12-4-15 Sangha Update

angel from BarcelonaWishing you all of the blessings of the Season

Tis the Season to Share Our Abundance

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” Eleanor Roosevelt

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” John Holmes

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well and happy and enjoying this lovely season of gratitude and giving.

We are living in a very challenging time, with the anger, hatred and violence that are manifesting in the world. It is at times like these that we need to deepen our practice even more and see beyond the surface of things to the root of the problem. The Buddha said that "Hatred does not cease by hatred, but by love alone. It is the universal law." Here is a quote from Thay about terrorism....

"We say we want to strike against terror, we want to destroy terrorism, but do we even know where to find it? Can we locate it with a radar? Can the army find terrorism using it's night goggles and heat sensors? Misunderstanding, fear, anger, and hatred are the roots of terrorism. They cannot be located by the military. Bombs and missiles cannot reach them, let alone destroy them, for terrorism lies in the hearts of human beings. To uproot terror, we need to begin by looking at our own hearts. We don't need to destroy each other, either physically or psychologically. Only by calming our minds and looking deeply inside ourselves will we develop the insight to identify the roots of terrorism. With compassion and communication, terrorism can be uprooted and transformed into love." - Thich Nhat Hanh

We have an opportunity to deepen our understanding and our practice this coming Sunday.  There will be a gathering at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County at the Lily Pads complex on North Rd. in Peace Dale at 6 PM. We will enjoy sitting meditation, Clare will give an overview of "The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings" which we just completed. There will be a sharing of the Dharma and a recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings. I hope you will be able to be with us. Since we have finished the book, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings"  Clare is looking for suggestions from the Sangha for the next book of Thay's that we can use for the ground of our meetings. Your suggestions will be appreciated.

This is also the season for being grateful for our blessings and sharing our abundance with others who might not be as fortunate. We can deepen our practice of the paramita of generosity. One thing we have to give is our time, our true presence....to be present for someone and to deeply listen is a true gift.  If you are aware of members of our Sangha who are in need...or if you are a member of our Sangha and are in need, please let me know. We need to be supporting each other as well as we are able.

If we have been fortunate enough to have material goods or money to share, there are countless opportunities and worthy charities with which to share.  All Dana that is contributed to the Sangha and to me during the month of December will be donated to a local charity. Those which have been suggested include the Jonnycake Center, Welcome House and the RI Food Bank. If you have a preference, please respond to this email. Whichever charity gets  the most responses will receive the Sangha donation. If you would like to bring gift cards from local markets to put in the dana basket they will be donated and deeply appreciated.

One way to help is to hold people in our hearts and in our prayers....we have received this request from Lisa Giordano....

Could you please remember in your prayers Maddie Guarraia, a nine-year-old girl who is in the hospital battling cancer and for her life right now.  She is a lovely and caring child as you will see in the link about her below.  Please share this link and prayer request with others who you think would be willing to pray for her. http://www.wfsb.com/story/30589031/east-lyme-brings-christmas-early-for-9-year-old-battling-cancer?autostart=true

I feel deep gratitude for all of you who are practicing in order to contribute your highest and best to the collective consciousness and make the world a better place.

I look forward to being with you soon.

with much love and gratitude, Joanne