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.” ### 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. ____________________________________________________________________________ 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.