember that Thay's wonderful Winter Retreat Talks are available at tnhaudio.org.
PRAYER REQUEST AND REQUESTS FOR HELP
I know that we are all inundated with requests for giving during the holiday season. I really appreciate it when people I know share situations they are aware of and offer opportunities to help directly. In these cases we can be sure that all of the help is being delivered to those in real need. This year we have had a couple of friends let us know of very direct ways to help. I hope you will be able to help these friends in some way. (See below.)
I hope you can take part in one or all of the December gatherings, and in the meantime, keep your love light shining!
with much love and best wishes for every blessing for all of you, Joanne
Our dear Sangha sister Ann shared the plight of her friend's family with us at our last sangha gathering. At this time when we are doing our best to practice with generosity, we asked if the Sangha might help. Ann has created an opportunity for us to do that, and she wrote us the following . . .
When my dear friend died unexpectedly in Oct at 48 years old, she left two beautiful children, a girl 14 years old and a boy of 9 years . . . they had been living with their mother almost entirely, and now are living with their father full time. Their father has been having employment trouble frequently over the last several years and is now struggling to provide not only emotional support during this tragedy but also the basic needs such as housing/utilities/food/clothing etc. There is a group who has volunteered to buy the Christmas gifts for the children as far as I know.
With deep gratitude and many thanks for the offer of help from the Sangha, any donations will be utilized to help ease the burden of this tragedy on my friend's children and her ex husband who is caring for them. Checks can me mailed to me at
Ann Galkowski PO Box 2694 Newport RI 02840
The checks can be written to me with "children's fund" in the subject line and I will give the money to pay for the care of the children.
This has been an incredibly painful time for the children and their father who is trying to help them to get on with the activities of the day, so I want to honor their privacy and will request that expressions towards them, if given, be focused on hope, renewal, and the beauty of life."
I hope that we will be able to provide some help for them . . . and thank you, Ann, for offering us this opportunity.
An aspirant to our Order, Tracy Sweeney from the Boston Old Path Sangha, works with homeless veterans and is aware of some needs this holiday season. If you can help in any way, please do.
From Tracy Sweeney of the Boston Old Path Sangha:
some of you know that I work with Homeless Veterans. We have folks with a minimal resources and I received one [request] from a colleague yesterday. I then thought if folks were interested I or some fellow sister/brothers could collect donations and purchase various household items (cleaning supplies, curtains, etc). if anyone is interested in giving a donation to the below case or general needs let me know. If you are interested in volunteering also let me know.
one request: I am working with a disabled VASH veteran whose Christmas wish was declined by his shelter’s Christmas Wish program. He has been a professional musician and his only wish is for financial contributions, no matter how small, to the repair bill at the shop that fixed his violin, so he can get it back.
second request: I have a number of guys who do not have curtains for their apartments and if someone is handy I know they would love it.
I was thinking it would be small and figured I would take the checks, cash them and hopefully go to the store with one of my sister/brothers.
to that end my address is:
Tracy Sweeney 3 Cottage St. Cambridge, MA 02139
To attain enlightenment, one needs to cut through knots or fetters. They are described a little differently in different texts. This is the list of the ten fetters from the Pali Canon's Sutta Pitaka.
We can contemplate them, practice diligently, cut through those fetters and give ourselves the gift of freedom this holiday season!
1. belief in self
2. doubt or uncertainty . . . especially doubt about the teachings
3. attachment to rites and rituals
4. sensual desire
6. lust for material existence
7. lust for immaterial existence