“Through my love for you, I want to express my love for the whole cosmos, the whole of humanity, and all beings. By living with you, I want to learn to love everyone and all species. If I succeed in loving you, I will be able to love everyone and all species on Earth... This is the real message of love.” Thich Nhat Hanh
People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. Thich Nhat Hanh
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything - anger, anxiety, or possessions - we cannot be free.” Thich Nhat Hanh
I hope you are all well, happy and enjoying this most glorious day. I also hope that you are practicing letting go of the things that are obstacles to your freedom and happiness. Thay has shown us the way...we just need to follow directions!
The fact that Thay has spent his lifetime, distilling the Buddha's teachings in such a way so that we can all apply them to our daily lives and be freer and happier, is the source of my greatest joy! He has always asked us in the past, that instead of gifts, we make a commitment to deepen our practice in some way...it can be a small way....a commitment that we will be able to keep. I hope that you might all look deeply to come up with some practice to incorporate into your daily life and make a commitment to yourself. One example that he offered...was ...if you have stairs in your home...to make a commitment to use your stairs as a bell of mindfulness and to go up the stairs being fully aware of each step every time you go up the stairs. The commitment I have made is to practice Samantabhadra's vow....to bring joy to one person in the morning and to help alleviate the suffering of one person in the afternoon. Again...this can be very simple...making a phone call to someone who is lonely, spending time with a friend who is having a difficult time, writing a letter to advocate for someone who needs support...etc....It is really a joy. I hope you can enjoy coming up with a practice and enjoy practicing it also! We can continue to do our best to build the beloved community that Thay and Dr. King envisioned.
We can enjoy doing that right away because we will be gathering tomorrow evening, on Thay's birthday!, at 6 PM at the home of Cindy and John West (directions below). We will enjoy sitting/walking/sitting meditation, we will continue to look at Thay's teachings from the book, "Reconciliation" and share the Dharma. I hope you will be able to be with us.
There are again, lots of opportunities to practice.....
A Day of Mindfulness coming up on Oct. 31 in West Hartford...if you know of anyone in the area or if you will be in the area, please join us! Info and registration at joannefriday.com/calendar There will be a retreat for sangha facilitators February 18-21, 2016 at Blue Cliff Monastery, sponsored by the Dharma Teacher's Council. We recognize that the sangha facilitator is a vital link for Thay's continuation, and would like to support facilitators to deepen skills, connect with one another by practicing together, and share experiences around common issues that arise when facilitating a sangha. More information will be coming soon, but we wanted to get the dates out as early as possible.
Please check the bluecliffmonastery.org website for other retreats that they are offering.
If you enjoyed the interview with Malala that I sent out last time, there is now a documentary out about her that is showing locally. There are so many extraordinary young people on the planet now...it is very encouraging!
If you are able, you might also like to contribute to Thay's care in honor of his continuation day....if so, you can do so at thichnhathanhfoundation.org
I hope that we will be together soon and in the meantime, I hope that you are keeping your mind in all of the highest and best places and watering all of the most wholesome seeds in your consciousness.
with much love and deepest gratitude for each of you, Joanne
DIRECTIONS TO THE WEST HOME
We live about 2 miles from URI. From rt 138, go north onto Old North Rd. (across the street from big sign ““Kingston Hill Store Books Used and Rare””. Also, just a smidge west of the 138/108 traffic light). Old North Rd starts off as a one way, continues on as a two way street, and finally ends as a T. You will see our corner property from there. Go left at the T (Old North Rd meets Stoneyfort Rd), and then a quick right onto Plantation Dr. We are the first home on the right (2nd driveway is easiest). Come on in the side door (porch/kitchen)!