Sangha Update . . . New Years Ceremony!

photographs of ancestors, poinsettias, ficus trees with lights arranged on altarNew Year's Ancestor Altar 2012

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. —Thich Nhat Hanh

Thay's New Year's Resolution: I'm determined not to waste my life, not to waste my time, I dare to live the life that I want to live. I want every step that I make on this planet to bring joy and happiness to me and people. I want every step that I make on this planet to be a step that I make in the Kingdom of God and touching Nirvana It is my conviction that the path is the kingdom of God and the path is Nirvana.

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O traveler, if you are in search of That Don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek That. ~Rumi

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well and happy and taking good care of yourself and all of your ancestors in you!

We, once again have an opportunity to celebrate them. I hope you can join us at 6 PM tomorrow . . . (please try to arrive a bit early, so we can create the altar and be ready to begin at 6) at our home. We will be having our annual New Year Ceremony to honor our ancestors. We invite everyone to bring a photo or photos of an ancestor or two whom you admire. Since our ancetors are alive in us, and we are continuations of them . . . It is wonderful to see who is always with us when we come together as a Sangha. You are also invited to bring a bell or bells—if you have more than one—and we will enjoy a bell meditation to ring in the New Year. This year it auspiciously falls on Epiphany! It is a celebration commemorating the three wise men recognizing the divinity of Christ. Webster's dictionary defines epiphany as:

a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.

Hopefully we will all recognize the divinity of everything in the cosmos and have epiphanies together!

I also wanted to remind you that the Generations Sangha will be meeting next Sataurday, January 12, from 10-12 PM at the Westminster Unitarian Church in East Greenwich. It is more important than ever for all of us to deepen our practice and support young parents in helping their children develop good habits of mind. This meeting is open to all ages. There will be time for us to sit, have a tea ceremony, then the children will go into small groups to work on projects, and I will give a talk to the parents. There could very well be some singing involved also! I hope you will be able to join us.

Please remember that there are Winter Retreat teachings being offered by Thay at tnhaudio.org . . . and there are the Winter Retreat teachings on the Ten Gates being offered on line by Deer Park Monastery . . . Just go to deerparkmonastery.org,  click on "teachings" then click on "Ten Gates." They are presently on week seven. The teachings have been wonderful, and the supporting materials are really helpful.

Also please go to tnhtour.org to find Thay's North American tour schedule for this coming summer. Registration is due to open on the 8th, and the events fill up quickly!

We will look forward to being with you tomorrow. In the meantime you might like to enjoy a video that shatters any myths that might exist about Buddhism only being about suffering . . . a wonderful New Year Celebration from Deer Park. Go toYouTube.com, and type in "Sangha Style" by Jungwon Kim. Enjoy!

with much love, many hugs, the joy of this silent night and the sweetest of dreams for you, Joanne